Back To Godhead, or Back To Serve?

By Kesava Krsna Dasa

If a devotee were to ask, “Please bless me so that I’ll never take birth again in this horrible material world,” would this be asking for some kind of liberation? Hundreds of times, Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to “Go Back home, back to Godhead.” Would it be a form of boldness or naiveté to desire to come back to this world and serve by preaching? That would depend on our level of perception and spiritual progress. There were times when some disciples indicated to Srila Prabhupada that they would perhaps like to take birth again and help with preaching Krishna consciousness. Even then Srila Prabhupada would variously say, “Don’t try to come back…simply go back to Godhead.” If going back to Godhead is what we must seek, then does this fare somewhat less to an ideal expressed by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, as paraphrased by Srila Prabhupada: Nitya-dasa prati tuwa adhikara: “You have got every right to do whatever You think right in relation with Your servant. I am Your eternal servant.” Janmaobi moe iccha jadi tor: “If you so desire” — because a devotee goes back to Home, goes back to Godhead – therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura proposes, “If You like that I shall again take birth, it doesn’t matter.” Bhakta—grhe jani janma hau mor: “The only request is that if I have to take my birth, please kindly give me the chance of taking my birth in a devotee’s house.” Kita—janma hau jatha tuwa das: “I don’t mind if I am born as an insect, but I must be in the house of a devotee.” Bahir mukha brahma-janme nahi as: “I do not like non—devotee life.