Service: This category covers quotes and excerpts by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja that focus on the role of service in spiritual development and it’s essential role in real spiritual realisation. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.


To achieve harmony and cooperation among the Vaiṣṇavas, it is essential that one gives up all types of material sense gratification, desire for name, fame and power, and humbly takes up the mood of vaiṣṇava-sevā (service to the Vaiṣṇavas). However, sometimes envious persons themselves take up the responsibility of uniting the Vaiṣṇavas, but their goal is actually to lord it over (to control) the Vaiṣṇava community, not to serve them. Seeing through the ill motives of these envious persons, the advanced Vaiṣṇavas never cooperate with such diabolical schemes.


We want to be free from material suffering in our present state – that means some muktivāda is mixed there, a lower type of mukti. In pure devotion we will take any service which is given. Whatever difficulty is in that service, we accept that as a blessing. We don’t necessarily try to remove the difficulty of service. Neither should we go around creating so many disturbances in the process of devotional service and consider that as ‘Kṛṣṇa’s mercy’ either.


In Śrīla Prabhupāda’s time, Vyāsa Pūjā books were very simple – each temple would send an offering, genrally written by the temple president or resident sannyāsī, and all the devotees would sign their names underneath. I mean, literally! In the first Vyāsa Pūjā books, everyone actually wrote their names. It was nice – very personal. Later, the names were typed, and then after that, everyone started to write offerings and the books got bigger and bigger.

So yesterday I told ____ Mahārāja and _____ not to print any Vyāsa Pūjā books any more. To be honest, I don’t like them. It’s too painful for me. Devotees write these long offerings about how they are so surrendered and “how great Guru Mahārāja is” and after a year or so, I open the old Vyāsa Pūjā books and see that these people are no longer around or they’re just in māyā. It’s like walking through a graveyard! I do appreciate the philosophical articles though – it’s always nice to see what our devotees are learning as far as siddhānta goes. That I like. But altogether, I’m not into Vyāsa Pūjā books – so I told them not to print them anymore. And it also takes up so much time and energy which could be used for other important services. We have so few devotees and we have so much to do already. But on the day (of Vyāsa Pūjā), if devotees want to speak something from the heart or read an offering they’ve written, that’s different. That’s okay, that’s acceptable. But no more books…


We hear that we should be humble, so we start slumping our shoulders and putting our heads down, trying to be humble. But that’s not what it means to be humble. We can’t just BE humble! The humility which we are searching for cannot just be practiced – but if it can be practiced, it is through service – you have to be humble to serve.


In India there are many sādhus who chant one hundred rounds of japa a day, sixty-four rounds minimum, and they imagine in their mind that they are doing service. Meanwhile the Deity in the temple is totally neglected. Don’t sit, chant, and think, “Oh, I am making a flower garland for Kṛṣṇa.” Get off your lazy backside and make a flower garland for Kṛṣṇa here in this world! Serve Kṛṣṇa here! Cooking, serving, making flower garlands – the same thing is going on in eternity. So don’t just sit and think of doing. Do it now! What does the mahā-mantra mean? What is the mood when we chant? “Oh Lord Kṛṣṇa, please engage me in Your service.” A devotee is sitting in the temple room chanting, then someone comes from the kitchen and asks, “Prabhu, can you please wash pots?”

“No. I’m chanting.”

One should not refuse service. Service is oftentimes taken for granted like it’s everywhere. It is not everywhere! Service is hard to get.


Service is a rare opportunity for the living entity here in the material world. Therefore, we should take all service opportunities very seriously. Kṛṣṇa is watching and he wants to see how sincere we are to serve him. Only those who are sincere to perform devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas will be qualified to go Back to Godhead at the end of life.


S ervice – put your money where your mouth is! Don’t just talk about it! Without surrender, it’s not sevā – it’s just karma!


S imply giving money is not devotional service. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja mentions this.’* Giving money might nullify the karma you get from your work, and it might even give you some sukṛti, but it’s not bhakti, devotional service. Just like you can engage your family, your kids, your disciples in Kṛṣṇa’s service, but you don’t get the benefit from that – they do! So just giving donations might help the sankīrtana movement, but you’d be better off actually doing direct service to Kṛṣṇa.


S ervice is a rare opportunity for the living entity here in the material world. Therefore, we should take all service opportunities very seriously. Kṛṣṇa is watching and He wants to see how sincere we are to serve Him. Only those who are sincere to perform devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, guru and the Vaiṣṇavas will be qualified to go Back to Godhead at the end of life.


W e are a small society and we certainly cannot offer anyone a ‘social life’, but a ‘social life’ is not a required element for becoming a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. In fact, this so-called ‘social life’ is more of a disturbance than a help to our devotional service. ‘Social life’ means ‘Hellish life’…


S top feeling that you have something to offer! That is starting out on the wrong foot. Our feeling should be that I am here to learn and serve! Whatever my Guardians see in my worthless, useless self that can be used in Kṛṣṇa’s service — then I am happy and blessed to be able to offer that.


I n Prabhupāda’s time, big things went on and Śrīla Prabhupāda encouraged certain aspects. But there were never awards, there were never prizes. The prize was the further opportunity to serve!


C onsider – if you worship Narasiṁhadeva to protect you, then in effect you are asking Him to be YOUR servant! But the whole goal is to become HIS servant. We are not asking the Lord to protect us. But because we feel quite helpless, sometimes even alone, we will ask the Lord to help us in the struggle for purification – there are certain things that only the Lord Himself can remove from the heart – we can’t do it ourselves.


Ś rīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja used to say don’t fall prey to the idea that I am so busy in Kṛṣṇa’s service I have no time for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Just like there are what we call alcoholics, there are what we call workaholics, and there’s what I call serve-aholics. An alcoholic is someone who’s an excessive drinker. A workaholic is someone who is an incessant worker. And a serve-aholic must be someone who incessantly serves. This prabhu is a serve-aholic! This is a misused nomenclature or phrase. Alcoholic doesn’t just mean an incessant drinker – it means one who hides the reality of his life behind incessant drinking. He cannot face a reality, maybe at home, his job, his social status, the colour of his skin, that he’s male or female or something in between. Whatever it is, he can’t adjust the reality of what he is, so behind the drinking it is forgotten.

And we think that if someone is a workaholic that’s a good thing. This person’s a workaholic. If you get them on the farm that’s good. This word ‘workaholic’ comes from the psychiatric department. It means, a person who hides the reality of his life behind, work, work, work, work. He can’t deal with the wife and kids at home, so he gets a second job. He can’t deal with the realities of society so he just does work on the computer forever. He can’t deal with the world. He finds himself inside the screen, inside his hard-disk. They are called workaholics. It’s a disease.

There is a serve-aholic – it does not mean someone who is just serving, serving, serving. It means someone is keeping themselves busy in that realm called devotional service to the extent that they don’t want to address reality. They don’t want to face what is truth. They don’t want to make progress. They don’t want to go back to Godhead. Very, very busy! Prabhu, I’m very busy serving Śrīla Prabhupāda. So busy, I just don’t have time! I don’t have time to read any other book! I don’t have time, I don’t have time. I’m too busy serving! So hopefully there are not too many serve-aholics.