What is the most exciting and wonderful aspect of a Krishna Conscious lifestyle? Some would answer: „Prasadam! A sweet, steaming hot caramel halava with Banana Puris!” for example. Others fond of kirtana might say: „Kirtana Mela in front of Panca Tattva is the greatest thing.“ And of course, both prasadam and the Holy Name are non-different from the Lord, but I am sure many devotees would agree that there is something even more fulfilling. And what is that? It's preaching — sharing Krishna Consciousness with others.
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, therefore, said: „ vraja-vasi gana, pracaraka-dhana. The Vrajavasis personal treasure is preaching the glories of Lord Krishna. They are always glorifying Krishna. They perform the confidential service of preaching the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His Holy Name because they possess real compassion and the eternal life of Krishna Consciousness.“ (1)
It’s their dhana, their wealth, that what they like to do most, that what is most precious to them. In other words, those who have life will go out and preach to share Krishna with others.
Last week I got several opportunities to share Krishna Consciousness and I was reminded of how much inspiration we can get from doing so. On Tuesday I was invited to teach at a secondary school in the eastern part of Switzerland. I spent more than five hours speaking to three different classes. After a short introduction on how I came to Krishna Consciousness, I explained some basic principles of Hinduism and the Hare Krishna Movement. I blow a conch shell, preformed a Mini-Arati, explained about the Bhagavad Gita and Reincarnation, chanted Mantras and sang a Bhajan. The youngsters were very enthusiastic and asked one question after another. It was very enlivening to see how eager they were to understand Krishna Consciousness.
A day later I participated in an interfaith program on Sikhism. Although I was just a guest there, nevertheless, at the end of the event, I got plenty of opportunities to talk to other guests about my belief and practice. On Thursday morning a school class visited our temple and on Friday evening we had a special program with around twenty Ph.D.’s from the ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. I gave a short presentation on Gaudiya Vaishnavism and our philosophical understanding and practices. We participated in the Sandhya Arati and had a tour through the temple. After the official program, we served prasadam in the garden and I continued answering questions for another one and a half hours.
I find it just amazing to see how Krishna is all-attractive and that actually everyone is searching for Him, knowing or unknowingly. Whether it be school children, teenagers or Ph.D.’s all of them sincerely wanted to know about Krishna and felt impressed about the depth of Krishna Conscious philosophy.
Of course, this kind of preaching cannot be compared to the preaching of the Vrajavasis. The real preacher is a pure devotee. Srila Prabhupada had unlimited compassion and so much energy to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. We can’t imitate him, but we can follow in his footsteps by simply trying to assist in his preaching movement.
The mood of such a preacher, who has developed krishna-prema and who has bound up Krishna in his heart, is beautifully described as follows:
„Syama is my life and soul! Syama is my prana-dhana —the most valuable asset of my life. Syama is mora abharana —the only ornament for me. Syama is the life of my life. Such an invaluable asset is Syama to me. I must get Him and put Him in the core of my heart, otherwise, I cannot survive and I have no life.“(..) So he who has life goes out and preaches. His heart bleeds seeing the souls suffering since time immemorial. (..) The qualification is that you must get a life, that is Krishna, Syama, and then give life to everybody. Only he is a real preacher. (..) „They have become lifeless so let me inculcate life unto them—that is Krishna Consciousness, the real life!“ (2)
Therefore, let’s follow in the footsteps of such great devotees. Let’s make our life perfect by becoming Krishna Conscious ourselves and by giving it to others! This can give us the greatest taste, the greatest satisfaction in life.
1 - Vaishnava ke? - 18,19
2 - Srila Gour Govinda Swami - Padavali, quoted in `The Flow of Nectar`,1994