To present a beautiful appearance to the world, to highlight one’s brilliance and to always present oneself in a way so as to impress others – such is man’s behaviour and nature.
Perhaps this is the reason why on that particular day, I recited the Bhaktamar Stotra with a raised voice. It had been just two months since I had dedicated my life to our Guru and during that time I had memorised this stotra by heart. My studies started in Pathardi, a town in Maharashtra, and from there we went to Vambori town by foot where Acharya Ananda Rhashiji Maharaj had arrived. Upon reaching there I went to the sermon hall. After his discourse, Acharya Maharaj revealed to the public that at the tender age of eleven years, this girl had memorised by heart the complete Bhaktamar Stotra. He looked towards me and asked – ‘Bebi, whichever number I pick, will you be able to recite that verse?’ By way of acceptance, I nodded and he started calling out numbers and I, with all my energy and in a high voice, recited the verses to the packed hall. I was highly honoured and even received a silver medal.
However, after the sermon ended, Acharya Maharaj called me and sitting me beside him softly said – ‘You should never shout or raise your voice. You should only speak within the limits of your normal, natural voice.’
Pujya Acharya Shriji’s loving guidance changed my approach when addressing others. Speaking loudly, the sound will certainly reach people’s ears but only that sound will reach their hearts which is sweet, not fabricated and is sincere. To speak higher than your normal or natural voice gives rise to harshness. The strength should not be in your voice but in your feelings!