The plane of pure self-sacrifice.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Fruits in the sky



“Fruit falling from the sky.”

We shall try to reckon things in this way. Everything is connected with the Infinite, and we should learn to depend on the will of Krishna, not so much on the calculation of our human brain, either individually or as a group. Generally, according to our understanding of the scripture and the practices of the great personages, we try to proceed, but as for the result, we should always be open to anything that may come.

karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadachana
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.47)

[“Your right is only to your duty, never to the results.”]

Engage yourself always, but don’t connect yourself with the consequences. Never go to connect yourself with the consequences. What will be is the result of so many things, and above all, the supreme will. That is the fact. So, don’t bother yourself uselessly and waste your energy. You should try to give your full attention to your duty and not to the aftereffect that will be acquired because of the duty. Duty itself cannot acquire any result, consequence, or fruit. Rather, you may be graced; you may receive prasadam. Whatever comes from the infinite wave should be considered grace, and we should act in the spirit of service, not with interest in the result—in treasury or trade.

na sa bhrtyah sa vai vanik
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 7.10.4)

[Prahlad says to the Lord: “One who wants boons from You is not a servant; he is a merchant.”]

We shall do anything and everything with the aim of serving the Infinite. With clean hands, we shall go on doing work. “With clean hands” means with hands not contaminated by any consequence. Service and prasad correspond: what comes from the infinite environment is prasad, grace. I have no claim in that, and what I do, I also have no claim in, or application for, that—no expectation even. Simply, I am doing what has been assigned to me as my duty. I am not fixing anything for the future. That will be maya. We should try to live under the sky: free. Then the heart will find relief.

asankalpaj jayet kamam
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 7.15.22)

[“Conquer lust through non-determination (asankalpa).”]

Sankalpa means parikalpana, planning. Something like a “five-year plan”.

Sometimes we may be allowed to make plans, but with a provision: full knowledge that whether it will reach its goal or not depends wholly on divine will. With that, we may plan. Suppose we try to organise a meeting at a particular place. We circulate notices: “There will be a meeting here, and persons will deliver lectures.” In this way we will go on, but with openness that any hindrance may come and stop it. Still, we shall go on with a sense of duty. It is my duty, and I am doing it. God willing, it will be successful. With God overhead, try to live in eternity, in the relativity of eternity. This is Vaikuntha-vas [“residence in Vaikuntha”].

Misconceptions come from the mayavadi school. When everything depends on Him, then we have only our duty. The Vaisnava school understands the conception of service. What is the nature of service? Without any definite result, one works with full energy. It is possible. The future is uncertain, and still, the Vaisnava’s work is earnest. Their whole concentration is in their work, and not in the future result.

karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadachana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ’stv akarmani
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 2.47)

[“Your right is only to your duty, never to the results. Be neither motivated by the results of your duty nor inclined to give up your duty.”]

Don’t be discouraged because you have no demand or right to the result. Don’t be discouraged. Ma te sango ’stv akarmani [“Do not be inclined to give up your duty”]. A great and necessary warning is given here. Everyone can be discouraged, “When we have no part to take in the consequence, why should we labour?” That is not a very small point. It is not an insignificant question. So, this immediate warning is there. “Ma te sango ’stv akarmani: may the misfortune of stopping your work not come down upon you. Go on working.”

In a cooperative system, so many labourers are engaged. They do their duty, and then the products go hither and thither. In time, remuneration comes to the worker in coin. He gives in the form of energy, and this comes back to him in coin at the proper time. “Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadachana: don’t be a miser and devote your energy to this system as you are at present.” Here the negative side has been told, but not the positive.

aham hi sarva-yajnanam bhokta cha prabhur eva cha
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.24)

[“I alone am the enjoyer and rewarder of all sacrifices.”]

“The results of your work are at My disposal. They are mine. I enjoy your selfless work. It is for My enjoyment. Proportionally, it is distributed to any and every point separately existing all over the universe, but it is better for you to think that it is wholly Mine because even when I distribute the result of your work to you, you have no claim to that. It is pure distribution: grace. There is no reasoning, no justice, behind it. You should not try to bring these things there. You are to think of it as mercy. It is so free that you should consider it to be mercy. Don’t expect any justice that, ‘I am giving so much labour, and I must get the result of that.’ The law of justice ordains that, but you should give your energy for free, and what I shall give you in return will also be free. Then it will not be under the consideration of justice.”

Service and grace: this is open and clear. So, always keep your account clear: make no demands. Such transactions are freedom proper. The conception of real freedom is there: dynamic selflessness. It is not the static selflessness of a mayavadi. Selflessness does not mean sound sleep or anything like that. Selflessness does not naturally end in self-effacement. It is of dynamic character. Selflessness means self-giving and self-surrendering. And towards what? The Centre: the Absolute. Such selflessness is what is demanded from every point—every worker, every labourer. Only there can the happiness of freedom exist. Labour and energy utilised by intelligence can produce something. Foolish labour may not. But dedication of our labour freely to the highest intelligence will fetch the most. So, without any miserly habit, we can dedicate ourselves, and we shall get in ample quality that which cannot even be imagined by us.

‘dasa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana!
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 20.37)

“O Lord! Please accept me as Your slave and give me a salary of love. Let me acquire real love for You, Your own, and everything that belongs to You. Give me love so that I can dedicate myself to You more and more. Give me a salary in the form of love.” Love means the spirit of giving—the spirit of self-distribution. “I want intense inspiration for self-distribution as my salary. I do not seek any comfort, but to become more dynamic. Such a salary I want: may my capacity for giving be increased. That should be my salary.”

Prema means self-giving, self-distribution: the tendency to distribute oneself. Self-surrender and self-distribution. On the basis of self-surrender, self-distribution begins.

‘dasa’ kari’ vetana more deha prema-dhana!
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 20.37)

What does it mean to pray to get love (prema)? You want something, but what is that? If analysed, you find that it is intense inspiration to give yourself to Him. Ma phalesu kadachana: now the fruit has been transformed into love, more and more interest to serve. That is not an ordinary fruit. The Vaisnavas want service and more hankering for service. They want service, and they want the salary for service to be more worthiness and more earnestness for service.

This is the universe that the Vaisnavas have discovered. It has been given to the experience of the senses of the Vaisnavas from above through revelation. There is a domain of such conception, and if you like, you can come to it in this way. There is a domain, a country, where such persons live in such self-abnegation. If you would like to be a resident of that land, then come. Come!

Calculative devotion is found in the lower portion of Paravyoma [the spiritual world], and beyond calculation, automatic devotion is found in Goloka. There, it cannot be calculated how much one can sacrifice.

(Sri Lalitastakam: 1)

A hint of that particular standard has been given in this verse. When Lalita Devi finds a drop of sweat on the feet of Radha-Govinda, she furiously engages herself to remove that sweat: “How has it come here? We are circumambulating Them and seeing that not the least pain can enter Their domain to trouble Them. How, without our notice, has this sweat come here?” She furiously chastises herself and at once wants to take on 100,000 bodies to remove it. With such force, she comes to remove that drop of sweat from Their feet, with such eagerness, earnestness, and self-abuse. If the least difficulty is seen in the serving area, she cannot tolerate it in any way. With so much earnestness, she runs to serve.

sanatana, deha-tyage krsna yadi paiye
koti-deha ksaneke tabe chhadite pariye
(Sri Chaitanya‑charitamrta: Antya-lila, 4.56)

Mahaprabhu said, “I am ready to die crores of times to attain the service of Krishna.” This is the unit used in that domain: earnestness. Earnestness and eagerness for service. Self-dedication and self-distribution of such a high and noble type. It is inconceivable. Even self-sacrifice itself is nothing actually. It is only a unit, and on that highly developed plane, the structure is built upon it.


Spoken on 2 November 1981.

Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj is the foremost modern exponent of the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the school of Srila Rupa Goswami. Subtle and profound yet vivid and practical, his representation of both the broadest and deepest spiritual truths has and continues to fortify and nurture the faith of spiritual aspirants the world over. For more information on Srila Sridhar Maharaj, please visit his biography page.

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