681111 - Letter to Sivananda written from Los Angeles
November 11, 1968
My Dear Sivananda,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated Nov. 1, 1968, and I am glad to inform you that as directed by you I have sent the 3 letters to the following personalities: Minister in charge of cultural and religious affairs, Mr. Michael Weyl, and Dr. Irvin. The body of the letter is the same as you drafted. Now you can do the needful and inquire whether they have received the letters. I hope very soon you will find out a suitable place in Hamburg and start the temple and if required you can take assistance from Syamasundara for the Deities. I am glad to learn that Krishna das has got a job in a jewelry shop, similarly both you and Uttama Sloka may also find out some job and immediately take a nice apartment. If storefront is too costly then you can start the center in some apartment and try to invite people there and live together. Regarding your question, about living alone, living alone is a general tendency for a person who wants to get disassociated with the materialistic persons. That is also recommended by the Goswamis in their instructions. It is better to remain alone than to mix with materialistic persons. But this is not applicable when we have the opportunity to get the association of pure devotees. Our program is negative and positive simultaneously. We want to negate the materialistic side and make positive the spiritual side, it is not one sided. If you have no positive standing, negating only will not make you successful. Therefore it is better to remain positively within the society of pure devotees. That is also recommended by the Goswamis. That one should be occupied in activities in the modes of goodness and associate with spiritualistic persons, that will make one's advancement very quick.
Persons who want to take advantage of cheap reputation they imitate great personalities like Haridasa Thakura, who was alone chanting 300,000 of Holy Names daily. By such chanting, lonely chanting he got so much spiritual power that he could convert even a harlot to become a great devotee whereas an ordinary person falls easily a victim to such allurement. So one should not imitate such great personalities but one should try to see how much taste he has developed for chanting, so that one can remain alone simply being engaged in chanting. If one can remain alone simply being engaged in chanting, that is very good, but it is difficult also. A conditioned soul in conditioned life it is very difficult to concentrate our mind in chanting absolutely. Better to be engaged in preaching work, that will make one gradually successful. Besides that, when we are actually engaged in with the preaching work, we gradually acquire our spiritual strength without failure.
Regarding Radha Damodara temple, because it is one of the most important temples in Vrindaban, I took shelter in this temple, just to improve the dilapidated condition. The present proprietor or the men in charge of this temple, they are most materialistic men, and simply utilizing the temple and its property for their sense gratification. If Radha Damodara likes, in future, I may be able to do something for this temple, but until I have got the opportunity probably I am not going again into that temple. I have now New Vrindaban scheme and I shall try to develop all the important temples of Vrindaban including Radha Damodara temple in our New Vrindaban site.
No, the moon's phases has nothing to do with spiritual. Yes, the students should agree to be malleable by the Spiritual Master, then his success is sure. In your western part of the world, people are falsely taught not to become slavish. Everyone wants to assert his personal views and opinions, without following any authority. That is the general tendency. But although such persons claim not to be slaves, actually they are slaves to the senses. So instead of being a slave of the senses, if one voluntarily becomes the slave of Krishna, or His representative, that is good for him. This is maya, thinking that we are independent. We are slaves—every moment we are serving our senses. We are slaves to so many abominable things, to drugs, intoxication, sex, doing the most abominable things in the service of the senses. So it is not slavish when one agrees to become slave of Krishna and His representative, then this is liberated position, liberated from being slave to the senses. Yes, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura said, My Dear Vaisnava Thakura, Spiritual Master, let me become your dog, and I shall remain at your door, and I shall guard against any nonsense persons trying to enter, and whatever food you will give me, I shall eat, and I shall remain as your dog.
Your specific talents are to be engaged under direction of the Spiritual Master. Everything, every talent can be employed in Krishna's service, and how to do it is known to the Spiritual Master. You have the tendency for botany, you can grow nice flowers and fruits for Krishna, that is the utilization of your natural tendency. If you have got specific training in this connection, then after establishing this center in Hamburg you can come to our New Vrindaban and grow things, or you can grow things in Hamburg also. Fruits and flowers can be produced anywhere.
Yes, these your questions are very intelligent questions. Hoping you are all well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami