Speaking Harikatha

Sree Sree Guru Gaurangau Jayatah!BBTirthaM

Before I joined the institution, I had the impression that whatever I learnt in the schools and colleges should be excluded or forgotten because all these teachings were for material benefit and had no connection with spiritualism. In fact, in my life in the family, I had no aptitude to speak to many friends and to recite or speak in any meeting. I used to hear and did not speak. After joining the institution, I had great interest in hearing hari-katha from Most Revered Srila Gurudeva and Gurudeva used to take me with Him everywhere at a stretch for a year and He wanted me to write letters as per His dictation. By that I had the opportunity to know many answers of the questions of the aspirants. After one year all of a sudden, He ordered me to speak in a meeting at ‘Sri Shyamananda Gaudiya Math ‘, in Midnapore (West Bengal). I was perturbed because I had no aptitude and no capacity to speak in the meetings. I thought that delivering speech was not a qualification of worshipping Krishna. If I would have known earlier that the qualification of delivering speech is also required for Krishna-bhajan, I might not have joined the institution. I became unbalanced on hearing this direct order from Most Revered Gurudeva. Due to spiritual obligation, I had to stand in the meeting and I was incessantly praying for the grace of Nityananda Prabhu to rescue me from this peril. I could remember the first hymn written by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in `Saranagati’ and explained that for 15 minutes. I was a bit astonished how I could speak.
After that Gurumaharaj used to order me on several occasions to speak in the meetings. To remove my doubt, Gurumaharaj, said that aspirants of devotional practice should not have the aptitude to deliver speeches, but they must do hari-kirtan, meaning that they should recapitulate what they had heard from Guru and Vaishnavas. The target of speaking should be for satisfaction of Krishna and not for any other ulterior motive. Hari-kirtan is the highest devotional form in Kaliyuga, which is confirmed by Srila Jiva Goswami:

‘yadyapi anya bhaktih kalau kartavya tada, kirtanakhya-bhakti-samyogenaiva’

“Although practices of other devotional forms are proper in Kaliyuga, but it should be done with Kirtan bhakti.”

One can speak about the glories of Sri Hari after hearing from a bona fide devotee-adau Sravanam. Without hearing from a realized soul, nobody can properly perform kirtan-bhakti. In the explanation of the verse of Gita (4.34), tad viddhi pranipatena paripraSnena sevaya, upadeksyanti te jïanam jïaninas tattva-darSinah, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur has interpreted Pranipat (or Saranagati) as follows: “One who hears hari katha intently from shuddha bhakta, actually has submitted to Supreme Lord Sri Hari.” Even in the highest Transcendental Realm Goloka Vrindavana, the foremost devotees (gopis) relish the Sweetness of the Name, Form, Attributes and Pastimes of Sri Krishna, always afresh. Narration and also hearing of the glories of Sri Krishna never becomes stale. That transcendental sweetness of Sri Krishna always remains afresh and new. Entrance to that
Transcendental Realm is only through hearing. Here in this world, sound is the finest element, but in Transcendental Realm sound is the first appearance of getting contact of the Transcendental Reality. That transcendental sound is designated as Sabda brahman, which is completely distinct from material sound. Sound emanating from material egos is material
sound, but sound emanating from transcendental ego is transcendental sound.

— Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj

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