We hear so much in various classes, but apply very little from it. How can we change this?
Transcribed by: Ashwini Kamath Mataji
Question: The question is we hear a lot but how do we apply practically because lot of things we hear, but nothing gets applied?
Answer: See first of all, hearing and applications are not same, they are two separate things. The act of hearing is also an application because Shravanam is also a limb of a devotional service. So the very fact that you are doing Shravanam means you are doing devotional service. So it is not that we have to necessarily do something else to be applying in the principle of bhakti; yes, we should do more after hearing also, there is no doubt of it. By the basic level, hearing itself is also bhakti. So, even if one person doesn’t apply anything else just hears steadily that person was also doing devotional service. Of course, that person hears and applies, there would be better benefit; no doubt but just hearing itself is also purifying because we are connecting with Krishna. So, that is why, just because of the inability to apply, one should not become discouraged in hearing. So, just hearing also gives benefit. Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita 18.69 says that preach my message, but then somebody may say preaching is very difficult I can’t do it, then in 18.70 Krishna says you can’t preach, atleast study my message, studying is also difficult. So, Krishna says atleast hear the message. It is a tip, they will also get residence in Te prapat punya-lokam, so he talks of Vritasura who goes to druvaloka and not swargaloka; because they were hearing about Krishna, from there he gets liberated. So, hearing itself is also glorious so which one minimizes the glory of hearing just because you’re not able to apply it, that is the first point. Second point is that It is not humanely possible to apply everything from every class that you hear or even to apply just one thing also from every class that we hear, because every speaker who speaks has one’s own way of thinking, one’s own focuses in spiritual life, one’s own view of the World, understanding of Krishna consciousness and accordingly they will do some emphasis .Some devotees may come and say that chanting is most important,Prabhupad says 99% of advancement comes from chanting, then someone else will come and say Bhakti Sarendra Prabhu says all the books are destroyed in world , only Bhagavatam remains I.e. enough. To be a brahmachari means married to Bhagavatam, not married to the Bhagavatam means you are not going to stay a brahmachari. Somebody actually will say we are gaudiya sampradayas, unless we know chaitanya mahaprabhu, what is the meaning of being a Gaudiya Vaishnava. (devotees chuckle, HG Chaitanya charan prabhuji laughs)so, in this way , we see devotees in different moods, accordingly they may emphasis different things.so, we need to just look up at ourselves and see what is that inspires us and nourishes us , we may have some senior devotees as guide or counselors with whom we can consult and we can decide this is going to be on focus in my spiritual life, and say, this focus can change also, say 3 months I focus on chanting,3 months I focus on studying Bhagavatam,3 months I focus on say more on developing relationship with devotees whatever, that can vary so when we are focusing on one thing, then at that time we can be looking for the things connected with that in our hearing, so that that would be applicable. If I am focusing on developing relationship with devotees and hear a class about chanting, then I will not be able to apply myself at that time, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to apply it, but may be at different focus point I can apply .So, how we should practice bhakti is based on our understanding of our needs in guidance or consultancy with senior devotees we decide what is going to be my emphasis in my spiritual life and then focus on whatever will enhances our focus means in our hearing we choose those things which will emphasize us to apply on that. So that way we will be applying something in our life without feeling stretched, in too much of applying things. Otherwise I have to apply this, I have to apply this also and apply that and in the end you become so much discouraged that you don’t apply anything. We have to have our own compass, knowledge. This is what is going to be my focus. It might not be very clear right now. But, we can start, vary it, sometimes this and sometimes that and over a period of time, we realize and actually I’m able to I get the maximum strength by say studying Bhagavatam, memorizing the verses, analyzing the connection between the verses, then if I understand that, it may take some 5-10years to understand, may be 15 years also then that it might become study focus. And some devotees like if we have somebody like Radhagovind Maharaj, you know he will not talk much about management strategy, he will not talk about leadership strategy, he will not talk about say book distribution so much, but he will only talk on Bhagavatam that is how he is making precious contributions to Iskcon through that. There might be some other vaishnavas say we have devotee Bhurijan prabhu, his systematic study of Bhagavatam, he started VIHE and he started Gitanagari, his way of studying and his way of living is quite different. He is successful in that way. His major contribution towards iskcon.we cannot compare ourselves with them and but we can see these variety, motivates us, and recognizes this variety is natural. So, we don’t have to apply everything that everyone says, but based on our understanding for our spiritual life and situation, we decide what is the most important thing that I need to apply or what other most important thing that I need to apply and take one of them at that time and determine our center attempts and applications around that one thing. So, for 3 months I will try to improve my chanting, 3 months I will improve my Bhagavatam study, 3 months I will improve my relationships, 3 months may be I will focus on preaching, so that way we can gain in our spiritual life. And that way, we can apply whatever we hear within our own focus of application.