Are Manava seva and Madhava seva like two largely overlapping circles?

by Chaitanya Charan dasMay 16, 2014

Answer Podcast

Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das and Ambuj Gupta

Question: Can we say that manav seva and madhava seva are like two circles with a large overlap between them and not a just small overlap?

Answer: Yes.

Actually the best way to serve humanity is by connecting humanity with God. So that is a best manava seva. In one sense the best madhava seva, the service that pleases Krishna the most is to help His lost children get connected with Him. The best part of manava seva and the best part of madhava seva overlap with each other. Definitely there is a very significant intersection between them. There are off course aspects which are not intersecting. For example, there may be atheist who do social service and they are aggressive atheist. There is an atheist organization “God send disaster and we send relief”. This sort of relief takes people away from God and that is definitely undesirable. So that would come outside the intersection. There are bhajnanandis, there are devotees who simply delight in their own devotion. There are advance transcendentalists who are avdhoots and who don’t care for the world. There madhava seva may have nothing to do with most of humanity. Although, off course, we could say that there extraordinary and complete absorption in the Lord can also help people to recognize the reality of transcendence and the reality of Krishna, so that way they can contribute also. But from the point of practical perspective, we may say that, that doesn’t contribute directly. Therefore there is a significant overlap between manava seva and madhava seva. But the problem often comes when madhava seva isreduced to manava seva. That means that madhava seva is considered by some people to be in itself of no value unless it promotes manava seva. So that is something undesirable. The idea is that nothing should be for God and everything should be done for humanity, so there is no need for big-big temples, there is no need to decorate the deities, just feed the poor. So what is happening is that madhava seva is being reduced to a subset within manava seva and manava seva is made to the highest good. Even that manava seva and that highest good which is done is largely done at the material level, not at the spiritual level. Instead of elevating people to higher level of consciousness, primarily people are just offer food, clothing, shelter which are necessities and offering them is good. But to think that nothing else is needed and to say that anything, any energy and money and resources spend on anything else is actually undesirable, that is bad. We should understand properly that manava seva and madhava seva can go together. In fact those who are doing madhava seva they feel more compassion and they will do manava seva. Kings if they are devoted to the Lord they see all the living being and all the citizens as their children. They wanted to do good for them and they would make systems for social welfare. We see Prithu maharaja did that, actively he took measures to provide relief for citizens when they were having drought. If a person does manava seva intelligently then a person will see that actually I cannot do complete good to people or being a lasting good to people unless I connect them with God.

As devotees we need to recognize that we don’t have to take extreme positions of either rejecting manava seva as bad or insisting that madhava seva alone, even if it has nothing to do manava seva, is good. Yes, there can be manava seva which is good also and there can be madhava seva of bhajnanandis which has nothing to do manava seva can be good. Manava seva can be bad also but rather than focusing on the extreme and exclusive nonintersecting areas we can focus on the large overlapping areas to encourage people who are doing manava seva to make it holistic by doing madhava seva and people are doing madhava seva to make it compassionate by including manava seva within it. Thank you.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das

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