Vrindavan, 2018.01.26 (Vishakha Ramos): A wise sadhu once said that the meaning of seva (service) is trying make your Beloved happy. Shri Radharaman Charan Das Babaji Maharaj (Boro Babaji) always attached the greatest importance to seva of Shri Radha-Krishna and the Vaishnavas. Doing seva can be blissful, he taught, but we should not forget about our Beloved’s happiness in the process. This is explained by the following lila:
Once in Nabawip there was a debate about the nature of prasad. Boro Babaji believed that prasad never becomes impure, no matter who has touched or tasted it. Others disagreed. Some of the Vaishnavas felt that this rule only applied to the mahaprasad of Jagannath Dev in Puri. But Boro Babaji argued that all prasad was spiritual and could not be defiled. The discussion went on for three days, and Boro Babaji finally won.
He decided to celebrate by organizing a feast, and he invited all the Vaishnavas of Nabadwip to take Prasad. He asked his disciple, the great saint Shri Ramdas Babaji, to perform kirtan.
Ramdas Babaji started kirtan early in the morning. Suddenly in the midst of the kirtan he began to sing “arey amar nitai re!” – “Oh my Nitai! Oh my Nitai!” and burst into tears. He continued to sing this single line for a long time. He wept as he sang, and everyone who was listening also cried tears of blissful separation.
But because of the kirtan, the priest was unable to offer the midday meal (rajbhog) to Shri Radha and Krishna. The kirtan continued well past noon, as Ramdas Babaji had lost all consciousness of time.
At last, Boro Babaji came and said, “Ram! You only know how to cry in Kirtan. You don’t know how to do seva. It’s already past noon and your Kirtan has not stopped! Just think – Shri Krishna is still sitting there waiting to be fed. He is hungry, but we cannot serve his lunch because of your Kirtan. The Vaishnavas are also very hungry. You have no idea how much they are being inconvenienced.
“Service is the life of love. It is good to be absorbed in Kirtan, but never forget the service of your Beloveds. Their happiness is more important than anything else.”
The Kirtan was immediately stopped. After Shri Radha and Krishna were fed, the Vaishnavas happily took prasad. Then Boro Babaji himself sat down to eat. He looked around and said, “Where is Ram?”
Someone said, “He is sitting on the bank of the Ganges and weeping.”
“Oh! He is angry!” said Boro Babaji, and called for Ramdas Babaji to come.
Ramdas Babaji came looking very sad, with his eyes fixed on the ground. Boro Babaji embraced him lovingly and said, “Look, a devotee has to be very attentive. You have to take special care that you do not cause harm or inconvenience to anyone at any time. Kripa (mercy) of Shri Guru and the Vaishnavas is our only hope, so we have to be very careful not to offend them in any way.”
Boro Babaji held Ramdas Babaji by the hand and made him sit down next to him to take prasad. As he ate, he kept placing bits of sweets and other foods from his own plate onto the plate of Ramdas, saying, “Taste this, Ram! This is delicious!” Ramdas’s heart became peaceful. (V)