vṛddhaḥ kula-patiḥ sūtaṁ
bahvṛcaḥ śaunako ’bravīt
In a meeting of learned men, when there are congratulations or addresses for the speaker, the qualifications of the congratulator should be as follows. He must be the leader of the house and an elderly man. He must be vastly learned also. Śrī Śaunaka Ṛṣi had all these qualifications, and thus he stood up to congratulate Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī when he expressed his desire to present Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam exactly as he heard it from Śukadeva Gosvāmī and also realized it personally. Personal realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one’s own learning by trying to surpass the previous ācārya. He must have full confidence in the previous ācārya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it, yet it should be presented in an interesting manner for the understanding of the audience. This is called realization. The leader of the assembly, Śaunaka, could estimate the value of the speaker, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī, simply by his uttering yathādhītam and yathā-mati, and therefore he was very glad to congratulate him in ecstasy. No learned man should be willing to hear a person who does not represent the original ācārya. So the speaker and the audience were bona fide in this meeting where Bhāgavatam was being recited for the second time. That should be the standard of recitation of Bhāgavatam, so that real purpose can be served without difficulty. Unless this situation is created, Bhāgavatam recitation for extraneous purposes is useless labor both for the speaker and for the audience.