Srila Prabhupada wrote literally thousands of letters to his disciples for guiding the mission of Iskcon (The International Society for Krishna Consciousness), and educating the devotees. The importance of these letters is indisputable, and contain the timeless teachings of a pure devotee to his disciples, on the management and continuation of this movement after his disappearance. It is interesting to note the many pertinent instructions on conducting Iskcon affairs in his absence. Many major mistakes within the movement could have been avoided by a more widespread dissemination and thorough understanding of these letters. In addition, these letters offers to the new generation of devotees the personal association of His Divine Grace, thus giving them an opportunity to gain a transcendental sense of judgement and the ability to recognize true Krishna Consciousness.
Letter to George Harrison
Los Angeles, 16 February, 1970
Sriman George Harrison
c.o Apple Record Co.
My Dear George,
Please accept my blessings. I am so much obliged to you for your valued cooperation in spreading my movement of Krsna Consciousness throughout the whole world. I beg to acknowledge receipt herewith of your contribution of $19,000 (nineteen thousand dollars) for publication of my book, Krsna, now going to the press within the week.
Please note that every farthing of this money will be employed in the service of the Lord, and the Lord is so kind and grateful that He will bestow upon you benediction at least ten times more than that you have done for Him. It does not, however, mean that Lord Krsna is like a business man, and He bestows benediction when He is profited by our service. The Lord is full in Himself; He does not require our service, but if we render service unto Him in love and devotion, such action enriches our very existence.
The example in this connection is given that when a man decorates his face, he does not feel much enjoyment because he cannot see his own face. But he enjoys his beautiful face when it is reflected on the mirror. In other words, when a living entity, by rendering service to the Lord, feels happy, the Lord enjoys the situation.
Under the pressure of illusory energy, especially in the age of “Kali,” all the people of the world are unhappy; but I am sure if they take to this simple chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
under the guidance of Lord Caitanya, certainly they will be happy.
I know that both you and John are very good souls. Both of you are pledged to do something for the peace of the world. By the grace of Krsna, you have already realized to some extent about the necessity and importance of Hare Krsna movement in the world. Similarly, if John also does so, it will be a great event.
John and his wife were very kind upon me when I was staying at Tittenhurst Park as their guests. I always prayed for them to Krsna for understanding this great movement. Please inform him this message on my behalf. I have dreamt something very nice about John which I shall disclose in proper time. In the meantime, please ask him to cooperate with this movement as you are doing, and he will be very happy.
Please try to understand the philosophy of Krsna Consciousness in a nutshell: Every living entity has a dormant propensity to love somebody other who is very excellent in his opinion. Everyone of us therefore wants to love somebody else, attracted by his different varieties of opulences. Somebody loves some other either on account of riches, power, popularity, beauty, knowledge, or renunciation. But this loving propensity for somebody else is fundamentally meant for the supremely rich, powerful, popular, beautiful, wise, and unattached Lord Krsna.
Everyone is hankering after loving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but none of them has the right information. By Krsna Consciousness movement we want to broadcast this information that if anyone reposes his loving propensity upon Krsna, he will immediately feel full satisfaction, as much as he feels full satisfaction by supplying food in the stomach. Otherwise, everyone will be frustrated.
Please try to understand this simple philosophy by critical analysis, and I hope by the grace of Krsna you will be a great servant of His in fulfilling His desire that He may be known by His Holy Name in every village and every city all over the world, and thus the people will become happy.
Hope this will meet you in good health and shall be very much pleased to hear from you.
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Letter to Visnujana Swami
P.S. While posting this letter, Sriman Gargamuni Maharaja has just arrived in Calcutta from Pakistan East.
More From Letters, Conversations, Lectures and Walks
Srila Prabhupada: I am always thinking of you
You write that you have desire to avail of my association again, but why do you forget that you are always in association with me? When you are helping my missionary activities I am always thinking of you, and you are always thinking of me . That is real association. Just like I am always thinking of my Guru Maharaja at every moment, although he is not physically present, and because I am trying to serve him to my best capacity, I am sure he is helping me by his spiritual blessings. So there are two kinds of association: physical and preceptorial. Physical association is not so important as preceptorial association. (SP Letter to Govinda Dasi, 18/8/69)
But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection. (SP Letter to Gaurasundara, 13/11/69)
You write to say, ….I really miss Swamiji and my God-brothers’ association so much.” But I may remind you that I am always with you. And so wherever I am there, and you are there, all your God-brothers are there. Please remember always the humble teachings that you have received from me, and that will make you always associated with me, and with your other God-brothers. (Letter to: Sivananda dasa. Montreal , 24 August, 1968)
“However, the disciple and spiritual master are never separated because the spiritual master always keeps company with the disciple as long as the disciple follows strictly the instructions of the spiritual master. This is called the association of vani (words). Physical presence is called vapuh. As long as the spiritual master is physically present, the disciple should serve the physical body of the spiritual master, and when the spiritual master is no longer physically existing, the disciple should serve the instructions of the spiritual master.” (SB 4.28.47 purport)
Associate with Srila Prabhupada through his Vani
Letter to Students — Vrindaban
October 21, 1968 Seattle, Washington
The separation is also meeting, rather in separation one relishes the loving relationship more tasty. So don’t be disappointed that you are separated from me, I am also always thinking of you how you are making progress there. And I am always expecting your letters that you have already opened a center there, and you are working very nicely. ”
My Dear Jayananda, Please accept my blessings. I am in receipt of your letter dated November 13, 1973. I was very happy to hear from you. I am always thinking of you and praying to Krsna for your advancement in Krishna Consciousness. (Saturday, 1 December, 1973 Los Angeles) I am always with you. Never mind if I am physically absent. (Letter to Jayananda, 16/9/67)
Physical presence is immaterial. Presence of the transcendental sound received from the Spiritual Master should be the guidance of life. That will make our spiritual life successful. If you feel very strongly about my absence you may place my pictures on my sitting places and this will be source of inspiration for you. (Letter to Brahmananda and other students, 19/1/67)
But always remember that I am always with you. As you are always thinking of me, I am always thinking of you also. Although physically we are not together, we are not separated spiritually. So we should be concerned only with this spiritual connection. (Letter to Gaurasundara, 13/11/69)
There are two conceptions, the physical conception and the vibrational conception. The physical conception is temporary. The vibrational conception is eternal.[...] When we feel separation from Krsna or the Spirirual Master, we should just try to remember their words or instructions, and we will no longer feel that separation. Such association with Krsna and the Spiritual Master should be association by vibration not physical presence. That is real association. (Elevation to Krsna Consciousness,(BBT 1973), Page 57)
Although according to material vision His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsavati Thakura Prabhupada passed away from this material world on the last day of December 1936, I still consider his Divine Grace to be always present with me by his vani, his words. There are two ways of association – by vani and by vapuh. Vani means words and vapuh means physical presence. Physical presence is sometimes appreciable and sometimes not, but Vani continues to exist eternally. Therefore, one must take advantage of the Vani, not the physical presence. (CC, Antya 5 Conclusion)
Therefore we should take advantage of the Vani, not the physical presence. (Letter to Suci Devi Dasi, 4/11/75)
I shall remain your personal guidance, physically present or not physically present, as I am getting guidance from my Guru Maharaja. (Room Conversation, Vrindavan, 14/7/77)
It is sometimes misunderstood that if one has to associate with persons engaged in devotional service, he will not be able to solve the economic problem. To answer this argument, it is described here that one has to associate with liberated persons not directly, physically, but by understanding, through philosophy and logic, the problems of life. (SB 3:31:48)
I am always with you. Never mind if I am physically absent. (Letter to Jayananda, 16/9/67)
Paramananda: We’re always feeling your presence very strongly, Srila Prabhupada, simply by your teachings and your instructions. We’re always meditating on your instructions.
You write that you have desire to avail of my association again, but why do you forget that you are always in association with me? When you are helping my missionary activities I am always thinking of you, and you are always thinking of me . That is real association. Just like I am always thinking of my Guru Maharaja at every moment, although he is not physically present, and because I am trying to serve him to my best capacity, I am sure he is helping me by his spiritual blessings. So there are two kinds of association: physical and preceptorial. Physical association is not so important as preceptorial association. (Letter to Govinda Dasi, 18/8/69)
As far as my blessing is concerned, it does not require my physical presence. If you are chanting Hare Krsna there, and following my instructions, reading the books, taking only Krsna prasadam etc., then there is no question of your not receiving the blessings of Lord Caitanya, whose mission I am humbly trying to push on. (Letter to Bala Krsna, 30/6/74)
‘Anyone who has developed unflinching faith in the Lord and the Spiritual Master can understand the revealed scripture unfolding before him’. So continue your present aptitude and you will be successful in your spiritual progress. I am sure that even if I am not physically present before you, still you will be able to execute all spiritual duties in the matter of Krsna Consciousness, if you follow the above principles. (Letter to Subala, 29/9/67)
So although a physical body is not present, the vibration should be accepted as the presence of the Spiritual Master, vibration. What we have heard from the Spiritual Master, that is living. (General lectures, 69/01/13)
Devotee: …so sometimes the Spiritual Master is far away. He may be in Los Angeles. Somebody is coming to Hamburg Temple. He thinks ‘How will the Spiritual Master be pleased?’
Just like I am working, so my Guru Maharaja is there, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Physically he may not be, but in every action he is there. To serve master’s word is more important than to serve physically. (Room Conversation, Vrindavan, 2/5/77)
So that is called prakata, physically present. And there is another phrase, which is called aprakata, not physically present. But that does not mean, Krsna is dead or God is dead. That does not mean, prakata or aprakata, physically present or not present, it does not matter. (Lectures SB 73/12/11)
I went to your country for spreading this information of Krsna Consciousness and you are helping me in my mission, although I am not physically present there but spiritually I am always with you. (Letter to Nandarani, Krsna Devi and Subala, 3/10/67)
We are not separated actually. There are two – Vani or Vapuh – so Vapu is physical presence and Vani is presence by the vibration, but they are all the same. (Letter to Hamsadutta, 22/6/70)
So in the absence of physical presentation of the spiritual master, the Vaniseva is more important. My Spiritual Master Sarsavati Goswami, may appear to be physically not present, but still because I try to serve his instruction, I never feel separated from him. (Letter to Karandhara, 22/8/70)
So far personal association with the Guru is concerned, I was only with my Guru Maharaja four or five times, but I have never left his association, not even for a moment. Because I am following his instructions, I have never felt any separation. There are some of my Godbrothers here in India who had constant personal association with Guru Maharaja, but who are neglecting his orders. This is just like the bug who is sitting on the lap of the king. He may be very puffed-up by his position, but all he can succeed in doing is biting the king. Personal association is not so important as association through service. (Letter to: Satadhanya dasa. Calcutta, 20 February, 1972)
Indian Lady: … is that spiritual master still guiding after death?
So utilise whatever time you find to make a thorough study of my books. Then all your questions will be answered. (Letter to Upendra, 7/1/76)
If I depart there is no cause for lamentation. I will always be with you through my books and orders. I will always remain with you in that way. (BTG 13:1-2, December 1977)
74-11-22 Letter: Bahurupa
73-11-25. Letter: Cidananda
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