Teaching by Example

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

Two weeks back I was attending a lecture by one of the devotees and he gave a lecture on Bhagavad Gita 3.21:

yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas tat tad evetaro janaḥ
sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute lokas tad anuvartate

Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada quotes Lord Chaitanya's famous words that a teacher should himself behave properly before he begins teaching (āpani ācāre prabhu jīvera sikhaya). One who teaches in that way is called acharya or the ideal teacher. Therefore, a teacher must first follow the principles of shastras himself to teach the common man. The Srimad Bhagavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees (mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ) and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization.

In the lecture, the devotee quoted a very instructive verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam SB 1.6.26 wherein Sri Narada muni,

nāmāny anantasya hata-trapaḥ paṭhan
guhyāni bhadrāṇi kṛtāni ca smaran
gāṁ paryaṭaṁs tuṣṭa-manā gata-spṛhaḥ
kālaṁ pratīkṣan vimado vimatsaraḥ

Thus I began chanting the holy name and fame of the Lord by repeated recitation, ignoring all the formalities of the material world. Such chanting and remembering of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord are benedictory. So doing, I traveled all over the earth, fully satisfied, humble and unenvious.

Srila Prabhupada says in the purport that the life of a sincere devotee of the Lord is thus explained in a nutshell by Narada Muni by his personal example. Such a devotee, after his initiation by the Lord or His bonafide representative, takes very seriously the chanting of the glories of the Lord and traveling all over the world so that others may also hear the glories of the Lord.

If we carefully pick out all the qualities of a devotee mentioned in this verse, we can find that it perfectly fits in Srila Prabhupada's personality as well. Such a wonderful acharya to walk on this earth and spread the holy names of the Lord without expecting anything from others (tuṣṭa-manā). He was completely oblivious to the mundane formalities (hata-trapaḥ) and purely compassionate to the fallen souls, he went all around the world several times (gāṁ paryaṭaṁ) and preached them by his personal example, how to perform sincere service to the Lord. He was able to do this because he was totally freed of material desires (gata-spṛhaḥ) and completely free of false pride (vimadaḥ) and totally non-envious (vimatsaraḥ).

During the time of my initiation, I remember vividly the words of my spiritual master, H.H. Maha Vishnu Goswami Maharaj. He said, "I'm not doing anything, I'm just taking you to Srila Prabhupada". I feel so grateful to Lord Krishna and my spiritual master for giving me shelter under such a great acharya.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!!

Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Jyeshta devi dasi

Moderator's Note: H G Jyeshta Mataji is a very sincere and humble devotee living in the South Indian city of Chennai with her two grown up sons Kailash and Bharadwaj. Her husband H G Purna Prajna Prabhu is a very simple-minded, active and enthusiastic devotee and he works out of Abu Dhabi. Mataji is very inquisitive and sincere in the study of shastras and organizes weekly satsang programs in her local area very enthusiastically. Kailash and Bharadwaj are also taking Krishna consciousness very seriously in their young age (inspite of all the attractions the material world is offering to them) and at the same time perform their material duties immaculately well. They perform wonderful kirtans and are very eager to render service to everyone.