Purpose of Studying & Memorising Verses - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj always encouraged anyone and everyone who came in touch with him to chant and memorise shlokas from Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. It did not matter whether the person is young child, teen-ager or old man. It did not matter whether one was rich or poor, literate or illiterate, or people from any ashram or varna. Whoever met Maharaj would always return after memorising atleast 1 shloka from Gita or Bhagavatam. Such was his equivision and magnanimous compassion for all human beings. In every class of Bhagavatam Maharaj would patiently spend time and energy to make the audience recite the verses properly, correcting them lovingly, encouraging and appreciating at every step. In many lectures we can hear Maharaj repeatedly hammering this truth - "Bhagavad Gita has come from the transcendental throat of Lord Krishna and so it must be in our throats."

At one point of time, we remember Maharaj insisting everyone to chant the verse SB1.6.25 and by-heart the word-to-word, translation and purport as well. He could foresee how our tricky minds will drag us down by questioning, "What is the point in memorising the shloka? Anyway be have the book or computer with us. So we can simply see and recite."  

etāvad uktvopararāma tan mahad
bhūtaṁ nabho-liṅgam aliṅgam īśvaram
ahaṁ ca tasmai mahatāṁ mahīyase
śīrṣṇāvanāmaṁ vidadhe ’nukampitaḥ

etāvat — thus; — spoken; upararāma — stopped; tat — that; mahad — great; bhūtaṁ  — wonderful; nabho-liṅgam — personified by sound; aliṅgam — unseen by the eyes; īśvaram — the supreme authority; ahaṁ — I; ca — also; tasmai — unto Him; mahatāṁ  — the great; mahīyase — unto the glorified; śīrṣṇā — by the head; avanāmaṁ — obeisances; vidadhe — executed; anukampitaḥ — being favored by Him.

Then that supreme authority, personified by sound and unseen by eyes, but most wonderful, stopped speaking. Feeling a sense of gratitude, I offered my obeisances unto Him, bowing my head.

Purport: That the Personality of Godhead was not seen but only heard does not make any difference. The Personality of Godhead produced the four Vedas by His breathing, and He is seen and realized through the transcendental sound of the Vedas. Similarly, the Bhagavad-gītā is the sound representation of the Lord, and there is no difference in identity. The conclusion is that the Lord can be seen and heard by persistent chanting of the transcendental sound.

Infact Maharaj took classes on this single verse for almost 6 months. During that period when any devotee called Maharaj for any problem - be it marital, parent, children or in-laws, or be it problems related to job, health, wealth or property - everyone were treated by this universal medicine. It was very inconceivable and amazing to see how this single verse was solution for every different problem for which people approached Maharaj. But being a Mahabhagavata who very well knew and was completely convinced that - saṅkleśa-nirvāṇam uśanti nānyathā - (SB 1.5.40), Maharaj could mitigate the miseries of the masses of common people. To make us firmly convinced that this is "the only" medicine Maharaj also taught us the verse 10.1.4 from Srimad Bhagavatam - 

nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād
bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano-’bhirāmāt
ka uttamaśloka-guṇānuvādāt

pumān virajyeta vinā paśughnāt

Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the paramparā system, that is, it is conveyed from the spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?

While listening to Srila Prabhupada's lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam verse 2.9.1, in Tokyo we could see His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada also encouraging every single devotee to recite the verse correctly and to memorise them.  

Krishna willing we shall meditate further on this topic in the subsequent offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva
Sudarshana devi dasi