770719 - Letter to Krishna Katha from Tamal Krsna
July 19, 1977
From: Tamal Krishna
My dear Krishna Katha Prabhu,
Please accept my obeisances. I have been instructed by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to reply your letter dated June 11th, 1977. Generally I am only reading “good encouraging news” to His Divine Grace, so a letter like yours is not being read at this time, because of Srila Prabhupada’s poor health and His desire to retire from such types of management considerations. However I felt that your question and the answer to it might be of interest to other devotees and therefore I took the time of His Divine Grace. I asked Srila Prabhupada, “What is the status of Krishna das Babaji of Mayapur and listening to his kirtan tapes?” His Divine Grace answered, “He is bonafide. There is no harm in listening to him.” Then I asked your other question regarding the sahajiya groups of Navadvipa and Mayapur. His Divine Grace replied, “Why imitate anyone. Sing your own way and Krishna will accept the feelings and the tune.” From: the way Srila Prabhupada said this it was clear that this was also in regard to imitating of Krishna das Babaji. Actually Prabhupada wants us to sing with our own feelings and as the tunes are dictated by our feelings, Krishna will accept. However, if someone wants to imitate tunes of such bonafide persons as Krishna das Babaji, there is nothing technically wrong with this. But Prabhupada has made it clear that it is not essential to imitate such persons and that this does not make the kirtan more bonafide.
Regarding your third question about listening to and learning selling from karmi tapes and reading karmi books on business, I did not think it required my consulting His Divine Grace to advise you in this matter. Our first and actual business is to get free from the material energy and to engage in the transcendental service of Krishna, going back home, back to Godhead. Within this lifetime, according to one’s varna and asram, he may be engaged in different ways. For a grhastha, there is no harm in engaging in business. Prabhupada has made it clear on many occasions that if one does business he should do business expertly. If this requires listening to and learning selling from karmi tapes or reading karmi books, then these things may be done. To do business means to enter into the material world.
(first part of the line missing) … ’Oh, this is maya, I cannot read this, I cannot hear this, I cannot speak to this person’ he will not be a very successful businessman. To do business means to enter into the material world, but the devotee, because he knows himself to be transcendental to this material world, part and parcel of Krishna. The example of catching the fish without getting wet is appropriate. The expert fisherman knows how to catch a fish without getting wet in this process. But one who is not expert becomes pulled in by the fish. So the expert businessman works within the material world, but is not affected by the material energy. However since our main and actual business is to cultivate spiritual life, if we find that doing business jeopardizes this main goal, that is if we find too much difficulty in maintaining our Krishna consciousness because of association with the material energy, then we must retreat, or change our activity. This requires some discretion some self-vigilance. Our God-brothers can give us indications of how they feel we are doing in our Krishna consciousness.
Regarding your question about collecting, doubling book distribution, and other programs: Srila Prabhupada wants all programs to be pushed forward, not one program at the expense of another. Of course books are the basis of our movement. Our position in spiritual life as well as the opportunity for others to take part in spiritual life depends upon understanding or having a chance to know this philosophy, by way of receiving a transcendental literature. This society is formed for the purposes of devotees coming together to advance in Krishna consciousness and to give others, those who are innocent, also the chance to meet Krishna. The books are required for the devotees who come together to advance in Krishna consciousness, and the books are the means for the innocent to find out about Krishna. So books are the basis of this Krishna consciousness movement. At the same time there are many other programs and all of these must go on. The temple leaders have to see that there is sufficient funds for maintaining whatever programs have already been started, Deity worship, prasadam, devotee maintenance, building expenses, festivals, etc. At the same time they have to try to economize on all of these so that the maximum number of books can be distributed. This requires expert management.
I hope these answers will satisfy you and anyone else who is interested. Hoping this meets you well.
- Tamal Krishna Gosvami
- Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
- His Grace Krishna-katha das Adhikari
- 243 Avenue Road