(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 31 March 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.5.1)
Personal service is valuable. In the seventh canto, the position of the spiritual master is described. It is mentioned that one must become a menial servant of the spiritual master, render personal service and see that all his personal needs are supplied. And why is that… because it is difficult! In the course of personal service, so many things are required. It has to be particular because each person is particular.
One may himself be a person who likes lots of fresh air but may serve someone who doesn’t; who is different and may like all the windows closed. So, one has to gradually give up his own idea of serving and not serve according to his own standards of what is best; one must gradually learn what are the standards that are best by the person that he is serving. That is quite an adjustment and in that adjustment, one must grow.
This personal service element is mentioned as valuable. Looking after the personal comforts and these things are good and well, but how much personal comfort can a person digest. Sometimes, it is difficult to be the object of so much service. Sometimes, part of the service is to stop serving; that would be a great service because all this service can become too much. So that is also there! One has to know when to and when not to serve.
But more important than personal service is that one takes up the work of the spiritual master… that is most dear to the spiritual master! That work is to somehow or other, spread Krsna consciousness to all the conditioned souls in this world, in various ways. That is most needed and desired. Anyone who takes up that work, he is priyah-krttamah (Bhagavad-gita 18.69), most dear as Krsna says because that is Krsna’s work. That is ultimately real service.