We Should Appreciate All Services Done for Krishna

This mood of intolerance of others service represents an insecurity. If we are truly convinced about the potency of our service, we don’t need to belittle others. We should appreciate all services done for Krishna. Its like the story of Hanuman and the spider which Srila Prabhupada told us. Both the spider and Hanuman were engaged in building the bridge to Sri Lanka. Of course the spider was only able to kick up some dust whereas Hanuman was throwing big boulders in the water. Hanuman said to the spider: "Get out my way, you little runt, I am serving Lord Rama." But, Lord Rama interceded and told Hanuman that the spider was doing as much service as he was. I advised her that we have our relationship with Krishna and Krishna knows our heart. Actually the service that we do is performed on the subtle platform within ones heart, and mind.

Krishna doesn’t need anything, except for our hearts. We need to learn the art of encouraging others and appreciating their service. We should be so happy if someone is doing any service for Krishna.

Yesterday I mentioned the desire for independence and that I still had this. I think it is important that I clarify what I meant by independence. I was not indicating independence from Krishna. No one is independent from Krishna and the thought that one is or can be is Maya. However as personalists we recognize that each and everyone of us is an independent person. That is we are not all one but eternal individuals that are part and parcel of Krishna. Now that is our ontological position. It is interesting though how independence plays out both in the eternal rasa sense and the context of Bhakti rendered in this world.

We can not be forced or cajoled to render service to Krishna. It is a purely voluntary act of the heart that is the essential aspect of Bhakti. Too often in an institutional setting we lose this understanding of the soul’s free will and we try to push people into Krishna consciousness using expressions such as "you must", "you have to", "you are supposed to", "don’t be in maya Prabhu", "I am your authority and you have to listen to me", "shut up and act properly", "if you don’t do this Krishna will punish you", "you are going to get a heavy reaction for this or for not doing this", "I’ll give you a the mahasweets if you do this", "if you don’t do this, I will be very disappointed in you", "you are causing me pain", etc. These are manipulative techniques that actually separate the person from real bhakti, and may ultimately give someone a distaste for devotional service. Krishna says in the Gita (9:2):

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
For something to be done joyfully, it must be done voluntarily. The person must retain his sense of individuality and freedom of choice-his autonomy, or else there is no love. There can be no love without a lover and a beloved, and when we function on the platform of blind obedience we do away with one of the two. I have found that as individuals we do have individual needs even in spiritual life and even in the spiritual realm.

The need for autonomy is one of the needs that must be met both in the stage of devotional practice and devotional perfection. Of course our autonomy is never absolute, it is always relative. The only person who has absolute autonomy is Krishna (He is Svarat), and I am not even sure about Him-He is controlled by Radharani! So, ISKCON has to be very careful of attempting to kill the voluntary serving mood of the individual by imposing too much authority. Srila Prabhupada was very very much against centralization. Krishna Consciousness Movement is for training men to be independently thoughtful and competent in all types of departments of knowledge and action, not for making bureaucracy. Once there is bureaucracy the whole thing will be spoiled. There must be always individual striving and work and responsibility, competitive spirit, not that one shall dominate and distribute benefits to the others and they do nothing but beg from you and you provide.

So, the business of the leaders is to facilitate the individual expressions of Bhakti in the members and to guide people to Krishna’s lotus feet. By guide I don’t mean push (by threats, guilt, etc), I mean pull by attraction.