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Knowledge Can be Acquired Only Through Hearing.

This is a short excerpt from an e-book “Proof of the Vedas” by Purujit Dasa available to the BLISS Patreon members free of charge. The book gives arguments to prove the validity of Vedic method of acquiring transcendental knowledge.

Although our senses are imperfect, the sense of hearing is better than the others, because through hearing we can acquire knowledge. Srila Prabhupada says:

“So knowledge means not to see but to hear. Therefore it is called sruti, susruma. Knowledge has to be received through the ear, not by the eyes. Not by the eyes. This is not recommended. Nobody says, "I want to see knowledge," no: "I want to hear knowledge." Therefore it is called çruti, and knowledge is received through the ear, aural reception. Why not with eyes and other senses? That is also very important to know. Suppose you are sleeping. Then all your senses are also sleeping. But the ear does not sleep. You have got practical experience. When a man is sleeping and somebody is coming to kill him, so what do you say? You cry, "Mr. such and such, wake up! Wake up! There is danger. There is..." Then he can... Otherwise, all the senses are there, but only the ear will help you. The eyes are there, hands are there, legs are there, everything is there—nothing of this limbs of your, part of your body, will help you. Simply your ear will help you when you are in danger. Therefore here it is said, susruma: "We have received knowledge through the ears, not with the eyes." Those rascals says, "I want to see practically." He cannot see. That is not possible. The modern defect is that they do not hear. The so-called scientists, philosophers, they do not hear. They simply want to see, want to touch, want to smell, want to lick up. That is not knowledge. So they are all failure. They do not hear. But the process is here, as it is said, susruma: "We have received knowledge by hearing from the authority." That is perfect knowledge. That is perfect knowledge.”

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.40 -- San Francisco, July 21, 1975)

Everyone has tasted salt in his life. If we hear “salt” –immediately we recall the experience of tasting it. We have become accustomed to relate the word “salt” to the substance of salt and we can be licking, seeing, touching, or smelling salt and thus have an experience of salt, but unless we hear from someone that it is indeed “salt”, we cannot communicate our experience of salt to anyone. We might have the experience of salt, but so long we do not hear from a superior authority that the white substance we are tasting is salt, we do not have knowledge of salt. Srila Prabhupada explains:

Prabhupada: So what is that experience? Tell me what is that experience?

Priest: That God is beyond all our experience.

Prabhupada: Then what is your experience? You have no experience. If it is beyond your experience, then you have no experience.

Priest: Personally, of course, but...

Prabhupada: Then you cannot explain. You cannot, because you have no experience.

Priest: But if you know what you can't explain...

Prabhupada: No, no, if you can't explain means you do not know.

Priest: You don't think an illusion (indistinct) relationship.

Prabhupada: No, no, not illusion. If you cannot explain, that means you do not know. If you know, you must explain. That is knowing, that is knowledge.

(Room Conversation with Christian Priest -- June 9, 1974, Paris)

I can create my own unique word for salt. Someone else can then come along and makeup his own word to name salt as well. We can all make up our own words and bark at each other with our own uniquely created languages on and on without actually ever understanding what the others say, but that’s not knowledge. That is simply animalism. When we speak of words they only have a meaning when they can be communicated to someone else besides ourselves. Therefore knowledge can acquired only through hearing.

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