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Begin Bhakti With Reading or Chanting? Part two

Mahanidhi Swami


Srila Prabhupada:

“The first principle of practicing bhakti-yoga is hearing. And as you become experienced in hearing, then you become a preacher—Kirtanam.” (700312BG.LA)

“Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject.” (SB 1.1.6)

Disciple: “Srila Prabhupada, “I preached good arguments and philosophy to him, but he did not accept. So I told him just chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.”

Srila Prabhupada: “No, hearing is the first [practice]. Give him a chance for hearing.” (730811rc.par)

“Hearing is the first step in God realization. Thus, if we can simply convince these big men to hear, then gradually they will come to the point of accepting [Krishna consciousness].” (73-02-21 letter to mukunda)


Srimad Bhagavatam (11.3.48) says, “You should worship Sri Krishna in the particular personal form of Krishna that you find most attractive.” Commenting on this Sri Jiva Goswamipada says, “In the same way, one should AGAIN AND AGAIN HEAR DESCRIPTONS of the form of Krishna that one finds most attractive. (Bk.San. 262)

In other words, follow your taste and attraction. If you have a natural liking and curiosity for philosophy, then spiritualize it by reading Gita. If you like amazing stories with a message then read the immaculate and transcendental Srimad Bhagavatam.

And if you are crazy about Radha-Krishna, then read Srila Prabhupada’s KRSNA BOOK and other books like Govinda Lilamrita, Krishna Bhavanamrita, Krishnanika Kaumudi, Ananda Vrindavana Champu, Bhavana Sara Sangraha and many others per your adhikara.


Sri Jiva Goswamipada:

“As far as hearing about Krishna, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam is the best since its words are most powerful and it is the tastiest. (Bk. San. 260)

Srila Prabhupada:

“Hearing of the Bhagavad-gita and, later on, Srimad Bhagavatam is essential for the serious candidate who wants to attain the stage of perfection at the end.” (SB 1.9.43)

“Hearing is the first experience [of Sri Krishna]. If you want to get experience of the planet where Krishna lives, then you have to hear. There is no other way.” (661012BG.NY.)


Srila Prabhupada:

“Patient and submissive hearing is definitely essential. With great respect and attention, one should receive the message and lessons imparted by the Srimad Bhagavatam.” (SB 1.1.3)


Bhagavan Sri Krishna:

“Brahmaji, one should regularly hear the Srimad Bhagavatam with faith. Hearing the Bhagavatam is the only means of satisfying Me.” (SB Mahatyam 5)

Srila Prabhupada:

“Without hearing, nobody can understand the science of God.” (lec montreal 16/8/68)

“By the hearing process, one can realize the presence of the Lord in the temple Deity. Thus hearing is the essential point!” (SB 2.3.21)

This is our last quotation about hearing as the primary limb of devotion. For those readers who are still a little attached to their material comfort zones, we suggest you don’t read any further.

What follows are the confessions and realizations of the greatest lover of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, namely Srimati Radharani. Sri Radhika lovingly spoke this in the state of divine delirium (divyonmada mahabhava) while feeling the bitter pain of separation from Her beloved Shyama, who had gone to Mathura—never to return. This verse appears in the famous “Bhramara Gita” of the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.47).

Srimati Radharani:

“To hear about the pastimes that Krishna regularly performs is nectar for the ears. For those who relish just a single drop of that nectar, even once, their dedication to material duality is ruined.

“Many such persons have suddenly given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, traveled here to Vrindavana to wander about like birds, begging for their living.” (SB 10.47.18)

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada Sarartha Darshini tika:

In these verses, Srimati Radharani is saying, “Just hearing about the pastimes Krishna performed at every moment (anucaritam) is nectar for the ears, what to speak of the joy one gets by understanding their meaning. Even one drop of this nectar completely destroys (vidhutah:visheshena khanditah) the propensities of duality, and the propensities of mutual friendship between women and men.”

Sri Radha continues, “If a wife hears discussions about Krishna, she immediately gives up affection for her husband. And if a husband hears them he gives up affection for his wife. The same is also true for a child in connection with his mother and father. If a mother hears about Krishna, she loses all affection for her children. Thus, by this mutual rejection they all become totally ruined (vinastah).” (tika: SB 10.47.18)

Srimati Radharani Uvaca ki jai! Vraja Prema Bhikhari ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

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