Serving as a servant of the devotees

Hare Krishna.

4th April, 2014, Gurgaon.


I got up a little late today and for some strange reason instead of chanting I first reread the below lecture by HH Bhakti Charu Maharaj which came few days back.

In this lecture Guru Maharaj explained, among many other things,  why we have not developed any attraction for the Holy name ( durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ Śikṣāṣṭakam second verse). Guru Maharaj then added that the next verse shows us the qualification of chanting the Holy Name

trinad api sunichena taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
[Śikṣāṣṭaka 3].


One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

I could never connect these verses like this. Guru Maharaj says further `We have not been able to become tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā amāninā mānadena. That’s why we are not able to kīrtanya sadā hariḥ.’

After reading the complete lecture I started my chanting but these lines remained somewhat in my mind.

Later, while taking a shower and listening to another lecture, I suddenly connected what HG Shyam Sundar Prabhu ji wrote the other day on service in the right mood ( and what Guru Maharaj spoke in the lecture. I realised that while appreciating the content of the mail HG Shayam Sundar Prabhuji wrote me and listening to so many lectures in the past about humility and serving attitude I never implemented them in practice. It is like I know that I am a soul not a body but still spend all my day in the bodily consciousness.

I rewind my last 3-4 discussions with devotees in last few days and immediately remembered my conversations with Vishal Kapil Prabhu, with Shyam Bihari prabhuji and with Shyam Sundar Prabhuji. I realised that in none of these conversations I had the attitude of serving them as their servant. I spoke politely but I had no attitude that a devotee has called me and I have to think myself as his servant and then do my best to serve him. Rather my fickle mind and poor intelligence was ever ready to give unwanted advice or add my own comments. I never once thought that I have to serve them. When I rewind further back, to my horror, I also realised that in many of my conversations with devotees I have already `judged’ them based on my narrow perception or what I have heard about them. So, not unlike a materialist, I talk to them accordingly and barring a few devotees there is neither love nor a sincere serving attitude in my conversations. Only a paper-thin external humility.

I felt so guilty that I immediately wrote a sms to Shyam Sundar Prabhuji, sharing my realisation and seeking a sincere apology from him. I then thought of calling other devotees as well and seek apology. Better sense prevailed on me, I thought rather than saying sorry to devotees and explaining to each of them over phone on what I realised, it will be better to put `serving as a servant attitude’ in practice first and ask for forgiveness when I meet them in person.image copied from

I know it will be a herculean task for me to remember being a servant in every single conversation with each devotee but at least I will be conscious in few conversations where I can remember this realisation from now onwards. I pray at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada to kindly give me memory and intelligence to remember it forever.

All glories to Shyam Sundar Prabhuji.

All glories to Guru Maharaj.

All glories to Srila Prabhuapada.

Service in the right mood

Hare Krishna.

20th March, 2014, Gurgaon.


I had a needless argument with HG Shyam Sundar Prabhuji the other day on some particular service which I wanted to undertake. The result of this silly argument (all from my side), however, was a beautiful mail which I received from Prabhuji. I am posting that mail ‘as it is’ for the benefit of all readers

Hare Krishna Prabhuji,

Dandavat Pranam…PAMHO.

We all know that the most important part of  being Krishna Consciousness is to comprehend and accept that we are servant of devotees, our Guru and Krishna. This is extremely critical as it is the only way to develop humility and surrender within us. Only a servant will surrender to his Master and then follow the instructions.

 But to be a servant, we cannot just feel it in our heart, we have to show in our action as well. And Servant’s action is service. In true spirit, Servant cannot demand a service. He should not say I cannot wash utensils but only sweep floor, so give me service of sweeping floor. Servants cannot demand from Master. We have to keep in mind that when we call all devotees as Prabhuji (Prabhu=master), then he becomes our master too. If a service is given, the devotee should just perform it to the best of his efforts and focus. If the prabhu (jiva-baddha) doesn’t know about you, you can always express what you think you are good at and what you struggle in, to ensure prabhuji doesn’t give a service to someone where the service quality towards Krishna gets compromised. But if we still get the service where we are not comfortable; we should accept it as austerity and chance to improve in that service.

 Also the service has 2 basic principles – should serve higher goal (preaching) and / or should make us feel menial Eg: sweeping floor, washing utensils, driver etc; For Neophytes specially, one should always take a service which makes him feel menial as mandatory. On top of it if the master feels we are fit we could take other service that serves higher goal. Menial service is mandatory to develop humility. It helps us to develop the servitude attitude too. Sometimes when we have Gyan (jnana) and we sit on vyasa-asana, we start feeling we know everything and start expecting respect and then ahankar develops.      

 Another aspect is when we demand something, it means we feel we are deserving. In material life, when we demand say 5 lac pa salary, it means we are convinced that we are fit and deserve to get 5lac pa salary. Similarly, when we demand the service of giving lecture, what we are indirectly saying is that we have full knowledge and thus we become our own master.

We should also understand that we must always beg for service. Begging is important for two reasons: instigating compassion in other devotee’s heart. As a devotee it is our duty to help other devotees in their spiritual quest. Secondly, when we beg, we inculcate the feeling of: “I am not the controller.”

 Now the point comes: If we know we can not do a particular service properly, should we refuse it? Yes. Everything we do is for our master and it should be first class. Everything we do for Krishna and his representatives should be top class. However, we should not use this as an excuse to avoid taking up service. We should take consideration of our circumstances – especially for Grahasthas – they should maintain a balance between material and spiritual life, but at the same time we should push ourselves to take the service and do it nicely. Generally (unless medical reasons), nobody can say they can’t do menial service. We (neophytes) are all sudras, so this is minimum. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to be fit for other services. Needless to say even in preaching service, the consciousness should be to serve devotees and our Guru and not getting recognition of our acquired intelligence or speaking skills.

 Can service be delegated ? Yes, provided we too are involved into it as well. This ensures that we are engaging others in service. 

I, too, am trying to implement these lessons, which I learned during my studies under HG Bhurijan Prabhu and while serving HH Janananda Maharaj. I am sharing them with you in the hope that these lessons may help you understand what should be our attitude while serving, and, eventually help you serve devotees with right consciousness.

Hari bol..

Very fallen servant,

Shyam sunder Krishna das

What a beautiful and inspiring mail ! I read this mail many times in last 2 weeks, and while reading it again today I thought of sharing it with everyone. I pray to Srila Prabhupada to kindly bless me with intelligence and memory so that I can always remember this lesson and serve devotees with right consciousness. I remember a quote by HH Mahanidhi Maharaj

Service is a privilege which is extended to a conditioned soul by the mercy of guru.

The mail also showed the me the importance to cultivate healthy relationships among devotees, based on mutual faith and trust, so that we can guide each other without any hesitation.

All glories to HG Shyam Sundar Prabhu.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.