Found in Sanga, Sanga 1999.

What Is Preaching?

December 1st, 1999 | No Comments

From a talk by Swami B. V. Tripurari given in San Francisco in July, 1996

Q. If you only associate with devotees, how can you do any preaching?

A. I am preaching. You are devotees.

Q. But I mean to nondevotees.

A. You give your association. If you are going to preach, you have to listen. Preaching means listening. Only if you can listen, can you preach. Preaching doesn’t mean just talking to people, waiting for them to stop talking, so you can jam something down their throats. “I know everything….okay, okay …finished?” This is not preaching. You have to listen. You have to listen to everything. You have to listen to all the sounds everywhere. Wherever you are, whatever anyone says, you have to listen. And you have to think, “Where is the Krishna consciousness in this?”

Because there is Krishna consciousness only. There’s no other consciousness. Shine means sun and consciousness means Krishna. So Krishna consciousness exists in everything and in everyone and in every word and every phrase and every sentence. You can find it somehow, if you think like this. “I will listen, whatever is being said, and I will find Krishna consciousness there.” Something is being spoken, and you hear it. It is Krishna consciousness, but the person doesn’t have that vision. That means, adjust it, proper adjustment. “Yes, I agree with that, that’s a very good point, what you said. But I think of it a little bit like this.” Then you give a new light.

We have to listen to preach. This is most important. Preaching is not just some dogma. Preaching requires realization. You have some realization, then you share it and it will have some effect. So, the first thing is listening. Consider, Krishna is everywhere, I can learn from everywhere, everything, something about Krishna. If we have that spirit, we will learn, and then we can speak about it. Sometimes the best preaching is to let someone else talk. Then, I have something to say also, about what was said.

Preaching means we will share our experience. So when we share our experience, we’re sharing our association. And when we hear others, and associate with them, we’re not associating with their words or conception. We’re thinking, “Oh, I see, it’s just a little bit altered, that’s all.” Then try to adjust it. So, by associating with persons who are not Krishna conscious, what we mean is, we share their food and drink, so to speak, their thoughts, their mind, we take that, and we associate with that. But we can do that only if we understand it properly. Otherwise, in the beginning stage, it may be a little detrimental.

So you can work, naturally, and meet people, and share with them, but that doesn’t mean you’re associating with nondevotees. Associating with nondevotees means associating for nondevotional things. Otherwise, in associating with nondevotees, there’s so much preaching, because there’s so many levels of devotees. Everyone is a devotee, “jivera svarupa haya, krsnera nitya dasa.” If you can see like that, you can associate with anybody. It requires some realization only.

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