editorials

Lively, insightful commentary on contemporary issues facing spiritual practitioners.

reviews

Book, film, and audio reviews of contemporary Gaudiya media, as well as a wide variety of media of interest to the spiritually minded.

news

News from around the world with an emphasis on alternative press that is especially relevant to spiritual practitioners.

classroom

Excerpts from classical Gaudiya texts, with and without commentaries, hosted by teachers with whom readers can interact and ask questions.

philosophy

Philosophical articles on Gaudiya Vaisnavism that focus on the tradition’s scriptural conclusions as well as its feeling for the nature of ultimate reality.

Home » featured, philosophy

Cultivating the Self-giving Attitude

Submitted by on November 6, 2017 – 12:33 am2 Comments

By B. R. Sridhara Deva Goswami

Guidance must come from those above you. It is very rare, but it is most valuable to us. Whatever directions are coming from above, we must selflessly embrace that as all in all. This is the clue: this is the key to the hidden treasures in your heart. I will not work with my whims or serve men on my level. But we shall very eagerly obey what directions will come from the above plane. This is service proper and it will be a real help for progressing on the path of dedication and self-giving.

What is necessary for our progress is very rarely to be found. It comes from a higher plane and we must surrender ourselves to substantiate that reality within us.

viracaya mayi dandam dinabandho dayam va
gatir iha na bhavattah kacid anya mamasti
nipatatu sata-kotir nirbharam va nayambhas
tad api kila payodah stuyate catakena

The Cataka bird is a kind of bird that drinks only rain water from above. This class of bird is always looking high in the sky for rain drops to fall. There may be much water available here on the ground, but this bird will not take a drop. They are waiting for that rain water which comes from above. Sufficient rain water may come, or thunder may come, but still they will not take a single drop from the earth.

Our attitude should be like this. Whatever directions will come from above for us to do, we shall take that on our heads as our life and soul. But we shall never take any plan from this mundane world. The Director, the Master, the Lord is there and I am connected with Him. This sort of practice is helpful. We may take the Holy Name, or hear the devotional musical chants, but the very life will be that it is coming from the above place; and I am carrying out that order.In this way, I may be taken above to the higher planes. I shall be directed to the higher layers and I may go there eternally. I am preparing myself only to carry out this spotless, uncolored order and surrender without any questioning. If we are sure it is coming from the higher layer, then we shall live selflessly at his disposal. We want selfless service to the higher and not to any mundane source. This is what is necessary for real progress in the line of self-dedication and self-giving. This is service. Many signs and symptoms are there to indicate the higher directions descending from Gurudeva. We shall whole-heartedly embrace the directions given by Gurudeva.

The sum and substance is that by obeying the directions from the higher, we can make progress towards the higher planes. By serving the higher, we can hope to be selected by the higher. We may then be taken up into that higher layer if we are considered qualified through our dedication. If we want to go towards that high, high, super-conscious region, then this is the process of self-giving that will be the main tenure of our lives. Revealed truth is necessary. No intelligence or reason can be applied here. If we apply any reason, then we will be nowhere. A man who is expert in argument will defeat another man not so qualified in argument, but the truth remains regardless. Intellect and reason have no position there because truth, super-consciousness, and dedication do not come within the jurisdiction of intellect, logic, and reason.

We can invite that high guest only by serving, by honoring, by self-giving, by heart-giving and never otherwise. It is not possible to enforce, to capture or to encase him by any intrigue or by any conspiracy. This will have the opposite effect. This is considered as Satan in another color. God realization means saranagati, self-surrender unto him. We can approach him not only through self-abnegation but with deep self-surrender. This self-surrender, saranagati, will take us in connection with the higher, nobler substance. This self-surrender, self-giving is to be cultivated at all cost. Service is to God, and not to misconception, maya. We must be very careful that we are not serving maya in a charming form. In the form of God – in a godly form – some maya is coming to take us away from our service. So, in our present position, we must very carefully consider the propriety of our service – that to whom we are giving that service are not themselves serving maha-maya.

So, jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. To hatefully give up all proposals that the intellect will offer to you. To hatefully throw out what your intellect will come to propose to you. What the intellect will be able to judge and accept or not accept, that must be of a lower type. So, summarily you are to reject that and understand you must bow down your head, namanta eva. We are to approach the higher substance in this way.

The beginning of your real self-interest is to bow down your head, capturing your heart automatically. Try to connect with that section where you will always be with folded palms as a servant and never as a master. Such abnegation, such courage of self-giving is necessary if you want to live in the higher plane. Otherwise, you will become a master and reign in hell. In Satan’s words, “It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.” But, in wholesale self-giving, just the opposite is necessary.

Even tears and cries will have no value if the inner tendency of self-giving is not awakened there. Seva, service, is self-giving—this is the main principle of life in the devotee. This self-giving is really meant towards the higher planes and not here and there around us in this mortal world. Otherwise, in another way, this self-giving tendency may be captured by the hateful things of this perishable world. Jnana, knowledge, is supposed to be very, very pure and free from doubt. In the majority of persons, knowledge is considered very innocent as it does not mix with these gross material things. The higher personalities consider knowledge to be very pure, very innocent, and spotless. But, if this knowledge is not connected with Krishna, then it must be rejected. In Srimad Bhagavatam it is written:

naiskarmyam apy acyuta-bhava-varjitam
na sobhate jnanam alam niranjanam

“Knowledge is widely considered as pure, innocent and spotless. But if it is not connected with the positive absolute good, then it is your enemy and it will devour you.”

You are to consider like that, then you will become a qualified candidate. This is jnana-sunya-bhakti, self-surrender, is so pure that even connection with knowledge that is considered to be very innocent and spotless is also rejected. Such a degree of self-surrender is necessary for the higher association of devotion proper. Jnana-karmady-anarvrtam, the charm of material acquisition and the charm of mastery, of knowing everything are both rejected. We do not know anything in the infinite, even in magnitude or quality. We cannot know anything in the infinite. It is a flow of autocracy. What can we know?Knowledge means not to store so many false incidents and sell them to the world for some name and fame. No! That is to be hatefully rejected, given up. But, service—unconditional self-giving—is noble and will take you to the higher, super-conscious region. Jnana and karma are both discouraged. We are discouraged from handling matter and knowledge. Knowledge will not apply in that plane of dedication. That is the plane of absolute will, the flow of absolute autocracy and no rule or regulation can work there. So, false gathering, false storing has got no value there, no market value. Indeed, no market is there! Therefore, only by self-surrender, self-giving will you have such high quality of devotion. So, a serving, a self-giving attitude is our friend. We are a unit of serving attitude and service means to surrender to the higher. The higher means uncontaminated with material and intellectual acquisition. This sort of higher devotion swiftly carries us to Krishna’s divine abode where love, beauty, and charm reign supreme.

2 Comments »

  • Jagadish

    “If we are sure it is coming from the higher layer, then we shall live selflessly at his disposal. We want selfless service to the higher and not to any mundane source. This is what is necessary for real progress in the line of self-dedication and self-giving. This is service. Many signs and symptoms are there to indicate the higher directions descending from Gurudeva. We shall whole-heartedly embrace the directions given by Gurudeva.”

    To me this is a most mystical statement. What does SSM mean by this:”Many signs and symtoms are there to indicate the higher directions descending from Gurudeva”?

    For doubting souls such as myself this is a critical point. When things become very challenging in our devotional pursuit how can we identify higher directions descending from above?

  • Ishan das

    Yes, I have the same reaction as Jagadish.

    The concept of surrender to Gurudeva is clear. I am trying to surrender to his instructions as far as possible – by my activities, by my speech, by my thoughts, and to His Divine Grace, with my heart.

    But I am not blessed with access to the higher plane of Krishna’s inner world. Therefore I must conclude that I am not pleasing my spiritual master sufficiently.

    However, the practice that I do perform, provides me with enough upliftment, that my down-heartedness and sense of fultility and alienation are removed, and a degree of happiness fills my heart. So I keep coming back, to cultivating a serving mood.

    But that access to the higher plane – by direct perception – that is not available to me.

    I can undertand Srila Sridhar Maharaja’s conviction, and I trust it. But I do not know how to apply his instruction more effectively. I can only hang on to what is available to me. I am grateful for what I do receive. But I do wish I could have more.

    Do I have to conclude that I am simply a useless rascal, and continue my sadhana, with the hope that gradually I will become intelligent enough, to understand how to apply this kind of advice? That is all I can understand.

    Hare Krishna! Ishan

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

Subscribe without commenting