December 26, 1971
My dear Himavati,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge your letter undated, and I am very glad to hear that you are finding such great pleasure in serving Radha and Krishna. Both you and your good husband are very sincere and hard-working, and practically you together have saved our European centers from collapse. Krishna has given you very nice ability to serve Him, better than most, therefore I have relied on you completely to save centers in Germany which had fallen into neglected condition, and because you have done so nicely, I am very very pleased with your both service. So there is no question of dissatisfaction. Because you are serving Krishna, that is my satisfaction enough. But because you are also preaching so nicely, and helping to spread this Krishna Consciousness movement all over the world by being big leaders, then I am more than satisfied with you, so never think dissatisfaction. There is no question of dissatisfaction. Rather I am very much pleased with your activities there and before that, as much as also with your attitude of humble and determined desire to reach the Supreme destination by becoming Krishna Conscious. You are more dear to me than my own sons and daughters.
Regarding your questions, there is no question of using paper plastic fruits and flowers for worshiping the deities. If no fresh fruits or flowers are available, then you can decorate with some fresh leaves. You have seen our temples; nowhere do we use such things. You are experienced devotee, why you propose like that? We are not after decoration, we are after devotional service for pleasing Krishna's senses. Decoration must be there of course, to make the temple as opulent as possible for pleasing Krishna. Outside the temple, you can use the plastic ornaments. But not for worship. For daily worship there must be fresh fruit, flowers, and leaves.
Mangala arati must be done in nightgown. After Mangala arati, then bathing is done and dressing. 3:30 is too early for holding Mangala arati. The deities should be given sufficient rest. The standard time is 1 1/2 hours before sunrise, so we may say 5 am is a good time for holding arati.
If you think that you may go to Russia and do something, I have no objection. But your plan appears too vague or uncertain to consider very seriously, so you should not bother yourself with such plans unless there is concrete opportunity. Even so, I don't think your husband may approve of your taking such risk without protection. There is some scheme now for continuing our work in Russia, and Syamasundara has met with our Russian friend in Delhi who was helping us in Moscow, and they have planned out a program for infiltrating into Russia more and more. If we are successful, and if opportunity arises, I shall call for you to go there and help, as I think you speak Russian language. But for now I think you should remain there in Europe and train up many younger devotees in deity worship and cooking and other matters, as well as preach to them and give them all good guidance and example how they may go on and perfect their lives in this way.
Regarding your last question, what I was supposed to have said to the pujari in Bombay, I never said like that. How could I say like that. The deity is the Master, the pujari is His servant, that's all.
I hope this will meet you and your good husband, Hamsaduta, in good health and cheerful mood,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
n.b. Why Hamsaduta does not write me? Offer my blessings to my beloved son.