Bookworm

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“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.” (Adi-lila 16. 11)

…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 kṛṣṇa-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Tapana Miśra 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 Mahāprabhu instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī. Lord Caitanya’s instruction to Tapana Miśra 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.

.. Simply by studying, becoming bookworm, you cannot advance. The real secret is… Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau [ŚU 6.23] That is stated in the Vedas. Unflinching faith in God and spiritual master. Then things will be revealed from within.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Adi-lila Chapter 16, Text 11

The Pastimes of the Lord in His Childhood and Youth

bahu-śāstre bahu-vākye citte bhrama haya
sādhya-sādhana śreṣṭha nā haya niścaya

bahu-śāstre—by many books or scriptures; bahu-vākye—by many versions of many persons; citte—within the heart; bhrama—doubt; haya—there is; sādhya-sādhana—objective and means; śreṣṭha—about the best; nā—not; haya—there is; niścaya—certainty.

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 Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (7.13.8) it is said, granthān naivābhyased bahūn na vyākhyām upayuñjīta: “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 Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura 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 kṛṣṇa-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Tapana Miśra 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 Mahāprabhu instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī. Lord Caitanya’s instruction to Tapana Miśra 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.

Also from:
Six Gosvāmīs Lecture,
Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ-govāmy-aṣṭaka
Los Angeles, November 18, 1968

Prabhupāda: Yes. Siddhānta boliyā citte nā kara alasa. You have to understand the science of Kṛṣṇa. There are so many books. The Gosvāmīs were doing that. In the next verse… I have explained one verse. The next verse is nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau. They were very much expert in studying very scrutinizingly all Vedic literatures. So, of course, reading or hearing. You may not have time to read, but try to read. If you have no time, you are hearing. We are publishing, we are publishing literature, books. I am trying to speak to you. That is also understanding, studying Kṛṣṇa science. Rather, hearing is better reception. If you hear… That Vedas are therefore known as śruti. Śruti means it is received through hearing. Real process is hearing. And this age, Kali-yuga, people cannot study so much. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was called by Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, He presented Himself that “What can I understand, Vedānta-sūtra? I am a fool. Therefore My spiritual master has ordered Me to simply chant.” So this chanting will help you. Yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau [ŚU 6.23]. Simply by studying, becoming bookworm, you cannot advance. The real secret is… That is stated in the Vedas. Unflinching faith in God and spiritual master. Then things will be revealed from within. How much strength we have got to study all these books? But Vedas says, yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau. If one has got unflinching faith in God and similar faith in the spiritual master, tasyaite kathitā hy arthaḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ, to him only the Vedic knowledge becomes revealed. And this is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajataṁ prīti-pūrvakam: [Bg. 10.10] “Those who are engaged in My service with love and affection, buddhi-yogaṁ dadāmi tam, I personally give him intelligence, yena mām upayanti te, by which he can come to Me.” In another place, it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, teṣām evānukampārtham: [Bg. 10.11] “In order to show these devotees special favor, teṣāṁ evānukampārtham aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ nāśayāmy, I personally dissipate their darkness within the heart.” Everything, the mind is full of darkness; therefore we are conditioned. So Kṛṣṇa, from within He drives away the darkness of ignorance. Aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ nāśayāmy. Aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva, just like that.

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