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Prabhupada-with-his-books

How to Study Prabhupada’s Books?

A very sincere devotee recently wrote To Krishna Path with an intelligent question about the best way of how to study Prabhupada’s books. We were very happy to hear from such a sincere devotee so we are including his email and our reply to him here for the benefit of us all.

The email we received:

Hare Krsna

I greatly appreciate your site, it has so much information and resources.

I have a question that I was hoping you could help me with. I have read on various sites about the concerns many have with certain things relating to the GBC and ISKCON. Bhaktivedanta College is offering an ISKCON Disciple course that they say is highly recommended for potential devotees and aspiring initiates. I have been thinking of taking it but am uncertain as to whether or not I should because of what I have read about changes to the original ISKCON and to Srila Prabhupada’s writings as well. I read His writings, chant, observe the 4 regulative principles and read The Bhagavad-Gita. My question is, do you think the course is something you would recommend to others?

I ask because I always want to do the right thing as it relates to Krsna.

With Respect

[Name removed]

 

Krishna Path’s Reply


We do not know about the Bhaktivedanta College or any courses they offer. We know Prabhupada and his books. There are so many problems in ISKCON and so many deviations, how can we even keep track. It is a total mess. Why work so hard and spend so much money and time on hearing from conditioned souls when you can buy a full set of Srila prabhupada’s original authorized books or download them all for free from krishnapath.org

If the Bhaktivedanta College is a mainstream FISKCON institution then we are sure they have been corrupted by reading the changed books. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has a poisonous effect and is untouchable.

Srila Prabhupada is fully available in his books and audio. There is nothing that anyone can add or say in addition to what Srila Prabhupada has already said in his original unadulterated and authorized books and audio. So why not spend your time hearing directly from Srila Prabhupada? Srila prabhupada is unlimitedly better then conditioned souls like the devotees doing the Bhaktivedanta College. We must not let our selves be cheated out of our opportunity to hear directly from Srila Prabhupada.

One of the many deviations in ISKCON (that was originally introduced by Tamal Krsna Swami) is that we are not able to directly access Srila Prabhupada solely through by his books and listening to his recorded audio. This is a gross philosophical misunderstanding of our transcendental Vaisnava philosophy.

Everything that anyone can tell you is there in its purest sense in Srila Prabhupada’s books so if we simply read Prabhupada’s original books again and again we will become the best scholars, students, preachers, devotees, and authorities in our philosophy we can be. We need not look outside Srila Prabhupada’s books for anything at all.

We simply need to follow Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and our life will be a success. To do this we need to know those instructions. To know those instructions we need to study everything he has left for us like his books, letters, audio, legal documents and everything.  We need to know them like a lawyer knows the laws. To do this we need to read Srila Prabhupada’s books. We really do not see how you can do this if your so busy hearing from so many conditioned souls and taking so many courses.

Also to take those courses (which are usually charging exorbitant fees) we must spend so much time working so hard to make the money to pay for those courses, instead of taking our time to simply read Srila Prabhupada’s books. We could be just living a simple life like Srila Prabhupada wanted for us. If we live a simple life we have so much time to read his books, but we do not, we complicate our life with fancy arrangements instead of just sitting down in our own home and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. We make things so complicated. We make all these fancy expensive courses created by conditioned souls, spending all this time on these elaborate arrangements when we can take our time to just read Srila Prabhupada’s books.

So we have included a few quotes from Srila Prabhupada on this topic for your own realization:

 

I have given you everything, so read and speak from the books and so many new lights will come out. We have got so many books, so if we go on preaching from them for the next 1,000 years, there is enough stock. Just like we have spent one day discussing one sloka, so you introduce this system in all of the temples, and very quickly the devotees will make spiritual progress by getting knowledge.

(Letter to: Satsvarupa – Los Angeles 16 June, 1972)

 

If you can actually understand the verses and purports of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is then your spiritual understanding is complete, without any other literature.

(Letter to: Bhadravardhana, February 22, 1977)

 

if men in this age of Kali want to see the real light of life, they must take to these two books only [Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam], and their aim of life will be fulfilled.

(SB 1.3.43)

 

Whatever is to be learned of the teachings of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura can be learned from our books. There is no need whatsoever for any outside instruction.

(Letter to: Gurukrpa , Yasodanandana – Los Angeles 25 December, 1973)

 

There is no need by any of my disciples to read any books besides my books — in fact, such reading may be detrimental to their advancement in Krishna Consciousness. All reading of outside books, except in certain authorized cases such as for example to read some philosopher like Plato to make an essay comparing his philosophy with Krishna’s philosophy — but otherwise all such outside reading should be stopped immediately. It is simply another botheration. If my students cannot even read my own books thoroughly, why they should read others? I have given you TLC, what need is there to read Caitanya Caritamrta translated by someone else. You are right to stop such reading.

(Letter to: Sri Govinda – Jaipur 20 January, 1972)

 

You say that you would read only one book if that was all that I had written, so you teach others to do like that. You have very good determination.

(Letter to: Sukadeva – New Delhi 14 November, 1973)

 

My knowledge is in the bookBy study of scripture, you can develop these qualities. That is called scripture. That is authorized scripture. Just like you study some book, and you develop some quality after reading that book, similarly, when you actually have scripture, then you develop all these qualities. And guru, spiritual master, means who teaches you all these things. So you have to make your progress — sadhu-sastra-guru vakya. You have to corroborate whether guru, what guru is speaking, whether it is there in the scripture; what scripture is speaking, whether that is in the character of guru, or in the sadhu, saintly persons, or spiritual master.

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.119-121 – New York, November 24, 1966)

 

But in this life, if we develop Krsna consciousness by association of devotees… As Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, tandera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa. One’s aim of life should be to serve the acaryas. Acarya upasanam. So our acarya in the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, the sri-rupa sanatana bhatta-raghunatha, sri-jiva gopala-bhatta dasa-raghunatha, the Six Gosvamins, and if we associate with them… this book, Nectar of Devotion, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, if you read regularly, try to understand, this means you are associating with Srila Rupa Gosvami directly. And if you act accordingly, then you are serving their lotus feet.

(The Nectar of Devotion – Vrndavana, October 20, 1972)

 

Paramahamsa: Srila Prabhupada, when you are not present with us, how is it possible to receive instructions, for example, on questions that may arise?

Prabhupada: Well, the questions… Answers are there in my books.

Paramahamsa: Other than that, for example, that we would ask you in…

Prabhupada: Yes.

Paramahamsa: Do you direct us also through the heart? Besides the Paramatma?

Prabhupada: If your heart is pure. Everything depends on purity.

(Morning Walk At Cheviot Hills Golf Course – May 13, 1973, Los Angeles)

 

Paramahamsa: Srila Prabhupada, when you are not present with us, how is it possible to receive instructions, for example, on questions that may arise?

Prabhupada: Well, the questions… Answers are there in my books.

Paramahamsa: Other than that, for example, that we would ask you in…

Prabhupada: Yes.

Paramahamsa: Do you direct us also through the heart? Besides the Paramatma?

Prabhupada: If your heart is pure. Everything depends on purity.

(Morning Walk At Cheviot Hills Golf Course – May 13, 1973, Los Angeles)

 

Prabhupada: The student must inquire from the spiritual master… We are publishing so many books, so many literatures, magazines. Why? Just to enlighten more and more. But if you don’t take advantage of this, then how can you make progress? ….

Indian lady: How does one contact the spiritual master? Through a book can you contact the spiritual master?

Prabhupada: No, you have to associate.

Syamasundara: “Can you associate through a book?” she asked.

Prabhupada: Yes, through books, and also personal. Because when you make a spiritual master you have got personal touch. Not that in air you make a spiritual master. You make a spiritual master concrete.  So as soon as you make a spiritual master, you should be inquisitive.…  He has to do everything under the instruction of the spiritual master. That is his duty. Sisya. Sisya means who voluntarily accepts disciplinary measures from the spiritual master. He’s ruled by the spiritual master…

(His Divine Grace Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Appearance Day, Lecture – London, September 3, 1971)

 

Indian Man (2): …like your company very much in Toronto and we feel like talk you so much, but we don’t have so much time to talk with you. You have so much mercy, so we have not… know so much about Krsna from you.

Prabhupada: So in my absence you read the books. What I talk, I have written in the books. That’s all.

Indian Man (2): Personally, we think more greater.

Prabhupada: That’s all right. But still, you can associate with me by reading my books.

(Morning Walk — August 7, 1975, Toronto)

[this is very interesting here the indian man clearly states that he feels that it is more greater to associate and get mercy by the personal physical presence of SP but then SP clearly corrects him stating that when Prabhupada is absent physically you can fully associate and have all your questions answered in Prabhupada’s books!]

 

Prajapati: In the Bhagavad-gita it is indicated by Sri Krsna that when we approach a bona fide spiritual master our relationship is twofold. We render service and then we also make inquiry.

Prabhupada: Yeah.

Prajapati: Now, you have answered all our inquiries so thoroughly in our books that to make inquiry at this point seems like…, you’ve already answered all the questions. So how may we… What is the proper relationship at that point to make inquiry?

Devotee (4): Read the books.

Prabhupada: Yes. Read the books, yes. Why I’m working so hard? Read the books. [break]

(Morning Walk – January 5, 1974, Los Angeles)

 

Lord Brahma heard the occult sound tapa, but he did not see the person who vibrated the sound. And still he accepted the instruction as beneficial for him, and therefore he engaged himself in meditation for one thousand celestial years. One celestial year is equal to 6 x 30 x 12 x 1000 of our years. His acceptance of the sound was due to his pure vision of the absolute nature of the Lord. And due to his correct vision, he made no distinction between the Lord and the Lord’s instruction. There is no difference between the Lord and sound vibration coming from Him, even though He is not personally present. The best way of understanding is to accept such divine instruction, and Brahma, the prime spiritual master of everyone, is the living example of this process of receiving transcendental knowledge. The potency of transcendental sound is never minimized because the vibrator is apparently absent. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita or any revealed scripture in the world is never to be accepted as an ordinary mundane sound without transcendental potency.

(SB 2.9.8)

 

one has to associate with liberated persons not directly, physically, but by understanding, through philosophy and logic, the problems of life.

(SB 3.31.48)

 

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.…You may please me the most by reading my books and following the instructions therein and by becoming fully Krishna Conscious in this life time.

(Letter to: Bahurupa, Bombay, 22 November, 1974)

 

I have instructed everything in my books.

(Letter to: Dina Dayala, Mayapur, 25 February, 1976)

 

Interviewer: You are the translator of many books, from what I understand.

Prabhupada: Yes. So that translation, the book, will speak how I have translated.

Interviewer: Um hm. I was wondering…

Prabhupada: You read the books, Then you’ll understand. Instead of asking me, you better read the books. That is real understanding.

( Interview with Newsweek – July 14, 1976, New York)

 

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: Bahurupa  –  Bombay 22 November, 1974)

 

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

(Letter to: Ranadhira  –  Los Angeles 24 January, 1970)

 

So utilize whatever time you find to make a thorough study of my books. Then all your questions will be answered.

(Letter to: Upendra – Nellore 7 January, 1976)

 

Reporter (2): What will happen to the movement in the United States when you die?

Prabhupada: I will never die.

Devotees: Jaya! Hari bol! (laughter)

Prabhupada: I shall live for my books, and you will utilize.

(Press Conference – July 16, 1975, San Francisco)

 

Srimad-Bhagavatam is not a creation of the *mental speculators. The sound of Srimad-Bhagavatam is transcendental, and the resonance of Srimad-Bhagavatam is as good as that of the Vedas. Thus the topic of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the science of both the Lord and the living entity. Regular reading or hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam is also performance of bhakti-yoga, and one can attain the highest perfection simply by the association of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Both Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit attained perfection through the medium of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

(SB 2.9.4)

[Would these statements still hold true if the transcendental eternal spiritually potent words of the Srimad-bhagavatam removed and replaced with the words of a conditioned soul and *mental speculator?]

 

The merciful Lord left behind Him the great teachings of the Bhagavad-gita so that one can take the instructions of the Lord even when He is not visible to material eyesight. Material senses cannot have any estimation of the Supreme Lord, but by His inconceivable power the Lord can incarnate Himself to the sense perception of the conditioned souls in a suitable manner through the agency of matter, which is also another form of the Lord’s manifested energy. Thus the Bhagavad-gita, or any authentic scriptural sound representation of the Lord, is also the incarnation of the Lord. There is no difference between the sound representation of the Lord and the Lord Himself. One can derive the same benefit from the Bhagavad-gita as Arjuna did in the personal presence of the Lord.

(SB 1.15.27)

 

One who can see Srimad-Bhagavatam can see also Lord Sri Krsna in person. They are identical.

(SB 1.3.43)

 

One can derive from the study of the Bhagavatam all benefits that are possible to be derived from the personal presence of the Lord. It carries with it all the transcendental blessings of Lord Sri Krsna that we can expect from His personal contact.

(SB 1.3.40)

 

hearing from devotees, the sound vibration coming from the realized person. Reading the book is the same thing . . . tattva-darsana — hearing from one who has seen the truth. 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.

(Letter to: Punjabi Premanand –  Bombay 16 April, 1976)

 

Paramahamsa: My question is: A pure devotee, when he comments Bhagavad-gita, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with his commentary, explanation, is this the same thing?

Prabhupada: Yes. You can associate with Krsna by reading Bhagavad-gita. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty? Everyone is helping you.

(Morning Walk – June 11, 1974, Paris)

 

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.

(Letter to: Bahurupa – Bombay 22 November, 1974)

 

Paramahamsa: My question is, a pure devotee, when he comments on Bhagavad Gita, someone who never sees him physically, but he just comes in contact with the commentary, explanation, is this the same thing?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. You can associate with Krsna by reading Bhagavad-Gita. And these saintly persons, they have given their explanations, comments. So where is the difficulty?

(Morning Walk, Paris 11/6/74)

 

The Spiritual Master is present wherever his sincere disciple is trying to serve his instructions. This is possible by the Mercy of Krsna. In your attempts to serve me and in all your sincere devotional sentiments I am with you as My Guru Maharaja is with me. Remember this always.

(Letter to: Bhakta Don  —  Los Angeles 1 December, 1973)

 

arcye sila-dhir gurusu na… Gurusu means those who are acaryas, to accept their body as ordinary man’s body, this is denied in the sastras. So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the spiritual master, vibration. What we have heard from the spiritual master, that is living.

(Lecture Excerpt – Los Angeles, January 13, 1969)

 

Thanks for reading.

Hare Krishna!













  1. Niraj
    Niraj09-26-2014

    Happy to see we are both on the same space.
    I have built an iPhone/iPad app about Prabhupada and would love to hear your thoughts on it. Check it out: http://bit.ly/1sgCigr
    Keep up the great blog! :)

  2. shubham vyas
    shubham vyas11-04-2014

    I went through the articles. Basically i m a physics student and love to read literature compiling both physics and philosophy. This article gave me a widespread idea of the greatness of vedanta. I m glad that i m the part of such a rich culture. Thank you for publishing this mind blowing article. Looking forward for further new articles on science and philosophy. Good luck…!!

  3. Sashi Sadhaki
    Sashi Sadhaki10-08-2016

    Beautiful blog post! All I need is Srila Prabhupada. He is my Spiritual Master. He leads me to Krishna…

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