Usually a person who qualifies as a Bhakta is surrendered to the Supreme Personality Lord Krishna. Such a surrendered aspirant of Bhakti engages in the whole-hearted service to the Lord by means of rendering service to Sri Gurudeva and by engaging in any or all of the nine limbs of devotional activity such as Hearing, Chanting, Remembering etc.
However in the course of engaging in such top class transcendental service there comes a time where the devotee is challenged on many fronts especially with regards to his own personal attachment to the Lord. As a devotee engages in devotional activities, based on one’s dedication in service, the Lord empowers the devotee and even grants certain powers to him unasked. These are sometimes in the parlance of Yoga may be referred as siddhis. Siddhis are those special powers which come into the devotee’s life wherein a great amount of independence is granted to the devotee whereby the devotee becomes particularly capable in leading higher social causes, satisfying desires of others whether material or spiritual as well as satisfying the one’s own hidden desires and motives. These aspects appear to be very positive on the whole, however from a vigilant devotee’s perspective these are extremely detrimental. These powers are granted by the Lord to evaluate the deepest core of the devotee’s heart and understand the devotee’s innermost preferences so that the Lord can satisfy those and thus reciprocate with the devotee’s attachment to the Lord.
In the Gaudiya Sampradaya, the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the teachings of all the elevated Acaryas of the Sampradaya allude to one common paradigm in the aspect of Bhajana. All say that one has to be vigilant of special powers graced by the Lord and should be very careful of Riddhi and Siddhi which refers to Fame, Fortune and unprecedented capabilities conferred by the Lord on the Bhakta. The Acaryas say that these special powers are extremely detrimental to one’s Bhajana and can delude even a sincere aspirant into an undesirable alley which will force a wasted opportunity on the aspirant. There are lot of great bhaktas of bygone times and there are more even in the current times who try to serve Krishna and Guru by means of starting hospitals for service of Sadhus and Vaishnavas or even try to distribute welfare items amongst Sadhus and Vaishnavas. There are still others who in the name of propagation of the Lord’s glories engage in Temple Building and other social chores. All this is absolutely unnecessary because the Supreme Lord has His own sweet mechanisms to achieve His objectives in the Samsara Leela. He may inspire people who are new to Bhakti, He may inspire even materialists if He wants to take care of other social awareness and social care projects including caring for Vaishnavas. It is the Job and business of a devotee to be Self-ish. A devotee simply needs to attend to his Bhajana and serve Vaishnavas and Guru based on principles prescribed in the scriptures specifically for one’s own personal upliftment. By doing this one automatically contributes to the welfare of society.
A devotee who thinks of serving Vaishnavas and Sadhus by starting a mega-project hospital taking the help of materialists and pseudo-devotees simply fools himself even if he boasts of being favoured by Guru-Kripa. It is said that one has to balance the Guru, Shastra and Vaishnava on a holistic perspective with regards to devotee dharma. There is a saying in Indian folk-lore that it is better to serve water to a thirsty traveller rather than trying to set up a water distributing centre for travellers. A devotee who attends to social causes destroys his own chances of Ultimate welfare or Prayojana indirectly. The business of a devotee is to be steadfast in his own sadhana and talk about the Lord to others favourable as part of his own Dharma and take to serious Ekanta Bhajana with passing time and not try to reverse the mood by getting involved with social projects which will in the long run contaminate his own consciousness.