As published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani)
Edited by Paramahamsa Paribrajakacharyya Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj

JANUARY 31, 1935

In these hard days when the problem of unemployment has been taxing the brains of the intelligentsia of the twentieth century, a discourse with the above caption, it is hoped, will not be out of place. The careful perusal of this short paper may give a ray of hope to the despairing minds of the unemployed.

All service-seekers owe it to themselves in the first place to analyse the object of their search in a thoroughgoing fashion. Service means obeying somebody else. Not a single person is to be found in this or in the next world who is not actually rendering service in some form or other. From the avataras (God appearing in visible forms), from the gods of heaven, down to the lowest and meanest insects on earth, no one can go on without doing service in his own way. Thus from the highest to the lowest all have got to do service. There is only one exception to this rule. It is He Who, according to His Own Sweet Will directly or indirectly receives the service of all of us.

He Who fills this position of the Absolute Master is no other than God-head Himself.

The Supreme Lord Sree Krishna Chaitanya Deva explained to Sree Sanatan Goswami how the service of the Absolute is the eternal, inalienable function of our souls. Whether a person be a king, a subject, a merchant, servant, a master, a father, a son, a husband, a wife or a beggar, he or she must be doing the service of this only Master. The unemployed are no exceptions to this rule. We who are thus provided with different forms of service that are found in this world have nevertheless forgot the nature of this eternal service of our Master. In its stead we have engaged in the hopeless slavery of the many who can never be our masters. The transcendental words of the spiritual Scriptures, which alone can restore to us our lost memory of the service of the Absolute, make no impression on us. We are running in all directions for securing the service of all those transitory things which are not our Master and by running about in this blind fashion we have fallen into the whirlpools of the greatest miseries in the shape of being out of the employ of the Truth and under the thraldom of untruth. We, who are the eternal servants of Godhead, have refused to accept His service. In place of the Supreme Lord we have substituted every other thing to be our Masters, with the result that our relation of service cannot fortunately be made to subsist. And as the consequence whereof the overwhelming miseries of a profitless drudgery, in which we are engaged night and day under the baleful influence of Maya (the Deluding Energy of Godhead), are afflicting us unceasingly for our good.

Intelligent human beings as we are, and gifted with the faculty of distinguishing between right and wrong, is it not fitting on our part to consider whether we should not prefer to accept only Him as our Master who is immortal and whose service makes us immune from death, sorrow and fear, and with whom our relation will never find an end?

Service is of two kinds. One is compulsory service under Maya (the Deluding Energy of Godhead) and the other is willing service under Krishna of Godhead Himself. We are at present under the domination of the threefold attributes (gunas) of Satva, Rajas and Tama, which makes it impossible for us to go on without doing some kind of work. It is one of the well-known teachings of Bhagabat Geeta. We have, however, the option to choose between this slavery to Maya and the spiritual service to Godhead. If we be inclined to tender our slavish subservience to Maya, we lose our service of the Supreme Lord, there being no other alternative than those two. If we do not anxiously wake up to the service of Krishna we shall be forced to fall back under the serfdom of Maya or, for the matter of fact, the abject subservience of this transitory world.

In our perverted egoism, we have this bad idea inherent in us that we desire to lord it over this world, to enjoy this world. But as a matter of fact we always find it, to our utter, disappointment that the table is turned and that instead of becoming lords, we turn out to be the slaves, of Maya,

The thing is that we cannot be lords. To serve is the inherent eternal function of our souls in whatever sphere we may happen to function. Therefore, we find in our matter of fact life that in trying to lord it over something we have got to submit to the very thing at every turn.

According to the Brahma Samhita, Maya is not an independent entity. She is the servitor of the Power of Krishna, as shadow serves the light of the sun. When we shall learn that to be a slave of Maya is not to serve Krishna, we shall be disposed to give up our slavish function and turn to the willing service of Krishna. There is a wide gulf of distinction between subservience to Maya and the service of Krishna. By our thraldom under Maya, we have met with no peace whatsoever in our countless lives. But still the trouble is that we cannot go on without it. We have our relatives, friends and well-wishers in this world. None of them advised us to turn away from Maya in order to serve Krishna, the fountainhead of all peace, all bliss and all existence. The service of Krishna and Krishna alone is the source of all real bliss which is not to be found otherwise. We live in a world full of wants, and, before any one of these wants is fulfilled, other wants take their place to fill up the cup of our misery. No ingenuity on our part can at all remove any of these wants which rather increase in proportion to our efforts for their removal by our subservience to the laws of Maya.

Subservience of Maya may be attained with temporary sensuous pleasures at times. But service to Krishna is sure to produce that ever-increasing eternal spiritual bliss which seldom falls to the lot of an ordinary being. Man knows not what nectarine bliss there is in the service of Krishna. It is a sealed book to all conditioned jivas. Krishna out of His Full Grace and Sympathy for animate beings made His advent into this world in the role of the Perfect Servitor of Himself under the Name of Sree Krishna Chaitanya Deva and showed by His Own Career of service how to serve Krishna and attain to that bliss.

The number of men who are favoured with this sort of service of Krishna is very, very limited. The Scriptures say that among millions of liberated souls there is scarcely to be found even a single true servitor (devotee) of Krishna. Few, indeed, anxiously hanker after the service to Krishna. In this age, in which we live, false things have more currency than genuine ones. Although we have every reason to serve Krishna, our misfortune is that we feel averse to it. Krishna manifests Himself in the Personality of the spiritual Preceptor. The real spiritual Preceptor is not wanting in this world in any age. Although he has no worldly business of his own, he nevertheless comes here for the welfare of conditional jivas.

Of their own accord the pure servants of God go about from door to door, and publish, advertisements for recruits for the service of Krishna, in the spiritual organs of the press. Pseudo-Preceptors in the service of Maya, falling short of even moral life, are not also wanting in any age, who put forth, in unfair competition, advertisements of a similar nature to deceive the honest and liberal-minded people. But the wise must beware of them!

A real scrutiny of these advertisements should show the two classes in their true colour and real perspective, and enable all wise persons to find their true friends. It is, however only a fortunate few who are seekers of the service to Krishna; and those are the most unfortunate who choose the bondage of Maya. Krishna, in His Majestic Aspects as Narayana, is the Lord of all wealth. Therefore, to serve Him is to be without any wants. It is a pity that we cannot realise this plain truth and thus avoid the temptation of the subserviency of Maya. A moment's deviation from the service of Krishna hurls us down from the beatific position and makes us to be enamoured of the thraldom of Maya; because there is no tie of continuity of compatibility between the two.

Anything short of cent per cent service of Krishna creates the loop-hole which admits the enemy and makes us fall into the trap of Maya. So we must learn to carefully distinguish between these two kinds of service, and always accept the service of Krishna which alone leads to the region that is free from all sorrow, stupefaction and fear.

We live in a world which is full of abject cares and wants, sorrows and miseries. Scientific inventions through the ages have proved futile to remove the root cause of our miseries. If one item of want or misery is practically removed, the remedy itself brings its other fresh troubles, the cause of the old ailment cropping up again almost the same. In this way we are doomed to revolve in the painful cycle of births and deaths. Some of my countrymen may envy the lots of the independent trader and of those who breathe the free air of a free land, and may suppose that they are not servants of Maya. But due consideration of the subject should make it clear to all of us that whatever be the calling, profession or position of a man in this world, if he does not render service to Krishna, he is like the bullock yoked blindfold to the oil-grinding mill. Maya makes us serve our senses which allow us no respite even when we feel utterly jaded and miserable. But the service of Krishna is the destroyer of the root-cause of all misery. According to Thakur Bhaktivinode, a very great saint, who flourished in the last century, all troubles in the service of Krishna are but the embodiment of eternal pleasures, and both the pleasures and pains of such service are a priceless treasure that destroys all our miseries of nescience.

Jivas have no other alternative but to serve either Krishna or Maya. If they desire eternal bliss they must seek the service of Krishna by serving His spiritual Power or His most favourite devotees. The real Acharya is the most favourite associated counter-whole of the Supreme Lord Krishna. He comes to this world to give us service of Krishna by incorporating us in his service of Krishna.

Let it be known to all that anyone having a hankering for the service of Krishna is to apply to His Divine Agent, the bona fide Acharya. All service-seekers should avail themselves of this golden opportunity to remove their manifold wants by joining heart and soul in the service of the Acharya. Firm faith (sraddha) in the plain meaning of words of the Shastras can alone help us in carrying out the directions of the Agent of Krishna. This is the only thing required for obtaining the Mercy of Krishna. Those alone miss His Mercy who are not wilfully desirous of being the recipients of eternal bliss and who are consequently lacking in firm faith in the reality and tangible nature of the process of our redemption through causeless Divine Mercy.