One must on no condition offer even the show of service to a non-devotee. Let a non-devotee have all earthly honours. But he must not me given the homage of one’s soul even for the purpose of deceiving him by giving the semblance of what he wants. Neophytes are most liable to succumb to this seemingly generous temptation. By giving one’s spiritual homage to non-devotees the gravest offence is committed against the principle of devotion.
Under the category of non-devotees are included all those who follow the varnasrama regulations for their wrong so called individual benefits, or who profess to make an offering of the fruit of their physical and mental activities without reservation to Krishna. But those persons walking in the path of the varnasrama regulations who are fully aware of the all-round superiority of the pure devotees, who follow the varnasrama regulations for the sole purpose of pleasing the pure devotees and are prepared to give up the observance of those regulations at the bidding of the pure devotees and for the service of the pure devotees, are also eligible for being honoured for their loyalty to Krishna.
A grihasta who serves the pure devotees of Krishna by unreserved submission is as much an object of our spiritual homage as a sannyasi or a brahmachari who is similarly disposed. There is no ambition for mastership and individual superiority on the plane of pure spiritual service. The spontaneous unreserved homage of soul is offered by every one to all others on that plane of perfect harmony.
There is nevertheless distinction both as regards degree of excellence and specific rasa of the services that are offered to Krishna on the supermundane plane. These distinctions are natural to that plane and promote the perfection of harmony without discord.
But the acid test of spiritual service is that of one’s natural inclination for constant listening to the transcendental discourses from the lips of the Guru nad the pure devotees for the purpose of attaining the state of unreserved service on the plane of the unalloyed soul. Any person who neglects the functions of listening to Krishna-talk and discoursing about Krishna performs only the externals of devotional activities in the hope of getting wrong individual benefit in some form. This is barter pure and simple and must on no account be recognised as on a footing with the unalloyed service of Krishna. The inner rectitude of purpose is the one thing needful. It naturally leads to activities for serving the sole Pleasure of Krishna and His devotees. By following the principle of barter on behaves in the way that is displeasing to Krishna and performs activities which are unacceptable to His devotees. A person may toil night and day for gaining some wrong individual purpose in the shape of honour or power, gold or woman under the garb of religion. But such a person must not be offered the homage of one’s soul as thereby the gravest possible offence will be committed against the principle of pure devotion.
the pure devotees and those who are willing to serve the pure devotees by the method of unreserved submission alone form the spiritual community, the members of which are naturally free from all schismatic ambitions.
Excerpted from The Harmonist magazine (Sree Sajjana-tosani),
Year 33 (1935-1936)