Entering the Eighth Year of

Rays of The Harmonist Monthly On-line Edition 

On the appearance day of jagadguru oṁ viṣṇupāda aṣṭotara-śata śrī
Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarsavatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda


śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!

Rays of The Harmonist On-Line Edition

Year 8, Issue 1
Posted: 9 February 2015

Dedicated to
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda

Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja

The Finite Servant

by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda

(Portrait of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda)


We are not the substance. We are potency. The position of the jīva is that of being a part of the taṭastha-śakti (marginal potency) that can enjoy [matter], cease to enjoy, and go back to his original position. In the devotional mood he can offer service to the Absolute instead of picking up servants from this world, which is the plight of the deceptive brain. These are but baits and traps, and will not lead us to the Absolute. We are not part and parcel of the substantive entity, Godhead, itself, but rather of His taṭastha-śakti, which is meant to serve that Absolute. Ascertaining our true self will lead us to that very thing.

We should attain first to this, that we are in need of receiving the divine boon, our own boon of the self. As we are now in the human frame, we have the opportunity of knowing the face of transcendence. Inanimate beings are not known as sentient. They are deprived of the function of audition of the transcendental sounds. We cannot communicate to them all that we will be in need of in the future. But since we have a human life we are in a predicament. We can hear through the medium of transcendental sound a good response to our desire for the best thing that one could crave.

We have experienced finitude in our previous birth and in this life too by our empirical activities. We have come across many things and we have come to the conclusion that we should seek for the best; and, in order to do so, we are called upon to pay sufficient attention to our own acquisition, eternal acquisition; and this is based on the opportunity offered to us.

When we think that we are conditioned souls, we always look at the outer side of our existence, our external body. And then we inspect the inner aspect, which we call our astral body, and find that both of these bodies come and go, we understand that they have no eternal references associated with us. But as our souls are eternal, we cannot consider that the futile external body as well as the internal temporal body are identical with the soul. They are incorporated later on by abuse of our independent will. When we abuse that free will, or when we show our diffidence to serve the Absolute, the Over-soul, we conclude that we are meant to dominate our own nature and natural phenomena in general.

But these things only exist on a temporal level. The eternal self should never be considered to be identical with the mind, which is but an agent of the soul to meddle temporarily with the external world. We are but part and parcel of the Over-soul, that is, of Paramātma. We are all souls. We must not become confused by the example of air in a jar reuniting with the totality of air when the jar is broken, in relation to the dissolution of the outer and inner material bodies, and we should not come to the conclusion that we have no other situation but to be identical with the Over-soul. For that is not the case.

We are measurable cavities, as the air within the jar in the example is measurable. But simply by breaking the external frame we must not conclude that we will all of a sudden become immeasurable. We are decidedly always measurable things. This measurement, or the very platform of finitude, is quite sufficient for us not to consider ourselves to be the Oversoul. An instance of finitude should not imagine that finiteness itself can ever claim to be the Infinite. So, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya has told us that in the core of your being you are none other than Karṣṇas, or Vaiṣṇavas. You have no other eternal function than to serve Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Adapted from The Gaudiya, Volume 26, Number 10
by the Rays of The Harmonist team

Rays of The Harmonist On-line, Year 8, Issue 1, "The Finite Servant" by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, 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.