(Servitorship to Kṛṣṇa)

Nāmāśrayera Phala 
(The Results of Taking Shelter of Nāma)Nāmāśrayera Phala 
(The Results of Taking Shelter of Nāma)
Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa Abheda (The Non-Difference Between Śrī Gaura and Kṛṣna)The Non-Difference Between Śrī Gaura and Kṛṣna (Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa Abheda)

This article, Kṛṣṇa-dāsya 
(Servitorship to Kṛṣṇa) was written by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura for Sajjana Toṣaṇī, Vol.11, issue 6 in 1899. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explains the process how one can attain true kṛṣṇa-dāsya by avoiding nāmāparādha and by taking shelter of a genuine guru.

(translated by Swami B.V. Giri)

All bound jīvas are bewildered by the threefold guṇas of māyā, and being forgetful of their servitorship to Kṛṣṇa, they wander through saṁsāra in ignorance. But one in whom good fortune arises, in the association of sādhus, accepts his servitorship to Kṛṣṇa and is able to conquer māyā’s three modes of nature. As long as the jīva has no śraddhā in satsaṅga, he will be subordinate to lust and anger and experience various self-inflicted tribulations (adhyātmika) etc. Śrī Caritāmṛta says:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-janma-mūla haya ‘sādhu-saṅga’
kṛṣṇa-prema janme, teṅho punaḥ mukhya aṅga

 (“Sādhu-saṅga is the root-cause of kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Even when kṛṣṇa-prema appears, it is still the main principle” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 22.83)

By attaining sādhu-saṅga, the jīva takes shelter of śrī-hari-nāma, the essence of all types of sādhana, and relishes nāma-rasa. Thus, Śrīman Mahāprabhu, the life of all, has descended as the jagadācārya (the ācārya of the whole world), accepting an external dress similar to Pītambara (Kṛṣṇa) and covered by the effulgence of Rādhā, attracting the jīvas to kṛṣṇa-dāsya by bestowing the teaching that, “Nāma is the only means, and nāma is the only goal.” A person who is a nāma-bhajanakārī (a worshipper of the Holy Name) only performs activities that are favourable to the Name, and nothing else.

Nāmāparādha, that is, whatever is unfavourable to the Name, should be completely rejected. “Kṛṣna is my sole protector and maintainer” – one should take refuge in this exclusive bhāva. As long as misconceptions pertaining to the self (svarūpa-bhrama) are not removed, the bhajana of a sādhaka will not be advantageous. One can realise one’s svarūpa when sambandha-jñāna arises. Gradually, by engaging in the process (abhidheya) of bhajana, one attains the goal (prayojana) of the wealth of prema, and one becomes eligible for that main principle of prema.

It is difficult to attain true kṛṣṇa-dāsya unless one is aware of the three tattvas of sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana by taking shelter of a sat-guru. Bhagavāṇ must fulfil the desire of one who easily wishes to attain such kṛṣṇa-dāsya. The Gītā says:

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te

(“To those who are constantly devoted to Me and worship Me with love, I continue to bestow upon them devotional inspiration by which they may come to Me.” – Bhagavad-gītā 10.10)

Those who strive to become pure devotees attain all perfection in a short time if they perform bhajana according to the instructions of Mahāprabhu. Their previous wicked thoughts based upon lust and anger leave them. Then they have kāma for service to Kṛṣṇa, krodha towards nāma-aparādhīs, lobha for sādhusaṅga and for relishing Kṛṣṇa’s līla and qualities, they experience bewilderment (moha) due to Kṛṣṇa’s own sweetness, their pride (dambha) is, “In this way, I will do kṛṣṇa-bhajana as much as I can, and one day the entire world will attain sat-saṅga!” – such determination will be there.

In reality, other than kṛṣṇa-bhajana, there is no happiness for the jīva. Those sādhus who take shelter of the Name understand how much happiness is there in kṛṣṇa-nāmānanda (the bliss of kṛṣṇa-nāma). Compared to the ocean of bliss one relished in kṛṣṇa-nāma, the bliss of Brahman is like the water found in a puddle. If one takes the Name without offence, one can relish an ocean of rasa. Compared to the ocean of nāma-rasa, karma-yoga is like a deep, dark well. Abandoning other forms of worship, with exclusive bhāva, take to nāma-bhajana and worship the Name in the association of sādhus, for it is the topmost and easiest to perform.

jagat vyāpaka hari, aja bhava ājñākārī
madhura-mūratī līlā kathā
ei tattva jāne yei, parama mahat sei,
tāṅra saṅga kariba sarvathā

(“Hari pervades the entire world and Brahmā and Śiva carry out His orders. His form and narrations of His līlā are sweet. One who knows this truth is the greatest of persons. In all respects I desire his association.” – Prema-bhakti-candrikā 8.11)

If śrī-nāma, which is the essence of all objectives, is chanted without offence, one will certainly achieve the wealth of prema. Dharma is to believe in the words of the mahājanas, Mahāprabhu and His devotees. One must have fixed determination in bhajana – if you become impatient to obtain the wealth of prema and after a few days you stop engaging in bhajana, then various obstacles will arise in your endeavours to achieve prema. Those who are wise do not do that. While the wealth of prema does not reveal itself, one should adhere to the method (abhidheya) of sādhana-bhajana.When maturity is achieved in sādhana, the wealth of prema is attained according to one’s progress. This is the instruction of Śrīman Mahāprabhu.

(‘Kṛṣṇa-dāsya – Servitorship to Kṛṣṇa’ by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was first published in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol.11, issue 6 in 1899 and translated into English by Swami B.V. Giri)
Nāmāśrayera Phala 
(The Results of Taking Shelter of Nāma)Nāmāśrayera Phala 
(The Results of Taking Shelter of Nāma)
Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa Abheda (The Non-Difference Between Śrī Gaura and Kṛṣna)The Non-Difference Between Śrī Gaura and Kṛṣna (Śrī Gaura Kṛṣṇa Abheda)

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