770807 - Letter to Satsvarupa from Tamal Krsna
August 7, 1977
From: Tamal Krishna
My dear Satsvarupa Maharaja,
Please accept my humble obeisances at your feet. I have been instructed by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada to reply your letter dated July 25th, 1977. Srila Prabhupada explained the difference between first and second initiation as follows: “Why do you believe in rumors, that first initiation is not so important as second? I have already said that it is equally important, but you say rumor. Actually first initiation is more important. You can go without second initiation; if the first initiation is executed very thoroughly that is sufficient. First initiation stands strong. The spiritual master accepts the disciple’s sinful reactions upon giving first initiation. The Vedic system was to give the sacred thread at the first initiation. We are following Pancaratriki. Vedic initiation was given to a person born to a brahmana. That is not possible in this age. Therefore he has to be prepared by Hari Nam initiation and then second initiation. He is given a chance. Therefore others protest that I am giving initiation: He is not born of a brahmana, how can he be initiated?”
Srila Prabhupada listened to your description of how the Library Party will expand in the fall to South America, as well as the ideas which you are having for increasing the distribution in the U.S. When I heard about the slide show packages, such as the one about Jagannatha Puri Rathayatra, I immediately felt that slides of our Rathayatras throughout the world should also be included. Similarly in the slide show about Vrndavana there should be sufficient slides about our temple in Vrndavana also. Otherwise we are giving advertisements to places and temples which will automatically attract people to go there. However as you will see from my description in the next paragraph, going to these places does not automatically ensure that one will become so much advanced as they would were they to go to an ISKCON temple and participate in ISKCON activities. We should not waste our valuable energy distributing other’s books, or in this case advertising for others. Our intention is not to make money, but to increase the number of pure devotees and that is actually preaching. So I would caution that we be very selective in what the Library Party men sell, since they are such first-class preachers they should preach the highest truth.
Srila Prabhupada was very pleased to hear the description of the Rathayatra festival held in San Francisco. His Divine Grace could understand that the festival was held in as opulent and grand a style as it was in previous years when He was personally present. When He heard that $1500 worth of books was sold at the booth, He remarked, “This is very good. It is a sign that there is an actual demand. People are coming to the tables specifically to purchase our books.”
I mentioned to Srila Prabhupada that one of our devotees had gone to Jagannatha Puri to witness the annual festival there. It was reported in the newspaper, and the devotee also described, that Lord Jagannatha’s carts could not be moved until the 4th day. On the 1st day they could not get the Lord into His cart properly and His crown fell off and was ripped into many pieces by persons attending the festival. On the 2nd day the cart could not move and only half of the crowd was present. On the 3rd day hardly anyone was left but still the carts would not move due to so many difficulties like breakages of wheels, etc. And on the 4th day there was practically no one in attendance, and the carts had to be pulled the entire distance to Gundica by policemen who were called to the scene since there was no one else to pull the chariots. When Srila Prabhupada heard this description, He commented, “Because they would not let our men into the temple, Lord Jagannatha has gone elsewhere, to where we are holding festivals. He is not allowing Himself to be pulled by them. In Puri the sanctity has become lost. The people’s reverence has been minimized.” Indeed, from the descriptions it was understood that throughout the festival none of the pujaris were even fanning Lord Jagannatha. And when our Lokanath Swami tried to enter the temple, he was bodily thrown out by the tough pujaris who said that he could not come in since he was associated with ISKCON (these statements about Jagannatha Puri are not meant to be reproduced in letters to anyone else, but they are simply for your own information.)
I mentioned to His Divine Grace that hopefully Caru Prabhu would send many photographs showing the entire celebration in San Francisco. Perhaps you could encourage him to do this.
Enclosed please find a newsletter and other items issued by Lomasa Rsi das. Lomasa Rsi was made a devotee by Trivikrama Swami in Taiwan and eventually intends to go to China for studied in acupuncture. Because of his speaking Chinese and interest in the China yatra, he has been more or less working under my jurisdiction, at least in terms of his China activities. I have more or less allowed him to continue his activities regarding giving some instructions to devotees about body care. I have never really encouraged him very much, however Rupanuga Prabhu has greatly encouraged him and in fact has paid his way throughout his zone to teach in all of the temples. The enclosed sheets will give you an idea of what his program is like, and I believe he may be coming also to L.A. After going through all this material I feel a little doubtful about this kind of “preaching.” It seems to me it emphasizes far too much consciousness of the body, with only slight hints of Krishna consciousness to legitimize such activities. Of course it’s a fact that one who is brought up in the Vedic culture automatically learns how to take care of the body very nicely, and we, being brought up in American culture, never learned this. But I have personally experienced that by living in India, and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, and associating with His Divine Grace and advanced devotees that I have learned gradually how to properly eat, sleep, bathe, and in general take care of my body. I did not have to read hatha-yoga books. It’s a fact that the Vedic culture, and in Srila Prabhupada’s own childhood, children were born in the home, and this is preferable. But why should our devotees have to read a magazine like “Mothering?” There may be some useful information in it, but what about all the other nonsense? Somehow I think in the long run this program of Lomasa Rsi’s is going to divert the attention of susceptible devotees away from Krishna consciousness to too much attention on the body consciousness. Actually a devotee does not care so much about his body. In the Caitanya-caritamrta there is the nice example of the great devotee of Lord Caitanya who had festering leprosy all over his body, but he would place the maggots back in the open wound. I don’t think Lomasa Rsi would have advised him to do this. In any case mine is only one opinion. I am sending this matter to you because I feel that you can discuss it with Ramesvara Maharaja, and perhaps some other GBC men, and then make a policy decision to either allow him to continue his activities, to modify his activities, or to entirely stop them. As GBC men we must always be very careful to watch for any deviations which may enter into ISKCON. I would be very glad if you would let me know what you and the other GBC men feel in this matter.
Hoping this meets you in the best of health and Krishna consciousness.
- Tamal Krishna Gosvami
- Secretary to Srila Prabhupada
- His Holiness Satsvarupa das Gosvami
- c/o ISKCON LA