Everything Comes by Hearing
(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada)

Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, to go back home one must receive the mercy of the spiritual master. Is there any particular activity in devotional service which is more favorable to this, and if so, how does one know which activity to perform?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Devotee (2): She wants to know what's the best activity to perform to go back to Godhead.

Prabhupāda: You are already performing Hare Kṛṣṇa chant, very easy thing. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam (SB 7.5.23). That is the best education: to hear about God, to chant about God, to think about God, to worship God. In this way there are nine processes recommended. You are following that, at least trying to follow. Then, when you are perfect, then you'll go. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti (BG 4.9). No more material body. You follow strictly the devotional process. There are nine different ways. But if you simply hear about God, then you also become perfect. Any one of them... You take nine of them, eight of them, seven of them, six of them, five of them—at least one you take, and you'll be perfect. One must take. Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit, he took only one. He listened to Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Hearing. He became perfect. Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he simply chanted; he became perfect.

    śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
    smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
    arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
    (SB 7.5.23)

Arjuna, he simply took Kṛṣṇa as a best friend; he became perfect. That is Bhagavad-gītā. He has accepted Kṛṣṇa as the best friend: "Kṛṣṇa, although I am talking with You as friend, but I know what You are. So I am perplexed. Kindly give me lesson." Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7): "My dear Kṛṣṇa, I am surrendering unto You. I accept You as my spiritual master. Kindly teach me." So he became perfect by making Kṛṣṇa his friend.

So nine processes. Any process you take and do it perfectly, then you become perfect. So we are opening different centers all over the world. At least if they come and hear about Kṛṣṇa they'll become perfect, without doing anything, simply by hearing, hearing. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam. It is very easy. It is not at all difficult. Where is the difficulty? God has given us ear, and if we simply hear, listen what Kṛṣṇa says, we become perfect.

Guest: What if you hear in your heart but don't act in your life.

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Devotee (3): What if you hear but don't act accordingly in your practical life?

Guest: You feel it in your heart...

Prabhupāda: No, hear means you do it in practical life. Otherwise what is the hearing? Then just like one stone, he has got ear. That is not atten... Hearing means it will react. That is hearing. The more you hear, it will react. Then you practically do it. But everything comes by hearing. So hearing is so important. Just like even in your ordinary education you go to the school, college, and hear from the professor. Hearing is so important. Then you become perfect; you take your degrees. Similarly, the science of God, you simply hear about it. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam. Then, gradually, it will purify. Hearing means purifying the dirty things within the heart. That is hearing. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ (SB 1.2.17). Because it is spiritual, hearing has got a potency to purify you. This is not ordinary hearing. This is spiritual hearing, so it has got a potency. Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ. Anyone who takes part in this process of hearing and chanting, he becomes pious, purified. Just like if you touch some way or other the fire, it will act, similarly, Kṛṣṇa is spiritual. You hear about Kṛṣṇa; then it will act. Then you'll be purified.

(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Melbourne, April 23, 1976)
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