In bhakti, to talk is also to walk the talk
When people just speak about lofty principles of living without exhibiting any tangible improvement in character or behavior, others may chide them, “Don’t just talk – walk your talk.” This saying has a valid kernel, but it also contains an assumption that is not always true, especially on the path of bhakti: the assumption that talking itself can’t be walking.
Bhakti centers on becoming devoted to Krishna and turning away from worldly things that often induce immoral indulgences. An important limb of bhakti, a vital way of directing our heart towards Krishna, is talking about him: sharing his glories with others and hearing his glories being spoken by others. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (10.09) declares that devotees delight in speaking and hearing Krishna’s glories. So, when we talk regularly about him, we are partially walking the talk of being devoted to him.
Of course, if we just talk about Krishna while intentionally and brazenly violating his teachings, that degrades us to the level of hypocrisy. But if we are striving as per our capacity to live according to those teachings and we find ourselves sometimes stumbling, then speaking about Krishna can itself comprise a re-connection with him, thereby giving us the higher taste necessary for rejecting the lure of lower temptations. Thus, talking helps us resume walking.
Further, talking inspires walking. When we guide others to lead a life of devotional principles, such talk activates and strengthens our conscience, thereby prompting us to ourselves become principle-centered in our living.
Moreover, talking empowers walking. When we take the responsibility of sharing Krishna’s message with others, he reciprocates by granting us pure devotion (18.68), thereby empowering us to walk our talk.
Therefore, let’s by all means walk the talk, but without discounting the talk because talk is also a part of the walk.
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