720613 - Letter to Bhargava written from Los Angeles
Los Angeles, ISKCON
June 13 72
My Dear Bhargava,
Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your letter dated May 31, 1972, and I have noted the contents. Our advancement in Krishna Consciousness is made possible in two ways, by Knowledge and renunciation, jnana and tyaga or tapasya. The more we become renounced from this material world, the more we advance in Krishna Consciousness. But we are only able to make such sacrifices and perform tapasya if we have got knowledge. So first thing is to become knowledgeable in Krishna Consciousness, then the tapasya or voluntary life of austerity will result automatically. So I am requesting all of my students to read my books very seriously every day without fail. In this way, if your mind becomes absorbed at least one or two hours daily in the transcendental subject matter of Srimad Bhagawatam, Bhagavad Gita, and other books then very easily you will make your advancement in Krishna Consciousness. It is not a matter of changing our engagement, adjusting this or that material conditions, in order to find our real happiness. Krishna Consciousness is not like that. It is able to be performed under any variety of material conditions or with any type of engagement. Therefore if your duty as a photographer is very much helpful to our propanganda work and for improving our BTG then there is very much need for your remaining in that occupation and doing it to your best capacity. It is a fallacy to say that my present engagement with the press is not the best for my spiritual advancement, and if we think in this way we may go on trying out one engagement after another and always say the same excuse. This restlessness or agitation of the mind cannot be rectified by altering the material circumstances. If we are Krishna Conscious, any type of occupation will suit me and we shall always be satisfied. Therefore, I recommend you to read books more and more and try to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision and be always discussing it with your god-brothers even while you are working at the press, and when you are working and you cannot read, then listen to the tapes of my lectures and hear in that way. And never neglect to chant your 16 rounds of beads daily, rise early without fail, attend mangala-aratrika, take bath, and follow the other regulative principles, and everything will come out very successfully, you can rest assured of that.
I am feeling the tendency more and more to retire behind the scenes for translating work, and I want to turn over the management of everything to the GBC and other senior leaders amongst my disciples, so if you have in future any more matters for discussing you may assist me in training these leaders and managers by placing your questions before them. I think Rupanuga will be able to answer all of your questions satisfactorily, so you can be confident that he is giving you all good advice.
Hoping this will meet you in good health,
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bhargava dasa Brahmacari c/o ISKCON Press, New York