"What good are many, many devotees
if none of them are knowledgeable?"
16 June, 1972
My Dear Satsvarupa,
Please accept my blessings. I received your letter dated June 15, 1972, and have noted the contents carefully regarding your sannyasi travels. If you require more men and women to teach there at Gurukula, you can send from your jurisdiction as GBC man Central USA zone. You will not be too much involved with local temple management, but for management which will require the larger interests, that will be your responsibility as GBC. So you find out some teachers from your zone and send there. The women are best for teaching small children, especially if they are themselves mothers, and when they become brahmacaris at 5 or 6 years old then they may be instructed by the men. If Stoka Krsna is finding difficulty to manage things then you find out some men to help him from your zone. Let him do all of the organizing and be the authority in charge how everything is running, and let others follow his direction and free him to supervise.
You mention you like to speak now very often, but the first business should be to preach to the devotees. It is better to maintain a devotee than to try to convince others to become devotees. It is the duty of the GBC to maintain the devotees, keep them in the highest standard of Krishna
Consciousness, and give them all good instruction, and let them go out and preach for making more devotees. Your first job should be to make sure that every one of the devotees in your zone of management is reading regularly our literatures and discussing the subject matter seriously from different angles of seeing, and that they are somehow or other absorbing the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness philosophy. If they are fully educated in our philosophy and if they can get all of the knowledge and study it from every viewpoint, then very easily they will perform tapasya or renunciation and that will be their advancement in Krishna Consciousness. So first thing is to instruct all of your temple presidents and the other devotees to read daily, just as we have done in our morning class in Los Angeles. You may remember that we were reading one sloka each morning in Sanskrit and reciting it altogether and then discussing it thoroughly by seeing different new things. So you introduce this system and train the devotees first. Don't be too much concerned for the time being with nondevotees, now we must fix-up what devotees we have got in the knowledge of Krishna Consciousness, then we will succeed. What good are many, many devotees if none of them are
You mentioned that you are not yet a very bold preacher, but you will become bold, if you have got sincerity. In the beginning also I could not speak. But Krishna is within you, and when you are serving Him sincerely He will give you courage, boldness, everything. We are not going to bluff anyone or cheat others, and we are delivering the message on behalf of the Supreme Lord, so we haven't got anything to fear and we should be always mindful of our topmost position of occupation of life. To be the messenger of the king is practically as good as to be the king, so the king is the most exalted position. I act like a king because no one can defeat me, and similarly, you should take your responsibility very, very seriously as being the representative of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Who is God Himself, and always remember that you are one of the few men I have appointed to carry on
my work throughout the world and your mission before you is huge. Therefore, always pray to Krishna to give you strength for accomplishing this mission by doing what I am doing. My first business is to give the devotees the proper knowledge and engage them in devotional service, so that is not very
difficult task for you, I have given you everything, so read and speak from the books and so many new lights will come out. We have got so many books, so if we go on preaching from them for the next 1,000 years, there is enough stock. Just like we have spent one day discussing one sloka, so you
introduce this system in all of the temples, and very quickly the devotees will make spiritual progress by getting knowledge.
So far the children are concerned they should know simply four things: 1. Simply think of Krishna always, 2. become Krishna's devotee, 3. offer Krishna worship, 4. offer Krishna obeisances. These four things should be taught and everything else will follow nicely and they will be learned persons. Give them nice food, let them play. Some can be cowherd boys, some can be cows, like that. Play and take food and be Krishna Conscious. As soon as they begin playing they will be inspired, only one has to direct how to play, that's all. They should attend the regular aratis and dance before the Deities, just like the children are doing in Los Angeles, and there should not be separate special aratis for the children, although they may also learn how to do arati in the class before one picture. They must all go to bed by nine pm and arise at four am for mangala arati, and in day-time a little rest.
As for the GBC members, if we study one sloka daily in our classes it will take you more than 50 years to finish Srimad-Bhagavatam alone, so at least 50 years matter is already there minimum. So we can finish Bhagavatam once in our lifetime and the next generation can begin again, like that. From a practical point of view, as I have not yet finished Srimad-Bhagavatam and we have got now 100 branches, so by the time I am finished with Bhagavatam there must be at least 1000 branches. I have worked alone, now you are so many. Our scope is unlimited, resources unlimited, so we must be
exceptionally enthusiastic and sober-minded and responsible for working in that spirit.
I hope this will meet you in good health,
Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
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