(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 4 April 2013, Durban, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.10)
Sometimes, you sit in the program and they rattle-off your devotional career in apprentice. In my case, “Was involved in the construction of the Pushpa Samadhi of Srila Prabhupada. “ And I think, “Yes but I didn’t want to do it.”
I didn’t! I was in Mayapur and suddenly Bhavananada was standing behind me and I felt his presence – this sort of awkward presence. So, I looked over my shoulder and he smiled, a devious smile and I became worried. I just felt it coming and he said, “You like construction?”
And then I knew and I said, “No, no, actually I don’t. I would really rather be out in the preaching field.” He said, “Great! You’re in charge of all the construction in Mayapur.” And he walked away. I was just counting on my hand what that meant – this building, that building. Anyway, I hated it, I hated construction; everyday of it but I did it, somehow or other. Then at the end, they glorify you for it although you did it very reluctantly.
Book distribution – I was out there on the street and to be honest, I felt compassion, a lot of compassion for myself – really, I did. But in the end, you are glorified for everything you did. And not only do we get glorified but Krsna also gives us mercy for it, even though we did it reluctantly. So, that is why I say that we are the reluctant servants of Srila Prabhupada. But even by that reluctant service, we become purified and gradually things that used to be so tough, now after some years, “No big deal. Yeah, no problem. Yeah, I can do it.” Whereas in the beginning, those things would have freaked us out but now we can do it!
So, we are making a little advancement even against the odds, somehow or other. So, understanding that it is against the odds, that it is against any of our qualifications and against our level of surrender, then it can only be by mercy that we are making advancement. And in this way, we can appreciate that it is by mercy only, that we are making advancement!