By Bhurijana dasa
By the Yamuna River, an elderly Vrajavasi lady still follows the ancient system and bears upon her head the burden of a large bundle of wood.
Clearly, she carries her load by the mercy of Krsna, for not a blade of grass moves independently of Him. But yet, also clearly, the ability and strength to carry her bundle is not the full limit of Krsna’s mercy.
Srila Prabhupada told of a distressed yet faithful, wood-carrying lady’s prayers to Krsna in a 1974 Bhagavatam lecture in Bombay. May his clear words purify my heart!
“Krsna can fulfill any purpose you desire. It is not very difficult for Him, because He is almighty, full with all opulences. So if you want something, material happiness, from Krsna, it is not very difficult for Krsna. He can give you mukti even. But to ask from Krsna anything else than bhakti is foolishness. That is foolishness.
My Guru Maharaja used to give this example: just like if you go to a rich man and he says, “Now whatever you like, you can ask from me. I shall give you,” then if you ask him that “You give me a pinch of ash,” is that very intelligent?
Similarly, there is a story, that one old woman in the forest… I think it is in Aesop’s Fable or somewhere. So she was carrying a big bundle of dry wood, and somehow or other, the bundle fell down. It was very heavy. So the old woman became very much disturbed, “Who will help me to get this bundle on my head?”
So she began to call God, “God, help me.” And God came, “What you want?”"Kindly help me to get this bundle on my head.” Just see. God came to give a benediction, and she wanted “Give this bundle again on my head.”
So we are doing the same thing.
When we go to God we ask Him, “Kindly give me the bundle on my head. My family may become happy. I may have a large amount of money to enjoy material things.” We ask that. That is our foolishness.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us, therefore, that actually, if you want something from God, that should be only begging for His service.
This Hare Krsna maha-mantra means addressing God, “Krsna,” “Hari,” and His energy Hara, Srimati Radharani or Laksmiji, Hare: “O this internal potency of Krsna…” ….So this Hare Krsna mantra is first addressing the energy, the internal energy, potency, of Krsna. Hare….”O my Lord,O my Lord’s energy.”So when you address somebody, you want to ask something. So if they reply, “Yes, why you are calling?” then we’re calling, “Please engage me in Your service.” This is the prayer, not that “Give me money” or “Give me beautiful wife” or many followers. This is material hankering.”
Everyone wants some prestigious position, labha puja pratistha, some material profit, labha, and prestigious position so that people will give him salaam, minister, president, and to become very famous, historically very famous. These are material hankerings. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, “No.” Na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam vajagadisa kamaye [Cc. Antya 20.29, Siksastaka 4]. We don’t want. This is animitta bhakti. Nimitta, for some certain reason. If you become that kind of bhakta, then you are not a suddha-bhakta. You are avrddha-bhakta, a polluted bhakta.
Pure bhakti is anyabhilasita-sunyam [Brs. 1.1.11], zero.”….The Buddha philosophy teaches nirvana, devoid of all material desires, that much. He does not give any more. Sankaracarya gives further, more, that brahma-nirvana, that “You become desireless of this material world, but you enter, merge into Brahman.” That is called brahma-nirvana. And the Vaisnava philosopher says that “You make null and void all your material desires, enter into Brahman and be engaged in the service of the Lord. “This is called bhakti….This bhakti-yoga, one who is actually employed, engaged in pure devotional service, animitta, without any motives, without any material purpose, that is real spiritual service.”