Hospitality in devotional service by Radhanath Swami at Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK on 17 March 2017

Radhanath Swami at Bhaktivedanta Manor

● When we study the scriptures, we can understand how important seva is.
● Srila Prabhupada's hospitality was much the reason he spread Krishna Consciousness across the world!
● Prabhupada made the early devotees feel so appreciated. He made them feel so grateful for accepted Krishna.
● Hospitality isn't just about making people feel welcome, it's about making them feel loved.
● With Srila Prabhupada, he made them feel unconditionally loved.
● Devotees would give their lives for Srila Prabhupada simply due to his hospitality.
● We shouldn't kill the animals, we should make things so clean that they don't want to come.
● Any guest that comes, you should treat them so nice and see them as Krishna's special guest!
● At any time of the day or night, we should have prasadam ready for them. (Quoting Srila Prabhupada)
● The tradition of a Grihasta is where you go outside your door and call: "If anyone is hungry, please come!"
● It's not just about feeding, it's about feeding people's hearts by being an instrument of Krishna's compassion.
● When people come to our temples, they should feel so wanted, appreciated and loved. Because that was Prabhupada's standard.
● Every single devotee in our movement, I have shed buckets of blood for every devotee who has come. And with this understanding, this is how you should treat each other. They should not go away because of neglect. (Quoting Srila Prabhupada)
● Charity begins at home! If we don't have hospitality to each other, how are we going to give this to others?
● Regardless of who walked through the door, Prabhupada never rejected anyone and he made them feel loved.
● In our siddhanta, vipralambha bhava, love in separation, is highly sought after.
● Vritrasura was the king of all demons but still the greatest of all devotees.
● Vritrasura prayed: As a little calf is longing and yearning for her mother while she's out in the pasture; as a little bird alone in the nest is completely immersed in separation for her mother; or as a loving wife, who's husband has been gone a long time, is immersed in waiting for him to come, in the same way, I am yearning to serve you, my Lord, in unalloyed devotion.
● An enlightened person sees others with equal vision.
● When Mahaprabhu was a Grihasta and would come home, 20 guests would come! And he was a simple brahmana, so he didn't have much. But Mahaprabhu would greet them give them a nice sitting place and make them feel that he was so happy for them to be there!
● The only success of anything we do is how it pleases Krishna. And Mahaprabhu comes specifically to teach us how to please Krishna: Nama Ruci, Vaisnava Seva and Jiva Doya - that's His mission. That's what He lived and that's what He taught.
● Only through the guru's grace and the blessings of the Holy name can we meet Radha and Krishna.
● When Mahaprabhu said to Rupa and Santana Goswami that their humility is breaking His heart, it means they broke the treasure house of His heart open and trusted Rupa and Santana Goswami to disperse it profusely.
● Srila Prabhupada asked us to accept what he has given us, and give this gift to others. That's how to please him. And with the mood of being a servant of the servant of the servant, in that hospitality, people become enchanted.
Hospitality (Radhanath Swami):
One boy who met Prabhupada said, "When I first came to New York, I was practically a vagabond, just loitering." Srila Prabhupada gave that person hospitality at their house. Prabhupada offered to cook for him, but said, "You'll have to pay for it." He cooked this whole feast and fed this young man.

More than the food he just loved Swamiji. Prabhupada made him eat a lot. Prabhupada was just talking to him about Krishna. The man used government welfare money to pay for that feast. Prabhupada's hospitality really conquered the hearts of people that were coming to his first New York temple.

In a shop, the staff are getting paid to encourage you to buy things, whereas Prabhupada's hospitality was without any ulterior motive. The people who first came to Prabhupada didn't even know who Krishna was. Prabhupada was making ISKCON bullets, the name he gave to his gulab jamuns. There are so many ingredients required to make gulab jamuns, but Prabhupada went to all that effort out of love.

Hospitality is about making people feel appreciated and loved. Even though it's such a simple thing, not too many people feel loved unconditionally. The people who first came to Prabhupada thought, "Here's a person who wants us." There hearts were so open, that it was easy for them to accept everything Prabhupada said to be true.

They had faith he was a saint because his hospitality was incredible. Prabhupada cooked the whole feast himself. Prabhupada was in the kitchen alone cooking. He was teaching Yamuna Devi how to cook. He cleaned up afterwards.

The devotees felt so loved and appreciated by Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada was cooking, serving, and after they left he had to clean up. One boy thought, "He's cooking a whole lunch for us every day." So he asked Prabhupada, "Can I help you cook?" Prabhupada started teaching him how to cook.

Prabhupada wanted every temple to have puris, sabji and halava available to any visitor to the temple, no matter what time they would visit. This is Prabhupada's standard of hospitality. It is very much a principle of Vedic culture.

It's not just about feeding, its about being an instrument of Krishna's love and compassion by feeding their hearts. Somebody was a guest for many years, because he saw that the devotees would only treat guests nicely. But Prabhupada wanted devotees to treat each other with the same hospitality.

If we don't have hospitality to each other, we cannot offer substantial hospitality to others. Prabhupada struggled, he was between heart attacks, but made great sacrifices just to offer hospitality to his guests. The person I was talking about was on welfare benefits, but Prabhupada gave him his heart. Some guests were educated, some were illiterate. Prabhupada made them feel loved.

In Srimad Bhagavatam 9th canto there is the story of Rantidev. He fasted for the sake of his kingdom for 48 days, so that his resultant piety would give blessings to his citizens.

In our siddhanta, love in separation is held in the highest regard. In canto 6 of the Bhagavatam, Vritrasura was a demon, but the greatest of all devotees. Even the greatest warrior like Bhishma cannot be successful if not on the side of Krishna.

Vritra said, "Just as a calf is eager for its mother in the pastures, just as a bird is waiting for its mother in the nest, and just as a loving wife pines for her absent husband, so I yearn to serve you with unalloyed devotion." A man with a pack of dogs once asked Rantidev for food for himself and his hungry dogs, just when the king was about to break his fast. Rantidev fed them to their full satisfaction. All that was left was a glass of water, which the king would have to drink in order to stay alive, but just as he was to drink it, a thirsty untouchable asked him for water.

So Rantidev folded his hands and prayed, "I do not ask you for yogic perfection or liberation. But please allow me to live and suffer for relieving the suffering of other living beings." Rantidev gave the water to the untouchable, who drank it, and there was nothing left.

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