śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 3 & Year 16, Issue 12
Posted: 26 December, 2010 & 1 January 2024

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Do Not Take God’s Name in Vain

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

There is an injunction in the sermon of the Mount: “Do not take God’s name in vain.” Yes, we should not utter God’s name just to gain some end. If we truly wish to serve Godhead and we implore Him to receive our services, we would in no way be infringing on the rules dictated by Christ. He has forbidden us to take God’s name in vain. He is correct to do so. We should not ask God for something in the same way that we ask our suppliers to furnish us with various things for our convenience. We must simply submit.

God is the best judge of how to look after us. We do not know how good shall come to us. We cannot examine the merits and demerits of things with our present faculties. It is not possible. We should always be ready to submit to Him unconditionally. All ideas apart from this are not regarded as bhakti by true religionists.

In the Gītā we find three divisions. The first six chapters are for karmīs (fruitive workers), the last six chapters are for jñānīs (empiricists) and the middle six chapters are for bhaktas (devotees). Thus, the middle portion of Gītā is the principal part of the book.

The section pertaining to karma (karma-kāṇḍa) and the section pertaining to jñāna (jñāna-kāṇḍa) are not the real essence of the book. They are but its accessories, not its heart. So bhakti, or devotion to Godhead, should be the principal object of all religions. Bhakti should be considered nitya – that is, permanent and constant.

“The Supreme Lord is unconquerable.”*

* C.f. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.3)

Our strenuous efforts to acquire knowledge empirically cannot yield the ability to bring the Supreme Lord within the purview of our sense-perception. The devotees do not have faith in either of these two processes – namely karma and jñāna – yet they can, through their devotion, manage to accommodate Him within their hearts. We are to throw off all independent exertions for acquiring knowledge and leave aside all our empirical explorations. We should not mind giving up all that is not wanted – we need not pose ourselves as intellectual giants – but we should always be energetic in our devotional purpose. We should not harbour any confidence in these two systems, karma and jñāna, nor should we accept the results derived by them. We should be devotees. Aural reception should be sufficient for our purpose. We should hear from the lips of the masters, who are constantly busy in offering service to the Absolute. They have the power to guide us into channels leading to the love of the All-Love.

* * *

The Absolute is ever ready to receive His servitors, and His servitors have no other engagement but to serve Him. Devotees never consider adopting any other course. They need not have any other engagements. They are always engaged in pleasing their Master. There cannot be any difference of interest between the Master and His servitor, nor does it ever happen that the Master wants one thing but the servitor supplies some other thing. Whatever the Master wants, the servitor should supply; that constitutes real service. We should always be ready to serve according to the whims and predilections of the Master. This is devotion.

We are not meant to offer something to the Master according to our own taste, for that thing may not have His approval. He is the fountainhead of all potency. He is the predominating agent and we are the predominated agents. We have no other duty but to attend to the wishes of the Master. Our duty should be to serve Him as a devoted wife, not as a husband. The Master should not be the wife.

Devotion to a single wife, like we find in society, is not always to be applied to the Supreme Transcendental. In the Supreme Lord’s pastimes as Śrī Rāmacandra, He restricts Himself to one wife, while in His pastimes as Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He surrounds Himself with millions of gopīs; but the love exchanged between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs is always in the plane of transcendence. In that plane, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the supreme autocrat, rules over all souls. We need not restrict Him. He is the Proprietor of everything and everything is within His dominion. We need not put Him in the clutch of restrictions, as if it were a fact that He is a product of nature and not the reverse.

We should also always abide by the rules of civic discipline, otherwise some restlessness or disturbance may arise in society. In our transactions with our friends, we are to remember such maxims as, “Do unto others what you wish others would do unto you.” But the case is different in our exchanges with the Absolute. The Absolute lays claim to everything as the proprietor of all. Therefore, all properties are meant for His service only, and not for the service of anyone else. Since we are dependants, we are necessarily restricted in every way, but we should not, for this reason, try to put such restrictions on the Master.

Adapted from The Gaudiya Volume 27, Number 3–4
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 3 & Year 16, Issue 12 “Do Not Take God’s Name in Vain” by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, 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.