The practice of shravana is as simple as dedicating quality time to reading sacred literature and attending or hearing recordings of talks that discuss transcendence and inspire devotion. With today’s technology, transcendental sound vibration is easily accessible anywhere at any time. Shravana refocuses our priorities, purifies the heart, and attracts divine grace. When such transcendental sound is energized with the subject of unconditional love for the Supreme and received from pure sources, it nourishes the seed of devotion within us and can transform our lives. The purer and more realized the source, the more powerful the effect.
We live in an era of information overload. Being bombarded with news, updates and notifications, we often flip to the next thing even without reading one thing fully, leave alone internalizing it. Being conditioned to rush through information, we often rush through scripture, thinking: “I already know this stuff – what’s new?” Such an attitude deprives us of the transformation that comes from assimilating and applying spiritual wisdom. To appreciate spiritual wisdom’s transformational potency, we can compare spiritual wisdom to a medical treatment. The assimilation of the wisdom is like the patient’s taking in the diagnosis, understanding what the disease is and how the recommended prescription will cure it. The application of the wisdom is like the patient’s taking the prescription, thereby sending healing agents into the body and countering harmful agents present there. The Gita’s diagnosis is that we are eternal spiritual beings mistakenly seeking pleasure in temporary material things.
This misdirected search comprises our disease, wherein our consciousness gets trapped in matter, thereby subjecting us to material existence’s many miseries. The Gita’s prescription is bhakti-yoga, the time-honored process that enables us to redirect our heart from the world to Krishna. Diligent practice of bhakti-yoga increases our attraction to him, thereby granting us satisfaction in his remembrance and countering our worldly attachments. The Gita’s message transforms Arjuna from a state of confusion and dejection to a state of confidence and determination. He is thus transformed because he assimilates and applies the Gita. His assimilation is evident in his declaration (18.73) that his illusion has been destroyed, his doubts dispelled and his memory restored. His application is evident in his taking up his bow for doing Krishna’s will, as indicated in the Gita’s last verse (18.78). If we similarly assimilate and apply the Gita’s message, we too can be empowered by its transformational potency.