Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

You said work. But is it work? Let’s see the difference between “work” and “service”.

Two words: work and service. Work means doing, toiling, labour, struggle, drudgery. Work means karm, and karm brings bondage, samsara and misery.

Service is not work. The word service means to help, aid, assist. Service with devotion is seva, Krishna’s seva, which means devotional, loving service for the pleasure of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas. This type of service or seva is bhakti, giving service, and bhakti seva brings one freedom, liberation and mukti, joy and satisfaction.

In Gita, 4.34, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says a disciple needs three things to approach a Guru and learn about the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna.

=1 Pranipat means “unconditional surrender,”

=2 Pariprashna means “a variety of questions related to spiritual life.”

=3 Seva means “a mind and heart having the feeling to serve and please another person.”

If you approach Sri Guru with these three attitudes, you will certainly gain knowledge about Sri Krishna and make your human birth successful.

The Srimad Bhagavatam says the RESULT OF SERVING Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, is that by this seva, or service, one’s bhakti will deepen and become steady and strong. This is the difference between “work” and “service” or seva, the loving service of Krishna.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami


Throughout Gita and other sastras, Bhagavan Sri Krishna asserts that, “I am the doer (via gunas & prakrti), I give results, I give knowledge, I give intelligence, I give memory, I give ability, I give strength, and I give Myself to whom I choose!”

Thus the question arises, “Are we chanting Hare Krishna by our own will or power, or is Krishna allowing us to chant, and chanting through us by His will?” Let’s find out the answer…

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, the great chiran jiva and mahajana Markandeya Rishi says that Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the Supreme Person and force behind every movement of every embodied soul from the celestials Brahmaji and Shivaji to the the devotees on earth. It is Sri Krishna alone who makes the vital air, the mind, the senses and the power of speech move and act.

Sri Markandeya Rishi said, “O Almighty Lord Narayana! How can I possibly describe You? For it is You who moves the vital air, which impels the mind, senses and power of speech to act. This is true for all embodied souls including Brahma and Shiva and even me. Still, you become the intimate friend of those who worship you, bhajatam asi bhava bandhu.” (SB 10. 12.8.40)”


In Bhakti-sandarbha (144), Sri Jiva Goswami says, “The significance of Bhagavan Sri Krishna being referred to as bhava-bandhu (verse above) is that even devotees have no independent power to serve Sri Krishna.


“But since Sri Krishna is the friend of His devotees, Krishna gives them the bhava i.e. bhakti so they can serve Him. Furthermore, the speech and other senses with which the devotees serve Krishna are also impelled by Him. Thus, the devotee is like a wooden puppet moved by the strings of the puppeteer.”


Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika: “Like a loving friend (bhava-bandhu), You my Lord are controlled by the love of those who worship You. It is You alone who enable Your devotees to worship You by enlivening their minds and senses.


“Nevertheless,  You feel incapable of repaying the debt of their worship. Thus You become indebted and controlled by their love. That is most astonishing. That is the greatness of Your mercy.“



Devotees are chanting japa and kirtana because the Holy Name, which is non-different from Sri Krishna, allows them to chant it. Not only does Bhagavan Sri Krishna allow us to and empower us to chant His sweeter than sweet Holy Names, but Sri Krishna even allows animals to chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.


King Bharata as a deer chanted “Hari Narayana” at death by the inconceivable mercy of bhava bandhu Sri Krishna. (SB 5.14.45)  The elephant king Gajendra, formerly King Indradyumna, by the loving mercy of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, chanted mantra japa when leaving his beastly body. (SB 8.3.1.)


So Sri Krishna’s Holy Names are not actually “chanted by us”. Rather by His independent mercy, Sri Krishna ALLOWS His Holy Names to descend into the mind of the surrendered devotee and manifest in their ears and mouths.


The sastras and tikas revealed CLEARLY SHOW US that not only our chanting, but also all our sadhana is NOT DONE BY US. Sri Krishna is doing it all!


The mind remembers Sri Krishna’s form, qualities and pastimes, the senses act in Shyama’s seva, and the mouth chants Hare Krishna in japa and kirtana—ALL BEING MOVED AND ACTIVATED BY SRI KRISHNA HIMSELF!


In summary, we can now see that all movement on the bhakti-marga, be it progressive, digressive or stalled is fully inspired, controlled and permitted by the will of OUR LOVING FRIEND, dina bandhu Sri Krishna.


Always pray for Sri Krishna’s mercy and power, so by His sweet will we can lovingly serve Him, and one day attain perfection in prema dhama Sri Vrindavana. (adapted

No free will ki jai! Sri Krishna’s loving mercy ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Swami

One day Sri Chaitanyadeva sat with Sri Sanatana Goswami and told him about the 26 qualities of a Vaisnava. (Cc. 2.22.78-80) Mahaprabhu mentioned daksha, being expert, as one of them.

In Bhagavad-gita (12.16), Sri Krishna said, “My Priya bhakta is expert, daksha mad bhakta priya.” In the tikas to this verse, Sridhara Swami says daksha means a devotee is not lazy. Sri Baladeva Vidyabhushana says a devotee is expert in discussing and understanding shastra, and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti is mum.

Often when preaching to his disciples, Srila Prabhupada said or wrote, “A devotee is expert in all things.” But what exactly does it mean that a devotee is “expert”?

Due to the limitations of one’s individual karma and culture, it is next to impossible for any one person to be “expert in everything.” Srila Prabhupada’s statements about being expert are meant to insure quality and precision in all sevas offered to Radha Govinda Yugala.

So being expert means trying always to improve the quality and devotional content of every service you render for the pleasure of Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas. Being expert means being attentive, careful, caring and on time. One becomes expert in anything by prayer, practice, association, study, and most importantly by the mercy and sanction of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

A simple, sincere, pure-hearted devotee should not, due to his limitations, feel bad or inferior, thinking, “O, I am not a good devotee because I can’t do many things. All I can do is chant Hare Krishna, read about Krishna and worship Krishna. I don’t know cooking, singing, preaching, playing mrdanga and harmonioum. In fact, I can’t even play karatals!”

Don’t worry, you are perfectly fine! In fact, you are an “expert devotee” and what could be better than that. In Gita (18.65), Krishna says, “I promise you that you will attain pure love for Me and perfection in human life if you simply always think of, worship and bow down to Me!”

In the following passage, giving a more liberal explanation of the term “expert”, Srila Prabhupada acknowledges that devotees do have their limitations and personal abilities. No one is perfect but Bhagavan Sri Krishna. And this definiton will suit most all classes and enable everyone to become an “expert” in devotional service.

Srila Prabhupada said, “Expert means whatever he is doing, he must do it very nicely to his best knowledge. To your best talent and capacity, try to finish it very nicely, whatever it may be.

“If you think that you are unable to do that work, then whatever work you can do, you take. But do it nicely. That is expert. Don’t imitate, [thinking] ‘Oh, I have no capacity to work in that way, but I want to imitate. Oh, he is doing that. I shall do that.’ Don’t do that. That is not expert. You take up what you can do very nicely and do it nicely.

“Just like Arjuna, he was not a Vedantist, a brahmana or a sannyasi. He was householder military man. But he knew his business, how to do it nicely. So you do your business nicely. That is expert. Do it nicely and Krishna is satisfied. And that is your success.” (BBT folio 680716rc.mon)

Be in expert for Sri Krishna ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!