Any sevā done, for that –how much kṛpā one can get- this lies in the hand of Bhagavan

Gauḍīya  Goṣṭhī Pati Śrī Śrīla Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda used to say—“Regarding sevāk sevya sambandha (the relationship between sevāk and sevya) the most vital thing is love and affection. How much energy we have given how much money we have given that is not a big factor. The most important factor is how much satisfaction one can give in the heart of the sevya (Guru-Vaishnav-Bhagavan). That is called actual sevā.

We like to quote the following siddhanta vichar from “Visuddha Chaitanya Vani book” approved by Śrīla Baba Mahārāja to project in front of you all.

The desire to bestow mercy and blessings does not appear in the heart of śrī guru, Vaiṣṇavas and Bhagavān without reason; the manifestation of such things is solely dependent on whether or not one has performed snehamāyāsevā, service imbued with loving affection. For this reason alone, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has said:

sneha-sevāpeksā mātra śrī-kṛṇṣa-kṛpāra

sneha-vaśa haĩyā kare svatantra ācāra

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta(Madhya-līlā 10.139)

Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy is dependent only on service performed with the utmost love and affection. Because He is obliged only by affection, He acts independently.

The manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy does not depend on caste, familial lineage or any other material qualifications, but it definitely depends on the loving and affectionate service performed by the seeker of mercy.

Even though Śrī Kṛṣṇa is supremely independent, He becomes controlled by His devotees’ sneha-yukta sevā, service imbued with love and affection. And in order to fulfill their desires, He engages Himself in performing pastimes, all the while maintaining His complete independence.

The true meaning of loving, affectionate service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa is to engage in His service according to His direct advice, moods and innermost desires. No one else can know this subject matter better than His anukūla-śakti, Śrīmatī Rādhikā. She is the embodiment of pure love for Kṛṣṇa, always absorbed in the mood of serving Him, and She is thus the topmost among all sādhus.

Affectionate service is great service

Once, many disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda gathered and through his personal sevāk Śrī Paramānanda Prabhu, submitted a query to him: “Among the many devotees in the maṭha who having accepted the shelter of your lotus feet, sincerely and incessantly engage in rendering various kinds of services for your divine pleasure both day and night, whose service do you consider to be the topmost?”

Śrīla Prabhupāda replied to such a profound question with simple words: “The greatness of a person’s service to the Vaiṣṇavas is directly proportional to the amount of love and affection he has developed in his heart for those Vaiṣṇavas; the greater the affection, the greater the service.”

Bhāva-grahi Śrīla Prabhupāda

When Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vaibhava Sāgara Gosvāmī Mahārāja, a sannyāsī disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda, would speak hari-kathā during his preaching, only few could understand him, because his expression of speech was largely incomprehensible. Although everyone in the audience would gradually leave one by one during his lectures, he would continue speaking. Seeing the hall empty, a couple brahmacārīs accompanying Mahārāja would request him, “Mahārāja, you may stop your speech now; no one is present. We will begin packing up the mats and folding all the rugs in the kīrtana-hall.”

But Mahārāja would reply, “You are unable to understand. You are aware only of the entities present in their gross bodies who have now left. There are many living entities present here in their subtle bodies, as well as other living beings nearby—like trees, creepers, and insects—and they are all listening. Moreover, I am speaking for my own spiritual welfare. If anyone stays and listens, they will also be benefited. Will I not be spiritually benefitted by speaking hari-kathā even if no one is present? Did Śrīla Prabhupāda not instruct us to perform nityaṁ bhāgavatasevā—that is, to perpetually engage in the service of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through śravaṇa and kīrtana—or did he instruct us to engage in such bhāgavata-sevā as a demonstration only to be performed when a certain number of listeners are present?”

A few devotees eventually brought Śrīla Sāgara Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s views on these incidents to the attention of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Śrīla Sāgara Gosvāmī Mahārāja was also not well adept at collecting significant donations. Once, when Śrīla Mahārāja was returning to Kolkata, he did not even have sufficient funds to pay for his train ticket, and so he boarded the train without a ticket, along with the two brahmacārīs accompanying him. Upon arriving at the Kolkata railway station, the three were detained for travelling without tickets. News of this quickly reached Śrīla Prabhupāda at the Kolkata maṭha. Later, when Śrīla Sāgara Mahārāja reached the Kolkata maṭha, Śrīla Prabhupāda sent his disciples to welcome Śrīla Mahārāja with saṅkīrtana, and said, “Śrī Sāgara Mahārāja is truly a jīvan-mukta mahāpuruṣa—a great, completely liberated personality.”

Śrīla Prabhupāda, the pure servant of bhāva-grahī Janārdana—that is, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who accepts the mood and intention of one’s service rather than the external paraphernalia used—would acknowledge and appreciate the mood and favorable disposition of those engaged in the service of Śrī Hari, guru and Vaiṣṇavas with a pure, sincere heart devoid of duplicity. He was completely aloof from the consideration of such external qualifications as one’s eloquence in delivering hari-kathā or one’s ability to collect large donations for the maṭha.

Through this pastime, Śrīla Prabhupāda established the standard of complete impartiality and freedom from envy and duplicity. His conduct should be followed by all sincere devotees.

Any service performed with love and affection only for the satisfaction of śrī guru-Vaiṣṇava-Bhagavan, however small it is, will be approved by guru-Vaiṣṇava-Bhagavan. We should never forget that love and dedication is the most vital thing in the way of sevā.

We should try to get entry into the world of prema (love)

Once an ācārya from the śrī sampradāya in South India (Udupi) went to a foreign country for preaching without taking permission from their society. But when he came back with huge amount of honor and money to give to the temple, those committee members (devotees) did not approve his way of acting, because they were bound to follow some principles. They told him to leave the temple, and even they wanted to drive him out of Udupi. The ācārya was astounded; he thought I collected so much money for my society, why they act like this. So what is the inner meaning? These are very subtile things, and only by the mercy of pure guru Vaiṣṇavas we can understand something. To speak some dry philosophy and collecting some money is not preaching sevā. The main question is this—whether it is approved by Balarāma-Nityānanda or not?

For example, when Duryodhana wanted to invite Śrī Kṛṣṇa for lunch, He did not accept anything, on the contrary He went to the house of Vidura Ji to accept something as a very hungry guest, and there Vidurani his wife out of her deep love and affection offered Him Banana peels instead of banana, because she was lost in the thoughts of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Kṛṣṇa accepted it happily. Also, we know how Śrī Kṛṣṇa snatched a handful of flat rice from Sudāmā vipra. And on another occasion, we can see how Śrīman Mahāprabhu put his hand in the bhikṣā-bag of Suklambar Brahmachari and started eating crude rice one handful after another. Suklambare became shocked and started saying to Prabhu— “Why you are taking this, it is not clean.” But Mahāprabhu said – “Life after life I am taking sevā from you”, whereas we can offer super fine quality of rice to Bhagavan, but there is no surety that Bhagavan will accept it. So please never mind, it is my request unto the lotus feet of you all, that please try to enter the world of prema.

In this regard i want to remind you all on another famous pastime from the Ramāyāna.

When Lord Rama and his army of monkeys were preparing for war with Rāvaṇa, Lord Ramachandra asked them to build one bridge over the sea. So, all the monkeys pulled out rocks and heavy stones from the mountains and carried them to the sea. They cut them into shape and began to build the bridge. All this was very difficult work, and it took a long time. Thousands of monkeys worked night and day. Rama felt happy. “How hard they work! Their love for me makes them work like this,” thought Rama.

One day, Rama saw a small brown squirrel. He was going to the seashore, making his body wet and then roll in the sand so that it sticked to his body, and then the little squirrel carried the sand up to the place where the bridge was built and put it there.

It happened so that a great monkey was carrying a large heavy stone on his back and the squirrel came in his way. The monkey jumped back. “Here, you little thing,” shouted the monkey in a voice like thunder, “you’re in my way, I stepped back and you’re alive now. But I nearly fell. And what are you doing here?”

The little squirrel looked up at the great monkey and said–“I’m sorry you nearly fell, Brother Monkey,” he said in his small voice, “but please always look where you are going. I’m helping Rama build the bridge. And I want to work hard for him.”

“You, what?” shouted the monkey and laughed aloud. “Did you hear that!” he said to the other monkeys. “The squirrel is building a bridge with his pebbles. Oh dear! Oh dear! I’ve never heard a funnier story.” The other monkeys laughed too.

The squirrel did not think this funny at all. He said, “Look, I can’t carry mountains or rocks. God gave me only a little strength. I can only carry pebbles. My heart cries out for Rama and I’ll do all I can for him.”

The monkeys said, “Don’t be foolish. Do you think you can help Rama? Do you think we can build a bridge with pebbles? He has a big army to help him. Go home and don’t get in our way.”

“But I want to help, too,” said the squirrel and would not go. He carried the pebbles again from the shore to the sea. The monkeys were angry and one of them picked up the squirrel by his tail and threw him far away. The squirrel, crying out the name of Rama, fell into his hands. Then Rama held the squirrel close to him. He said to the monkeys, “Do not make fun of the weak and the small. Your strength or what you do is not important. What matter is your love. This little squirrel has love in his heart.” “O Vanaras, you are brave and strong, and are doing a wonderful job bringing all these huge boulders and stones from far and dropping them in the ocean. But did you notice that it is the tiny pebbles and stones brought by this small squirrel and some of the other smaller creatures which are filling the small gaps left between the huge stones? Further, do you not realize that the tiny grains of sand brought by this squirrel are the ones which bind the whole structure and make it strong? Yet you scold this small creature and fling him away in anger!”

 Hearing this, the Vanaras were ashamed, and bowed down their heads. Rama continued, “Always remember, however small, every task is equally important. A project can never be completed by the main people alone. They need the support of all, and however small, an effort should always be appreciated!” Rama then turned to the squirrel and said softly, “My dear squirrel, I am sorry for the hurt caused to you by my army and thank you for the help you have rendered to me. Please go and continue your work happily.” Saying this, he gently stroked the back of the squirrel with his fingers, and three lines appeared where the Lord’s fingers had touched it.

Gaura Hari Hari Bol