sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Centennial Edition

Year 2, Issue 10,  Amāvasyā
Special Edition
Posted: 16 October 2020

Dedicated to and Inspired by
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja

The Real Fruit of Sevā

Excerpt from a Hindi lecture given by 

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja 

27 June 1992, Mathurā

Appearing in English for the first time


Gurudeva smiling

Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Śrīmatī Rādhike, You are adorned with such good qualities. When will I receive the good fortune to serve You?” 

What does sevā (service) mean here? If we fan someone, the air should reach that person, shouldn’t it? Why do we fan someone? Why do we take that trouble? Is it not hard work to do so? So why do we do that? If we massage someone’s feet or if we cook for them, it is laborious, so why do we do such service? It is because there is some gain in it. 

What is that gain? If we serve someone by fanning them, for example, or offering another service, his qualities will be transmitted to us. If someone becomes the servant of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, all of Her qualities will enter that person. How? Through the medium of sevā. Therefore, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “When will I receive the good fortune of serving You, who are adorned with all these virtues?”

Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī has this greed. Do we have any such greed? We serve Gurudeva. Why? Our body has become unhealthy [so we serve with the hope of becoming healthy], our pocket has gotten lighter, [so we serve with the hope that] it should get heavier. People may honour us also, because we are with him. Or we may serve him to satisfy any other selfish desire. None of these is the actual fruit [of guru-sevā]. What is its fruit? One’s attitude should be, “I pray that by my staying with my Gurudeva, his qualities permeate me.” This is the reason we perform sevā to mahāpuruṣas, such as fanning them, and feeding them.

Similarly, by regarding Rādhājī as our worshipable deity [and praying] “May all of Her qualities pervade my being,” service to Her is performed. We should stay with Vaiṣṇavas so that all of their qualities may enter us. For example, Vaiṣṇavas are supremely compassionate. They serve kṛṣṇa-nāma with such prema and such sweet moods that tears flow from their eyes, and at night, they lose all composure, unable to sleep. 

Śrīman Mahāprabhu is resting at the night in Gambhīrā. [In His pain of separation from Kṛṣṇa,] He doesn’t groan; rather, He utters, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa,” sometimes tossing and turning, and sometimes, in his distress, feeling great inner restlessness. Sometimes He rises and leaves the cave (known as Gambhīrā), and sometimes He remains within, crying “Alas! Alas!”

At that time, Govinda or Gopāla Guru serves Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Rāya Ramānanda and Svarūpa Dāmodara also serve Him. Wouldn’t Govinda feel great suffering, thinking, “Why does He remain awake all night? Why does He not fall asleep?” Mahāprabhu, restless in prema, is crying, ‘Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!’ And at that time, Govinda prabhu is serving Him. How would he have felt at that time?

Someone’s guru or any Vaiṣṇava may be of this quality and one may receive the good fortune of staying near him. Would one’s life not be successful by beholding such a personality’s moods as he recites stavas (prayers) filled with prema and with great longing or serves harināma with these moods, tears flowing incessantly from his eyes? “Today I have received the fortune of fanning and massaging Him. May I make my life successful by tasting such moods.” This is the reason such service to them is done. By serving mahāpuruas, these moods may enter our hearts and our bhajana may progress.


Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Centennial Edition, Year 2, Issue 10, "The Real Fruit of Seva", is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License to ensure that it is always freely available. You may redistribute this article if you include this license and attribute it to Rays of The Harmonist. Please ask for permission before using the Rays of The Harmonist banner-logo.