Podcast – 6th July 2006 – Budapest

Category: Article

Title: Podcast – 6th July 2006 – Budapest

Upload date: 2006-07-06

Śivarāma Swami

Maharaja returns to Budapest from Paris.
In the begining of this podcast he explains the status and amount work involved in writing and editing Suddha Bhakti Cintamani.

Todays Podcast theme – Book Distribution.

click here – 9.9 Mb download, 20:28 playing time.

Srila Prabhupada distributes his books to Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, June 1964, New Delhi.

Maharaja also wrote and article about book distribution that appeared on the Iskcon.org.uk website back in 2002. Here it is:

Who Should Preach?

Recently there has been some controversy among devotees as to “who should preach”. Is it the “young temple” devotees who have the obligation while “householders” should work, maintain their families and chant Hare Krishna? Two camps have emerged. The “preachers” consider others as “inferior” and the latter have accused the former of fanaticism and immaturity. As a result an atmosphere of friction is prevalent and guests receive contradictory advice on how to live in Krishna consciousness. With the hope of eliminating dissension, I have written this article to increase mutual understanding and increase harmony among devotees.

The ideal devotee
Two Kinds of devotee
Practising means preaching
What is preaching?
Who should preach?
Why should everyone preach?
Very dear to the Lord
What is there to disagree about?

The Ideal Devotee

In Caitanya Caritamrta Sanatana Goswami describes the qualifications of a spiritual master. He says:

apane aca re keha, na kare pracara / pracara karena keha, na karena acara

“Some behave very well but do not preach the cult of Krishna consciousness, whereas others preach but do not behave properly.”

acara , pracara ,–namera karaha dui karya / tumi-sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya

“You simultaneously perform both duties in relation to the holy name by your personal behaviour and by your preaching. Therefore you are the spiritual master of the entire world, for you are the most advanced devotee in the world.” (Cc. A.4.102-103)

In his purport to these verses Srila Prabhupada states “…The members of the Krishna Consciousness movement chant a minimum of sixteen rounds a day, which can be done without difficulty, and at the same time they must preach the cult of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu according to the gospel of Bhagavad-Gita As It Is.”

Srila Prabhupada has repeatedly emphasised that there are two characteristics in the personality of a vaisnava. The first is good behaviour, or regulated spiritual practices. That is called acara. The second is enthusiasm for giving others Krishna bhakti. That is called pracara. These are symptoms especially prevalent in a second class devotee or the madhyama adhikari. In the above quote Srila Prabhupada gives a general instruction to all the members of the Krishna consciousness movement. That is they should be both good practitioners and good preachers.

Two Kinds of Devotees

This ideal behaviour is being emphasised by Srila Prabhupada for a reason. That reason is that “…there are two types of devotees of the Lord. One is called gosthyanandi which means those who are preachers…other devotees are atmanandi, or self satisfied, and do not take the risk of preaching work.” (Bhag. 3.24.34) The atmanandi s are generally to be found living in seclusion in holy places, whereas the gosthyanandi s travel to populated cities to give everyone a chance to hear about Lord Krishna.

The traditional division of preachers and exclusive practitioners has been prevalent for centuries. Among the two there has also been a difference of opinion in what constitutes ideal behaviour for a vaisnava.

Even Srila Prabhupada was frequently criticised by such atmanandi s. For instance Indian custom forbade an aryan to leave India. Such an injunction was to restrict non-devotees from expanding their economic practices beyond the influence of Vedic culture to avoid becoming polluted anaryan habits. But foolish brahmana s attempted to impose such sanctions on a world preacher. Other critics argued that a truly sincere soul in search of transcendental knowledge would make his way to Vrindaban or Mayapura and meet a guru. There was no need to leave the sanctity of the holy dhama and become polluted by the habits of mlecchas.

When Srila Prabhupada returned from the west to India with his army if “white elephants” comprising of western brahmanas and sanyasis, instead of being recognised for his achievement, he was once again the victim of criticism. Why had he transgressed Vedic tradition and bestowed the sacred thread to untouchables? These opinions were shared even by some of Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur s disciples. They had forgotten how their guru had struggled to establish the sastric principle that anyone qualified as a vaisnava must be recognised as superior to a brahmana.

Practising Means Preaching

Repeatedly Srila Prabhupada had explained the importance of a preacher in comparison to the practitioner.

“Preaching Caitanya Mahaprabhu s cult throughout the world is more important than staying in Vrndaban or Jaganatha Puri for one s own personal satisfaction. Spreading Krishna consciousness is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu s mission; therefore His sincere devotees must carry out His desire.”(Cc.M.16.63-64)

“At the present moment we see that some of the members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness are tending to leave their preaching activities in order to sit in a solitary place. This is not a very good sign. It is a fact that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur has condemned this practice for neophytes…Sitting in a solitary place and intending to chant the Hare Krishna maha mantra is considered a cheating process. This practice is not possible for neophytes at all. The neophyte devotee must act and work very laboriously under the direction of the spiritual master, and he must thus preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Only after maturing in devotion can he sit down in a solitary place to chant the hare Krishna maha mantra…”

Finally Srila Prabhupada has given his verdict on the qualitative difference between the two types of devotees. He says;

“Those who are preachers are superior to those who go to the Himalayas to meditate. It is good to go to the Himalayas to meditate for one s personal benefit, but those who undergo many difficulties in order to preach are superior. They are actually fighting for Krishna s sake and they are certainly more compassionate. Those sadhus who leave Vrndavana to go fight in the world, to spread Krishna consciousness, are superior sadhus.”(TLK Ch.11.24)

One cannot separate preaching Krishna consciousness from its practice if one wants to be recognised by the Lord. Srila Prabhupada says “Every devotee should be very enthusiastic, not only in performing his daily rituals of devotional service, but in trying to preach the cult peacefully by following in the footsteps of the Lord…one should see how much service is being executed, and not simply in the matter of rituals.” (Bhag. 2.8.21)

What is Preaching?

Lord Caitanya has instructed

etavaj janma-saphalyam dehinam iha dehisu

pranair arthair dhiya vaca sreya-acaranam sada

“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.” (Cc Adi.9.42) The context of the use of the word “welfare” here means preaching. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is instructing that there are four means by which one can preach.

“pranair” means that one gives one s entire life to the preaching mission. This means that one s daily existence, regardless of ashram is to serve the mission of the Lord directly by, distributing books, performing harinama and speaking on behalf of the Lord. For those who cannot give their entire life, but are committed to other means of work in this world, the word “arthair” is used. One must used a fixed percentage of one s income (Srila Prabhupada recommends 50%, in Hungary we have recommended 10% as a start) to propagate the Lord s mission. This means to support the activities of the preachers.

The third word is “dhiya” or intelligence. Whatever ability one has, should be used to benefit others. Thus even though one may be engaged in worldly activities, such training (as accountancy, administrative skills, engineering, sculpturing etc.) should be used for the benefit of others by serving the preaching mission. “vaca” means words. Everyone can speak about Krishna. In fact Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave his householder disciple the instruction “wherever you go, whomever you meet, tell them Lord Krishna s message.” In effect these four practices constitute preaching for both the celibates and householder ashrams.

One may question what are the actual activities that constitute preaching. Preaching means performing those activities by which non-devotees have the opportunity to become Krishna conscious. Srila Prabhupada writes;

“I think Krishna is giving you the required intelligence how to spread our transcendental movement. This is the right way, as you have adopted. to chant Hare Krishna, very nicely, with musical instruments and mrdanga, speak the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita, and sell our literatures like books and magazines. That process will make our mission successful.” (Letter 21/6/68)

“The second important program is this prasadam distribution, without any discrimination, so that everyone will get equal portion, no matter how little or how much there is there.” (Letter 14/4/72).

“This kirtan, chanting and speaking of Krishna, is the sure and certain method of propagating Krishna consciousness…we simply chant Hare Krishna with karatals and mrdangas.” (Letter 28/12/68)

Srila Prabhupada explains that by practising varnasrama according to the prescription of sastra even the “ordinary citizen” can preach.

“…The citizens of the state must give in charity up to fifty percent of their income for the purpose of creating a spiritual atmosphere in the state or in human society, both individually and collectively. They should preach the principles of Bhagavatam by a) karma-yoga or doing everything for the satisfaction of the Lord, b) regular hearing of the Srimad-Bhagavatam from authorised persons or realised souls, c)chanting the glories of the Lord congregationally at home or at places of worship, d) rendering all kinds of service to bhagavatas engaged in preaching and e) residing in a place where the atmosphere is saturated with God consciousness.” (Bhag 1.17.38)

That means, harinama, prasadam distribution, book distribution, supporting preaching and preachers and speaking about Krishna all constitute preaching. In addition Srila Prabhupada has said “For preaching, construction of temples is also necessary.” (Cc Adi.7.164) But among all types of preaching Srila Prabhupada emphasises book distribution as best.

“…to write books and publish them for the enlightenment of the general populace is real service to the Lord. that was Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati s opinion, and he specifically told his disciples to write books. He actually preferred to publish books rather than establish temples. Temple construction is meant for the general populace and neophyte devotees, but the business of advanced and empowered devotees is to write books, publish them and distribute them widely.” (Cc M.19.132)

Therefore all devotees should engage in these transcendental activities of preaching or supporting such activities by their labour and wealth if they cannot directly participate. But everyone regularly meets non-devotees. Thus they may speak to these people about Krishna with a view to having them receive a book and other items of the Lord s mercy.

Who should preach?

I have discussed what preaching is. Now the question is who should preach? Is preaching a restricted activity for some and not for other? In the first quote Srila Prabhupada said “every member…should preach”. Whoever is a member of the Krishna consciousness movement should see to it that they are engaged in some preaching activity. One may say “I am not yet a member.” Srila Prabhupada replies;

“Actually a devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu must engage in preaching…” (Cc M 7.153),

“…one who knows the conclusion of the sastras… endeavours to preach.” (Cc M 25.276),

“Because the brahmana is the head (of society), he has to preach…not…that the brahmana should simply eat on behalf of the Lord and not preach…” (NOD Ch.2)

“That is the mission of all genuine devotees of the Lord…to enlighten the miserable.” (Bhag 1.6.38)

“It is the duty of enlightened souls to deliver the fallen ones…” Bhag 1.13.14

“It is the duty of every disciple to carry out the order of the bona fide spiritual master and spread Lord Caitanya s message all over the world.” (Cc M.16.64)

“Serious students of this Krishna consciousness movement must understand their great responsibility to preach…” (Cc M 23.104)

“We are thoroughly instructing both men and women how to preach and actually they are preaching wonderfully.” (Cc Adi 7.38)

“…all the wives of our students should be trained up for Deity worship and cooking, and when possible they should go on sankirtan party with their husbands and others” (Letter 18/4/70)

“Your proposal for a grhastha travelling sankirtan party is a very good one…” (Letter 24/9/71)

“…a preacher may be a householder, a sannyasi, a brahmana, a sudra or anyone, provided he knows the science of Krishna.” (31/1/69)

“I am especially proud how my householder disciples are preaching Lord Caitanya s mission. This is a new thing in the history of the sankirtan movement.” ( 20/12/69)

Who preaches? Srila Prabhupada says; every member, a devotee of Lord Caitanya, those who know the conclusion of sastra, brahmanas, genuine devotees, enlightened souls, every disciple, serious students, both men and women, householders, wives, sanyasis, sudras…anyone. Anyone and everyone should preach.

Why should everyone preach?

In the aforementioned quotes Srila Prabhupada emphasis that everyone should preach. Why is that? Srila Prabhupada has given numerous reasons. Some of them are as follows.

” It is the duty of every disciple to…spread Lord Caitanya s message all over the world.” (Cc M 16.64)

” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “yare dekha, tare kaha krishna upadesha”…This is the order of the Lord, who speaks as the supreme emperor. Everyone should be induced to take this order.” (Bhag 9.11.25)

” To preach Krishna consciousness is the best welfare activity.” (Bhag 7.7.53)”

” The highest benefit one can render to human society is relieving one s neighbour from all material problems. ” (Bg. 11.55)

“…everyone should engage in preaching, following in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In this way one will be very much appreciated by Lord Krishna and will quickly be recognised by Him.” (Cc M 7.153)

” A devotee travels all over the country from door to door, preaching, “Be Krishna conscious. Be a devotee of Lord Krishna. Don t spoil your life in simply fulfilling your animal propensities. Human life is meant for self realisation, or Krishna consciousness.” These are the preaching of a sadhu. He is not satisfied with his own liberation. He always thinks about others. He is the most compassionate personality..” (Bhag 3.25.21)

Because it is our duty as vaisnavas we must preach. It is the order of the Lord therefore how can a true vaisnava neglect His desire. Out of compassion, knowing that it is the highest welfare work and ultimate benefit for society a devotee preaches and is thus quickly recognised by the Lord.

Very dear to the Lord

It may be that in the matter of preaching an immature devotee makes some mistakes. That is to be expected after all. Therefore the senior devotees should train younger devotees how to perform the activities of sankirtan ideally. Regardless of his maturity a devotee is very much appreciated by the Lord for he takes such a great risk on His behalf.

“Just like during wartime, a farm boy or ordinary clerk who goes to fight for his country on the front, immediately becomes a national hero for his sincere effort. So Krishna immediately recognises a preacher of Krishna consciousness who takes all risks to deliver his message.” (Letter 11.12.75)

“A preacher has to face many difficulties in his struggle to preach pure Krishna consciousness. Sometimes he has to suffer bodily injuries, and sometimes he has to meet death also. All this is taken as a great austerity on behalf of Krishna. Krishna therefore has said that such a preacher is very, very dear to Him.” (Krishna Ch 29)

” The Lord says in the Bhagavad-Gita that no one is dearer to Him than one who actually preaches the glories of the Lord to convert the non believers and non devotees.” (Bhag 1.13.38)

One may ask what is the position for one who is not engaged in preaching? Srila Prabhupada explains “…not that we all have to become preachers, but that we dedicate our lives …to Lord Krishna.” (Letter 29/8/67) Despite the numerous instructions above, due to circumstance or personal inability one may not be directly engaged in preaching. Srila Prabhupada explains;

“…one who worships the Deity with great devotion but doesn t show any devotion to the devotees of the Lord, or does not preach…for the benefit of the public, he is in a lower stage of devotional service.” (Letter 1/2/68)

” Those who claim to be devotees but do not engage in Krishna s service to elevate all living creatures to Krishna consciousness are to be considered kanistha adhikaris (people in the lowest stage of devotional service). (Cc M 24.205)

Thus devotees in such a position should recognise that those engaged in preaching activities are greatly fortunate and offer respect and honour to them. Even if the behaviour of such a vaisnava is sometimes seen as lacking, because of the great risk they take on Krishna s behalf they must be shown all respect.

” One who worships the Deity must therefore be extremely respectful to preachers; otherwise simply worshipping the Deity will keep one in the lower stage of devotion.” (Bhag 7.14.40)

In addition to showing respect and engaging in deity worship Srila Prabhupada recommends that the beginner devotee practice preaching and rise to the platform of intermediate devotional service.

” Those who are active in the Krishna consciousness movement should not remain in the neophyte stage but should rise to the platform of preachers, the second class platform of devotional service.” (Cc M 24.205)

However if one remains in the marginal position, inactive in Krishna consciousness with no commitment to the institution then they should continue to be respectful and engage in the worship of the Deity and chant Hare Krishna.

“In the Caitanya Caritamrta (A 7.11) it is clearly said, krishnasakti vina nahe tara pravartana”: without being authorised by Krishna, one cannot preach the holy name of the Lord throughout the entire world. Nevertheless, a devotee who does so is criticised by neophyte devotees, kanistha-adhikaris, who are on the lower stages of devotional service. For them Deity worship is strongly recommended.” (Bhag 7.14.39)

The conclusion here is that devotees who are not preachers should be respectful to those who are, avoid any form of criticism and regularly worship the Deity at home or in the temple.

What is there to disagree about?

Srila Prabhupada explains that because of individuality, there is disagreement both in the material and spiritual world. However he says that “…disagreements may be there, but there should not be dissension” (Letter 30/5/68)

Devotees have different perceptions on how to engage in devotional service. However it is clear that all devotees who recognise the importance of Lord Caitanya s mission will preach according to their own capacity. One may distribute books, another chant hari nama, another support the preaching, someone will build a temple, while someone will speak about Krishna, and another worship the deity.

“The temple worship will keep us sanctified and when we shall preach in sanctified pure heart the preaching will be immediately effective.” (Letter 15/3/70)

“Krishna s service is absolute. Anything you do for Krishna in the standard of Krishna s service is Krishna also. So cleansing Krishna s temple and working on the altar of Krishna etc. there is no difference. So don t consider in Krishna s service that something is higher and something is lower. neither Krishna s servants are materially superior or inferior.” (Letter 31/8/71)

“So there is no question that one activity is more important than another or that Deity worship is more important than sankirtan.” ( Letter 16/5/76)

But above all there must be co-operation and a unified front in all our efforts, be they individual or collective.

“Now all my disciples must work combinedly and with co-operation to spread this sankirtan movement. If you cannot work together then my work is stopped up. Our Society is like one big family and our relationships should be based on love and trust. We must give up the fighting spirit and use our intelligence to push ahead.” (Letter 6/8/70)

“Whatever imperfections and discrepancies may exist, if you all agree to my directions and cooperage in the right spirit then everything will turn out.” (Letter 25/12/73)


I have based the above article mainly on quotes from Srila Prabhupada. That way its authenticity is verified. Now I shall try to summarise the contents to clarify the issue for the benefit of the readers.

There are two types of vaisnavas. The preacher and non preacher. Ghostyanandi and bhajananandi. Srila Prabhupada had given his opinion that of the two, the former is considered superior. That is because such a sadhu understands the desire of the Lord to deliver the conditioned souls and takes all risks for that end. Furthermore according to Sanatana Goswami such a devotee who practices and preaches is ideal. While the one who only practices is incomplete as a vaisnava.

There are two types of preaching. Direct and indirect. Direct preaching is when one is directly engaged in giving Krishna consciousness to others. Indirect is when one supports those who directly preach. Direct preaching is exemplified by book distribution, hari-nama, speaking about the Lord, constructing public facilities like temples for the common man and so on. Indirect preaching means giving ones wealth or talents to assist the preaching, without directly taking the risks involved in such a venture.

Everyone can and must preach. Man, woman, young or old, all can learn the science. A devotee understands that it is his duty, the will of the Lord, the best welfare activity, the most important service to humanity and the quickest way to achieve the attention of the Lord. Acting on such an understanding is called compassion.

However not only is preaching beneficial to others, but it also benefits the preacher. In fact one s spiritual practices are greatly enhanced by preaching. It is doubtful that the practices of sadhana of the bhajananandi or the non-preacher will reach maturity as easily and quickly as that of the ghostyanandi. In fact in this age simply doing bhajan general degrades to sense gratification and is considered as a cheating process. Therefore preaching is a must for all.

It must be emphasised that part of the responsibility of taking initiation is that a disciple assists the mission of the spiritual master. One should be aware of this responsibility before making such a commitment. Initiation means stepping forward to share the burden of preaching.

It may be that one cannot preach for one reason or another, directly or indirectly. Srila Prabhupada warns that such a devotee should try to come to the platform of a preacher. That will be achieved by service and association with active preachers. If one is not able to follow such advice, then a non-preacher should maintain an air of respect for those who do preach and avoid criticism. There may be apparent defects in the behaviour of a preacher. Understanding that such a devotee is in an exhaled position by dint of risk and austerity performed on behalf of the Lord, one should pardon such defects. The neophyte should engage in deity worship and service to preachers. That will protect him from such a tendency.

In the same way the indirect preacher should also recognise the higher surrender of the direct preacher and give all support and encouragement. For his part the preacher must see the equality of all devotional practices and understand that he is the servant of all vaisnavas. He should recognise that all aspects of devotional service are absolute and not discriminate between them. If certain devotees are found to be on a lower level of surrender, the preacher should be compassionate. He does not deride or minimise another, for he understands the science of preaching. That is that everyone, according to their occupation should be engaged in service to the Lord. Thus by the purifying effect of devotional service the practitioner will naturally advance and become strong enough to take responsibility to deliver others. As one preaches by being empowered by the Lord, that empowerment can be lost if a preacher is offensive to vaisnavas.

In this way if the preachers are broadminded, non-envious and compassionate and the non-preachers or those in-between respectful, whatever disagreement arises in the interaction of individual natures is simply the manifestation of variety in devotional service but not a cause of disharmony.

From a practical point of view we may see the facilities available in Hungary. Brahmacaris and brahmacarini s living in temples and other centres may distribute books, prasadam perform hari nama and engage in other activities as a their sankirtan seva. Grhastas are also welcome to participate in these activities directly. If they cannot then they may reside in the cities of Hungary, earn a living and support the preaching. In addition grhastas have as their preaching dharma to establish varnasrama in Krishna Valley. Showing how to live in Krishna Consciousness in the ideal way is for the grhasta the equivalent of book distribution for the celibate students.

Should any devotees have any further questions in regard to this issue I would be happy to help answer them in any way. In conclusion I would simply like to quote Srila Prabhupada.

“Fortunately, even at our first meeting, His Divine Grace advised me to preach the cult of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in English in the western countries…I was…convinced that Sri Caitanya Mahprabhu s message is the only panacea for suffering humanity. I was also convinced that the message of Lord Caitanya was then in the hands of a very expert devotee and that surely His message would spread all over the world…. I took his words very seriously and was always thinking of how to execute his order….

If there is any credit for my activities of translating, it is all due to His Divine Grace…. I am confident that he is very pleased by this work of translation. He was very fond of seeing many books published to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. Therefore our Society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness was formed to execute the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur…

On this occasion, therefore, I request my disciple who are determined to help me in this work to continue their co-operation fully, so that philosophers, scholars, religionists, and people in general all over the world will benefit by reading our transcendental literatures such as Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.” (Cc Concluding words)