Published on October 5th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada | Full size image6
Living With the Devotees (Compilation of Prabhupada Quotes)
One cannot live outside the society of devotees; one must live in the association of devotees, where there is constant chanting and hearing of the glories of the Lord. The Krsna consciousness movement is started for this purpose, so that hundreds of centers may give people a chance to hear and chant, to accept the spiritual master and to disassociate themselves from persons who are materially interested, for in this way
SB 1.5.28 P Narada’s Instructions on Srimad-Bhagavatam for Vyasadeva
Transcendental loving service for the Supreme Lord is the natural inclination of every living being. The instinct is dormant in everyone, but due to the association of material nature the modes of passion and ignorance cover this from time immemorial. If, by the grace of the Lord and the great-souled devotees of the Lord, a living being becomes fortunate enough to associate with the unadulterated devotees of the Lord and gets a chance to hear the unadulterated glories of the Lord, certainly the flow of devotional service takes place like the flow of a river. As the river flows on till she reaches the sea, similarly pure devotional service flows by the association of pure devotees till it reaches the ultimate goal, namely, transcendental love of God. Such a flow of devotional service cannot stop. On the contrary, it increases more and more without limitation. The flow of devotional service is so potent that any onlooker also becomes liberated from the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance. These two qualities of nature are thus removed, and the living being is liberated, being situated in his original position.
SB 1.19.16 P The Appearance of Sukadeva Gosvami
That a devotee of the Lord is the only perfect living being is explained herein by Maharaja Pariksit. A devotee of the Lord is no one’s enemy, although there may be many enemies of a devotee. A devotee of the Lord does not like to associate with nondevotees, although he has no enmity with them. He desires association with the devotees of the Lord. This is perfectly natural because birds of the same feather mix together. And the most important function of a devotee is to have complete attachment for Lord Sri Krsna, the father of all living beings. As a good son of the father behaves in a friendly way with all his other brothers, so also the devotee of the Lord, being a good son of the supreme father, Lord Krsna, sees all other living beings in relation with the supreme father. He tries to bring back the upstart sons of the father to a saner stage and to get them to accept the supreme fatherhood of God. Maharaja Pariksit was certainly going back to Godhead, but even if he were not to go back, he prayed for a pattern of life which is the most perfect way in the material world. A pure devotee does not desire the company of a personality as great as Brahma, but he prefers the association of a petty living being, provided he is a devotee of the Lord.
SB 3.8.2 P Manifestation of Brahma from Garbhodakasayi Visnu
The sage Maitreya proposed to speak on Srimad-Bhagavatam because it was especially compiled, and traditionally comes down in the disciplic succession, for the solution of all the problems of human society. Only one who is fortunate can have the opportunity to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam in the association of pure devotees of the Lord. Under the spell of material energy, the living entities are entrapped in the bondage of many difficulties simply for the sake of a little bit of material happiness. They engage in fruitive activities, not knowing the implications. Under the false impression that the body is the self, the living entities foolishly relate to so many false attachments. They think that they can engage with materialistic paraphernalia forever. This gross misconception of life is so strong that a person suffers continually, life after life, under the external energy of the Lord. If one comes in contact with the book Bhagavatam as well as with the devotee bhagavata, who knows what the Bhagavatam is, then such a fortunate man gets out of the material entanglement. Therefore Sri Maitreya Muni, out of compassion for the suffering men in the world, proposes to speak on the Srimad-Bhagavatam first and last.
SB 3.25.25 P The Glories of Devotional Service
The process of advancing in Krsna consciousness and devotional service is described here. The first point is that one must seek the association of persons who are Krsna conscious and who engage in devotional service. Without such association one cannot make advancement. Simply by theoretical knowledge or study one cannot make any appreciable advancement. One must give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of devotees because without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord. Generally, people are convinced of the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth. Because they do not associate with devotees, they cannot understand that the Absolute Truth can be a person and have personal activities. This is a very difficult subject matter, and unless one has personal understanding of the Absolute Truth, there is no meaning to devotion. Service or devotion cannot be offered to anything impersonal. Service must be offered to a person. Nondevotees cannot appreciate Krsna consciousness by reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam or any other Vedic literature wherein the activities of the Lord are described; they think that these activities are fictional, manufactured stories because spiritual life is not explained to them in the proper mood. To understand the personal activities of the Lord, one has to seek the association of devotees, and by such association, when one contemplates and tries to understand the transcendental activities of the Lord, the path to liberation is open, and he is freed. One who has firm faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes fixed, and his attraction for association with the Lord and the devotees increases. Association with devotees means association with the Lord. The devotee who makes this association develops the consciousness for rendering service to the Lord, and then, being situated in the transcendental position of devotional service, he gradually becomes perfect.
SB 4.9.11 P Dhruva Maharaja Returns Home
The significant point in Dhruva Maharaja’s statement is that he wanted the association of pure devotees. Transcendental devotional service cannot be complete and cannot be relishable without the association of devotees. We have therefore established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Anyone who is trying to be aloof from this Krishna Consciousness Society and yet engage in Krsna consciousness is living in a great hallucination, for this is not possible. From this statement by Dhruva Maharaja it is clear that unless one is associated with devotees, his devotional service does not mature; it does not become distinct from material activities. The Lord says, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah (Bhag. 3.25.25). Only in the association of pure devotees can the words of Lord Krsna be fully potent and relishable to the heart and ear. Dhruva Maharaja explicitly wanted the association of devotees. That association in devotional activities is just like the waves of an incessantly flowing river. In our Krishna Consciousness Society we have full engagement twenty-four hours a day. Every moment of our time is always busily engaged in the service of the Lord. This is called the incessant flow of devotional service.
SB 4.21.40 P Instructions by Maharaja Prthu
“Birth after birth I desire to serve the lotus feet of the acaryas and live in a society of devotees.” A spiritual atmosphere can be maintained only by living in a society of devotees and by serving the orders of the acaryas. The spiritual master is the best brahmana. At present, in the age of Kali, it is very difficult to render service to the brahmana-kula, or the brahmana class. The difficulty, according to the Varaha Purana, is that demons, taking advantage of Kali-yuga, have taken birth in brahmana families. Raksasah kalim asritya jayante brahma-yonisu (Varaha Purana). In other words, in this age there are many so-called caste brahmanas and caste Gosvamis who, taking advantage of the sastra and of the innocence of people in general, claim to be brahmanas and Vaisnavas by hereditary right. One will not derive any benefit by rendering service to such false brahmana-kulas. One must therefore take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and his associates and should also render service to them, for such activity will greatly help the neophyte in attaining full satisfaction. This has been very clearly explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his explanation of the verse vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (Bg. 2.41). By actually following the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga as recommended by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, one can very quickly come to the transcendental platform of liberation, as explained in this verse (atyanta-samam).
SB 4.22.20 P Prthu Maharaja’ s Meeting with the Four Kumaras
By association with devotees, dirty things within the heart of a materialistic man are gradually washed away by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As silver becomes shiny by being polished, the heart of a materialistic person is cleansed of lusty desires by the good association of devotees. Actually the living being has no connection with this material enjoyment nor with lusty desires. He is simply imagining or dreaming while asleep. But by the association of pure devotees, he is awakened, and immediately the spirit soul is situated in his own glory by understanding his constitutional position as the eternal servant of the Lord. Prthu Maharaja was already a self-realized soul; therefore he had a natural inclination to glorify the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Kumaras assured him that there was no chance of his falling victim to the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. In other words, the process of hearing and chanting about the glories of the Lord is the only means to clarify the heart of material contamination. By the process of karma, jnana and yoga, no one will succeed in driving away contamination from the heart, but once a person takes to the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord by devotional service, automatically all dirty things in the heart are removed without difficulty.
SB 4.22.23 P Prthu Maharaja’ s Meeting with the Four Kumaras
Simple negation, or giving up the company of materialistic persons, will not do. We must have engagements. Sometimes it is found that a person interested in spiritual advancement gives up the company of material society and goes to a secluded place as recommended for the yogis especially, but that will also not help a person in spiritual advancement, for in many instances such yogis also fall down. As far as jnanis are concerned, generally they fall down without taking shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. The impersonalists or the voidists can simply avoid the positive material association; they cannot remain fixed in transcendence without being engaged in devotional service. The beginning of devotional service is to hear about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is recommended in this verse: vina harer guna-piyusa-panat. One must drink the nectar of the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this means that one must be always engaged in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. It is the prime method for advancing in spiritual life. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also recommends this in the Caitanya-caritamrta. If one wants to make advancement in spiritual life, by great fortune he may meet a bona fide spiritual master and from him learn about Krsna. By serving both the spiritual master and Krsna he gets the seed of devotional service (bhakti-lata-bija), and if he sows the seed within his heart and waters it by hearing and chanting, it grows into a luxuriant bhakti-lata, or bhakti creeper. The creeper is so strong that it penetrates the covering of the universe and reaches the spiritual world and continues to grow on and on until it reaches and takes shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, just as an ordinary creeper also grows on and on until it takes a solid shelter on a roof; then it very steadily grows and produces the required fruit. The real cause of the growing of such fruit, which is here called the nectar of hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is to water the creeper of devotional service by hearing and chanting. The purport is that one cannot live outside the society of devotees; one must live in the association of devotees, where there is constant chanting and hearing of the glories of the Lord. The Krsna consciousness movement is started for this purpose, so that hundreds of centers may give people a chance to hear and chant, to accept the spiritual master and to disassociate themselves from persons who are materially interested, for in this way one can make solid advancement in going back home, back to Godhead.
SB 4.29.39-40 P Talks Between Narada and King Pracinabarhi
The cultivation of Krsna consciousness is possible where great devotees live together and constantly engage in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In a holy place like Vrndavana, there are many devotees constantly engaged in chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. If one gets the chance to hear from pure devotees in such a place, allowing the constant flow of the river of nectar to come from the mouths of pure devotees, then the cultivation of Krsna consciousness becomes very easy. When one is engaged in constantly hearing the glories of the Lord, he certainly rises above the bodily conception. When one is in the bodily conception, he feels the pangs of hunger and thirst, fear, lamentation and illusion. But when one is engaged in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, he transcends the bodily conception.
SB 4.29.39-40 P Talks Between Narada and King Pracinabarhi
“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and to the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” (Bhag. 3.25.25) In the association of pure devotees, one becomes attached to hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In this way one can cultivate Krsna consciousness, and as soon as this cultivation is advanced, one can become faithful to the Lord, devoted to the Lord and attached to the Lord, and thus one can very quickly attain full Krsna consciousness. The secret of success in the cultivation of Krsna consciousness is hearing from the right person. A Krsna conscious person is never disturbed by the bodily necessities–namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
SB 4.29.41 P Talks Between Narada and King Pracinabarhi
Unless one is associated with devotees, he cannot cultivate Krsna consciousness. Nirjana-bhajana–cultivating Krsna consciousness in a solitary place–is not possible for the neophyte, for he will be disturbed by the bodily necessities (eating, sleeping, mating and defending). Being so disturbed, one cannot cultivate Krsna consciousness. We therefore see that devotees known as sahajiya, who make everything very easy, do not associate with advanced devotees. Such persons, in the name of devotional activities, are addicted to all kinds of sinful acts–illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. There are many so-called devotees passing themselves off as devotees while engaging in these sinful activities. In other words, one who is influenced by sinful activity cannot be accepted as a person in Krsna consciousness. A person addicted to sinful life cannot develop Krsna consciousness, as indicated in this verse.
SB 5.8.30 P A Description of the Character of Bharata Maharaja
It is significant that Maharaja Bharata, by the grace of Vasudeva, remembered his past life. He did not waste a moment; he returned to Pulaha-asrama to the village known as Salagrama. Association is very meaningful; therefore ISKCON tries to perfect one who enters the society. The members of this society should always remember that the society is not like a free hotel. All the members should be very careful to execute their spiritual duties so that whoever comes will automatically become a devotee and will be able to return back to Godhead in this very life. Although Bharata Maharaja acquired the body of a deer, he again left his hearth and home, in this case the Mountain Kalanjara. No one should be captivated by his birthplace and family; one should take shelter of the association of devotees and cultivate Krsna consciousness.
SB 6.15.18-19 P The Saints Narada and Angira Instruct King Citraketu
A devotee should always aspire to live in the association of advanced devotees and engage in the service of the Lord through the parampara system. One should serve the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu through the instructions of the great Gosvamis of Vrndavana. This is called tandera carana sevi. While serving the lotus feet of the Gosvamis, one should live in the association of devotees (bhakta-sane vasa). This is the business of a devotee. A devotee should not aspire for material profit or lament for material loss. When Angira Rsi and Narada saw that Maharaja Citraketu, an advanced devotee, had fallen in the darkness of ignorance and was lamenting for the material body of his son, by their causeless mercy they came to advise him so that he could be saved from this ignorance.
SB 7.6.20-23 P Prahlada Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates
Prahlada Maharaja’s class friends, who were born of Daitya families, thought that realizing the Absolute was extremely difficult. Indeed, we have experience that many, many people say this very thing. Actually, however, this is not so. The Absolute, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is most intimately related to all living entities. Therefore if one understands the Vaisnava philosophy, which explains how He is present everywhere and how He acts everywhere, to worship the Supreme Lord or to realize Him is not at all difficult. Realization of the Lord, however, is possible only in the association of devotees. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in His teachings to Rupa Gosvami said (Cc. Madhya 19.151):
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
The living entity in the material condition wanders through many varieties of life and many varieties of circumstances, but if he comes in contact with a pure devotee and is intelligent enough to take instructions from the pure devotee regarding the process of devotional service, he can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the origin of Brahman and Paramatma, without difficulty. In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya says:
SB 8.21.32 P Bali Maharaja Arrested by the Lord
“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.” (Bhag. 6.12.28) A devotee engaged in the service of Narayana is always in equilibrium. A devotee actually lives transcendentally. Although he may appear to have gone to hell or heaven, he does not live in either place; rather, he always lives in Vaikuntha (sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate). Vamanadeva asked Bali Maharaja to go to the hellish planets, apparently just to show the entire universe how tolerant he was, and Bali Maharaja did not hesitate to carry out the order. A devotee does not live alone. Of course, everyone lives with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because the devotee is engaged in His service, he actually does not live in any material condition. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, kita janma hao yatha tuya dasa. Thus he prays to take birth as an insignificant insect in the association of devotees. Because devotees are engaged in the service of the Lord, anyone who lives with them also lives in Vaikuntha.
SB 9.6.51 P The Downfall of Saubhari Muni
One who desires complete freedom from material bondage can engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. He must not associate with visayi–materialistic persons or those interested in sex life. Every materialist is interested in sex. Thus in plain language it is advised that an exalted saintly person avoid the association of those who are materially inclined. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura also recommends that one engage in the service of the acaryas, and if one wants to live in association, he must live in the association of devotees (tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa). The Krsna consciousness movement is creating many centers just to create devotees so that by associating with the members of such a center people will automatically become uninterested in material affairs. Although this is an ambitious proposal, this association is proving effective by the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By gradually associating with the members of the Krsna consciousness movement, simply by taking prasada and taking part in chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, ordinary persons are being considerably elevated. Saubhari Muni regrets that he had bad association even in the deepest part of the water. Because of the bad association of the sexually engaged fish, he fell down. A secluded place is also not secure unless there is good association.
SB 10.2.31 P Prayers by the Demigods for Lord Krsna in the Womb
One must worship the lotus feet of the acarya and live within the society of devotees. Then one’s endeavor to cross over nescience will surely be successful.
SB 10.13.53 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma
Sri Viraraghava Acarya comments that each of the items mentioned in the first half of this verse is a cause for material entanglement. Kala, or the time factor, agitates the modes of material nature, and svabhava is the result of association with these modes. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says, bhakta-sane vasa. If one associates with bhaktas, then one’s svabhava, or nature, will change. Our Krsna consciousness movement is meant to give people good association so that this change may take place, and we actually see that by this method people all over the world are gradually becoming devotees.
SB 10.13.53 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma
As for samskara, or reformation, this is possible by good association, for by good association one develops good habits, and habit becomes second nature. Therefore, bhakta-sane vasa: let people have the chance to live with bhaktas. Then their habits will change. In the human form of life one has this chance, but as Narottama dasa Thakura sings, hari hari viphale janama gonainu: if one fails to take advantage of this opportunity, one’s human life is wasted. We are therefore trying to save human society from degradation and actually elevate people to the higher nature.
SB 10.13.53 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma
As for kama and karma–desires and activities–if one engages in devotional service, one develops a different nature than if one engages in activities of sense gratification, and of course the result is also different. According to the association of different natures, one receives a particular type of body. Karanam guna-sango ‘sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu (Bg. 13.22). Therefore we should always seek good association, the association of devotees. Then our life will be successful. A man is known by his company. If one has the chance to live in the good association of devotees, one is able to cultivate knowledge, and naturally one’s character or nature will change for one’s eternal benefit.
Madhya 19.152 Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami
To live with devotees or to live in a temple means to associate with the sravana-kirtana process. Sometimes neophyte devotees think that they can continue the sravana-kirtana process without worshiping the Deity, but the execution of sravana-kirtana is meant for highly developed devotees like Haridasa Thakura, who engaged in the sravana-kirtana process without worshiping the Deity. However, one should not falsely imitate Haridasa Thakura and abandon Deity worship just to try to engage in sravana-kirtana. This is not possible for neophyte devotees.
Madhya 19.156 Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami
By his personal example, Narottama dasa Thakura stresses that a devotee must always remember to please his predecessor acarya. The Gosvamis are represented by one’s spiritual master. One cannot be an acarya (spiritual master) without following strictly in the disciplic succession of the acaryas. One who is actually serious in advancing in devotional service should desire only to satisfy the previous acaryas. Ei chaya gosani yara, mui tara dasa. One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the acaryas, and thinking this, one should live in the society of Vaisnavas. However, if one thinks that he has become very mature and can live separate from the association of Vaisnavas and thus gives up all the regulative principles due to offending a Vaisnava, one’s position becomes very dangerous. Offenses against the holy name are explained in Adi-lila (Chapter Eight, verse 24). Giving up the regulative principles and living according to one’s whims are compared to a mad elephant, which by force uproots the bhakti-lata and breaks it to pieces. In this way the bhakti-lata shrivels up. Such an offense is especially created when one disobeys the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called guru-avajna. The devotee must therefore be very careful not to commit offenses against the spiritual master. As soon as one is deviated from the spiritual master, the uprooting of the bhakti-lata begins, and gradually all the leaves dry up.
TLC 12 The Devotee
It is also said in Srimad-Bhagavatam that if one gets an opportunity to serve a great soul–a mahatma–his path to liberation is open. However, those who are attached to materialistic persons are on the path of darkness. Those who are actually holy are transcendental, composed, peaceful, friendly to all living entities and not subject to anger. Simply by association with such holy men one can become a Krsna conscious devotee. Indeed, to develop love of Godhead, the association of holy devotees is needed. The path of advancement in spiritual life opens for anyone who comes in contact with a holy man, and by following the path of the devotee, one is sure to develop Krsna consciousness in full devotional service.
TLC 12 The Devotee
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.28), Vasudeva, the father of Krsna, asks Narada Muni about the welfare of all living entities, and in reply Narada Muni quotes a passage from Maharaja Nimi’s discussion with the nine sages. “O holy sages,” King Nimi said, “I am just trying to find the path of well-being for all living entities. A moment of association with holy men is the most valuable thing in life, for that moment opens the path of advancement in spiritual life.” This is also confirmed elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25). By associating with holy persons and discussing transcendental subject matters with them, one becomes convinced of the value of spiritual life. Very soon, hearing of Krsna becomes pleasing to the ear and begins to satisfy one’s heart. After receiving such spiritual messages from holy persons or pure devotees, if one tries to apply them in his own life, the path of Krsna consciousness naturally develops in faith, attachment and devotional service.
NoD 7 Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles
In the Katyayana-samhita it is stated that even if one is forced to live within a cage of iron or in the midst of a blazing fire, he should accept this position rather than live with nondevotees who are through and through against the supremacy of the Lord. Similarly, in the Visnu-rahasya there is a statement to the effect that one should prefer to embrace a snake, a tiger or an alligator rather than associate with persons who are worshipers of various demigods and who are impelled by material desire.
Jana-sanga refers to associating with persons not interested in Krsna consciousness. One should strictly avoid such association. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has therefore advised us to live only in the association of Krsna conscious devotees (bhakta-sane vasa). One should always engage in the service of the Lord in the association of the Lord’s devotees. Association with those engaged in a similar line of business is very conducive to advancement in that business. Consequently materialistic persons form various associations and clubs to enhance their endeavors. For example, in the business world we find such institutions as the stock exchange and chamber of commerce. Similarly, we have established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to give people an opportunity to associate with those who have not forgotten Krsna. This spiritual association offered by our ISKCON movement is increasing day by day. Many people from different parts of the world are joining this Society to awaken their dormant Krsna consciousness.
Furthermore, in order to be successful in devotional service one must give up the association of undesirable people. This includes karmis, jnanis, yogis and other nondevotees. Once Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was asked by one of His householder devotees about the general principles of Vaisnavism, as well as the general routine activities of the Vaisnava, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately replied, asat-sanga-tyaga,–ei vaisnava-acara: “Characteristically, a Vaisnava is one who gives up the association of worldly people, or nondevotees.” Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has therefore recommended, tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa: one has to live in the company of pure devotees and execute the regulative principles laid down by the previous acaryas, the six Gosvamis (namely, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami). If one lives in the association of devotees, there is little chance of associating with nondevotees. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is opening many centers just to invite people to live in the company of devotees and practice the regulative principles of spiritual life.
PQPA 5 Becoming Pure
Srila Prabhupada: You have to live with us. Then your friends will not ask you, “What about marijuana?” [Bob laughs.] Keep the association of devotees. We are opening centers to give people a chance to associate with us. Why have we taken so much land [in Mayapur]? Those who are seriously desirous–they will come and live with us. Association is very influential. If you associate with drunkards, you become drunk; if you associate with sadhus, then you become a sadhu.
Syamasundara: He can come and stay with you in Bombay.
TLK Vs 25-26 Association with the Supreme Lord Through Hearing
If we listen to Krsna and understand what and who He is, we can actually understand Vedanta. If we do not understand Krsna but advertise ourselves as Vedantists, we are just being illusioned. Without understanding Krsna, one is actually a mudha, a fool. People do not know it, but actually anyone in the material world is more or less a mudha. We are all mudhas, for unless we are mudhas, we do not come into the material world. From Brahma down to the smallest ant, we are all mudhas of different degrees. In order to become really learned, we have to associate with devotees. Then we can actually relish krsna-katha. When discussed among devotees, krsna-katha is pleasing to the heart and ear. This requires a little training, and this training is given by the devotees. We should follow the devotees in their practical daily life, in their routine work and behavior. Cultivation means practice, and the great acaryas have given a routine we can cultivate. For instance, The Nectar of Devotion by Srila Rupa Gosvami deals with the cultivation of devotional service, and this book, which we have translated, has been very well received in European and American universities. Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, The Nectar of Devotion, is the actual science of bhakti. Bhakti is not sentiment; it is a great science, and we have to learn it scientifically. lt is not that we have to wait for another life to cultivate devotional service. We can read The Nectar of Devotion, live with devotees, rise early in the morning to attend mangala-arati, study Vedic literature, take prasada and preach Krsna consciousness.
JSD 4.2 The Bona Fide Spiritual Master
If you eat bhagavat-prasadam, then gradually you become spiritualized; it has this potency. Therefore it is said that realization of God begins with the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: If you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then you realize God. So what is that engagement of the tongue? You chant the holy name of the Lord, and you take this prasadam, remnants of food offered to the Lord. Then you become self-realized, God-realized–by these two methods. You don’t have to be very highly educated or be a philosopher, a scientist, or a rich man to realize God. If you just sincerely engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, you will realize Him. It is so simple. It is not very difficult. Therefore the guru, the spiritual master, introduces this prasadam program. Svadv-anna-trptan hari-bhakta-sanghan. Hari-bhakta-sanghan means “in the association of devotees.” You cannot do it outside. Krtvaiva trptim bhajatah sadaiva: When the guru is fully satisfied that prasadam distribution is going on, he is very much pleased, and he engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord by chanting and dancing. This is the fourth symptom.
So these boys and girls who have taken to Krsna consciousness movement seriously, they are all first-class yogis because they are always thinking of Krsna. Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. So adau sraddha... So if you want to develop Krsna consciousness, then you kindly associate with these devotees. We are opening so many centers all over the world–we have already 102 centers–just to give opportunity to all classes of men to associate with devotees and develop your love for God. This is the purpose. And we have no other purpose, these centers are being opened. So I request you, those who are interested in loving God, in Krsna consciousness, they will kindly associate with these devotees. Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sanga. And these devotees… This is our method. When a man, a gentleman or lady comes to our association, he associates with us for three months, six months, then automatically he desires to be initiated. Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sanga atha bhajana-kriya. Bhajana-kriya means one becomes anxious. The effect of sadhu-sanga is to become anxious how to execute this devotional service properly. That is called initiation. So they come forward. The president recommends that “This boy or girl is now living with us for so many months, he’s interested, he may be initiated.” Then we initiate. But initiate with some condition. Anartha-nivrttih syat. These are the different stages. Initiation means that he must be free from all kinds of sinful activities. These four principles, the pillars of sinful activities, are four in number: illicit sex life, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. Striya suna panabhi(?). So automatically they give. All these boys and girls who are sitting here, you know that they have given up automatically. They have been able, by association with Krsna. It has become very practical and easy thing to give up all these four principles of sinful activities. Because without being pure, you cannot understand the Supreme Pure. God is the Supreme Pure. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, yesam anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam. Anyone who is completely free from the reaction of sinful life, yesam anta-gatam papam jananam punya-karmanam. Now, how is it possible? If one is simply engaged in pious activities. The most pious activity is to be engaged in Krsna consciousness movement. Pure. Then these are the different stages. Adau sraddha tato sadhu-sango tato bhajana-kriya atha anartha-nivrttih syat. Anartha means things we do not want. Artificially we are practiced to things. Just like meat-eating. Meat-eating, we do not practice it from the beginning of our birth. Just after birth the child, the baby, requires little honey or little milk, not the meat. But afterwards, the parents or the guardians are teaching how to eat meat. This is not our human business. Human teeth is meant for eating fruits and grains. That is scientific. Our teeth is made in that way. So anyway, meat-eating, intoxication, illicit sex, as soon as one takes to Krsna consciousness movement, these four pillars of sinful life is immediately broken.
So Rupa Gosvami says how this asakti can be increased. He gives formula. Mad-asrayah. Krsna said, “Either you take shelter of Me directly or to a person who has taken shelter of Me.” Just like electric power. Electric house, powerhouse, may be long away, but if the electricity is coming through some wire, and if you touch, immediately you will…, immediately in touch with the powerhouse. So either you touch the powerhouse or an wire, insig…, who is empowered by the powerhouse, you touch, you get the electricity. This is called parampara system. Mad-asrayah. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh, yogo nastah paran… These are all explained. So mad-asrayah. As soon as we… Because Krsna is not visible at the present moment. He is visible, but we cannot see. So we take asrayah, shelter of His devotee. Therefore Srila Rupa Gosvami gives his formula how to become attached to Krsna. First he says, adau sraddha. First of all, faith, the beginning. Just like you have come very kindly to this temple with some faith that “Here is the Krsna consciousness movement. Let us go there and see what they are doing,” out of inquisitiveness or something. So this is little faith. Now you have to increase this faith. This is required. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. How you can increase the faith? Those who are actually engaged in Krsna consciousness, in devotional service, associate with them. Don’t think that at home you will be perfect. That is not possible. At home there is no such facilities. Here you will get the facilities. Here the devotees, they are actually following the instruction of mad-asrayah, one who has taken the shelter. They are rising early in the morning. And at home you will think, “Oh, what is early in the morning?” (laughter) “Let me enjoy sleep.”
So there is no such facilities at home. Therefore this institution is started. If you are serious about Krsna consciousness, if you are serious about increasing attachment for Krsna, then you should come and live with the devotees. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. And atha bhajana-kriya. The sadhu-sanga… Now they are chanting, they are having mangala-arati, they are decorating the Deity, and so many things. Everyone who will associate, you will see. And then he will be inclined to be initiated. This is our practical experience. They will submit, “Please let me be initiated.” This is called bhajana-kriya. Bhajana-kriya means if he is serious about bhajana-kriya, how to worship, then anartha-nivrttih syat. Anartha means we have learned so many nonsense things. They can be summarized in four items: illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, and meat-eating. So anartha-nivrttih syat. If you accept bhajana-kriya, the activities of devotional service, then these things will be vanished. Then, when you are purified, as I have said, that sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam, when he is free from all these material bad habits, he is mukta. He is liberated. Then adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya, tato ‘nartha-nivrt…, tato nistha. Then your faith… Beginning was the faith. This faith becomes established. You can… Nobody can move you. Tato nistha. Tato rucih. Then you get some taste, how Krsna consciousness is sweet. Tato nistha rucis tatah, athasaktih. Then attachment. Unless you get taste, how you can be attached to Krsna?
Prabhupada: So our principle should be not to disassociate ourself from the devotees. Narottama dasa Thakura therefore sings, tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas, janame janame hoy ei abhilas: “I desire birth after birth to serve the acaryas and to live with devotees.” So our this association, society’s is giving these two opportunity: you serve the purpose or the orders of the acaryas and live with devotees. Then you will be secure in devotional service. Tandera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas. Bhakta-sane bas is very important thing. Even there is little inconvenience, still we should stick to live with the devotees. Then we shall be profited. Go on.
He is praying, “My dear Lord, this is my ambition, birth after birth.” What is that? “That to be engaged in the service of the acarya guru, and in the association of devotees. This is perfection.” Janame janame haya ei: “This is my desire. I don’t want to stop my birth, but simply I want that I may take birth–it doesn’t matter–but bhakta-sane vasa, let me live with the devotees.” That is the…
So how this sraddha, this faith can be increased? Sadhu-sanga. If you keep yourself associated with the devotees, then this sraddha can be increased. If you simply believe, “Yes, Krsna is Supreme Personality,” but you do not live with the sadhus or devotee, then it will drop. It will finish. So just to keep the standard, the temperature right, you must keep always yourself warm. If you go away, then your (indistinct) is gone. Again you become cold. You see. This is the process. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. Everything is perfect. The first thing is that you must believe that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yes. And to keep this faith strong and going on, you must keep association with devotees. Otherwise whatever little faith you got, it will be lost. It become again under the clutches of maya. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. And if you actually associate with sadhu, then the next stage is bhajana-kriya, initiation, how to worship Krsna. Then anartha-nivrttih syat. If you are actually engaged in devotional service, anartha, which are not required, things will vanish. Just like we ask our students, “No illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat-eating.” Simply by hearing it you cannot follow it. It is not possible. If you make bhajana-kriya, if you’re actually following–chanting sixteen rounds–then you can follow the others. Otherwise, if you are spiritually weak, you cannot. The government is spending so much money to stop this intoxication, LSD, in your country. They’re all failure. But here, with our pure association, a person can give up immediately. Just see how much the association is strong. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu…, bhajana-kriya. Anartha.
So the acaryas and the devotee, big, big devotees, they have given the routine work for cultivation. Just like we have got this Nectar of Devotion, how to cultivate devotional life. It is being very well received in European, American universities. In some of the universities they have made our Nectar of Devotion as textbook, “The Science of Bhakti.” So there is everything. If we want to cultivate bhakti, it is not sentiment. Sentiment, of course, that may remain for some time. But it is a great science. We have to learn it scientifically. That is The Nectar of Devotion, the science of devotional life. So those who are interested, they may kindly read this book, Nectar of Devotion, cultivation. Taj-josanat. And practical cultivation–if you live with the devotees, in the association, then there will be practical cultivation: to rise early in the morning, to offer mangala-aratrika to the Deity, then study some Vedic literature, then take prasadam, then do this, do that. They go for preaching. Actually, this Krsna consciousness movement, practically showing how to cultivate the devotional life, taj-josanat. And if we do so, then asu. Asu means very soon, without delay, even in this life. Even in this life, not that we have to wait for another life. If we practice devotional service in this life, even for few days, still, it will be a permanent asset.
So mahat-sevam dvaram, if you associate with great souls… Our Krsna consciousness movement is to produce some great souls. If people get opportunity to associate with great souls, then automatically his path of liberation will be open. Mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh. And tamo-dvaram yositam sangi-sangam. And if you associate with persons who are simply interested in sense gratification, then you must know that your door for going into the darkest region of ignorance is open. Two doors: one door to the path of liberation, and one door to the path of darkest region of ignorance. That means material existence. You know, in the material existence… Just like we are also living entities, and the cockroaches are also living entities. Do you know where they are living? Within the commode there are many germs, many worms, they are also living entities. They’re stool. There are worms in the stool. They’re also living entities. So we can fall down up to that point even. Don’t think that because we have got this beautiful body, nice situation, this is guarantee of any falldown. No. We can fall down any moment, in any species of life. There are 8,400,000 species of life. You should know it. And utilize this opportunity for opening the door of liberation. Mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh. And in order to reach to that door of liberation, you have to associate with persons who are devotees of Lord, mahat-seva. Mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimuktes tamo-dvaram yositam sangi-sangam. Yositam. If I simply avoid, myself, the process of sense gratification, but if I associate with persons who are addicted to sense gratification, then that is also very dangerous. That is also very dangerous, because sangat sanjayate kamah–my desires and my propensities will develop according to the association I make. A man is known by his company.
Sometimes there is some disagreement, that “Why one should not live outside the temple?” But that is little difficult, because in the temple you get good association. Everyone is trying to become free from this bondage of life. So there is some inspiration. But if you live outside the temple… We are making this temple commodious so that people may come here and live and learn the art, but if you do not live, there is risk. Because sangat sanjayate kamah. If you live in certain association, drunkard association, then you will learn gradually how to drink. And if you live with the association of the devotees, then you will forget drinking. You will become devotee. So we are opening these centers, giving chance everyone. There is no discrimination. It is not a religious system. It is a cultural institution. Don’t take as a religious. Religious is a kind of faith. You may accept that faith or not. That is your discretion. But Krsna consciousness is not a kind of faith. It is an cultural institution. If you, actually, you are serious that “I must stop these inconveniences of birth, death, and old age,” then you must join this Krsna consciousness movement. That is my request. That is called nivrtti-marga. And gradually, you will be elevated to the topmost position, that you have no more attraction for these material things. That is possible. It is not that impossible. Simply one has got to follow the process.
Prabhupada: Oh, you do not understand? You can come and live with these devotees. Where is the difficulty? You can live here, you can take prasadam, and without any charge. Still, you are asking? This is the way. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah. You have to make your association with the devotees. Then you will learn. Hmm.
Narottama dasa Thakura says that “I have to serve the gurus, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and live in the association of devotees.” Tandera carana-sevi bhakta-sane vas. Narottama dasa Thakura said, janame janame mora, ei abhilas. Our… We are… Ambition should be how to serve Krsna through the disciplic succession, guru, and live in the association of devotees. This is the process. So we are opening so many centers all over the world. This is the policy, that people may take chance of associating with devotees and the chance of serving the Vaisnava. Then it will be successful.
So therefore we require good association. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango ‘tha bhajana-kriya tato ‘nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha tatah rucis tato bhavas sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave… You cannot develop love of Godhead in one second. You can, provided you are so sincere and God is very much pleased upon you. He can give you. He can give you immediately. That is possible. But that may be some rare cases. Ordinarily, this is the process. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango. Just like we have come here in this temple. You have got some faith, all of us. That is called sraddha, adau sraddha. There are many hundred thousand in this quarter. Why they are not coming? This is the beginning. You have got some faith, sraddha. You have come. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango. And if you continue… What we are doing? We are making the association to take lessons from these Vedic literatures. This is called sadhu-sanga. In the drinking shop we make one kind of association, in the restaurant we make one association, in the club we make some association, different places. So here is a place, here is also association. It is called sadhu-sanga, association with devotees. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango. And if one is mature, then he wants to execute devotional service, bhajana-kriya. And as soon as there is bhajana-kriya, the unnecessary nonsense things will disappear. No more illicit sex, no more intoxication, no more drinking, no more gambling. Finished. When anartha-nivrttih syat, all these rascal habits are gone, then nistha, then firm faith, not to be agitated. Tato nistha tatah rucis. Then taste. You cannot live outside this camp. Taste has changed. Tato nistha tatah rucis, tathasaktis, then attraction. Then bhava. Bhava means ecstasy: “Oh, Krsna.” Then there is love. There are different stage.
So his mind became very much agitated, young man, and he is seeing in his front that another young man and woman embracing and kissing. It is very difficult to restrain. Unless one is very advanced, it is not possible. That I was reciting, the verse by Yamunacarya, yadavadhi mama cettah padaravinde, krsna-padaravinde nava-nava-dhaman rantum asit, tadavadhi bata nari-angame bhavati sustu nisthi… Unless one is very strong in Krsna consciousness, it is very difficult to restrain the mind and the senses. It is very difficult. Here it is said, mana madana-vepitum. Madana means Cupid, or the lusty desires. So he was agitated. His mind was agitated by lusty desires. Therefore we have to be very careful for the association. Sangat sanjayate kamah. We develop different consciousness by particular association. Therefore, for advancing in Krsna consciousness, we must associate with the devotees. You cannot advance in Krsna consciousness without being in the association of devotees. Sri Narottama dasa Thakura says… (aside:) Tell them that Hindi will be in the evening. Tell them that Hindi will be evening. They are going away. Yes. Between half past seven to half past eight. So mano madana-vepitam. Cupid is always disturbing. This material world means this Madana, Cupid, whole material world. Yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham. Grhamedhi means those who have decided to prolong this body for sense enjoyment. That is going on. Everyone is trying so hard. In big, big cities they are working so hard like hogs and dogs, not for… They say that “We are hungry. We must work very hard.” But that is not the fact. The real fact is that “We want to enjoy sex.” So far hunger is concerned, you can control, but sex desire, it is very difficult to control.
But in this life, if we develop Krsna consciousness by association of devotees… As Narottama dasa Thakura has sung, tandera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa. One’s aim of life should be to serve the acaryas. Acarya upasanam. So our acarya in the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya, the sri-rupa sanatana bhatta-raghunatha, sri-jiva gopala-bhatta dasa-raghunatha, the Six Gosvamins, and if we associate with them… this book, Nectar of Devotion, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, if you read regularly, try to understand, this means you are associating with Srila Rupa Gosvami directly. And if you act accordingly, then you are serving their lotus feet. Tandera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa. And unless you are associated with devotees, you will not be able to understand the import of the writings of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s secretary, Sri Svarupa Damodara, recommended one brahmana, bhagavat para giya bhagavat sthane. Bhagavat… He, he came to Caitanya Mahaprabhu to read some poetry he had written, but it was the system that unless anything written… There were many devotees. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was living at Puri, Jagannatha Puri. So many devotees from other provinces used to come and visit. And some of them wrote some poetries. But all of them, first of all, would be tested by Svarupa Damodara. And then he’ll be allowed to go before Caitanya Mahaprabhu and read it. That was the system. Because people do not know siddhanta. General people. Those who are advanced devotee, they know siddhanta, the conclusion. In the Caitanya-caritamrta, therefore, it has been advised,
Narottama dasa Thakura says, tadera carana-sevi, let us serve the lotus feet of the Gosvamis, and live within the association of devotees. Otherwise we may fall down. Bhakta-sane-vasa, one must live with the devotees.
This life is meant for developing Krsna consciousness, to become devotee of Krsna. Bhagavad-gita is left by Krsna to make all people after Him, to become devotees. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. The instruction is there, but these rascals will spoil. They will never allow you to become a devotee. These rascals are so dangerous. They are going against the will of Krsna. So one must be very careful to save himself from the poisonous effect of these rascals. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says, tadera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vasa, live with the Krsna consciousness devotees. And then by the association of the sangat sanjayate kamah. As you make association, so you develop your desires, your qualities. Tadera carana-sevi. Ei chay gosai yara tara mui dasa, Caitanya here, Narottama dasa Thakura says, “I want to become servant of that person who has accepted these six Gosvamis as masters. Because I have to become servant of servant.” So the Gosvamis, “One who has accepted these Gosvamis as master, I want to become his servant.” Narottama dasa does not say “I want to become servant of the Gosvamis.” He says that “I want to become servant of that person who has accepted these six Gosvamis as master.” That is the test. No, “I can speak, I can act, I mean to say, greater than the Gosvamis.” “I don’t want to become servant of such false proudly.” No, anyone who submits,
Songs Purport to Gaura Pahu 690110PU.LA
So at the last, Narottama dasa Thakura is lamenting. He’s not lamenting. He’s representing ourself. If one comes to that point of lamentation, that is also very nice. He immediately becomes purified. Lamentation means purification. So he says, keno va achaya prana kichu bali… “Why I am living? I do not make association with the devotees. I do not take part in the sankirtana movement. I do not understand what is Krsna. I do not understand what is Lord Caitanya. Then what for I am living?” This is lamentation. “What is my happiness? What is the standard of my happiness? Why I am living?” Narottama dasa kena na gela. “Why I did not die long, long ago? I should have died. What is the meaning of my living?” So it is not Narottama dasa Thakura’s lamentation. Everyone of us should think like that, that “If we cannot make association with devotees, if we do not understand what is Krsna consciousness movement, if we do not come in touch with Lord Caitanya and associates, it was better for me to die. And there is no other remedy.” This is the substance of this song. (end)
Songs Purport to Bhajahu Re Mana 720527PU.LA
This is Bhagavat-darsana. Padam padam yad vipadam. This material world, padam padam means step by step there is danger. So one who takes shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh samasrita, for him there is no more danger. Abhaya-caranaravinda re. How it is possible to take complete shelter of Krsna, which is fearlessness, no anxiety, vaikuntha? Durlabha manava-janama sat-sange. This is possible if you associate with devotees. If you think that “Now I have become very much advanced. Now I shall live alone and chant Hare Krsna, imitating Haridasa Thakura,” this is nonsense. You cannot imitate Haridasa Thakura. You have to associate with devotees. Durlabha manava-janam sat sange. Sat-sange. Satam prasangan mama virya-samvido. If you remain with the devotees, then by their association, by talking with them, you’ll get real understanding of God consciousness. It is very practical to understand. Just like in material world there are many associations, societies. Businessmen, they have got their stock exchange association, those who are dealing in exchange. They have got an association. They go there, and their business facility is very good. Similarly, so many clubs. If you want to drink and enjoy sense, you go to so many clubs and associate with them and you’ll learn how to drink, how to mate very nicely. So association is very important. Therefore our Krsna consciousness society are giving chance people to associate with us, so that he’ll be able to understand what is Krsna, what is Krsna consciousness. Therefore Govinda dasa recommends, durlabha manava-janama-sat-sange. Manava. This human life is durlabha, very rarely obtained. Not dogs’ association, crows’ association, but swans’ association. There are association even by nature. “Birds of the same feather flock together.” The crows, they’ll mix with crows, and the swans will mix with swan. White swan, very nice water, nice garden, they will like that. The crows will not like that. The crows will like where filthy things are thrown away. They’ll take pleasure there. So similarly, according to the quality of nature, there are different association in human society. But it is recommended that durlabha manava sat-sange: not with the crows but with the swans. That association.
68-11-11 Letter: Sivananda
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated Nov. 1, 1968, and I am glad to inform you that as directed by you I have sent the 3 letters to the following personalities: Minister in charge of cultural and religious affairs, Mr. Michael Weyl, and Dr. Irvin. The body of the letter is the same as you drafted. Now you can do the needful and inquire whether they have received the letters. I hope very soon you will find out a suitable place in Hamburg and start the temple and if required you can take assistance from Syamasundara. for the Deities. I am glad to learn that Krishna das has got a job in a jewelry shop, similarly both you and Uttama Sloka may also find out some job and immediately take a nice apartment. If storefront is too costly then you can start the center in some apartment and try to invite people there and live together. Regarding your question, about living alone, living alone is a general tendency for a person who wants to get disassociated with the materialistic persons. That is also recommended by the Goswamis in their instructions. It is better to remain alone than to mix with materialistic persons. But this is not applicable when we have the opportunity to get the association of pure devotees. Our program is negative and positive simultaneously. We want to negate the materialistic side and make positive the spiritual side, it is not one sided. If you have no positive standing, negating only will not make you successful. Therefore it is better to remain positively within the society of pure devotees. That is also recommended by the Goswamis. That one should be occupied in activities in the modes of goodness and associate with spiritualistic persons, that will make one’s advancement very quick.
69-01-21 Letter: Kulasekhara
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter of January 16, 1969, and I am so pleased to know that once again you are staying at the temple in Montreal. In this age no one is able to remain aloof from the general human society. Therefore one need not go into the forest in a secluded place to try to make spiritual advancement. Much better idea is that one associate with devotees in the Krishna Consciousness Centres; this will bring better spiritual results than living in the forest. Krishna Consciousness is possible when one is in association of devotees. alone it is more difficult. Please therefore try to keep yourself always in contact with the Montreal devotees. There is no need to go away. That is not very good. If you will have any problems or questions you may write to me and I will help you as far as possible.
69-05-20 Letter: Sudama
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated May 19, 1969, and I have noted the contents carefully. I understand that Karatieya has left for San Francisco, and there is no grudge. I hope in the association of the devotees there, he will feel jolly, and his moroseness will be cleared off. So far as you are concerned, I do not think living alone in Honolulu will be very good. If there is possibility of your living in the temple along with the other devotees, then live there. Otherwise you may also return, either in Los Angeles or San Francisco. You can work anywhere because you have got abilities, and from anywhere you can start for Tokyo. So for going to Tokyo it is not very much necessary that you have to remain in Honolulu alone. I do not advise any of my disciples to live alone; that is not good. If Vamanadeva would have lived with you, that would also have been better. So live in the temple, or with Vamanadeva, or else go to Los Angeles or San Francisco. When the time is mature, Krishna will help you to go to Tokyo with some other devotees. We shall see later on.
69-05-27 Letter: Mukunda
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 23, 1969, and I have noted the contents carefully. You don’t worry about my health. I am quite fit now, and in New Vrindaban I am walking on the hills daily. In Boston for three or four days I had some acute backache pain, but by the Grace of Krishna it was made all right very soon. This body is called the temple of diseases. So long as there is no disease it is wonderful, but when there is disease it is not wonderful. So this is the temple of disease. Of course, you are all very kind upon me, whenever I am slightly indisposed you become concerned, and I thank you very much for such anxiety. But so far as I am concerned, I always wish only to expedite my mission of life to spread Krishna Consciousness in the Western part of the world. I am still firmly convinced that if I can establish this movement through the help of all the boys and girls who have now joined with me, then it will be a great achievement. I am old man, and there has already been warning, but before I leave this body, I wish to see some of you very strong in Krishna Consciousness understanding. I am very glad and proud also that you six boys and girls, although you have not been able to establish a nice center in London, still you have done your best. And the news has reached far away in India that my disciples are doing very nice work in Krishna Consciousness. So that is my pride. I have received a letter from my Godbrother informing me that it has been advertised in India that in Vietnam also somebody is spreading Hare Krishna Movement. So there is no need to be disappointed. You go on with your work as best as Krishna gives you the opportunity, and there is no cause of your anxiety. Everything is going smoothly. But since you are now separated, the strength of your activities appears to be little disturbed. Now you try to assemble together in the same spirit as you were doing, and in that case, temple or no temple, your movement will go on progressively. We are not much concerned about the temple because temple worship is not primary factor in this age. Primary factor is Sankirtana. But sometimes we want a center where people may gather and see, so a temple is required secondarily. So try your best immediately to live together. I am very much eager to see that you are again living together.
70-04-14 Letter: Tamala Krsna
Recently I have drained out of my book fund $14,000, so Hamsaduta wanted to pay me another $1,500. If he sends me the money it will be a great help to my book fund. Another point is that three couples from our London temple are living in George Harrison’s place, but is far away from our temple. If they cannot join regularly with the temple activities, then there might be some disturbance within. I learn that Murari and Lilavati are feeling like that. Have you any correspondence recently with London? Or you may have correspondence with Gurudasa to adjust these things. As far as possible all the devotees should live together. To live in the association of devotees is a great strength. So you try to adjust things in that way as far as possible so the devotees may live together.
71-12-26 Letter: Ksirodakasayi
Please accept my blessings. I understand that you are not with the devotees. I do not know why you are living separately. In the Society there may be sometimes misunderstandings, but that does not mean you should live separately.
72-05-23 Letter: Friends
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated May 9, 1972 and I have noted the contents. Actually outside of our bona fide Krishna Consciousness centers, there is no possibility of finding out what Krishna does or does not want. We say “We feel that Krishna wills this for us.” But I feel Krishna does not. So whose feelings will be all right? You say that you are following the regulative principles, so if you are following the regulative principles, why you will not cooperate? If by following the regulative principles you do not become devotees, and you can not appreciate other devotees, then what is the use of these regulative principles? If you are actually chanting regularly 16 rounds, holding sankirtana daily, reading our books as much as possible, like that, then I think you will feel that such program of living separately, away from our Krishna consciousness program is a great mistake.
72-05-23 Letter: Friends
So my only request is that you immediately return either to the Cleveland temple or to some other temple. You may correspond with Bhagavan das at the Detroit center, 8311 E. Jefferson St., Detroit 48214, in this connection. He is the GBC zonal secretary for that zone of the mid-west, so you may address your questions and inquiries to him. I am very much encouraged that you are all chanting Hare Krishna and trying to become Krishna Conscious. But I do not advise that you approach the matter of perfecting your life in this independent way. Unless there is connection with a bona fide spiritual master, coming in the line of disciplic succession, there is no possibility of making progress in spiritual life. So I have established ISKCON centers for the purpose of catching up the Lotus Feet of Krishna by intimate connection with the spiritual master. These are my authorized centers for that purpose. You say that whatever I instruct you you will carry out, so again my instruction is that you abandon this independent scheme and join your good god-brothers and sisters at some one of our ISKCON centers.
73-11-11 Letter: Govinda
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter undated and have noted the contents carefully. I do not know why you have parted from the Deities. Who has told you to do this? If you are at all interested, you can return. Your service was there. Why did you leave, and now you are whimsically asking for service. You never asked me before leaving. How can I guide you? If you act whimsically, nobody can make you happy.
In Honolulu tulsi is drying, and you have left this service. You introduced tulsi, and they are drying for want of water. Gaurasundara said to live alone, but our policy is to live with devotees. Immediately return and live with devotees and take care of the Deities and tulsi. That is our main business. My Guru Maharaja condemned living alone in a lonely place. He wrote as follows:
dusta mana, tumi kisera Vaisnava
pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare,
tavra hari-nama kevala kaitava
“O rascal mind, what kind of Vaisnava are you. In a lonely place your chanting of Hare Krishna is simply cheating”
And, Narottama Das Thakura says:
tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa
“To serve the feet of the acaryas in association of the devotees is my desire birth after birth.”
Why I have opened this Society. I was living with four children, and now I have 4,000. There is no good in living alone.
74-01-22 Letter: Aradhana
I can understand that you are feeling disturbed because your wife has left you, and also that you are not living within the association of devotees at our Paris temple. My advice to you is that you associate always with Krsna through chanting the Holy Name. If you are always with Krsna there is no question of moroseness or anxiety. Further than this, Krsna will give you intelligence through sincere chanting, how to progress further in Krsna Consciousness. It is a fact, however, that to be happy and peaceful in spiritual life, the association of devotees is essential.
74-05-03 Letter: Bhurijana
As for your future plans, you write that you are not sure where you will go after arriving in New York, and it is not certain that you will live with devotees. How will you advance without association of devotees? I do not exactly follow your thinking, but for the time being you can go. But I think you can come back and work diligently in Hong Kong. In your absence Madhudvisa Maharaja can be informed.
74-06-04 Letter: Sri Ballavh
I am very concerned to hear you have left the association of Trivikrama Swami and the devotees in the temple in Taiwan. For one thing you cannot remain in firm Krsna Consciousness without the association of devotees and for another thing you were being counted on to make a strong contribution to the mission in Taiwan. We must stand united. If the few men we have in a far away place like Taiwan become scattered, then we will not be able to stand. I know you are always experiencing difficulties in living with devotees, but we must be tolerant and endure the personal differences, being humbler than a blade of grass, and stick to our duties to the spiritual master.
74-06-25 Letter: Yadunandana
Yes there are example of Krsna Conscious persons whose worship was solitary life, and the greatest example is Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura used to live only in a cave sometimes and would spend his whole time chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra. Similarly Gaura Keshore das Babaji the spiritual master of my guru maharaj would chant alone in a solitary place so as not to be bothered by anyone in his meditation on Krsna. But these great personalities are not to be imitated. If we artificially imitate, out of some negative feeling or out of desire for adoration as a saintly person, it will not be very beneficial. On the authority of Lord Caitanya and my spiritual master, I am requesting my disciples to always stay in the association of devotees and to propagate the sankirtana movement all over the world, so that others may get a chance also to become liberated from the material condition. Prahlada Maharaja prayed I am not satisfied to go back to the kingdom of God alone, but I must bring back with me all these poor fools who have no alternative ultimately than to surrender to You. This form of worship called gostananandi is more superior than the gostananandi or the holy man who lives alone in meditation of the Lord within the heart. This is the estimation of the scripture.
74-12-16 Letter: Bhakta Lance
My simple request is that you remain in association of devotees and continue to chant your 16 rounds daily and follow strictly the four regulative principles and read our books daily with great care. In this way your Krsna Conscious advancement will be assured success and at the end of this life you will go back to Godhead, back to home, and live with Krsna eternally.
75-01-12 Letter: Lesley Fordham
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated nil and have noted the contents. Thank you very much for participating in this sankirtana movement. I am glad to hear that you are enthusiastic about chanting. Keep chanting 24 hours if possible. This constant chanting of Krishna’s names will assure you of not falling down from His service. Never leave the association of devotees, otherwise it will be very difficult to chant constantly.
75-02-03 Letter: Kusa
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Jan. 30, 1975 and have noted the contents. I have studied your situation carefully and I encourage you to live in the temple in the association of fixed up devotees who are following my teachings strictly. If your husband cannot follow our principles properly, you are not to think that you should let that hamper your spiritual life. You should stay with us and cultivate spiritual life peacefully under Krishna’s protection and care. If he is not interested in spiritual life, let him do as he pleases. I have given all of my disciple instructions to follow for making spiritual advancement, but if they do not have the desire to follow, then what can I do? Anyone who is unwilling to follow our regulated principles, you should not live or associate closely with such a person.
75-10-06 Letter: Revatinandana
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated Sept. 19, 1975 and I have noted the contents carefully. It is best that you travel with Visnujana Maharaja and Tamala Krsna Goswami. Our mission is a continued effort and we need not give up the association of devotees simply because there is a difference of opinion how to preach our philosophy. If your conviction is strong and evidential, then try to convince them of your ideas for spreading Krsna Consciousness. Our principle is to simply repeat what we have in our books. But, it is very dangerous to live outside the association of devotees. If you must live a more solitary life for some time, then you can go to our temple in Mayapur or Vrindaban, and they can give one small room there and you can chant and read. I can advise the temple authorities there to permit you to do so without disturbance. In either case you can take boiled vegetables, boiled rice, a little milk, once a day, and this is very easily digestible. I am also taking like this. Living outside the association of devotees is dangerous and unnecessary. You must, however, give up the association of Jamadagni and Kanupriya. Their company will not be beneficial to your Krsna consciousness.
76-02-17 Letter: Raja Laksmi
My advise is always chant 16 rounds minimum and follow the four regulative principles. All of my disciples must agree on this point otherwise they are not my disciples. Let one live anywhere, but stick to the principles. Disagreements will continue in this material world. So one may live in a suitable place, but one must follow these five principles. My disciples must follow these principles living either in heaven or hell.
76-10-15 Letter: Mrs. Tania Perera
Regarding your situation, the only alternative is to move into the temple and take complete shelter of the devotees and Krishna. Prahlada Maharaja was only 5 years old and because of his becoming a devotee of the Lord his father tried to kill him in so many ways. So that your husband is against Krishna is nothing astonishing, it is quite normal. So if you like you can leave him, and move into the temple of your choice.
76-10-24 Letter: Gururaj
Please continue to associate with the devotees at our Montreal temple. If you are serious and willing to follow the four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds daily, you are welcome to live in our Montreal temple. Make an end to this material existence once and for all. There is nothing but suffering in this material world and we are offering the chance for eternal, blissful life. Kindly take advantage of this opportunity.
Prabhupada: In our society he has come from America, he has come from Canada, I am from India, but we have forgotten all our family relations, we have nothing to do. We are in a different atmosphere. They can die for me, I can die for them, but we have no family relationship. He coming from America, I’m from India, he’s from Canada, but the central point is Krsna. You see? That is devotee. Tadera carana-sevi-bhakta-sane vas, bhakta-sane vas. Therefore we have made this society, Krsna conscious society. Anyone who is Krsna conscious let us live together. We are also living together in a house–we are eating, we are sleeping, doing this, but everything in a society of devotees. Just like if you want to do some business if you become a member of the association, stock selling exchange, you can do better business.
Prabhupada: (break) …last time I was so much deteriorated in health, I had to leave this place. That does not mean I’ll leave the Society. I went to India and recupitated. Or came to London. That’s all right. So health may be sometimes… But that does not mean we shall give up the Society. If my health is unsuitable here, I go… I have a hundred centers. And you’ll not go out of
this universe for your health recouping. You have to remain within the universe. Then why do you go out of the Society? (break) …Sri Narottama dasa Thakura. We have to live with devotees. Why I left my family? Because they were not devotees. Therefore I come… Otherwise, in old age, I would have been comfortable. No. We should not live with the nondevotees, may be family men or anyone. Just like Maharaja Vibhisana. Because his brother was not devotee, he left him, left him. He came to Ramacandra. Vibhisana. You know that?
Prabhupada: No, that is… Whether you live in temple or outside temple, the rules and regulation and the process must be followed. Then you are successful. It doesn’t matter that you have to live in the temple. Grhe thako vane thako, ‘ha gauranga’ bo’le dako. Not that everyone has to live in the temple. If he does not agree with other Godbrothers, friends, he can live separately. But he must follow the rules and regulation. That is wanted. But if you live with devotees, it will be automatically done.
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada