Are they the same thing?
BEFORE I MET Srila Prabhupada, I had wanted to serve humanity. Then I heard from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of serving Lord Krsna. Still the question remained: How does God's service relate to man's?
After a week of hearing from Srila Prabhupada, I got the chance to ask after Srila Prabhupada concluded a lecture:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
"Without spiritual realization you can-not have peace of mind. If you want to have peace of mind, peace in the world, peace in your society, peace in your family, simply by amassing money, by material advancement, it will never be possible. But if you improve a little in spiritual life, you will immediately become happy. …
"So now, if you have any questions, you can ask."
"You talk about service to Lord Krsna," I began. "How does service to our fellow man come in?"
"Why are you and others coming here?" Srila Prabhupada replied. "Are we not rendering service? To deliver one from the illusory material existence and bring him to Krsna consciousness is the best service.
"What is the meaning of service? To give relief from suffering. And Krsna consciousness gives the best relief, as confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam [1.2.6]: The best service, the best religion, the best philosophy is that which teaches one how to serve God. And as soon as a person comes to serve God without any motive, he becomes satisfied yayatma suprasidati.
"As a five-year-old boy, Dhruva Maharaja was insulted by his stepmother. Still, he wanted his father's kingdom. His mother advised him, 'Only God can help you.' So Dhruva went to the forest to find God. But when he actually saw God, he said, 'My Lord, I do not want anything. I am fully satisfied. I came looking for some pieces of broken glass, but now I have found the most valuable jewel.' When a person discovers his eternal relationship with God, he feels, 'I have nothing more to ask.' And to bring a man to feel 'I have no more demand, I am fully satisfied' is the best service.
"What is this so-called material service? Suppose I am hungry and you give me some food. Will I not be hungry again? Of course, the Krsna conscious movement also gives food. But we are giving food which will make one satisfied forever. No more hunger, no more demand. 'I am fully satisfied' (svamin krtartho 'smi). 'I have no more demand' (varam na yace).
"To think you can satisfy your hunger materially is simply illusion. America is materially advanced. But are you satisfied? So many frustrated young people, hippies, are there. Still the rascals think, 'If we become rich like America, we shall become happy.' One will never be satisfied by material adjustment.
"Actual happiness comes when you learn to love God, and that can be achieved without any material advancement. Anywhere you are, in any condition of life, you can simply chant Hare Krsna and develop such love. Then you will say, 'Now I am fully satisfied. I do not want anything else. No more stealing, no more pickpocketing, no more cheating.'"
Srila Prabhupada's words entered deep into my heart. Although I prided myself on my honesty, I had a weakness: shoplifting, pocketing little things here and there. But Srila Prabhupada's statement "no more pickpocketing" made me realize how fallen I actually was and how I could be saved by Krsna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada continued: " 'Because I have no want, why shall I cheat?'
"Perhaps you know the story. A saintly person was sitting in a solitary place, almost naked. Alexander the Great asked him, 'Can I do something for you?' He replied, 'Please stand aside. You are making a shadow. That's all.' Because he was fully satisfied, what could Alexander the Great do for him?
yam labdhva caparam labham
manyate nadhikam tatah
yasmin sthito na duhkhena
"You will find in Bhagavad-gita [6.22] that if you are situated in the transcendental position you have no more demand and are not disturbed even in the greatest difficulty. This is life to be satisfied in any condition. And this peace can be achieved only by Krsna consciousness."
I was satisfied. There was no need to look any further. Srila Prabhupada could answer every question.
The only way to be peaceful and happy in life is to follow Srila Prabhupada and become Krsna conscious. And the best way to serve others is to give them Krsna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada had shown the way perfectly. Now I simply had to follow.
Giriraja Swami serves as an ISKCON governing body commissioner for Mumbai, Mauritius, Spain, Portugal, South Africa, and several other places.