Importance of reading Prabhupada’s books

Below we have a short compilation of a number of the more important instructions our spiritual master Srila Prabhupada has given to us for purification.

If we think we don’t need or want any more purification, then there is no need to read further.

However, if we are not seeing Krishna at every moment, nor do we have direct communication within our hearts with Him, have little to no attachment for chanting the Holy Names, nor have we uncovered our eternal relationship with Him, then maybe it would be a good idea to read further and see what a Maha Bhagavata, pure devotee tells us to do.  

Summary of points covered below.

If we want to be Krishna Conscious, then certain things must take place.

1. We must daily, rise early in the morning, and perform mangal arotik and the rest of the daily program.

2. We must worship the Deity of Krishna daily, to advance from neophyte to madhyama.

3. We must read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours daily.

Letter to: Bhargava, 13 June, 1972

…  Our advancement in Krishna Consciousness is made possible in two ways, by knowledge and renunciation, jnana and tyaga or tapasya.  So I am requesting all of my students to read my books very seriously every day without fail. In this way, if your mind becomes absorbed at least one or two hours daily in the transcendental subject matter of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and other books then very easily you will make your advancement in Krishna Consciousness….

…Therefore, I recommend you to read books more and more and try to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision … while you are working at the press, and when you are working and you cannot read, then listen to the tapes of my lectures and hear in that way. And never neglect to chant your 16 rounds of beads daily, rise early without fail, attend mangal arati, take bath, and follow the other regulative principles…

Letter to: Madhudvisa, 16 June, 1972 

I am very much stressing at this point that all of my students shall be very much conversant with the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, and that they should read our books very diligently at least one or two hours daily and try to understand the subject matter from varieties of angles. 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 slokaeach 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. Read one sloka and discuss and then go on to the next sloka on the next day, and so on, and even you discuss one verse each day it will take you 50 years to finish Srimad-Bhagavatam in this way. So we have got ample stock for acquiring knowledge. And if the students get knowledge more and more, they will automatically become convinced and very easily perform their duties for tapasya or renunciation of the material bondage, and that will be their successful advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So I want that advancement amongst all of my students, so you are responsible that the standard will be maintained.

Letter to: Patita Uddharana, 8 December, 1971

My Dear Patita Uddharana,

Please accept my blessings. This routine work, such as chanting, speaking, rising early, cleaning, cooking and offering prasadamarati, reading books – these activities are the backbone of our Society, and if we practice them nicely in a regulative manner, then our whole program will be successful. If we become slack or neglect these things, then everything else we may try will fail. So it is very important that you keep your standards very high in these activities, then your preaching will be strong. Preaching is our real business, preaching and distributing books. If your preaching work is strong, then your management of temple affairs will also become automatically very strong. Just like if the head wills it, the hand will move. Preaching is like the head of our KC Society – if the head is removed, the whole body dies. Managing is the hands, which work nicely if the head is healthy. If the hands are removed, the body will not die, but it will be crippled. So preaching is more important than management, but both must be there if the whole body is to operate nicely.

Letter to: Bahurupa, 22 November, 1974

In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is explained fully so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this process your spiritual life will develop. Krishna Consciousness is not a hackneyed thing but it is something which is our natural and original consciousness. Presently our consciousness is clouded just like a mirror becomes covered with dust. So the cleansing process is this chanting and hearing and doing some service and trying to please the Spiritual Master. By this process our consciousness becomes clear and we are able to understand everything.

Letter to: Ranadhira, 24 January, 1970

Every one of you must regularly read our books at least twice – in the morning and evening, and automatically all questions will be answered.

Lecture – Nairobi, October 30, 1975                 

Balaji temple, Tirupati, Tirumalai. People are going, and the daily collection is more than one lakh of rupees still. Although they have been propagated so vigorously not to visit temples, but people… That is the birthright in India – they are automatically Krishna conscious, automatically. Therefore all the demigods, they also desire to take birth in India. Automatically.

So the temple worship is essential. So those who are against temple worship, Deity worship, they are not very intelligent class of men, foolish, mudha. Again, the same word.

na mam duskrtino mudhah
prapadyante naradhamah
mayayapahrta-jnana
asuri bhavam asritah

Mayayapahrta jnanah. They are talking very big, big words, that "God is everywhere," but they are forbidding temple worship. Apahrta-jnana. The knowledge is imperfect. A common man can say, "If God is everywhere, why not in the temple?" And if we have to worship God, why not in His original form?

Lecture – Dallas, March 4, 1975                 

Early in the morning, .. according to Vedic civilization, one should rise early in the morning and chant Hare Krishna, perform mangala aratrika, worship the Deity. This is the morning business.

Lecture – Los Angeles, December 6, 1973  

So Arjuna was disturbed in so many ways, but as soon as he began to think of Krishna's lotus feet, (Sanskrit), immediately everything became pacified. This is the process. This transcendental consciousness or transcendental meditation, immediately, without any delay, for a moment you'll feel completely pacified. Therefore Krishna advises (Sanskrit). "Always…" Man-manah, "Always engage your mind upon Me." This Deity worship means to train the neophytes devotees how to concentrate upon the form of Krishna, especially His lotus feet. That will make our life pacified always, santa, pacified, peaceful…..

Lecture – Nairobi, October 27, 1975                  

So these are all facts, that Krishna is everywhere, Krishna is within your heart, Krishna is within the atom. Andantarastha-paramanu-cayantara-tham. That's a fact, but where is your realization? Therefore you have to begin realization by arcana. That is very essential. Then more you become expert in arcanaye yatha mam prapadyante, the more you become realized, then more you become advanced.

Lecture – Mayapur, March 12, 1976                 

Krishna says, "He's first-class yogi." Who? "Who is always trying to see Krishna within the heart." So it is very difficult task? In our bhakti-yoga we can teach this art of seeing Krishna within the core of the heart in one minute. It is so simple. You are seeing Krishna here. You must have impression and try to keep that impression within your heart always. Then you become first-class yogi. Why so much gymnastic and pressing the nose? No. Take directly. If you are engaged twenty-four hours in the service of the Deity, you cannot see except the Deity. This bhakti-yoga practice is so simple. Therefore kanistha adhikari, those who are neophyte, they must take to Deity worship. By Deity worship he is elevated to the position of seeing the Lord within the heart. This is very important thing. You can see – He is there – but you have no knowledge, or even if you have knowledge, you are not competent to see Him. But if you practice Deity worship…

Therefore it is the duty of guru to engage the neophyte devotee always in Deity worship.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.28.34

The word madireksana is also significant in this verse. Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained in his Sandarbha that the word madira means "intoxicating." If one's eyes become intoxicated upon seeing the Deity, he may be called madireksana. Queen Vaidarbhi's eyes were very enchanting, just as one's eyes are madireksana when engaged in seeing the temple Deity. Unless one is an advanced devotee, he cannot fix his eyes on the Deity in the temple.

(note – next time we take Krishna Murti darshan, see how long we stand there before we look  away and then walk away, going on to something "else”)

Conclusions – If we want to be Krishna Conscious, then certain things must take place.

1. We must daily rise early in the morning, and perform mangal arotik and the rest of the daily program.

2. We must worship the Deity of Krishna daily, to advance from neophyte to madhyama.

3. We must read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours daily.