721229 - Letter to Cyavana written from Bombay
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
CENTER: c/o Mahadevia
B-11 Sea Face Park
50 B. Desai Road
My dear Chayavana,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated December 15, 1972, and I note that you have returned from another successful preaching mission in distant parts of Africa. I am always so much pleased to hear such good news how the traveling preachers are spreading this Krsna Consciousness movement to every nook and corner of the world. Such traveling and preaching activity is the most highly favored by Krsna and He will bless you more and more with the highest understanding and realization of Himself.
Yes, that is correct proposal, you must have a program for getting income which will not depend upon anyone outside of our camp. Of course ultimately we must depend only on Krsna. If He gives us something we shall accept and offer it in His service, if we have nothing, what is the harm, we shall sit under a tree and chant Hare Krsna. But in any case, I do not want you to leave that temple and move to a smaller place. We must keep at least one nice temple of large size in that part of Africa. If we reduce in that way, that will not be good. Rather increase in all ways, that is our program. The moving and preaching work will be your most important business in Africa. There is not much population and the distances are great, so there is, no doubt, great need for several traveling parties to be working simultaneously. But if you keep that place in Nairobi as your base, sending all of the new recruits as you are able to convert them back to the Nairobi temple for getting themselves trained up, what is wrong with that? I think we need at least one big place for training up the new devotees just to the proper highest standard, just as we are doing in Los Angeles, New York, London, and other places. So also in Africa you require one such model center. If you remain only traveling parties, that will be nice for distributing many many books, and for having the sankirtan, but for new devotees that will be too much rigorous and they will not be able to adjust to the constant moving and changing about. That will spoil their chance for developing in their Krsna consciousness from neophyte stage. So keep the Nairobi center always very active, nicely decorated, worship the deities just to the highest standard, making sure that all of the students are rising to attend the mangala aratrika, chanting regularly sixteen rounds, reading books--in this way utilize what Krsna has given us there and develop it for the headquarters building for Africa.
Yes, if anyone agrees to live with us in the temple he must without any exception follow the four rules and regulations, plus the other regulative principles, otherwise he may be asked kindly to leave the temple and live outside. Or he may not be invited to live in the temple until he has agreed and has proven his ability to obey the regulative idea. The point is that we should not be over anxious just to recruit men if they will not be of the best quality. If someone wants to become devotee but he is little weak, never mind he is living outside, he may come regularly to the temple, chant at home and at his work, and offer his foodstuffs always to Krsna, like that, and gradually he will develop the surrendering attitude and accept voluntarily the life of austerity or tapasya which must be practiced in the temple living. Without such voluntary understanding of the principles and agreement to obey them, no one is qualified to live in our temples. Of course if there are one or two instances of falling down, that may be excused, we are not so overly critical, otherwise who would be qualified of any of us to become devotee? So that tolerant attitude must be there to a certain extent, but we must remain also always firm on this point, that the brahmacaris living in the temple shall not disobey the orders of the spiritual master.
One thing is, if both yourself and Brahmananda, the two strong leaders there, are always gone from the temple, who is managing in your absence? That is to be considered. One strong man, if he is very much fixed-up devotee, he can manage everything nicely, even in huge temple with many students. The problem is not the facility itself, rather the ability of the manager there. So immediately get one first-class man to agree to stick to the Nairobi temple and develop it fully, that will be the best solution.
Hoping this will meet you in good health,
Chayavana das Brahmacari