Man bitten by snake
The beginning of Krishna consciousness and devotional service is hearing, in Sanskrit called sravanam. All people should be given the chance to come and join devotional parties so that they may hear. This hearing is very important for progressing in Krishna consciousness. When one links his ears to give aural reception to the transcendental vibrations, he can quickly become purified and cleansed in the heart. Lord Caitanya has affirmed that this hearing is very important. It cleanses the heart of the contaminated soul so that he becomes quickly qualified to enter into devotional service and understand Krishna consciousness.
In the Garuda Purana the stress on hearing is expressed very nicely. It is said there, "The state of conditioned life in the material world is just like that of a man lying unconscious, having been bitten by a snake. This is because both such unconscious states can be ended by the sound of a mantra." When a man is snake-bitten he does not die immediately, but first becomes unconscious and remains in a comatose condition. Anyone who is in the material world is also sleeping, as he is ignorant of his actual self or his actual duty and his relationship with God. So materialistic life means that one is bitten by the snake of maya, illusion, and thus, without any Krishna consciousness, is almost dead. Now, the so-called dead man bitten by a snake can be brought back to life by the chanting of some mantra. There are expert chanters of these mantras who can perform this feat. Similarly, one can be brought back into Krishna consciousness from the deadly unconscious state of material life by hearing of the maha-mantra:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Chapter 10: Techniques of Hearing and Remembering
Nectar of Devotion
– By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada