DEVOTIONAL SERVICE IN FRIENDSHIP
Devotional service in friendship can be divided into two categories: the first is to act as the confidential servant of the Lord, and the other is to act as the well-wisher of the Lord.
The devotee who has confidence in devotional service to the Lord systematically follows the rules and regulations, with the faith that he will achieve the platform of transcendental life.
The second type of devotional friendship is to become a well-wisher of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that the Lord accepts a preacher as the most dear servant. Anyone who is preaching the confidential message of the Gītā to the people in general is so dear to Kṛṣṇa that no one can be equal to him in human society.
In the Mahābhārata, Draupadī says,
“My dear Govinda, Your promise is that Your devotee can never be vanquished. I believe in that statement, and therefore in all kinds of tribulations I simply remember Your promise, and thus I live.”
The purport is that Draupadī and her five husbands, the Pāṇḍavas, were put into severe tribulations by their cousin-brother Duryodhana as well as by others. The tribulations were so severe that even Bhīṣmadeva, who was both a lifelong brahmacārī and a great warrior, would sometimes shed tears thinking of them. He was always surprised that although the Pāṇḍavas were so righteous and Draupadī was practically the goddess of fortune, and although Kṛṣṇa was their friend, still they had to undergo such severe tribulations. Though their tribulations were not ordinary, Draupadī was not discouraged. She knew that because Kṛṣṇa was their friend, ultimately they would be saved.
A similar statement is there in the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, second chapter, verse 53, where Havis, the son of King Ṛṣabha, addresses Mahārāja Nimi:
“My dear King, a person who never deviates even for a moment from engagement in service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Person (engagement which is sought even by great demigods like Indra), with firm conviction that there is nothing more worshipable or desirable than this, is called the first-class devotee.”
Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī says that a neophyte devotee who has simply developed a slight love of Godhead is certainly a prospective candidate for devotional service. When he becomes firmly fixed in such devotional service, that assured status becomes a confidential part of his devotional service.
Sometimes it is found that a pure devotee lies down in the temple of the Lord in order to serve Him as a confidential friend. Such friendly behavior of a devotee may be accepted as rāgānugā, or spontaneous. Although, according to regulative principles, no one can lie down in the temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this spontaneous love of Godhead may be grouped under devotional service in friendship.
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