Monday, December 18, 2006

HH Niranjana Swami remembers HH Sridhar Swami, Part 3

Sridhar Maharaja was also very expert in preaching to the Indian community. He spoke fluent Hindi which he learned while serving and preaching in India for so many years. And while traveling and preaching with him in America in the 80's, I got to see a little bit how he captivated an Indian audience by the way that he preached. Sridhar Maharaja was also very witty. He had a way of preaching that would get people to laugh at themselves and they wouldn't take offense by his preaching. Sridhar Maharaja would oftentimes preach, especially to the Indians in the West, because many of them had gone to the West looking for greener pastures. Especially during those years in the 70's and 80's, many people were emigrating from India, going to America to look for a better means of livelihood. Of course that was the 70's and 80's. Now during the 90's and after 2000, this is the era that the people from the former Soviet Union have taken over. Eventually everybody in less developed countries thinks that going to America is like going to the heavenly planets.

During this tour with Maharaja, I would often hear Sridhar Maharaja preach very strongly to the Indians, like, "You've come here, you've given up your culture, you've given up your tradition, you've given up Krsna. You've come here to all of these things which are temporary." And then he would start speaking in Hindi. He would get everyone to laugh and would then melt their hearts. He was expert in dismantling their hopes for happiness in the West. And then he would try to induce them to take up chanting. Every lecture I went with him, he would always at the end of the lecture, get everybody to chant so enthusiastically. So I very much appreciated this quality about him-- his expertise in preaching.