Learn and Teach others - that's the motto of the `Vrindavana Institute of Higher Education`. I personally love to teach, its a very satisfying service and it forces me to go deeper in my own study. Study of holy scripture actually aims towards a transformation of the heart. For that application of the knowledge is required. Srila Prabhupada would say: „Simply quoting verses like a parrot will be of little benefit. One must apply them, Jïänam vijïäna-sahitam. Jïäna means to know, and vijïäna means to apply this knowledge in practical life. So we must know this vijïäna, how to practically apply this knowledge.“ 1
During recent studies in Vrindavana, Krishna gave me a good lesson in this regard. It was my second last day in Vrindavana after a 4 1/2 months stay when I was requested by the Temple management to give another Bhagavatam class before I leave, a Maharaja had canceled and there was a free slot just the next day. I agreed, although I was very busy with packing and making the last arrangements for my journey back to Zurich. But how can I say no? It is such a great honor to speak in a temple like the Krishna Balaram Mandir. That evening I scrutinizingly preparing my class. The topic was very interesting `Qualification and Mood of a Speaker`.
When I entered the temple room the next morning, although a bit nervous, I felt prepared. Armed with my notes I was ready to deliver a good speech. A mind-map would allow me to be in control, to always have an overview and a print-out of all the slokas I wanted to present, would support a natural flow, so that I don`t have to flip through my I pad or search for a book. Everything ready for a good presentation. Little did I know what was awaiting me.
Before I took a seat on the Vyasasana I looked at the screen, where today's verse was projected. „Wait a moment, something is wrong here“ I approached the devotees who was setting up everything. „I believe that's the wrong sloka, its Text 23 today, right?“. „No Verse 32!“ was the answer. Oh my God! I prepared for the wrong text! Usually, I was following the classes daily, but since I was sick for several days, I did not attend classes, and in the stress, I somehow took the 32 for a 23. Krishna! That can`t be true! But it was true and that meant that I had to give a class without being prepared, in a place like Vrindavana where hundreds of Devotees, many of them much more senior to me, would watch and listen either in temple room or via lifestream on internet, radio or later on you tube channel.
Ok, take a deep breath Krishna Prema, did I tell myself. What to do? Well, I guess I have to depend on Krishna! And at that moment I remember what I had prepared to talk about: how a speaker feels himself as an Instrument of the Lord: „A good speaker feels fully dependent on the Lord and always tries to invoke the pleasure of the Personality of Godhead so that his statements may be successful and be appreciated by the hearers. He always thinks of himself as an instrument for anything successfully carried out, and he declines to take credit for anything done by himself. Such a speaker wants to be moved by the direction of the Supreme Lord and he understands that the greatest intelligent man of the world can present everything very beautifully only insofar as the spiritual touch is there Krishna's special mercy.“ 2
I had to smile because I felt Krishna`s presents very strongly, Krishna did not want me to just speak about the mood and qualification of a Bhagavatam-Speaker. No, He wanted me to apply it, to actually become an Instrument and depend on Him and not so much on my notes, my memory or learning. And the amazing thing: It worked! By Krishna's mercy, I was actually less nervous than other times and I gave a very nice class, at least this is what the devotees told me afterward.
Everything we do in life becomes only successful if it is blessed by the Lord. The more we remember Him, the more me surrender unto Him, completely depend on Him, the more the Lord will use us as an Instrument. And to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord is the perfection of life.
The conclusion of this lesson: Application is what is wanted. And sometimes Krishna puts us in situations where we are forced to apply, to practice and that His mercy! These are the really important exams we have to pass. Truly He is the supreme teacher and life itself is the ultimate classroom! In this sense: Welcome to the school of life, are you prepared for the next exam?
1- SP Lecture on NOD, Bombay 1973
2 - Summary of SP Purport of SB 2.4.23