680413 - Letter to Jadurani written from San Francisco
AC Bhaktivedanta Swami
Acharya: International Society For Krishna Consciousness
CAMP: ISKCON Radha Krishna Temple
518 Frederick Street
San Francisco. Cal. 94117
My Dear Jadurany,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter post-dated April 11, and this is the first time I received your letter finished in three lines, so I can understand that you have been depressed by receiving my last letter. The idea is that there is a story, "that, I have lost my caste and still my belly is not fulfilled." In India, it is the custom that the Hindus do not ever take meals in the house of a Mohammedan, Christian, or anyone other than the house of Hindu Brahmin. But a man was very hungry, and accidentally he took his food in the house of a Mohammedan. And when he wanted still more food, the man refused, as the man could not supply. So the Hindu man said, "Sir, I have lost my caste, and still I am hungry!" Similarly, if artistic pictures as they are approved by the people in general in this country can be sold quickly, I have not any objection to present our pictures in such a way. But I know that pictures in this country are sold not on the merit of the picture, but on the reputation of the artist. That system is also current in India. But to come to the point of a reputed artist will require long duration of time. And our time is very short. We have to finish our Krishna Consciousness during our lifetime, and we should not waste a single moment for anything else. According to Chaitanya Charitamrita, a man is famous who is known as a great devotee of Krishna. So if there is not possibility of selling our pictures immediately on presentation, I do not think there is any necessity to improve our artistic craftsmanship. We should be satisfied with our pictures hanging in our different temples. But we may not sacrifice our valuable time for becoming famous artists so that pictures may be sold like hotcakes.
Our institution is mainly for the devotees and as it is the custom in India, devotees are maintained by the general public, who are engaged in materialistic activities for sense gratification. But in this country it is not possible that the Brahmacharies or Sannyasins shall beg from door to door, as it is the custom in India. But at the same time we require some money for conducting our business of our society. Therefore the idea was that we may sell some pictures but so far I understand that even if we follow the principles of modern artists, still our pictures like Narada Muni, Pancha Tattwa, etc., will not have immediate prospective market. If there is actually any prospect for selling our pictures put up in this modern artistic way, then I have no objection for putting pictures in this way for selling them. But if that is not possible, then I think we should not waste time in this way. Of course, I am not an artist, neither I have power to see from artistic viewpoint; I am a layman, so whichever picture appeals to me I say it is nice, and whichever picture does not appeal to me I say it is not nice. That is my common sense affair. Therefore my remark has no value from artistic sense. Anyway, don't be depressed; you can go on with your work, and we shall talk more on this subject when we meet together. I have replied Jadunandan's letter, and I wish that you all should read that letter, because it contains some valuable information about our preaching method, and many intelligent questions by him have been replied in that letter. Hoping you are all well.
95 Glenville Avenue
Allston, Mass. 02134