How can we assess our service when we are not pure-hearted?

by Chaitanya CharanMarch 15, 2017

Anwser Podcast


Duration: 5 minutes 17 seconds

Transcribed by: Nikhil Fernandes

Question: How can we assess our service when we are not pure-hearted?

There are two concepts to note here – purity of service and surrender. Purity of service is an aspiration whereas surrender is a means to achieve purity. Surrender has many different aspects to it. One is pure whole-hearted surrender to Krishna. Another is accepting the reality of who we are and then acting accordingly. While we may not have purity right now, we still must serve Krishna with what we have. In the material sense, people may hanker for things which they don’t have and because of that hankering they don’t use what they have. Similarly, in a spiritual sense, we may hanker for what we don’t have and not use what we have. While we may want purity of purpose, even if that purity of purpose is absent we still must serve. Ultimately how can we be purified? It is only by serving. If we don’t serve, there is no way to be purified.

We all start service with some impurity of purpose. We have a desire to glorify Krishna, but we also have other desires. Take the example of someone giving a class who may have the desire to glorify Krishna but may also have the desire to be praised about the class. If that person waits till the desire for self-glorification is completely removed, they may have to wait for the rest of eternity to give their first class. One extreme is we wait for purity and never do the service. The other extreme is we don’t care for purity and always hanker for compliments. Sometimes we may be down in our lives and may need some encouragement but if we always have such desire then it can be a problem.

We should aspire for purity and serve with whatever we have. A person may have little ability, little finances, a small number of followers – whatever it may be, we should serve with it. In the same way whatever purity, we have, we should serve with it. Serving Krishna over a period gives us taste. By that taste, we gradually reject the impurity in our purpose.

Prabhupada often used the phrase devotional service in his writings. In this phrase, devotional is the adjective and service is the noun. This means that we would like to do the service with a devotional mood, but even if the adjective (devotion) is absent the noun (service) should be present. In the Bhagavad-gita 5.11, Krishna says: kaayena manasa buddhya kevalair indriyair api yoginaḥ, karma kurvanti sangam tyaktvatma-shuddhaye – the yogis serve me with body, mind, intelligence and even the senses. Srila Prabhupada’s translation “even the senses” is noteworthy here. Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakura said that even if the mind is not there, at least the senses be there. This means that even if the mind is not absorbed in chanting, let the lips keep chanting. It is best if the lips and the mind both are absorbed but at least the lips should be involved. At the very least the externals should be present. For us the service is very important. Service connects us with Krishna and devotional attitude solidifies that connection. Without service, devotional attitude will remain an abstraction and not be tangible.

(End of answer)

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Chaitanya Charan

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