Vaishnava etiquette is an ornament of a Vaishnava. It may not be appearing so dazzling like gold and silver ornaments which attracts the common people but it attracts other devotees and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Epitome of Vaishnava etiquette by Sages of Naimisaranya-

  • The great sages offered the speaker of the Bhagavatam an elevated seat of respect called the vyasasana, or the seat of Sri Vyasadeva.
  • They asked questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, and not in a challenging spirit.
  • Sages submitted questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter.
  • Sages exhibited submissive aural reception towards transcendental subject matter.
  • They showed earnest desire to hear Bhagavatam.
  • Sages didn’t fight amongst themselves to choose a representative who would ask questions on behalf of everyone.
  • Every sage was aware of his position and the purpose of the assembly.
  • Their each and every words, actions and thoughts were selfless dedicated for the uplifting of the fallen souls of kali Yuga.
  • They chose the leader by taking care of qualities like that person should be vastly learned and elderly.
Physical vs. subtle
In a lecture H.G. RadhaGopinath was sharing his personal realization. Once he was sitting on an equal level with the Bhagavatam speaker and he could feel that he wasn’t able to grasp the subject matter. Imagine simply a physical act can hamper our understanding what to speak of subtle things.

Gratitude is essential
Also we have heard that water flows from higher potential to lower potential, similarly the transcendental messages flows from higher sources to lower sources through bonafide parampara. By offering respects to the speaker we open our hearts for the transcendental messages to enter. It is said that a grateful heart is like a fIrtile land where humility takes birth.

Position of Guru
Recently, I witnessed many devotees from a popular religious who came with their Guru to our farm. The guru was supposed to give a discourse to all of them in the evening. I gave the tour and showed them everything. After lunch everyone made their individual plans of going to swimming pool, goshala etc. Their Guru was just sitting and waiting for them till evening but no one came for hearing.
I was shocked. As I reflected I realized that due to ignorance of the value of the spiritual leader nobody was interested in their Guru. They were unaware of the connection which a Guru can establish between them and the Supreme Lord.
I felt grateful towards our Acaryas and how we have been blessed to practice their teaching in today’s day and age.The reason is that they practiced it in their lives and through their actions they taught the whole world.

Cooperation
In the book The Journey Home, HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj mentions an incident of his early days in India. Once, he attended a summit of Yogis and gurus where in the end they all fought together for who will get hold of mike and speak. An opposite or rather ideal behaviour is exhibited by sages of Naimisaranya.
In modern day preaching when we all come together and eagerly hear Kṛṣṇa Katha, that will inspire any people to accept and follow the process. The way existing devotees follow the Vaishnva etiquettes that impacts the future. Etiquette is not just a handshake between two generations but a code that unlocks the treasure of blessing. Let’s stay blessed.

Etiquette is not just a handshake between two generations but a code that unlocks the treasure of blessing.

The above article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 1.1-9), by Amala Gauranga Prabhu, to the question: Gather principles on etiquette followed by the sages of Naimisaranya in asking questions to Srila Suta Goswami.

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    • GEETA PATRO
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      Wonderful and very helpful article. Thank you for sharing

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