Reading Reform (Srila Prabhupada's Plan for the Daily Reading of His Books)

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Item Code: NAU916
Author: Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami
Publisher: ISKCON
Language: English
Edition: 2016
ISBN: 9780911233285
Pages: 108
Other Details 8.50 X 5.50 inch
Weight 140 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

All of the devotees connected with this Krsna consciousness movement must read all of the books that have been translated (Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and others). Otherwise, after some time, they will simply eat, sleep and fall down from their position. Thus they will miss the opportunity to attain an eternal, blissful life of transcendental pleasure.


How many devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement do not regularly read Srila Prabhupada’s books?

The answer is, "Too many." There are various reasons for not reading, but the conclusion is always an unfortunate one.

The awful truth is often kept a secret or admitted only reluctantly. A temple president admits that he spares very little time, even on a weekly basis, to look through Prabhupada’s books. And even when he sets aside some time, he finds it difficult to read attentively. A sankirtana leader says that when he opens Prabhupada’s books, his mind reels with a million distracting thoughts. An artist who paints pictures of krsna-lila admits that he has never read the entire Bhagavad-gita, although he has been an initiated devotee for five years.

"I hate to admit it, but I find the books boring." "I sleep whenever I try to read." "I have no time." Statements such as these are all too common, and they reveal some of the prevalent maladies. Some devotees with poor reading habits make a kind of half-hearted defence. They view their lack philanthropically, saying that at least they are helping others to read the books by distributing them or by working to help maintain the Krsna consciousness movement. Others are complacent about their reading shortcomings or are simply unaware of the importance of reading every day. But the awful truth is that most of us need to reform our reading habits. It is to this end that we offer the present book.

One of Prabhupadda’s most forceful statements on the importance of reading his books occurs in a purport in the Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila (25.278):

All of the devotees connected with this Krsna consciousness movement must read all of the books that have been translated (Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and others). Otherwise, after some time, they will simply eat, sleep and fall down from their position. Thus they will miss the opportunity to attain an eternal, blissful life of transcendental pleasure.

Understanding the importance of regularly reading Prabhupada’s books, we should take up the practice of reading every day. Krsna consciousness is a science, and we cannot expect to execute it properly if we defy its canons and procedures. One can go without eating for some time, but eventually one’s health will lapse. And as stated in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sruti smrti puranadi. One can be enthusiastic, but if one does not act in accordance with scriptural injunction, then in the end one will simply create a disturbance in society.

The main thrust and substance of this book is contained in Chapter One, "Quotes on Reading from the Letters of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada." By a selection of numerous instructions from Prabhupada, it is conclusively established that he wanted all of his followers to read his books regularly and seriously. In my brief commentaries to these letters, I have included additional quotes from Prabhupada, and I have attempted to preach in his mood on the same points. Chapter Two is a selection from various journals I have kept in my ongoing struggle to bring my reading practices up to the level desired by Srila Prabhupada. The third chapter consists of questions usually of a doubting or challenging nature—that devotees frequently ask and that show some of the excuses devotees give for not reading regularly. I have tried not to make the book too lengthy in the hopes that the devotee-reader will quickly get the message, put down this book, and go on to establish the regular reading of Prabhupada’s books in his devotional life.


In this book, written for devotees, I advocate that everyone should read Prabhupdda’s books as a daily function. To remind devotees of their daily reading duties is not to take a controversial stand, for Srila Prabhupada often said and wrote that it should be done. Yet, some may react with shock or a challenge when they come face to face with this proposal. Some may even claim it my concoction that I place daily reading as a "must," as being almost as important as chanting sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra daily. Therefore, I have gathered numerous quotes from Srila Prabhupada to support my claim. For example, one who knows Srila Prabhupada’s instructions cannot rightly say that hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam class daily each morning is optional. No, it is a must. "You introduce this system in all the centres of your zone," wrote Prabhupada to a G.B.C. secretary, "and you will see that everyone becomes very much enlivened by these daily classes" (letter of June 16, 1972). As for my stress herein on daily reading in addition to the daily hearing in the Srimad-Bhagavatam class, I am happy to be an advocate for this cause even if, technically speaking, it is not in the category of a devotee’s bare minimum quota of following the four regulative principles of no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, and the chanting of sixteen rounds.

Certainly regular reading is an absolute must. So what should we understand "regular" to mean? Should it mean "once a week" or "once a month" or "whenever I get a chance"? By stating that we should read Srila Prabhupada’s books every day, I am trying to suggest a helpful program for all devotees, especially those who may not be reading very regularly. Take it, if you will, that I am advocating a new program, a change in present habits. There are many popular self-help books wherein an enthusiast gives some bright advice in a simple, practical form, such as A Way to Perfect Physical Health in Twenty Minutes a Day, or How to Become a Millionaire in Your Spare Time. So even if you consider "Srila Prabhupada’s Plan for Krsna Conscious Perfection by the Daily Reading of His Books" as an "extra" suggestion, it is a good suggestion, relatively simple, and authorized by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

For years I wanted to compile a book like this, but I hesitated, worrying that it might be too similar to Japa Reform Notebook. I also did not want to present myself as someone who thinks he knows better than others, especially if my claim was seen as my own "thing." And I also hesitated because my own reading habits leave much to be desired. But these doubts gradually dissolved. I found sufficient subject matter to discuss the importance of reading Prabhupada’s books distinct from discussion about japa. For example, in Japa Reform Notebook, I assumed that devotees were chanting sixteen rounds daily, and I presented Sastric evidence to help improve daily chanting. But in the case of reading reform, there is more a need to address the problem of not reading at all. As for my hesitancy in thinking that the book might be considered as my own sectarian interest, that vanished when I read through Srila Prabhupada’s statements in his letters on this subject. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada’s statements in letters form the main basis of this presentation.

If I were to wait for the day when my own reading of Srila Prabhupada’s books reached the stage of spontaneous ecstasy, I might never be able to write on the subject at all. Yet, since I have adopted reading his books daily as an essential part of my Krsna conscious sadhana, I felt it would not be hypocritical for me to advocate it to others. I am a convert to the daily reading plan. As I struggle each day to become Krsna conscious, I can attest to the great importance of reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. In fact, I feel that without daily reading his books, attaining a decent level of Krsna consciousness is impossible. Or in other words, I feel myself at once vulnerable to maya when I fail to read Prabhupada’s books on a given day. So I invite the reader to hear from Prabhupada on the importance of reading his books daily and then to take up such reading as an essential aspect of his own practice of Krsna consciousness.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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