“Shrimati Kuntidevi has prayed to the Lord just to enunciate a fragment of His glories. All His devotees worship Him in that way, by chosen words, and therefore the Lord is known as Uttamashloka.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.44 Purport)
1. Praising people
“That person you see standing there – a great guy. He would give you the shirt off his back. He is a professional, successful at the highest level of his field. Yet you wouldn’t know it by meeting him on the street. He is so humble. He doesn’t talk down to you. He treats you like a friend, as if he understands what you are going through.”
2. Criticizing people
“Did you hear what that coach said to a player? It happened over ten years ago, but that doesn’t excuse anything. The language, it’s really unacceptable. He has since apologized. He quit the position, though the team would have fired him eventually.
“The thing is, the team needs to do more. Who else knew about this? For how long have they known? I’m sure other coaches behave similarly; we have yet to find out. That toxic environment, it needs to change. These people are the worst. This is not your grandpa’s league anymore.”
3. Speaking at a professional conference
“This is my first time going this route. Usually, I am on the other side. A member of the audience, I eagerly anticipate the presentations given by the all-stars in the industry. Now they will be sitting in the audience while I speak.
“I am passionate about what I do, so I think this will be an interesting topic. I have my slide presentation ready and I have rehearsed a few times. Maybe the more familiar I get with this process, the easier it will be. I hope to one day be an expert speaker like my mentors.”
4. Denouncing God
“I doubt that He exists. Man needs a way to cope with the difficulties of life. I think you are born as chemicals and you leave that way. Nothing more to it. Religion has hurt so many people. Destroyed lives. Unnecessary torture. The leaders think they are better than everyone else, but just see how pervasive scandal is at the highest level.
“If there is a God, He must be horrible. To witness so much suffering in the world and do nothing about it, what kind of person is that? Then He forces us to worship Him or we’ll be punished. Condemned to hell for eternity. Yeah, real nice guy He is.”
5. Praising God
The acharyas of the Vaishnava tradition recommend this outlet for the use of words. They compare the process to a yajna, which is sacrifice. Try to sacrifice, words, wealth, intelligence and life for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Words can be sacrificed in so many other ways, in fact. The distinction with the bhakti path is that the benefit is at the highest scale. There is no better match for the communicating ability in the living being. Make the all-attractive one the recipient.
For this reason, one of His many names is Uttamashloka. Know that God is all-attractive, Krishna, and the remover of obstacles, Hari. He gets praised by the topmost poetry and song. Those who sacrifice their entire life for offering such praise are happy, content, peaceful, kind, gentle, perseverant and resolute in their determination to continue in the ever-blissful process.
Outlet for many ways,
Words singing highest praise.
Or criticism upon heaping,
Booked for conference speaking.
Acharyas for sacrifice recommending,
That best words towards Krishna sending.
Since Uttamashloka is He,
Most appreciative to be.
Categories: the five