ahaṁ tv akāmas tvad-bhaktas
tvaṁ ca svāmy anapāśrayaḥ
aham—as far as I am concerned; tu—indeed; akāmaḥ—without material desire; tvat-bhaktaḥ—fully attached to You without motivation; tvam ca—Your Lordship also; svāmī—the real master; anapāśrayaḥ—without motivation (You do not become the master with motivation); na—not; anyathā—without being in such a relationship as master and servant; iha—here; āvayoḥ—our; arthaḥ—any motivation (the Lord is the pure master, and Prahlāda Mahārāja is the pure devotee with no materialistic motivation); rāja—of a king; sevakayoḥ—and the servitor; iva—like (just as a king exacts taxes for the benefit of the servant or the citizens pay taxes for the benefit of the king).
O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant, and You are my eternal master. There is no need of our being anything other than master and servant. You are naturally my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other relationship.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] every living being is eternally a servant of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29), bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram: “I am the proprietor of all planets, and I am the supreme enjoyer.” This is the natural position of the Lord, and the natural position of the living being is to surrender unto Him (sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]). If this relationship continues, then real happiness exists eternally between the master and servant. Unfortunately, when this eternal relationship is disturbed, the living entity wants to become separately happy and thinks that the master is his order supplier. In this way there cannot be happiness. Nor should the master cater to the desires of the servant. If he does, he is not the real master. The real master commands, “You must do this,” and the real servant immediately obeys the order. Unless this relationship between the Supreme Lord and the subordinate living entity is established, there can be no real happiness. The living entity is āśraya, always subordinate, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is viṣaya, the supreme objective, the goal of life. Unfortunate persons trapped in this material world do not know this. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum: [SB 7.5.31] illusioned by the material energy, everyone in this material world is unaware that the only aim of life is to approach Lord Viṣṇu.
In the Padma Purāṇa Lord Śiva explains to his wife, Parvatī, the goddess Durgā, that the highest goal of life is to satisfy Lord Viṣṇu, who can be satisfied only when His servant is satisfied. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore teaches, gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ. One must become a servant of the servant. Prahlāda Mahārāja also prayed to Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva that he might be engaged as the servant of the Lord’s servant. This is the prescribed method of devotional service. As soon as a devotee wants the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be his order supplier, the Lord immediately refuses to become the master of such a motivated devotee. In Bhagavad-gītā (4.11) the Lord says, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham. “As one surrenders unto Me, I reward him accordingly.” Materialistic persons are generally inclined to material profits. As long as one continues in such an adulterated position, he does not receive the benefit of returning home, back to Godhead.
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