śṛṇvan bhagavato ’bhīkṣṇam
sat-saṅgāc chanakaiḥ saṅgam
svayaṁ svapnavad utthitaḥ
śṛṇvan—hearing; bhagavataḥ—of the Lord; abhīkṣṇam—always; avatāra—of the incarnations; kathā—narrations; amṛtam—the nectar; śraddadhānaḥ—being very faithful in hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yathā-kālam—according to time (generally a gṛhastha can find time in the evening or in the afternoon); upaśānta—completely relieved of material activities; jana—by persons; āvṛtaḥ—being surrounded; sat-saṅgāt—from such good association; śanakaiḥ—gradually; saṅgam—association; ātma—in the body; jāyā—wife; ātma-ja-ādiṣu—as well as in children; vimuñcet—one should get free from the attachment for such association; mucyamāneṣu—being severed (from him); svayam—personally; svapna-vat—like a dream; utthitaḥ—awakened.
A gṛhastha must associate again and again with saintly persons, and with great respect he must hear the nectar of the activities of the Supreme Lord and His incarnations as these activities are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇas. Thus one should gradually become detached from affection for his wife and children, exactly like a man awakening from a dream.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been established to give gṛhasthas all over the world an opportunity to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā specifically. The process, as described in many ways, is one of hearing and chanting (śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ [SB 1.2.17]). Everyone, especially the gṛhasthas, who are mūḍha-dhī, ignorant about the goal of life, should be given opportunities to hear about Kṛṣṇa. Simply by hearing, by attending lectures in the different centers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, where topics of Kṛṣṇa from Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are discussed, they will be purified of their sinful inclination for constant indulgence in illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling, which have all become prominent in modern days. Thus they can be raised to the status of light. Puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ. Simply by joining the kīrtana—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—and by hearing about Kṛṣṇa from Bhagavad-gītā, one must be purified, especially if he also takes prasāda. This is all going on in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Another specific description here is śṛṇvan bhagavato ’bhīkṣṇam avatāra-kathāmṛtam. It is not that because one has once finished Bhagavad-gītā he should not hear it again. The word abhīkṣṇam is very important. We should hear again and again. There is no question of stopping: even if one has read these topics many times, he should go on reading again and again because bhagavat-kathā, the words spoken by Kṛṣṇa and spoken by Kṛṣṇa’s devotees about Kṛṣṇa, are amṛtam, nectar. The more one drinks this amṛtam, the more he advances in his eternal life.
The human form of life is meant for liberation, but unfortunately, due to the influence of Kali-yuga, every day the gṛhasthas are working hard like asses. Early in the morning they rise and travel even a hundred miles away to earn bread. Especially in the Western countries, I have seen that people awaken at five o’clock to go to offices and factories to earn their livelihood. People in Calcutta and Bombay also do this every day. They work very hard in the office or factory, and again they spend three or four hours in transportation returning home. Then they retire at ten o’clock and again rise early in the morning to go to their offices and factories. This kind of hard labor is described in the śāstras as the life of pigs and stool-eaters. Nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke kaṣṭān kāmān arhate vid-bhujāṁ ye: “Of all living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool.” (Bhāg. 5.5.1) One must find some time for hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā. This is Vedic culture. One should work eight hours at the most to earn his livelihood, and either in the afternoon or in the evening a householder should associate with devotees to hear about the incarnations of Kṛṣṇa and His activities and thus be gradually liberated from the clutches of māyā. However, instead of finding time to hear about Kṛṣṇa, the householders, after working hard in offices and factories, find time to go to a restaurant or a club where instead of hearing about Kṛṣṇa and His activities they are very much pleased to hear about the political activities of demons and nondevotees and to enjoy sex, wine, women and meat and in this way waste their time. This is not gṛhastha life, but demoniac life. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, however, with its centers all over the world, gives such fallen and condemned persons an opportunity to hear about Kṛṣṇa.
In a dream we form a society of friendship and love, and when we awaken we see that it has ceased to exist. Similarly, one’s gross society, family and love are also a dream, and this dream will be over as soon as one dies. Therefore, whether one is dreaming in a subtle way or a gross way, these dreams are all false and temporary. One’s real business is to understand that one is soul () and that his activities should therefore be different. Then one can be happy.
“One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed toward all living entities. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Bg. 18.54) One who is engaged in devotional service can very easily be liberated from the dream of materialistic life.
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