sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Rays of The Harmonist Fortnightly Edition

Issue 20, Monthly Centennial Edition
Posted: 22 June 2022

In honour of the centennial appearance year of
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja

Dedicated to and Inspired by
nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Māhārāja

On Taking a Break from Service

by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Māhārāja

Appearing in English for the first time

SBVVGM for Fortnightly posting

You have conveyed to me a request that I take rest for a good few days. Sevā is the life of a sādhu-bhaktasevā is rest. The servant’s sevā to the Lord is his life (jīvana), vows (vrata), chanting (japa), austerity (tapa) – everything. For a servant to be separate from his sevā means there is a lack of sincerity in him. It creates impediments in his bhajanaSevā is the fountain of the servant’s life and the hub of his life airs. Bhakti and sevā – these two are one. Those who conceive of sevā and bhakti separately are mistaken. It is certainly not proper to use the word sevā here and there. There is only no contradiction of tattva if it is used appropriately. You are all praying to Śrī Bhagavān for my good health, but will this not cause Him trouble? Only the desire for His pleasure is called sevā or bhakti. If this prayer is for the purpose of service, then there is no fault. 

24/6/1975 (Letter 25)


Now it has been five months that I have been preaching outside of Navadvīpa, during which I have had nothing that can be called rest. But then, for a servant, there is no such thing as a break from service. In the field of service, there is neither concession nor commission; service is the only fruit of service. Even supreme, liberated personalities continue to worship Śrī Bhagavān and are preoccupied with service. Hence, under no circumstance can the sevaka or sevikā take a holiday or break from service. But taking shelter of Śrī Bhagavān’s beautiful lotus feet, which are the abodes of fearlessness, immortality, and freedom from sorrow, is true rest, and that is what the Vaiṣṇava mahājanas have prayed for: “aśoka-abhaya, amṛta-ādhāra, tomāra caraṇa-dvaya, tāhāte ekhana, viśrāma labhiyā, chāḓinu bhavera bhaya – I have now found solace at Your feet, which are free from sorrow and fear, being the foundations of immortality; thus I have given up all fear of worldly existence.” 

12/8/1971 (Letter 8) written to Umā Dīdī


My body is not particularly well. I am taking medicine. The doctor has advised two or two and a half months of complete rest, but I cannot say if there is rest to be had in my life. And is there any rest at all in the dharma of service? This is something to contemplate. There can never be any pause or break in sevā as it is eternally progressive. It is in the eternal present. 

7/9/1975 (Letter 27)


Mā Umā! If one can engage this aged cow of a body in the service of Śrī Hari, guru, and Vaiṣṇavas, one can know its purpose to have been fulfilled. If one ends up living for the comforts of home and body, then where is one’s advancement in sādhana-bhajana? Becoming distressed by winters and summers, etc. often hinders one’s resolve to render service. As important as it is to exert oneself rigorously in service, it is just as necessary to rest one’s body so one can do bhajana. The two are synonymous. Rest is for service; rest should not detract from service. These are two complementary states of being. Ārāma (rest) devoid of longing for the joy of service is hārāma (forbidden) and is in the category of mundane lust and hankering. One should never impose material ideas on transcendent truths, as this begets aparādha

30/8/1976 (Letter 36) written to Umā Dīdī 


In service, there is no notion of rest. The dharma of service is eternal, and it has a continuous momentum, so why would Bhagavān’s sevakas and sevikās look for a chance to rest? In sleep, in dreams, and in waking – in all states of being, the perpetuity of sevā-dharma is proven. 

30/8/1976 (Letter 36) written to Umā Dīdī

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team


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