“Recitation of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam must be done by persons completely freed from material desires (nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ). Everyone within this material world, beginning from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant, is full of material desires for sense enjoyment, and everyone is busy in sense gratification, but when thus engaged one cannot fully understand the value of kṛṣṇa-kathā, either in the form of Bhagavad-gītā or in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

If we hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from liberated persons, this hearing will certainly free us from the bondage of material activities, but hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam spoken by a professional reciter cannot actually help us achieve liberation. Kṛṣṇa-kathā is very simple. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As He Himself explains, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: “O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me.” (Bg. 7.7) Simply by understanding this fact — that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead — one can become a liberated person. But, especially in this age, because people are interested in hearing Bhagavad-gītā from unscrupulous persons who depart from the simple presentation of Bhagavad-gītā and distort it for their personal satisfaction, they fail to derive the real benefit. There are big scholars, politicians, philosophers and scientists who speak on Bhagavad-gītā in their own polluted way, and people in general hear from them, being uninterested in hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from a devotee. A devotee is one who has no other motive for reciting Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam than to serve the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore advised us to hear the glories of the Lord from a realized person (bhāgavata paro diya bhāgavata sthane). Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord, for this is strictly forbidden by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, who quotes from the Padma Purāṇa:

avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇaṁ pūtaṁ hari-kathāmṛtam
śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyaṁ sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ

One should avoid hearing from a person not situated in Vaiṣṇava behavior. A Vaiṣṇava is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gītā by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that kṛṣṇa-kathā should be recited by a person who is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī epitomizes the proper reciter for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Parīkṣit Mahārāja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. A qualified reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the right medicine (bhavauṣadhi) for the conditioned souls. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence.”

Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Text 14

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