DEVOTEES UNDER THE PROTECTION AND SHELTER OF THE LORD
One resident of Vṛndāvana once told Lord Kṛṣṇa, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, O pleasure of Vṛndāvana! Being afraid of this material existence, we have taken shelter of You, for You can completely protect us! We are well aware of Your greatness. As such, we have given up our desire for liberation and have taken complete shelter under Your lotus feet. Since we have heard about Your ever-increasing transcendental love, we have voluntarily engaged ourselves in Your transcendental service.” This statement is by a devotee who is under the protection and shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Upon being chastised by Kṛṣṇa’s constant kicking on his head, Kāliya, the black snake of the Yamunā, came to his senses and admitted, “My dear Lord, I have been so offensive unto You, but still You are so kind that You have marked my head with the impression of Your lotus feet.” This is also an instance of one’s taking shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
In the Aparādha-bhañjana a pure devotee expresses his feelings: “My dear Lord, I am ashamed to admit before You that I have carried out the orders of my masters named lust, anger, avarice, illusion and envy. Sometimes I have carried out their orders in a way most abominable. Yet in spite of my serving them so faithfully, they are not satisfied, nor are they kind enough to give me relief from their service. They are not even ashamed of taking service from me in that way. My dear Lord, O head of the Yadu dynasty, now I have come to my senses and I am taking shelter of Your lotus feet. Please engage me in Your service.” This is another instance of surrendering and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
There are many instances in the various Vedic writings of persons who were aspiring after liberation by speculative knowledge but gave up this process in order to take complete shelter under the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Examples of such persons are the brāhmaṇas headed by Śaunaka in the forest of Naimiṣāraṇya.* Learned scholars accept them as devotees having complete wisdom. There is a statement in the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya in which these great brāhmaṇas and sages, headed by Śaunaka Ṛṣi, told Sūta Gosvāmī, “My dear great soul, just see how wonderful it is! Although as human beings we are contaminated with so many taints of material existence, simply by our conversing with you about the Supreme Personality of Godhead we are now gradually decrying our desire for liberation.”
* These are the brāhmaṇas to whom Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken by Sūta Gosvāmī, as described in the author’s Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, First Canto, first chapter.
In Padyāvalī a devotee says, “Persons who are attached to speculative knowledge for self-realization, who have decided that the supreme truth is beyond meditation and who have thus become situated in the mode of goodness – let them peacefully execute their engagement. As for us, we are simply attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is by nature so pleasing, who possesses a complexion like a blackish cloud, who is dressed in yellow garments and who has beautiful lotuslike eyes. We wish only to meditate upon Him.”
Those who are from the very beginning of their self-realization attached to devotional service are called sevā-niṣṭha. Sevā-niṣṭha means “simply attached to devotional service.” The best examples of such devotees are Lord Śiva, King Indra, King Bahulāśva, King Ikṣvāku, Śrutadeva and Puṇḍarīka. One devotee says, “My dear Lord, Your transcendental qualities attract even the liberated souls and carry them to the assembly of devotees where Your glories are constantly chanted. Even great sages who are accustomed to living in solitary places are also attracted by the songs of Your glory. And, observing all Your transcendental qualities, I have also become attracted and have decided to dedicate my life to Your loving service.”
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