In this chapter we will be presenting quotes from Srila Prabhupada on the importance of hearing a pure devotee and self realized soul recite Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita.  We hope that by reading them many devotees may be inspired to utilise Srila Prabhupada's recitation of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita in the form of his recorded lecture tapes as well as in the form of his Bhaktivedanta purports, during the morning and evening classes.


This kind of Bhagavata-seva will not help. Nityam bhagavata-seva. Caitanya Mahaprabhu's order is bhagavat pada giya bhagavata-sthane. If you want to realize what is Bhagavat, then you must go and learn Srimad-Bhagavatam from a person whose life is Bhagavatam, not the professional Bhagavat reciters. So here it is said... And who will recite Bhagavatam daily unless he has dedicated his life for Bhagavan. He's bhagavata. Grantha-bhagavat, and the person bhagavata. Bhagavata. Maha-bhagavata. A person, a devotee is called bhagavata. And the grantha-bhagavata. So we have to serve both. We have to hear daily Srimad-Bhagavatam from the realized person. Nityam bhagavata sevaya. The guru. The devotee. They are bhagavat. So we have to serve, we have to please them. That is also said in the Bhagavad-Gita. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya.

(S.B. Lecture, 1974)


TRANSLATION. ‘One should taste the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord.


PURPORT. The words sajatiyasaye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare are very important items. One should not associate with professional Bhagavatam reciters. A professional Bhagavatam reciter is one who is not in the disciplic succession or one who has no taste for bhakti-yoga. Simply on the strength of grammatical knowledge and word jugglery, professional reciters maintain their bodies and their desires for sense gratification by reading Srimad-Bhagavatam. One should also avoid those who are averse to Lord Visnu and His devotees, those who are Mayavadis, those who offend the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, those who simply dress as Vaisnavas or so-called gosvamis, and those who make a business by selling Vedic mantras and reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam to maintain their families. One should not try to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam from such materialistic people. According to the Vedic injunctions: yasya deve para bhaktih. The Srimad-Bhagavatam can only be recited by one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of Krsna and His devotee, the spiritual master. One should try to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam from the spiritual master. The Vedic injunction states: bhak- tya bhagavatam grahyam na buddhya na ca tikaya. One has to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam through the process of devotional service and by hearing the recitation of a pure devotee. These are the injunctions of Vedic literature--sruti and smrti. Those who are not in the disciplic succession and who are not pure devotees cannot understand the real mysterious objective of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavad-Gita.

(C.C. Mad 22-131)


TRANSLATION. Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?


PURPORT. In India it is the practice among the general populace to hear about Krsna, either from Bhagavad-Gita or from Srimad-Bhagavatam, in order to gain relief from the disease of repeated birth and death. Although India is now fallen, when there is a message that someone will speak about Bhagavad-Gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam, thousands of people still gather to hear. This verse indicates, however, that such recitation of Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam must be done by persons completely freed from material desires (nivrtta-tarsaih). Everyone within this material world, beginning from Brahma down to the insignificant ant, is full of material desires for sense enjoyment, and everyone is busy in sense gratification, but when thus engaged one cannot fully understand the value of krsna-katha, either in the form of Bhagavad-Gita or in Srimad-Bhagavatam.

If we hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from liberated persons, this hearing will certainly free us from the bondage of material activities, but hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam spoken by a professional reciter cannot actually help us achieve liberation..... A devotee is one who has no other motive for reciting Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam than to serve the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore advised us to hear the glories of the Lord from a realized person (bhagavata paro diya bhagavata sthane). Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Krsna consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord, for this is strictly forbidden by Srila Sanatana Gosvami.

(S.B. 10.1.14)


TRANSLATION.  O learned brahmanas, when Sukadeva Gosvami recited Bhagavatam there [in the presence of Emperor Pariksit], I heard him with rapt attention, and thus, by his mercy, I learned the Bhagavatam from that great and powerful sage. Now I shall try to make you hear the very same thing as I learned it from him and as I have realized it.


PURPORT. One can certainly see directly the presence of Lord Sri Krsna in the pages of Bhagavatam if one has heard it from a self-realized great soul like Sukadeva Gosvami. One cannot, however, learn Bhagavatam from a bogus hired reciter whose aim of life is to earn some money out of such recitation and employ the earning in sex indulgence. No one can learn Srimad-Bhagavatam who is associated with persons engaged in sex life. That is the secret of learning Bhagavatam Nor can one learn Bhagavatam from one who interprets the text by his mundane scholarship. One has to learn Bhagavatam from the representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, and no one else, if one at all wants to see Lord Sri Krsna in the pages. That is the process, and there is no alternative. Suta Gosvami is a bona fide representative of Sukadeva Gosvami because he wants to present the message which he received from the great learned brahmana. Sukadeva Gosvami presented Bhagavatam as he heard it from his great father, and so also Suta Gosvami is presenting Bhagavatam as he had heard it from Sukadeva Gosvami. Simple hearing is not all; one must realize the text with proper attention. The word nivista means that Suta Gosvami drank the juice of Bhagavatam through his ears. That is the real process of receiving Bhagavatam. One should hear with rapt attention from the real person, and then he can at once realize the presence of Lord Krsna in every page. The secret of knowing Bhagavatam is mentioned here. No one can give rapt attention who is not pure in mind. No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action. No one can be pure in action who is not pure in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. But somehow or other if someone hears with rapt attention from the right person, at the very beginning one can assuredly see Lord Sri Krsna in person in the pages of Bhagavatam.

(S.B. 1.3.44)


One who is in association with great acaryas, even if he is not educated or has never studied the Vedas, can become familiar with all the knowledge necessary for realization.  The process of devotional service is a very happy one (susukham). Why? Devotional service consists of sravanam kirtanam visnoh, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorised acaryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn…     . In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is also confirmed that when one becomes purified by executing the process of devotional service, especially by hearing Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavad Gita from realized souls, then he can understand the science of Krsna or the science of God.

(B.G. 9.2)

One should be intelligent enough to know the position of Srimad-Bhagavatam by considering personalities like Sukadeva Gosvami, who deals with the subject so carefully. This process of disciplic succession of the Bhagavata school suggests that in the future also Srimad-Bhagavatam has to be understood from a person who is factually a representative of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. A professional man who makes a business out of reciting the Bhagavatam illegally is certainly not a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami. Such a man's business is only to earn his livelihood. Therefore one should refrain from hearing the lectures of such professional men.

(S.B. 1.1.3)


3. The citizens of the state must give in charity up to fifty percent of their income for the purpose of creating a spiritual atmosphere in the state or in human society, both individually and collectively. They should preach the principles of Bhagavatam by (a) karma-yoga, or doing everything for the satisfaction of the Lord, (b) regular hearing of the Srimad-Bhagavatam from authorised persons or realized souls.  (S.B. 1.17.38)


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended that one learn Srimad-Bhagavatam from the mouth of the self-realized person called Bhagavatam. Bhagavata means "in relationship with the Personality of Godhead [Bhagavan]." So the devotee is sometimes called bhagavatam, and the book which is in relationship with devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also called Bhagavatam. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended that, in order to relish the real taste of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one should take instruction from the person Bhagavatam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is relishable even by a liberated person. Sukadeva Gosvami admitted that although he was liberated from within the very womb of his mother, it was only after relishing Srimad-Bhagavatam that he became a great devotee. Thus, one who is desirous of advancing in Krsna consciousness should relish the purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam through the discussions of authorised devotees.

(N.O.D. Chapter 12)

Unless you hear... Just like Krsna is speaking. You have to hear. Gata-sangasya muktasya jnanavasthita cetasah, yajnayacaratah karma samagram praviliyate. So in this way, hearing, hearing, you become jnanavasthita-cetasah. You don't require to go to the college and school. This is also... They simply hear. Even in college and school, there is percentage of attendance, hearing. All of you know that unless one has attended class of the professor 75%, he is not allowed for the examination. So hearing is so important. And that is also in the case of spiritual. You hear from... Hear from whom? Hear from whom? That tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet: "Hear from guru." Who is guru? Guru. Brahma-nistham. Brahma-nistham. Guru means who knows God and fully engaged in His service. That is guru. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, samit-pani srotriyam brahma-nistham. Srotriyam brahma-nistham. And he has also heard from his guru. This is both, hearing. Therefore Vedas are known as sruti.

(B.G. Lecture, 1974)


TRANSLATION. "If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam," he said, "you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."


PURPORT. Herein Svarupa Damodara Gosvami instructs the poet from Bengal to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a pure Vaisnava and learn from him. In India especially, there is now a class of professional Bhagavatam readers whose means of livelihood is to go from village to village, town to town, reading Bhagavatam and collecting daksina, or rewards, in the form of money or goods, like umbrellas, cloth and fruit. Thus there is now a system of Bhagavata business, with recitations called Bhagavata-saptaha that continue for one week, although this is not mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nowhere does Srimad-Bhagavatam say that the Bhagavatam should be heard for one week from professionals. Rather, Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17) says: srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah. One should regularly hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaisnava. By such hearing, one becomes pious. Hrdyantahstho hy abhadrani vidhunoti suhrt-satam. As one thus hears the Bhagavatam regularly and sincerely, his heart is purified of all material contamination.

nasta-prayesv abhadresu  nityam bhagavata-sevaya

bhagavaty uttama-sloke  bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

"As one regularly hears the Bhagavatam or renders service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact." (SB. 1.2.18)

This is the proper process, but people are accustomed to being misled by professional Bhagavatam reciters. Therefore Svarupa Damodara Gosvami herein advises that one should not hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from professional reciters. Instead, one must hear and learn the Bhagavatam from a self-realized Vaisnava......Svarupa Damodara Gosvami strictly prohibits the behavior of the materialistic so-called hearers of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Instead of awakening real love for Krsna, such hearers of the Bhagavatam become more and more attached to household affairs and sex life (yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham). One should hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a person who has no connection with material activities, or, in other words, from a paramahamsa Vaisnava, one who has achieved the highest stage of sannyasa. This, of course, is not possible unless one takes shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is understandable only for one who can follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

(C.C. Antya, 5.131.)


So what Sukadeva did? Svanubhavam. He first of all heard from his father Vyasadeva, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and realized it. Not a professional Bhagavat reciter. Just like in India now there are a class of men, especially in Vrndavana, the Gosanis. They make a business. Therefore there are many, many very artistic Bhagavat reciters, but they could not turn even one man to Krsna consciousness. Because they are not self-realized, svanubhavam. Of course, we have tried our best; so in few years there are so many Krsna conscious persons come out. This is the secret. Unless one is svanubhavam, self-realized, life is Bhagavat, he cannot preach Bhagavat. That is not... That will not be effective. A gramophone will not help. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu's secretary, Svarupa Damodara, recommended, bhagavata pora giya bhagavata sthane, that "If you want to read Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a person who is life living Bhagavata." Bhagavata pora giya bhagavata sthana. Otherwise, there is no question of Bhagavata realization.

(S.B. Lec, 1.2.3, Rome 27th May, 1974)


One should hear bhavadiya-vartam, the message of Krsna, from a realized soul, not a professional man. A realized soul. San-mukharitam. Sat. Om tat sat. That same, again. That is the way. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended, bhagavata paro giya bhagavata sthane. Don't go and hear Bhagavata saptaha by a professional man. That is useless waste of time. If you want to learn about Bhagavata, then bhagavata paro giya bhagavata sthane--realized soul. Grantha Bhagavata and... That is the recommendation of Brahma, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted it.

(S.B. Lec, 1.8.44, Mayapura, 24th October, 1974)


Therefore the bhakti path has to be accepted--bhaktya sruta-grhataya--by knowledge in the Vedic literature, by hearing. Sruta-grhataya means I... You... The Vedic literature is also understood by hearing from the bona fide spiritual master. Satam prasangat mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayana-kathah. Unless you hear from realized soul, it is not possible. Simply by speculation it is useless waste of time. Tesam klesala eva sisyate. After hearing for many, many years the Vedas from the non-realized soul, simply hearing from this hole of the ear and going out from the other hole--that kind of hearing will not help us.

(B.G. Lec, 13.18, Bombay 12th October, 1973)


The science of God has to be understood in disciplic succession from Brahma, who was first instructed about knowledge of God by God Himself. We can understand the knowledge of God by hearing Bhagavad-gita from a person authorized in the disciplic succession.

(S.B. 3.26.33)


TRANSLATION. One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and offering a seat of esteem to Srila Suta Gosvami, the great sages made inquiries, with great respect, about the following matters.


PURPORT. Morning is the best time to hold spiritual services. The great sages offered the speaker of the Bhagavatam an elevated seat of respect called the vyasasana, or the seat of Sri Vyasadeva. Sri Vyasadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men. And all other preceptors are considered to be his representatives. A representative is one who can exactly present the viewpoint of Sri Vyasadeva. Sri Vyasadeva impregnated the message of Bhagavatam unto Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and Sri Suta Gosvami heard it from him (Sri Sukadeva Gosvami). All bona fide representatives of Sri Vyasadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvamis. These gosvamis restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous acaryas. The gosvamis do not deliver lectures on the Bhagavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them.

Those who listen to the Bhagavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in Bhagavad-gita. One must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Suta Gosvami with great respect.

(S.B. 1.1.5)


TRANSLATION. O Suta Gosvami, we are eager to learn about the Personality of Godhead and His incarnations. Please explain to us those teachings imparted by previous masters [acaryas], for one is uplifted both by speaking them and by hearing them.


PURPORT. The conditions for hearing the transcendental message of the Absolute Truth are set forth herein. The first condition is that the audience must be very sincere and eager to hear. And the speaker must be in the line of disciplic succession from the recognized acarya.

(S.B. 1.1.14)


To serve a devotee, to chant the holy name according to a certain counting method, to worship the Deity, to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita from a realized person and to live in a sacred place where devotional service is not disturbed are the first out of sixty-four devotional activities for making progress in devotional service.

(S.B. 3.32.42)


A devotee of Lord Krsna is he who believes sincerely that by becoming a devotee of the Lord one becomes fully equipped with everything spiritual. This teaching is imparted by the Lord Himself in the pages of the Bhagavad-gita, in which it is clearly described that the Lord (Sri Krsna) is everything, and that to surrender unto Him solely and wholly makes one the most perfectly pious man. This unflinching faith in Lord Krsna prepares one to become a student of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and one who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee like Sukadeva Gosvami is sure to attain salvation at the end, as Maharaja Pariksit did. The professional reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the pseudodevotees whose faith is based on one week's hearing are different from Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit.

(S.B. 2.1.10)


The highest perfection of life is attained by remembering the transcendental nature of the Lord at the last moment of one's life. This perfection of life is made possible by one who has learned the actual transcendental nature of the Lord from the Vedic hymns sung by a liberated soul like Sukadeva Gosvami or someone in that line of disciplic succession. There is no gain in hearing the Vedic hymns from some mental speculator. When the same is heard from an actual self-realized soul and is properly understood by service and submission, everything becomes transparently clear.  (S.B. 1.18.4)


The idea is that any Vedic literature, especially the Bhagavatam or the Gita, should be learned as spoken by a realized soul.



One who is actually interested in the Bhagavatam, therefore, must not play with it by reading or hearing a portion from here and a portion from there; one must follow in the footsteps of great kings like Maharaja Ambarisa or Maharaja Pariksit and hear it from a bona fide representative of Sukadeva Gosvami.

(S.B. 2.1.10)


It is the duty of the sane to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from a self-realized soul and not be duped by professional men. One should continue such hearing till the end of one's life so that one can actually have the transcendental association of the Lord and thus be liberated simply by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam.

(S.B. 2.8.3)


Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is full of narrations of the activities of the Supreme Lord, is auspicious for all living beings residing in every planet. One who takes it as belonging to a particular sect is certainly mistaken. Srimad-Bhagavatam is certainly a very dear scripture for all the devotees of the Lord, but it is auspicious even for the nondevotees also because it explains that even the nondevotees hovering under the spell of material energy can be delivered from such clutches if they hear the narration of the Srimad-Bhagavatam with devotion and attention from the right source representing the Lord by disciplic succession.

(S.B. 2.8.2)

Maharaja Pariksit, being a typical devotee, is not only satisfied by confirming the importance of hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam from the representative of Brahmaji by disciplic succession, but he is still more anxious to establish the philosophical basis of Srimad-Bhagavatam  (S.B. 2.8.7)


As we have already explained, Srimad-Bhagavatam is so scientifically presented that any sincere student of this great science will be able to understand the science of God simply by reading it with attention or simply by regularly hearing it from the bona fide speaker

(S.B. 2.7.52)


The dirty things are within my heart, so if we cleanse our heart, then we become free from this designation. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Nasta-prayesu. These dirty things will be cleansed if we regularly hear Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita. Nityam bhagavata... And Bhagavata means the book Bhagavata and the person bhagavata. The person bhagavata is spiritual master or any exalted devotee. He is bhagavata, maha-bhagavata, bhagavata. So bhagavata-sevaya means not only reading Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavatam, but we have to study from the person bhagavata. That is required. Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised, bhagavata para giya bhagavata sthane: "If you want to learn Bhagavata, then go to the person bhagavata who is realized soul." Not professional. That will not help you. Official professional--I go to a temple, to a church, and go back again to hellish condition of.., no. You just associate with the person bhagavata who is realized soul and hear from him this the same book, the same knowledge. Krsna's representative. Just like Krsna says, tat samasena me srnu. Me srnu: "Hear from Me or My representative. Then you will benefit." So these centers are being opened just to give the opportunity to the people who are suffering not only in this life, life after life. Ei rupe brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva, guru-krsna-krpaya paya bhakti-lata-bija.

(B.G. Lec 1975)

Nowadays it is fashionable to observe Bhagavata-saptaha and hear Srimad-Bhagavatam from persons who are anything but advanced devotees or self-realized souls. There are even many Mayavadis who read Srimad-Bhagavatam to throngs of people. Many Mayavadis have recently begun reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam in Vrndavana, and because they can present the Bhagavatam with word jugglery, twisting the meaning by grammatical tricks, materialistic persons who go to Vrndavana as a matter of spiritual fashion like to hear them. All this is clearly forbidden by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We should note carefully that since these Mayavadis cannot personally know the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, they can never deliver others by reciting it. On the other hand, an advanced devotee of the Lord is free from material bondage. He personifies the Srimad-Bhagavatam in life and action. Therefore we advise that anyone who wants to learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam must approach such a realized soul.

(C.C. Antya 13.113.)


The word paraya is very significant. para bhakti, or spontaneous love of God, is the basis of an intimate relationship with the Lord. This highest stage of relationship with the Lord can be attained simply by hearing about Him (His name, form, quality, etc.) from authentic sources like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, recited by pure, unalloyed devotees of the Lord.

(S.B. 3.9.5)


TRANSLATION. My dear Lord, I therefore do not wish to have the benediction of merging into Your existence, a benediction in which there is no existence of the nectarean beverage of Your lotus feet. I want the benediction of at least one million ears, for thus I may be able to hear about the glories of Your lotus feet from the mouths of Your pure devotees.


PURPORT. In the previous verse Maharaja Prthu addressed the Lord as kaivalya-pati, the master of the liberation of merging into His existence. This does not mean that he was anxious for kaivalya liberation. That is made clear in this verse: "My dear Lord, I do not want such a benediction." Maharaja Prthu wanted to have a million ears to hear the glories of the lotus feet of the Lord. He specifically mentioned that the glories of the Lord should emanate from the mouths of pure devotees, who speak from the cores of their hearts. It is stated in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.3), suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam: the nectar of Srimad-Bhagavatam became more relishable because it emanated from the mouth of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. One might think that these glories of the Lord can be heard from anywhere, from the mouths of either devotees or nondevotees, but here it is specifically mentioned that the glories of the Lord must emanate from the mouths of pure devotees. Sri Sanatana Gosvami has strictly prohibited hearing from the mouth of a nondevotee. There are many professional reciters of Srimad-Bhagavatam who speak the narrations very ornamentally, but a pure devotee does not like to hear from them because such glorification of the Lord is simply a vibration of material sound. But when heard from the mouth of a pure devotee, glorification of the Lord is immediately effective.

The words satam prasangan mama virya-samvidah (SB. 3.25.25) mean that glorification of the Lord is potent when uttered from the mouth of a pure devotee. (S.B. 4.20.24)


The Bhagavata purana is therefore the direct incarnation of the Lord in the form of transcendental sound, and one should receive this transcendental knowledge from the bona fide representative of the Lord in the chain of disciplic succession from the Lord to Brahmaji, from Brahmaji to Narada, from Narada to Vyasa, from Vyasadeva to Sukadeva Gosvami, from Sukadeva Gosvami to Suta Gosvami. The ripened fruit of the Vedic tree drops from one hand to another without being broken by falling suddenly from a high branch down to the earth. Therefore unless one hears the science of Godhead from the bona fide representative of the disciplic succession, as above mentioned, for one to understand the theme of the science of Godhead will be a difficult job. It should never be heard from the professional Bhagavatam reciters who earn their livelihood by gratifying the senses of the audience.

(S.B. 2.7.51)

We have to hear patiently, by aural reception. Caitanya Mahaprabhu also accepted this process. This is the process, Vedic process--to hear about Krsna.

So nasta-prayesu abhadresu ntyam bhagavata-sevaya. Nityam. This point we have discussed. The Bhagavat has to be studied from a person Bhagavatam. Bhagavata-sevaya. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. One has to learn Bhagavatam from a person you can surrenderSo simply by hearing from the authoritative sources, nityam bhagavata sevaya, as it is described. But we don't find anywhere: saptaham bhagavata-sevaya. No. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya.

So nityam bhagavat-sevaya. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu. Abhadra. Abhadra means the quality of ignorance and passion. They are abominable. Ignorance is most abominable, abominable, and passion is abominable. These two things must be given up. But simply by hearing about Krsna, simply by hearing about Srimad-Bhagavatam, from the person Bhagavatam, one can get rid of these dirty things, namely mode of ignorance and mode of passion.

(S.B. Lec 1.2.19, Vrndavana, 30th October, 1972)


One should be very eager to hear about the activities of the Lord from the bona fide source, the pure devotee. If one simply gives aural reception to the narration and accepts the glories of the Lord, then he is qualified. The impersonalist philosophers cannot understand the activities of the Lord. They think that all His activities are maya; therefore they are called Mayavadis. Since everything to them is maya, these narrations are not for them. Some impersonalists are reluctant to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, although many of them are now taking an interest in it just for monetary gain.

(S.B. 3.19.37)


Suta Gosvami was speaking to the sages headed by Saunaka, and therefore he addressed them in this verse as dvija, twice-born. The sages assembled in Naimisaranya hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam from Suta Gosvami were all brahmanas, but to acquire the qualifications of a brahmana is not everything. Merely to be twice-born is not perfection. Perfection is attained when one hears the pastimes and activities of the Lord from a bona fide source.

(S.B. 3.19.33)


Simply sit down and hear about Krsna. That's all. But that hearing must be from a person who is realized. Then it will act. Krsna bhakti nitya siddha sadhya kabhu naya, sravanadi suddha citte. By hearing, the more your heart will be cleansed of all material infection, you will understand what is Krsna. In dirty heart you cannot. Therefore to cleanse the heart it is required that you regularly hear. Therefore we are holding this class, chanting Hare Krsna or about Krsna. Kirtaniya sada harih. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we must hear about Krsna twenty-four hours. Not that a particular time I hear and then stop. Don't stop.

(S.B. Lec, 1972)


Lord Caitanya therefore recommended five main principles for attaining perfection in the devotional service of the Lord. The first is association with devotees (hearing); second is chanting the glories of the Lord; third, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam from the pure devotee; fourth, residing in a holy place connected with the Lord; and fifth,  worshiping the Deity of the Lord with devotion.  Such rules and regulations are part of devotional service.

(S.B. 2.9.31)


Srimad-Bhagavatam trains the conditioned soul to this stage of perfection by submissive hearing from the pure devotee.

(S.B. 1.10.13)


If we actually serious to get out of these material clutches, then we should hear regularly about Krsna from a pure devotee of Krsna. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Then bhagavati uttama-sloke bhaktir bhavati naisthiki, then your firm steady, steadiness in devotional service will be fixed up. Bhakti... Naisthiki. Naisthiki means nobody can, I mean, push out of it. That is naisthiki, nistha, firm faith, drdha-vrata.

(S.B. 1972)

          So there are two kinds of bhagavata: the book Bhagavata and the person bhagavata. So both of them are so pure that wherever Bhagavata reading is going on... And Bhagavata reading should be performed by the Bhagavata, person bhagavata. Then it is very nice.

(S.B. Lec 1.13.10, Geneva 1st June, 1974)


There are nine different processes of bhakti-yoga. Any one of them you adopt, you become perfect, not that you have to adopt nine. If you can, it is very nice. So nine, eight, seven, six, five--if you adopt only one, you become... You don't anything. Simply hear Srimad- Bhagavatam from a realized soul, you will become perfect.

(S.B. 2.9.4, Tokyo, 22nd April, 1972)


In this sloka, it is definitely stated that spiritual rasa, which is relished even in the liberated stage, can be experienced in the literature of the Srimad-Bhagavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of his heart's desire. But one must be very careful to hear the message from the right source. Srimad-Bhagavatam is exactly received from the right source. It was brought by Narada Muni from the spiritual world and given to his disciple Sri Vyasadeva. The latter in turn delivered the message to his son Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami delivered the message to Maharaja Pariksit just seven days before the King's death.

(S.B. 1.1.3)


Following in the footsteps of Lord Brahma, any person, even up to this day, can attain the same perfection by following the path of the paramahamsa as recommended herein. Lord Caitanya also approved of this method of self-realization for men in this age. One should first, with all conviction, believe in the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, and without making efforts to realize Him by speculative philosophy, one should prefer to hear about Him from the Srimad Bhagavad-gita and later from the text of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. One should hear such discourses from a person Bhagavatam and not from the professional man, or from the karmi, jnani or yogi. That is the secret of learning the science. One does not need to be in the renounced order of life; he can remain in his present condition of life, but he must search out the association of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and hear from him the transcendental message of the Lord with faith and conviction. That is the path of the paramahamsa recommended herein.

(S.B. 2.9.18)


Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately embraced him: "Yes, brahmana, your reading of Bhagavad-gita is perfect." So it doesn't matter whether one is illiterate or literate. Everyone has got these ears. So we should hear from the realized person, guru Vaisnava, not professional, no. That will not help us. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya, upadeksyanti tad jnanam jnaninah tattva-darsinah. Tattva-darsinah. Tattva-darsinah means one has seen the truth, not superficially knowing. One who understood that this is the truth, so go there and submit there.

(S.B. Lec, 1.15.27, Ney York 6th March, 1975)


Then Svarupa Damodara Gosvami advised him that "You..." Bhagavat para giya bhagavata sthane: "You go to a Bhagavata, person Bhagavata, and read or hear Bhagavata from him. Otherwise you will be misled, doubtful."

(S.B. Lec, 3.26.30, Bombay 7th January, 1975)


So Krsna subject matter is so nice that simply you do not do anything. Simply hear, that's all. You have got God-given ear. You can hear. Sit down. Stanesthita srutigatam tanuvan manobhih. Srutigatam, sruti means this ear. Srotapantah. This is called srotapantah. Getting knowledge by hearing. Satam prasangat mama bija samvido bhavanty hrtkarana rasayana kathah, satam prasangat. When there is actually sat-sanga. Sat-sanga means this talking of Krsna, hearing about Krsna. When there is, there is no business. Not like a rented reciter or a paid reciter who is earning money by reciting. No, no. Not to hear from him. Actually, he's self-realized, who is working for the Lord, from satam.

(B.G. Lec, 2.11, London 17th August, 1973)


 One who is actually advanced in spiritual consciousness, sraddhanvita, anusrnuyat, and hears from the realized person... Anu. Anu means parampara, not from ordinary person, professional reciter, but from a realized person. The result will be hrd-roga-kamam apahinoti. Then the, our natural lusty desires will disappear. That is the result.

(S.B. Lec, 6.1.61, Vrndavana 28th August, 1975)


These are the formulas. If we hear Bhagavatam from Bhagavatam, not from the professional men who have made business for reciting Bhagavata... No. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. There are two bhagavatas: grantha-bhagavata and the man bhagavata. So therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu's secretary, Svarupa Damodara, he recommended a brahmana. He came to see him, writing something that was full of mistakes. Then he chastised him that "You do not know what is what. You have tried to explain Bhagavata." But when the brahmana was submissively hearing and tolerated the chastisement, then he gave the advice, bhagavata para giya bhagavata sthane: "Go. Hear Bhagavata from a person whose life is Bhagavata." Bhagavata para giya bhagavata sthane. Not the professional bhagavata.

(S.B. Lec, 6.2.4 Vrndavana 8th September, 1975)


Just try to hear the message of God from realized soul. San-mukharitam bhavadiya-var... Simply hear. Then sthane sthitah, you remain in your position. It doesn't matter what you are. You remain in... Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. Kindly give aural reception to the words, authoritative words, of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, like that. Then... God is called ajita. Nobody can conquer. Krsna is... Another name is Ajita. He becomes jita, conquered, simply by hearing from him.

(B.G. Lec, 13.26, Bombay 25th October, 1973)



It is imperative that one learn the Srimad-Bhagavatam from the person Bhagavatam. The person Bhagavatam is one whose very life is Srimad-Bhagavatam in practice. (S.B. Intro.)


Once heard from the spiritual master or teacher, he will remember. He will never forget. Therefore, formerly there was no written book. Sruti, simply by hearing, a brahmacari would be educated, simply by hearing. There was no need of books, writing. Therefore the Vedic literature is known as sruti. It is to be learned by hearing. Even there is book, still, one has to learn it by hearing from the realized soul. Therefore it is called sruti. So this sruti memorizing power should be increased if one observes strictly the life of celibacy. This is the science.

(S.B. Lec, 6.1.48, Dallas 30th July, 1975)


So if we study Srimad-Bhagavatam very thoroughly and specifically from a person Bhagavata, then our life is successful. Nityam bhagavata sevaya. That is the instruction, nityam. Just like here we are having Bhagavata class.

(S.B. Lec, 3.26.31, Bombay 8th January, 1975)


A neophyte and intermediate devotee should always be anxious to hear the maha-bhagavata and serve him in every respect.

(C.C. Mad., 16.74)


A third-class devotee, therefore, has to receive the instructions of devotional service from the authoritative sources of Bhagavata. The number one Bhagavata is the established personality of devotee, and the other Bhagavatam is the message of Godhead. The third-class devotee has to go to the personality of devotee in order to learn the instructions of devotional service. Such a personality of devotee is not a professional man who earns his livelihood by the business of Bhagavatam. Such a devotee must be a representative of Sukadeva Gosvami, like Suta Gosvami, and must preach the cult of devotional service for the all-around benefit of all people.

(S.B. 1.2.12)

If we take advantage of this great Vedic literature, then we become fully aware of Bhagavan and the devotees of Bhagavan. Therefore it is named Bhagavatam. But this Bhagavatam has to be studied from the very beginning and take the lessons from live bhagavata. There are two kinds of Bhagavatam, one, this grantha bhagavatam, and the other is a person bhagavatam. Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised that if you want to understand Bhagavatam, then you must approach a person whose life is Bhagavatam. He said, bhagavata para-giya bhagavata sthane, that "If we learn, listen, Srimad-Bhagavatam from the person bhagavatam, then it is very easy to understand the spiritual knowledge given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

(S.B. Lec. 5.5.1 Delhi 28th November,1975)


Simply you lend your ear to the discourses given by realized souls. This is recommended. And when you hear, then you contemplate also. Just like you are hearing me. If you contemplate that "What Swamiji said?"... Sthane sthita sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. Sruti-gatam. Sruti means just receiving through the ear.

(B.G. Lec. 7.1 San Diego 1st July, 1972)


There are two kinds of Bhagavat, the book Bhagavata and the person Bhagavata. So we have to relish the Srimad Bhagavatam, the contents of Srimad- Bhagavatam, from a devotee who is self-realized. Then it will be very nice. Satam prasangad mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah. When you hear about Krsna from a Krsna devotee, it becomes very pleasing to the ear and the heart. Hrt-karna- rasayanah kathah. Therefore to become Krsna conscious, to become a devotee of Krsna... Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. Tad vidhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. This is the process.

(N.O.D. Lec. 1972)


This verse is especially mentioned to substantiate the devotional process of hearing the subject matter. A devotee does not like to hear anything other than subjects dealing with spiritual activities, or the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We can increase our propensity for devotional service by hearing Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam from realized souls. The more we hear from realized souls, the more we make advancement in our devotional life.

(S.B. 4.22.25)


But Srimad-Bhagavatam should be relished, understood through person Bhagavatam. It is recommendation. Svarupa Damodara, Caitanya Mahaprabhu's secretary, personal secretary, he chastised one bramana. He wrote something wrong, and after all, he gave him advice that ``If you want to study Bhagavata, then bhagavata paro giya bhagavata sthane, try to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee, not from a professional man who is earning his livelihood by reading Bhagavata.'' He must be practical Bhagavata. Then you will gain. Sanatana Gosvami has also said that avaisnava mukhad girna puta-hari-kathamrtam. Hari-katha, amrta, nectar, but still, although it is amrta, it is not to be recieved from the mouth of a non-devotee. One must be practical devotee, pure devotee. When he speaks, you should recieve Bhagavata, the message of  Bhagavata, Bhagavad-gita from him.

(S.B. Lec. 1.2.18 Vrndavana 29th October, 1972)


We can have all the transcendental light of the Supreme Brahman, Sri Krsna, from the recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, provided it is received through the medium of the transparent spiritual master. Lord Caitanya's private secretary Srila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami advised all intending visitors who came to see the Lord at Puri to make a study of the Bhagavatam from the person Bhagavatam Person Bhagavatam is the self-realized bona fide spiritual master, and through him only can one understand the lessons of Bhagavatam in order to receive the desired result.



There is no gain, however, in accepting the message of Bhagavatam from the unbelievers, atheists and professional reciters who make a trade of Bhagavatam for the laymen. It was delivered to Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and he had nothing to do with the Bhagavata business. He did not have to maintain family expenses by such trade. Srimad-Bhagavatam should therefore be received from the representative of Sukadeva, who must be in the renounced order of life without family encumbrance.



All transcendental messages are received properly in the chain of disciplic succession. This disciplic succession is called parampara. Unless therefore Bhagavatam or any other Vedic literatures are received through the parampara system, the reception of knowledge is not bona fide. Vyasadeva delivered the message to Sukadeva Gosvami, and from Sukadeva Gosvami, Suta Gosvami received the message. One should therefore receive the message of Bhagavatam from Suta Gosvami or from his representative and not from any irrelevant interpreter.



Only one who is prepared to present Bhagavatam in the light of Sukadeva Gosvami and only those who are prepared to hear Sukadeva Gosvami and his representative are bona fide participants in the transcendental discussion of Srimad-Bhagavatam.