jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ‘jita jito ‘py asi tais tri-lokyām
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.3
‘Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrated by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds.’
If we know Krishna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the possessor of innumerable opulences, and the source of all spiritual and material creation, if we are rooted in this conception we cannot have prema. We can only get santa prema (to love Krishna from a neutral position) or dasya prema (to love Krishna as His servant). We will not be qualified to enter Vraja and serve Krishna. Entering the stage of bhava avastha, we will have to gradually forget that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we still have a mood of Krishna’s Godhood, we will be unable to keep our heart close to Krishna. There will be a wall of maryada (awe and respect) separating Krishna and our selves. In the stage of sadhana, we must obey the etiquette of maryada. Our seva will be visrambhena (intimate), as we reach the stage of full-fledged love and devotion.
Otherwise, premature visrambhena may lead to an instance where a guru will tell his disciple, “You should bring me some water.” The erring disciple will say, “Oh you should bring water for me instead, because we are friends.”
Don’t do like this. In sadhana, maryada plays a pivotal role. When we will have realization of all these gradations of pure devotion, maryada will go and we will serve Krishna like a bosom friend. What is visrambhena seva (service infused with intimacy)? When a guru returned to the temple from preaching and other activities, the ideal disciple was quick to attend to the needs of his gurudeva. The disciple saw that guruji’s lips were dry, and he needed water. The disciple got water for his gurudeva at once. An instance should not arise where guru will order his disciple, “You should bring water.” We should know the heart and requirements of gurudeva. Without waiting for his order, we should manage everything.
11 May 1996, HOLLAND