Being a Humble devotee in temples & Outside – Great Tips!
A woman devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna . Please accept my humble obeisances. Prabhuji what does mean by when you say that you preferring to be a last bench devotee? Whenever any person regularly visit Iskcon temple and show some dedication then few services are allotted to him/her as per the capacity and talents . So one who prefer to be a last bench devotee then does that mean he don’t want to involve in managerial or preaching roles in temple ? Hope I am not offending you . Please clear my doubt. /\”
The meaning of a humble devotee is observing the happenings keenly and learning from them and not desiring for and demanding any rewards/position in the temple voluntarily.
Go to the temple.
Be humble and calm.
Do not talk mundane things unnecessarily.
(What if the Association is misused by some devotees to love in temples? READ HERE!)
Whenever the devotees ask any doubts, clarify them if you know the answer. Or, direct to the seniors.
Do not do anything voluntarily to show you are a big devotee. Because, most of us do things to be appreciated by other devotees and common people. But, we should do anything to please Krishna. It need not be purposefully shown to others. If they voluntarily know that, its ok.
Of course, we need not hide our services. They can be open. But, we should not do a service in such a way others should see and think big about you. You should not feel or speak proud outside. Just do the service and go.
Even if we are given some responsibilities, we should take only if we are experienced in that.
For example, your temple manager requests you to cook, you should accept it only if you know cooking well. Otherwise, we can’t offer tasty food to Krishna. Take some other services and do. Or, learn cooking and then do that.
(30 Tips to take some services in ISKCON Temples! READ HERE!)
In case, your temple manager requests you to make a garland from the flowers, you should accept it only if you know making garland well. Otherwise, we will be wasting the resources of the temple. Learn and accept that service.
Only if you know the basic concepts well, you should go for preaching. First go with the seniors, learn preaching and do after that. Otherwise, just stop with distributing the books of acharyas like Srila Prabhupada.
Thus, we should try our best to accept the services given by the temple manager, if you have sufficient time and knowledge.
Even if they do not ask you, in case you observe that some work is pending in the temple because of the non availability of the helpers, you can do some voluntary services also. Eg: if the place is dirty and no person cleans it, you can take the mob and clean the hall.
My point is that you should not project your services to others that may result in getting the pride of your services that may destroy all the good effects of our services.
(Should a devotee try for big posts in the temples? Why don’t you try? READ HERE!)
SERVICE MEANS DOING WITHOUT EXPECTATION OF BENEFITS AND FAME.
So, be humble. ‘Last bench’ is an indicative term to indicate humbleness. It is not sitting idle in the last row.
I too have done/ am doing some services in the temples. But, I do them without exposing myself to others purposefully. If they themselves notice me, it is ok.
But, if anyone starts appreciating me, I keep calm and pass all those praises to my Guru and Krishna. I do not accept them.
We should be very careful in NOT developing pride in our devotional service. This is the first and foremost barrier for our devotional growth.
Krishna too does not support such a proud attitude and service.
(Dealing with Ego & Pride while following Krishna Bhakti! Nice Tips! READ HERE!)
Thus, you too accept the possible services and help the temples. Most importantly, distribute the books that pleases Srila Prabhupada the most.
A devotee need not unnecessarily stand in the prominent place with the motive of to be seen by others. Let them do their service humbly. Let others get inspiration seeing him.
We need not tell “I did this; I did that. Do you know how big achievement it is?” like that.
And, we should never gossip or speak against others in the temple and even outside. This is not the quality of a devotee.
Offer your obeisance to the senior devotees. Offer pranams to others whenever you meet them.
Krishna sees your heart. Not just the external activities.
(Is Senior Devotees giving solution for personal problems of devotees right? READ HERE!)
Thus, chant more; Follow four regulative principles; Follow fasting as a penance; Do possible services if needed with a humble mindset.
Never speak about what you did to others; If they praise you, be calm and pray to your guru (if not available, to Krishna) to accept those praises and then gently move away. Do not encourage others to praise you.
Always self-evaluate yourself whether you are following the devotional services and humbleness properly.
This is what I call as the Humble devotee.
Hope you are clear now about being a Humble devotee in temples & Outside!
(Compulsory Rituals for Busy Krishna Devotees that should never be avoided! READ HERE!)