Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Our Goal is Pure Devotional Service

The Lord Himself (in the forms of both Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) glorifies pure devotional service as the only means to attain the Supreme Lord. Such devotional service must be unalloyed and unflinching, or unmixed and unending. Our goal is not material wealth, or even liberation from material existence, but the spiritual bliss of pure devotional service (see Cc. Madhya 20.142). As the pure devotee Prahlada Maharaja taught his friends, “The Lord is pleased only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere devotional service, everything is simply a show.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.52)

Pure devotional service is not only the means to our ultimate goal, but is itself the greatest treasure. On the absolute platform, there is no difference between loving service to Krishna and Krishna Himself. As Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains, “In the Vedic literatures, Krishna is the central point of attraction, and His service is our activity. To attain the platform of love of Krishna is life’s ultimate goal. Therefore Krishna, Krishna’s service, and love of Krishna are the three great riches of life.” (Cc. Madhya 20.143)

Pure love of Godhead is the natural propensity of every living entity, but it becomes covered by ignorance just as clouds cover the brilliant sun. Pure devotional service can drive away those clouds and revive our dormant love of God with the sunlight of transcendental knowledge. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains: nitya-siddha krishna prema, “Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities.” (Cc. Madhya 22.107) We are, almost literally, sitting on top of our hidden treasure. But why can’t we perceive it?

After millions of lifetimes in different species in the material world, our identification with matter has blinded us not only to the location of our treasure, but also to its very existence. Materialistic desires—chiefly, the desire to enjoy independently of Krishna, the supreme enjoyer—are just like dirt that fills our heart and buries our ultimate treasure beneath its filthy clutter. When we practice devotional service under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, our hearts are cleansed of the “dirt” of material contamination and our dormant love of God reawakens.

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