690525 - Letter to Vrndavanesvari written from New Vrindaban, USA
Moundsville, West Virginia
May 25, 69
My Dear Vrndabaneshvari,
Please accept my blessings, and offer the same to your nice boy. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 14, 1969, and I have noted the contents with care. I understand from your letter that our revered Godbrother, Srimad Sadanandaji, is again sick and going to be shifted to some other place for medical treatment. He is very sickly from the very beginning since I saw him sometime in the year of 1934. The best thing is that he may not be disturbed by correspondence. Let him peacefully pass his days in Krishna Consciousness. Regarding his suggestion that he is not sure if my activities in Europe will be successful as in the USA, you have written to say that Europe is "quite a different place from USA—mostly in that the people are more approached through the intellect than thru the will. They are more careful, more critical, more 'sophisticated.' " I quite agree with you that Europe is different from America, but when I came from India and first landed in Boston, I was thinking like that, that I have come to a different country from India, and how will they accept this philosophy of Krishna Consciousness in the same way as Indians accept it? Actually there is great difference between India and America, especially in the matter of living standards, social customs and cultural atmosphere. When I landed in Boston, I wrote one Bengali poetry to Krishna that I do not know why You have brought me to such a distant place where everything is opposite number, and how will I be able to convince them about this Krishna Consciousness Movement? But by the Grace of Krishna there was no difficulty. As soon as I started my first center in New York, two or three young men were attending, and gradually they took interest, and now we have got sixteen branches, practically managed by my disciples. So if the USA, which is completely different from India, can accept this philosophy, I do not find any reason why Europe, which may be completely different from the USA, will not accept.
Actually, in our London branch, already about six young English men have joined seriously, and although they are not officially initiated, they are exactly following my other initiated, American disciples who are now working there. So I don't think there is any cause of apprehension as suggested by Sadanandaji. Besides that, in Hamburg the boys who are working have reported that German boys and girls are coming to join Sankirtan, and they are getting at least fifteen or twenty guests every Sunday for their feasts. So I don't think there is any cause of discouragement because we are working on a different platform.
Recently when I was in Columbus there was a big meeting, and more than one thousand students attended. Poet Allan Ginsberg was there with me for chanting, and all the students were responsive immediately. Therefore I advise you that we are working on a different platform. We are working neither on the sensual platform, nor on the mental platform, nor on the intellectual platform. We are working completely on the spiritual platform. The concept of European, American, or Indian is based on the bodily platform. So long one is under the impression that he is this body, he cannot make much progress in this movement. Lord Chaitanya says that factually all living entities are the servants of Krishna. This servitorship cannot be rendered from the material platform, because Krishna is not matter. He is Sat-Cit-Ananda Vigraha. Anyone trying to serve Krishna from the material platform of body, mind and intelligence cannot appreciate this fact. One has to become free from the contamination of matter, represented in gross and subtle forms as body, mind, intelligence and ego. Until then, one is not a pure devotee. In the Narada Pancharatra it is clearly stated that one has to become free from all material designations. So long as one is under the cover of material designations, he cannot serve Krishna. Therefore, we have to transcend this position by cleansing our hearts from such rubbish concept of life that I am American, I am European, I am Indian, I am this or that. Anyone keeping himself under such impression, but at the same time trying to get into Krishna Consciousness is called neophyte devotee, or prakrita. Lord Chaitanya has given us a very nice method of chanting Hare Krishna, and if we execute this without any offense, we can transcend this prakrita platform and come to the spiritual platform of serving Krishna. And unless we serve Krishna there is no possibility of getting His Grace, and without His Grace it is not possible to preach Krishna Consciousness. Therefore, we should more depend to receive His Grace then to depend on mental or intellectual activities.
So don't be discouraged. If you follow the principles of Krishna Consciousness, your activities may be accepted anywhere. It doesn't matter whether it is in Europe or America because it is all transcendental. You may just continue your attitude to serve Radharani and you can be on the spiritual platform, without any being deterred by material impediments. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, you'll find that the first class occupational duty is to develop love of God without any motive or impediment. When we shall be able to execute our business of Love of Godhead, unimpaired, at that time we shall be freed from all sophistication.
Regarding your question about the other mantras you have been given, I think you should simply chant Hare Krishna regularly and follow the regulative principles. You must complete sixteen rounds at least. Follow the restrictive principles and avoid the ten kinds of offenses. Then everything will be clear gradually. I hope this will meet you in very good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami