Power of Association - Part 17

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 saw how the hunter started receiving more than enough food from all the villagers simply by following the instructions of Narada muni. Let us continue to meditate on further lessons from the story today.

"The news that the hunter had become a Vaiṣṇava spread all over the village. Indeed, all the villagers brought alms and presented them to the Vaiṣṇava who had formerly been a hunter."

17. Vaishnava's Contribution to the Society: While the hunter's obedience to his spiritual master Narada muni's instruction is very much appreciated, in his purport to the verse 266, Srila Prabhupada brings an interesting perspective. He says, "Every Vaiṣṇava is dependent on Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is ready to supply all of life’s necessities, provided a Vaiṣṇava follows the principles set forth by the spiritual master. There are certainly many householders in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. They join the movement and live in the society’s centers, but if they take advantage of this opportunity and do not work but live at the expense of the movement, eating prasādam and simply sleeping, they place themselves in a very dangerous position."

Vaishnava never means living at the cost of others and be a parasite to the society. Vaishnava means we have offered ourselves to the society and every act we do is for the ultimate benefit of the society and in order to accomplish that, a vaishnava will be ready to sacrifice even his own life.

Srila Prabhupada writes beautifully in his another purport to SB 2.2.5, "The renounced order of life is never meant for begging or living at the cost of others as a parasite... The renounced order is meant for contributing something substantial to society and not depending on the earnings of the householders. On the contrary, acceptance of alms from the householders by the bona fide mendicant is an opportunity afforded by the saint for the tangible benefit of the donor. In the sanātana-dharma institution, alms-giving to the mendicant is part of a householder’s duty, and it is advised in the scriptures that the householders should treat the mendicants as their family children and should provide them with food, clothing, etc., without being asked. Pseudomendicants, therefore, should not take advantage of the charitable disposition of the faithful householders."

The hunter never thought (or expected) that the villagers would come and offer him alms and honor him. He thought, "My spiritual master said he will organize my food, so nothing to worry." Here the words 'brought alms and presented' is very important to note. The villagers were not giving him food because they felt pity on him. They offered him alms because they started 'respecting' him. And he gained this respect only because he turned saintly by obediently following his spiritual master's order with full faith. This is how, those who are cent-percent obedient to their spiritual masters will be glorified in all the three worlds.

Now, what was his contribution to the society?

1. He offered the greatest charity as explained in Srimad Bhagavatam 3.21.31:

kṛtvā dayāṁ ca jīveṣu dattvā cābhayam ātmavān
mayy ātmānaṁ saha jagad drakṣyasy ātmani cāpi mām

Showing compassion to all living entities, you will attain self-realization. Giving assurance of safety to all, you will perceive your own self as well as all the universes in Me, and Myself in you.

Srila Prabhupada says in his purport, "To award fearlessness to the common man is the greatest act of charity." When Mrgari turned from a hunter to a devotee, not only the human beings but also all the animals became fearless of him. This is a great lesson we can learn from the hunter. Like the hunter we also instill fear in others because of our envy and violence. As long as we are envious, some living entity or the other in this world will always be either afraid of us or try to harm us. So it is very important for us to become non-envious and non-violent towards others both physically and mentally to make them free of fear, and more importantly replace that envy with love.  

2. Another important service the hunter did was to be a great inspiration for the potency of devotional service and pure devotees for generations to come. That is the reason, even after many thousands of years we are meditating on his story and derive great inspiration in pursuing our own devotional service too.

Krishna willing, we will continue to meditate on further lessons from this story in the subsequent offerings.

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