tirtham muhuh samsprsatam hi manasam
haraty ajo ’ntah srutibhir gato ’ngajam
ko vai na seveta mukunda-vikramam
Translation by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
By associating with persons for whom the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mukunda, is the all in all, one can hear of His powerful activities and soon come to understand them. The activities of Mukunda are so potent that simply by hearing of them one immediately associates with the Lord. For a person who constantly and very eagerly hears narrations of the Lord’s powerful activities, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead in the form of sound vibrations, enters within his heart and cleanses it of all contamination. On the other hand, although bathing in the Ganges diminishes bodily contaminations and infections, this process and the process of visiting holy places can cleanse the heart only after a long time. Therefore who is the sane man who will not associate with devotees to quickly perfect his life?
Purport by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Bathing in the Ganges can certainly cure one of many infectious diseases, but it cannot cleanse one’s materially attached mind, which creates all kinds of contaminations in material existence. However, one who directly associates with the Supreme Lord by hearing of His activities cleanses the dirt from his mind and very soon comes to Krsna consciousness. Suta Gosvami confirms this in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17):
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
The Supreme Lord within everyone’s heart becomes very pleased when a person hears narrations of His activities, and He personally cleanses the dirt from the mind of the listener. Hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani vidhunoti: He washes off all dirt from the mind. Material existence is caused by dirty things within the mind. If one can cleanse his mind, he immediately comes to his original position of Krsna consciousness, and thus his life becomes successful. Therefore all the great saints in the devotional line very strongly recommend the process of hearing. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu introduced the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra to give everyone a chance to hear Krsna’s holy name, for simply by hearing Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, one becomes purified (ceto-darpana-marjanam). Therefore our Krsna consciousness movement is chiefly engaged in chanting the Hare Krsna mantra all over the world.
After one’s mind becomes cleansed by chanting Hare Krsna, one gradually comes to the platform of Krsna consciousness and then reads books like Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta and The Nectar of Devotion. In this way, one becomes more and more purified of material contamination. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.18):
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
“By regularly hearing the Bhagavatam and rendering service unto the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is practically destroyed, and loving service unto the glorious Lord, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.” In this way, simply by hearing of the powerful activities of the Lord, the devotee’s heart becomes almost completely cleansed of material contamination, and thus his original position as an eternal servant who is part and parcel of the Lord becomes manifest. While the devotee engages in devotional service, the passionate and ignorant modes of material nature are gradually vanquished, and then he acts only in the mode of goodness. At that time he becomes happy and gradually advances in Krsna consciousness.
All the great acaryas strongly recommend that people be given a chance to hear about the Supreme Lord. Then success is assured. The more we cleanse the dirt of material attachment from our hearts, the more we will be attracted by Krsna’s name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and activities. This is the sum and substance of the Krsna consciousness movement.