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Title: Power to Preach
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-11-13 20:17:00
Question by Amiya Gauranga dasi
More »: "http:///"]Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances at Your Lotus feet Gurudeva. Jaya Shrila Gurudeva. I wanted to ask, does one have to have some kind of power to preach about the Holy Names and Bhakti? [URL="http://www.nitai.in/#"
I can understand that it is from a perfect example that the most effective preaching is done and thats why the Acaryas are so great. For this reason I used to feel that as a neophyte I shouldn’t preach because it might seem a bit hypocritical to preach the perfect path when I am not perfect myself. However, I can understand from your words that everyone can preach up to the level they themselves have attained, however limited that may be, and because there are so many people who do not know anything about Naam: "http:///"]Nityananda and Gauranga [URL="http:///" and katha it is actually important to do so.
However, I’ve heard that one has to be somewhat ‘empowered’ to preach. What does this exactly mean? Does it mean that if one does not have this power, no matter how hard one tries when one tries to explain something to a new person that the message will just not have the potency to be understood?
I have experienced that sometimes when I try and explain, it comes out very nicely and the person to whom I am speaking listens, and at other times I feel a distinct difference and although the words that I speak are the same they are so much weaker somehow and not convincing at all. I am not sure if this is truly a result of some kind of power not being there or just a result of other circumstances? - Yours humbly, Amiya Gauranga: "http:///" dasi.
Answer by Swami: "http:///" Gaurangapada:
If one has faith that the path is perfect, then one can preach about the perfect path even if one is not not yet perfect but trying to practice the perfect path. We do not have the power to influence others. Seeing our sincerity, the Supersoul in the heart of one whom we are preaching to, will inspire him or her to take the shelter of Naam: "http:///". We only act as an instrument.
Regarding empowerment, everyone of us has been empowered to preach the Holy Names by Lord Krishna: "http:///"]Gauranga Himself…jaara dekha taara kaha [URL="http:///" upadesha…we have to just give our best.
Regarding the problem that our preaching is sometimes effective, sometimes it is not, we should not worry so much. We should just do out best for the pleasure of the Guru Parampara and Lord Nityananda: "http:///" and leave the results upto Them. Sometimes our consciousness may not be so conducive to preach, but even then if we preach the Holy Names with a desire to help other souls then the Lord will be pleased and Himself rectify our consciousness. Actually the medicine to Maya, is preaching or kirtana. Just like attack is the best form of defense and the only way to keep the enemy out of reach, at bay.
One can preach according to one’s realization and qualification which should be in line with Guru, Sadhu and Shastra. Once someone asked Shrila Prabhupada whether he should preach if his consciousness was not good and Shrila Prabhupada told him to forget worrying about his consciousness but just go out and preach and his consciousness will again become good. We don’t stop serving the Lord because we may not feel ok or qualified. Ups and downs in our Naam: "http:///"]Bhakti and life should not stop us from giving the mercy of [URL="http:///" to the conditioned souls who are waiting to receive it.
I would suggest you read the book “Preaching Is the Essence” which is a compilation of all the quotes of Shrila Prabhupada on preaching. It is really a very inspiring book and it was a very big source of inspiration in my brahmachari days. I published and distributed that book also.
Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained the highest ideal qualification to preach in his song Kabe habe bolo which I sang and explained in detail a few days back. I will post the video of that soon. The last verse is about preaching:
kabe jibe doya, hoibe udoya, nija-sukha bhuli’ sudina-hrdoya
bhakativinoda, koriya binoya, shri-ajna-tahala koribe pracar
8) “When will kindness and mercy to all beings appear in my heart, and thus forgetting my own confort and happiness, I (Bhaktivinoda), with all humility and meekness, set out to preach Your (Gauranga: "http:///") sublime order to one and all. When, oh when will that day be mine?”
When Shrila Prabhupada was requested not to translate Shrimad Bhagavatam due to his health but Shrila Prabhupada said, “Even if a good soldier (who serves in the army of the King) is struck down on the battlefield and his head is severed from his shoulders - still even if he is lying on the ground in such a condition - if he is a “good soldier” he will try to wave his sword in the air with the hopes that he will somehow strike the enemy.” Shrila Prabhupada continued, “I am a servant in the army of my Guru Maharaja and as long as I have life I must preach - even in my present condition (and he waved his hand about in the air as if waving a sword).” After that shortly before departing from this material plane, Shrila Prabhupada gave a blessing to the devotees present, “Live long and preach.”
Shri Shrila Prabhupada used to say and Shrila Prabhupada used to repeat, “Praana aache jaara se hetu prachaara - One who has got life, only he can preach.” Preaching (kirtan) and not sitting idle is actually real bhajan or devotional service and it is most pleasing to the Lord if we fight against Maya by preaching for Him.
In the Gaudiya Math logo designed by Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura which Shrila Prabhupada got it painted on the left and right sides of the main gate of his temple in Mayapura, we find that the mridanga drum and the printing press are located in the section of the logo under raganuga Krishna: "http:///"]Bhakti. This is to refute those who think that kirtana (congregational chanting, discourses, preaching and book distribution) is a lower form of Bhakti. They think that the higher form of Bhakti is being to always artifically discuss gopi-bhava or higher topics about Shri Shri Radha [URL="http:///" for which the qualification may not be there.
Praching is the essence, the highest form of bhajana and kirtana. Preaching is does by one’s example too.
Congregational chanting, discourses, preaching and book distribution have always been accepted by Seventh Goswami Shrila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shri Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Shrila Prabhupada and other great Acharyas as a genuine and very pleasing service in the line of raganuga Nityananda: "http:///"]Bhakti. To write about the Lord is also kirtan and similarly to preach(to assert and convert others) is also kirtan if it performed for the pleasure of the Guru Parampara and Lord [URL="http:///" not for one’s self-aggrandizement.
Shri Shrila Prabhupada writes in his song Vaishnava Ke (Who is a Vaishnava):
kirtana prabhave, smarana haibe, se kaale bhajana nirjana sambhava
“Internal rememberance (smarana) can occur by the power of kirtana only, and only then is devotional service in solitude (nirjana bhajana) possible.”
Shrila Bhakti: "http:///" Rakshaka Shridhara Maharaja also said in The Guardian of Devotion, “So also, to be engaged in (preaching) answering the questions of the environment automatically demands concentration, which is very rare in this age. When one is doing kirtana, he automatically cannot but give all concentration and attention. He cannot speak independently; intuitively, he must be all-attentive. For this reason, kirtan (preaching) has been recommended as the highest form of bhajan, especially in the age of Kali.” (Sermons of the Guardian of Devotion Ch 2, Bhajan - Real & Apparent, pp.24)