Achieving Pure Devotional Service
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
There is no possibility of achieving pure devo¬tional service by either karma or jñāna. Consider¬ing the qualification of those who cannot or do not desire to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord, the Lord has inaugurated the processes of karma and jñāna in this world. The conditioned souls wander throughout the universe while following karma and jñāna. It is generally found that such persons have no qualification for achieving devo¬tional service to the Lord. But when the desires for material enjoyment or liberation of persons who are on the platform of devotional service mixed respectively with karma or jñāna are gradually uprooted, then by the influence of pure devotional service they can attain eternal supreme auspicious¬ness. Without surrender, neither the karmis nor the jñānīs are qualified for the service of the Lord. The devotees of the Lord are constantly endeav¬oring to achieve the eternally relishable service of the Lord. They are never prepared to serve any temporary, mundane, enjoyable object that is not related to the Lord. The Lord awards one the qual-ification to serve Him according to one’s service attitude. One should not misunderstand from this that the conditioned souls may treat the Supreme Lord as a servant or independently subjugate Him by considering Him a controlled instrument for fulfilling one’s illicit desires and expect that the Lord will serve such an atheist as a so-called servant. Rather, one must remember that in order to encourage the demoniac propensity of being completely controlled by the mundane fruitive activities of living entities averse to the Lord from time immemorial—in other words, in order to de¬ceive and bewilder the godless living entities—the Lord has engaged His external energy, māyā, on the pretext of facilitating such living entities. Due to illusion the conditioned soul accepts the illusory energy of the Lord as an object of enjoyment, as dear, as related to him, and as worshipable and thus embraces misconceptions about the Absolute Truth, and in this way, rather than worshiping the Lord, he becomes intoxicated with the desire to enjoy the fruits of his karma. If one engages in the uninterrupted and unmotivated devotional service of the Supreme Lord, who is eternally worshipable, the proprietor of māyā, and beyond the reach of material perception, then such a fortunate living entity no longer maintains the propensity or desire for serving temporary, separated, material objects. Then, on the pretext of accepting service from His unalloyed devotee, the Lord also serves His own devotee. Lord Sri Gaurasundara enacted the pastime of drinking the water that had washed the feet of a brāhmaṇa in order to teach and glorify the propensity for serving the Lord of brāhmaṇas who have given up temporary, abominable mate¬rial pride, who have become tṛṇād api sunīca and taror api sahiṣṇunā, and who have accepted the transcendental water that has washed the lotus feet of the eternal Lord Sri Caitanyacandra as the only drinkable substance in the entire creation. Being bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord, the smārtas and prākṛta-sahajiyās, who are averse to the Lord and baffled by māyā, consider that pure brāhmaṇas under the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya and demoniac brāhmaṇas who are averse to Hari, Guru, and Vaiṣṇava and opposed to Sri Caitanya are equal; in other words, they consider that so-called brāhmaṇas who are actually kṛpaṇas, travelers on the path to hell, absorbed in illusory activities not related to the Lord, and devoid of spiritual knowledge regarding the inexhaustible, infallible Lord and brāhmaṇas who are worshipers of the nondual Lord are of the same platform; but Sri Gaurasundara displays the proper conclusion of the verse: śva-pākam iva nekṣeta loke vipram avaiṣṇavam—“If a person born in a brāhmaṇa family is an avaiṣṇava, a nondevotee, one should not see his face, exactly as one should not look upon the face of a caṇḍāla, or dog-eater,” and as a bona fide spiritual master, He brings eternal aus¬piciousness to those prākṛta-sahajiyās and smārtas by opening their eyes, which are covered by the darkness of ignorance. While distorting the mean¬ing of the Bhagavad-gītā (Bg 4.11) verse: ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham, persons who do not follow Vedic principles, who commit mistakes, who are duplicitous, intoxicated, short-sighted, habituated to cheat¬ing others, and expert in material knowledge exhibit a type of foolishness that simply results in distortion and change of the actual mean¬ing. They are indifferent to understanding the meaning of the word prapanna, or surrender, and consider proud non-Vaiṣṇava living enti¬ties who are devoid of surrender on the same platform as surrendered Vaiṣṇavas. They are fully engaged in activities that are detrimental to the neophytes of this world who are igno¬rant of scriptural conclusions, in other words, they ruin them. Only those devotees who are nonduplicitous, surrendered worshipers of the Lord are qualified to serve the Lord, and the Lord also reciprocates by awarding His own rare, loving devotional service to such liberated souls. The Lord never reciprocates with deceit¬ful, nondevoted persons who desire liberation. In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam (5.6.18) it is stated:
astv evam aṅga bhagavān bhajatāṁ mukundo
muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na Bahkti-yogam
“Therefore, O King, those engaged in getting the Lord’s favor attain liberation from the Lord very easily, but He does not very easily give the opportunity to render direct service unto Him.” Māyā, as the Lord’s maidservant, bewilders the averse living entities into accepting the Supreme Lord as a product of matter, while in fact she is further increasing the averse living entities’ entan¬glement in the material modes of nature.
Five types of devotional rasas are exchanged be¬tween the devotees and the worshipable Lord, who is beyond the perception of material senses and the only viṣaya, or object, of all rasas. The Lord, as the viṣaya, can favorably accept any one of five types of rasas. In His form of Narayana, the Lord accepts two and half types of rasas—śānta (neutrality), dāsya (servitorship), and gaurava-sakhya (friend¬ship in awe and veneration)—from His devotees on the path of regulative devotional service, and as Vrajendra-nandana Krishna He accepts the other two and half superior rasas—viśrambha-sakhya (friendship in equality), vātsalya (parental), and madhurya (conjugal)—from His devotees on the path of anurāga, or attachment. In this way He awards any one of the above-mentioned five rasas to His devotees on the path of attachment and thus exhibits His qualities of bhakta-vātsalya, affection for His devotees, and bhakta-premādhīnatva, being controlled by the love of His devotees.
Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura The vyāsa-avatāra of Caitanya-līlā With En¬glish Translation of the Gauḍīya-bhāṣya Commentary and Chapter Summaries of His Divine Grace Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja Translated by Bhumipati Dāsa Ādi-khaṇḍa 17.25