Published on August 10th, 2023 | by Madhudvisa dasa


The Importance of Hearing — 1969 Hawaii Prabhupada – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6


Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 — March 28, 1969, Hawaii – 690328SB.HAW

Prabhupada: [chants prema-dhvani] All glories to the assembled devotees. All glories to the assembled devotees. All glories to the assembled devotees. Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances]

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati
[Bhag. 1.2.6]

[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]

This is a Sanskrit verse spoken by one great sage — his name is Suta Gosvami. This Suta Gosvami was presiding in a very learned assembly at a place which is known as Naimisaranya. It is long, long ago, at least four thousand years ago, but that place, Naimisaranya, is still in India. There is a railway station called Nimsar. Now the name is little changed — Nimsar; originally the name was Naimisaranya. That place was especially meant for such kind of meeting, religious meeting. In India there are many sacred places, because India, India is known as the place of religion, the country of religion. Actually, the present religious system of the world, all of them originated from India. The principal religions of the world, namely the Christian religion, the Buddha religion, the Hindu religion, even Muhammadan religion, originally it came from India. The other day I was reading one book — what is that, Aquarian Gospel? What is that?

Devotee: The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

Prabhupada: Yes. In that book I read that Lord Jesus Christ was for many years in India, and he was especially in the Jagannatha Temple. Yes, in that book it is stated, in Jagannatha Temple. And he was discussing philosophy with the priest of the Jagannatha. So similarly, so far Lord Buddha is concerned, he was Hindu, there is no doubt, but he started a separate type of religion — nonviolence — because at that time there was need for such religion, nonviolence. And that is a great story. Now, here in that meeting at Naimisaranya, the speaker, Suta Gosvami, was asked by the audience that “In this Age of Kali..e” This age is called Kali; means degraded age. People are under..d, misunderstanding that they are advancing in civilization. But actually they are not advancing; they are degrading. Even they are very much proud of material advancement. But actually the other day the press representative came, and he asked about this. So I answered that actually this is not material advancement. Material advancement means to have easily the material needs. What are our material needs? The mat..e Because we have got this material body, our material needs are four: we want to eat something; without eating we cannot exist, so either a human being or an animal, everyone who has got this material body requires to eat something. Then he must have some shelter to rest. Eating and sleeping — ahara, nidra. The Sanskrit word is ahara nidra. Then every material living entities..l

I am speaking material because every living entity is spiritual spark. He is covered by this material body. Just like you are covered by your shirt, coat or gown, dress, similarly we are living entities, we are all spirit soul, part and parcel of God. God is the Supreme Spirit, and what in your Christian language it is called Holy Ghost, so we call atma, or the Supreme Spirit. So we are all part and parcel of the Supreme, just like the sparks of fire. Fire we have got experience, and naturally there are some sparks also. So you cannot avoid the sparks. Similarly, the Supreme God is just like fire, and we are just like sparks. So qualitatively the big fire and the spark fire, both of them are fire. The spark fire, if it falls on your cloth, it will immediately burn and make a black spot, and the part where it is, it will burn. So the burning power is there, either in the spark or in the big fire. But the big fire can, I mean to say — what is called — burn many things, and the small spark fire, they cannot burn very large quantity. But the burning power is there. Similarly, the..d, just like creative force. God has got the creative force; you have got also the creative force. But your creative force is very small, minute. Just like God has created this cosmic manifestation. There are innumerable, numberless planets are floating in the air. You have also created something, sputnik, that is also floating in the air. We are very much proud, scientific achievement, that you have discovered or manufactured the sputnik, running so high. But in comparison to this planetary system — millions of planets are floating in the air — what is this sputnik? It is nothing, although we may be very proud, “Oh, we have discovered this sputnik.”

But according to Vedic literature, we find that the living entity, of which the human being is considered the first class, they have got also the intelligence to manufacture or create something which can fly in the air. And we are in this planet, and in other planets there are living creatures. Just like there is a planet which is called, in Sanskrit language, Siddhaloka. Siddhaloka. In that planet the residents they can fly without any sputnik or airplane. As we are trying to go from one place to another by airplanes, they can travel from one planet to another without any machine. By mantra-yoga they can fly. These informations are there. In other planets there are very many intelligent persons. They are called demigods, because they are very, very intelligent. Their duration of life is very long. Just like in the moon planet. In moon planet the duration of life — I am speaking from the Vedic literature — is ten thousands of years. And what is that ten thousands of years? In our calculation, six months make one month for them. Similarly, two six months — one year — such ten thousand years. And this is a scientific truth. Everything is relative. The law of relativity, what is called, Doctor..i, I mean to say, Professor Einstein’s discovery. Just like every living entity, the maximum age of living in this age is hundred years. One cannot live more than hundred years. In special case, maybe one or two. Generally they live less. Anyway, accepting the description given in the Vedic literature, everyone has got living duration of time hundred years. But we must know that everything is relative. Just like our mile. We have calculated a certain distance as mile. How? A certain steps. Suppose I take..r, at one time we can step, say, two feet, so similar, or three feet, one yard; similarly seventeen hundred yards make a mile. We have calculated like that. But if there is another animal or another living entity whose steps are greater than yours, you step here, and if he can step other house..i That is possible. It is according to the body. Now the steps of the ant, that is not equal to your steps. Similarly, the ant’s calculation of mile is nothing to your calculation of mile. If steps are calculated as the units for one mile, then the ant’s step is very small. There are many minute microbes; we sometimes see in the book, just like a full stop, it is also very small. You see? So that full stop like creature’s step and your step, similarly other’s step, they are all different, all different. Similarly, duration of life is also different. That is scientific truth. In the Bhagavad-gita we understand that,

ahar yad brahmano viduh
[Bg. 8.17]

Brahma, Brahma’s one day equal to four hundred thousands of years multiplied by one thousand. This is rough calculation. So in God’s creation there are different varieties of living entities. Unfortunately, our calculation is that whatever we are, that is final. No. That is miscalculation. That is miscalculation. As we can see, there are different grades of varieties of forms, and their states, their duration of life, their standard — everything is different. Similarly, in the higher planets their standard of living, their duration of life, their calculation of mile — everything is different. That is also admitted scientifically. So greater, greater, greater, greater, greater, greater. We do not know what is the end of that greatness. We simply say “God is great,” but we do not know how much great He is. That you do not know. But He is great; that is all right. He is greatest of all. In the Vedic language it is said asamordhva. Asama. Asama means “no equal.” Nobody is equal. Urdhva. Urdhva means “greater.” Asamordhva. In the Bhagavad-gita also this language is used. Nobody is equal or greater than God. That is God. You study from one creature to another, another, another, another, another, another, from beginning from the microbic ant, which is just like full stop, and go on, go on, go up to Brahma, whose life duration I just told you, four hundred thousands of years, or five thousands of years multiplied by one thousand equal to one day of Brahma. He also lives in such way one hundred years. He lives one hundred years; I live one hundred years; the ant lives one hundred years. But this one hundred years are relative. We cannot say that ant’s one hundred years and my hundred years and Brahma’s a hundred years is the same. The speed, the body, the calculation, they are all different, all different. So “God is great” means there are different grades of living entities, and the supreme living entity of whom there is no equal or greater is God. He is God. But the rascals, they are thinking, “I am God.” But this is the definition in every religion — either Christian religion or Hindu religion — that God is great.

The Sanskrit language they say brahma. Brahma means “the greatest.” Brahma, “the greatest.” The Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead is called Parabrahma. Parabrahma means..o, para means the Supreme, and brahma. We are all brahma. Brahma means spirit soul. You are brahma, I am brahma, everyone. Or you can say we are all God. But the greatest God is different. He is different. That is Krsna. That is confirmed in the Vedic language, that isvarah paramah krsnah [Bs. 5.1]: “Everyone is God.” Accept it. All right. But paramahparamah means the Supreme, of whom there is no equal and no greater. That is called paramah. Paramaisvarah, the Supreme God, is Krsna. Isvarah paramah krsnah. Isvarah means God, or controller. So everyone is controller to his limited extent. The ant is also controller, a grain of sugar. You are also controller; you have got limited sphere of controlling. Either you are controlling your children, or in office you are controlling some clerks, or in factory you are controlling some worker, or the President of United States is controlling the whole population, citizens of United States. Similarly, this controller, one after another, go on, study, study. There are other demigods, they are also controller. Just like in the heavenly planet, Indraloka, he is controlling the sky, water supply, of the planet. So similarly, different grades of controller. You cannot say that there is one kind of controller. Different grades of controller. And when you find the supreme controller, that is God.

So this human form of life is meant for finding out who is the supreme controller. The Vedic literature gives us information that,

isvarah paramah krsnah
[Bs. 5.1]

That supreme controller is known, His name, God’s name, you can give different names. There are many millions of name, God, according to His activities. Because He is the greatest, He is..a, there is no limit of His activities. So according to different activities His name is also given. So this word “Krsna,” Krsna is the final name, final name. Final name, why? This word indicates the all-attractive. God must be all-attractive. Unless God is all-attractive, how He can be God? Just like you select somebody as president because he is attractive — attractive in some way; attractive by his influence. You see that “This man is quite able to control over our country,” in this way; therefore you give your vote. He must be attractive. You don’t give vote to any person who is not attractive. So attraction must be there. And what are the attraction? The attraction is wealth, attraction is strength, attraction is reputation, attraction is wisdom, and attraction is beauty, and attraction is renunciation. These six kind of things. In Vedic literature, because it is perfect, it gives the definition of God that anyone who has got these six kinds of attraction in full — not partially. Partially, everyone has got some attraction. So far wealth is concerned, everyone has got some wealth, a few thousand dollars. But somebody may have few millions of dollars. So the, I mean to say, grades of possessing wealth, they are different. But when you find a person possessing all the wealth, that is Supreme. In this way, attraction by wealth, attraction by reputation — in this way we have got the definition of God from Vedic literature, and who is known as Krsna. Krsna means “all-attractive.” This word krs, krs means “attraction.” There are many other meanings; this is one of the meaning, “Krsna.” So actually, if God’s final name is to be sought, the all-attractive name, great — greatness by all-attraction — that is final name. So Krsna. So this Krsna is accepted in the Vedic language,

isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
[Bs. 5.1]

He is so attractive, He is so powerful, that He is the cause of all causes. The creative power — there are so many creative powers displayed in the cosmic manifestation, but He is the supreme creator. So this Suta Gosvami — I am giving you just a nutshell definition of God, or Krsna. And this Suta Gosvami was asked by the audience in Naimisaranya, “What is the best kind of religion?” There are different kinds of religion in the world. And “How by such prosecution of such religious activities one can be completely happy?” After all, why religion is accepted in the human society? The human society in any country, any place, there is some sort of religion. Why? Why they go to church or mosque or temple? Just to find out peace of mind. That is the main purpose: to become peaceful, happy. So this question was very intelligent question: “What is that best kind of religion by following which one can be fully satisfied?”

So Suta Gosvami replied that,

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
[Bhag. 1.2.6]

He did not mention any particular type of religion. He generally described that any religious system you follow, it doesn’t matter — but the test is whether you are increasing your love of God, the Supreme. That is the test of religion. Because religion means, any religion, there is some relationship with understanding of God. Either Christian religion or Hindu religion or Muhammadan religion, there is a conception of God. That is a fact. Now by following your religious system, if you develop your spontaneous love of God, then whatever religion you are following, that is perfect.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
[Bhag. 1.2.6]

God’s another name is given here — Adhoksaja. Adhoksaja means… Adha. Adha means “knocked down.”Aksaja, aksaja means “direct perceptional knowledge.” Direct perceptional knowledge. Just like I am seeing you, you are seeing me — this is direct knowledge. But this knowledge is not perfect. By seeing me you cannot understand me fully, or by seeing you I cannot understand you wholly. I do not know. Actually I see you are very beautiful, you are very nice, or I can talk with you; but to understand you fully it requires further, further, further, further knowledge. Similarly, that means..e My point is seeing..r We acquire knowledge by our senses, by seeing, by touching, by tasting, by hearing, by smelling. When I see something, I appreciate, “Oh, it is very beautiful,” or “It is very ugly.” That is my knowledge acquired by seeing. I taste something, a nice mango. By smelling I can understand, “Oh, it is very sweet.” By hearing I can understand, “Oh, this music is very nice.”

So we have got our senses, and by senses we acquire knowledge. But God, God is not to be understood by this direct perception of the senses. That is not possible, because we cannot see directly God. We cannot smell God. We cannot hear. We hear, of course; that is most important thing. Just like every one of us heard that “God is great.” So analyzing all this sensual knowledge, this particular knowledge, by hearing, is the only way for understanding God. Therefore the Vedic knowledge is called sruti. Sruti. Sruti means to hear. Adhoksaja — you cannot perceive God by any other senses. You cannot see God, you cannot smell God, you cannot touch God, you cannot taste God — but you can hear. That is a fact. You can hear. So this hearing is a very important thing to understand what is God. So our, this Krsna consciousness movement is the hearing process. Hearing process. Just like we chant:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

We are hearing the name of Krsna. By hearing we are understanding what is the form of Krsna. The form of Krsna, which we are worshiping here, it is by hearing. It is not imagination. It is by hearing. Just like in the Brahma-samhita it is stated,

cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
[Bs. 5.29]

Venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam [Bs 5.30]. These are statements on what is the form of the Lord, how, what He is doing, what are His activities. And those hearings are confirmed also when Krsna descended. The same thing. There Krsna was playing with flute, He was treating the cows very favorite, He was known as cowherd’s boy in His childhood. So that hearing was confirmed. His reputation, His strength, His beauty, His wisdom — whatever is stated in the Vedic language, they are all confirmed by when Krsna descended. So even that Krsna is not present at the moment, but still we can hear His instructions what He gave. In the Bhagavad-gita, many instructions He left. One of them is very important — Bhagavad-gita. This Bhagavad-gita is read all over the world, irrespective of religious considerations. As a matter of philosophy and book of knowledge, it is very popular all over the world. This Bhagavad-gita we have published “As It Is,” but unfortunately many editions, they give different interpretations. But “As It Is” should be understood.

So our, this process is hearing, because that is the only process. If you want to understand God, other processes will be realized through the process of hearing, sravanam. Therefore the devotional service, which we follow, there are in different stages:

sravanam kirtanam visnohsmaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyamsakhyam atma-nivedanam
[Bhag. 7.5.23]

There are nine different courses, of which the first step, sravanam, is very important. Very important. Sravanam: to hear. So our Krsna consciousness movement is giving chance to the people to hear about God. That’s all. It is nothing. We don’t charge anything for this. We don’t say any bogus thing, that you press your nose and this and that, then you realize. No. The simple method. Just like you see when we are chanting and people are hearing, even this child, this small child, he was also taking pleasure, he was also dancing. He was feeling..a, she was feeling; otherwise how she could dance? You see? So this feeling can be aroused, God consciousness, simply by these sixteen words’ chant,

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

And after chanting, if they hear something from the authoritative literatures… We have got Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Brahma-samhita, many other things. But even one has no time to hear, he can chant and hear. He can chant himself and hear, and he will feel…

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
[Bhag. 1.2.17]

This chanting and hearing is so pious that it will gradually cleanse your heart, and you will understand what is God — what is God, what is your relationship with Him, what is His function, what is your function. All these things will come automatically, gradually. It will take some.. Just like to cure a disease it takes some time, not that immediately you give the medicine and immediately he becomes cured. Immediately he becomes cured, of course, by hearing, provided one hears properly. But it is not possible, because we are associated with this material contamination. It requires little time. But this is the only process of this age. Simply you hear this chanting, Hare Krsna, and hear, and if you have got time you can read books. That is also hearing.

So we have established this center. We are very glad that you have come. It is newly started. If you come here, we are holding classes on Monday and Wednesday and Friday — three classes. Morning also, the inmates of the temple, they hold daily kirtana, but for outsiders we especially hold classes three days in a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So it is not very troublesome task. You can please come and hear how they are chanting and dancing. Little…, just spare a little time — half an hour or one hour — you will be benefited undoubtedly. Undoubtedly you will be benefited. All these boys, they came simply by hearing. We have got many centers — thirteen centers in your country — in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles. They are improving very nicely. Many people are coming — hundred, two hundreds are coming, gradually. In London also, people are taking very seriously. In the Times of London there was a newspaper heading, “Krsna Chant Startles London.” You see? So it is a genuine movement, and if you want to learn about God, and if you want to develop your dormant loving spirit for God, then take to this movement. That is our request. Take to this movement. And that is required, because human life and animal life, the difference is that there is God. The animals do not know what is God. A man can know. Similarly, if we remain without knowing God, then we are simply animals. We are no better than animals. What is the use of becoming a human being? Eating, sleeping, mating — that is also animal’s business. They rather exceed. You can beget children after three or four years’ work, but the animals and the birds, they can beget children one dozen at a time, and twice in a year. So your capacity for begetting children is not very much greater, you see? So eating — the hog can eat anything, any damn thing, up to stool. So you cannot compete with the hog even in the matter of eating. So there are… for living you are thinking that “I shall live for hundred years.” What is your life? The trees, they are living for seven thousand years. Huh? Seven thousand years. In San Francisco I saw one tree in the…, what is that?

Devotee: Muir Woods.

Prabhupada: Yes, yes. The one boy, somebody said that this tree was seven thousand years old. So what is the use of such lives? Seven thousand or seven millions of years standing in one place. Similarly without, I mean to say, understanding your relationship with God, what is the use of living? A tree can live more than you. What is the use of eating, and what is the use of mating, and what is the use of defending? So this is not a proper civilization. Simply concentrating on these four different bodily necessities of life — eating, sleeping, mating and defending — no. This life is not meant for, simply for this hard work like animals, and satisfy oneself by sex life. This is hog’s life. The hog is also working whole day very hard, eating all nonsense, and very much satisfied with sex life. This life is for voluntarily giving oneself for understanding what is God. That is necessary. So we are dealing with this subject matter authoritatively from Vedic literature. It is coming since a very long time, so there is no bluff, there is no charge; there is no particular type of labor. You can take advantage of this, and you are always welcome, and I think you shall take this matter seriously and attend this meeting. Thank you very much. If you have got any question you can put; I shall try to answer. Have you got any question? No. Now try to understand: if you have got any doubts, you can question. Yes. Because this is a discussion. We are trying to understand God, so you must understand it nicely. Question is one of the items for understanding.

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
[Bg. 4.34]

In the Bhagavad-gita, it is stated that to understand the transcendental science, the science of God, these things are required. What is that? You must find out a person who can answer. You cannot ask the question of God to a storekeeper. No. One who is conversant in the science. Anything. Suppose if you want to learn engineering, you have to go to some engineer; or if you want to learn medical science, then you have to admit yourself to a medical college. Similarly, if you want to learn about God, then you must approach a person who is conversant in the science of God. That thing first required. Then tad viddhi pranipatena [Bg. 4.34]. Pranipat means you must find out a person where you can, I mean to say, surrender. You should not go to a person who is less intelligent than you. That is useless. That is useless, because you cannot learn from him anything. You should go to a person who is at least more intelligent than you. Better to pick up a very intelligent person who can answer all the questions. You see? So tad viddhi pranipatena: first of all find out a man, surrender there, and then put your questions, sincere questions: “What is this?” So far my disciples are concerned, they are my disciples for the last two, three years; still, daily I require questions, letters, at least one dozen from different branches. They are very, very intelligent questions. So question will be there. If you try to understand something seriously, there must be questions. Just like a child who wants to understand something from the parents, always enquiring, “Father, what is this?” “Daddy, what it is?” “Mummy, what it is?” That is the intelligence. That is intelligence. You see? A child who always questions the parent, that means that he is going to be very intelligent in future. So question: tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. But at the same time you should not simply make the learned man to whom you question as dictionary, but you must give your…, tender your service also; then you will be able to understand. These three things required. One must find out a suitable person where to put your question, and the question should be put by surrender and service. Then the science of God will be learnt. So you are welcome to put questions. We shall be very glad. And if you like, you can take our books. We have got many books, this Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, our magazine Back to Godhead. We are printing twenty thousand magazines. They are being distributed principally from Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and London.

So this God consciousness movement is increasing because it is natural. Everyone is part and parcel, just like father and the son — there is natural affinity due to blood relationship. Just like that child. Because the child of a certain mother, she has got natural affection for the mother. Always, I mean to say, walking with the mother. Similarly, you are all sons of God. We have got natural affinity for God. Unfortunately, you have forgotten. This is our position. This is called maya. Therefore you are unhappy. As the child out of the protection — not exactly out of the protection; out of the vision — of the parents, he is not very happy, similarly we are being out of contact with God; we are not very happy. The whole world is unhappy. There are so many problems due to this lack of God consciousness. This should be revived. This is most important thing. People should join. This is a very scientific movement. They should try to understand and spread. That is necessary. That is a fellow feeling. If you want to tender the highest humanitarian service, you should all be conversant with God consciousness and raise people to understand this philosophy.

These boy, they came the other day. [chuckles] Very nice boy. [break]

Your name I forgot. What is your name?

Brian: Brian.

Prabhupada: Brian, yes. Mister Brian is a very nice boy. Yes. You have come alone? You have come alone?

Brian: Yes.

Prabhupada: Oh, very good devotee. [laughs] We have got many boys like that in Los Angeles, and they are doing very nice. So if you have no question, then chant Hare Krsna. Aratika may be performed. Who will chant Hare Krsna?


[kirtana begins] Hah. Kartika: if they are going, give them prasadam. We will have aratika if you can sit down for few minutes. [end]1911111

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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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