Radhanath Swami reads out “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brahmana: I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me”


All the great stalwart personalities in the universe, including Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, are fully under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is fully under the control of His devotee. Why is this? Because the devotee is anyabhilasita-sunyam; in other words, he has no material desires in his heart. His only desire is to think always of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to serve Him best. Because of this transcendental qualification, the Supreme Lord is extremely favorable to the devotees– indeed, not only the devotees, but also the devotees of the devotees.

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara peyeche keba: without being a devotee of a devotee, one cannot be released from material entanglement. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu identified Himself as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudas. Thus he instructed us to become not directly servants of Krsna but servants of the servant of Krsna. Devotees like Brahma, Narada, Vyasadeva and Sukadeva Gosvami are directly servants of Krsna, and one who becomes a servant of Narada, Vyasadeva and Sukadeva, like the six Goswamis, is still more devoted.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura therefore says, yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasado: if one very sincerely serves the spiritual master, Krsna certainly becomes favorable to such a devotee. Following the instructions of a devotee is more valuable than following the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly.

Radhanath Swami explains the Story of Ambarish Maharaja

From Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 9. It is the story of a Maharaja Ambarish. This story reveals the real truth of all the scriptures. What is the perfection of life and how to achieve it? One who carefully hears and understands this narration by Srila Sukadeva Goswami will certainly transcend all of miseries of this material existence and attain the eternal loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this story we find how material possession or qualification is not at all qualifications for pleasing the Lord. The only qualification is Humility and devotion. Ambarish Maharaja was a king but he never considered himself to be a great King. Because a devotee understands that there is only one position that he can have, and that is the humble servant of the servant of the servant of Sri Krishna and we may express that desire to serve in various ways while living in this world. Just like for various occasions, we put on various dresses, similarly according to the Lord’s desire, a devotee is ready to accept any role. If Krishna wants us to be a sweeper of the street, we’ll put on the robe of the sweeper of the street and be satisfied. If Krishna wants us to be the King of the entire world, in the same way we’ll engage service for the pleasure of the Lord and his devotees. Ambarish Maharaja was a Householder. He had a wife and children. And he performed all his duties as a Husband, as a politician very carefully. But the centre of his palace was the temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Sri Lakshmi Narayan or Radha and Krishna. And he personally did the most menial services for the pleasure of the Lord.

Radhanath Swami explains the Meaning of Grihastha Ashram

Tonight we are having a nice festival to inaugurate this nice house of our dear devotee Prahladananda prabhu and his family. The name of the house is Hare Krishna Bhavan. And when you first come into this nice house, the first thing which you see is a very nice temple of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda Prabhu. And the purpose of this house is to raise the entire family to be the devotees of Lord Krishna. Whatever space is in the house, it is filled with so many Vaishnavas who have come to chant and dance and take Prasad. This is exemplary. This is what Grihasta ashram means – To make your house a place to serve the Vaishnavas. Whether we live in a tiny little hut, a nice house or in a palace like Maharaja Ambarish, the principle is that Krishna should be the centre, we should not call it our own Home; we should utilize it in the service of Lord and his devotees. Then we can be actually happy in our home. Otherwise, whether you are living in a hut or a big house or a big palace, it is too much anxiety. We have seen in our travels throughout the world, that the standard of living as far as finances does not increase or decrease the amount of Happiness within our homes. It gives an artificial sense that we are happier because we have more comforts. But look at these devotees like Raghupati, or Govinda or Krishnananda or Shyamananda Prabhu. The mail man does not change the message. You are Post Man. Translate the translation for me.

So, these devotees, how do they live- very simple. They do not have their own room. They share their floor with 75 other people. And at 4 o’clock, come and says “Get off the floor, its Krishna’s floor.” And they get up and stand in line to use the Toilets and the bathrooms and they are not allowed even to keep their belongings inside. They have little box in which they keep things which they own. And they don’t have beautiful wives to cook beautiful preparations for them, and greet them smiling when they come home after a hard day’s work. After hard day’s work of preaching they come back and they are told “Ha! Someone has to clean the temple; someone has to do cooking for the offering.” So what is their standard of living – very simple. But see how happy they are. Sri Shyamananda prabhu, his body made of bliss;because they have Krishna they are happy with Krishna. And similarly a Grihasta, whatever his/her standard of living may be, if they have Krishna, they can be happy. But without Krishna Consciousness in the family, everyone is fighting over everything. So much complaining, so much dissatisfaction. It is frustrating; Grihamedi life is a frustrating experience. But Ambarish Maharaja, although he was in a role of a wealthy King, he has always accepted himself as the humble servant of the servant. Ready and willing to do anything to please the Viashnavas. Durvasa Muni was a great renunciate. He was also a mystic. He had so many powers. Ambarish Maharaja had no powers. Durvasa Muni, although he was a great renunciate with so many powers, he didn’t consider himself as the servant of the servant of the Lord. Rather he was very proud. And he came to Ambarish’s house. At that time, Ambarish Maharaja had fasted ( ekadashi ) for full one year. Because whatever the King does the whole kingdom receives the benefits. So Ambarish was invited for the Prasad but he said “Let me first take bath in Jamuna.” Ambarish Maharaja was waiting but Durvasa Muni went into a state of Samadhi. And time was passing so much and meanwhile it was the Dvadasi Padana, when you are suppose to break the  Ekadasi fast, otherwise it is invalidated. Great devotees of the Lord never do anything independently but they always seek the blessings of the senior devotees. So he received the blessings of the Vaishnavas and Brahmans that he should take one drop of Charanamrta to break the fast. And soon as he drank one drop of Charanamrta, Durvasa Muni, who had the mystic powers to understand what everybody is doing, he immediately came out of his Samadhi. And he felt that he had been offended and he came to Ambarish and started chastising his very severely. “You call yourself devotee, what non-sense. You can’t control your senses. You cannot even properly honor your guest. For this you must die.” So he took one hair from his Head. And he chanted a mantra and threw the hair on the ground. And from that hair came a big big big Asura made out of fire. This daemon had the power to devour the entire world within seconds. In terrible anger, he attacked Ambarish Maharaja. But Ambarish Maharaja did not run away. With folded palms, he began to meditate on Krishna. He was completely peaceful and fearless, not even a slight trance of anxiety in his mind. Because he had faith. Faith, that a single blade of grass cannot move without the will and sanction of the God.

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. mad-yaji mam namaskuru

mam evaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyo ‘si me

Krishna says in Gita “If you always think of me, become my devotee, worship me and offer your homage unto me, you will come to me without fail, this is my promise”.

Ambarisha had faith in the promise of the lord that I am thinking of Krishna, I am taking shelter of his Holy Name. If this daemon kills me, very nice, I’ll go wherever Krishna wants me. This body belongs to Krishna. Everything belongs to Krishna. If Krishna wants this  body to destroy, let it die. In whatever body Krishna wants me to go, I am ready and willing to serve him in that. So why should I be afraid. Bhaktivinoda Thakur prayed in this way “My Lord, If you want to kill me, Please kill me. If you want to protect me, you may also protect me. And wherever you want me to take birth, I don’t mind, as long as I can be the servant of your devotees. I will never accept the birth of Lord Brahma, The King of the whole Universe, if I am not the servant of your devotees. But I would gladly accept the birth of an insignificant insect like an ant, if it is in the house of the devotee.”

So Ambarish Maharaj prayed,”As you like Krishna. Whatever is your desire that is my desire.” Because he meditated on Krishna and chanted his name with such Humility and Devotion, Krishna within his heart heard him.

kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati

Radhanath Explains how Durvasa Muni Flees for Shelter

Krishna then sent his Sudarshana Chakra to destroy the demon. After destroying the Demon, the Sudarsana Chakra attacked Durvasa Muni. And although he was such a great mystic, that the whole world trembled with fear when he raised his eye-brows. He also had many followers. Generally when he travelled, he travelled with 60,000 disciples. And they were also trained to be great mystics. But when the Sudarshana Chakra came to Durvasa Muni, he did not fold his hands and pray to Krishna “Do whatever you like.” He ran away. And when he saw that he couldn’t run fast enough, he began to fly. He had such powers that he could fly from one planet to another. Just see how advanced he was in Science and Technology. We want to go from Belgaum to Mumbai and we go via Doot airlines and usually it’s always late coming and late going. So much inconvenience. And when you are in the air, anything that comes in way, you start getting sick. And they warn you that in case the oxygen stops, marks will come from the ceiling, put it on your face or you’ll die. And fasten you safety belts because if in case we stop, you’ll crush your heads. And if we land in water, there are safety cushions, life rafts that you would be floating around in ocean on this little rubber mat and there’s a whistle you blow to call for help. This is what they tell you. And you are paying your hard-earned money to tell you all these things. And when planes crash, when do people go to the life rafts and blow their whistles. And if take the big big jumbo jets to Europe or America, so much trouble, everyone’s sick. But Durvasa Muni, through mantra could fly, not to other places in this planet but even to other planets.

He went to the planet of Indra. “Please save me.” Indra said, “This is Vishnu’s chakra. I will not be involved in this.” He went to Brahma loka, “Please rescue me from this” Brahma said, “I’ll not get involved in helping you from Vishnu’s chakra.” He went to Shiva loka “Please protect me.” Durvasa Muni was a devotee of Shiva. Shiva said, ”This’s Narayana’s weapon. Only Narayana can protect you .”

He went to Vaikuntha. He fell at the feet of the lord and prayed, “ You are the Supreme Personality of God Head, the God of all Gods. I am taking shelter of you. Please protect me.”

And Lord Narayana replied, “I cannot protect you. Only Ambarish Maharaja can protect you because I am under the control of my devotees. Those devotees whose hearts knows nothing but me, my heart know nothing but them. Those devotees who have forsaken all the pleasures of the World for my sake, I have forsaken everything for their sake. In fact, my devotees are so dear to me, that anyone who becomes servant to them becomes the dearest to me.” And here in these verses, the very essence of transcendental knowledge is being revealed. Krishna gives so many wonderful instructions in Bhagavad Gita. But he also explains how to follow those instructions.

tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya

upadekshyanti te jñanam jñaninas tattva-darshinah

We must understand the truth. Gita represents the truth. By hearing from the great devotee of the lord, Gurudeva, and by serving the lotus feet of Gurudeva. The spiritual master never declares to be a great person. The spiritual master declares Krishna to be a great person. Our own spiritual master, Om Vishnupada Paramahansa Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, at one time devotees wanted to name this movement after him-The Prabhupada Mission. But Srila Prabhupada was so much against it. He wanted it – The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, The Hare Krishna Movement. He wanted this whole movement to bring everyone’s attention to Krishna. He considered himself a humble servant of Sri Krishna.

This is part of life, trying to preach in belgaum. Belgaum is a very nice place, very wonderful devotees, very simple lifestyle and one thing I am not worried about in belgaum, that devotees will become proud about their technological expertise. So, Srila Prabhupada, he brought all the attention to Krishna. He considered himself to be the servant of his master and that was all. But because he gave up everything of this world to glorify Krishna, He became the very heart and soul of Krishna , and anyone who becomes the servant of Prabhupada becomes most dear to Krishna. And anyone who becomes the servant of the servant of Prabhupada becomes dearer to Krishna. And anyone who becomes the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Prabhupada becomes dearest to Krishna. And this is the essence of all knowledge. Therefore  Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu prayed in this way,

gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalaior dasa anudasah

That we should aspire for this position, of being the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord’s devotees. Today I gave Shyamananda Prabhu, one medical capsule. It was Vitamin B complex capsule. That before giving to him, I poured the powder out. But he didn’t like this. I did it in a secret place, and I gave him the capsule and said, “Shamanada Prabhu”. He’s defeating me in front of everyone, this is very nice. That he see this capsule, this is like chanting the Holy Name without the mood of being the servant of the servant of the lord. It’s just like the real capsule. He was looking at me like, “What are you talking about?” I said “Please open the capsule.” He opened it, and there was no one home , nothing inside and then he understood that, When the mayavadis service attitude or the devotees who are not ready to serve the vaishnavas, when they chant the Holy name, it sounds just like the Holy name, But because they are not chanting in the proper mood of the servants, the benefits will not be there. So Srila Prabhupada, because of his great devotion to the Lord, he has demonstrated to the whole world what is real Krishna Consciousness and our aspirations has always been to be the servants of the servants of the servants of his servants, and to chant the Holy names in that mood. And herein Krishna confirms that if we follow his principles, we will become most dear to Krishna. And he will protect us from all dangers. And what is the greatest danger that we have? We are not afraid of Physical death or disease. We are very much afraid of forgetting Krishna and forgetting our service to his devotees.

Radhanath Swami explains being the servant of the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas

One of my God-Sisters, she came to India few years back. She was a very enthusiastic devotee. No matter what her position was, she was always blissful to serving Krishna and his devotees. Years ago, when she lived in New Vrindavan, she was asked to run an entire temple by herself. She was a lady. She had to do all the cooking, all the cleaning and all the deity worship. But the cook, it wasn’t just turning the dial of the Gas stove. She had to cook on wood that means she had to take an axe. And she had to go to the forest and cut down trees with her own hands. She was brought up in the city. She didn’t know these things. But she learnt. Then she would take the cut trees and would cut them into pieces. And carry them to the Kitchen and start the kitchen. She cooked six offerings in a day. She offered all six artis everyday. And this’s a place where in winters there is this much snow. In this way she worship Jagannatha Deity. Big big deities. Those deities were so happy. Their smile would capture anyone’s heart. And she was always blissful, chanting and dancing in kirtans and never ever complained to anyone. Just to bring water, she had to carry so many buckets from the well, all alone. And anything you ask her to do extra, she would do. I was at that time the Pujari of the Brahmachari Ashram. I wrote a letter to her asking if she could make a new dress for the deities of Radha Vrindavananath. Now most people would say, “I am so busy, how could you be asking like this?” But she gave up sleeping for about two weeks and before the festival, a beautiful dress was sent up to the deities. To be the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas was her life and soul. She was willing to die for Vaishnavas. Later on, when she was asked to go out and be a preacher, and whoever she met would become ecstatic and take to Krishna Consciousness. At that time I was also travelling and preaching, and whenever a young lady would start taking interest in Krishna Consciousness, I would send that lady to my God-Sister. Her name was Hladini. And that person would just become so happy to be Krishna Conscious. After some years, she went to Africa, and there she was preaching. She would send me letters. Sometimes she was having Malaria; Africa is a very diseased place. She would go to the villages and bring everyone to chant the Holy Name. And she would write to me, “I do not want to love in this body for any reason but serving the devotees. My Prayer is that I can die serving the devotees.” So, at one time she was sent to Liberia. And there was a Revolution. And these dacoits took over the government. And the leader of the dacoits was a crazy mad man, and somehow or the other one devotee wrote him a letter and told him he was in maya. So he came to the temple in the middle of the night with other dacoits and just a few days before this only, she sent me a letter that”In Liberia every day, 100’s of people are being killed on the streets” She said, “there is a good possibility I will also be killed” She said, “I don’t mind being killed. I am not at all afraid of being killed. I am only afraid of disrespecting or offending a devotee. That is the only fear I have. Dyeing in the service of Vaishnavas is a great honor.” I still have that letter. So that night, this dacoit decided to kill all the devotees with his gun. And she preached to him, and he said I’ll kill everybody but I’ll not kill the ladies. There were 2 ladies and about 10 men. “So ladies stand aside, I’ll not harm you”. He started shooting. Hladini couldn’t bear seeing devotees being hurt like this. She ran up to him and she held the gun and said,” Please do not hurt devotees.” He said, “Get away or I’ll kill you.” She said, “I want to die rather than standing here watching devotees die.” She started chanting Hare Krishna and he shot her. So you may think, why did Krishna not protect her. She went back to God Head serving the Vaishnavas. And yet we are still in this crazy world. Devotees are not afraid of death. They know if they are thinking of Krishna and serving the Vaishnavas, Krishna will take care of them and they will certainly go back home, Back to God Head. This is a living example of how the devotees are so attached to being the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas. So, Durvasa Muni heard from the Lord that such devotees are his very life and soul and the only way that Durvasa Muni can be forgiven is if he falls at the feet of Ambarish Maharaja and get his blessings. So Durvasa Muni came back to Madhuban in Vraja and fell at the feet of Ambarish Maharaja. And Ambarish Maharaja greeted him as a special guest and said,”Please take Prasad, you are very late.” And Durvasa Muni said,” You are such a great devotee, I am nothing compared to you. What is the use of all the mystic powers and my renunciation, if you have the love of the God; you have the greatest power and greatest love.” And in this way Sukadeva Goswami revealed to the world the supreme glory of being the servant of the servant of the God. This is the real substance of life. Bhakti is a blissful process. Chanting, dancing and feasting. But to the degree we are really the servants of the Lord’s devotees; to that degree we can actually experience the degree of bliss in chanting, dancing and feasting. It is the most wonderful gift of the Lord when we have the chance to be with his devotees and serve them. And one of the most wonderful ways of serving the devotees is to inspire them to participate in taking shelter of Krishna’s Holy name. Because Krishna has revealed the highest truths and he has revealed the means by which we can realize those truths- through His name. Simply by sincerely taking the name of Krishna and serving the Vaishnavas, we can in this very life become perfect devotees of the Lord. In this age of Kali Yuga, which is an ocean of fake, there is one benediction. That simply by chanting the Holy names of the Lord, as Lord Chaitanya has instructed, we can achieve the perfection of liberation.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.