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680630 - Letter to Kirtanananda written from Montreal
A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI
Acharya: International Society For Krishna Consciousness
ISKCON RADHA KRISHNA TEMPLE
3720 Park Avenue
Montreal 18, Quebec, Canada
June 30, 1968
My Dear Kirtanananda,
Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your letter dated June 22, 1968, and I have noted the contents. The suggestion of constructing New Vrindaban as I've suggested in Hayagriva's letter is the only method by which we can become successful in constructing the New Vrindaban scheme. But if you have got impediments in the matter, as you say that the proprietor of the land is of different views, then I do not know how you'll be able to construct it freely according to our idea. Mr. Rose may be very good man, but he does not know what is sectarian and what is non-sectarian. But at least you should know that Krishna is non-sectarian. Krishna claims that He is the seed-giving Father of all the 8,400,000 species of life visible within the material creation. They may be of different forms—some of them are aquatics, some of them are vegetables, plants, some of them are worms, some of them are birds, some of them are beasts, some of them are human beings. Krishna claims that all of them are His begotten sons. Neither Krishna claims Himself that He is an Indian or a Ksatriya, or a Brahmin, or white or black; He claims that He is the Enjoyer of everything that be, He is the Proprietor of all the planets and the creation, and He is the intimate friend of all living entities. He never claims that one should offer Him very valuable things to satisfy Him; or very delicious foodstuffs should be offered to Him—but He says that even a little bit of leaf, a little bit of fruit, and water, you offer to Him with devotion and love, and He accepts and eats such things. So it is a fact that Krishna is universal. Krishna is non-sectarian, and therefore if Mr. Rose actually wants to have some institution, he must know how that non-sectarian institution is possible. So factually, Krishna Consciousness is non-sectarian movement. There is no sectarian question. But if somebody without understanding this non-sectarian philosophy thinks otherwise, he himself becomes immediately sectarian. I therefore think that you should try to convince Mr. Rose about our philosophy of Krishna Consciousness, and let him become actually non-sectarian. Without understanding Krishna everyone is sectarian, and combination of such non-Krishna Consciousness persons will never create any institution of non-sectarian nature. That is not possible. If Mr. Rose is serious to give facility for a non-sectarian institution in that part of the country, he should understand Krishna and this philosophy thoroughly. Our Krishna Consciousness movement is no religious movement as it is generally understood. Our propaganda is to make people feel for Krishna or God, and become engaged in His transcendental loving service. Anyone who has a concept of God will agree to this philosophy. There are many sectarian religions where acceptance of God is there, but there is no love for God. So we are teaching love for God. That means Krishna Consciousness is the post-graduate class for all religious sects. We do not protest the Christians, or Mohammedans, or Jews, or any other religious sect, that there is no idea of God conception in their religions. More or less in every religion the God conception is there. But, nobody tries to love God. Just like in Christian religion, they go to church everyday and tries to exact bread from God, but they never try how to please God. And because this love of God, and the process is not thoroughly instructed, therefore they have come to the stage of understanding that God is dead. At the present moment in many Christian churches, this philosophy is being taught, that God is dead. But so far we are concerned, we cannot accept this philosophy, that God is dead. But we preach on the other hand, that God is not only not dead, but He can be approached finally face to face. And the method is very simple, chanting the Holy Name of God—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This process is standard, and tested. So far it's test is concerned, you know very well about it because in this part of the world, all my disciples are non-Hindu, and non-Indians. But still they have taken to this mantra, Mahamantra, very seriously and they are deriving good result out of it. So there is no question about its genuine presentation. We should therefore push on this movement in the same simple manner as we are doing. That everyone should come and sit together and chant this Holy Name Hare Krishna. If this system is taken as sectarian, then I am sure your attempt for organizing New Vrindaban under the care of Mr. Rose will not be successful. The best thing will be to chant Hare Krishna, call all the neighbors in that part of the state, and gradually develop their taste for it. Then try to endeavor to do something for developing New Vrindaban. For the present, live as simply as possible, without any endeavor to develop that part into New Vrindaban, or do it peacefully as you have mentioned, but you must continue to chant Hare Krishna, at least you and Hayagriva, and ask everybody to join you. At least Mr. Rose cannot object to this performance of Kirtan because he wants to give facility to all sects. So even if he takes it that our Krishna Consciousness movement is also a particular type of sect, certainly he will not have any objection. Therefore, the conclusion is that you must regularly hold Krishna Kirtan, now, and even as in our other centers they are doing. And live peacefully without any exaggeration, and try to convince people about the non-sectarian nature of Krishna Consciousness. I think that will make you successful in this great adventure. Before the advent of Lord Caitanya, nobody had exhibited the practical way of developing love of Godhead, and the process is open to everyone, therefore this is simple, non-sectarian, and sublime.
But, if the people are backwards and suspicious, then how your scheme will be successful, in that part of the country? This movement is meant for intelligent class of men, those who have reason and logic to understand things in a civilized way, and who are open-hearted to receive things as they are. But apart from such consideration, I think there is not any cause of suspicion if somebody sings and dances. So without remuneration if somebody sings and dances at his place, what is the cause of suspicion? But if the place is infested with such suspicious men and backward class, then how you can develop a New Vrindaban there? The circumstances as you have described them is not very favorable. Therefore I think the attempt will not be very successful. Krishna Consciousness movement can be pushed forward in a favorable atmosphere. If the atmosphere is not favorable, then don't attempt, it will be failure. Precaution you may take, but as you grow larger, if they are suspicious then they may cause trouble. Because you can dress yourself and live peacefully at your home, but if your neighbors are always suspicious, then there may be always danger. Therefore, why should we make our residence in such a place. And I think no Brahmacari will agree to go there and live in such uncomfortable situation, with suspicious neighbors. Simply for land, we don't care. We simply want favorable place for worshiping Krishna. That is our idea.
Anyway, please keep me informed how the circumstances are, and I shall be very glad to hear from you at your convenience,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
c/o Rose R.D.3
Moundsville, W. Virginia
P.S. Hayagriva has not yet replied my letter. Please ask him to write. He has many things to do in the library cases and I want his assistance greatly in this matter. I am planning to go to London in August. Srimati Annapurna's father. Mr. Louis Weble is trying to get a good house for us. I wish to go there with a party of not less than 6 and not more than 12 heads. I wish to establish a center there which is my long cherished ambition.[handwritten]