By Niraj Bidawatka
My cousin brother and his wife, who were in town to attend a wedding, dropped in to meet me. They had flown in from Bengaluru (Bangalore) and we were meeting after a long hiatus. Since we were meeting after many years, I happened to inquire about their kids whom they had left behind in Bengaluru. I was surprised to hear when my sister-in-law said that the kids knew me very well. I wondered how could they know me when I had never ever met them. It has been twenty years since I had visited Bengaluru. But before that I used to frequently visit Bengaluru, almost twice a year. But then, the kids weren’t even born. She understood my bewildered look and immediately clarified that she keeps narrating the kids about me and my frequent visits to Bengaluru and this is how they knew me very well.
So meeting someone in person is not the only criteria to know that person. We can know him by hearing about his activities also. This is how we know Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. People often ask me whether I have met or seen Krishna. When I answer in the negative, they are quick to point out that without seeing him personally how can I profess to know Krishna. Well the answer is crystal clear – by hearing from superior authorities such as the guru (spiritual master) and the śastras (scriptures). Just as my cousins’ kids know me even without meeting me, an insignificant kid like me can also know Krishna, if he has sufficiently heard about Krishna from his spiritual master. We are all insignificant kids in Krishna’s gigantic creation but are still very proud of our trivial capabilities. This leads us to believe that, “God is dead. I am the real God.”
The process of bhakti-yoga starts with śravanam, which means ‘to hear.’ If we properly hear from the right source about the Supreme Lord, we can come to the position of meeting Him in person. Parikshit Maharaj, the grandson of the Pandavas attained Krishna simply by hearing about Him from the lotus lips of Śukadeva Gosvami [śri visnoh smarane parikśit abhavad.] If we hear about God from a professional reciter, who has not heard from authorized sources, we can never know Him. We will be misled to believe that “I am God.”
The Hare Krishna Revolution is giving everyone a chance to hear about Krishna’s glorious activities because that is the only way of ending the miseries of life. We have uploaded lectures of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on our website, which are available for free download. Since Srila Prabhupada is a bonafide representative of Krishna, he can perfectly describe Krishna and His transcendental activities. Hearing from such an exalted saint has an immediate effect on the heart and all the impurities of the heart are gradually washed away. Once the heart is cleansed of all impurities, one can see the Supreme Lord (drsta eva atmany isvare.) So take advantage of the facility and start hearing about Krishna.