Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: What is one duty of one on one’s birthday?
Devotee: To serve Guru and Vaiṣṇavas
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: And?

śrī-kṛṣṇa-bhajana lāgi saṁsare āinu
māyā-jāle bandī haiyā vṛkṣa-samāna hainu

[To worship Lord Kṛṣṇa I came to this world of birth and death. Then māyā caught me in her net and bound me up, and I became like a tree]

I came to this material world to worship Kṛṣṇa. I was bound by the illusions of māyā
and I became dull like a tree.
What does it mean?
Devotee: We have taken human birth to worship all mighty Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: Why do we have to perform bhajana?
Devotee: Performing bhajana is the constitutional function of the soul (śvarūpa dharma).
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: Have you realised that Kṛṣṇa-bhajana is the constitutional function of your soul?
Devotee: No Mahārājajī, I have not realised that.
Śrīla Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Mahārāja: When the child is in the mother’s womb, he is feeling so much pain. Insects and bugs are always biting him. Suffering so much he prays, “O Lord please take me out from here. When I come out from here I will perform Your bhajana.”
But when he takes birth, his knowledge is stolen away by māyā potency and he becomes inert like a tree. A tree has life in it; it eats, drinks, and expands its family by its fruits. It also has the potency to perform hari-bhajana because that is the nature of the soul but it does not have that realisation that it needs to do bhajana (because it cannot manifest in that body).
Similarly we have come in the world and doing all activities – eating, sleeping, mating and defending – in this world but we are not performing bhajana and we have forgotten that we need to do bhajana so we become like a tree.
A tree has the four qualities to do hari-kīrtana – it is humble, tolerant, gives respect to others and does not expect any respect from others. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has told us that these are four qualities to do Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana. A tree has all four qualities but it is not performing bhajana (performing Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana does not manifest in it).
Humans can also have these four qualities and have the eligibility to do Kṛṣṇa-bhajana but if we don’t do Kṛṣṇa-bhajana then we are like trees.
When our birthdays or birthdays of our children and other family members comes – we make many arrangements for that occasion like delicious sweets and food. We may even organise some kīrtana – but that is only for some ceremony not for really serving Kṛṣṇa or advancing in bhakti.
The birthday comes every year to remind us for what purpose we have come to this world. We have come to this world only to perform Kṛṣṇa-bhajana and especially getting this human birth we should not lose this opportunity.

Image/Art made possible by Pixabay.com

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