Crookedness in Devotional Service

BY SRILA JIVA GOSVAMI

Source: Krishna Katha-mrita Bindu (Gopal-Jiu publications)

Due to the presence of many offenses, the Lord does not accept service from the crooked, even if they offer him many valuable items. This was seen when Krishna went to the capital of Duryodhan as a messenger on behalf of the Pandavas. Although Duryodhan tried to win Krishna over with a royal reception and great opulence, Krishna rejected Duryodhana’s hospitality because of Duryodhana’s offensive attitude towards Krishna’s devotees.

At present, there are many people who make a show of devotion and who, in spite of having studied the scriptures, maintain an offensive mentality which causes them to disrespect the Lord, the spiritual master, and other devotees. The external worship offered by such persons is nothing but crookedness. Therefore, sastra describes that even foolish people who are nonetheless free from crookedness attain perfection even by a semblance of bhakti, whereas the crooked cannot even practice bhakti. This is evidenced in a statement by the great sage Parashar from Skanda Purana:

In this world, impious, foolish and crooked people do not attain devotion to Lord Govinda, and they cannot chant about or remember the Lord.

In consideration of this, the Vishnu-dharma states:

“The attempt of such crooked people to become truthful is obstructed by a hundred impediments whereas their their attempts to perform penances is obstructed by a thousand and their attempts to perform loving devotional service to Lord Govinda is obstructed by ten thousand impediments.”

Therefore, Sri Suta-Goswami says in Srimad Bhagavatham (3.19.36):

What grateful soul is there who would not render loving service to such a great master as the Personality of Godhead? The Lord can be easily pleased by spotless devotees who resort exclusively to him for protection, though the unrighteous man finds it difficult to propitiate him.”

Similarly, the devotees of the Lord also bless those who are simple-hearted yet ignorant, but not those who are learned yet crooked, as the sage Sri Chamas told King Nimi in Srimad Bhagavatam (11.5.4-5):

There are many persons who have little opportunity to take part in discussions about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and thus it is difficult for them to chant his infallible glories.

Persons such as women, südras, and other fallen classes always deserve the mercy of great personalities like yourself. On the other hand, brahmins, members of the royal order, and vaisyas, even after being allowed to approach the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord by receiving the second birth of Vedic initiation, can become bewildered and adopt various materialistic philosophies. “

In the first of these two verses, the sage Chamas declares that out of the various divisions of human beings, those who are ignorant should be favored by devotees like King Nimi. But by the second verse, he intends to say that those who are proud of petty knowledge are incurable and should thus be avoided.

— Bhakti-Sandarbha, anucchedas 153 and 154. Adapted from the English translation of Satya Narayan Das. Jiva Institute. Vrindavan. 2005. Sanskrit text taken from Gaudiya Grantha Mandira.

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One thought on “Crookedness in Devotional Service

  1. I want to let you know that I really enjoyed this posting. It was very thoughtful. It reminds us how Krishna is an all-knowing being, you cannot trick Him, and …we cannot attract Him without a sincere heart. Pusta Krishna das

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