“Shri Narada Muni from practical experience definitely asserts that the prime solution of all problems of material work is to broadcast very widely the transcendental glories of the Supreme Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.5.40 Purport)
Ronald Reagan, the fortieth president of the United States, is often referred to as The Great Communicator. Since it is considered the highest position of power in the country, each presidency is studied extensively by historians. As an outgrowth of their popularity, each president usually acquires a nickname from the general public, and in this regard, Reagan was no different.
Ronald Reagan was a B movie actor in the late 1930s. B movies are those that aren’t very popular and don’t necessarily play in major movie theaters across America. It was during his time as president of the Screen Actors Guild that Reagan turned his attention to politics. He eventually became an activist against the forces of communism, a philosophy gaining attention in America and around the world due to the ascension of power of the Soviet Union. Travelling the country giving speeches, Reagan lucidly explained the principles of the founding documents of the country, the ideals and beliefs of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. He eventually became governor of the state of California for two terms in the late 1960s, which launched him to national prominence. In 1980, he was elected president and would serve for the next eight years. He was best noted for his speaking ability. Whether it was a solemn occasion or a general celebration, Reagan could always deliver a great speech, riveting the crowd and capturing the hearts of all those watching on television. Critics attributed this skill to his acting days, but Reagan knew wherefrom his powers came.
Each president gives a farewell address to the nation just prior to leaving office. In 1989, Reagan delivered his and addressed the nickname of Great Communicator bestowed upon him. He humbly accepted such a complimentary title, but also was quick to point out that he didn’t think he was such a great speaker. Rather, he believed it was the content of his speeches that was great. Even regarding the content, he credited the ideas embedded in the country for the past two hundred years as the source:
“I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation – from our experience, our wisdom, and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.”
In the same manner, the spiritual master, the bona fide representative of Krishna, can also be considered a great communicator. Lord Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the one and only God who everyone can approach and love. Since He is not always physically present before us, He sends His representatives to come to earth in human form to teach the science of self realization. The Vedas touch on very complicated subject matter. The Bhagavad-gita, spoken by Krishna Himself, has been studied for thousands of years by great scholars, but only the bona fide gurus can actually understand it. The Gita covers a variety of topics including the eternity of the soul, the temporary nature of the material world, and how one can grasp the meaning of life. The spiritual master can understand this and other great Vedic texts because he studies them in a mood of devotion and love. That is the only way to understand Krishna. It is not a very difficult thing to do, but the false ego causes human beings to be skeptical of everyone around them. For this reason, only after many many births does one finally gain a proper of understanding of Krishna:
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)
The Vedic literatures give us a detailed list of all the great spiritual masters of the past. Some of the more notable ones are Narada Muni, Parashara, his son Vyasadeva, Bharadvaja, Agastya, Vishvamitra, Vashishta, and Valmiki. Narada Muni is very famous and is known as the triloka sanchari since he trots the three worlds. Cursed by his father, Narada is not allowed to have permanent residence anywhere. Taking advantage of this curse, Narada travels throughout this universe and others to teach Krishna’s message. The two most important authors of Vedic literatures are Vyasadeva and Valmiki. Narada Muni was the spiritual master of both of them so that alone gives a glimpse into his greatness.
In modern times, there are four primary sampradayas, or disciplic successions, teaching the principles of Vaishnavism, or devotion to Lord Vishnu. Krishna, Vishnu, and Narayana are all interchangeable names for God. Krishna Himself personally took birth as a spiritual master known as Lord Chaitanya. Founder of the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya, Lord Chaitanya played the role of an ideal sannyasi, preaching the glories of the Lord from door to door across India. His teachings spawned a great line of future gurus, of which include Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The modern day Hare Krishna movement was inaugurated by Lord Chaitanya Himself in India some five hundred years ago.
The spiritual master is the greatest communicator. This fact was displayed by Shrila Prabhupada, who travelled the world for twelve years starting in the late 1960s, giving lectures and talking about Krishna to whomever he’d meet. Though his English wasn’t always grammatically correct when speaking, his speeches were nevertheless perfect, captivating audiences around the world. One who listens to these recorded lectures today will surely agree that he was a great communicator who had a firm grasp of Vedic concepts. The lesson is that we should all humbly submit ourselves to such great souls and take instruction from them. Lord Chaitanya advised everyone to become serious students of bhakti yoga. Then upon gaining a firm understanding of Krishna, He advised everyone to become a guru and teach this science to others. For those who love Krishna, speaking about Him to others will come very easily and naturally.
Categories: spiritual master