Don’t You Think Narada’s Message Was Too Heavy For A Child To Grasp

[Prahlada]“When the great saint Narada Muni had thus spoken, King Indra, being respectful to Narada’s words, immediately released my mother. Because of my being a devotee of the Lord, all the demigods circumambulated her. Then they returned to their celestial kingdom.” (Prahlada Maharaja, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.7.11)

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इत्य् उक्तस् तां विहायेन्द्रो
देवर्षेर् मानयन् वचः
परिक्रम्य दिवं ययौ

ity uktas tāṁ vihāyendro
devarṣer mānayan vacaḥ
parikramya divaṁ yayau

Friend1: Listen, those who enjoy the bliss of sharanagati naturally want to share the experience with others.

Friend2: Explain what that is.

Friend1: Surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. In the complete sense, not just some profession of faith, where you sign a piece of paper or agree to show up at a house of worship on a regular basis.

Friend2: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives the wonderful term of “Krishna consciousness.”

Friend1: Yes; change how you think. Beyond the mind and intelligence; reach for the essence of identity, the spirit soul.

Friend2: Atma.

Friend1: Merge atma with Paramatma. That is the meaning to yoga. Surrender is relinquishing control over the outcomes to actions.

Friend2: Which were never in our control to begin with:

प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि
गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः
कर्ताहम् इति मन्यते

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate

“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)

Friend1: I have this invaluable tool of the routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I want to share the secret with every person that I meet.

Friend2: As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommended:

यारे देख, तारे कह ऽकृष्णऽ-उपदेश
आमार आज्ञाय गुरु हञा तारऽ एइ देश

yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa
āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra’ ei deśa

“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Shri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”  (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 7.128)

[Chaitanya Mahaprabhu]Friend1: Of course there are so many barriers. People have their guards up. Perhaps they already have allegiance to a particular faith. They may not want to hear about something they consider “Hindu” or “Indian.”

Friend2: Maybe they have reached a firm conclusion that there is no God. Why bother with surrendering when there is no one on the other side?

Friend1: To that end, I know people employ different tricks. They may dumb down the message. Though the name of Krishna is everything, the simpler explanation tends to avoid references that might be considered sectarian.

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: Where you just speak on the generalities of loving God, serving God, and so forth.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: Even that is not a surefire way to succeed. Many supposedly saintly people in the modern day turn into life coaches. They give guidance on material life. “Find your passion.” “Always love.” “Learn to listen.” “Become vegan.”

Friend2: I’ve heard those messages. Not sure how they relate to spiritual life. Don’t know how effective they are, either.

Friend1: They work in attracting followers; increasing the numbers. How many end up in sharanagati is a different story. Anyway, I wanted to focus on Narada Muni.

Friend2: Alright.

Friend1: Specifically his instruction to Prahlada Maharaja while the child was in the womb.

Friend2: Not to interrupt you, but just see the potency of the real message. It penetrates through all barriers. There is so much information available on how to prepare for parenthood, but Narada’s example is the best one to follow.

Friend1: Hari-katha. Discourses about the Supreme Lord. That automatically incorporates the science of self-realization. What I wanted to ask is the appropriateness of the message. Shouldn’t Narada have dumbed things down a little? He was speaking to a fetus, after all. Right after birth we know that a child won’t listen to or remember anything I tell them. The child within the womb is even less developed. How could such instruction be effective?

Friend2: But look at the result. What did you want him to teach?

Friend1: Children are at the foundational level of understanding. They need to know things like the importance of sharing, eating and sleeping on time, respecting others, listening to their parents, and so forth.

Friend2: And you wanted Narada to cover those topics?

Friend1: Compare that message to the one about life and death and how accepting a material body is the greatest embarrassment. I mean aren’t we being too serious here?

Friend2: Every person needs to hear that message, but how many actually do? Those other topics will be emphasized in due course. They can also be learned through experience. For instance, I don’t like it when someone takes what belongs to me, so maybe I should offer the same respect to others. When people say mean things to me, it hurts my feelings. Maybe I shouldn’t do the same to others.

Friend1: That’s true.

[Prahlada]Friend2: And no one had to teach me. Just consider that Narada was speaking to a womb and he still didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told the truth, as it is, and those who follow his example will be doing the best not only for their fellow man, but also themselves.

In Closing:

Prahlada an extraordinary case,
That womb memory not to erase.

And that teaching to understand,
Over atma-tattva a command.

But Narada’s way always effective,
By need for higher topics reflective.

Better than with sugarcoating to treat,
Krishna-upadesha for everyone you meet.

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