Loving Search for the Lost Servant

[Excerpt from Chapter 2]

by Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Gosvami Maharaja

Srimad Bhagavatam
tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidhadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya bhak
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8) gives us a most hopeful suggestion for all stages of life: blame yourself and no one else. Maintain your appreciation for the Lord, seeing everything as His grace. At present we think our circumstances undesirable because they do not suit our present taste. But medicine may not always suit the taste of the patient. Still it is conducive to health. This verse is the highest type of regulation given by the sastra. If you can follow this law, then in no time you will have a very good position. We must be careful not to blame the circumstances, but to appreciate that Krsna is behind everything. Krsna is my best friend; He is in the background of everything. Everything is passing through His attentive eyes. So therecannot be any defect there.

Even Srimati Radharani says, "He is not to blame. This long separation from Krsna is only the outcome of My fate. He should not blamed for this." Although outwardly it is admitted by all that He had cruelly left the gopis, Radharani is not prepared to blame Krsna. "No wrong can be found in Him," She thinks. "There must be something wrong in Me which has brought about this unfortunate situation." The competition between the groups of gopis in the service of Krsna is also harmonized in this way by Radharani. Krsnadasa Kaviraja Goswami has explained this most important point. According to him, it is not that Radharani does not like any other party to serve Krsna in competition with Her, but She feels that they cannot satisfy Krsna as well as She can. And this should be noted very carefully. She knows that they cannot give proper satisfaction to Krsna, so She cannot appreciate their trying to take Her place. That is Her contention. She thinks, "If they could serve Krsna well and fully satisfy Him, I would have no complaint. But they can't. And still, aggressively they come to serve? I can't tolerate this."

The Brahmin Leper

Kaviraja Goswami has cited as an example of this sort of devotion a historical reference from the Puranas. There was once a chaste wife whose brahmana husband was a leper. She always tried her best to serve Him. One day, while she was bathing her husband at a holy river, he became infatuated with the extraordinary beauty of a prostitute by the name Laksahira. Her name indicated that she possessed the luster and beauty of a hundred thousand diamonds. The leper brahmana was irresistibly charmed by her. Upon returning home, his chaste wife detected some dissatisfaction within her husband, and inquired, "Why are you so unhappy?" Her husband replied, "I felt some attraction for the beauty of that prostitute. And I can't take my mind off her." "Oh. You want her?" "Yes. I do." "Then I shall try to make the arrangement."

Then, because she was poor, the chaste lady, although a qualified brahmana, began to go to the house of the prostitute every day and work as a maidservant. Although she was aristocratic by birth, she accepted the work of a maidservant without any remuneration. And she did her duties so diligently that she attracted the attention of the prostitute, the mistress of the house, who began to inquire. "Who cleans everything so neatly and beautifully?" And she came to know that a brahmana lady was coming every morning and performing many menial tasks. The other attendants said, "We tried to stop her, but she would not hear of it. She wants to meet you." The mistress replied, "All right. Tomorrow, you may bring her to me." Then, the next morning, when she was taken to the prostitute, the brahmana lady expressed her inner motive. "My husband is so attracted to you that it is my desire that you may satisfy him. It is my concern as his devout wife that he be satisfied, and this is his aspiration. So I want to see him happy." Then the prostitute understood everything and said, "Yes. Bring him tomorrow. I invite both of you to dine in my house."

This was intimated to the brahmana and the following day they came. Many dishes were prepared fitting the occasion. Two entrees were served. One was prasadam on a plantain leaf accompanied by Ganges water in an earthen pot - all pure vegetarian food. Side by side with that in gold and silver pots were so many meats and rich dishes. They were served with a very nice table arrangement and sitting places. Of the two kinds of foodstuffs, one was sattvik, pure, and the other was rajasik, filled with passion. Then, with folded palms, the prostitute invited the brahmana and his wife and indicated, "This is bhagavataprasadam, and those are rich dishes prepared with meat. Whichever you like you may take at your sweet will."Immediately the leper brahmana chose the prasadam, and began to take his meal. After he had finished taking prasadam, the prostitute said, "Your wife is like this prasadam - sattvik - and all these rajasik things - meat, rich dishes, gold, silver - this is like me. I am so low and your wife is the purest of the pure. Your real taste is for this sattvik prasadam. Externally, the meat is very gorgeous, but internally it is very impure, filthy. And therefore you are repulsed by it. So why have you come here to me?"

Then the brahmana came to his senses. "Yes, I am wrong. God has sent a message to me through you. My fleeting desire has ended and now I am satisfied. You are my guru!" Kaviraja Goswami has quoted this in the Caitanya-caritamrta. The chaste lady went to serve the prostitute. Why? For the satisfaction of her husband. So Radharani says, "I am ready to serve those in the opposition camp, if they can really satisfy My Lord. I am completely ready to serve them if they can really satisfy Krsna. But they can't. Yet still they have some demand. But I differ on that point. It is not that I am concerned that My share is being lessened. That is not My attitude. Whenever any unfavorable circumstances come, I think it is always coming from within Me (durdaiva vilasa); I don't find anything corrupt to be traced outside." That should be the attitude of a true devotee of Krsna. With this attitude, we shall be able to see within ourselves that everything is ultimately part of the absolute good. Although it is not very easy, still,our energy should be devoted only to collect good will from external circumstances. In this way we should take care to see things in such away as to purify our own position.

Deep Vision Reality

And so, we are encouraged by Srimad-Bhagavatam to look deeper.We must try to look deeper and then we will find our friend; if we are liberal in our attitude towards the environment, we cannot but come in connection with the plane which is really liberal. That is Krsna consciousness in its ultimate reach. If we look deeply into reality with this sort of vision, we will find our real home. Prahlada boldly met all adverse circumstances and ultimately he was victorious. The calculation of Prahlada's demonic father about the environment was falsified, but Prahlada's deeper vision saw reality correctly. He saw that Krsna is everywhere. And Krsna consciousness is commanding the whole. So we must not allow ourselves to be discouraged under any circumstances, however acute they may apparently seem to us. Krsna is there. As much as the circumstances appear to oppose us, it is really not so. If only we can develop the right vision, the smiling face of the Lord will appear from behind the screen. That is Krsna consciousness. Krsna is beautiful, and He is eagerly awaiting to accept our services.

God And His Men

Our inner wealth can be discovered only by the help of sadhu, guru, and scripture. Our vision should be that it is all nectar, but we have drawn a screen between the nectar and ourselves and are tasting poison, thinking that it is very useful. On the whole, we must think that no blame is to be put on others, and it is actually the truth. We are responsible for our disgrace, our fallen condition. And the path to self-improvement is also similar: we must learn to critique ourselves and appreciate the environment. Our appreciation should especially be for Krsna and His devotees, and then gradually everyone else. He has not given anyone the authority to harm us. If it appears that way, it is only superficial and misleading. That anyone can do harm to anyone else is misleading. It is only true on the superficial plane. Of course, this does not condone harming others or ignoring oppression, but from the absolute standpoint there is no harm. When we reach the highest stage of devotion, we shall see that everything is friendly and that our apprehension was wrong. It was a misconception.

Misconception: maya means "what is not" (mriyate anaya). When everything is measured from the standpoint of selfishness and not the universal interest - that is the cause of all our troubles. We must gradually realize, "My angle of vision was guided by selfish, not absolute, consideration. So I am suffering. But now I have come to understand that my interest is included in the absolute interest." To parody an old saying, "A bad workman quarrels with his stools." According to our karma we produce the environment. What I am blaming was produced by my own karma. When I take food, stool comes as a natural reaction. It would be foolish to blame the stool for appearing. It is the effect of my having eaten. In the same way, I have acted in different ways, and the karmic result is my present environment. So to quarrel with the reaction to our own misdeeds is a useless waste of energy.

The advice of Srimad-Bhagavatam should be our guiding principle under all circumstances. Whatever is coming to us is under His sanction, under His eye, so it cannot but be good. Everything is perfect. The only imperfection is within us, and therefore we should try with all our energy to do our duty. In no time, we shall find ourselves released from all troubles. That is the key advice of the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

[Emphasis added by BVML editors.]

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