Power of Association - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila, one of the longest chapters is dedicated to the explanation of a single verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (SB 1.7.10) by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Srila Sanatana Goswami. The verse is

ātmārāmāś ca munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim ittham-bhūta-guṇo hariḥ

Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Kṛṣṇa because He has such transcendentally attractive features.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives 61 different explanations of this verse. Out of the 61 different meanings, one particular meaning is, Even if a person is a hunter by profession, if he associates with a saintly person like Narada muni, he engages in Krishna bhakti. 

To explain this meaning, Caintanya Mahaprabhu narrates a very instructive story. Praying at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya, let us try to meditate on this story to extract the beautiful lessons hidden in it.

Once Narada muni is walking through a forest and he finds a few animals being hit by arrow and are writhing in pain in a state of being half-killed by a hunter. Being pained at seeing the suffering of those animals, Narada muni walks towards the hunter inside the forest and the rest of the animals realizing the presence of the hunter runs away. Initially, the hunter is annoyed with this act of Narada muni due to which the rest of the animals escaped. But upon seeing the calm and peaceful disposition he gave up his anger and changed his approach towards Narada muni.

In CC Madhya lila, 24.237 it says, "When all the animals fled, the hunter wanted to chastise Nārada with abusive language, but due to Nārada’s presence, he could not utter anything abusive."

It is said in the above verse, 'nārada-prabhāve mukhe gāli nāhi āya'. The hunter was accustomed to speaking foul language and chastise others but due to the powerful spiritual influence of Narada muni, he could not abuse him.

1. Purity is the Force: We learn a very important lesson from Narada muni at this point. The purity of Narada muni is his unflinching faith in Krishna and his unlimited compassion toward all the living entities. He was extremely pained to see the poor animals suffering a life and death situation and he was also pained to see the situation of the hunter. To everyone else the hunter was fearsome, terrible, frightening and so on, but for Narada muni who has transcended the three modes of material nature, he saw the hunter also as a suffering being. That is the unique vision of a tattva-darshi and it comes out of his pure and unflinching faith in Krishna. By his purity Narada muni had his initial impact on the hunter i.e., stopped the hunter from exhibiting his natural tamo guna of speaking foul language.

Srila Prabhupada writes beautifully in a later purport in text 252, "Our preachers who are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world should follow in the footsteps of Nārada Muni and become purified by following the four principles and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This will make them fit to become Vaiṣṇavas. Then, when they speak to sinful people about the teachings of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, people will be affected and take the instructions." So it is important to purify ourselves before giving our association to others.

Krishna willing we will continue to look into the story and its teachings further.

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das

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