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Essential quality to become a good devotee


Hare Krishna,

The vice-chancellor of Benares Hindu University, a very famous man of his time named Madan Mohan Malaviya, went to the Gaudiya Math with some intricate, philosophical questions to present to Sarasvati Thakura, who said: "I won't answer you, but you should ask the devotees who are washing the arati paraphernalia." The scholar then said: "No, I am asking very difficult questions about Vedanta. They won't be able to answer!" Sarasvati Thakura, however, insisted that he go and ask the pujaris who were cleaning the deity paraphernalia.

So, being submissive to the will of Sarasvati Thakura, he went to ask them. When he approached them, they said, "Well, now we are busy washing these plates, but please help us, and when we have finished your question will be answered." Even though he was such a famous, respectable man, he agreed to join in and help do this humble service. After all the brass was cleaned, he returned to Sarasavati Thakura without saying anything more to the pujaris. Sarasvati Thakura then asked him, "Did you get the answer to your questions?" Madan Mohan Malaviya replied, "Yes, even without discussion. When I was helping clean the arati paraphernalia the answers automatically came to my mind."

What is the moral of this event ?

Sarasvati Thakura replied :

1) "Yes, the philosophy of Krishna consciousness can be understood by an attitude of service, not by any amount of intellectualism. Sevonmukhe hi jihvado."

2) Just reading books and reciting slokas—that won't help you.

3) Serving God will give us all the answers to the questions in the sastras. My guru, Gaura Kishore Das Babaji, was not literate, not a pundit, but all the slokas and siddhantas came to his mouth because he was sevonmukha, inclined to serve Krishna.

(Adapted from ISCKON leadership journal)

How we can apply this in our own lives ?

1) We need to essentially cultivate huge amount of real humility which is the essential quality to become a good devotee. For this, we need to make best use of our every possible opportunity in life to humble ourselves.

2) We need to cultivate real submission to our spiritual authorities since only and only then alone we can progress in our devotional life, otherwise not.

3) We must understand that our real goal is not to become mundane scholars, but to become good devotees of God, and all our knowledge should essentially culminate in Bhakti – love of God. Otherwise, the real purpose of our knowledge is defeated.


Chanting is a great service, when we chant we invite Krsna and Radha to our hearts and offer Them our service, our senses, our time, our voice and our love so They can take care of our whole life and engage us like They want to. This means we are surrended and we have complete faith the Lord will be there for us, to protect us any time in any situation we are in and we accept anything They give us. When we achieve this stage of complete faith we may understand our position as eternal servants and advance to pure chanting as our goal of life.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

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