Vrindavan – The land of Bhakti By Radhanath Swami
The following is an excerpt from a class given by Radhanath Swami during the Vrindavan Yatra of 2011:
Vrindavan is the land of bhakti. Srila Rupa Goswami explains in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (BRS):
çélanaà bhaktir uttamä
True bhakti is without a tinge of desire for one’s own personal selfish gratification, desire for mystic powers or even liberation. It is executed exclusively for the pleasure of Lord Krishna in the mood of being the servant of the servant of the Lord.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained in His Siksastakam prayers, na dhanaà na janaà na sundaréà…, “My Lord, I am surrendering my body, words, mind, life, everything to you. I do not want wealth, the pleasures of this world or the association of the opposite sex. I do not want fame or prestige. I do not even want liberation. I only want to serve you and please you, birth after birth after birth.”
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to personify in his life the sublime teachings of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
sa vai puàsäà paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokñaje
The supreme occupation for all humanity is loving devotional service unto Lord Sri Krishna. Such devotion must be unmotivated by any selfish desires and uninterrupted by any situation that may come upon us. As we practice devotional service in this world, we are inevitably going to face incredible impediments, as this world is full of dualities. Sometimes due to our conditioned nature we want to select the challenges that we like. But Lord Krishna is so merciful that He sends us the challenges that we do not like, because if we like the challenges, they are not challenges at all.
Without a grateful heart the seed of bhakti can’t grow its roots deep or have the strength to grow its fruits of love of God.
Lord Krishna is infinitely grateful for a devotee who strives to remain faithful to serve under any situation.
If we are actually seeing Krishna as the object of our service, then any difficulties that may come our way, no matter how hard they are on our hearts, minds or bodies, deep within there will always be enthusiasm; ‘Krishna is allowing me to not only become purified but to express my sincerity to serve.’ This is the meaning of love.
In the beginning stages of bhakti, we may not have love but may have the intent to love. That intent is what Lord Krishna sees.
Srila Prabhupada writes, Lord Krishna does not accept the thing that is offered but the intent or the purpose with which it is offered.
– Radhanath Swami