[The following is an excerpt from the upcoming Bhaktabandhav publication, Sri Harinama Cintamani]
We see many gurus who try to help the jīvas. This help can be considered hari-sevā or not depending on how much the guru has a relationship with Harināma Prabhu and how much they serve Him. If a guru does not possess these characteristics, then their disciples will also not follow Harināma Prabhu.
Some preachers go out to spread bhakti and say, “Follow me. Follow everything I say.” If they do not show how to follow bhakti by example, however, their followers will also become like them. A preacher must be able to remain detached from mundane things and solely dedicated to harināma. If they are attached to their followers, while they themselves are not strongly related to harināma, they will fall down.
Anything that comes to you must be offered to Guru and Kṛṣṇa. Then you will remain free from anarthas. Otherwise, when you preach the glories of harināma, you will simply become entangled in māyā, and your time for performing harināma will be lost, being too much absorbed in maintaining your followers. People claim, “I am busy doing many services, so I do not have much time left for harināma.” Yet if you are actually serving, and receiving sukṛti, then your taste for harināma will surely increase. Yaśodā Mātā does so many services, but she never forgets Kṛṣṇa. The Vraja-devīs do so many things morning to evening, but they never forget Kṛṣṇa.
If whatever you do increases uddīpana and remembrance of Kṛṣṇa, then that is called bhakti, devotional service. Otherwise, if you are engaged in activities that cause you to forget Kṛṣṇa, you will only go down towards hell. By accepting followers, it is very easy to be arrested by them and embraced by attachment to them. Thus it is very dangerous.
Mahāprabhu requested Haridāsa Ṭhākura, “Please describe the glories of harināma.”
Haridāsa Thakura replied, “Prabhu, I will speak whatever words You inspire me to speak. If I say anything not in line with the truth, please correct me. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord of all lords. His potencies bestow all strength and opportunity for the jīvas to approach Him intimately. Nāma and nāmī are non-different.”
When you chant harināma, pray and invite Kṛṣṇa to come, whereupon you will develop a friendly relationship with Him and be able to serve Him. This is your duty as a living being. If you chant morning to evening, praying and inviting Kṛṣṇa to come to you, but you do not serve Him, then this is not pure bhakti. You think that chanting 64 rounds is a duty, and when you complete your harināma you are free.
Kṛṣṇa has all potencies, power, and infinite greatness. When you pray to Kṛṣṇa, pray, “O Lord, please give me good qualities, and the taste to serve You and be present with You. I have so many anarthas, and they pull me here and there to serve māyā. I run around for my own name and fame. O Lord Kṛṣṇa, this is very painful and bad for me. Please allow me to come to Vraja and serve You under guidance of the Vraja-vasis.”
If you do not pray to Kṛṣṇa like this, you will remain attached to things like rasagullas, bananas, sandeśa, nice cloth, money, followers, and fame. You will take these things from Harināma Prabhu, and go very far away. Your desire to chant harināma will not last long. While chanting harināma, you should have no external desires. Do not try to engage Kṛṣṇa in your service.