yā tasya te pāda-saroruhārhaṇaṁ
tad eva rāsīpsitam īpsito ’rcito
yad-bhagna-yācñā bhagavan pratapyate
yā—a woman who; tasya—of Him; te—of You; pāda-saroruha—of the lotus feet; arhaṇam—the worship; nikāmayet—fully desires; sā—such a woman; akhila-kāma-lampaṭā—although maintaining all kinds of material desire; tat—that; eva—only; rāsi—You award; īpsitam—some other desired benediction; īpsitaḥ—being looked to for; arcitaḥ—worshiped; yat—from which; bhagna-yācñā—one who desires objects other than Your lotus feet and who thus becomes broken; bhagavan—O my Lord; pratapyate—is pained.
My dear Lord, You automatically fulfill all the desires of a woman who worships Your lotus feet in pure love. However, if a woman worships Your lotus feet for a particular purpose, You also quickly fulfill her desires, but in the end she becomes broken-hearted and laments. Therefore one need not worship Your lotus feet for some material benefit.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes pure devotional service as anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam [Madhya 19.167]. One should not worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead to fulfill some material desire for success in fruitive activities or mental speculation. To serve the lotus feet of the Lord means to serve Him exactly as He desires. The neophyte devotee is therefore ordered to worship the Lord strictly according to the regulative principles given by the spiritual master and the śāstras. By executing devotional service in that way, he gradually becomes attached to Kṛṣṇa, and when his original dormant love for the Lord becomes manifest, he spontaneously serves the Lord without any motive. This condition is the perfect stage of one’s relationship with the Lord. The Lord then looks after the comfort and security of His devotee without being asked. Kṛṣṇa promises in Bhagavad-gītā (9.22):
The Supreme Lord personally takes care of anyone who is completely engaged in His devotional service. Whatever he has, the Lord protects, and whatever he needs, the Lord supplies. Therefore why should one bother the Lord for something material? Such prayers are unnecessary.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that even if a devotee wishes the Lord to fulfill a particular desire, the devotee should not be considered a sakāma-bhakta (a devotee with some motive). In the Bhagavad-gītā (7.16) Kṛṣṇa says:
“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” The ārta and the arthārthī, who approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for relief from misery or for some money, are not sakāma-bhaktas, although they appear to be. Being neophyte devotees, they are simply ignorant. Later in Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says, udārāḥ sarva evaite: they are all magnanimous (udārāḥ). Although in the beginning a devotee may harbor some desire, in due course of time it will vanish. Therefore the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam enjoins:
“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he is full of all material desire, is free from material desire, or has a desire for liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” (Bhāg. 2.3.10)
Even if one wants something material, he should pray to no one but the Lord to fulfill his desire. If one approaches a demigod for the fulfillment of his desires, he is to be considered naṣṭa-buddhi, bereft of all good sense. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.20):
“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”
Lakṣmīdevī advises all devotees who approach the Lord with material desires that according to her practical experience, the Lord is Kāmadeva, and thus there is no need to ask Him for anything material. She says that everyone should simply serve the Lord without any motive. Since the Supreme Personality of Godhead is sitting in everyone’s heart, He knows everyone’s thoughts, and in due course of time He will fulfill all desires. Therefore let us completely depend on the service of the Lord without bothering Him with our material requests.
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