Hearing in the association of devotees is the medicine to stop the cycle of birth and death

July 1, 2020 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

SB 10.1.4-Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the paramparā system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?

PURPORT-In India it is the practice among the general populace to hear about Kṛṣṇa, either from Bhagavad-gītā or from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in order to gain relief from the disease of repeated birth and death. Although India is now fallen, when there is a message that someone will speak about Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, thousands of people still gather to hear. ….If we hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from liberated persons, this hearing will certainly free us from the bondage of material activities, but hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam spoken by a professional reciter cannot actually help us achieve liberation. “O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me.” (Bg. 7.7) Simply by understanding this fact—that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead—one can become a liberated person. But, especially in this age, because people are interested in hearing Bhagavad-gītā from unscrupulous persons who depart from the simple presentation of Bhagavad-gītā and distort it for their personal satisfaction, they fail to derive the real benefit. There are big scholars, politicians, philosophers and scientists who speak on Bhagavad-gītā in their own polluted way, and people in general hear from them, being uninterested in hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from a devotee. A devotee is one who has no other motive for reciting Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam than to serve the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore advised us to hear the glories of the Lord from a realized person (bhāgavata paro diya bhāgavata sthane). Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord, for this is strictly forbidden by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, who quotes from the Padma Purāṇa:avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇaṁ pūtaṁ hari-kathāmṛtam śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyaṁ sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ One should avoid hearing from a person not situated in Vaiṣṇava behavior. A Vaiṣṇava is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gītā by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that kṛṣṇa-kathā should be recited by a person who is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī epitomizes the proper reciter for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Parīkṣit Mahārāja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. .. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence.The instructions of Bhagavad-gītā and the descriptions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are so pleasing that almost anyone suffering from the threefold miseries of material existence will desire to hear the glories of the Lord from these books and thus benefit on the path of liberation. Two classes of men, however, will never be interested in hearing the message of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatamthose who are determined to commit suicide and those determined to kill cows and other animals for the satisfaction of their own tongues. 

Although such persons may make a show of hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam at a Bhāgavata-saptāha, this is but another creation of the karmīs, who cannot derive any benefit from such a performance.“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.” (Bg. 2.44) Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says: manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā,jāniyā śuniyā viṣa khāinu Anyone who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious and who therefore does not engage in the service of the Lord is also paśu-ghna, for he is willingly drinking poison. Such a person cannot be interested in kṛṣṇa-kathā because he still has a desire for material sense gratification; he is not nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. As it is said, traivargikās te puruṣā vimukhā hari-medhasaḥ. Those interested in trivarga—that is, in dharma, artha and kāma—are religious for the sake of achieving a material position with which to gain better facilities for sense gratification. Such persons are killing themselves by willingly keeping themselves in the cycle of birth and death. They cannot be interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.For kṛṣṇa-kathā, topics about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there must be a speaker and a hearer, both of whom can be interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness if they are no longer interested in material topics. One can actually see how this attitude automatically develops in persons who are Kṛṣṇa conscious. Although the devotees of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are quite young men, they no longer read materialistic newspapers, magazines and so on, for they are no longer interested in such topics (nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ). They completely give up the bodily understanding of life. For topics concerning Uttamaśloka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master speaks, and the disciple hears with attention. Unless both of them are free from material desires, they cannot be interested in topics of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The spiritual master and disciple do not need to understand anything more than Kṛṣṇa because simply by understanding Kṛṣṇa and talking about Kṛṣṇa, one becomes a perfectly learned person…When discourses on kṛṣṇa-kathā take place between a liberated spiritual master and his disciple, others also sometimes take advantage of hearing these topics and also benefit. These topics are the medicine to stop the repetition of birth and death. The cycle of repeated birth and death, by which one takes on different bodies again and again, is called bhava or bhava-roga. If anyone, willingly or unwillingly, hears kṛṣṇa-kathā, his bhava-roga, the disease of birth and death, will certainly stop. Therefore kṛṣṇa-kathā is called bhavauṣadha, the remedy to stop the repetition of birth and death. Karmīs, or persons attached to material sense enjoyment, generally cannot give up their material desires, but kṛṣṇa-kathā is such a potent medicine that if one is induced to hear kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, he will certainly be freed from this disease. 

Some Conclusions—Hare Krsna-This is a wonderful verse and purport because it clearly explains who does and who does not want to hear BG and SB in the association of the Lords devotees. There are two kinds who do not want to hear-the killers of animals and those who want to kill themselves by avoiding this medicine for this age in the form of Krsna Katha. I find it interesting that Prabhupada and the SB lumps into the same category both the butcher/killer of animals and those people who also do not want to hear about Krsna from the Lords pure devotee Srila Prabhupada. Both are killing themselves by their foolish  activities. Once having come to this human form of life and the Krsna Consciousness Movement, if one does not take advantage of the very fortunate times devotees get together for kirtan and Krsna katha, then these people as SB says, they are knowingly drinking poison.On this note, a few of us (usually 10-20 or so) have organized a regular Sunday morning Bhagavad Gita class/discussion group for an hour, via conference call, and this has been going on now for months, yet some on the list who can join this auspicious group, chose not to join in and regularly miss these nectarean discussions. Why they don’t join in and with regularity, I don’t know, but they are the ones who are the losers-especially at these times when social distancing is everywhere in the world.I remember clearly one very nice devotee who joined Srila Prabhupada in Montreal around 1968, who later “blooped” only to come back to the movement two years later and told me  personally-“You know Damaghosa I thought I was leaving under my own steam, but it was Krsna who was kicking me out . Whatever keeps us from dancing and chanting with devotees is just maya, and you should just kick it out”.These were his words, almost verbatim. And ironically, that same nice devotee joins with us in our regular Sunday BG discussion group where we each read a verse from BG, then discuss it.

Hare Krsna

damaghosa das