M O V I N G F O R W A R D
“Core & Essential Elements” of Srila Prabhupada’s Krishna-consciousness Movement
The following are the portions of the references in Segment 45.2, that specify in Srila Prabhupada’s own words, the “Core & Essential Elements”, for any Krishna-consciousness organization of any size and scope. This Treatise accepts that the future is very bright, if these instructions are followed strictly; according to “time, place, and circumstance”, there can be expected that hundreds, and thousands, and then even millions of new Krishna-consciousness communities will be established, which will have these “Core & Essential Elements” established in their community. In that regard, the following Srila Prabhupada instruction, as presented previous, should be followed:
“Never mind there may be botheration to register each center, take tax certificate each, become separate corporations in each state.”
From this point on, this Treatise, will present many elements of Krishna-consciousness, that are familiar to at least Srila Prabhupada disciples. Nevertheless, they are presented to remind some disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and to enlighten new-comers, who are serious about Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. These new-comers have sometimes been called “new bhaktas”, but in actuality, they are known a “kanisthas”, or “neophyte” Vaisnavas. Hence this Treatise will present the following, mostly for them, so they can get “a gist” of what we are taking about when we say “Krishna-consciousness”.
It must be understood, that regardless of the sire or scope of any Krishna-consciousness community, the attitude towards neophyte Vaisnavas can be understood from the following portions of the “Art of Management” letter from Srila Prabhupada to Karandhara Dasa in 1974.,
“Of course, if new men are coming, they may not be expected immediately to take to our regulative principles’ cent per cent. Therefore, we should not be so anxious to induce them to live in the temple. … So, if some new man moves in with us he may become discouraged if he is forced in this way. Therefore, let them live outside and become gradually convinced in the class, why they should accept some austerity, then they will live with us out of their own accord and follow nicely everything. … our leaders shall be careful not to kill the spirit of enthusiastic service, which is individual and spontaneous and voluntary. They should try always to generate some atmosphere of fresh challenge to the devotees, so that they will agree enthusiastically to rise and meet it. That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna. …Krishna Consciousness movement must be always a challenge, a great achievement to be gained by voluntary desire to do it, and that will keep it healthy. …”
It is not that we have no direction. Srila Prabhupada left us his books, lectures, conversations, and letters, are what he said, “the law books for the next 10,000 years”, and “everything is in my books”. Therefore, we can expect communities of devotees, of all sizes, with all sorts of activities and functions which reflect the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
“Regardless, of the size of any organized community of devotees, Srila Prabhupada DOM, and his “Art of Management Letter”, will be observed, in all matters specified, while taking into consideration of “time, place, and circumstance.”
The written words by Srila Prabhupada from the above Srimad-bhagavatam Purports:
The following is a re-formatted, prose representation of the words written by Srila Prabhupada in the above purports. This Treatise, has not taken away any words, nor added any; it has presented his words in the same order, but edited them in a format to facilitates easy reading, so that his points, and instructions are clearly presented:
Narada Muni uses the word japah, which indicates that the mantra to be chanted is very confidential. It is confidential in this sense: one may receive a published mantra anywhere, but unless it is accepted through the chain of disciplic succession, the mantra does not act. It is said by authoritative sources that any mantra chanted without having been received from the disciplic succession has no efficacy. Chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is the easiest process of meditation in this age. As soon as one chants the Hare Krishna mantra, he sees the forms of Krishna, Rama and Their energies, and that is the perfect stage of trance. One should not artificially try to see the form of the Lord while chanting Hare Krishna, but when the chanting is performed offenselessly the Lord will automatically reveal Himself to the view of the chanter. The chanter, therefore, has to concentrate on hearing the vibration, and without extra endeavor on his part, the Lord will automatically appear.
In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord personally accepts that anyone, even one of a low species, can be elevated to the highest position and go back home, back to Godhead, simply if he worships properly. The prescribed rules, as stated here by Narada Muni, are that one should accept the mantra through a bona fide spiritual master and hear the mantra in the right ear. And not only must one chant, but he should also offer whatever foodstuff is available in his part of the world, according to time and convenience.
The method of worship—chanting the mantra and preparing the forms of the Lord—is not stereo typed, nor is it exactly the same everywhere. It is specifically mentioned in this verse that one should take consideration of the time, place and available conveniences. One has to consider the particular time, country and conveniences. What is convenient in India may not be convenient in the Western countries. If someone does go and preach, taking all risks and allowing all considerations for time and place, it might be that there are changes in the manner of worship, but that is not at all faulty according to sastra. Srimad Viraraghava Acarya, an acarya in the disciplic succession of the Ramanuja-sampradaya, has remarked in his commentary that candalas, or conditioned souls who are born in lower than sudra families, can also be initiated according to circumstances. The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaisnavas.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that His name should be heard in every nook and corner of the world. How is this possible unless one preaches everywhere? The cult of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is bhagavata-dharma, and He especially recommends Krishna-katha, or the cult of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-bhagavatam. He recommends that every Indian, considering this task to be para-upakara, or welfare activity, take the Lord’s message to other residents of the world. “Other residents of the world” does not refer only to those who are exactly like the Indian brahmanas and ksatriyas, or like the caste brahmanas, who claim to be brahmanas because they were born in the families of brahmanas. The principle that only Indians and Hindus should be brought into the Vaisnava cult is a mistaken idea. There should be propaganda to bring everyone to the Vaisnava cult. The Krishna consciousness movement is meant for this purpose. There is no bar to propagating the Krishna consciousness movement even among people who are born in candala, mleccha or yavana families. Even in India, this point has been enunciated by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in his book Hari-bhakti-vilasa, which is smrti and is the authorized Vedic guide for Vaisnavas in their daily behavior. Sanatana Gosvami says that as bell metal can turn to gold when mixed with mercury in a chemical process, so, by the bona fide diksa, or initiation method, anyone can become a Vaisnava.
One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. This is called diksa-vidhana. Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gita, vyapasritya: one should accept a spiritual master. By this process the entire world can be converted to Krishna consciousness.
It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasi leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and devotees should take particular care to have tulasi leaves in every temple and center of worship. Tulasi leaves are very important in the method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the word salilaih means “by the water.” Of course, Dhruva Maharaja was worshiping on the bank of the Yamuna. The Yamuna and the Ganges are sacred, but here we understand desa-kala to mean “according to time and country.” Salilai refers to any water—whatever is available—but it must be very clear and collected purely. That water can be used. Tulasi leaves are very important for satisfying the Lord, so as far as possible an arrangement should be made for growing tulasi leaves.
Dhruva Maharaja was advised to worship the Lord with the fruits and flowers available in the forest. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna frankly says that He accepts vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. One should not offer Lord Vasudeva anything other than what is prescribed herein by the great authority Narada Muni. One cannot offer to the Deity according to one’s whims; since these fruits and vegetables are available anywhere in the universe, we should observe this small point very attentively.
It is essential for a devotee to worship the form of the Lord and not only meditate upon the form of the Lord within his mind with the chanting of the mantra given by the spiritual master. The worship of the form must be present. The devotee should not be anxious about cooking food; whatever is available in the forest or in the city among the fruit and vegetable groups should be offered to the Deity, and the devotee should be satisfied eating that. He should not be anxious to have very palatable dishes. Of course, wherever it is possible, one should offer the Deities the best foodstuffs, prepared within the category of fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked. The important factor is that the devotee should be regulated (mita-bhuk); that is one of the good qualifications of a devotee. He should not hanker to satisfy the tongue with a particular kind of foodstuff. He should be satisfied to eat whatever prasada is available by the grace of the Lord.
The incarnation of the Supreme personality of Godhead is not forced to act by the material laws of nature. The word sveccha is used here to indicate that He appears out of His supreme will. His appearance and disappearance are inconceivable to us. In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said, that He appears by His own internal potency, for the protection of the devotees, and the annihilation of the nondevotees. A devotee should always consider that Krishna does not appear as an ordinary human being or ordinary beast; His appearance as Varaha-murti or a horse or tortoise is an exhibition of His internal potency.
Narada advises Dhruva to meditate on the pastimes of the Lord, which is as good as the meditation of concentrating one’s mind on the form of the Lord. As meditation on any form of the Lord is valuable, so is chanting of different names of the Lord, such as Hari, Govinda and Narayana. But in this age we are especially advised to chant the Hare Krishna mantra as enunciated in the sastra:
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
It is recommended here, that even if one cannot arrange to worship the forms of the Lord with all recommended paraphernalia, one can simply think about the form of the Lord, and mentally offer everything recommended in the sastras, including flowers, candana pulp, conchshell, umbrella, fan and camara. One can meditate upon offering and chant the twelve-syllable mantra, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Since the mantra and the Supreme personality of Godhead are nondifferent, one can worship the form of the Lord with the mantra in the absence of physical paraphernalia. The story of the brahmana who worshiped the Lord within his mind, as related in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, or The Nectar of Devotion, should be consulted in this connection. If paraphernalia is not present physically, one can think of the items and offer them to the Deity by chanting the mantra. Such are the liberal and potent facilities in the process of devotional service.
Devotional service is so potent that one who renders devotional service, can receive whatever he likes as a benediction from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The conditioned souls are very much attached to the material world, and thus by performing religious rites they want the material benefits known as dharma and artha. And above all these are the devotees, who simply engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord; they are situated seriously on the topmost platform of ecstasy.
Here, Dhruva Maharaja is advised that if he has no desire for sense gratification, then he should directly engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. This is explained in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by the term anyabhilasita-sunyam [Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya 19.167], “without desire for material sense gratification.” Only persons who are completely free from the contamination of sense gratification can execute bhakti-yoga, or the process of devotional service, very purely.