LettersRare Gems of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (08/14/02)
LettersWho Can Chant the Gayatri Mantra (11/02/02)

Objective and Subjective Devotional Service (10/17/02)

Dear M___ and P__,

Hare Krsna.

In the words of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, “Religion means proper adjustment.” He has also said, “First dress then address.”

Time, place, and circumstance are always considerations when attempting to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But there is also the saying, “Doctor save thy self!”

So many things are to be considered. There is also objective devotional service and subjective devotional service (ascending and descending). Of the two, only the descending line of service is transcendental. To popularise Kṛṣṇa among the ignorant masses does not always mean that real service is being done. Externally, many people may take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but if at the same time they are just adding Kṛṣṇa (enjoying Kṛṣṇa) along with everything else that they are enjoying, then there is no real advancement.

Real advancement boils down to two things – śraddhā and śaraṇāgati (faith and surrender). Association with the pure devotees, the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, devotional service, living in a holy place, mahā-prasādam, and reading the pure devotional literatures are the only things that foster real faith and surrender. Bhakti comes from bhakti, and not from any external arrangement in this material world.

So internally, along with whatever adjustments we may make to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the world, we must make all endeavour to assure the purity. If the blessings of Kṛṣṇa are with us, then real service can be done. Sometimes it is seen that when enough money and fanaticism are manifest then many big things happen, but this often ends up being more of a disturbance to Kṛṣṇa than a service (currently there are many examples of this).

Many years ago (1972) there was a devotee rock band that played at concerts in USA and got thousands of people to chant and dance. Śrīla Prabhupāda even appeared on stage with the devotee rock band in Pittsburgh. He said that night that it was the special mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Several months later however, he dismantled the group. Rather than attracting people to Kṛṣṇa consciousness through the music, the devotees themselves were becoming attracted to the old life of a hippy and being a ‘rock star.’ That’s what sometimes happens when we become too innovative and get too far away from the standard practices and methods of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Actually, even bona fide success in preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness sometimes causes a neophyte to become proud or puffed up and this is in itself a fall down.

Therefore, working under the direction of Śrī Guru is always the best course. If we go astray, he will draw us back. Chant purely and sincerely under the shelter of Śrī Guru and we will always be successful in our endeavours.

The foundation digging for the kitchen is almost completed. Once the pillars and walls start to manifest I will send you some more photos. You can also check our web site under events for updates on the kitchen and prasādam hall construction.

I hope this meets you well.


Swami B.G. Narasiṅgha

LettersRare Gems of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (08/14/02)
LettersWho Can Chant the Gayatri Mantra (11/02/02)