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 practical application of the instructions in this day and age as given by Narada muni to the hunter. Let us continue to meditate further on this topic today.
14. Simple Living - The Hallmark of Pure Devotional Service: After giving the instructions to the hunter Narada muni said, "Every day I shall send sufficient food to you both. You can take as much food as you want."
When Narada muni instructed the hunter to break his bow, his source of income finished but also his present and future sins. When he asked the hunter to distribute all his wealth, all his savings were gone along with his past sins. And when he asked him to leave home with only one piece of cloth, he was deprived of his shelter and also the sinful environment. While doing devotional service if we are losing something material, then it means we gain something valuable spiritually. The hunter followed all the instructions of Narada muni with full faith and advanced in his devotion rapidly. As a bona fide spiritual master, Narada muni never forgot his initial promise to the hunter and therefore confirmed him again that he will arrange for sufficient food for both the hunter and his wife.
A bona fide spiritual master will never betray our faith in him. In fact, he will give more than what we deserve. Earlier, the hunter had to work so hard just to supply food for his family, but by Narada muni's blessings now without harming other living entities he would be supplied so much food that he would be in anxiety how to distribute the excess food. This is made possible because the hunter simply followed the instructions of his spiritual master and practiced unflinching devotional service.
Srila Prabhupada writes a very thought-provoking purport to this verse, "When a person takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no need to care for material necessities. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: “I personally carry all necessities to My devotees.” Why should one be anxious about the necessities of life? The principle should be that one should not want more than what is absolutely necessary. Nārada Muni advises the hunter to accept only what is absolutely necessary for him and his wife. The devotee should always be alert to consume only those things that he absolutely requires and not create unnecessary needs."
The only absolute necessity for us in this life is Krishna bhakti, intense devotional service. This is the only necessity without which we cannot live this life, rest everything becomes optional provided our bhakti is intense and focused. Dhruva Maharaj showed us in practice. He kept reducing his material needs every month as the intensity of his devotion increased. He reduced it to such an extent that at one point he inhaled air only once in a few days and eventually he even stopped breathing that the three worlds became suffocated.
With the advancing age, our body naturally loses its digesting capacity and accepts lesser and lesser food, then slowly we lose taste and towards the end can only take some liquids (if we are lucky). This is true even from a mundane point of view and it is a great suffering. But when we reduce our needs voluntarily on the basis of sincere devotional service then the same suffering gets converted into a cheerful austerity performed for the pleasure of Krishna. Hence Prabhupada insists on this point - yaavad arthah, accept that which is absolutely necessary, then we can lead a peaceful life. It is rightly confirmed in SB 1.2.10:
kāmasya nendriya-prītir lābho jīveta yāvatā
jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ
Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.
For basic necessities and self-preservation, one need not struggle too much. It is only for living a luxurious life-style that will make the "neighbors envious and owners proud" we have to toil hard. Since Narada muni has given the perfect process of Krishna consciousness to the hunter, he knew well that the hunter is safe both from devotion point of view as well as maintenance point of view. By leading a simple life, he would spend more time performing devotional service and less time worrying about his maintenance, because he has been convinced by Narada muni that the Supreme Lord maintains everybody - yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham.
Let us strive to practice a simple life, accept that which is absolutely necessary as advised by Narada muni and Srila Prabhupada to intensify our Krishna conscious life.
Krishna willing, let us try to meditate on further instructions from the story of Mrgari.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das
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