730829 - Letter to Susan Beckman written from Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK
My Dear Susan Beckman,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated August 24, 1973. I have noted the contents carefully.
Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation of Godhead in this age has delivered the medicine for all problems of the world by his introducing the Sankirtan movement. Sankirtan means to chant that Holy names of the Lord and to give up all other engagements. The chanting is a process of purification. Just like we use soap to cleanse the body, this is material, but the chanting is spiritual cleansing. The three stages of cleansing are first to clean the mirror of the mind. In the Bhagavad Gita it is said, "The mind is the best friend and the worst enemy, for one who has learned to control the mind it is the best of friends but for one who has failed to do so it is the worst enemy." Due to long term association, the mind absorbed in material things has become contaminated, or dirty, the chanting process purifies the mind. Then the next stage, when the mind is cleansed one becomes free from the symptoms of material existence. Material existence means to be always hankering and lamenting. I must have a new automobile, I must have more money, I must have good wife, I must have this I must have that. Then when I have the thing, I lament, I have lost my wife, I have lost my money, I have lost my car, simply lamenting. So the second stage is to be free from this anxiety. The third stage is
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad bhaktim labhate param
"He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto me." Bhagavad Gita 18/54
The next verse continues, "And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God." It is further stated in the Gita that when one is so situated even in the midst of greatest danger he is not disturbed. In other words when one has achieved perfection in chanting the Holy name of God he is always joyful, even death does not disturb him, what to speak of other things.
The conclusion is that one should learn the art of chanting the Holy name of Krishna 24 hours a day and that alone is the remedy for all problems of material existence. How is it possible to chant 24 hours a day? Lord Chaitanya gave the hint, "One can chant the holy name of God in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all kinds of sense of false prestige, and always ready to offer all respects to others. In such a humble state of mind one can chant the Holy name of God constantly." So I cannot give you any better advice for your problem, simply chant Hare Krishna and everything will be all right.
I hope this letter meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ISKCON Spiritual Sky
3835 Main Street
Culver City, California