TEXT 11
bahu-sastre bahu-vakye citte bhrama haya
sadhya-sadhana srestha na haya niscaya
SYNONYMS
bahu-sastre—by many books or scriptures; bahu-vakye—by many versions of many persons; citte—within the heart; bhrama—doubt; haya—there is; sadhya-sadhana—objective and means; srestha—about the best; na—not; haya—there is; niscaya—certainty.
TRANSLATION
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.
PURPORT
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.13.8) it is said, granthan naivabhyased bahun na vyakhyam upayunjita: "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 Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura 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 krsna-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Tapana Misra 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 Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructing Sanatana Gosvami. Lord Caitanya's instruction to Tapana Misra 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.

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