“Even accepting anxiety to please Krishna is a higher platform than just trying to find peace for yourself.”- Radhanath Swami
Here in Vrindavan, we were discussing yesterday, what a struggle it was for a handful of western people to build this temple. The early seventies, India was not near as much of a global economy as it is today. I’ve to make a confession. Maybe I shouldn’t make it. But I just wanted a speaker that worked, when I was giving classes. A small speaker. And I had to smuggle it in, hide it in my baggage. Because anything you wanted to bring in, that was worth anything, was taxed so heavily. And the things that were made here just didn’t work, at least not very well.
So, it was very difficult. And here we had Gurudas Prabhu, Yamuna Devi, some of the others, and they were sent to Vrindavan. And please understand, in those days, Vrindavan was not like it is today with all sorts of nice facilities. It was more or less just a forest with a few ashrams. Raman Reti was just pastures with just a couple of scattered little ashrams here. It was considered such a long distance from Vrindavan. And beyond here, there was practically nothing. Just fields, pastures, trees, monkeys, cows grazing – it was very beautiful actually. And it was very quiet.
So, to try to get steel and bricks and everything else it takes to build a big temple… and there wasn’t much money. Money was just trickling in from different parts of the world. And there were just foreigners who had to deal with it all, and the whole psychology of doing business in India and doing business in the West in those days was completely different psychology. And I don’t think any of these people even had any experience of doing business in the West.
So, they were constantly… every moment people were trying to cheat, people were trying to steal, and one particular devotee that was here – not the ones we mentioned, somebody else – he was for some time helping to oversee the construction. He was in so much anxiety. He approached Srila Prabhupada and said, “Everyone in Vrindavan is going “Radhe Radhe”, and I am just as “Rupee, Rupee”. I am just battling over rupees and trying to get people to stop stealing. And I am getting so many threats, and so much anxiety. And anytime things aren’t going right, I am getting chastised.” He was actually a sanyasi. He said, “I just want to do my bhajan, my sadhana here”. So, he was complaining to Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada’s response to him was an instruction for all people, for all time to come – that the real question is, “What will please Krishna?” Even accepting anxiety to please Krishna is a higher platform than just trying to find peace for yourself.
Radhanath Swami explains the spirit of seva
“So Rohini and Yashoda Maayi, they were always running around in anxiety about Krishna and Balaram. But it was their love. And that anxiety is billions and billions of times higher ecstatic experience than peace.”- Radhanath Swami
Sukhdev Goswami describes in Srimad Bhagavatam that Yashoda Maayi was constantly immersed in the anxiety of the ecstasy of love for Krishna. You know, if Krishna manifested to her as the impersonal brahman, she would just be at peace. But Krishna manifested as little Gopal. And he was always going places. She was afraid he was going to get stepped on by a bull, or get the horn of a cow in him, or a monkey might scratch him, or a dog might bite him, or a thorn might prick him. And he was always looking for those things.
So Rohini and Yashoda Maayi, they were always running around in anxiety about Krishna and Balaram. But it was their love. And that anxiety is billions and billions of times higher ecstatic experience than peace. Peace means no interference from what makes me happy. Prema is dynamic. It means whatever is required to make Krishna happy. And this is the spirit of seva.
Radhanath Swami illustrates the dynamics of devotional service
“That attachment to Krishna, which means attachment to serving Krishna, to pleasing Krishna, is the ultimate aspiration of a devotee.”- Radhanath Swami
In Ramayana, Hanuman was not trying to find peace. He was trying to find seva. After he gave the message to Sita at the Ashoka Van, he could have just gone back and said, “Ram, I did it”. But he wanted to do something more. He stared tearing up the garden, knowing how dear it was to Ravana. And he knew, he was asking Ravana to come by tearing his trees down. And Ravana was sending army after army, general after general to fight. And ultimately, he was bound up, and he was brought before Ravana. And he insulted Ravana right to his face. And while tied up, he had his tail set on fire.
That’s not peace. That’s seva. He could have had peace. Then he was jumping. Peace would be putting the tail out. He was jumping from building to building to building, and touching his tail and setting the whole city on fire. That’s love. Actually that’s the highest peace. It’s the most intimate peace, because it’s the nature of the soul – the dynamics of loving devotional service. So, that attachment to Krishna, which means attachment to serving Krishna, to pleasing Krishna, is the ultimate aspiration of a devotee.