Published on July 8th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada52
There’s No Need to Leave Home and Join the Temple…
“The brahmana Kurma begged Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “My dear Lord, kindly show me favor and let me go with You. I can no longer tolerate the waves of misery caused by materialistic life.” It appears that he was materially very happy. Now, being glorious, he wanted to leave all these material opulences. He wanted to travel with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
It is not advisable in this Age of Kali to leave one’s family suddenly, for people are not trained as proper brahmacaris and grhasthas. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised the brahmana not to be too eager to give up family life. It would be better to remain with his family and try to become purified by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra regularly under the direction of a spiritual master. This is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. If this principle is followed by everyone, there is no need to accept sannyasa.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said: “Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”
This is the sublime mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply request everyone to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If one is a little literate and can read Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam, that is so much the better. These works are now available in an English translation and are done very authoritatively to appeal to all classes of men. Instead of living engrossed in material activities, people throughout the world should take advantage of this movement and chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra at home with their families.
One should also refrain from sinful activities—illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication.
Out of these four items, illicit sex is very sinful. Every person must get married. Every woman especially must get married. If the women outnumber the men, some men can accept more than one wife. In that way there will be no prostitution in society. If men can marry more than one wife, illicit sex life will be stopped. One can also produce many nice preparations to offer Krsna—grain, fruit, flowers and milk. Why should one indulge in unnecessary meat-eating and maintain horrible slaughterhouses? What is the use of smoking and drinking tea and coffee? People are already intoxicated by material enjoyment, and if they indulge in further intoxication, what chance is there for self-realization? Similarly, one should not partake in gambling and unnecessarily agitate the mind. The real purpose of human life is to attain the spiritual platform and return to Godhead. That is the summum bonum of spiritual realization.
The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to elevate human society to the perfection of life by pursuing the method described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His advice to the brahmana Kurma. That is, one should stay at home, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and preach the instructions of Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu further advised the brahmana Kurma, “If you follow this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose My company.
This is an opportunity for everyone. If one simply follows the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, under the guidance of His representative, and chants the Hare Krsna mantra, teaching everyone as far as possible the same principle, the contamination of the materialistic way of life will not even touch him. It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vrndavana, Navadvipa or Jagannätha Puri or in the midst of European cities, where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vrndavana and Navadvipa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the secret of success for one advancing in Krsna consciousness.
At whosever house Sri Caitanya accepted His alms by taking prasadam, He would convert the dwellers to His sankirtana movement and advise them just as He advised the brahmaaa named Kurma.
The cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is explained here very nicely. One who surrenders to Him and is ready to follow Him with heart and soul does not need to change his location. Nor is it necessary for one to change his status. One may remain a householder, a medical practitioner, an engineer or whatever. It doesn’t matter. One only has to follow the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and instruct relatives and friends in the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. One has to learn humility and meekness at home, following the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and in that way one’s life will be spiritually successful.
One should not try to be an artificially advanced devotee, thinking, “I am a first-class devotee.” Such thinking should be avoided. It is best not to accept any disciples. One has to become purified at home by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and preaching the principles enunciated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus one can become a spiritual master and be freed from the contamination of material life.
There are many sahajiyas who decry the activities of the six Gosvamis—Srila Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunatha dasa, Bhatta Raghunatha, Jiva and Gopala Bhatta Gosvamis—who are the personal associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and who enlightened society by writing books on devotional service. Similarly, Narottama dasa Thakura and other great acaryas like Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya and others accepted many thousands of disciples to induce them to render devotional service. However, there is a class of sahajiyas who think that these activities are opposed to the principles of devotional service. Indeed, they consider such activities simply another phase of materialism. Thus opposing the principles of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they commit offenses at His lotus feet. They should better consider His instructions and, instead of seeking to be considered humble and meek, should refrain from criticizing the followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who engage in preaching. To protect His preachers, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given much clear advice in these verses of Sri Caitanya-caritamata.
While on His tour, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would spend the night at a temple or on the roadside. Whenever He accepted food from a person, He would give him the same advice He gave the brahmana named Kurma. He adopted this process until He returned to Jagannatha Puri from His South Indian tour.
From Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 7.126-132