750831 - Letter to Sri Rameshji Mahalingam written from Vrndavana
Dear Sri Rameshji Mahalingam:
Please accept my greetings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated August 12, 1975 and have noted the contents carefully. I am very sorry for the incidence which has taken place between you and my devotees. So you may please note it that I am dealing with these foreign students and teaching them to become Krishna devotees, and some of them being neophytes may sometimes commit some offense. There is nothing surprising in this, but their ardent desire to convey the idea of Krishna consciousness is always laudable.
Of course we have to speak the truth but very palatably. These neophyte devotees have not yet learned how to speak the truth palatably, but gradually they are learning. Certainly Hindu culture does not allow illicit sex, eating meat, fish or eggs, taking intoxication, or gambling. If Indians, after going to the foreign countries, learn this behavior, certainly it is not good. The only fault on the part of the devotee is that he could not present the things very politely. So you know the nature of the Western young men, so toleration is needed by you considering the position of the other party. Anyway I beg to apologize on behalf of my student, and shall solicit the pleasure of your goodness to visit our temple regularly. One should not be angry and eat his meals on the floor just because someone has stolen his plates. This is a Bengali saying. The logic is that if one's plates are stolen by a thief, we should not become angry and decide not to purchase new plates and eat on the floor.
I hope this meets you in good health.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami