by purujit dasa
HEARING MOST PERFECT SENSE
So although our senses are imperfect, the sense of hearing is better than others, because through hearing we can acquire knowledge.
So knowledge means not to see but to hear. Therefore it is called śruti, śuśruma. 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 śruti, 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, śuśruma: "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.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.40 -- San Francisco, July 21, 1975
You have most likely tasted salt in your life. If we say “salt” –immediately you can recall the experience of tasting it. This is because we have both accepted the word salt to relate to the substance of salt. Now, if we lick up, see, touch, or smell salt, we might have an experience of salt, but unless we hear from someone that it is indeed “salt”, we won’t be able to communicate our experience of salt to anyone, which means that we might have the experience of salt, but we don’t have the knowledge of salt.
Priest: But if you know what you can't explain...
Prabhupāda: No, no, if you can't explain means you do not know.
Priest: You don't think an illusion (indistinct) relationship.
Prabhupāda: 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 make my own name for salt. I might call it “kookoo” for example. Then someone else can come along and make his own name and call it “ chee chee”. We can all make up our own words and speak on and on without actually ever understanding what the other person says, but that’s not knowledge. That is animalism. When we speak of words they only have a meaning when they can be communicated to someone. Therefore knowledge can be acquired only through hearing.
(to be continued...)