Cherished Memoirs 70 – What is a Spiritual Discourse?

Cherished Memoirs 70

This series chronicles interesting experiences recounted by the devotees of HH Maharanyam Sri Sri Muralidhara Swamiji or divine words/experiences of Sri Swamiji himself. These articles are generally translations from the series, “Madhuramaana Mahaneeyar” or similar articles published in the ‘Madhuramurali’ Tamil monthly magazine. 

What is Spiritual Discourse?

Some pointers from Sri Swamiji

The person who is discoursing should be someone who follows what they preach. Instead of having the mindset that they are teaching others, they should consider this as an opportunity to experience Bhagavan’s glories along with others.

A fee should never be asked for. But if it is voluntarily offered by the devotees or organizers, it is not wrong to accept it. The discourse should be tailored to the audience – in a sabha of learned scholars one should speak at their level, and in a sabha where laymen are present, one should speak in a way that it reaches them. There should never ever be any self-praise or denigration of others in the discourse. There should never be any criticism of individuals. One should never speak of politics, caste grudges or any other gossip or worldly matters.

In a hall with many people, one should never discourse while looking at only one person. Whether it is an audience of 10 or 1000, the level of enthusiasm in the discourse should be the same. Spiritual philosophies or spiritual gurus or acharyas should never be criticized or condemned. One may explain the basis and reasons for one’s position or point. One should never swerve from the message to be conveyed. Supporting stories and examples should be related to the main message or subject.

Discourse should not be treated as spiritual entertainment but as a spiritual practice (sadhana). We should earn the tapas (penance) needed in order for the discourse to make at least some significant impact on the minds of the listeners. One should remain without pride or boastfulness. The value of the subject (that is being spoken of) should never be compromised. The state of mind of the listeners should be raised such that they are able to comprehend the greatness and value of the subject being spoken of.

The true fruit of listening to discourse can be attained only when we listen to it from someone who has the above qualities.

Originally published in Tamil monthly magazine, Madhuramurali, Aug 1995 issue.
Translated by Mangala Gowri Thyagarajan, Jacksonville, FL

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