06 The interrelationship between chanting and studying scripture
By becoming purified by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, the general mass of people can come to understand Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam:
Saintly people like Jada Bharata do not speak ordinary words. Whatever they say is approved by great yogis and those advanced in spiritual life. That is the difference between ordinary people and saintly people. The listener must also be advanced to understand the words of such exalted, spiritually advanced people as Jada Bharata. Bhagavad gita was spoken to Arjuna, not to others. Lord Krsna especially selected Arjuna for instruction in spiritual knowledge because Arjuna happened to be a great devotee and confidential friend Similarly, great personalities also speak to the advanced, not to sudras, vaisyas, women or unintelligent men. Sometimes it is very risky to give great philosophical instructions to ordinary people, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for the benefit of the fallen souls of Kali−yuga, has given us a very nice instrument, the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. The general mass of people, although sudras and less, can be purified by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra. Then they can understand the exalted philosophical statements of Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Our Krsna consciousness movement has therefore adopted the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra for the general masses. When people gradually become purified, they are instructed in the lessons of Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Materialistic people like stri, sudra and dvija−bandhu cannot understand words of spiritual advancement, yet one can take to the shelter of a Vaisnava, for he knows the art of enlightening even sudras in the highly elevated subject matter spoken in Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.10.18
After one's mind becomes cleansed by chanting Hare Krsna, one advances and studies the Vedic literature:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to give everyone a chance to hear Krsna's holy name, for simply by hearing
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
one becomes purified (ceto−darpana−marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]). Therefore our Krsna consciousness movement is chiefly engaged in chanting the Hare Krsna mantra all over the world.
After one's mind becomes cleansed by chanting Hare Krsna, one gradually comes to the platform of Krsna consciousness and then reads books like Bhagavad gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya−caritamrta and The Nectar of Devotion. In this way, one becomes more and more purified of material contamination.
– Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.11
To become attached to the chanting of the holy name, one must read Srimad Bhagavatam regularly and with scrutiny:
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented Himself as a grand fool, yet He maintained that all the words that He had heard from His spiritual master strictly followed the principles stated by Vyasadeva in Srimad Bhagavatam.
anarthopasamam saksad bhakti−yogam adhoksaje
lokasyajanato vidvams cakre satvata−samhitam
The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyasadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth. [SB 1.7.6]
acting on the instruction of Sri Narada, has very kindly introduced Srimad Bhagavatam to relieve the conditioned souls from the clutches of maya. Lord Caitanya's spiritual master instructed Him, therefore, that one must read Srimad Bhagavatam regularly and with scrutiny to gradually become attached to the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha mantra.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Adi lila 7.73
To learn about the glories of the holy name, one must hear the revealed scriptures from devotees:
One has to learn about the beauty and transcendental position of the holy name of the Lord by hearing the revealed scriptures from the mouths of devotees. Nowhere else can we hear of the sweetness of the Lord's holy name.
– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Antya lila 1.101