December 31, 1972
My dear Dhananjaya,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 28 December 1972 delivered by Latika from London, and I am very happy to hear of all the good news in English and Scottish temples in general. I have heard also from Revatinandana Svami how the things are going there, and his report is also very much encouraging to me. I am especially glad to note that everyone is feeling so much enthusiasm to work very hard in this preaching mission. That enthusiasm must be maintained under all circumstance. That is our price for entering into Krsna's kingdom. And maya is always trying to take away our enthusiasm to serve Krsna, because without enthusiasm everything else is finished.
Therefore Rupa Gosvami has introduced this system of regulative principles which I have taught to you also. These regulative principles, such as rising before 4 a.m. for mangala aratrika, chanting 16 rounds minimum on beads daily, reading books, going for the street sankirtana, preaching to anyone and everyone, offering the prasadam, like that, these principles of devotional service are there to safeguard us from maya's attack by keeping us always enthusiastic. If we strictly observe these principles, we shall remain always enthusiastic. These are the sources and the maintainers of our enthusiasm to serve Krsna. As soon as someone is not following them regularly, it may be certain that his enthusiasm will gradually disappear. Therefore, my request to you is that under any and all circumstances that you yourself shall without fail stick to these principles and make certain that all of the devotees in your charge are also following them strictly.
If new students are coming and they want to live with us in the temple, they must agree before living with us to follow these principles without any exception. Otherwise, it is better for them to live outside and attend the class, aratrika, prasadam, like that, and gradually as they become convinced by their intelligence, they will voluntarily agree to perform the austerity or tapasya of living in the temple. But anyone who lives in the temple must follow all these principles without exception, otherwise they may be asked to live outside.
Of course we work very very hard just to get someone to come to the platform of devotee of Krsna, so we shall not be too much hasty to drive anyone out. Therefore we may forgive once, twice, but more than that we must take other steps. So if any new candidate for devotee comes forward you may test him very thoroughly to understand from him if he is ready to fully accept our strict standard of temple living. Let him understand that it is not an arbitrary or whimsical decision on our parts to become like military camp, rather we are strictly adhering to our devotional principles only so that we may make advancement in Krsna consciousness and be protected from the attack of maya consciousness. They may be thinking that these people are slaves of their strict principles, but we are thinking that the strict principles are slaves to us. Of course, the devotee is always very liberal-minded and tolerant towards everyone, seeing everyone as the part and parcel of Krsna and the pure devotee of Krsna, only seeing that due to maya they have temporarily forgotten their real position. So a devotee is always very understanding if there is some discrepancy behavior on the part of nondevotees, and even some devotees misbehave, he is always very tolerant and understanding. The point is that no one is actually qualified in this material world to approach Krsna, but if he makes the attempt through our inducing him gradually to give his energy to Krsna, by that attempt Krsna will extend his mercy and deliver the fallen soul despite his so many disqualifications. And such person or aspiring devotee, he is to be considered the most exalted of men because he has given his life to Krsna. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate/vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah, after many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders to Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare. (BG 7.19)
So you are the leader of London temple, one of the most important temples in the world, so your responsibility is very very immense. But it is also Krsna's blessing upon you. So try to please Him always by understanding the instructions of Krsna as He is giving in Bhagavad-gita, and by that understanding you will be able to manage everything without any difficulty at all. But I think you must be already very much advanced in your understanding of Krsna consciousness, otherwise how so many nice devotees are coming and how there is always such good report from London temple? And I am especially pleased by the newspaper clipping from Edinburgh, they have given very good write-up, just to the points.
So far painting of the deity, it will not be necessary to bring Muralidhara from New York just for that purpose. We should not be so hasty to make such drastic programs. Radha and Krsna are transcendental to such artistic work, they do not depend upon our painting of them for their beauty. But they should be painted as nicely as possible if there is at present some deterioration of the painting. But I think someone is there, either in London or some other place in Europe, who can do the work perfectly well.
Now our first business in London will be to get that new place. I have been informed from Syamasundara that you are expecting to hear about that Priori at any moment, whether they have accepted our bid or not. But this place or that place, we must get sufficient new place in London to give facility to the preaching work there. I can understand that it is Krsna's desire that we have got that place at Bury Place, it has become world famous due to that location, so try to keep that place also as long as possible. But in order to expand properly all over British Isles we shall require a big big headquarters as you are contemplating. But if there is no solid program for getting the place, simply we are depending upon agents and George to do everything, then we may not be favored by Krsna to get a place very quickly. Better to take the upper hand and begin very energetically attempting to get some place. By our expending energy for Krsna, that is appreciated, not the actual result of our energy. But if there is lack of energy being devoted for some purpose, then everything will be delayed and possibly stopped. Better to seize the iron while the fire is hot, that my Guru Maharaja used to tell me. So George is now convinced of our movement, he will pay, so why the delay and difficulty? I think you should very seriously and with a cool head apply yourself to getting that place or some other place as soon as possible, at least by springtime. Otherwise Krsna may take away this golden opportunity, being disappointed by our lack of enthusiasm and labor. You may inform me from time to time how your search for the new place is progressing more and more.
Hoping this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami