(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada bowing to the Lord)
"Dharmān bhāgavatān means the science of God. Just try to understand the word dharma. Dharma is generally translated into English as 'religion.' But dharma does not mean a particular type of faith. That is not the Sanskrit import. Dharma means the natural quality. That is. Everything has some natural quality, characteristic. Everything.
So natural characteristic for every living entity is to serve. That is the natural characteristic. Every one of us who are sitting in this meeting, nobody can say that 'I am not servant.' Every one of us is a servant. You go up to the highest man, your prime minister, or USA, the president, everyone is servant. Nobody can claim that 'I am not servant.' So therefore, either you are a Christian or either you are a Hindu, either you are a Muhammadan, but you have to serve. It is not that because one is Christian or Hindu, he hasn't got to serve. Just like so many Indians, they have come here. What is the profession? They are serving. They are serving here some company or some institution or some university. So serving was there in India; service is also here. So this is religion.
Religion means the characteristic. Characteristic... You cannot change your characteristic. In whatever circumstances you may be, the characteristic will continue. That is the meaning of religion. Dharmān bhāgavatān. And bhāgavatān means pertaining to God. And what is that, that characteristic of relationship between God and myself? That is called religion. Religion means that, oh, characteristics of God, characteristics of the living entity, and to dovetail them.
The characteristic of God is God is great. That is the characteristic. And we are small, little. This is our characteristic. If we are not small, then why we are serving the great? Serving means there must be somebody greater than me. At least, the money is greater than me. If I don't serve the man, but the man, my master who supplies me the money, that is greater.
So actually in this material world, there is no genuine service. Everyone is serving the intention of sense enjoyment. Just like from tomorrow there will be postal strike. What is that? They are not serving the government or the public; they are serving their salary. Is it not? As soon as there is some less salary, they strike. Therefore I have got my service spirit, and I have to serve somebody. That is my natural characteristic. You cannot deny it. Now you have to find out where your service should be engaged so that you may not be frustrated. That is required."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Montreal, June 12, 1968)