(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 January 2013, Radhadesh, Belgium, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.31-36)
One should select a competent, bona-fide speaker and then hear from him. When the hearing process is perfect and complete then the other processes automatically become perfect in their own way! So this hearing process is not an intellectual process. Although, the intellect is certainly part of the process, one would certainly have to apply his intelligence to understand reasons and arguments that are given for Krsna’s qualities, Krsna’s nature, Krsna’s appearance and so on – His name, fame, fortune and pastimes. But hearing is different, it is of a different nature:
śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām (SB 1.2.17)
The vidhunoti is a utensil being used in India just before the winter. These men walk through the streets with a big bow. They play on this bow and it is loud, extremely loud. When they walk through the street, you wonder, ‘What kind of music is this?’
Everybody knows the purpose of this bow. Just before the winter, they call these men into their house and they pull out all their old quilts. He opens them up and plays his bow over the cotton and the sound vibration fluffs up that cotton which is caked and packed in that quilt and it becomes loosened up.
So in this way, all this dirt that is caked in our heart and is pressed down by piles of sinful activities on top of more sinful activities. And the weight of all those sinful activities are pressing it down and making it a very thick and hard layer which even when brushed, doesn’t come off! Just like how coal stays black, one of those pots that had been charcoaled and which has been burned and you scrape but still not clean:ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ (Sri Sri Siksastaka, verse 1)
This transcendental sound, penetrates, shakes it up and removes all these impurities. But not only that; it is explained in the Padma Purana:
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
This aprārabdha karma, this unmanifest – all these reactions that are stored within the heart – it diminishes the stock. It diminishes the inclination. It diminishes the fruits of that karma. So in this way, in all respects, the influence of that karma is being diminished by hearing and chanting!