Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that in order to preach, one must live a practical life and show people how to do things. Apani acari' bhakti sikhaimu sabare. One cannot teach others unless he behaves the same way himself
SB Canto 5
After Nābhi Mahārāja departed for Badarikāśrama, the Supreme Lord, Ṛṣabhadeva, understood that His kingdom was His field of activities. He therefore showed Himself as an example and taught the duties of a householder by first accepting brahmacarya under the direction of spiritual masters. He also went to live at the spiritual masters' place, gurukula. After His education was finished, He gave gifts (guru-dakṣiṇā) to His spiritual masters and then accepted the life of a householder. He took a wife named Jayantī and begot one hundred sons who were as powerful and qualified as He Himself. His wife Jayantī had been offered to Him by Indra, the King of heaven. Ṛṣabhadeva and Jayantī performed householder life in an exemplary way, carrying out ritualistic activities ordained by the śruti and smṛti śāstra.
Being an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ṛṣabhadeva had nothing to do with material affairs. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām: (BG 4.8) the purpose of an incarnation is to liberate His devotees and to stop the demoniac activities of nondevotees. These are the two functions of the Supreme Lord when He incarnates. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that in order to preach, one must live a practical life and show people how to do things. Āpani ācari' bhakti śikhāimu sabāre. One cannot teach others unless he behaves the same way himself. Ṛṣabhadeva was an ideal king, and He took His education in the gurukula, although He was already educated because the Supreme Lord is omniscient. Although Ṛṣabhadeva had nothing to learn from gurukula, He went there just to teach the people in general how to take an education from the right source, from Vedic teachers. He then entered householder life and lived according to the principles of Vedic knowledge—śruti and smṛti. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.101) Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, quoting the Skanda Purāṇa, states:
- pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
- aikāntikī harer bhaktir
- utpātāyaiva kalpate
- (Brs. 1.2.101)
Human society must follow the instructions received from śruti and smṛti, Vedic literature. Practically applied in life this is worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the pāñcarātrika-vidhi. Every human being must advance his spiritual life and at the end return home, back to Godhead. Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva strictly followed all these principles. He remained an ideal gṛhastha and taught His sons how to become perfect in spiritual life. These are some examples of how He ruled the earth and completed His mission as an incarnation.