Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Mukunda-mālā-stotra 20

jihve kīrtaya keśavaḿ mura-ripuḿ ceto bhaja śrīdharaḿ

pāṇi-dvandva samarcayācyuta-kathāḥ śrotra-dvaya tvaḿ śṛṇu

kṛṣṇaḿ lokaya locana-dvaya harer gacchāńghri-yugmālayaḿ

jighra ghrāṇa mukunda-pāda-tulasīḿ mūrdhan namādhokṣajam


jihveO tongue; kīrtaya — chant the praise; keśavam — of Lord Keśava; mura-ripum — the enemy of Mura; cetaḥO mind; bhaja — worship; śrī-dharam — the Lord of Śrī, the goddess of fortune; pāṇi-dvandvaO two hands; samarcaya — serve; acyuta-kathāḥ — topics of Lord Acyuta; śrotra-dvayaO two ears; tvam — you; śṛṇu — just hear; kṛṣṇam — at Kṛṣṇa; lokaya — look; locana-dvayaO two eyes; hareḥ — of Lord Hari; gacchago to; ańghri-yugmaO two feet; ālayamto the residence; jighra — smell; ghrāṇaO nose; mukunda — of Lord Mukunda; pāda — at the feet; tulasīm — the tulasī flowers; mūrdhanO head; nama — bow down; adhokṣajamto Lord Adhokṣaja.


O tongue, praise the glories of Lord Keśava. O mind, worship the enemy of Mura. O hands, serve the Lord of Śrī. O ears, hear the topics of Lord Acyuta. O eyes, gaze upon Śrī Kṛṣṇa. O feet, go to the temple of Lord Hari. O nose, smell the tulasī buds on Lord Mukunda's feet. O head, bow down to Lord Adhokṣaja.


Here the poet orders each of his senses to cooperate in serving the Lord. The spirit soul is higher than the senses, and so it is right that he should order them:

indriyāni parāṇy āhur indriyebyaḥ paraḿ manaḥ

manasas tu parā buddhir yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ

"The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence" (Bg. 3.42).

Texts 19 and 20 of Mukunda-mālā-stotra call to mind a series of verses by Śaunaka Ṛṣi in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.20-24): "One who has not listened to the messages about the prowess and marvelous acts of the Personality of Godhead and has not sung or chanted loudly the worthy songs about the Lord is to be considered to possess earholes like the holes snakes live in and a tongue like the tongue of a frog. The upper portion of the body, though crowned with a silk turban, is only a heavy burden if not bowed down before the Personality of Godhead, who can award mukti [freedom from birth and death]. And the hands, though decorated with glittering bangles, are like those of a dead man if not engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead, Hari. The eyes which do not look at the symbolic representations [Deity forms] of the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, are like those printed on the plumes of the peacock, and the legs which do not move to the holy places [where the Lord is remembered] are considered to be like tree trunks. The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of the Lord's pure devotee upon his head is certainly a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the aroma of the tulasī flowers decorating the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, although breathing. Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one's chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change and feel ecstasy, at which time tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end."

Each of our senses may help or hinder us in devotional service. If we allow even one sense free rein, it can seriously distract our mind, just as a gust of wind can sweep away an unanchored sailboat on the ocean. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has senses, and so do we, and our perfection lies in serving Hṛṣīkeśa (the Lord of the senses) with all of our senses. We may engage our senses in the service of Kṛṣṇa or in the service of Māyā, illusion. The choice is vividly shown in the verses by Kulaśekhara and Śaunaka Ṛṣi.

For example, our sincere singing (kīrtana) may please the Supreme Lord and evoke His mercy, or our materialistic songs will resemble the frog's croaking, which attracts the predator snake — death. Similarly, we may be beautified by bowing our head before the Lord, or that same head, burdened by ornaments and pride, will drag us down into the ocean of birth and death. A person in a high social position is often too proud to humble himself before the Deity in the temple. In that case he will be pulled down by his own pride, just as a man who falls overboard in the ocean is pulled down by his heavy clothes and headdress. In Lord Caitanya's time, King Pratāparudra set the perfect example for a worldly leader by performing the menial service of sweeping the road before Lord Jagannātha's chariot. In this way he showed his subordination to the Almighty.

One can best serve the Lord's senses by serving His devotees. Śrīla Prabhupāda states, "Kṛṣṇa is the property of His pure, unconditioned devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Kṛṣṇa to another devotee; Kṛṣṇa is never obtainable directly" (Bhāg. 2.3.23, purport). A disciple should therefore use his senses to perform all kinds of services for the satisfaction of his guru.

We should engage not only our senses but also our mind in the Lord's service. The mind, after all, provides the impetus for the actions of all the bodily limbs. So thinking of Kṛṣṇa is the basis of all devotional service. As the Lord instructs in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.34), man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ: "Think of Me and become My devotee." The mind fixed in chanting and praying to Kṛṣṇa will change the heart, which will transform the conditioned soul into a pure devotee. A pure devotee, therefore, is one whose body, mind, and words are all merged in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, with no room for illusion.

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