(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 September 2013, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.36)
Srila Prabhupada spoke out about machines. He said that although machines are leading the degradation of society, he pointed out that the same machines could be used in the service of Krsna. He said, “Machineries are not that bad because through the machine every one can take advantage of hearing about the Lord.” So Prabhupada, in that respect, was very modern, very much the acharya of the modern age.
Prabhupada gave initiations in that way. Second initiations, he also gave by the tape – the tape with the gayatri mantra. Normally, the gayatri mantra is spoken by the spiritual master in the ear of the disciple so some people in India objected, “How could he do this? This is not bona-fide. Those people are not initiated. No, this is not bona-fide. How can it be on the tape? How can that be bona-fide?”
But Prabhupada, he did it like that – just played the recording on the machine. “That is not the same as speaking it in the ear and therefore these initiations do not count,” some would say. Of course, I would argue back. It is said that when Sukadeva Gosvami finally came out of the womb of his mother, where he remained for sixteen years to the great discomfort of his mother, when he came out, he did not wait for anything.
His father said, “At least wait and let me give you some education.” He did not wait. His father said, “Well, at least let me give you the sacred thread. At least that much, at least some samskar.”
He did not wait he just left. His father then went into the forest, after his son, and he called out his name. No response was there; no response at all except the echo that came off the trees. The echo that came off the trees, it is said, that also was bona fide, that was the chanting of the trees. So here, we see. A tape recording is just like an echo – it is an echo of the voice. Therefore, we say that the chanting on the machine is also bona-fide because it is the echo. In this way, we can appreciate it.
Sukadeva did not want to come back then Vyasadeva began to recite certain verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam. When Sukadeva heard these verses at a distance, he did come back to his father because the Bhagavatam is so attractive,
ātmārāmāś ca munayo
nirgranthā apy urukrame, (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.10)
Even a self-realized soul is attracted by descriptions of Krsna because they are naturally attractive. So it attracted the heart of Sukadeva Gosvami who came and his father had instructed him on Srimad Bhagavatam.
In this way, we see that education is valuable after all but not mundane education, not the ordinary education of this world but simply the education of Krsna consciousness. One who is perfectly Krsna conscious, he need not worry about anything, everything will be supplied, everything will come on the path!