From Back to Godhead
Personal Letters from Srila Prabhupada
As a genuine spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada takes personal responsibility for the advancement of each of his students in the spiritual life of Krsna consciousness. Although now his transcendental instructions are available in book form, when Srila Prabhupada first began the Krsna consciousness movement, the only way his new disciples could get the answers to their many questions was to ask Srila Prabhupada personally. Therefore, since 1966, Srila Prabhupada has written literally thousands of personal letters to his disciples, answering their questions, giving them encouragement and opening their eyes to newer and newer realizations of Krsna. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind to his disciples, and as their ever well-wisher, he blesses them with genuine spiritual understanding. Some of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions are presented here.
“Your appreciation of the movement is very keen and interesting. Actually, I was also attracted by my guru maharaja [spiritual master] when he convinced me that God lives and we can live with Him. I find the same conviction in you, and it has given me such great pleasure. Yes, it is the greatest discovery. In human society under the spell of illusion, men are doing things each on his own responsibility, and they are becoming entangled in material existence. This is the greatest blunder in human society. They have not only forgotten God but they have declared openly that God is dead. This declaration of the foolish human society is thc greatest blunder in life. I therefore appreciate your conviction, and I am still more glad that you are determined to propagate this message to the world at large. I am sure you can do this because all of you who have come to me are sincere souls and you have understood the inner force of Krsna consciousness. Please try to propagate this movement together.”
“I know that you are a sincere devotee of Lord Krsna. When you drive your car you always chant ‘Hare Krsna,’ and when I was by your side I could understand how heartily you have accepted the philosophy of Krsna consciousness. Krsna is very kind to all, but He is especially kind to His sincere devotees. Krsna is always with us, within our hearts, and He is always ready to give us direction, but because everyone is independent, Krsna responds cooperatively. If anyone voluntarily cooperates with Krsna’s desire, He responds to his call very eagerly. Krsna descends to teach us Bhagavad-gita, begging our cooperation, and anyone who cooperates with Him becomes blessed. You are sincerely cooperating with Krsna, and therefore all you boys and girls in San Francisco are working together harmoniously. Harmony means Krsna consciousness. Without Krsna consciousness there cannot be harmony in the world. Your acknowledgement, ‘Krsna has been very merciful to me,’ is remarkable. You are realizing the fruit of chanting.”
“The sentiments you have expressed are very nice, and they are just suitable for spiritual advancement. The actual Vaisnava [devotee] always feels himself lowly and unqualified, but this submissiveness and humbleness is his actual qualification for becoming perfect in Krsna consciousness. In material life everyone is thinking, ‘I am so wonderful, I am so expert,’ but actually the living entity is an insignificant spark of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. So when we see that we are becoming aware of our infinitesimal nature, then we begin to also understand something of how infinitely great Krsna is. One cannot be falsely puffed up and still expect to make progress in spiritual life. Rather, one must learn to accept his constitutional position as Krsna’s tiny servant. Then Krsna is pleased to reveal Himself to such a devotee, and the devotee becomes more and more perfect in rendering transcendental service to the Lord.”
“It is a fact that wherever we go, if we simply let people hear our chanting and if we repeat what we have heard from the bona fide spiritual master, then surely many, many sincere souls will become attracted to our movement. This is because Krsna consciousness is lying dormant in every living entity, just as fire is dormant within a match. If we simply strike the match, then the fire within will come out in blazing light. Our method of striking the match is Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. This vibration is sufficient to awaken the sleeping spirit soul to the fact that Krsna is there, and if we try to remember Him always and spread His message of Bhagavad-gita, then our life becomes perfect, and we are perfectly acting in our position as part and parcel of the Lord. The boys and girls of America are generally good souls; that is why they have taken birth in such a nice country. Now they should perfect all of their opulence by engaging everything in Krsna consciousness.”
“The more we struggle for advancing our Krsna consciousness movement, the more we become advanced on the path. Really, devotional service means that we have to employ our energies for the purpose of Krsna consciousness, and it does not matter what the volume of such energy is because different persons have different types of energies. But the best means is to apply one’s energy as far as possible. That is the secret of success in Krsna consciousness. It is not that one has to acquire the energy of an elephant or that one has to become a very learned or intelligent man; one simply has to become sincere and employ whatever energy he has in his possession in the service of the Lord. That is the secret of success in Krsna consciousness.”
“Just as you are thinking of me so often, you should know that I am often thinking of you also. So if you can remember to always remember Krsna and the instructions of your spiritual master, then surely this will bring the highest benediction to yourself and to those with whom you come into contact. To the extent that we are thinking of Krsna, to that extent maya has no influence. But as much as we are desiring to forget Krsna and trying to enjoy ourselves, to that extent we must suffer the pains of maya. Our remedy for material life is very simple simply to chant for Krsna, to dance for Krsna, to work and prepare nice foods for Krsna. Then we become fully free from all other influences. Please always remember this secret and show all others by example.”
“We should learn to depend on Krsna more and more. Actually, Krsna is always guiding us as Supersoul, but due to our forgetfulness, we do not understand that Krsna is our friend everlasting. With advancement in Krsna consciousness one is able to realize that Krsna is always with His devotees—not only with His devotees but also with the nondevotees, but the devotees can recognize His presence and the nondevotees cannot. The more you make advancement in Krsna consciousness, the more you will see Krsna everywhere—not only on the bank of the river but also on streets, in trees, lamp posts and so on. The more you see in that way, the more you know that you are making tangible advancement in Krsna consciousness. Actually, there is nothing but Krsna all around us. This is explained in the Gita. He is the taste of water, the light of the moon, the fragrance of the flower, the light of the sun, the sound in the sky, the power of the strong and so on. One who is actually making progress in Krsna consciousness can see Krsna everywhere. At every stage of life, who can avoid the sunlight, the moonlight, the fragrance of the flower, the taste of the water, the sound in the sky and so on? But one has to learn that Krsna is there in all these vatieties of existence. Without Krsna there is nothing. It is simply by the influence of maya that we forget the relationship of Krsna with everything that be.”
“You have accepted me as father, so I have also accepted you as my dear and real son. The relationship of father and son on the spiritual platform is real and eternal; on the material platform such relationships are ephemeral and temporary. Although I cannot give you anything as father, still I can pray to Krsna for your greater and greater advancement in Krsna consciousness. Your sincerity and service mood will always help you in advancing your genuine cause.”
“I thank you very much for your nice letter and for your inquisitiveness. You are Krsna’s part and parcel. As you love your hands and legs and you feel when your hand is in trouble, similarly Krsna feels for you when you are in trouble. The hand has value when it is attached to the body. Similarly, we have value when we are Krsna conscious. The hand has no value detached from the whole body. Krsna is the whole, and we are His parts and parcels. Try to understand this philosophy.
“The hand and body are created at the same time. It is not that the body is created first and then the hand is created. Our relation with Krsna is like that of the hand and the body. Therefore, Krsna and ourselves are both eternal, and there is no history of eternity: it has no beginning and no end.”
“Personally I have no credit for myself, but I am trying to act as a faithful servant of my predecessors and just present without adulteration the message which I have received from my spiritual master. Similarly, if this message is presented by all of you who have accepted me as the spiritual master, then all the people of the world may be benefited by receiving this transcendental message of Krsna consciousness. Try to execute this mission wholeheartedly and faithfully, and all of you try to broadcast the message to your best capacity.
“Your humbleness is very much appreciated by me. This humbleness is the sign of progress in Krsna consciousness. A Krsna conscious person always thinks himself the lowest creature in the world, and the more one thinks like that, the more he becomes elevated. A Krsna conscious person is never falsely puffed-up. He is satisfied with his position as the servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna.”