Please accept my greetings. I thank you very much for your letter dated 10th July, 1970, and noted the contents. I am surprised that the mail parcel containing the following articles has not reached you. Maybe it is delayed, but still if it is not yet arrived I shall send you a second batch on hearing from you. There was a copy of a letter addressed to Hanuman Prasad Poddar which covers all your questionnaires, so I am sending herewith another copy which will cover all your questions. Furthermore I am also giving you answers in sort of your questionnaires.
1. Before 1959 I was householder. Calcutta is my birthplace. Our house was at 151 Harrison Road, now Mahatma Gandhi road. This house was originally purchased by late Siva Prasad Jhunjhun Mullick and I think at present the Govinda Bhavan is situated there. This was done long, long ago.
At the present moment I am seventy-four years old complete. I was by profession chemist and druggist, and in the beginning I was manager in a very big chemical firm of Calcutta. I was educated in Scottish Churches College, appeared for my B.A. in 1920 and then joined Gandhi's movement and gave up education. I met my Guru Maharaja in 1922. I was born in a Vaisnava family—perhaps you may know Kasinatha Mullick Thakuravati—so by the grace of Krsna from the very beginning of my life I was Krsna conscious by family tradition and my father's caretaking.
2. My Spiritual Master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, advised me to preach the Krsna consciousness movement in the Western world on my first meeting with him and I was preparing to come here in the Western world since a long time. I met late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Radhakrishnan and the late Lal Bahadar Shastri for this purpose. I was convinced by my Guru Maharaja that in the present status of civilization there is not scarcity of anything except Krsna consciousness. So distribution of Krsna consciousness in the best service to the human society, so I tried first of all to start this movement in India, but friends were not very much sympathetic. Therefore, with great difficulty I came here in 1965. In 1966 I registered the Society with the help of some friends and disciples, and the movement was started regularly in 1966, July, from New York.
Gradually it developed and at the present moment we have got 32 branches all over the world. We have got very huge expenditure for maintaining these establishments for example in Los Angeles, we are spending near about $3000 per month, which is in Indian exchange Rs. 24,000 per month. Similarly we have got expenditure in London, New York, Hamburg, Sydney, Tokyo, etc. The source of income is generous contribution by the public and a little profit out of selling our magazines and books. We do not get any lump out of sum contribution from any of various foundations, but our boys and girls work very hard and we maintain our establishment. The main source of income is Hare Krsna.
I think very confidently that this Krsna Consciousness Movement will solve all the problems of the world—political, social, economic, etc. I am writing books and articles on this subject strictly on the line of Acarya Parampara and I have a already published some books, a list of which is enclosed herewith.
3. The Society is registered in each and every country as a religious and cultural institution under specific statutes. I am trying to get this institution registered in India also. So far, up to date, actually I am the only superior controller, but as the boys are getting experienced I shall very soon transfer the administration to them, simply keeping myself as an overseer guide. Because I am old man, so I am trying to maintain this standard of management uniformly with the assistance of my grown up students. But actually what we need is to render sincere service to the Lord because ultimately Krsna is the supreme manager. eko bahunam vidhadati kaman, "The Supreme One supplies all the necessities of all the living entities." Actually this is our constitution.
All the devotees strictly follow our regulative principle of 1) no eating of meat, fish or eggs, 2) no illicit sex-life, 3) no taking of intoxicants including coffee, tea, tobacco and alcohol, and 4) no gambling. In each center we have a president, secretary and treasurer who manage the local affairs.
4. I am sending the list of temples on separate sheet.
5. Specific information about our schedule of general and specific activities you will find in the letter addressed to Sri Hanuman Prasad Poddar.
6. The boys and girls here naturally they are born of rich nation and materially cultured families, but there is no spiritual guide. According to Vedanta Sutra this human form is meant specifically for spiritual understanding. So a person or a community or a nation when in the top position of material enjoyment and still does not find any peace, he searches after something better. That is the position of the Western countries. But they have no information what is that better. Therefore, the younger generation especially they are turning to be confused and frustrated and they are generally known as "hippies." Here in this Krsna consciousness movement, because the actual solace and remedy is there, they are finding it very nice and gradually they are being attracted. Some of them actually experience that before coming to this movement they did not know what is spiritual life. So there is a great potency of spreading this movement all over the world. The India Government has a Department for Cultural Affairs; if they would have taken this cultural movement as the background of Vedic civilization, then the whole world would have been happy, and India's glories would have been magnified many thousands of times than by simply imitating the Western technology which is on the verge of failure.
7. Regarding Swamis and "Swaminies," you have been misinformed. Among my disciples there is only one Swami or Sannyasi, but there is no "Swaminie." Woman is never offered Sannyasa in the Vedic culture. Up to Vanaprastha stage the woman may remain with her husband as assistant or friend without any sex relation, and when a man takes Sannyasa the woman has no connection with him. I am very sorry to inform you that there are some Indian "Swamis" in this country who are living with so-called "Swaminies," but so far we are concerned we follow strictly the Vedic principles. All our students are following the regulative principles as mentioned in Section 3, paragraph 2.
8. As referred to above we have got only one Swami, but no Swaminies. Rather I encourage the boys and girls to get married and live regularly on the Vedic principles. They are following this instruction and they are happy and advancing in Krsna consciousness.
9. The Americans are very intelligent and qualified boys and girls so they understand the principles as genuine and thus they accept them. They understand that Krsna Consciousness Movement is neither Indian nor Hindu, but it is a cultural movement for the whole human society although of course because it is coming from India it has Indian and Hindu touch.
10. Kindly refer to section 2, paragraph 3.
11. We are expanding every month. Recently I received one letter from my disciple in England and the report is very favorable. In the villages of England they are very much receptive to this movement and even children in grammar school are chanting Hare Krsna.
We have got many records and record albums out of which some produced by one renowned musician of London, George Harrison, has become very popular and many people from all parts of Europe are coming to see our temple in London. Recently we have opened two branches, one in Amsterdam and one in Copenhagen and another in Edinburgh.
12. New Vrndavana, a transcendental community project, modeled on the Vrndavana site of Lord Krsna's pastimes, is developing nicely in the mountains of West Virginia. The primary message of Lord Krsna to surrender all one's activities unto Him, that is to carry out one's duty for the sake of Krsna, as it is delivered in the Bhagavad-gita is practically undertaken in New Vrndavana. All work in Vrndavana is specifically executed in full knowledge of its being transcendental loving service to Krsna the supreme proprietor of everything and all souls. This natural environment for living in pure Krsna consciousness or plain living and high thinking develops the spiritual character of the inhabitants and especially the Society's children who are conceived, born, raised and educated in Krsna science or natural spiritual consciousness. New Vrndavana school system provides education for children which is both practical and spiritual.
This site situated in the midst of the beautiful West Virginia mountains provides an ideal setting for demonstrating the simplicity of naturalistic living based on brahminical culture and cow protection in Krsna consciousness. Cow protection practically solves the problems of sustenance and the greater portion of time of the devotees, being not engaged in the frantic scramble of materialistic competition for food and shelter, is kept engaged in the pursuit of spiritual perfection.
The activities are centered on the temple schedule of Aratikas (six daily, very regularly), kirtanas and classes in the Vedic scriptures. Work is in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, dairy and construction as well as devotional studies.
I am sending the description as it will appear in our Krsna consciousness handbook which is just now being printed. The complete and finished Handbook will be sent later on. Along with the section on New Vrndavana there is also a two page feature on our ISKCON Press.
13. Our press owned and operated by the Society is housed in our Boston temple buildings. Presently we are printing books regularly and our monthly magazine BTG is being printed in English, French, German and Japanese editions with Spanish, Hindi, Bengali, Dutch and Danish forthcoming. The English edition is understocked at 125,000 copies per month and the other editions are printed at the rate of 10,000 per month. The public demand for our literatures is international and so much greatly increasing that although printing department (editing, transcribing, composing, layout, photography, printing and binding as well as sales) is full-time engaged and the press is kept running almost 24 hours daily we are unable to meet the demands for literatures and so we must also go to outside printers like Japan.
See pages on ISKCON Press in the Krsna Consciousness Handbook.
14. Rathayatra festival was celebrated in three major cities—San Francisco, London and Tokyo—with great pomp and grand success. The transcendental festivities organized for large public participation have drawn admirable comments from the city authorities regarding their unprecedented joyous nature shared by otherwise unmanageable numbers of people. The San Francisco Rathayatra was given all facility by the full cooperation of the City and public advertisement was extended by the City via the newspapers, radio and television and posters in all the public transportation vehicles as well as large banners lining the main streets. Over 20,000 persons attended for a full day of chanting and dancing as they eagerly drew the Ratha cars five miles to the sea. At the end of the procession Prasadam was sumptuously distributed to everyone and the distribution of Prasadam was extended through the next several days. Also at the end of the procession route a capacity attendance filled a standing auditorium to attentively hear the spiritual master speak. His reception was well mannered and very enthusiastic including participation in dancing sankirtana.
In the accompanying packet are enclosed some prints from this year's various Rathayatra festivals and also issue No. 20 "Back to Godhead" which was a special issue on last year's festivities.
Other major celebrations are Janmastami and Lord Caitanya's Abhirbhava on Phalguni Purnima. These are especially celebrated gorgeously at New Vrndavana and New Navadvipa respectively. For its lavish Rathayatras yearly for the last four years San Francisco is now commonly known as New Jagannatha Puri. We are gradually increasing the size of major festivals and eventually there will be twenty-four or two each month. The public response is always very encouraging.
I will enclose in the accompanying air packet the several photographs you have desired as well as several other items which you may find helpful in preparing your article. If there is any further questionnaire which you may need, please drop my a line and I will be very glad to supply the required information.