Chew, Digest and Preach - Part 2

Chew, Digest and Preach - Part 2

Date
Author
Amogha-drk Krishna dasa

Dear Vaishnavas,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This is in conclusion of notes from the nectarean Bhagavatam class given by my beloved spiritual master His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj on verse 1.5.10 and 1.5.14 given in London on October 28, 2007. In previous offering titled, "Chewing, Digesting and Preaching", we heard from Maharaj that 

1. We need to chew the purports of Srila Prabhupada, digest them nicely in order to present these principles to today's public.
2. Constant chanting of verses and translation will help us in meditating on the verses and in preaching.
3. Our anchor is Krishna and His Holy Names and so we should lovingly chant His names on our japa beads.

Now let us continue to hear more nectar from Maharaj.

The four essential topics mentioned by Maharaja are reading, thinking, digesting and preaching. They are born one as a result of the other.

1. Reading and thinking: "Please try to keep your eyes open and your hearts completely open wide, to imbibe these vibrations, which are coming from Prabhupada's books. Please try to utilise those vibrations and try to scrutinise. As soon as scrutinisation is there, the essence will go inside. And this is attachment. This attachment must increase. Otherwise we are wasting our time." 

2. Digestion: "The thing is we do not digest the shlokas from Bhagavatam. We just know the verses. But "know" means upto the mind. Digestion means upto the heart. The words don't sink into our heart." Maharaja explained that just as "undigested food is the main reason for our sickness, so our ideas also, Bhagavatam ideas, if they are not digested, then that undigested knowledge is the reason of ajnaan." And digestion includes reducing all material neccessities to the minimum. "Everybody has a minimum limit. To that extent we should have things. We have limited our clothes, we have limited our behaviour, we have limited our food, limited our taking too much furniture in the room. No accumulation is there really. So whatever little accumulation is there, that also we should be ready to forego. Unless we try to do these things, our digestion of shlokas will not be there." 

3. Preaching: We should somehow or other engage ourselves in preaching for Krishna, motivated by Prabhupada's books. As Maharaja explains about Prabhupada, who did not get much support in the beginning of his preaching,"...he didn't get fed up that, "Nobody is hearing me. Now what to do?" He wanted to find out some loop-hole here and there and fortunately he went to America. That type of eagerness we should have to study and to preach. Preaching must be there and unless you digest, you will not be able to preach." 

So what does it mean when Maharaja states we should not just read, but think about and digest the Bhagavatam as well in order to preach? First of all, we should not be tempted to misunderstand this as being the same as an intellectual exercise in decoding the sanskrit, finding similar vedic references, or subtle speculations about symbolic meanings etc., which are all tricks of maya to fool us away, in the name of intellectual pursuit, from the real issue: reforming ourselves to become actually useful representatives of Krishna by getting rid of our unwanted, subtle and gross, personality traits.

It is clear that it doesn't make us better devotees merely learning shlokas if we don't get to understand what they what they mean by thinking and digesting them in the form of improving our behaviour and eagerly engaging in preaching them for the true benefit of others. Which means we have to adjust according to time, place and person. As Mahraja says, "Preaching means reaching". We can only reach others after having considered how to apply Srila Prabhupada's teachings for their, and also our, specific situation. 

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Amogha-drk Krishna dasa,
Copenhagen, Denmark