700211 - Letter to Balmukundji Parikh written from Los Angeles
February 11, 1970
My Dear Balmukundji Parikh,
Please accept my greetings and I thank you very much for your kind letter dated 5 February, 1970. I have understood the spirit of your letter and your suggestions are quite welcome.
According to our Sastras, the brahmacaris, the vanaprasthas, and the sannyasis are allowed to collect alms and are considered as the children of the society, which is composed of householders. In other words, our Vedic civilization is the most perfect community project. Only the grhasthas are supposed to earn money, especially the ksatriyas and the vaisyas, and the money is distributed community-wide. The community is divided into four parts, the brahmacari, the grhastha, the vanaprastha, and the sannyasi. Out of these four divisions, only the grhasthas are supposed to maintain the brahmacaris, the vanaprasthas, and the sannyasis. That is the whole program, which means if there are 100 members in the community, three-fourths of the whole number, namely 75%, are maintained by the one-fourth members, namely 25%. Our movement is for preaching the sankirtana vibration, so while the brahmacaris and vanaprasthas or the sannyasis take to this preaching work, the grhasthas or householders can maintain the temple and institution. In India, you have said, the temples are richest because the grhasthas support them. In this country also the householders support the churches. So for the inmates of the temple, namely brahmacaris or the priests (even though they are grhasthas, householders), they do not work outside. They are maintained by the outside grhasthas. But so far as our London Temple is concerned, it is not yet self-supported, although the expenditure is very high. I think you are also one of the important members of our London Temple, so you can suggest to the directors how the expenditures can be minimized. In the meantime, the householders, either Indian or European community, support the temple expenditures. The inmates of the temple may not take any collections from the street, so that will be great relief for them. We have no idea to go against the law of England, where begging is prohibited, neither are we beggars. You know very well that the six married couples whom I sent from America are all respectable, educated, cultured American boys and girls, and how with great difficulty they maintained themselves in London and at the same time preached the sankirtana movement which was certainly very effective. At the present moment the London Temple has got some status and if you kindly induce especially the Indian community to give them some monthly subscriptions for the bare necessities of the temple management, the inmates of the temple will completely stop taking collections from the street sankirtana. So far in India the sankirtana party has still got the right to collect. In America also we are collecting but I do not know why English law should prohibit them. Anyway I shall request you to help Gurudasa, Mukunda, Syamasundara, etc. to adjust the problem so that they may not be hampered in their advancement of Krishna Consciousness.
Regarding the last paragraph of your letter, I am very glad to learn that you are willing to join this movement full time. When I was in London there was talk of your accepting the sannyasa order, and so far I remember Caitanyas Dadi, your wife, gave you permission for this purpose. Now so far you are trying to qualify yourself, I think you are already qualified, by age, by experience, and by temperament. I think therefore you should join us wholeheartedly without delay. I am looking forward for that day, and I am pleased to learn that you are coming here in the month of April. By that time we may have a very new residence and church in Los Angeles which we are negotiating to purchase. The residential quarters consists of thirty rooms, so you will be very comfortable to live here with us, and I hope at that time you shall decide finally about joining us wholeheartedly.
What happened to the Birla negotiation for helping us in purchasing the big house of Bachubhai Patel? I shall be glad to hear from you at your convenience. Thanking you again for your letter.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami