Srila Prabhupada letter to Rayarama, Oct. 22, 1971
My Dear Rayarama,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated 11th October 1971 and have noted the contents. I welcome you for your coming back to our society and you are feeling very nicely the association of devotees.
Srila Rupa Goswami has described that devotional service can be advanced by six processes. Perhaps you know them. They are as follows: enthusiasm, patience, conviction, following the regulative principles, being honest in one’s profession, and in the association of devotees.
So this Krishna consciousness society is especially meant for giving people the opportunity to associate with devotees. Devotees means who are following the regulative principles. One cannot be independent and at the same time become a devotee because all devotional activities are based on surrender.
So in the association of devotees we learn this important item—how to surrender, but if we keep our independence and try to become devotees, that is not possible.
You write to say that you cannot feel any taste for temple life or Deity worship. This means you are keeping the same temperament you entertained before leaving our society. Our process is to accept both the lines of bhagavata marga and pancaratriki marga.
Perhaps you might have seen the picture of the Gaudiya mission. On one side there is the bhagavata book and on the other side a picture of Laksmi Narayana for Deity worship. You cannot make any progress in devotional service unless simultaneously you follow both the lines.
Just as the tracks of a railroad line; both must be there. Similarly temple worship is essential for purifying us from the material contamination and without being purified we cannot glorify the Lord.
As it is stated in Bhagavad-gita that the Lord is completely pure and we cannot approach Krishna without being purified. So as you say that you do not feel very much encouraged in Deity worship and temple life, I see that your disease is still continuing. Under the circumstances simple academic career will not help you.
If you want to live with us you must accept temple life, namely cleanly shaven head, observing the regulative principles, decorating the body with tilak, etc. You know all these things.
So far your editorial work is concerned, I welcome your good service but if you do not follow temple life and Deity worship, it will set a bad example. When I was there in N.Y. last time I saw that the tendency was there in the press members not to follow the principles. So I said better to stop the press.
Since then Advaita and the others are attending temple worship. Similarly you must also do the same and chant at least 16 rounds, etc.
I am so glad to learn that you are eager to preach but we should know it that we cannot preach without being solid in our standing as devotee. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that “apani acari prabhu jivare sikhaya.”
This means that Lord Caitanya wanted that one should preach by behaving himself exactly what he preaches.
So our Krsna consciousness movement, preaching, depends on personal behavior. If you want to preach the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ on the principles of Bhagavad-gita you will find so many differences. Those who are following Jesus Christ, let them follow strictly to the principles of the Bible.
“Thou shalt not kill” is now being misinterpreted by Christian priests. Now they say “Thou shall not murder.” This means trying to save themselves from the crime of animal killing. So you cannot teach such unscrupled followers the message of Bhagavad-gita. If you want to preach Bible you can tell them why there will be misinterpretation.
In N.Y. there is a big press that prints “Watchtower.” They are forcefully criticizing Christian behavior. I read that one Christian priest allowed a marriage between two men—homosex. So these things are going on. So your proposal for preaching the gospel on the basis of Bhagavad-gita will not be successful. If you want to do that I cannot check you but I cannot allow you to do such things from within our society. You have to understand our philosophy perfectly, follow the regulative principles, and then in fact you can edit our books and papers.
When I shall go to Mayapura then upon hearing from you of my proposal as mentioned above, I shall arrange for your coming to India. First of all you have to decide yourself whether you are prepared to surrender to our principles, but if you keep your independence either in Mayapura or N.Y., your position is the same.
To associate with me you are always welcome but not with your independence. That will not help me or you.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami