M O V I N G   F O R W A R D

With a Case for the Reconstitution of Srila Prabhupada’s “Mission”.

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Segment 36.2
On Management in General 

Letter to: Brahmananda — Tittenhurst 27 October, 1969:

“Regarding the number of BTG which you print during the winter months, that must be decided amongst yourselves. Similarly, you should decide about what is to be done with the North Carolina center. I have no objection if they move to some other place. Perhaps they will require some other nicely trained brahmacari to give them assistance either in North Carolina or some other place. So, decide amongst yourselves what is to be done and do the needful. This is management. You have asked about the management of our society, and the position is that management should be done in such a way that people may not break away. That is the first business of management. I have already explained the matter to you and Tamala, so you do it consulting amongst yourselves, gradually coming to the general governing body for managing the whole affairs. At the present moment whatever you are doing is all right.”

Letter to: Satsvarupa — Delhi 21 November, 1971:

“Yes, preaching is more important than managing. Just because you are preaching nicely and distributing so much prasadam, the management will follow like a shadow and Krishna will send you no end of help.”

Letter to: Patita Uddharana —Delhi 8 December, 1971: 

“I am pleased to see that routine work is going on nicely in Columbus center under your supervision. This routine work, such as chanting, speaking, rising early, cleaning, cooking and offering prasadam, arati, reading books—these activities are the backbone of our Society, and if we practice them nicely in a regulative manner, then our whole program will be successful. If we become slack or neglect these things, then everything else we may try will fail. So, it is very important that you keep your standards very high in these activities, then your preaching will be strong. Preaching is our real business, preaching and distributing books. If your preaching work is strong, then your management of temple affairs will also become automatically very strong. Just like if the head wills it, the hand will move. Preaching is like the head of our KC Society—if the head is removed, the whole-body dies. Managing is the hands, which work nicely if the head is healthy. If the hands are removed, the body will not die, but it will be crippled. So preaching is more important than management, but both must be there if the whole body is to operate nicely.”

Letter to: Sama das and Sammita dasi — Bombay 4 January, 1973 Baltimore:

“Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 22, 1972, and I am so glad to hear that you are reopening the Baltimore temple and that you are prepared to stay there your life long for developing it to the highest standard. Yes, I was little disturbed to hear that we had closed down the Baltimore temple before. Baltimore is a very important city of your country and we must maintain our center there at all costs. I can understand by your letter that you are both very serious and sincere devotees of Krishna, husband and wife, so I think that you will have no difficulty in performing your duties there. First business will be to preach widely throughout the city and distribute our books and Krishna Consciousness propaganda. In this way, try to recruit some local men to help you. You are only two persons, therefore big temple with Deity worship and so many other things will be impossible to maintain. Therefore, if you get a place, simply hold our standard program of kirtana morning and evening, with class, inviting friends and other people that you meet. In this way develop the thing gradually, we are not in very much hurry to get big big house and very comfortable position, no. Our first and foremost business is to spread Krishna Consciousness. So, utilize every opportunity that Krishna gives you for preaching His message, that is real meaning of temple management. Everyone should consider himself the servant of the other. That will make management very nice.”

Letter to: Karandhara — Bhaktivedanta Manor19 July, 1973:

“Regarding incorporation of our ISKCON centers, we want to run all our centers as nonprofit religious organizations; that is the main point. Keeping this point in view too much official control is not good in spiritual life. The centers should remain spiritually fit and independent. Some control must be there as is now. Too much control means so many vouchers. Gradually it will become a mundane institution. All our managers should be spiritually advanced simple and honest in carrying out the orders of the spiritual master and Krishna. That will be a nice standard. Democracy in spiritual affairs is not at all good but breeds power politics. We should be careful about power politics. Our only aim should be that each and every devotee is full dedicated to Krishna, then things will go on nicely. …

I am afraid of taxing my brain about this Corporation of ISKCON so you and Bali Mardan Maharaja do the needful that will be a relief to me.”

Morning Walk — March 12, 1974, Vrindhavan:


“It will be constituted, that. Their business will be to exploit the poor citizens. And they will be embarrassed and harassed so much: by one side, no sufficient rain, and therefore scarcity of food, and the other side, taxation by the government. In this way, the people will be so much harassed that they’ll give up their home and go to the forest. Very pity… Unless they take to Krishna consciousness, they’ll not be saved. The varnasrama college has to be established immediately. Everywhere, wherever we have got our center, a varnasrama college should be established to train four divisions: one class, brahmana; one class, ksatriya; one class, vaisya; and one class, sudra. But everyone will be elevated to the spiritual platform by the spiritual activities which we have prescribed. There is no inconvenience, even for the sudras.”

Passerby: Jayo!


“Hari Krishna.”


“Are sudras supposed to take sannyasa also?”


“No, why?”




“Those who are sudras, they should not be allowed to take sannyasa. Only those who are qualified brahmanas, they’ll be allowed to take sannyasa.”


“Ksatriyas used to take sannyasa too?”


“Ksatriyas… Some of them. Not all.”

Guru dasa:

“Yudhisthira Maharaja?”


“They did not take sannyasa, but they left home. There is no need of accepting sannyasa. One has to perform the devotional activities. That is real thing. Simply by changing dress, one does not improve. Unless he takes to the, seriously, principles of devotional service. But in the Kali-yuga, they’ll think,

‘Because I have changed my dress, I have become a big sannyasi.’

You see?

‘Because I have got a sacred thread, now I am a brahmana.’

 No. There must be regular training. Hari Krishna.”


“In a varnasrama society, are most of the citizens sudras?”


“Yes. The number of sudras are always bigger. Just like in university education. The, the number of graduates and post-graduates, they’re less. Others are big, number bigger.”


“The whole idea is that at the end of everyone’s life, everyone is required to leave home, perform devotional activities, but not necessarily take sannyasa.”


“Devotional activities, either he leaves from home or not leaves, that does not matter. It must continue from the very beginning. For the management of affairs, we require to divide. Because there are different classes of brain, so those who have very intellectual brain, they should become brahmanas. Those who are fit for management and protection, they should be trained as ksatriya. And those who are fit for producing food, taking care of the cows, they should be trained as vaisya. And the balance, they’re all sudras. This is the division. You… Everywhere you’ll find this division, natural. One class of men, very intelligent. One class of men, very strong, good brain for management, administration. (aside) Jaya. One class of men, fit for tilling the ground, field, and produce food, take care of the cows. And the balance, sudra. That is all. So, in our society, this division should be there. The most intelligent class of men, they should be engaged in preaching, reading books and instructing, taking care of Deity worship, Temple, and another class should be strong managers, that things are going on nicely. Everyone is engaged, not that eating and sleeping. Everyone must be engaged, employed. So, so if one is very much adapted for eating and sleeping, he should be engaged with plows. You see. He must be active. Otherwise, there must be dysentery, eating and sleeping. He cannot digest. Yes. So, in this way, our society should be managed. Not that

‘Give me second initiation, a sacred thread.’

And after getting it, business finished,

‘Now I am liberated. Let me eat and sleep.’

This should be stopped. We have got fifty bighas of land, and I have calculated in Mayapura, setting aside twenty bighas[1] for the temple and grazing ground for the cows, thirty bighas of land. The production should be three hundred mounds of grains. And three hundred mounds of grain, I have calculated. How much you can…?


“Fifteen hundred.”


“No. According to our present calculation, about 180 mounds. So, there should be 120 mounds excess of grain. Instead of excess, they want ten thousand rupees for maintenance. This is… This management is going on. These things were not discussed in GBC? So, what kind of discussion was there? Simply talking? No practical? And the estimate of budget was presented for ten thousand rupees per month. And… And when it was scrutinizingly studied, immediately it came down to six thousand. So, what kind of budget? So, management should be in that way, that nobody is sitting idly. Automatically he’ll fall sick. Sickness means idleness. Or excess eating, sleeping. No excess, no less. Yuktahara-viharasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha. Yukta. Yukta means actually what you need. So everywhere, in each center, this system should be introduced, and there must be practical application of the varnasrama. At the same time, this program of devotional service. Then it will go on very nicely.”


“Should devotees be formally designated in a particular occupation?”


“No. Devotees are devotees. Actually, devotees are above this brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. But for management of material things, we have to divide. Just like in the body there are divisions. There are… Krishna. Krishna was acting as a ksatriya. In His boyhood, He was acting like a vaisya. But Krishna is neither ksatriya nor, nor brahmana. This is the example. He was a cowherd boy. That is business of vaisya. And when He was fighting in the Battlefield, He was a ksatriya. He was marrying as a ksatriya. So, although He was acting sometimes as ksatriya, sometimes as vaisya, but He’s neither of these. So, devotee is like that. He may act in any position, but He is above all the material conception of life. That is perfection. Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna…”


“What should the Ksatriyas be taught?”


“Ksatriyas should be taught that he is manager. He must see that everyone is engaged. And if there is any fight, they must come forward to fight. This is Ksatriya’s business. There may be fight. Somebody may attack us. Not that chanting,

‘Hari Krishna Hari Krishna Krishna Krishna…’

No. They must come forward,

‘Yes, we are prepared to fight.’

That is ksatriya.”


“In our centers we are awarding brahmana initiation, second initiation…”


“No, no. Initiation should go on. Even… You do not understand what I have said, that that is for Vaisnava. A Vaisnava and Visnu… Just like Krishna is Visnu, He’s not human being, but He was acting like human being, similarly, Vaisnava is transcendental. But for proper management of the material world, one should be acting like brahmana, one should be acting like ksatriya. That is required. Just like actually we are doing so. Some of you are preaching, and some of you are cleansing the temple. It does not mean that a sannyasi who is preaching, he is better than that man who is cleansing. The… Their position as Vaisnava is the same. But for the management, one is cleansing, one is seeing the construction, one is going to preach, like that. That should be there. It is not that “Because I have taken sannyasa, therefore I cannot any more do anything.” If need be, he has to act as ksatriya. Or a sudra. It does not matter.”




“Does not matter. But manage, for management, this division must be there. Otherwise, it will be mismanagement. Yes. A Vaisnava coming to the position of doing the work of a sudra does not mean he has become sudra. He’s Vaisnava. Try to understand this point. Just like in the stage. If you want to play something, one must be king, one must be queen, one must be…, but neither of them king or queen. That is stage play. Similarly, to manage things in the material world we have to… Guna, karma. Karma there must be. Therefore, the karma should be done, executed, according to quality.”


“So, in our Movement, the leaders must decide how every devotee and every resource is engaged properly.”


“That is leadership. That is leadership. The… Which man is fitted for which work?”


“Yes. Utilization of all resources…”




“Including devotees and funds and everything.”


“The first thing is that we should see that everyone is engaged. How he should be engaged, that requires leadership. But the first business is to engage everyone. Nobody should be without engagement. Then it will be idle worse, works… What do you call? Idle brain is devil’s workshop. And the devil is kamini-kancana, woman and money. This is devil. So, if you remain idle, then you shall think of devil. So, we should see that everyone is engaged properly. Hari Krishna. Jaya. [break] …instruction in this connection is very important. Everyone should be trained as Vaisnava. At the same time, he should work in different position for management. So, if our men are not prepared for doing the plowing work, then what is the use of purchasing land?”

Tamala Krishna:

“They are not prepared?”


“You have to engage laborer and spend two hundred rupees per head at least, including salary and food, and the production is nil. In this way, there must be ten thousand, twenty thousand expenditures. Am I right or not, that,

‘You bring money some way from anywhere, and let us spend lavishly?’

What kind of management this is? We should consider the money, after all, is earned with hard labor. So, somebody will bring money with hard labor, and another body will spend like irresponsible prince; that should be stopped. That is management. [break] …especially is that the religion means to make a class of men, simply idle… What is? Opiate…? What is called?”


“Opiate of the people.”


“Therefore, they are against religion. But actually, if we show that we are producing, we are managing, we are educating, then we can counteract the communist tendency. But they are seeing that, that escaping. They say,

‘They escape responsibility of worldly life and they’re indulging in some religious..’

That is the tendency. All… Everywhere the government is complaining like that. Therefore, they do not want to increase the number of temples, increase the number of devotees. They do not want. Because they say,

‘These are a class of idle men. They cannot do anything, and they take to this religious life.’

That is the tendency. They are feeling like that. But if you show that you are actually doing something ideal, then they will appreciate. Make a small unit of community and show ideal life, not idle life. Ideal life. Then this mis… That… Now in Bombay, they have refused. Because they are under the impression that,

‘They, these Europeans have come here under some sentiment, and what is the use?’

They have taken some plea and rejected our… [break] …is there. As we are making counterpropaganda against maya, the maya is also very strong. She will also make propaganda against you, very strong. So, unless you become very sincere devotee, daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [Bhagavad-gita7.14], then it will not be possible to conquer over maya. You’ll be succumbed.

Bhagavad-gita 7.14,

‘This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it’

Hari Krishna. [break] …taranti te, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam edam taranti te. In India the, the brahmana class, they say,

‘Oh, I am born in brahmana family. Why shall I do this work?’

You see. Therefore, the whole society has gone to hell. In your country still, they accept any kind of work. It does not matter. And here, in India, if he happens to be a brahmana, he’ll not take any kind of work. Means… Just like plowing. He’ll not agree. Therefore, so much land. The ksatriya is thinking,

‘I am ksatriya.’

The brahmana is thinking,

‘I am brahmana.’

And the land is lying fallow. There is no production. He will go to the office and fight with the pen as a ksatriya. And instead of studying Vedas, he’ll study the rules and regulations given by the office. But he’ll not come to plow. Therefore, this scarcity of food. He’ll go to a mill to work as ordinary laborer. He’ll not come. So much land we see lying unutilized. And they’re crying for grain. Why? The same example. I was writing that in New York City, the whole city is full of dirty things, garbage, for want of cleaners, and you go to the Central Park, you’ll find so many hippies are lying down idle.”




“Not employment. They’ll not work. That means mismanagement. Why they should remain down? Why they should remain without any employment? But the government is not doing that.”


“They do not feel inspired. No one has desire.”


“That, that means mismanagement. You had no desire to take to Krishna consciousness, but you have been taken to it by some, some way or other. That is management.”


“Jaya, Prabhupada.”


“That is management.”


“You are expert manager.”


“A child does not want to go to school, but it is the duty of the parent to send him to the school by some way or other. So that is government’s duty, that a man should be employed according to his capacity. There should be no unemployment. That is very dangerous position of the society. Now this unemployment question is very strong all over the world. They’ll plan that,

‘This government is not good. That system is not good. He’s not good.’

And he’ll do nothing. He’ll personally do nothing. Just like the hippies, they criticize everyone, but he’ll not do anything. It is all… These descriptions are there in the Srimad-bhagavatam. We are going too far? Employed… [break] …from the government to utilize this land. You see? So much. Everywhere you’ll find. Everywhere you’ll find. Who was with me in London?”


“Yeah. Last time, last summer?”


“Letchmore Heath.”




“So much, lying vacant. They have taken it into consideration that,

‘What is the use of working in the land? Better kill one animal and eat easily.’

Because he does not care for sinful activities. The…

‘If I can eat the cow, why shall I take so much trouble to till the…?’

This is going on, all over the world.”

Indian man:

“Employment means now just to cut the money and not to work. No work.”


“Yes. Employment, even for the woman, the caraka. You see? Gandhi also studied this. There must be… Woman should be engaged for weaving. What is called?”




“Spinning, yes. Everyone should be engaged. That is management. So, all GBC members must see that in every temple, everyone is engaged.”


“That is the meaning of leadership.”


That is the meaning of leadership.”


“And that all the devotees are protected.”


“Yes. Everyone should be engaged. And if everyone is engaged, he’ll never fall sick. Yes. [break] …the farmers, their son, they’re giving up the farming business.”


“Going to the city.”


“Going to the city. In your country also?”


“Yes, Srila Prabhupada.”


“Or you have nothing to do with farming.”


“Excuse me?”


“Your country, there is nothing to do with farming. You have got petrol.”


“No. No there is a lot of good land, but they’re not developing it.”


“Just selling petrol.”


“Yes. Yes, if they can get money underground,

‘Why shall I work?’”


Letter to: Satsvarupa— Honolulu 4 June, 1975 Los Angeles:

“Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated May 31, 1975 and have noted the contents. Thank you very much for working so hard to distribute my books in the libraries. This is very much pleasing. You will make your whole country Krishna Conscious in this way. Regarding the book review booklet, it can be included in another small booklet which I have just told Ramesvara to print called,

 ‘The Hari Krishna Movement.’’

The Miami situation is a great discredit for us because we have made such a bad impression on the neighbors that they have had us kicked out. This is because of nasty management. Rupanuga was the GBC, and now you are, why it cannot be made clean? Abhirama has proved his poor management, so he must be replaced. If you sell the old buildings and buy some land as proposed, it may be very nice. One thing is though, if the management continues to be so nasty, then that place will also be ruined. Management must be done very nicely otherwise it is useless. Regarding your staying in Houston, yes, but do not neglect your other business. Jagadisa can take over New Orleans management. Yes, you will be my GBC travelling secretary in August.”

Letter to: Jagannatha-suta: — Vrindavana 26 August, 1975 Los Angeles:

“The article on Marxism is very much appreciated. We can say all these big so-called philosophers are all simply mudhas. Perhaps I am the first to do it. Our philosophy is perfect, and we cannot be defeated by anyone. So, it is up to you to learn it and be able to present it nicely. Now you have everything, respect, philosophy, money, temples, books, all these things I have given, but I am an old man and my notice is already there. Now it is up to you all how to manage it. If you cannot increase it, you should at least maintain what I have given you. You cannot accuse me that I have not given you anything. So, it is a great responsibility you now have.”

Letter to: Saurabha — Bombay 23 December, 1976 Los Angeles:

Yes, make this guesthouse the most beautiful building in Bombay. You have got the credit for Vrindavana, now take the credit for Bombay. Your service will be commemorated as long as the buildings remain. Krishna will shower all blessings for your long life and spiritual advancement. Perhaps when you come back you can take the still more wonderful Mayapur project. One thing, making the hallways Kotastone is not good. It has no aristocratic value. Why not tiles? Of course, as you decide. This is my suggestion. I think Kotastone pavement is no better than cement pavement.

Yes, the management must be very first class. If required we can keep some paid men. Amateur management is not always efficient. I approve of your ideas for management. We shall get it passed by resolution meeting. I like the ideas.”

Letter to: Rudra, Radhika — Calcutta 20 February, 1972:

“I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letters of January 7, 1972, and I am very much pleased that you have opened a very nice center in Madison, Wisconsin. Thank you very much. Now develop it very nicely, and especially make certain that the daily routine program is held nicely and to the regular highest ISKCON standard, that is, you should see that our rising early, holding mangala arati, chanting 16 rounds, reading books, having classes, street sankirtana, etc., go on just to the highest standard and are never for any reason neglected. In this way your success is assured, but if we neglect even for a moment our routine, work, if we allow the regular program to become slack then everything else, we may try will fail. I think you have understood these things and you are doing things very nicely, and because your ‘number one concern’’ is distributing my books and preaching, I think Krishna will give you all facility to increase more and more and make advancement in Krishna Consciousness.

You have described how you once fell down because you saw discrepancies in our philosophy. Actually, our philosophy is perfect, but because there were discrepancies in your mind at that time you may have thought something wrongly about our philosophy—that is one of Maya’s favorite tricks for convincing us to stop our Spiritual life and enjoy her. So, if ever you have questions or serious doubts about philosophy you may ask the GBC or myself. And so far, you’re telling me that some other devotees discouraged you in the past, I also had trouble with some of my Godbrothers, but I never let it affect my service, because when one becomes fixed-up in devotional service he never allows anyone else or any condition at all to hamper his service to Krishna or discourage him in any way. So, you must become convinced like this too, by preaching constantly and having Sankirtana, and you will very quickly attain the supreme perfection of life. As for your question about celibacy, if you want to remain celibate for life, I have no objection.

Also, I have no objection if you purchase cars for serving Krishna, as they appear to be required for distributing books and incense, so why not have them? And when you are more developed, you may install deities and worship them very opulently. My only point is that simultaneously we must increase our literature production and build Mayapur Temple, but it is not that we have to stop everything else for one thing.

The art of managing is to do all things at once in a nice manner, and the guiding principle is to do whatever is practical for preaching KC and at the same time maintaining our high standards of routine KC practices for making ourselves progress on the Spiritual path.”

Letter to: Jagadisa — Tokyo 2 May, 1972Toronto:

“Let us forget past incidents and let us look forward to rectify our defects. So far you are concerned, I am very much convinced of your sincere service. Go on with your work, and other instructions will follow. Simply become more concerned with increasing the spiritual content of our lives, and in this way all other problems like management will be easily solved, not that they can be solved by making some legal formula and having big big meetings and talks. The politicians have been holding such meetings and talks for some time now and the world is no better place for it, and they have only made things worse. We should not follow their example. The world is in a very precarious condition simply for lack of God-consciousness, so this should be our point of stressing, that we should revive this emphasis on God-consciousness everywhere in the world and that will be our contribution.”

Letter to: Jayananda, Trai, Rsabhadeva — Honolulu 14 May, 1972 San Francisco:

“I have no objection to any of the points mentioned therein by you. Only thing is, we must try to avoid becoming too much overly organized like the material businessmen. Our business is to ourselves become Krishna conscious, advance in spiritual life, and to preach to others how they can also take advantage and come to the perfectional stage of life. Too much business or paperwork, vouchers, plans, these things become too much cumbersome for our spiritual growth, they take us away from our real emphasis of work, namely, to go back to Home, back to Godhead. But I think your plan is not like that, so far I can see. It is practical and to the point. But now you must do it very nicely and complete it. Not that we make some plan, change things, then do not complete it, again change, this way, that way—no.”

[1]  A bigha is about 1786 square yards.

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