By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In Srimad-Bhāgavatam (7.13.8) it is said, granthān naivābhyased bahūn na vyākhyām upayunjīta: “One should not read many books, nor should one try to make a profession of reciting many books, especially if one is a devotee.” One must give up the ambition to be a learned scholar and in this way earn a worldly reputation and financial facilities. If one diverts his attention to studying many books, he cannot fix his mind in devotional service, nor can he understand many scriptures, for they are full of grave statements and meanings. In this connection Srila Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura gives his opinion that those who are attracted to studying many kinds of literature concerning various subject matters, especially fruitive activities and philosophical speculation, are deprived of unalloyed devotional service because of their splayed attention.
Man has a general tendency toward fruitive activities, religious ritualistic ceremonies and philosophical speculation. A living entity thus bewildered since time immemorial does not understand the real goal of life, and thus his activities in life are wasted. Innocent persons misled in this way are deprived of unalloyed krishna-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Tapana Mishra is a vivid example of such a person. He was a learned scholar, but he could not ascertain what the goal of life is. Therefore he was given a chance to hear Lord Chaitanya Mahāprabhu instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī. Lord Chaitanya’s instruction to Tapana Mishra is especially significant for persons who loiter here and there collecting books and reading none of them, thus becoming bewildered regarding the aim of life. [CC Adi 16.11 Purport]
In East Bengal there was a brāhmana named Tapana Mishra, who could not ascertain the objective of life or how to attain it. If one becomes a bookworm, reading many books and scriptures and hearing many commentaries and the instructions of many men, this will produce doubt within his heart. One cannot in this way ascertain the real goal of life. Tapana Mishra, being thus bewildered, was directed by a brāhmana in a dream to go to Nimāi Pandita [Chaitanya Mahāprabhu]. “Because He is the Lord (īśvara),” the brāhmana told him, “undoubtedly He can give you proper direction.” After seeing the dream, Tapana Mishra came to the shelter of Lord Chaitanya’s lotus feet, and he described all the details of the dream to the Lord. The Lord, being satisfied, instructed him about the object of life and the process for attaining it. He instructed him that the basic principle of success is to chant the holy name of the Lord (the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra). [CC Adi 16.10-15]
The Krishna consciousness movement is based upon this instruction of Lord Chaitanya Mahāprabhu that one must chant the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra regularly and according to the prescribed principles. We simply ask our Western students to chant at least sixteen rounds a day, but sometimes we find that they fail to chant even these sixteen rounds, and instead they bring many austere books and a worshiping method that diverts their attention in so many ways. Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu’s cult is based upon the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. Lord Chaitanya first advised Tapana Mishra to fix his mind on this chanting. We, the members of the Krishna consciousness movement, must strictly follow this advice of Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. [CC Adi 16.15 Purport]
Following in the footsteps of Lord Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, the Krishna consciousness movement is distributing the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra and inducing people all over the world to chant. We are giving people an immense treasury of transcendental literature, translated into all the important languages of the world, and by the grace of Lord Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu this literature is selling profusely and people are chanting the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra with great delight. This is the preaching process of the Chaitanya cult. Since the Lord wanted this cult preached all over the world, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is acting in a humble way so that the vision of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu may be fulfilled all over the world, especially in the Western countries. [CC Adi 16.19 Purport]
[The above is an excerpt from the Chaitanya Charitamrita, translated and commented by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The timeless masterpiece describing Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes was originally written in Bengali by Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami]