1. BHAGAVATAM AND BHAGAVAD GITA CLASSES
3. HEARING WITH RAPT ATTENTION
4. HEARING SRILA PRABHUPADA'S
ROOM AND MORNING WALK CONVERSATIONS
5. KIRTANA'S WITH SRILA PRABHUPADA
6. CHANTING JAPA WITH SRILA PRABHUPADA
7. HEARING SRILA PRABHUPADA 24 HOURS
8. WATCHING SRILA PRABHUPADA'S VIDEO'S
Below we will be presenting some thoughts and describing some practices which devotees at the Prabhupada Sankirtana Society are daily using in their hearing from Srila Prabhupada.
BHAGAVATAM AND BHAGAVAD GITA CLASSES
At the Prabhupada Sankirtana Society centers during both morning and evening classes, after chanting the Sanskrit sloka and reading the text and purport, we play the relevant lecture by Srila Prabhupada.
There are now available more lectures on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, bringing the total to around seven hundred. This amount lasts about two years, when played daily during class. By materialistic calculation this is more than enough to keep the classes fresh, as know one can fully remember the classes given two years previous. Of course spiritually speaking there is unlimited nectar in every single lecture. As far as the evening lectures on the Bhagavad Gita are concerned, if they are supplemented with Nectar of Devotion and Caitanya Caritamatra lectures, they would total around five hundred. This lasts just under one and a half years.
While hearing the lecture we read along by taking the transcript of the lecture from the computer (Srila Prabhupada's complete works, Veda base) and make the font larger, different colours are also used for the font and background. This is then transferred to a larger television screen so it can be read by many devotees. Pictures of Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna can also be inserted on the screen. The sub-titles and pictures help capture the mind and focus it on hearing Srila Prabhupada's transcendental vibration. As the mission develops and the temples are full with hundreds of devotees we may be using very large screens and advanced sound systems.
After hearing the lecture one devotee usually leads a discussion, by trying to repeat word for word the instructions of His Divine Grace. This process is very important for the development of a preacher, as it checks the tendency of interpretation and speculation.
Your proposals for teaching them our philosophy are very good. But if we try artificially to explain sastra in our own words, there is every danger of interpretation and speculation. First the student must be able to repeat exactly the words of the guru and then after some time he may be qualified to apply the principles he has learned word-for-word to personal situations. It is not that we are a dry philosophy of dogmas and slogans. No. The language of Krishna Consciousness is ever-fresh and we can explain everything by it, just like my Guru Maharaja once lectured for three months on one verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam. But every precaution must be taken to preserve our basic guiding principles as they are and not change them because we want to hear something new.
(S.P.L Bhaktadasa, 20th November, 1971)
Questions are usually presented by the devotee leading the discussion and the assembled devotees answer. In this way everyone gets involved in bringing out the main and side points of the purport and class.
I have looked over the sample of test paper from Srimati Joanne and it is very nice. This question and answer practice should be encouraged amongst the devotees. Then they will become trained to reply questions from outsiders.
(S.P. Letter to: Jananivasa Los Angeles 7 July, 1970)
We then point out Sanskrit slokas used by Srila Prabhupada, and expand on them by referring to their purports and previous lectures. In this way the discussions open out more and more bringing in fresher and fresher angles of sastric vision. By this process all the devotees are also learning the verses which Srila Prabhupada quotes and how he presents them with other verses. The process of discussing together helps us all gain deeper realizations and savor new understandings about the Krishna Consciousness philosophy. Everyone becomes very much enlivened and realizes more about the exalted position of the Maha Bhagavata devotee Srila Prabhupada, and how he speaks with one hundred percent perfection on the ancient Vedic literature’s, presenting them so mercifully for the understanding of the fallen souls of Kali yuga.
We are holding our morning class here in Los Angeles in the temple and I am speaking from 7 to 8 am, and the process is that we are going through some chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam by taking one sloka each day, and reading the Sanskrit aloud, each word is pronounced by me and repeated by the students and then altogether we chant the sloka several times until we have learned it. And then we discuss the subject matter very minutely and inspect it from all angles of approach and savor the new understandings. So you introduce this system in all of the centers in your zone, and you will discover that everyone becomes very much enlivened by these daily classes.
(S.P. Letter to: Madhudvisa Los Angeles 16 June, 1972)
Some souls may say Srila Prabhupada never instructed us to play his lecture tapes for Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita classes, he asked his disciples to give class. Therefore to play his lecture tapes for class would be introducing something new. To answer this, we can say that Srila Prabhupada gave the classes when he was physically present, so to hear him speak now is continuing that process not introducing something new.
He reasons ill who tells that Vaisnavas die when thou art living still in sound. The Vaisnavas die to live and living try to spread the holy name around. (Bhaktivinode Thakur.)
According to Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, Srila Prabhupada's preaching will increase now by his presence in transcendental sound. So whatever Srila Prabhupada was doing when he was physically present shall increase. Srila Prabhupada is now available to lecture daily, in many many places simultaneously.
We should also understanted that only Srila Prabhupada, the self realized soul can recite Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita, he does this by his Bhaktivedanta purports.
According to the Vedic injunctions: yasya deve para bhaktih. The Srimad-Bhagavatam can only be recited by one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of Krsna and His devotee, the spiritual master.
(C.C. Mad 22.131)
When we speak we first read Prabhupada's recitation then bring out the points contained within it. Therefore why not also take advantage of these lectures, which we could understand as "extended purports".
Srila Prabhupada also says that hearing the sound vibration from the realized soul is more effective than reading, this would be another reason to also utilise his lecture tapes for classes.
Reading or hearing from the realized person there is no difference, but hearing the sound vibration from the realized soul is still more effective, better.
(S.P.L, to Punjabi premanand, 16th October, 1976)
In the following quote Srila Prabhupada says that what he's talking into the microphone will be recorded and can be heard by a big crowd of four hundred men. This would indicate playing his lectures during morning and evening classes, when the devotees gather in large numbers.
If somebody criticizes, "Oh, Caitanya Mahaprabhu walked on leg and you are travelling in the jet plane?" Shall I have to take that ideal? These are rascaldom. When you have to work, you have to work with the greatest facility. That's all. Now I have got the facility of the talking in microphone, and... So why should I not take it? It will be recorded. It will be heard by so many others. I am speaking to four, five men. It can be heard by a big crowd of four hundred men.
(S.P.C Vrindavana, 4thMarch, 1974)
HEARING WITH RAPT ATTENTION
TRANSLATION. O learned brahmanas, when Sukadeva Gosvami recited Bhagavatam there [in the presence of Emperor Pariksit], I heard him with rapt attention, and thus, by his mercy, I learned the Bhagavatam from that great and powerful sage. Now I shall try to make you hear the very same thing as I learned itfrom him and as I have realized it.
PURPORT. One can certainly see directly the presence of Lord Sri Krsna in the pages of Bhagavatam if one has heard it from a self-realized great soul like Sukadeva Gosvami. One cannot, however, learn Bhagavatam from a bogus hired reciter whose aim of life is to earn some money out of such recitation and employ the earning in sex indulgence. No one can learn Srimad-Bhagavatam who is associated with persons engaged in sex life. That is the secret of learning Bhagavatam Nor can one learn Bhagavatam from one who interprets the text by his mundane scholarship. One has to learn Bhagavatam from the representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, and no one else, if one at all wants to see Lord Sri Krsna in the pages. That is the process, and there is no alternative. Suta Gosvami is a bona fide representative of Sukadeva Gosvami because he wants to present the message which he received from the great learned brahmana. Sukadeva Gosvami presented Bhagavatam as he heard it from his great father, and so also Suta Gosvami is presenting Bhagavatam as he had heard it from Sukadeva Gosvami. Simple hearing is not all; one must realize the text with proper attention. The word nivista means that Suta Gosvami drank the juice of Bhagavatam through his ears. That is the real process of receiving Bhagavatam. One should hear with rapt attention from the real person, and then he can at once realize the presence of Lord Krsna in every page. The secret of knowing Bhagavatam is mentioned here. No one can give rapt attention who is not pure in mind. No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action. No one can be pure in action who is not pure in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. But somehow or other if someone hears with rapt attention from the right person, at the very beginning one can assuredly see Lord Sri Krsna in person in the pages of Bhagavatam.
We can understand from the above quote how important it is for us to follow the four regulated principles: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no eating of meat, fish or eggs and no gambling.
HEARING SRILA PRABHUPADA'S
ROOM AND MORNING WALK CONVERSATIONS
Another nice program which is very important for all preachers, is based on hearing Srila Prabhupada’s room and morning walk conversations. This could be implemented daily or weekly as a seminar. In these conversations Srila Prabhupada gives the perfect training to all his disciples on how to understand the flaws in various types of bogus philosophy, and how to defeat them by presenting the ultimate truth, Krsna Consciousness. By simply repeating Srila Prabhupada’s potent analogies and arguments while one is engaged in preaching, one gains factual realization of the infallible nature of the Jagad Guru.
KIRTANA'S WITH SRILA PRABHUPADA
When the mantra is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of nondevotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.
Srila Prabhupada's kirtana's are very potent and perfection of life is attained by glorifying the Lord in Srila Prabhupada's association.
Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association with a self-realized devotee of the Lord.
At our centers after hearing Srila Prabhupada lecture we finish by having a kirtana led by His Divine Grace.
And before and after the class there must be Mahamantra chanting
( S.P. Letter to: Yamuna, Gurudasa Los Angeles 16 April, 1970)
Some very wonderful kirtana's which can be chanted along with are available on C.D. here are a few:
HARE KRISHNA CLASSICS AND ORIGINALS CD-2 (TRACK 4)
SRI BRAHMA SAMHITA CD-4 (TRACK 4)
THE VINTAGE SERIES
CDV-2 (TRACK 3) CDV-3 (TRACK1)
CDV-6 (TRACKS 1 AND 3) CDV-8 (TRACK 1)
We also always play Srila Prabhupada leading Jaya Radha Madhava before classes .This can be found on:HARE KRISHNA CLASSICS AND ORIGINALS CD-2 (TRACK 7)
CHANTING JAPA WITH SRILA PRABHUPADA
During the morning programme we always chant our japa in association of Srila Prabhupada the effects of this are described as follows.
TRANSLATION "I thought that today I would be able to finish my performance of yajna, my chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. I tried my best to chant the holy name all night, but I still did not finish… Tomorrow I will surely finish, and my vow will be fulfilled. Then it will be possible for me to enjoy with you in full freedom."
PURPORT Haridasa Thakura never wanted to enjoy the prostitute, but he tricked her to deliver her by giving her a chance to hear the holy name of the Lord while he chanted. Pure devotees chant the Hare Krsna mantra, and simply by hearing this chanting from a purified transcendental person, one is purified of all sinful activities, no matter how lowborn or fallen one may be. As soon as one is thus completely free from the reactions of sinful activities, he is eligible to render devotional service to the Lord.
( C.C. Antya 3.125,6)
TRANSLATION " Today it will be possible for me to finish my chanting," Haridasa Thakura informed her. "Then I shall satisfy all your desires… .The night ended while Haridasa Thakura was chanting, but by his association the mind of the prostitute had changed.
( C.C. Antya 3.129,30)
HEARING SRILA PRABHUPADA 24 HOURS
Yes, your plan to hold (e.g. 24 hour kirtana) is approved. Everything is kirtana including recitation of Bhagavatam which is also kirtana, and japa as well.
(S.P.L. to Gopijanavallabha dasa, 17th, October, 1975)
Therefore Prahlada Maharaja says, sravanam. If we hear about Krsna constantly, through realized souls, not professional--if we hear, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido---then automatically, our dormant Krsna consciousness come out.
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.22-34 Lord Nrsimhadeva's Appearance Day Los Angeles, May 27, 1972)
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we must hear about Krsna twenty-four hours. Not that a particular time I hear and then stop. Don't stop.
(S.B. Lec, 1972)
In our P.S.S center in Oldham England, we have Srila Prabhupada kirtana's and bhajans playing all over the temple, 24 hours a day. Two C.D players are used, which play alternatively 12 hours at a time. From them we lead many speakers (off amplifiers) to different locations in the center so wherever one may be, they can hear Srila Prabhupada constantly. These bhajans and kirtana's are played at a low volume level in the background creating a Vaikuntha atmosphere.
Similarly, if we hear the unadulterated message of Lord Krishna from the authorized source, we will immediately be in contact with the transcendental atmosphere
S.P.Letter to: Yamunacarya Tittenhurst 21 October, 1969)
No one can describe his specific characteristics, but it is understood that wherever Murari Caitanya dasa passed, whoever was present would be enlightened in Krsna consciousness simply by the atmosphere he created.
(C.C. Adi Lila 11.20)
There is also a similar system of speakers set up to a double auto reverse tape deck, and through this we play Srila Prabhupada lecture tapes at a higher volume 24 hours a day.
There are various rules and regulations which one should follow. And one should constantly hear Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam from pure devotees. This practice can help anyone to rise to the level of love of God, and then he is sure of his progress into the spiritual kingdom of God.
When devotees go out for preaching etc. this constant hearing from Srila Prabhupada can be maintained by having two walkmans and some mini speakers. One walkman can be used with speakers to play Prabhupada's kirtana's out loud and his lectures can be heard with the other walkman by head phones. By hearing from Srila Prabhupada constantly we shall always remember Krishna.
The word smrtya is very important in spiritual life. Smrtya means remembering Krsna always. Life should be molded in such a way that one cannot remain alone without thinking of Krsna. We should live in Krsna so that while eating, sleeping, walking and working we remain only in Krsna. Our Krsna consciousness society recommends that we arrange our living so that we can remember Krsna. In our ISKCON society the devotees, while engaged in making Spiritual Sky incense, are also hearing about the glories of Krsna or His devotees. The sastra recommends, smartavyah satatam visnuh: Lord Visnu should be remembered always, constantly. Vismartavyo na jatucit: Visnu should never be forgotten. That is the spiritual way of life. Smrtya. This remembrance of the Lord can be continued if we hear about Him constantly. It is therefore recommended in this verse: mukundacaritagrya-sidhuna. Sidhu means "nectar." To hear about Krsna from Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita or similar authentic literature is to live in Krsna consciousness.
The words srutena bhuyasa, "by constantly hearing," are very important in this verse. By constantly hearing about devotional service, one can check the force of anger, which is detrimental to the process of devotional service. Srila Pariksit Maharaja said that the constant hearing of the pastimes of the Lord is the panacea for all material diseases. Everyone, therefore, should hear about the Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly. By hearing one can always remain in equilibrium, and thus his progress in spiritual life will not be hampered.
By this constant hearing we will become addicted just like one becomes addicted to intoxicants, and in this way easily cross the nescience of material existence.
The Lord says, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah (SB. 3.25.25). Only in the association of pure devotees can the words of Lord Krsna be fully potent and relishable to the heart and ear. Dhruva Maharaja explicitly wanted the association of devotees. That association in devotional activities is just like the waves of an incessantly flowing river. In our Krishna Consciousness Society we have full engagement twenty-four hours a day. Every moment of our time is always busily engaged in the service of the Lord. This is called the incessant flow of devotional service. A Mayavadi philosopher may question us, "You may be very happy in the association of devotees, but what is your plan for crossing the ocean of material existence?" Dhruva Maharaja's answer is that it is not very difficult. He clearly says that this ocean can be crossed very easily if one simply becomes mad to hear the glories of the Lord. Bhavad-guna-katha: for anyone who persistently engages in hearing the topics of the Lord from Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta and who is actually addicted to this process, just as one becomes addicted to intoxicants, it is very easy to cross the nescience of material existence.
WATCHING SRILA PRABHUPADA'S VIDEO'S
Srila Prabhupada's video's are very wonderful indeed, especially for new people. We usually always introduce everyone who visits our centers to Srila Prabhupada by inviting them to take prasadam and watch one of his video's.
Usually the guests take a little time to finish their prasadam as they cannot remove their eyes from Srila Prabhupada's transcendental form. This very simple practice fully engages the tongue, eyes and of course the ear in the topmost form of yoga trance. These video's are also kept playing from 4 a.m. through to 10 p.m. in different rooms in the temple, particularly in the shop front for all the souls who pass by. This practice helps one in remembering Srila Prabhupada's transcendental form. Srila Prabhupada's video's are also played while the devotees are honouring prasadam. Thus very easily by Srila Prabhupada's mercy we can all be fully absorbed in transcendental meditation simply by watching Srila Prabhupada's video's
Bahulasva: People have such a clouded idea of what is God, Srila Prabhupada. When you explain it, it's very real.
(S.P. Conversation , Los Angeles 9th January, 19
If you would like to obtain
THE COMPLETE SRILA PRABHUPADA TAPE LIBRARY
ON COMPACT DISK + FREE VEDABASE
containing Srila Prabhupada's
original 1972 Bhagavad-gita.
just send your address and cheque for
£70.00 or $118.00
(This price incudes postage)
Prabhupada Sankirtana Society,
294, Lee Street, Oldham,
OL8 1BG, England
and we will mail you the CDs
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The small profit made will go towards
the printing of Srila Prabhupada's original books.
HARE KRISHNA !
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which is a compilation of quotes from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada
on the importance of hearing from a self-realized soul,
then please contact us at:
Prabhupada Sankirtana Society. (Oldham)