Why not to hear from professional Bhagavatam reciters

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By Gaurachandra Das

  1. Such speakers charge money from the organizers and innocent devotees. They have spoiled the whole essence of Bhagavat Dharma by such cheap propaganda. When Sukadeva Goswami spoke this divine message to Pariksit Maharaj and assembled sages, no money was charged. When Suta Goswami repeated it to Saunak rishi and sages no money was charged. But the professional reciters have spoiled the whole show and charm by their lustful agendas and charging lakhs of rupees in name of Bhagavatam hearing. Such a proposal is a farce and no genuine satsanga can emanate from such kaitava-dharma(cheating religion).

 

  1. A number of professional Bhagavatam reciters(being karma-kanda followers internally) indirecty proclaim that Krishna and other demigods as Brahma, Devi, Rudra are on equal standing and any of them can be heard and glorified. This is an offence and ignorant understanding as the pure followers of Vaishnav culture know and preach against. Srila Sanatana Goswami has taught in Hari Bhakti Vilasa :

Yas tu narayanam devam brahma rudradi daivataih

Samatvenaiva vikseta sa pasandi bhaved dhruvam

One who thinks the great demigods such as Brahma and Siva are equal to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana , is a pasandi. (HBV 1.17)

To hear Krishna-katha from such a pasandi is to fool one’s own self.

 

  1. Thirdly such professiona reciters are mostly not in a parampara system or bonafide disciplic succession. As known there are four disciplic successions originating from Brahma, Rudra, Sri (Laksmi) and Kumaras. These professional reciters have generally memorized details from books after a sansrit shastri degree and they don’t follow any authentic disciplic line. According to the Padma Purāṇa, one of the eighteen main Purāṇas,the verse says:

sampradāyavihīnā ye mantrāste niṣphalā matāḥ| ataḥ kalau bhaviśyanti catvāraḥ sampradāyinaḥ|| Śrī-brahmā-rudra-sanakā vaiṣṇavā kṣitipāvanāḥ| catvāraste kalau bhāvya hyutkale puruṣottamāt|| rāmānujaṃ śrī svicakre madhvācaryaṃ caturmukhaḥ| śrīviṣṇusvāminaṃ rudro nimbādityaṃ catuḥsanāḥ||[1]

Translation :All mantras which have not been given (to disciples) in an authorised Sampradāya are fruitless. Therefore, in Kali Yuga, there will be four bona-fide Sampradāyas. Their names are : inaugurated by Śrī Devī and known as the Śrī Sampradāya, Lord Brahmā and known as the Brahma Sampradaya,Lord Rudra and known as the Rudra Sampradaya; and the Four Kumāras and known as Sanakādi Sampradāya or Nimbarka Sampradaya. Śrī Devī(lakshmi) made Ramanujacharya the head of that lineage. So too Lord Brahmā appointed Madhvacharya, Lord Rudra appointed Viṣṇusvāmī and the four Kumaras chose Nimbarka (an epithet for Śrī Nimbārkācārya).

 

  1. Fourthly, the professional Bhagavatam reciters have the tendency to jump to the pastimes of Radha and Krishna without having the qualification to discuss such esoteric pastimes. According to Srila Jiva Goswami, such pastimes can be discussed and heard only among those men who have perfectly entered the culture of sense control (dhira). If ordinary men who have not controlled the anarthas, if they delve into such discussions, they are lost in their senses . This is the practical position of professional reciters and one who hears Hari katha from such men also becomes slave of his senses. Genuine Krishna-bhakti is far away from such a pseudo arrangement.

 

  1. Most importantly, Srila Prabhupada has taught that to hear Hari katha and Holy Name from Avaishnava (servant of maya) is liking drinking milk touched by the serpant. It is indeed detrimental to one’s spiritual health. Rather than gaining devotion one will loose devotion from such hearing. Srila Sanatana Goswami has mentioned the same thing in Hari Bhakti Vilasa :

Avaisnava –mukhodgirnam putam hari-kathamrtam

Sravanam naiva kartavyam sarpocchistam yatha payah.

“ One should not hear about Krishna from a non-Vaishnava. Milk touched by the lips of a serpant has poisionous effects; similarly, talks about Krishna given by a non-Vaishnava are aso poisonous.”

So, a Vaishnava devotee must carefully avoid hearing and becoming part of such a mockery in the name of Srimad Bhagavatam. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says – “ Asat sanga tyaga ei Vaishnav acara”, - To avoid non-Vaishnav association is the attitude of Vaishnav devotee of Sri Krishna.

 

6. Another significant thing is that Bhagavat knowledge cannot be finished in seven days. The principle is – Nityam Bhagavat sevaya (Bhagavatam 1.2.18), to do Bhagavat seva (two way through Grantha-book Bhavagat and the service of Devotee Bhagavat) - daily as taught by Srimad Bhagavatam itself. Of course, Hari katha can be done in any format but the foolish opinion of professional reciters that hearing seven days for three hours only is the culture of Bhagavat hearing and that Pariksit Maharaj heard in this way from Sukadeva Goswami is fully wrong and insane. First of all there are 18000 shlokas in Srimad Bhagavatam which cannot be finished in this way and as mentioned in Bhagavatam itself the sages heard this message for seven days continuousy, without eating and sleeping, for the authentic source of Sukadeva Goswami and Suta Goswami twenty-four hours daily. Can any professional reciter or hearer match this standard. That is impossible, that’s why Bhagavatam itself has proclaimed “Nityam Bhagavat sevaya” (serve the Bhagavat two-fold daily). Also Srila Prabhupada (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami) mentions each shloka of Srimad Bhagavatam can be explained for for as long as three months time. Even a lifetime is less to assimilate the complete knowledge of Srimad Bhagavatam. Amidst such circumstances the professional speaking of Bhagavatam for only seven days is a empty bottled show of formality and whim.

7. Finally such a program is organized by ignorant and materially attached men without perfect knowledge of Bhagavat Gita and Krishna bhakti , to serve often their lusty agendas and purposes. Nobody can become a proper devotee of Sri Krishna by such professional recitation and hearing. This must be be the standard as taught by previous Acaryas and it must be followed and preached as it is in society. Thus the work of “professional” Bhagavatam reciters must be condemned.

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1 Unregistered

What about Iskcon Bhagavat Saptaha in India? I don´t ever attend (here in Vrindavan) every year HH Radha Govinda Maharaj and other Swamis´ & Vaishnavas´ in our Iskcon Society have them, and i have not really learned how to speak Hindi yet. Are they any good? Maybe i should have learned Hindi after being here for @ 16 years? ;D

Comment posted by bhagavatpuranadas on January 2nd, 2013
2 Unregistered

They not like “professional” Bhagavat reciters, Vaishnavs speak without charging money and for the welfare of the people, so devotees lectures can be organized in any format. Seven day format is also valid. But the work of “professional” speakers of Bhagavata who speak without knowledge of parampara and siddhanta (for earning living through Bhagavata) that is being condemned.

Comment posted by gaurachandra1 on January 4th, 2013
3 Unregistered

Hare Krishna.
Thats interesting comparision. Would chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra by different musicians for earning money, selling CDs, preforming in festivals (for money or for selling CDs) will be also considered “for not hearing”? Especially, if its done proffessionaly (i mean professionaly by standarts of music industry complexies)?
Actually there are some tensions - especially, if you are payd to go to take a part in some another festival - but you cannot preach or say the truth, or you speak only what they want to hear - because you do not want to loose audithory and income (from the next invitation…)
The same aspect is - when a preacher goes to wealthy or powerfull groups/persons - and he speaks halftruths or nothing (for gaining donations, followers and so on). He acts like a proffessional preacher - but where is the border?

ys
Nataraja dasa

Comment posted by Nataraja dasa on January 6th, 2013
4 Unregistered

Regarding these things, devotees should be self-introspective, what is the purpose and mission. Purity is the force and devotees should always actively self-analyse in this aspect. Purity of heart is the border or defining line. By purity and adherence to authority of Lord, even Arjuna’s killing of his kinsmen is devotional service. Neophyte devotees may sometimes
behave like the professional way, but the advanced and well versed devotees who understand the siddhantic knowledge, will refrain from doing so and display sincereity of purpose and action. I read in Bhagavatam (Ist Canto) that Yadus forcibly brought even the heavenly presentation hall Sudharma to the city of Dwarika for the service of Krishna. Lord must get the best thing. For that the devotee may even sometime commit apparent illegal acts in social norm, but such an action is purely acceptable in divine standards. Such a devotee is “Ananya-bhak” as Krishna calls in Bhagavad Gita. So, devotees commiting any so called sin for krishna is also acceptable, as they offer all results to the Lord,.They are not
professionals. Pure devotees engaged in preaching and Vaishnava seva are never professional from absolute viewpoint.

Haribol. In service,
Gaurachandra das
(Gaurav Silwal)

Comment posted by gaurachandra1 on January 6th, 2013
5 Unregistered

Hare Krishna!
Gauracandra prabhu posted:
“For that the devotee may even sometime commit apparent illegal acts in social norm,…”

SOMETIME. If you have been in showbusiness industry - there are no “sometime”. Mostly, everything is planned and rules and regulations are strict. Its a system. And whats the worst - you are forced to accept way of life and you are obligated to think/act accordingly.

For the public - “THE NEW STAR WAS BORN”, but in reality - producers and managers just playing out next card in the order… Real stars and talented peoples are just moved aside, to give a way for the favorite.

So - this way of mixing together therms: - “…devotees commiting any so called sin for krishna is also acceptable, as they offer all results to the Lord…”, “…Pure devotees engaged in preaching and Vaishnava seva are never professional…”, “…devotee may even sometime commit apparent illegal acts in social norm…” - this way will just blurr any borderline, and at the end we will get Hollywood slogan “FOLLOW THE HEART” (”…devotees should be self-introspective…”).

We should not be so much self-introspective, because we allready are like that - and with this “following our hearts” we are in deep nescience and dark material existence.

There should be clear and clean borderlines. Off course - this is the best business - to sing mahamantre and get paid for that. But call this a business - and not a devotional service. Then - no one will have a problem. Better to make devotional service, but call your activities just simply “your business”, instead of opposit - when you do your business, and call your activities as a “devotional service”. This is one of the greatest problems in any spiritual organisation - mixing together “devotional service” and “personal business”.

One can say so: If you get paid - thats your business, and please call this so.
If you didnt gain anything and give away everything from your activities - thats devotional service.

Otherwise - we can soon find ourselves in showbusiness illusionary world…

ys
Nataraja dasa

Comment posted by Nataraja dasa on January 7th, 2013
6 pustakrishna

When we westerners visit the various temples in India, we are often disturbed by the forceful begging of the priests in the temples. We can see the distinction between the Gaudiya Vaishnava temples in the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupad and these other places. The Gaudiya Vaishnavas are generally peaceful and contented to serve the visitors.

ISKCON is a very large organization. We must expect there to be incidents in visiting ISKCON temples where there might be someone openly being pushy and asking for donations. These are small flaws when you consider the grand mission of Srila Prabhupad. In addition, the book distribution of Srila Prabhupad’s books usually accompanies open sales or requests for donations. This has helped to both perpetuate the printing and distribution of books, and has helped to sustain the temples. So, it is not always a cut and dry case when money is involved in engaging people in seva through book distribution and sales of prasadam. We must not therefore be too harsh when the intentions are noble.

Hare Krishna…Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on January 13th, 2013
7 Unregistered

I guess Nataraja Prabhu aims at some of our ISKCON kirtan singers who record professionally and perform on the mayavadi circuit, and then sell their collaborative CDs to devotees. I think listening to those would be no different that listening to Bhagavat reciters mentioned in the article.

Comment posted by Sitalatma Das on January 14th, 2013

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