Published on May 15th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada4
Srila Prabhupada on How to Give Classes
The speaker and the audience are very intimately connected; the speaker is enlightened by the presence of the audience. The speaker, or master, can speak very nicely on transcendental subject matters before an understanding audience.
I am very much stressing at this point that all of my students shall be very much conversant with the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, and that they should read our books very diligently at least one or two hours daily and try to understand the subject matter from varieties of angles. We are holding our morning class here in Los Angeles in the temple and I am speaking from 7 to 8 am, and the process is that we are going through some chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam by taking one sloka each day, and reading the Sanskrit aloud, each word is pronounced by me and repeated by the students and then altogether we chant the sloka several times until we have learned it. And then we discuss the subject matter very minutely and inspect it from all angles of approach and savor the new understandings. So you introduce this system in all of the centers in your zone, and you will discover that everyone becomes very much enlivened by these daily classes. Read one sloka and discuss and then go on to the next sloka on the next day, and so on, and even you discuss one verse each day it will take you 50 years to finish Srimad-Bhagavatam in this way. So we have got ample stock for acquiring knowledge. And if the students get knowledge more and more, they will automatically become convinced and very easily perform their duties for tapasya or renunciation of the material bondage, and that will be their successful advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So I want that advancement amongst all of my students, so your are responsible that the standard will be maintained. (72-06-16 Letter: Madhudvisa)
We should gradually come to the sattva-guna, so that we may avoid the two lower gunas. This can be done if we regularly discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam and hear about Krsna’s activities. Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya (Bhag. 1.2.18). All the activities of Krsna described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, beginning even with the pastimes concerning Putana, are transcendental. Therefore, by hearing and discussing Srimad-Bhagavatam, the rajo-guna and tamo-guna are subdued, so that only sattva-guna remains. Then rajo-guna and tamo-guna cannot do us any harm. (SB 10.13.53 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma)
Jnanena. Therefore this class is held to awaken jnana. Either you read these books, you hear from realized soul–that will awaken your jnana, knowledge. Or otherwise if you cannot do this… Both things should be done. You chant Hare Krsna. Very simply. (741127SB.BOM Lectures)
So these books are there to remind us, because we have forgotten Krsna, because we have forgotten God on account of restless mind, so we have to make it santa, calm and peaceful. Without becoming calm and peaceful, you cannot understand what is God. When our heart will be no more attacked by the rajo-guna and tamo-guna, we come to that platform. This class is held for understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam. Why? Just to cleanse the heart. Ceto-darpana-marjanam. (741230SB.BOM Lectures)
CLASS SHOULD BE HELD & ATTENEDED DAILY, MORNING & EVENING
Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Not that we are almost free from all the contamination, but even little washed away… It begins immediately. As soon as you begin hearing and chanting of these literatures or chanting Hare Krsna mantra, immediately the cleansing method begins. And nasta-prayesu abhadresu. Almost cleansed, not that properly, cent percent clean. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Daily. Not this Bhagavata-saptaha, official. No. Nityam. There is no such thing as Bhagavata-saptaha in any Vedic literature. This is another manufacture, concoction. The Bhagavata says, nityam bhagavata-sevaya: “You have to twenty-four hours engaged in bhagavata, in the service of bhagavata, the person bhagavata or the book Bhagavata.” Bhagavata, there are two kinds of bhagavata. Person bhagavata is the spiritual master, and the book Bhagavata. So there is no difference, because the person bhagavata advises you read Bhagavata. And by reading Bhagavata, you understand what is Bhagavan, what is spiritual master. (741230SB.BOM Lectures)
So far your need for constant engagement in press work is concerned, I do not see that there should be any difficulty if you attend the classes daily when our literatures are read and discussed. It is alright if you do not attend the Arati, but you must remain fixed up by attending the classes. Two hours daily in the classes will not be too much time away from press work. I give you my permission to work in this way. Now adjust things as you find it convenient and please begin work again immediately. I know that you are in need of constantly working the press and the press is constantly in need of being worked. If you are individually the manager of ISKCON Press, I have no objection, but you must work nicely and the GBC will be satisfied. (70-12-19.Adv Letter: Advaita)
The pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees are recorded in Srimad-Bhagavatam so that those who recite these pastimes and listen to them will become purified. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. As a matter of principle, devotees should read, speak and hear Srimad-Bhagavatam persistently, twenty-four hours daily if possible. That is the recommendation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Kirtaniyah sada harih. One should either chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra or read Srimad-Bhagavatam and thereby try to understand the characteristics and instructions of the Supreme Lord, who appeared as Lord Rsabhadeva, Lord Kapila and Lord Krsna. In this way one can become fully aware of the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 5.6.16 P The Activities of Lord Rsabhadeva)
We should discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam daily as much as possible, and then everything will be clarified, for Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedic literature (nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam). It was written by Vyasadeva (maha-muni-krte) when he was self-realized. Thus the more we read Srimad-Bhagavatam, the more its knowledge becomes clear. Each and every verse is transcendental. (SB 10.13.53 The Stealing of the Boys and Calves by Brahma)
QUALIFICATION OF SPEAKER
The great sages offered the speaker of the Bhagavatam an elevated seat of respect called the vyasasana, or the seat of Sri Vyasadeva. Sri Vyasadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men. And all other preceptors are considered to be his representatives. A representative is one who can exactly present the viewpoint of Sri Vyasadeva. Sri Vyasadeva impregnated the message of Bhagavatam unto Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and Sri Suta Gosvami heard it from him (Sri Sukadeva Gosvami). All bona fide representatives of Sri Vyasadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvamis. These gosvamis restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous acaryas. The gosvamis do not deliver lectures on the Bhagavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them. (SB 1.1.5 P Questions by the Sages)
QUALIFICATION OF SPEAKER: PERSONAL REALISATION
…Sri Suta Gosvami when he expressed his desire to present Srimad-Bhagavatam exactly as he heard it from Sukadeva Gosvami and also realized it personally. Personal realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one’s own learning by trying to surpass the previous acarya. He must have full confidence in the previous acarya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it, yet it should be presented in an interesting manner for the understanding of the audience. This is called realization… No learned man should be willing to hear a person who does not represent the original acarya. So the speaker and the audience were bona fide in this meeting where Bhagavatam was being recited for the second time. That should be the standard of recitation of Bhagavatam, so that the real purpose can be served without difficulty. Unless this situation is created, Bhagavatam recitation for extraneous purposes is useless labor both for the speaker and for the audience. (SB 1.4.1 P The Appearance of Sri Narada)
QUALIFICATION OF SPEAKER: MUST BE FOLLOWING STRICTLY
The sages said: Respected Suta Gosvami, you are completely free from all vice. You are well versed in all the scriptures famous for religious life, and in the Puranas and the histories as well, for you have gone through them under proper guidance and have also explained them.
A gosvami, or the bona fide representative of Sri Vyasadeva, must be free from all kinds of vices. The four major vices of Kali-yuga are (1) illicit connection with women, (2) animal slaughter, (3) intoxication, (4) speculative gambling of all sorts. A gosvami must be free from all these vices before he can dare sit on the vyasasana. No one should be allowed to sit on the vyasasana who is not spotless in character and who is not freed from the above-mentioned vices. He not only should be freed from all such vices, but must also be well versed in all revealed scriptures or in the Vedas. The Puranas are also parts of the Vedas. And histories like the Mahabharata or Ramayana are also parts of the Vedas. The acarya or the gosvami must be well acquainted with all these literatures. To hear and explain them is more important than reading them. One can assimilate the knowledge of the revealed scriptures only by hearing and explaining. Hearing is called sravana, and explaining is called kirtana. The two processes of sravana and kirtana are of primary importance to progressive spiritual life. Only one who has properly grasped the transcendental knowledge from the right source by submissive hearing can properly explain the subject. (SB 1.1.6 P Questions by the Sages)
Regarding the Teachings in the temple; everyone of my disciples may become a teacher strictly following my instructions. I am a bonafide teacher as long as I follow the instructions of my spiritual master. That is the only one qualification for becoming a teacher. As soon as one deviates from this principle one is no longer a teacher. (67-10-29 Letter: Nandarani)
One should avoid hearing from a person not situated in Vaisnava behavior. A Vaisnava is nivrtta-trsna; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Krsna consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gita by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that krsna-katha should be recited by a person who is nivrtta-trsna. Sukadeva Gosvami epitomizes the proper reciter for Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Pariksit Maharaja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. A qualified reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam gives the right medicine (bhavausadhi) for the conditioned souls. The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence. (SB 10.1.4 P The Advent of Lord Krsna: Introduction)
QUALIFICATION OF SPEAKER: MUST BE CONVERSANT
IN ALL SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPY
One can sit on the vyasasana only after being conversant in all systems of philosophy so that one can present fully the theistic views of the Bhagavatam in defiance of all other systems. Srila Suta Gosvami was the proper teacher, and therefore the sages at Naimisaranya elevated him to the vyasasana. Srila Vyasadeva is designated herein as the Personality of Godhead because he is the authorized empowered incarnation. (SB 1.1.7 P Questions by the Sages)
And because you are submissive, your spiritual masters have endowed you with all the favors bestowed upon a gentle disciple. Therefore you can tell us all that you have scientifically learned from them.
With reference to your letter dated 14th May, I am surprised how you allowed Mr. Parikh to sit on the Vyasasana. You know that Vyasasana is meant for the representative of Vyasadeva, the Spiritual Master, but Mr. Parikh does not come in the Parampara to become the representative of Vyasa, neither he has any sound knowledge of Vaisnava principles. I understand from your letter that sometimes discussions on Aurobindo philosophy are done by Mr. Parikh from the Vyasasana, so I am a little surprised how did you allow like this. I think you should rectify immediately all these mistakes as stated by you in the last two lines of your letter, “I think the best thing to do is stop his class. Nonsense ought not to be tolerated.” (70-05-16 Letter: Gurudasa)
QUALIFICATION OF SPEAKER: WOMEN GIVING CLASS?
Regarding lecturing by woman devotees: I have informed you that in the service of the Lord there is no distinction of caste or creed, color, or sex. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord especially mentions that even a woman who has taken seriously is also destined to reach Him. We require a person who is in the knowledge of Krishna, that is the only qualification of a person speaking. It doesn’t matter what he is. Materially a woman may be less intelligent than a man, but spiritually there is no such distinction. Because spiritually everyone is pure soul. In the absolute plane there is no such gradation of higher and lower. If a woman can lecture nicely and to the point, we should hear her carefully. That is our philosophy. But if a man can speak better than a woman, the man should be given first preference. But even though a woman is less intelligent, a sincere soul should be given proper chance to speak, because we want so many preachers, both men and women. (68-02-08.Jay Letter: Jayagovinda)
Regarding your third question, morning lecture is also allowed. Lecture is also kirtana, and so as morning kirtana is there, similarly morning lecture can also be delivered. In New York , or even in San Francisco, when I was present I was giving lectures in morning also. So far as girls or boys lecturing in the morning, that doesn’t make any difference. Either girl or boy devotees may deliver lecture if they choose to do. We have no such distinction of bodily designations, male or female. Krishna Consciousness is on the spiritual platform. As such, anyone who is a devotee of the Lord, following in this line of disciplic succession, can deliver lecture, on the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc. (68-10-21.Sya Letter: Syama)
If your husband, Syamasundara. is not even keeping correspondence with you how can we know what is his position. Please try to advise him to return the money he owes as soon as possible. Chant 16 rounds, follow all of our regulative principles then everything will be alright in a very short time. I am hoping he will do like this. So you please continue your devotional service, cooking etc, and you can also keep giving Bhagavatam class if you like. Women in our movement can also preach very nicely. Actually male and female bodies, these are just outward designations. Lord Caitanya said that whether one is brahmana or whatever he may be if he knows the science of Krsna then he is to be accepted as guru. So one who gives class, he must read and study regularly and study the purport and realize it. Don’t add anything or concoct anything, then he can preach very nicely. The qualification for leading class is how much one understands about Krsna and surrendering to the process. Not whether one is male or female. Of course women, generally speaking are less intelligent, better she has heard nicely then she will speak nicely. (74-12-25.Mal Letter: Malati)
QUALIFICATION OF AUDIENCE
O Suta Gosvami, we are eager to learn about the Personality of Godhead and His incarnations. Please explain to us those teachings imparted by previous masters [acaryas], for one is uplifted both by speaking them and by hearing them.
The conditions for hearing the transcendental message of the Absolute Truth are set forth herein. The first condition is that the audience must be very sincere and eager to hear. And the speaker must be in the line of disciplic succession from the recognized acarya. The transcendental message of the Absolute is not understandable by those who are materially absorbed. Under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, one becomes gradually purified. Therefore, one must be in the chain of disciplic succession and learn the spiritual art of submissive hearing. In the case of Suta Gosvami and the sages of Naimisaranya, all these conditions are fulfilled because Srila Suta Gosvami is in the line of Srila Vyasadeva, and the sages of Naimisaranya are all sincere souls who are anxious to learn the truth. Thus the transcendental topics of Lord Sri Krsna’s superhuman activities, His incarnation, His birth, appearance or disappearance, His forms, His names and so on are all easily understandable because all requirements are fulfilled. Such discourses help all men on the path of spiritual realization. (SB 1.1.13 Questions by the Sages)
Sanatana Gosvami requested Lord Caitanya to explain the verse as He had formerly explained it to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. Sanatana explained his eagerness to hear the same explanation in order that he might be enlightened. Being thus requested by Sanatana, the Lord replied: “I do not understand why Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya so much appreciated My explanation. As far as I am concerned, I don’t even remember what I said to him. But because you are asking this of Me, I shall, with the help of your association, try to explain whatever I can remember.” Thus the speaker and the audience are very intimately connected; the speaker is enlightened by the presence of the audience. The speaker, or master, can speak very nicely on transcendental subject matters before an understanding audience; therefore Lord Caitanya said that He did not know how to explain the Sanskrit verse but that since He was in the association of Sanatana He would try to explain it. (TLC 15 Explanation of the Atmarama Verse in Srimad Bhagavatam)
QUALIFICATION OF AUDIENCE: MUST HAVE SOME FAITH
— NOT FOR GENERAL PUBLIC
Prabhupada: Therefore Krsna said that “Bhagavad-gita should be discussed amongst My devotees, not amongst the rascals.” It will be waste of time. Ya imam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. Find out this verse.
Pusta Krsna: “For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.”
Prabhupada: Not to the fools and rascals. So first of all, to give them chance, let them come to the temple, take prasadam, hear sankirtana, offer obeisances by imitating others. In this way, when they become little devotee, then instruct. Otherwise it will be useless. You’ll waste your time by arguing.
Pusta Krsna: You have given the example that the field has to be plowed before the seed is sown, cultivated.
Cyavana: The mind has to want that higher taste.
Prabhupada: Ceto-darpana-marjanam. So this process… Bring the… Invite them. Chant Hare Krsna, dance, give them prasadam. Everyone will take part in this way, not immediately instructing that “You are not this body; you are soul.” He will not be able to.
Cyavana: It’s too difficult.
Prabhupada: Therefore this process is recommended. Caitanya Mahaprabhu argued with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Prakasananda Sarasvati, not with ordinary public. Ordinary public–“Go on chanting Hare Krsna and dancing.” Never argued, neither He discussed Bhagavatam. For ordinary public–four hours’ kirtana, chanting and dancing, bas. And then give them sufficient prasadam: “Take prasada.” This process… Because unless he has got little sraddha, he will simply put some false argument and waste your time. Not in the beginning. Mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. First of all create him a devotee a little. Chant Hare Krsna–harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam–only. Because this is Kali-yuga, people are so fallen, so downtrodden, so rascal, cats and dogs. It is very difficult. But this process–chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra, giving them chance to hear it and take prasadam–that will cure. And that is easily accepted by anyone. It doesn’t matter what he is. Anyone will accept. To chant and dance and take prasadam–no one will disagree. So this is the process. When they come to the temple… Just like these boys. You are offering obeisances; they are also offering. But that will go to their credit, to become bhakta. This process should be adopted. Not in the beginning, but in the beginning give them prasadam, chant Hare Krsna. And try to sell some book. You pay something. That means he is giving some service, the hard-earned money. That will also go to his credit. And then, when he’ll concerned that “I have paid for it. Let me see what this nonsense has written. All right. Read.” And that will also convince him. This is the way. He’ll keep this body, book, and show some friend, so the infection will go on. (751004rc.mau Conversations)
HOW TO GIVE CLASS
Speaking or anything all depends on practice and study. I remember when I was first called for speaking by one of my senior Godbrothers. I felt very much hesitating because I was not practiced to speak. Later on by speaking and hearing or reading I got experience and now we can speak 45 minutes, 50 minutes or one hour at a stretch. So you have to read our books very nicely and gather thoughts, then you can speak for hours without any difficulty. It requires practice. So read your books carefully, especially Nectar of Devotion now published, and practice speaking. It will be alright. (70-06-24 Letter: Upendra)
HOW TO GIVE CLASS: UNDERSTAND & REPRODUCE PURPORT
I am very pleased to learn that both you and your wife have been lecturing on Krishna Consciousness at the George Washington University and there was good response to your program. You simply read our books and if you simply reproduce the purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita, people will take it very seriously. So, of course, you must understand the purport and reproduce it in your own language. That will be very good, but someway or other if in some way you present the purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita that will be also very good. The idea is that we should not make any addition or subtraction of mental speculation, but we should endeavor, even if we do not fully understand from our present platform, to present simply the philosophy as we have received it directly and realized it by practical experience. (70-01-22 Letter: Dinesh)
I am glad to read in your letter you are going to the universities to preach. The universities are very important places because there there are men who can appreciate our philosophy. So when you speak in the classroom, just quote from any of my books and then try and explain the meaning in your own words and the students will appreciate it very much. (70-11-09.Tul Letter: Tulsi)
Regarding preaching work: If you simply reproduce verbatim the purports which I have given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and chant Hare Krishna with ecstasy, that will be sufficient for your preaching work, and as you do it seriously and sincerely, Krishna gives you more and more strength for this noble missionary work. (68-06-10 Letter: Harivilasa)
As you chant your 16 rounds and follow the four regulative principles, then you will get the strength. The process is that you should memorize the purports of my books and then speak them in your own words. Do not adulterate or change anything. Then you will be the perfect preacher. You should also distribute our books as far as possible. If you do this sincerely, then you will be successful. (75-11-15 Letter: Janajanmadhih)
HOW TO GIVE CLASS:
MAHAMANTRA CHANTING BEFORE AND AFTER CLASS
These classes of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam as you are now holding must be continued very rigidly… And before and after the class there must be Mahamantra chanting. (70-04-16.Yam Letter: Yamuna, Gurudasa)
After partaking the “Mangalaratrik” Prasadam, he shall attend the morning class of “Path Kirtana” in which chanting of the holy name of God along with musical instruments, will be sung before and after reading of “Srimad Bhagavad-gita” “Bhagavatam” etc. This function will continue from 6 to 8 in the morning. (55-01-01 Letter: Brothers)
Hold this meeting regularly for one hour in your home or any other suitable place near about your home, and chant the hymns or slokas of “Bhagavad-gita” with reverence & devotion. If possible the reading of Bhagavad-gita may be preceded & followed by a congregation chanting of the holy name of God as mentioned below–Hare Krishna . . . Hare Hare. (55-09-00 Letter: Brother)
In our general thrice weekly classes we chant Hare Krishna Mantra in the beginning and at the end, and in the middle we speak on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly. In this class we do not prohibit anyone to come within the Temple, everyone is welcome. The only thing we ask visitors to leave their shoes at a specified place and sit down in the Temple crosslegged. If somebody finds difficulty to sit down crosslegged, we offer him a chair. (70-02-05 Letter: Hanuman Prasad Poddar)
In your class, the chanting of Hare Krishna Mantra must be done in the beginning and at the end. That will keep the spirit of the temple. (70-04-17 Letter: Balmukundji)
So my advise to you is that you make a small center immediately, and, if possible, get some musical instruments from New York. Brahmananda will supply you with a mrdanga and a few pairs of cymbals. Simply you have to sit down together as you have seen done in New York. Just begin chanting Hare Krishna in the accompaniment of a beating drum and the playing of cymbals. There is no necessity of any other instrument at present. The chanting is very simple; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So in this way for 15-20 minutes you chant, and then read from our Bhagavad-gita. There is explanation there as far as possible to convince everyone what is the importance of Krishna Consciousness. So 15 minutes of chanting and dancing, and 1/2 hour of reading from text of Bhagavad-gita, then questions and answers, and at last chanting again of Hare Krishna. In this way you can begin, and there will be no difficulty. Gradually, as you get even more interested in this procedure. (69-02-01.Lar Letter: Larry Snyder, Mark Perlman, John Curran) (NOTE: Brahmananda Prabhu has confirmed to me that this was the system until the early 70s. Devotees did not start to give class until then, before that “class” was Kirtan, reading from Prabhupada’s books, and Kirtan again.)
HOW TO GIVE CLASS: NOTHING NEW
If we try artificially to explain sastra in our own words, there is every danger of interpretation and speculation. First the student must be able to repeat exactly the words of the guru and then after some time he may be qualified to apply the principles he has learned word-for-word to personal situations. It is not that we are a dry philosophy of dogmas and slogans. No. The language of Krishna Consciousness is ever-fresh and we can explain everything by it, just like my Guru Maharaja once lectured for three months on one verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam. But every precaution must be taken to preserve our basic guiding principles as they are and not change them because we want to hear something new. (71-11-20.Bha Letter: Bhakta dasa)
Those who listen to the Bhagavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in Bhagavad-gita. One must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Suta Gosvami with great respect. (SB 1.1.5 P Questions by the Sages)
QUESTIONS: AT END OF CLASS
Prabhupada: Stop. Whatever you do not understand, you will ask later on, not in the middle. I could not understand that time. You see? It was… I talked with him in so many ways: “Who will hear your Caitanya’s message? We are dependent country… (690207BA.LA Lectures)
CLASS: NECTAR OF DEVOTION
One thing I must inform you in this connection that so far our activities in Krsna Consciousness are concerned, everyone of us should read this book very attentively because all conclusive statements in the Kingdom of Bhakti are contained in this transcendental valuable book. It is the essence of all Vedic scriptures enlightening about Krsna Consciousness. If anyone will read this Nectar of Devotion very carefully, he will have all guidance in Bhakti cult. So in the temple class some portions of this book must be regularly discussed. (70-06-18 Letter: Advaita)
CHILDREN IN THE CLASS
Regarding the child problem: I may inform you that all our children born of the Krishna conscious parents, they are welcome and I want hundreds of children like that. Because in future we expect to change the face of the whole world, because child is the father of man. Anyway, I have seen Malati is nursing her child so nicely that she attended my meeting every day and the child was playing and she never cried. Similarly, Lilavati’s child also never cries or disturbs the meeting. Lilavati was always present with her child, so it depends on the mother. How to keep the child comfortable, so that it will not cry. The child cries only when it feels uncomfortable. The child’s comfort and discomfort depends on the mother’s attention. So the best solution is that we should train our all first-day small babies in such a way that they are always satisfied and there will be no disturbance in the meeting, and there will be no complaint. But there cannot be any hard and fast rules that only children who are grown up, 7 or 8 years old, can be admitted and no other children can be admitted. That is not possible, and I am not going to sanction any such rule. Rather I shall welcome a baby from the very beginning, so that the transcendental vibration may enter into its ear, and from the very beginning of its life, it becomes purified. But of course, the children cannot be allowed to disturb in the meeting by crying; and that is the mother’s responsibility to keep them comfortable, and not to disturb the meeting. (68-08-21.Krs Letter: Krsna Devi)
SANSKRIT CLASSES: TO BECOME SANSKRIT SCHOLAR
IS NOT OUR BUSINESS
About holding Sanskrit classes, the special stress should be given to chanting the mantras in our books. I have given specific instructions in this connection to your husband, and if Sanskrit class is to be held, it should be mainly for this purpose. We should simply expend our time for development of Krishna Consciousness. To become a scholar of Sanskrit is not our business. You say that 15 to 40 students are attending. Are they outsiders? My point is anyone who will attend the Sanskrit class must be interested for chanting the mantras (in our books Isopanisad, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam) and not for any other purpose. And before and after the class there must be Mahamantra chanting. (70-04-16.Yam Letter: Yamuna, Gurudasa)
I am very glad to learn that you have begun to teach Sanskrit pronunciation to our students. Please see that they can pronounce very nicely the Sanskrit verses in Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Isopanisad, and Brahma Samhita, and teach them to chant conjointly as they chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra. (70-04-17 Letter: Balmukundji)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada