690930 - Letter to Madhudvisa written from Tittenhurst, UK
September 30, 1969
My Dear Madhudvisa,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated September 18th, 1969 along with a check for $100, and I thank you very much for this contribution. I am so glad to learn that since you have gone to San Francisco, the center is improving daily, beginning from Rathayatra Festival, and you are also selling BTGs nicely. This means Krishna is giving you the opportunity to serve Him. Actually, Krishna is the Supreme Proprietor of everything. If He likes, He can hand over to His devotee million of dollars in a second, but He is very cautious. So now He has been supplying the necessary money and something extra also. So please keep it carefully. No extravagance should be allowed. I know you are very much thrifty, you do the management nicely. So the necessary expenditures may be made and nothing more than that. Perhaps you know that in Berkeley Hamsaduta is also doing very well. If you find a nice house in San Francisco, that will be also very nice. The present temple is nice, but I think the accommodation is not sufficient. Under the circumstances, we must find out some bigger place to accommodate all our devotees. I am glad that you appreciate the behavior of Sriman Gaura Hari Brahmacari, and please see that everyone of you becomes ideal devotee so people may see your exemplary character. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita that one who is in Krishna Consciousness, all good qualities of the demigods develop in him automatically. So see that everyone of you chants the prescribed rounds and follows the rules strictly along with chanting and dancing. Then you will see Krishna fulfill all of your desires. As you know that we are now opening a press in Boston, we shall be requiring a $20,000 investment in this connection. So if I need some money, I may ask you. Otherwise you may keep your money for investing in the house affairs.
Regarding you first question, we observe Ekadasi from sunrise to sunrise. The 12 midnight is western astronomical calculation, but the Vedic astronomical calculation begins either from the sunrise or the moonrise. Generally it is sunrise. Our calculation is like this: when the sunrise is there, Ekadasi tithi (date) must be there. If Ekadasi tithi is not in the sunrise and the tithi begins, say after a few minutes after the sunrise, then we accept that day as previous to Ekadasi. All our ceremonies are calculated in that way. This means we must see the tithi during sunrise. Therefore, sometimes our dates of ceremonies do not exactly coincide like the western calculations. Just like Christmas Day they have fixed up on the 25th December, but our Janmastami tithi is not fixed up like that. My birthday is on the 1st September, 1896, but this year the tithi of my birthday was fixed for the 4th September. So it is very difficult to calculate, therefore we have to take help from the Indian expert almanac astronomers.
Regarding Srimad-Bhagavatam, yes you may begin reading it at kirtana lectures. On someday you should read Bhagavad gita As It Is also, however. There will be an examination on Srimad-Bhagavatam, the entire First Canto, on Lord Caitanya's Appearance Day in February, 1970. Regarding responsive chanting, that is the preferred method, but if you think it will be better to chant nonresponsively at certain times, there is no harm. If you think that people will chant more if you do it non-responsively, then do it that way. It is the chanting that is required. But if it is done responsively, it will sound symmetrical and will appeal to the people. Regarding your final question, once something is offered to the Deity, it may not be offered again.
Please offer my blessings to the other devotees of San Francisco temple. I hope this will meet you all in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami