“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)
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
It is something we may not realize. The understanding is always in the explicit sense. Outgoing, directly interacting with others, with a purpose. Teaching them this lesson or that. Instructing others in a way to improve their standing in life, perhaps even touching upon the afterlife.
Often overlooked is our ability to influence by simply being who we are. Living life a certain way. Waking up at a certain time. Carrying out specific duties. The eloquence with which we speak. The way we treat others, especially those who cannot do anything for us. The things we value most, and those things we don’t consider to be of utmost importance or relevance.
On the occasion of Gaura Purnima we celebrate the golden avatara of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left a lasting legacy in His short travels in this realm of birth and death. Unlike previous incarnations of the Supreme Lord, He instructed mostly through example.
His life was hari-kirtana, from start to finish. While still an infant, He induced others to chant the holy names of Hari, which is one way to address the Almighty, specifically referencing His feature of removing obstacles and distresses from the path of devotion.
Baby Nimai, as He was known then, would only stop crying when others would engage in kirtana. As struggling parents will admit, they are willing to do practically anything to pacify an infant who is upset. Whether it be rocking them to sleep, placing them in the car seat and driving around the neighborhood, placing the bassinette next to a humming appliance in the home, or simply singing lullabies.
In the home of Jagannatha Mishra, Nimai would only respond to the holy names. He did not yet have the ability to speak, yet He was still able to communicate an important message. This proves the truth that bhakti-yoga is ahaituki and apratihata. Unmotivated and uninterrupted, nothing can check the outpouring of pure devotion.
This is because God Himself is in control. A life dedicated to Him may find ups and downs, bumps along the road, but reaching the destination is guaranteed. The mode of transport could be something as simple as repeating those holy names, which Mahaprabhu chose to make prominent.
Gaurahari, as He was also known, gave others the formula for becoming a guru in the explicit sense. Wherever you go and to whomever you meet, simply explain Krishna and His transcendental instructions, such as found in Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam.
His verbal instructions were brief by comparison, as Mahaprabhu taught mostly through example. The way He lived, always chanting and dancing, showing endless compassion and mercy to others, not judging based on circumstances of birth, but at the same time adhering to the basic social etiquette of the time.
Through His example, we know that we similarly have the ability to influence. If we are always chanting the holy names, others may not immediately follow, but at least the example will be set. The surrounding walls and non-human life will hear the transcendental sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
I may try to instruct others directly, but no one is listening. I may see everyone around me mired in sin, but if I remain pure then there is a higher standard for someone to compare. One day they might take an interest, and when they do the subsequent liberation they achieve will be due to the grace of Shri Chaitanya, who is the most munificent avatara to ever appear in this world.
Out of mercy came here,
For holy names to hear.
And my life to save,
Showing way to behave.
That always in devotion immersed,
Holy names widely dispersed.
Mahaprabhu getting credit all,
For my future standing tall.