Lectures may entertain individuals without improving them
Ramana Maharshi was sometimes asked why he does not go about preaching to people. A couple of his explanations are given in the upcoming conversations.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
D.: Why does not Sri Bhagavan go about and preach the Truth to the people at large?
M.: How do you know that I am not doing it? Does preaching consist in mounting a platform and haranguing to the people around? Preaching is simple communication of knowledge. It may be done in Silence too.
[Note : Silence here means Mental Silence and not just to stop speaking.]
Maharshi : What do you think of a man listening to a harangue or a lengthy or aggressive lecture for an hour and going away without being impressed by it so as to change his life? Compare him with another who sits in a holy presence and leaves after some time with his outlook on life totally changed. Which is better: To preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending forth intuitive forces to play on others?
[Note: Holy presence here mainly means being in the mental atmosphere of the Sage’s Deep Peace and Tranquillity. So quietly invoking a Serene Being’s Silent Help, or being in the atmosphere of the Sage’s Teachings, will work wonders in our lives more than listening to lectures, especially those rendered with the intention of money or popularity.]
Maharshi : Again how does speech arise? There is abstract knowledge (unmanifest). From it there rises the ego which gives rise to thoughts and words successively. So then:
From Abstract Knowledge arises the Ego. From the Ego the thoughts. From the thoughts the words.
Words are therefore the great grandson of the original source. If words can produce an effect, how much more powerful should the preaching through silence be? Judge for yourself.
Talks with Ramana Maharshi
Which is the real power? Is it to increase prosperity or bring about peace? That which results in peace is the highest perfection (siddhi).
D.: But common people in Europe and America would not appreciate such an attitude and would desire a display of powers and instructions by lectures, etc.
[Note: Because the questioner is an European, he mentions Europe and America here. But in fact, the whole world seems to succumb to these kind of lectures and display of powers.]
M.: Lectures may entertain individuals for a few hours without improving them. Silence on the other hand is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity.
D.: But Silence is not understood.
M.: It does not matter. By Silence, eloquence is meant. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as Silence. Silence is unceasing eloquence. The Primal Master, Dakshinamurti, is the ideal. He taught his rishi disciples by Silence.
D.: But then there were disciples for Him. It was all right. Now it is different. They must be sought after and helped.
M.: That is a sign of ignorance. The power which created you has created the world. If it can take care of you, it can similarly take care of the world also.