“To become a servant of God is a great position. People are always trying to get some government post or some position in a reputed business firm because the service rendered in such positions earns great profits. Although we are very anxious to get good positions in the government service, we do not stop to think of getting a position in God’s service. God is the government of all governments.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, Ch 6)
In countries where the private sector of the economy is either tightly controlled or virtually nonexistent, the jobs coveted are those in government. A government worker is meant to be a servant of the people, acting at the pleasure of the executive, or the leader of the community. Because of who they serve and the importance of their position, these servants are glorified and held aloft for others to adore, worship, honor or influence. In the business community, the best workers are those who serve the interests of the proprietor fully, influencing the overall profit margin of the establishment positively. If such attention is given to servants of worldly institutions, why would it be absent when service is given to the proprietor of all energies, the Supreme Lord? Indeed, the position of “head glorifier”, or greatest servant of the Supreme Lord, is the best because it does the most good for the most number of people. Not surprisingly, such sincere workers are handsomely rewarded with the fruit of existence: unending devotion to the feet of the Supreme Lord.
Why does this fruit take precedence over all others? The mango tree is valuable once it grows nice mangoes that can be picked and eaten when ripe. The government, especially in its modern incarnation, where it plays a significant role in dictating outcomes to events, gets its teeth from the inflow of tax dollars, which are then distributed according to the schemes conjured up by the politicians. The business makes a dent when it offers a good or service that can be enjoyed by the common man. It is seen that the more a company can appeal to the common person, he who is not overly wealthy but still has appreciation for a good product or service, the more their profits will increase. The wealthiest businesses are not those who build products for the elite class; rather, ridiculously high profits come from satisfying middle class men, of which there are many more.
The Supreme Lord, who is described as Krishna among many other names in the Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India, holds the title to every piece of property. Though we can’t see the deeds, they exist nonetheless. Long before our present birth, the creation existed and its population roamed the earth. Similarly, long after we exit our present body, the same creation and population of creatures will be there. In this sense we only hold temporary leases on our possessions, for the original creator, the Almighty, directed His energies to have this temporary world manifest.
Why do we call this world temporary? Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original Shyamasundara form, who has the bodily complexion of a dark raincloud and is exquisitely beautiful, has two distinct energies. To Krishna there is no distinction, for what need does He have for self-realization, study of scripture, or discrimination with respect to energies? Krishna can take a tennis racket and use it as a pencil or take a blade of grass and use it as a weapon. He is not limited in His attributes or in His exercise of objects of matter.
The delineated energies are meant to be understood by the conditioned living entity, he who takes birth without being asked and then subsequently tries to outrun oncoming death. In either case, material nature wins, as no one can stop birth or death except God Himself. The world is deemed temporary because its manifestation is not permanent. We see evidence of this in our own lives. Our childhood body is now dead and gone. We don’t mourn for this loss quite as much because our identity within our adopted life form continues until the time of death. Nevertheless, there is nothing we can do to get our childhood form back. No amount of scientific research, mental speculation, or meditational yoga can put our tiny soul back into the exact same form that we used to crawl around our parents’ living room floor.
We are just as helpless once death approaches, for nothing can be done to revive the exited form; hence the reason for so much sadness. Despite the temporary nature of the current manifestation of material elements, there is still a proprietor, someone who is directing the energies. Shri Krishna is that person, or if you prefer, “God”. Even the atheists acknowledge a higher power, though they don’t understand His personal aspect or the fact that He is not partial in His dealings. We can call the atheists stupid, but then all of us were “stupid” youngsters at some point. This doesn’t mean that hope is eternally lost for any soul. Rather, as more time goes by, and if the likelihood for having a fortunate meeting with a sincere soul devoted to the Supreme Lord increases, the covering of nescience can gradually dissipate, revealing full and complete knowledge.
Along the way, the serving propensity found within the soul, its true dharma, continues to shine. Even if God’s existence is completely denied, if the very mention of the word “God” sends shivers down one’s spine and puts a lasting frown on one’s face, the dharma of the soul is still revealed to some extent. Just as during the nighttime the effects of the sun’s influence are still present on earth, even during the darkest period of consciousness, where the natural intelligence of the soul is seemingly fully covered up, the individual’s propensity to serve remains. Dharma is an ever existing quality, an essential characteristic that cannot be divorced from an object. If it could, the object would lose its meaning. For instance, if fire were to lose its burning and heat properties, we could no longer call it fire. If you presented a pizza-lover with a fresh pizza pie, piping hot, they might eagerly anticipate the first few bites. But if while eating they notice that cheese, sauce and the crust are missing, their disappointment would result in remarks like, “This is not pizza. I don’t know what you call it, but it’s not pizza.”
If the soul did not exhibit a propensity to serve, it could not be called a soul. The Vedas describe Krishna has having a form that is fully knowledgeable, eternal and blissful, sach-chid-ananda. These properties are bequeathed to the spirit souls, who descend from Krishna. Therefore it is impossible for the soul’s inherent characteristics to ever vanish. Without full knowledge of God and His personal form, the service mentality carries the conditioned soul in so many directions. To earn money and enjoy the senses, service is taken up to a corporate entity. The proprietor of the business takes the risk of investing startup capital or going into debt for the express purpose of turning a profit. The businessman is not interested in securing jobs for a community or making sure that everyone can have a decent standard of living. Their primary concern is profit, and as long as steady profits are coming in, the business is doing its job.
Since the presence of workers can increase the scope and breadth of the offered service or product, and thus also the level of profit, business owners make the investment in human capital. The aim is to pay the workers as little as possible, for the more expenditure there is, the less profit there will be. But the workers are not robots that can be commanded on a whim. Rather, they expect to be compensated for their work. In this respect, the employee’s greatest protection against exploitation is their own self-interest and also the presence of many other businesses. One business may not pay workers much, but if they are threatened by other companies potentially stealing their employees, they will be forced to pay higher salaries. Hence through competition the resulting condition of a strong labor force that earns “decent” wages is created.
Since the business world revolves around profit, the employee who best contributes towards increasing productivity and the profit margin of the establishment gets rewarded with a higher position and increased salary. In this sense we see that the more service is offered to the proprietor, the more glorified the worker becomes. The principle applies to government service as well. It’s strange to think that the President of the United States is actually the head servant of the country, but by definition this is his role. Wherever he goes, “Hail to the Chief” introduces him, and onlookers hang on every word of his speeches. He flies on Air Force One and never has to pay for anything, but still he is engaged in meeting the interests of the citizens at large.
The people serving the head of the government become very important as well. The White House spokesperson essentially has to lie for a liar every day. With politics comes the requirement that promises be broken and dishonest things be spoken every now and then. The press doesn’t meet with the President face-to-face every day. Instead, a press secretary for the President meets with the media daily and answers their questions. The media won’t approach just any ordinary person on the street for information about the administration. They want to talk to someone who is tied to the President, who is faithfully engaged in his service. Because of his link to someone important, the servant of the White House becomes important as well.
When service in worldly affairs brings fame and adoration, why would not the same result follow service taken up for God? If we sincerely desire to be God’s best servant, the position will bring us the greatest reward. This is true not only because of God’s qualities, but also because of the inherent properties of the soul. As our dharma is to be a servant, nothing is better than serving the person we are meant to serve. When service is taken up for any person except God, the soul’s brilliant features are not seen. Similar to how the sun is covered by the clouds in the sky, when encased in a temporary form desperately seeking after paltry rewards the soul’s true brilliance gets masked.
On the other hand, the liberated soul is fully appreciated. We know this from the many historical examples of people who took up service to God and then subsequently became famous. What’s even more interesting is that the most wonderful servants are often more worshiped than the Supreme Lord Himself is. Shri Hanuman immediately comes to mind in this respect. He is considered the greatest servant of Lord Rama, the Supreme Lord’s avatara of a warrior prince who roamed this earth many thousands of years ago. Hanuman was technically a government minister, an emissary of the king of the Vanaras residing in the Kishkindha forest. During His first meeting with Hanuman, Shri Rama even noted that no king could ever get their business done without having a person like Hanuman working for him.
“O sinless one, certainly, how can any king accomplish his objectives if he doesn’t have such a messenger working for him?” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana about Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.34)
Did Rama then steal Hanuman’s services away from the king of the monkeys in Kishkindha? Here is the secret: serving God actually fulfills the interests of everyone else. By taking up the mission to find Rama’s missing wife Sita Devi, Hanuman simultaneously did good to the leader of his community, Sugriva. Though outwardly he was first and foremost Sugriva’s minister, Hanuman is forever known as Ramadutta, or a messenger of Rama. Hanuman is unmotivated in his intentions and uninterrupted in his service. Even though he eventually found Sita and played a vital role in the demise of her captor Ravana, Hanuman never stopped loving Rama. How could he abandon his dharma? Without devotion to Rama, Hanuman is not who he is. Since he can never abandon thinking about Sita, Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana, Hanuman can never cease to be glorious.
What does it mean to be a servant of God? Do we have to take on some brave task to get that position? While there are nine different processes of devotional service [hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering prayers, carrying out the orders of the Lord, becoming friends with Him, surrendering everything to Him], the ideal position of God’s servant is that of “head glorifier”. The best way to serve is to glorify, to increase the stature of the superior person. As Krishna is beyond description and is Bhagavan because of His stupendous feature set, there is really nothing to be gained on the Lord’s part through glorification. But since when did the position of the object of love ever stop a person from offering their love? Despite His standing, the Supreme Lord continues to be glorified by His most wonderful servants. In this area He is actually powerless, as there is nothing Sita and Rama can do to stop Hanuman from singing their glories every single day.
The head glorifier performs their duties by regularly chanting the holy names of the Lord, especially those found in the sacred maha-mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. This gift in the form of a mantra bestowed upon the dedicated servant allows for service to be conducted at any time of the day and at any place. The reward for this great work is full-blown bhava, or transcendental ecstasy. Relishing this taste is the real boon of existence, to be completely uninhibited in our loving dealings. In every other area of life, our emotions and the flow of service are interrupted or checked to some degree. For the head glorifier, there is no such thing as too much kirtana, or describing of the transcendental features of the most loveable object.
Though the position of “head glorifier” seems to imply that only one person can occupy the post, it is not so. In the spiritual land, the restrictions imposed by the laws of math and science are not present. One can actually mean two, and two can mean one. There can be millions of head glorifiers, who each have their own personal relationship with their most relishable form of the Supreme Lord. In Goloka Vrindavana, where Krishna Himself always resides playing His flute, the gopis serve as the head glorifiers. There are many gopis, but Shrimati Radharani is considered the topmost. The other servants sing of even her glories, thus showing that service in transcendental love brings endless opportunities for growth and expansion. Noting these properties, who would not want to covet this most wonderful position? Even if someone just sincerely thinks of taking the necessary training to one day accept the “head glorifier” post, they will succeed in life’s mission.
High position in government or business we covet,
Fame, attention and notoriety we get.
Reason for pursuit of post easy to understand,
Stature of proprietor increases with helping hand.
To increase profit, at office workers congregate,
Best employees the owner will highly compensate.
In spiritual life, servant is given best treatment,
To the Lord’s wishes they are always deferent.
Devotees like Hanuman are so exalted,
That greater than God they are sometimes treated.
Thus best position is to be head glorifier,
Just chant holy names, what could be easier?
Role as God’s servant provides many opportunities,
For endless offerings of love by both experts and newbies.
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