Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Serving Vaisnavas with love and humility destroys the disease of lust and envy. Giving to Vaisnavas destroys the disease of greed. Praising Vaisnavas destroys the disease of pride. And most importantly, pleasing the Vaisnavas brings the mercy, love and grace of Govinda Sri Krishna.
Although sastras proclaim that serving Vaisnavas is the essential element for success in bhakti bhajan, this most blissful limb of devotion is often overlooked or not even done. Of course, every devotee hears about, chants and serves Bhagavan Sri Krishna on a regular basis. But how many seriously try to serve and please other devotees?
For hundreds of years, Gaudiya Vaisnava saints have said, jiva doya, vaisnava seva, nama ruci, “To experience the sweet taste of Krishna nama, you must serve Krishna’s devotees and show compassion to all.”
This article will now quote various sastra to prove the power and efficacy of Vaisnava seva.
Taittiriya Upanisad (1.10): “You should serve Krishna’s devotees in the same way you serve Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself.”
Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.10): “If you worship Krishna’s devotees, then all your desires will be fulfilled! “
Posayana Sruti: “Worship, hear from and serve Krishna’s devotees, and you will always be protected.”
ye me bhakta janah partha, na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas, te me bhaktatamah matah,
Sri Krishna says to Arjuna, “If you say you are My devotee, you are not. But if you love and serve My devotees then you are My real devotee.” (also: Caitanya-caritamrta 2.11.28; Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu. 1.2.218; Laghu-Bhagavatamrta 2.6)
Srimad Bhagavatam (5.5.2.): mahat sevam dvaram ahur vimuktes, “Service to great devotees of Krishna opens the door to liberation to Goloka Vrndavana.”
Srimad Bhagavatam (11.19.21): To Uddhava, Sri Krishna said, mat bhakta puja abhy adhika, “First-class worship and seva of My devotees is more pleasing to me than My own seva. Therefore, you should serve the devotees.”
Sri Jiva Goswami tika: “Knowing this fact, you should serve the devotees with special care.” (Krama Sandarbha)
Padma Purana (6.253.176):
aradhanam sarvesam, visnor aradhanam param, “Mahajana Siva said to Parvati, ‘Of all types of worship, Visnu worship is supreme. Tasmat parataram devi, tadiyanam sam arcanam: “However, worship of Visnu’s devotees, is even superior to that.’”
Srimad Bhagavatam (3.17.19):
yat-sevaya bhagavatah, rati-raso bhavet tivrah, padayor vyasan ardanah, “Serving the feet of great devotees will give you intense transcendental ecstasy, attachment for Sri Krishna, and vanquish all your miseries.”
Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: “By serving Krishna’s devotees, one can experience the ecstatic bliss of bhava bhakti arising from blending the five elements of rasa i.e. vibhava, anubhava, sthayi bhava, sattvika bhava and sancari bhava.
Srimad Bhagavatam (11.26.28-31): Sri Krishna said, “Just as cold, fear and darkness disappear in the presence of fire, dullness, fear and ignorance are destroyed when you serve Krishna’s devotees.”
Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika: “You get free from fear and ignorance, and the material dullness caused by karma and other things. (Bhakti San. 247.33)
Caitanya Bhagavata (1.1.8):
amara bhaktera puja, ama haite bada
sei prabhu vede bhag-avate kaila dadha
Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “The Veda and Bhagavata proclaim: ‘Worship of My devotees is superior to worship of Me.’”
Bhakti Sandarbha (247):
tasmad visnu prasadaya, vaisnavan paritosayet, prasada sumukho visnu, tenaiva syan na samsayah,
“If you want to attain the mercy of Krishna, you must first please the Vaisnavas. If the Vaisnavas are pleased, you will definitely attain the complete mercy of Krishna. (also: Itihasa-samuccaya; Hari Bhakti Vilasa (10.120); Raga Vartma Candrika (1.14);
The Final Teaching
A few days before his departure in December 1936, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati spoke his last words on Vaisnava tattva which are very important and most relevant to all of us.
“If the Vaisnavas do not understand that serving other Vaisnavas is the most beneficial thing, then they will not advance in devotion. One has to cultivate Krishna consciousness by sincerely serving the Vaisnavas, and by endeavouring to please them with your body, mind, and soul.
“If the Vaisnavas are pleased, then the all-merciful Sri Krishna will give His grace. You must always remember this.”
(folio: PST Life & Precepts)
Bliss from Vaisnava seva ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!