Power of Association - Part 13

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

In our last offering on the story of Mrgari, we meditated on the instructions given by Narada muni to the hunter. Let us continue to meditate further on this topic today.

13. Follow Instructions of Guru Strictly & Make Vigorous Advancement in Bhakti: One may argue that it was possible for the hunter could go to a river side and build his own cottage in those days, but now finding a river is almost difficult and even if we find one, getting a space to build a house is even more difficult. How can one live a sattvic life, let alone practice devotion? Srila Prabhupada gives answer to such questions in his beautiful purport to verse 261, 

"In any condition, any man can live in a small cottage, plant a tulasī tree, water it in the morning, offer it prayers, and continuously chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Thus one can make vigorous spiritual advancement. This is not at all difficult. One simply has to follow the instructions of the spiritual master strictly. Then everything will be successful in due course of time."

Srila Prabhupada interestingly uses the word, 'vigorous spiritual advancement'. 'Vigour' is a french word that means, full of liveliness, activity, energy and enthusiasm. All these characteristics are monopoly of devotional service only. Bhakti is full of life (sanjivayati), enthusiasm (utsaha) and energy (shakti). We can see how devotees are active throughout the year with various festivals, services and our temples and centers are full of life. We don't see this in any other movement, because pure bhakti is missing there. This is our Srila Prabhupada's monopoly. Being blessed by the greatest saint Narada muni, we can see how the hunter made advancement in leaps and bounds in his devotional service in double quick time and similarly being blessed by the transcendental instructions of Srila Prabhupada, we can also make rapid advancement in our bhakti.

Srila Prabhupada then goes on to clarify further, "One may live in a cave, in a cottage beside a river, in a palace or in a big city like New York or London. In any case, a devotee can follow the instructions of his spiritual master and engage in devotional service by watering the tulasī plant and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra."  This is how Srila Prabhupada has made devotional service extremely practical for us. If we take to the instruction of Narada muni literally, we would be running around to find a river (let alone it has water) and struggle our whole life to find some space nearby. But Prabhupada has simplified it so nicely for us in this kali yuga saying that be situated wherever you are - sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir, simply follow the instructions of the spiritual master, doesn't matter you are in a mansion or in a hut in New York or London, you will achieve perfection.

In fact, it is very interesting to note that around the world, others have to struggle so hard throughout their life to secure a piece of land in a serene place, but devotees get palatial mansions or big piece of land in posh areas without much endeavor. This is the blessings of Krishna for our bhakti and it is confirmed in SB 8.5.47:

kleśa-bhūry-alpa-sārāṇi karmāṇi viphalāni vā
dehināṁ viṣayārtānāṁ na tathaivārpitaṁ tvayi

Karmīs are always anxious to accumulate wealth for their sense gratification, but for that purpose they must work very hard. Yet even though they work hard, the results are not satisfying. Indeed, sometimes their work results only in frustration. But devotees who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Lord can achieve substantial results without working very hard. These results exceed the devotee’s expectations.

Krishna willing, we will see further lessons from the story of Mrgari in the subsequent offering.

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