Listening to Srila Prabhupada’s talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.35, given in Bombay on December 4, 1974, I felt chastened and humbled by his description of surrender and pure devotion, as exemplified by Sri Prahlada:
“Krishna says (Gita 18.66),
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
[Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.] The qualification is: unless one is sinless, he cannot understand Krishna. He cannot understand what is krsna-bhajana. But if one is eager—actually very eager—he can do it immediately. What is that? Surrender to Krishna. Sarva-dharman parityajya: give up all these nonsense so-called religious principles. Simply surrender to Krishna: ‘Krishna, I had forgotten about You. Now I surrender unto You fully. If You like, You can kill me; if You like, You can give me protection.’ This is surrender—not business: ‘Krishna, if You give me this nice thing, then I will surrender.’ That is not surrender. That is business.
“When Prahlada Maharaja was offered the benediction that ‘My dear Prahlada, you have suffered so much for Me, even from your father. Now your enemies are all off. You can ask any benediction you like,’ Prahlada Maharaja said, ‘What is this, my dear Lord? Am I a baniya, vanik, that because I have suffered for You, I shall ask some benediction? No, no, don’t offer me like that. Because You are the supreme powerful, whatever I want, I can get from You. I am born in an asura family; I am inclined to material enjoyment. So don’t delude me, my dear Sir. And why shall I ask You? I have seen my father, so powerful that even the demigods were afraid of him, and You finished all his power within a second. So why shall I ask for these things? Kindly engage me in the service of Your servant. This much I want. I don’t want anything else.’
“Therefore a devotee never asks anything material from the Supreme Personality. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye (Siksastaka 4). [O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth, materialistic followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is unmotivated devotional service to You.] They are simply satisfied by glorifying the Lord. That is their only satisfaction. If they get the opportunity of glorifying the Lord, as it is said in the previous verse, sabhajayante mama paurusani. Mama paurusani—the glorious activities of the Lord. This is the way of bhajana. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah (Gita 9.14). [Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.]
“This is the way of bhakti-yoga. Simply glorify . . . Krishna therefore comes to give advantage to the devotees for glorifying Him—because He acts. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam (Gita 4.8). [In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.] To kill the demons and to give protection to the sadhus, He has to work.”
Srila Prabhupada has kindly taught us the standard of surrender, of pure devotional service. I simply pray to come to that standard, by his grace, as he wanted—unqualified as I am.
Yours in service,