The importance of Hearing about Krishna
The Bhagavad-gita contains eighteen chapters containing a total of seven hundred verses. We have just gone through some important verses in the sixth chapter, so now we will move on to the seventh chapter. Srila Prabhupada titled this seventh chapter: “The Knowledge of the Absolute” and it begins with the following verse:
Now hear, O son of Prtha [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.
In this chapter the nature of Krishna consciousness is fully described. Krishna is full in all opulences, and how He manifests such opulences is described herein. Also, four kinds of fortunate people who become attached to Krishna, and four kinds of unfortunate people who never take to Krishna are described in this chapter.
In the first six chapters of Bhagavad-gita, the living entity has been described as nonmaterial spirit soul which is capable of elevating himself to self-realization by different types of yogas. At the end of the Sixth Chapter, it has been clearly stated that the steady concentration of the mind upon Krishna, or in other words Krishna consciousness, is the highest form of all yoga. By concentrating one’s mind upon Krishna, one is able to know the Absolute Truth completely, but not otherwise.
Impersonal brahmajyoti (the destination of the impersonalists) or localized Paramatma (the Lord in the heart, the subject of meditation for the yogis) realization is not perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth because it is partial. Full and scientific knowledge is Krishna, and everything is revealed to the person in Krishna consciousness. In complete Krishna consciousness one knows that Krishna is ultimate knowledge beyond any doubts.
Different types of yoga are only steppingstones on the path of Krishna consciousness. One who takes directly to Krishna consciousness automatically knows about brahmajyoti and Paramatma in full. By practice of Krishna consciousness yoga, one can know everything in full–namely the Absolute Truth, the living entities, the material nature, and their manifestations with paraphernalia.
One should therefore begin yoga practice as directed in the last verse of the Sixth Chapter. Concentration of the mind upon Krishna the Supreme is made possible by prescribed devotional service in nine different forms, of which hearing is the first and most important. The Lord therefore says to Arjuna, “Hear from Me.” No one can be a greater authority than Krishna, and therefore by hearing from Him one receives the greatest opportunity for progress in Krishna consciousness. One has therefore to learn from Krishna directly or from a pure devotee of Krishna–and not from a nondevotee upstart, puffed up with academic education.
“To hear about Krishna from Vedic literatures, or to hear from Him directly through the Bhagavad-gita, is itself righteous activity. And for one who hears about Krishna, Lord Krishna who is dwelling in everyone’s heart, acts as a best-wishing friend and purifies the devotee who constantly engages in hearing of Him. In this way, a devotee naturally develops his dormant transcendental knowledge. As he hears more about Krishna from the Bhagavatam and from the devotees, he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. By development of devotional service one becomes freed from the modes of passion and ignorance, and thus material lust and avarice are diminished. When these impurities are wiped away, the candidate remains steady in his position of pure goodness, becomes enlivened by devotional service and understands the science of God perfectly. Thus bhakti-yoga severs the hard knot of material affection and enables one to come at once to the stage of understanding of the Supreme Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead.” (Bhag. 1.2.17-21)
Therefore only by hearing from Krishna or from His devotee in Krishna consciousness can one understand the science of Krishna.
So we see the only way one can understand Krishna consciousness is by hearing from a pure devotee of Krishna, and it is not very common to find a pure devotee of Krishna, we are very fortunate therefore that Srila Prabhupada has come to us and given us his books. Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books is hearing from a pure devotee of Krishna. So by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books we can become Krishna conscious.
Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!