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Importance of reading Prabhupada’s books 1-2 hours daily

This is a compilation by one of the senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada: His Grace Damaghosa Dasa (Seattle, USA)

Below, we have a short compilation of a number of the more essential instructions of our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada. Let us get inspired by the words of a Maha Bhagavata, pure devotee, and work for our purification and His pleasure.

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 quickly 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 a bath, and follow the other regulative principles.

Letter to: Madhudvisa, June 16, 1972: I am very much stressing 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. I am speaking from 7 to 8 am. The process is that we are going through some chapters of Srimad Bhagavatam by taking one sloka each day and reading Sanskrit aloud. Each word is pronounced by me and repeated by the students, and then all of us chant the sloka together 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 suppose the students get knowledge more and more. In that case, they will automatically become convinced and very easily perform their duties for tapasya or renunciation of the material bondage. That will be their successful advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So I want that advancement amongst all of my students, so you are responsible to maintain the standard.

Letter to: Patita Uddharana, December 8, 1971: My Dear Patita Uddharana, Please accept my blessings. These activities are the backbone of our society, such routine work, such as chanting, speaking, rising early, cleaning, cooking, and offering prasadam, arati, and reading books. If we practice them nicely in a regulative manner, then our whole program will be successful. If we become slack or neglect these things, everything else we try will fail. So you must 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 we remove the head the whole body dies. Managing is the hands, which work nicely if the head is healthy. If we were to remove the hands 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 operates nicely. Letter to: Bahurupa, November 22, 1974, In my books, I have explained the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness fully, so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read it again and again. Reading daily will reveal the knowledge to you, and, your spiritual life will develop by this process. Krishna Consciousness is not a hackneyed thing, but it 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. Through this process, our consciousness becomes clear, and we can understand everything.

Letter to: Ranadhira, January 24, 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 still more than one lakh of rupees. Although they have been propagated so vigorously not to visit temples, people are going. That is the birthright in India – they are automatic Krishna conscious, automatically. Therefore all the demigods also desire to take birth in India. Automatically. So temple worship is essential. So those who are against temple worship, Deity worship, are not a 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 big words, that “God is everywhere,” but they forbid 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 arati, worship the Deity. This routine is our morning business.

Lecture – Los Angeles, December 6, 1973: So Arjuna was disturbed in many ways, but as soon as he began to think of Krishna’s lotus feet (Sanskrit), everything immediately became pacified. This meditation on Krishna’s lotus feet is the recommended 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 always pacified, santa, soothed, peaceful.

Lecture – Nairobi, October 27, 1975: So these are all facts: Krishna is everywhere, Krishna is within your heart, and Krishna is within the atom.Andantarastha-paramanu-cayantara-tham. That’s a fact, but where is your realization? Therefore you have to begin realization byarcana. That is essential. Then more you become an expert in arcana, ye yatha mam prapadyante, the more you become realized, then more you become advanced.

Lecture – Mayapur, March 12, 1976: Krishna says, “He’s a first-class yogi.” Who? “Who is always trying to see Krishna within the heart.” So it is a challenging task? In our bhakti-yoga, we can teach this art of seeing Krishna within the heart’s core in one minute. It is so simple. You see, Krishna here. You must have the impression and always try to keep that impression within your heart. Then you become a first-class yogi. Why so much gymnastics 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, a neophyte, must take to Deity worship. Deity worship elevates one to see the Lord within the heart. This deity service is an essential thing. You can see – He is there – but you do not know, or even if you have the knowledge, you are not competent to see Him. But if you practice Deity worship. Therefore the guru must 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 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.

(Next time we take Krishna Murti darshan, observe how long we stand there before we look away and then walk away, going on to something “else”) 🙂 

Conclusions

Summary of points covered below. If we want to be Krishna Conscious, certain things must occur.
1. We must rise daily early in the morning and perform mangal āratī 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 for at least 1-2 hours daily.