Hari-katha Articles Kṛṣṇa Learns How to Serve

Kṛṣṇa Learns How to Serve

The spring Rāsa festival, or Vāsantī-rāsa, takes place in the month
of Mādhava. After Vāsantī-rāsa, Kṛṣṇa manifests the pastime of
holī, throwing colors.

Kṛṣṇa thought, “During this time of holī, the sakhās, Myself, and all
the Vrajavāsīs smear ourselves with the foot dust of the Vraja-devīs. We
also bathe ourselves with the water that has bathed the Vraja-devīs’ feet.
We splash this water on each other. The Vraja-devīs’ service tendency
and love is unparalleled. Everything about the Vraja-devīs is special.
But I cannot avail Myself of their love. How can this be made possible?
I must serve and practice. I will also train Myself.”

Therefore, Kṛṣṇa came and prayed to the sakhīs. He told them,
“Please give Me a chance to serve. I will also practice and undergo
training. Everyone worships and serves Me. They offer everything
to Me and I accept whatever they have to offer. I do so for their
happiness. However, I have no chance to serve Myself. Please teach
the process of how to serve. Please help Me attain the service of
Śrīmatī Rādhikā.”

The sakhīs became surprised listening to Kṛṣṇa’s entreaty. They
thought, “Which mood has entered Kṛṣṇa’s heart? After the holi-līlā and
vāsantī-līlā, He has changed. Before, He was a crooked cheater. But now
He has become very simple and sweet, polite and humble. He repeatedly
tells us, ‘Please give Me a chance to serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī.’”

The sakhīs asked Kṛṣṇa, “How will You serve Her?”

“I will comb Her long hair. I will decorate Her hair with many
flowers. In this way, Her mercy will shower on Me.”

Before, Kṛṣṇa had thought to Himself, “Everyone serves Śrīmatī
Rādhārānī; but I never served Her. I never practiced serving Her in
My life. I am worshipable to the entire world, but I didn’t serve Śrīmatī
Rādhārānī. Only if I was given the chance to comb Rādhārānī’s hair, I
would feel My life successful.” Kṛṣṇa felt He never learned how to serve.

Therefore, He went to Śṛṅgāra-vaṭa and proclaimed, “I will observe a
vrata for one month. I will be trained and I will learn how to serve.”

What was Kṛṣṇa’s service? He would collect many flowers and
make garlands. He would comb Rādhārānī’s hair and decorate Her with
the many flowers He had collected. He would also paint Rādhārānī’s
hands, and perform many other services. Thus Kṛṣṇa became expert in
many arts of service.

Rādhārānī is mahābhāva-svarūpiṇī; She is Kṛṣṇa’s svarūpa-śakti.
You must not think of Her as an ordinary lady or goddess.

mahā-bhāva-svarūpā tvaṁ
prema-bhakti-prade devi
rādhike tvāṁ namāmy aham

“O Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, You are the exalted form of mahābhāva,
therefore You are the most dear to Kṛṣṇa. O Goddess, You alone are
able to bestow pure love for the Supreme Lord; therefore I offer my
humble obeisances unto You.”

Kṛṣṇa underwent extensive training learning how to serve
Rādhārānī. The devotees eternally pray under the guidance of Kṛṣṇa,
“When will I also serve Śrīmatī Rādhārānī? When will I get a continuous
chance and service tendency.”

To achieve this, Keśava took up this vrata. On another side,
Vajranābha, Uddhava, Nārada, and the rest of the devotees began
their vrata on the banks of Govardhana. They started their worship.
Their worship was similar to how Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī worshiped
the Śālagrāma-śilā. Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī would apply sandalwood
paste and offer Tulasī leaves to Śālagrāma-śilā. On the full moon of
the month of Vaiśākha, the Śālagrāma manifested as Rādhā-ramaṇa.
Similarly, Keśavadeva manifested Himself after Vajranābha and
Uddhava had worshiped Him throughout this month.

On this day, devotees should worship Keśavadeva with clay pots full
of water and many delicious drinks. The ṛṣis only worship Śālagrāma-
śilā with Tulasī leaves and Gaṅgā water.

Śrī Hari is very pleased by such service. Śrī Hari states, “I will not
accept anything unless it is offered with Tulasī.”

Therefore, Mahāprabhu said, “Oh Raghunātha! You need only
worship Kṛṣṇa with Tulasī leaves.”

dui-dike dui-patra madhye komala mañjarī
ei-mata aṣṭa-mañjarī dibe śraddhā kari
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya 6.297

“With faith and love, you should offer eight soft Tulasī mañjarīs,
each with two Tulasī leaves, one on each side of each flower.”

Mahāprabhu gave a Govardhana-śilā to Raghunātha. He told him
to worship Girirāja with eight Tulasī mañjarīs and water from a pitcher.
Mahāprabhu then arranged for Svarūpa Dāmodara to give khajja (a
special sweet fried in ghee, also known as ‘Jagannātha tongue’) for
Girirāja to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Thus, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī
could offer khajja to Girirāja. Mahāprabhu instructed Dāsa Gosvāmī
to honor all others without expecting respect from anyone in return,
and to always serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in his mind, in Vraja.

Mānasī-sevā is especially important in our sampradāya. But how can you know how
to do mānasī-sevā if you don’t practically serve as well? Mānasī-sevā
is not very easy. After trying to do mānasī-sevā for some time, you
may think, “This is all speculation.” Therefore, vigraha-sevā is one of
the five most prominent limbs of devotion. By properly doing vigraha-
sevā, you will be able to naturally enter mānasī-sevā.

After giving dīkṣā and harināma, Śrī Guru gives Deity service to
the initiated devotees. He tells them, “You should worship the Deity;
then you will get a relationship with the Lord.”
Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī would worship Girirāja-Govardhana
everyday. How would Mahāprabhu worship Girirāja? Mahāprabhu
would bathe Girirāja with His tears and place Girirāja on His head or

As Kali-yuga progresses, the holy rivers like Gaṅgā and Yamunā
will gradually decline and disappear, and most of Śrī Tulasī, Śālagrāma,
śāstras, Vaiṣṇavas, and the Bhāgavatam will disappear. Before,
every household would worship Śālagrāma. They would blow on the
conch early in the morning and, ringing the bell, they would worship
Śālagrāma. They would sprinkle caranāmṛta on themselves and
distribute it to others as well. They would diligently offer bhoga and
partake of the prasāda. And they would do ārati in the evening. But
now, Śālagrāma is rarely seen.

The people of Kali-yuga are very strange. They will create many
problems when someone worships Tulasī-devī or Śālagrāma-śilā. My
Guru Mahārāja spoke of an incident:

A brāhmaṇa father told his son, “I am going to officiate a fire
sacrifice. I will return after some days, so you should worship
Śālagrāma in my place.”

“All right. But how should I worship?”

“Offer Tulasī leaves, sandalwood paste, and the water of the Gaṅgā.
Nothing else is required.”

A jamun tree stood near the temple that bore many juicy berries.

On looking at them, the son thought, “These berries look so succulent
and sweet. But how can I collect them?”

The boy then took Śālagrāma and threw Him at the tree branches.
Many berries fell to the ground. He threw the Śālagrāma at the tree
many times and collected as many berries as he could.

“This Śālagrāma is very good,” he exclaimed. “My father told me to
worship Śālagrāma, but He is more useful this way. The Śālagrāma is
my good friend! I can eat so many berries now.”

The boy then threw the Śālagrāma at the tree again, but to his
dismay, the Śālagrāma did not fall back to the ground as before and he
couldn’t find the Śālagrāma. The boy grew anxious and thought, “My
father will beat me if he doesn’t see the Śālagrāma. What should I do?”
He took a black jamun berry and put it on the altar. He smeared
sandalwood paste on it and offered Tulasī leaves to it. The father came
the next day and asked his son, “Where is Śālagrāma?”

“It is right here father.”

The father had a close look and realized that the Śālagrāma was a
black jamun berry.

“This Śālagrāma is rotten!”

“What can I do father?”

“What happened?”

“The Śālagrāma became rotten from all the sandal paste and water.
This is not my fault.”

The brāhmaṇa strongly chastised his son for using Śālagrāma for
his own enjoyment. Nowadays, the majority of caste family priests wor­
ship Ṭhākurajī for their own sense enjoyment and family maintenance.
We should try to understand the meaning of the word ‘Śālagrāma.’
You should seriously and carefully worship Śālagrāma. You will then
realize how truthful this worship is in this very life. You will have this
realization. You should worship Śālagrāma with respect. You must
never think that the Śālagrāma is a piece of a stone. Similarly, you must
never think that Tulasī is an ordinary plant.

There are various forms of Tulasī but two forms are prominent—
Kṛṣṇa Tulasī and Rādhā Tulasī. Kṛṣṇa Himself has appeared in this
world in this form to help all the souls have a permanent relationship
with Him.

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Vow to Please Sri Radha

In this month we don’t eat tomatoes, honey, eggplant, loki, parmal or sesame seeds. I think, however, that it is more important to take a vow to not have any desire for sense gratification. We should vow that our mind will not go anywhere except to please Krsna – to please Damodara. Also, we should try to follow what Srila Sanatana Gosvami has told in Hari-bhakti-vilasa regarding this month, what Srila Rupa Gosvami has told in Upadesamrta and what Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has told in Manah-siksa. Urja means power. Srimati Radhika is the Urja-sakti, power, of Krsna. Urja-vrata (vrata means vow) means Radha-vrata. Although we regularly recite Sri Damodara-astakam in the morning and evening, we must keep in mind that this is Sri Radha-vrata. We are attending classes – to please Srimati Radhika. Both in the morning and evening we will sing kirtanas of Radhika, and we will also visit the places of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna’s pastimes – we will go everywhere in Vraja Mandala. Why are we performing Vraja Mandala parikrama? It is because Sri Krsna gave a blessing to Narada Rsi that if one meditates on the Lord's pastimes or visits His pastime places in the holy dhama, these very pastimes will manifest within his or her heart. The dhama has power like that of Krsna; it will fulfill all desires of the devotees. We will go to Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, Govardhana, Bhandiravana, Bhandiravata, Varsana, Nandagaon, Visakha-kunda, Purnamasi ki Gufa, the place where Srimati Radhika sang Brahmara-gita in Uddhava-kyari, Ter-kadamba, Yavat and Kokilavana. We will also go to the three Carana-paharis; one in Kamyavana, one in Nandagaon and one near Baithana. We will also go to Rasa-sthali in Vrndavana, and to so many other places. We will pray to Srimati Radhika at all these places.


Completely fix your faith in the advice of Śrī Guru. Imbibe Śrī Guru’s vāṇī, transcendental instructions. Don’t look or run here and there. If guru’s heart melts, all his love and affection will come to you. You are the calf of Śrī Guru. A calf will not go to any buffalo, goat, pig, elephant, or camel for milk. When a calf is born, he will not even take milk from any other cow. He drinks from his own mother’s breasts. And a cow will not give her milk to the calf of another cow. Anything you hear from Guru-pāda-padma, keep that with you like a seed. Every day, practice that. After continual practice, this will become perfect. When you daily clean iron, it will shine like steel. If you daily smear a clay pot with ghee, it will become very strong and shiny. Guru Mahārāja gives mantra and dīkṣā—daily practice that, remember and repeat those mantras. Gurudeva is the rasamaya-vigraha, embodiment of rasa. Anything that comes from his lips is sweeter than honey. This is very helpful for increasing one’s bhakti and bestowing bhakti-rasa. Therefore, very carefully accept the vāṇī of Guru-pāda-padma, his transcendental teachings. Never be hopeless. If you have no desire to follow the mantra and teachings of Śrī Guru, then you will never develop your bhakti. Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī came to Caitanya Mahāprabhu and was offered in the shelter of Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara. Dāsa Gosvāmī would come and pray to Mahāprabhu, “You never give me any instruction.” “You are with Svarūpa Dāmodara. What he says is good for you. If I tell you to do something and you don’t follow, then it will be problematic.” Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī requested Svarūpa Dāmodara to beg Mahāprabhu to give him even one small instruction. Then Mahāprabhu said: grāmya-kathā nā śunibe, grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 6.236-237 Do not speak mundane topics or hear what general people have to say. You should not eat very rich, palatable food, nor should you wear very nice clothing. Do not expect respect, but honor all others. Always chant Kṛṣṇa’s names, and within your mind and heart render service to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja. Mahāprabhu told only four lines to Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Then, for the rest of his life, Dāsa Gosvāmī followed these instructions every day. Any order that Gurudeva gives, any word he speaks, don’t think this is ordinary. Any order Gurudeva gives means that he came near you with that order in the form of his speech. Gurudeva is the bhakti-rasamaya-vigraha. He gives you this bhakti-rasa through his instructions. This is then your property, your wealth, your life and soul. But if you don’t accept this and don’t keep this with you, and if you don’t try to follow his advice, then you are very far away from Guru Mahārāja. You have lost everything. Anything Gurudeva says is truthful. If a disciple accepts this, this is bhakti-rasa. Gurudeva is bhajanānanda and rasa-mādhurī—his heart is very soft and always absorbed in the sweet pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. All the Guru-paramparā is included in Śrī Guru—Param-guru, Parameṣṭhī-guru, Parātpar-guru, Paramparātpar-guru. Guru Mahārāja is not alone. His heart has a place for the Guru-varga and God. Don’t think, “My Guru Mahārāja is alone; other gurus are separate from him.” Mad guru jagad-guru—if I serve my Guru Mahārāja, I am serving all gurus. If I don’t serve my Guru Mahārāja, but rather run here and there trying to serve everyone, the result will be zero.


Gurudeva and the Bābājī were locked in a room. Bābājī Mahārāja worried, “They are going to beat us! What should we do? O Kṛṣṇa! Hey Gaurāṅga! Please save us!”“Don’t worry so much. Everything will be fine,” consoled Śrīla Gurudeva. Neighboring villagers gathered to see the two dacoits dressed as sādhus. Bābājī Mahārāja begged, “Please let us go. We came from Navadvīpa-dhāma and mean no harm.” A police van soon arrived. Moving the crowds aside, the officers entered the room where Śrīla Gurudeva and the elderly sādhu were waiting. The villagers pressed against the windows to see what was happening.

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