Calcutta, West Bengal, India — Friday, April 21st

Sevak Bhavan

Earlier this week Srila Gurudeva inaugurated the newly constructed Sevak Bhavan, a few doors down from our Sree Chaitanya Saraswata Krishnanushilana Sangha Math here in Dum Dum Park, Calcutta.

Before going over to the new building to ceremoniously cut the ribbon of flowers across the entrance, Srila Gurudeva explained why he named the new quarters Sevak Bhavan:

"When I have to decide upon a name, I first fully consider what sort of name will be most appropriate, so it won't be necessary to change the name later. So, Sevak Bhavan: only those who are servitors can stay there, not outsiders."

This new residence is almost ready for occupation: Srila Gurudeva will most likely move in sometime early next week. Why, you might be wondering, will Srila Gurudeva move into the servants' quarters?

Srila Gurudeva always teaches us by example. Although he is such an exalted Vaishnava — our guru! — he never presents himself as a great devotee. He always says, "I am a servitor of Srila Guru Maharaj." His only claim is: "I am a servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas."

Not only that, but Srila Gurudeva sees himself as the servant of his disciples. In Affectionate Guidance — echoing the sentiment of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur — Srila Gurudeva humbly says:

"Good servitors of Srila Guru Maharaj are the wealth of Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math. The real wealth is the devotees, and I am trying to serve you all with whatever I have. I want your association, really. When I see you I think, 'I have service.'"

This epitomizes the mood of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, who once humbly said to his disciples: "You are all my saviors. You have come to hear me, to engage me in Krishna kirtan, to give me support (vipada uddharana bandhu-gana)."

Of course, we should not think that we can bless our gurudeva, that we can accept his service. He is our savior. He is the acarya: he teaches us by example.

In the Adi Purana Krishna says to Arjuna:

ye me bhakta-janah partha / na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas / te me bhakta-tama matah

"Those who worship Me directly are not really My devotees; My real devotees are those who are devoted to My devotees."

We revere Srila Gurudeva, but he considers himself to be our servant. His Divine Grace's genuine humility gives us an inkling of the glorious position of the servants of the servants of Krishna, and what an honor it is to be allowed to stay in the servants' quarters (Sevak Bhavan).

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Layout by iMonk — April 21st, 2006.