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Money is the Honey (when used in Krsna’s service; managing money in Iskcon)

Saturday, 06 August 2016 / Published in Articles, Praghosa Dasa / 11,419 views

A paper commissioned by the GBC Finance Committee and the GBC Organizational Development Committee

Written by Praghosa Dasa

How ISKCON devotees collect, manage, and spend Krishna’s laxmi generates much discussion, especially because we have little precedent as to how a structured Vaisnava organization conducts such matters. That said, few, if any, would argue the importance of the twin principles of accountability and using all monies received directly in the service of Krishna and ISKCON’s preaching mission.

Yes, the accounts must be kept very clearly. Then everyone will be pleased with us. Not a single farthing should be wasted. That will be our credit.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => How to Keep Accounts

Our sannyasis, they work very hard, preach, they collect money – but not a single farthing for himself.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Sannyasa Initiation Lecture, November 18, 1975

When I first thought about writing this paper, I intended to focus only on the issue of ISKCON devotees accounting for the donations they receive. However, it quickly became clear that this topic is far broader than the specifics of bookkeeping and accounting. Rather, it has, as with most of devotional life, a philosophical aspect.

The indications from Srila Prabhupada about the importance of devotees being both accountable and detailed in their accounting are convincing.

The idea is although he was a Vaisnava, he was not a fool how to manage a state. It does not mean that a Vaisnava will be fool and rascal because he’s Vaisnava. No. Vaisnava, twenty-six qualifications. One of the qualifications is daksa: he must be very expert in doing things very nicely. Not that because one is Vaisnava he’ll be callous in the worldly things. No. Therefore I repeatedly request the management that you must be very expert in managing these temple affairs. Everything to the right point. Not a single farthing should be wasted. A Vaisnava must be daksa, expert in everything. This is no excuse, that “I have become a devotee. Therefore I am callous to all material things.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.40, Vrndavana, October 1, 1976

And even more specific:

I’m so glad to learn that a scientific bookkeeping system is being introduced in our different centers. If possible, some instruction may be sent here in Bombay for this scientific bookkeeping system. Here in India, although they are trying their best, still it is not satisfactory. Perfect accounts means every information regarding financial and stock situation must be ready for immediate reference and not a single farthing should be wasted.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Rupanuga, February 19, 1971


You must also keep proper account. Not a single farthing should be wasted. I will see the accounts personally when I return to Bombay.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Giriraja, Evanston, Illinois, July 4, 1975

As with other areas of ISKCON life Srila Prabhupada often focused on the bigger picture and was hopeful that if his disciples followed the four rules and strictly chanted their sixteen rounds of japa daily, then most, if not all, of the details of management would fall into place. Of course, if details still needed addressing, he would ensure that happened either by giving direction or personally intervening. As far as accountability and money management is concerned, Srila Prabhupada again and again stressed the importance of not spending any of Krsna’s money on our own comforts.

Just like according to Vedic system, begging is allowed. Begging allowed for whom? For the brahmanas, for the sannyasis, for the brahmacaris, because they collect money, beg from door to door for their benefit. Suppose a brahmacari is going to a householder’s place or a storekeeper’s place, “Give us some contribution.” He is not collecting that money for his livelihood. He’s quite competent to work. But that one dollar which he contributes to Krsna consciousness movement, it is good for him. At least, some portion of his energy goes to Krsna. That is the philosophy. Not that “Some way or other, I may collect some money and live very comfortably.” No. We cannot do that. But you can accept Krsna’s prasada. That is a different thing. But for personal comfort you have to work.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Lecture on the Bhagavad-gita, December 23, 1968

The renounced order of life is never meant for begging or living at the cost of others as a parasite. According to the dictionary, a parasite is a sycophant who lives at the cost of society without making any contribution to that society. The renounced order is meant for contributing something substantial to society and not depending on the earnings of the householders. On the contrary, acceptance of alms from the householders by the bona fide mendicant is an opportunity afforded by the saint for the tangible benefit of the donor.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.2.5, purport

Farms are especially meant for the grhasthas. Brahmanas and sannyasis are meant for begging food grains from the grhasthas. They depend on the grhasthas and the grhasthas treat them as their children. As the child is not a burden for the parents, so brahmanas and sannyasis are not a burden for the grhasthas. They simply take food grains to survive but they give transcendental knowledge for the benefit of society. They have no worries for producing and securing food. That is the business of grhasthas, but the sannyasis and brahmanas devote their time to spreading spiritual knowledge. That is the system.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Balavanta, July 8, 1976)

The benefit for both donor and receiver is clear provided donations are used properly – the converse being obvious if donations are not.

Grhastha? Grhastha means to live with wife. This is the meaning of grhastha. And a grhastha is supposed to support others who are not grhasthas, just like brahmacari. Brahmacari means student life. So grhasthas support them. [break] … sannyasis, other three classes. Because they are engaged in a different subject matter, they have no time to earn their livelihood, and therefore, those who are grhasthas, they take charge of him. This is the Vedic system. But they should live also on the bare necessities of life. They should not be luxurious. A brahmacari cannot be luxurious. A sannyasi cannot be luxurious. A vanaprastha cannot be luxurious. Luxury is allowed only to the householder because they are earning their own money. Others are dependent. So one cannot be luxurious at the expense of others. That is not allowed.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB Lecture, October 23, 1968

It may be that Srila Prabhupada was being generous when he suggested that grhastha’s can live luxuriously. ISKCON has generally been less generous with them. But it could be argued that ISKCON has been lenient toward “luxurious” sannyasis. Srila Prabhupada’s comment above and below would indicate that such leniency is misguided.

Sannyasis should not be given any money. They should manage themselves and maintain themselves by taking small alms from different persons – not a lump sum from one person.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Atreya Rsi, August 13, 1971

And here is clear instruction that all monies should be accounted for first, and then “necessary expenditure” can be handed back to the sannyasi(s) for their preaching:

I know you are a very good cook and I can understand that you have found the books useful for distribution. I have no objection to your printing it with the name Revatinandana Swami’s Cookbook, but the royalty should go to the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Just as I am publishing Bhagavad-gita As It Is with MacMillan Company but the royalty is going to the BBT. I think this method is appropriate. If you yourself take the royalty it will be personal interest money and trade, and this will deviate your principle of sannyasa. Sannyasi means he is in renounced order and lives by begging alms for the bare necessities of life. It is not good to make trade to get money for personal expenditure. If the royalty is given to the BBT, we will keep a separate account from this royalty and necessary expenditures for your preaching may be supplied from the BBT.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Revatinandana Swami, January 9, 1974

Traditional Vedic Model vs. ISKCON’s Model

An argument is sometimes made that our ISKCON brahmanas preachers should be independent, and the Vedic model is used as supporting evidence. The reference below raises some interesting points.

A brahmana is supposed to devote his whole life to understanding Brahman. Brahma janatiti brahmanah: one who knows Brahman is called a brahmana. Thus charity is offered to the brahmanas because they are always engaged in higher spiritual service and have no time to earn their livelihood. In the Vedic literature, charity is also to be awarded to one in the renounced order of life, the sannyasi. The sannyasis beg from door to door, not for money but for missionary purposes. The system is that they go from door to door to awaken the householders from the slumber of ignorance. Because the householders are engaged in family affairs and have forgotten their actual purpose in life – awakening their Krsna consciousness – it is the business of the sannyasis to go as beggars to the householders and encourage them to be Krsna conscious. As it is said in the Vedas, one should awake and achieve what is due him in this human form of life. This knowledge and method is distributed by the sannyasis; hence charity is to be given to the renouncer of life, to the brahmanas, and similar good causes, not to any whimsical cause.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 10.4–5, purport

We often read that traditionally, brahmanas and sannyasis went “from door to door.” One pictures them cold-calling on households where neither the preachers nor the householders know one another. But in ISKCON the brahmanas and sannyasis do very little cold calling; they know the grhasthas they visit, and many, if not most, of these grhasthas are already engaged in Krishna consciousness.

The traditional model promotes the idea of madhukari – collecting a little from many people. The madhukari model naturally protects against material indulgence on the part of the preacher. Srila Prabhupada encourages adherence at least to the spirit of madhukari:

In the material world, all distresses are due to extravagance. One acquires money extravagantly and also spends it extravagantly. Such activities are sinful. All property belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all living beings, who are sons of the Supreme Lord, have the right to use the Supreme Father’s property, but one cannot take more than necessary. This principle should especially be followed by brahmanas and sannyasis who live at the cost of others.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 8.19.17, purport

Part of the spirit of madhukari is to give association to materialistic persons without becoming contaminated by their materialism. As mentioned, ISKCON’s brahmanas and sannyasis know most of the grhasthas they visit. As ISKCON grows, an increasing number of these devotees are not properly situated in their Krishna conscious practices. They are devotees who have lapsed in their sadhana or families from the Indian congregation who are favorable but who have never really committed to the ISKCON standard of sadhana. Srila Prabhupada warns:

It is very risky to accept money or food from materialistic persons, for such acceptance pollutes the mind of the charity’s recipient. According to the Vedic system, one should give charity to sannyasis and brahmanas because one who thus gives charity becomes free from sinful activities. Formerly, therefore, brahmanas would not accept charity from a person unless he were very pious. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave this instruction for all spiritual masters. Materialistic persons who are not inclined to give up their sinful activities like illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating sometimes want to become our disciples, but, unlike professional spiritual masters who accept disciples regardless of their condition, Vaisnavas do not accept such cheap disciples. One must at least agree to abide by the rules and regulations for a disciple before a Vaisnava acarya can accept him. In fact, a Vaisnava should not even accept charity or food from persons who do not follow the rules and regulations of the Vaisnava principles.

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>Cc., Adi 12.50, purport

But the traditional Vedic model can’t be seamlessly transferred into our modern-day ISKCON context, which of course is operating within Kali-yuga. For example, Srila Prabhupada instructed Kirtanandana Swami to focus on “outsiders,” not “insiders,” when collecting funds for New Vrindavan. The idea of “insiders” and “outsiders” doesn’t so much apply to the Vedic model but very much applies to the kind of preaching we’re doing in Kali-yuga.

So he should immediately begin his bahudaka program and collect money from outsiders, not from insiders. And as he is in charge of New Vrndavana, he may invest all such collections for the development of New Vrndavana, and before this Hayagriva must transfer the property to the Society’s name.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Brahmananda, August 30, 1969


The brahmacaris will fail to execute their vows and become generally unclean, the householders will become beggars, the vanaprasthas will live in the villages, and the sannyasis will become greedy for wealth.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 12.3.33


In Kali-yuga, however, the entire system has gone topsy-turvy. The student lives in luxury at the expense of the father or the father-in-law. When the educated, indulgent student becomes a householder by the strength of university degrees, he requires money by all means for all kinds of bodily comfort, and therefore he cannot spare even a penny for the so-called vanaprasthas and sannyasis. The vanaprasthas and sannyasis nowadays are those who were unsuccessful in family life.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => LoB, verse 32

Another way that ISKCON differs from the traditional Vedic model is the relationship many sannyasis retain with their non-devotee families. When devotees first come in contact with ISKCON the relationship between them and their families is often strained, but it tends to improve over time. While this affords family members the opportunity to associate with their devotee relatives, devotees need to exercise caution if they find themselves regularly visiting or staying with their families, accepting service from them, and especially, accepting donations:

So Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, in the beginning he was accepting that four hundred rupees, but what he was doing, he was spending by inviting all the sannyasis, including Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So gradually Raghunatha dasa Gosvami said that all his men, father’s men, “You better go home. I don’t want your assistance. I don’t want this money. You go away.” The master …, so they went back. And there was no invitation. Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired his personal secretary, Svarupa Damodara. So Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was entrusted for training to Svarupa Damodara. He asked Svarupa Damodara, “We don’t receive any invitation from Raghunatha nowadays, what is that?” “No, he has refused his father’s money. He doesn’t take. These men have gone back.” Then Caitanya Mahaprabhu went, “Oh, that’s very nice. He became a mendicant by taking help from home, it is not good. He has refused, that is very nice. But how he is eating nowadays?” “Now he is standing on the staircase at Jagannatha temple. When the priests go home, they give him some contribution of the foodstuff. He is maintained.”

Then after few days Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired from Svarupa Damodara, “Oh, nowadays I don’t find Raghunatha standing there, what he is doing?” Svarupa Damodara replied that “Raghunatha has given up that business standing on this. He thought that it is standing like prostitute. ‘No, I don’t want.’” Then, “How he’s eating?” “No, he is collects some rice which is washed away from the kitchen, and he eats that.” Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was doing that.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Lecture, Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1–8, Stockholm, September 6, 1973

And a final reference, suggesting that ISKCON brahmanas should not have the same level of financial discretion described in the traditional Vedic model but should hand their donations to the local center where they were collected:

Regarding your question about who shall get the money that is collected by you and your assistant, Jimmy, I think that because practically a sannyasi belongs to every center whatever is collected should go to the same center where you are staying. That is best. But this question may be settled in the meetings held between all the temple presidents. If you collect something where there is no center, that money you can take to your own center, New Vrindaban. But I think that all these matters should be settled amongst yourselves with the presidents of different centers. Now as we are growing in magnitude we should manage things in such a nice way that there may not be any misunderstanding between one center and another. That is my request. Everything should be done on the basis of mutual agreement. So far my opinion is concerned, any amount collected from a particular center should go to the center. That means if you collect anything while in Columbus center, that should go to Columbus center, and similarly if you are in some other center.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter, October 11, 1969

Broader Aspects of Fundraising in ISKCON

In addition to the type of fundraising already discussed, we need to look at other areas of fundraising in ISKCON, such as our Life Membership program. Of course, none of these accountability issues should be considered in isolation, and any adjustments that may be required to broader areas, such as general fundraising policy, will be much more effective if our leaders are ideal in their own financial accountability, as clearly indicated by the references given from Srila Prabhupada. If the leaders are not setting a positive example, is it a surprise that others will not be ideal, including grhasthas who take a percentage of their collections to maintain themselves (Life Membership is one area where they do so)?

Tamala Krsna: So we should preach strongly and they should know that we also preach.

Prabhupada: Yes, they should know that it is for their benefit we are making them life members, not for our benefit. And that should be the motive.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation with banker, Bombay, September 21, 1973

Prabhupada’s statement underlines that we should be putting as much effort into developing the Krishna consciousness of the donors as collecting their money. Part of helping them in their Krishna consciousness is ensuring that their money is properly used in Krishna’s service. If a percentage of a life member’s donation becomes the property of the fundraiser, there may be a conflict of interest.

Furthermore Srila Prabhupada strongly advises us about the pitfalls of accepting money given to charity for one’s personal use:

Also, if someone accepts charity, he becomes indebted, and that debt has to be repaid, just as borrowed money must be repaid. Therefore devotees should not accept charity from anyone unless they intend to spend it in Krsna’s service. For a devotee to accept donations just to satisfy his belly is a great sin. Brahmanas and sannyasis who accept charity from others must accept it with great caution.

>>> Ref. VedaBase =>A Second Chance

“With great caution.” It is unlikely that any of our ISKCON sannyasis or brahmanas are accepting donations simply to satisfy their bellies. Still, it’s true that some of our brahmanas and sannyasis are using at least part of the donations they collect to cover their personal needs and/or projects. This may fall under Srila Prabhupada’s warning: proceed with “great caution.”

The following quotations state it even more succinctly:

A brahmana or sannyasi is qualified to ask charity from others, but if he takes more than necessary he is punishable.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 8.19.17, purport

Unless the sannyasi is freed from all cares and anxieties, like a white cloud, it is difficult for him to do anything good for society.

LoB, verse 32, purport

Raghunatha dasa Babaji: “Bheka is more a social custom than anything else. When bhava is enthroned in the heart, relish of the spiritual realm increases and the attraction for sensual pleasures diminishes until it is finally eliminated. This is known as the stage of virakti. Hence, any devotee who takes bheka after attaining virakti for the simple reason of minimizing his bodily necessities is called a virakti-vaisnava. Anyone who puts on the robes of a renunciant before having reached the stage of bhava is a charlatan and his status is not bona fide. Sri Caitanya highlighted this principle by chastising Chota Haridasa.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Part Ten: The Initial Discussion of Prayojana, the Highest Goal of Life

Honouring the Wishes of Donors and Enhancing ISKCON’s Reputation

The topic of honouring donors’ wishes and thus enhancing ISKCON’s reputation for financial integrity has gained increasing attention over the years. There are, of course, two connected aspects to this topic. The first is honouring the request of donors that their donations be used for the purposes they have specified. In the past, ISKCON was a little cavalier about this, and donations were often merged with the general temple coffers and used in whatever way the temple or other authority chose. ISKCON has improved its accountability on this point over the years, although no doubt more progress could be made. Regarding enhancing ISKCON’s reputation for financial integrity, that too has improved as donors have come to learn that their gifts are not likely to be misused. When we misdirect donations to other needs, naturally our donors become less likely to donate in the future. This has been particularly problematic when we’ve asked for donations for food distribution but diverted the money elsewhere. Srila Prabhupada writes:

Regarding the controversy about book distribution techniques, you are right. Our occupation must be honest. Everyone should adore our members as honest. If we do something which is deteriorating to the popular sentiments of the public in favor of our movement, that is not good. Somehow or other, we should not become unpopular in the public eye. These dishonest methods must be stopped. It is hampering our reputation all over the world. Money collected for feeding people in India should be collected under the name “ISKCON Food Relief.” Not any other name. And every farthing of that money must be sent to India, or better yet, buy food grains there and ship them here and we will distribute. But every farthing collected for that purpose must be used for that purpose. I have already sent one letter to Ramesvara explaining these points.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Rupanuga Dasa, Bombay, January 9, 1975

I just saw your film last night and it was very nice. We can collect a lot of money with this film for ISKCON Food-relief program. But not a single farthing of that money should be used for any other thing. It should all go to our ISKCON food-relief fund, nothing else.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to Yadubara Dasa, Bombay, December 25, 1974

It’s clear from these references that Prabhupada was not in favour of playing footloose and fancy free with donations. It’s also clear that Srila Prabhupada was concerned with good communication with ISKCON’s donors and the public’s perception of his ISKCON.

Here’s another example of Prabhupada’s stress on using specific donations for the purpose they were given:

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.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to George Harrison, Los Angeles, February 16, 1970

Another challenge for ISKCON both now and going forward is how to honour the wishes of a donor who specifically requests that his or her donation is used directly for the benefit of an individual? Often but not always, this entails donations from disciples to their gurus. On the one hand it is a perfectly natural exchange, on the other if it grows to the point of near exclusivity and donations to ISKCON projects all but dry up, naturally that will be a major problem to the viability of ISKCON. Of course few if any disciples will have a problem if their guru chooses to direct their donation to an ISKCON project. Equally though the disciple will not have a problem if they don’t, so if all gurus were to choose the latter, ISKCON would greatly suffer. I don’t think there is an easy answer to this conundrum but it is something we all need to work on to find a practical solution. Either way of course all donations should still be accounted for.

Concluding thoughts:

It would seem that if one is a member of ISKCON, what to speak of one of ISKCON’s serving officers, and if we consider ourselves Prabhupadanugas, then it’s hard – if not impossible – to avoid financial accountability.

In essence, all monies received as a result of one’s service in and to ISKCON, regardless of varna or asrama, must be properly accounted for and spent exclusively for the service of the ISKCON mission. To avoid unnecessary criticism and the danger of mistaking our personal ideas about how best to spend money for the best way to use it, we should be careful not to leave financial decisions in the hands on a single individual. Financial decisions should be made by teams.

Ideally, the parameters for and reporting of this accounting should be guided by the GBC body, as Srila Prabhupada indicates:

GBC as a body, they should give direction to the sannyasis.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation, March 1, 1977

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28 Responses to “Money is the Honey (when used in Krsna’s service; managing money in Iskcon)”

  1. Although I serve in a managerial capacity within Iskcon, I keep in touch with devotees at ‘ground roots’ level so to speak. And I hear and take note of what they say, and of their concerns and perceptions. Concerning this article, I have to admit that a frequent misdiagnosed perception is, that, “What do the sannyasis spend their money on…” and “The sannyasis are more opulent than the grhasthas…” I repeat these without disrespect, and why? And let us be honest about it.

    Devotees ‘on the ground’ sometimes see that a particular sannyasa has contributed to a certain Iskcon project or a temple upgrade for instance, and this communication helps the cause of the sannyasa order. But this is not very common. Because of this, varied perceptions abound about sannyasis and Laksmi.

    There is a simple way to communicate this expenditure to devotees and well-wishers, and that is to disclose for all to see, just as Jayadvaita Maharaja does. Such disclosures help to minimise suspicion and doubt. At least communicate where beneficial advantages of donor or disciple funds are headed. It might be harder to disclose ‘millions’ in donations to all, because of the magnitude. But so long as non-disclosure remains, and so will the misconceptions. And this is an important part of retaining the positive and favourable image of Iskcon that Srila Prabhupada wanted. We are all in this together.

    Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa.

    • Vaninathadasa says :

      This is a well researched article on a timely topic. We all remember we are not supposed to point the finger, except at ourselves. Hare Krishna. Krishna is in the heart of all living beings and He is giving us the results of our karmic activities as well as reciprocating our love. There are three kinds of thieves. The first class thief hears…do not steal….and he listens and learns. The second class thief hears but has to learn the hard way, by experience. The third class thief never learns.

  2. Payonidhi Das says :

    Actually Krsna is the honey not money:

    na dhanam na janam na sundarim
    kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
    mama janmani jamanisvare
    bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

    “O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth,
    materialistic followers, a beautiful wife or fruitive activities
    described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is
    unmotivated devotional service unto You.”

  3. Praghosa says :

    The title ‘Money is the Honey’ was taken from this letter by Srila Prabhupada:

    “Money is the honey” goes so far as it is employed for Krishna consciousness.

    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Hamsaduta — Calcutta 13 October, 1967

    Hence the sub-title to the paper:

    ‘when used in Krsna’s service’

    Ys Praghosa dasa

  4. bbd says :

    Great article!

    Why not bring complete transparency, and eliminate most (if not all suspicion) by requiring all sannyasis and those in managerial positions to fully disclose all of their bank statements and taxes (if any) to the GBC body who can then provide these to the society at large?

    Does renunciation not also mean renouncing one’s own financial privacy? If everything is being done for Krsna’s pleasure, there should be no qualms with this simple and honest request. Accepting positions of leadership is indeed a big responsibility. By becoming honest and transparent people will naturally invest trust in an individual. Besides, if those interested in becoming president of the US are expected to abide by similar requirements, why not also the presidents of our society?

  5. Payonidhi Das says :

    Thanks for clarifying this: (this is the letter you are referring too)

    Letters, 1967

    My Dear Hamsaduta,

    Please accept my blessings. I have received your letter of Oct. 5. “Money is the honey goes so far as it is employed for Krishna consciousness. The body is undoubtedly a material vehicle but when it acts for Krishna Consciousness it becomes spiritualized. By the grace of Krishna material energy can be transformed to spiritual energy & spiritual energy is never deteriorated. To be in Krishna Consciousness means to be in Spiritual energy. More in my next. Hope you are well.

    A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

    Srimad Bhagavatam has stated:

    SB 2.2.3: For this reason the enlightened person should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in the world of names. He should be intelligently fixed and never endeavor for unwanted things, being competent to perceive practically that all such endeavors are merely hard labor for nothing.

    SB 2.2.7: Who else but the gross materialists will neglect such transcendental thought and take to the nonpermanent names only, seeing the mass of people fallen in the river of suffering as the consequence of accruing the result of their own work?

    Srila Rupa Goswami has quoted some verses in his Padyavali about real wealth:

    brahmandanam koti-sankhyadhikanam

    aishvaryam yac cetana va yad-amshah

    avirbhutam tan-mahah krishna-nama

    tan me sadhyan sadhanam jivanam

    If the opulence or knowledge of many millions of universes were clustered together, they would hardly equal a small fragment of the glory of Krishna’s holy name. Krishna’s holy name is my life. It is the goal of my life. It is the means I will employ to attain the goal of my life.

    —author unknown

    krishna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih

    kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate

    tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam

    janma-koti-sukritair na labhyate

    Pure devotional service in Krishna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousand of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price—that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.*

    —Shri Ramananda Raya

    I think devotees will love this one:

    viceyani vicaryani

    vicintyani punah punah

    kripanasya dhananiva

    tvan-namani bhavantu nah

    O Lord, just as a miser continually collects, counts and remembers his money, in the same way let us continually collect, count, and remember Your holy names,

    —Shri Bhavananda

  6. Puskaraksa das says :

    Nice compilation of quotes, with some sober comments in between. Thank you for that, dear Pragosh Prabhu.

    Yet, I would like to raise a point and ask a question: “What is the scope of action of pure devotees within ISKCON ?”

    For example, you quoted:
    Raghunatha dasa Babaji: “Bheka is more a social custom than anything else. When bhava is enthroned in the heart, relish of the spiritual realm increases and the attraction for sensual pleasures diminishes until it is finally eliminated. This is known as the stage of virakti. Hence, any devotee who takes bheka after attaining virakti for the simple reason of minimizing his bodily necessities is called a virakti-vaisnava. Anyone who puts on the robes of a renunciant before having reached the stage of bhava is a charlatan and his status is not bona fide. Sri Caitanya highlighted this principle by chastising Chota Haridasa.”
    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Part Ten: The Initial Discussion of Prayojana, the Highest Goal of Life

    and then concluded your presentation with the following quote:
    GBC as a body, they should give direction to the sannyasis.
    >>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation, March 1, 1977

    So, if we have bona fide sannyasis, i.e. devotees who have reached the platform of bhava, and further, if we have some pure devotees, on the platform of prema, how are they to be directed by an assembly formed of possibly lesser advanced devotees?

    If this assembly votes, is there a guarantee that the majority will vote in favor of the most Krishna conscious option?

    I mean to say, if the GBC is meant to govern managerial affairs of the institution, is the GBC as a Body, the most qualified to decide on tattva?

    Isn’t there also a risk that a pure devotee be hampered in his preaching activities…?

    Hence, isn’t there a risk that we be misled, rather than sheltered under the guidance of a pure devotee, just as it was the case at the time of Srila Prabhupada’s physical presence, who had the last say over the GBC. Then, the GBC was acting under his authority and supervision and could be corrected at times when there was a need, by the pure devotee.

    Hence, shouldn’t there still be some room for the principle of transcendence, as democracy, even amongst madhyama adhikaris, may not match the transcendental vision and understanding of the uttama adhikari, of the liberated pure devotee of the Lord and sat guru?

  7. Praghosa says :

    Dear Puskaraksa prabhu,

    Yes the question you raise is I guess one that many devotees consider. For myself I simply am satisfied that the system of governance given to us by Srila Prabhupada (and of course Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja), is the best that is available. And on balance it is far better to run the risk, as you put it of:

    “a pure devotee be hampered in his preaching activities”

    than it is taking the risk of individuals who are not pure devotees being given excessive independence and not functioning under the authority of a governing board.

    That in essence is the reason that both Srila Prabhupada and Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja wanted a governing board to be the final authority. It is true that they may not all be pure devotees, indeed maybe none of them might be, still, as a collective unit, their decisions on balance are likely to be the right ones.

    Also ISKCON’s current GBC do not function in a vacuum, they avail of much input from other senior, advanced devotees both informally and formally via committees such as the Sastric Advisory Council etc.

    I would also add that if pure devotees manifest among us (and for sure there are some very advanced devotees among us), it is not that somehow they would automatically conflict or be hampered in their preaching by the GBC. Indeed I think the collective maturity, sincerity and advancement of those advanced devotees, as well as the GBC members, would enhance and support the service of those special devotees.

    However as I said at the outset, ultimately the system of a governing board being the final authority, is the system mandated to us by our most recent acaryas. So we enthusiastically work with that system, as not to do so, would be going against the explicit instruction of His Divine Grace, as evidenced by this definitive statement:

    “The GBC authority must be accepted under all circumstances.”

    SPL to Bali Mardan and Pusta Krsna 18th September 1972

  8. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you very much for your prompt and kind answer, dear Pragosh Prabhu.

    Of course, considering the fact that all ISKCON devotees admit the principle of a Governing Body Committee as the managerial authority for ISKCON, we still have to reflect on the concept of relative or apparent consideration, on one hand, i.e. apara-vicara and of absolute condideration, i.e. tattva-vicara, on the other hand.

    Given the fact that the GBC has proven, upon the course of history, to be wrong at times, be it collectively as a Body or individually, as GBC members, I would humbly put forward that our spiritual guidelines should be the principles of tolerance and humility, as proponed in Siksastakam:

    trinad api sunicena
    taror api sahishnuna
    amanina manadena
    kirtaniyah sada harihi

    “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”

    Hence, since this is the Movement of Lord Caitanya, how could we abide by some other principles than those defined by Lord Caitanya?

    Letter to Rupanuga — Los Angeles 20 December, 1968: “I have received your letter of December 15, 1968 and have noted the contents with much satisfaction and encouragement. This accredited course which you have attained at the University of Buffalo is a very nice breakthrough for Lord Caitanya’s movement in the West. Please do this very carefully and seriously and I am sure that Lord Caitanya will give you the intelligence from within to successfully execute this new, important project.”

    Thereby, when a sincere and faithful ISKCON devotee faces a situation where the representative(s) of ISKCON authority may be wrong, he still tolerates and submits, keeping in mind that Krishna is the Supreme Witness and the Supreme Controller. Hence, the devotee takes what could objectively be analyzed as a mistake from the part of his authority as a test of humilty and tolerance from his part, as well as a way to prove his sincerity and attachement to Srila Prabhupada’s Movement, while keeping in mind that for any organization to survive, there has to be some discipline.

    Hence, while this cooperative attitude may be saluted, an humble and respectful approach, as a favor of reciprocity, would be highly appreciated…

  9. Praghosa says :

    Absolutely Puskaraksa prabhu; for any and all of us who make mistakes that should only be an incentive to better apply and more deeply reflect on the trinad api sunicena principle. Leaders in particular should set this example.

    And also as you nicely point out, we all should give devotees the space to do that by avoiding any tendency we might have to be judgmental.

    As ever Srila Prabhupada has left us many examples of doing just that and often quoted the saying ‘failure is the pillar of success’.

    As in this exchange with Madhudvisa prabhu:

    Prabhupada: It doesn’t matter. Live like grhastha, but don’t leave. So where you are staying now?
    Madhudvisa: I just came from Hawaii.
    Prabhupada: Where is your wife?
    Madhudvisa: She’s there. I just had a baby boy.
    Prabhupada: Huh?
    Madhudvisa: I just had a son.
    Prabhupada: That’s nice.
    Madhudvisa: I called him Abhay. I hope that’s all right.
    Prabhupada: So remain as grhastha and render your service. There is no harm. If one could not proceed, it doesn’t matter. Failure is the pillar of success. Then try. Again you shall try.

    Room Conversation With Madhudvisa and others — August 17, 1977, Vrndavana

  10. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thanks again for your kind and prompt answer.

    In regards to it, some may argue that one may see things differently, whether one is at the giving or the receiving end, i.e. in that particular context of failure, whether one is giving pain to others, or whether one is inflicted pain upon, either as an individual or as a group, by someone else.

    Nevertheless, even though there may be two sides to the coin, history has also shown that those leaders who inflicted pain upon others and committed offenses to devotees, most often, as a reaction for their misdeeds, had to leave ISKCON.

    Therefore, devotees who may temporarily be undergoing what they may feel is an abuse or the consequences of some past mistakes made by the management in charge, still have to tolerate and try to remain part of the solution.

    In that respect, we have to keep and cherish, in the shrine of our hearts, this final instruction of Srila Prabhupada: “If you love me, cooperate with each other…”.

    Actually, there is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way!

    As this constant chanting of the Holy Name,

    harer nama harer nama
    harer namaiva kevalam
    kalau nasty eva nasty eva
    nasty eva gatir anyatha
    [C.c. Adi 17.21]

    “In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.”

    will become possible, only when one has developped utmost humility and tolerance: “In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”

    Hence, patience (dhairyāt) is another virtue that has to be developped by all ISKCON members and as it is, by all devotees engaged along the devotional path, keeping in mind the fact that all adverse situation is only temporary and that any apparent injustice is bound to be rectified by Sri Guru and Krishna in due course of time, while considering that any pain inflicted upon ourselves is nothing but the remaining reactions of our past sinful activities:

    tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
    bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
    hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
    jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

    My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.
    S.B. 10.14.8

  11. Praghosa says :

    Thank you again for your thoughts Puskaraksa prabhu, which again I find myself in agreement with. ISKCON has both a glorious history and no doubt future, while at the same time quite a chequered past to.

    There are different thoughts and ideas on why things developed the way they did in ISKCON, particularly in the years immediately after the departure of Srila Prabhupada, which I won’t go into here.

    One thing though that I’m confident of is that if the GBC body had been stronger and more established during those years, then the wrongs that were committed may not have all been avoided (although some of them may have been), but they would have been dealt with in a far better way.

    Either way, assuming a position of leadership in a spiritual movement like ISKCON is not to be taken lightly as clearly outlined by Srila Prabhupada:

    So Vidura was Yamaraja. Not only he was Yamaraja, ordinary, but he is one of the great authorities. There are twelve authorities mentioned in the sastra. One of them is Yamaraja. Balir vaiyasakir vayam. This is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Yamaraja is one of the GBC of Krsna. Yes. As we have got twelve GBC’s, similarly Krsna has got GBC’s. Now,

    svayambhur naradah sambhuh
    kumarah kapilo manuh
    prahlado janako bhismo
    balir vaiyasakir vayam [SB 6.3.20]

    That twelve men are authorized to preach Krsna consciousness. So we have to follow. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Therefore we have created these GBC. So they should be very responsible men. Otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a sudra. Although Yamaraja is a GBC, but he made a little mistake. He was punished to become a sudra. So those who are GBC’s, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great. That is the difficulty.

    Srimad-Bhagavatam lecture 1.13.15 — Geneva, June 4, 1974

  12. Payonidhi Das says :

    What a nice discussion, I like to add Srila Prabhupadas : “In our society, everyone, either a brahmacari or sannyasi or grhastha, who has dedicated his life and soul for this movement, they are all on the same level of sannyasi….Nobody should try to claim any extra honor on account of an official position.”
    (8-30-69) And yes there is such a thing that devotees not being properly treated GBC’s also sometiems makes mistakes
    and are not infallible, but yes there is no alternative to having a GBC.But I would like to see a ministry of Justice and ISCKON resolve that deals with internal issues…for example when presenting all sastric evidences about Janmastami fasting a few years back ,I was dealt with very harshly though Srila Prabhupada wanted strict fasting in Janmastami..I am just giving this as an example in some ways there can be improvements…..on an issue like this I do believe the GBC should want devotees to be educadet to do the right thing and understand why…….hope this does not sound like holier than though ,which is not the case at all.

  13. Puskaraksa das says :

    Srila Prabhupada – Morning Walk — February 3, 1975, Hawaii:

    Prabhupāda: Yes. If you don’t follow the instruction of guru, then you are fallen down immediately. That is the way. Otherwise why you sing, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo **. It is my duty to satisfy guru. Otherwise I am nowhere. So if you prefer to be nowhere, then you disobey as you like. But if you want to be steady in your position, then you have to follow strictly the instruction of guru.

    Devotee (1): We can understand all of your instructions simply by reading your books.

    Prabhupāda: Yes. Anyway, follow the instruction. That is required. Follow the instruction. Wherever you remain, it doesn’t matter. You are secure. Follow the instruction. Then you are secure anywhere. It doesn’t matter. Just like I told you that I saw my Guru Mahārāja not more than ten days in my life, but I followed his instruction. I was a gṛhastha, I never lived with the Maṭha, in the temple. It is practical. So many Godbrothers recommended that “He should be in charge in this Bombay temple, this, that, that…” Guru Mahārāja said, “Yes, better he lives outside. That is good, and he will do what is needed in due course of time.”

    Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!

    Prabhupāda: He said like that. I could not understand at that time what does he expect. Of course, I knew that he wanted me to preach.

    Yaśodānandana: I think you have done this in grand style.

    Devotees: Jaya, Prabhupāda! Haribol!

    Prabhupāda: Yes, done grand style because I strictly follow the instruction of my Guru Mahārāja, that’s all. Otherwise I have no strength. I have not played any magic. Did I? Any gold manufacturing? (laughter) Still, I have got better disciples than the gold-manufacturing guru.

    Yaśodānandana: Before you came, many gurus came, but they did not make any pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa.

    Prabhupāda: How they can? He is not pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. How he can do? Kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nāhe nāma pracāra: “Without being empowered by Kṛṣṇa nobody can turn a person to become devotee of Kṛṣṇa.” It is not… Artificially, you cannot make. He may make show of gold manufacturing, but he cannot make a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible.

    Jayatīrtha: So the purpose of having the Society is to show the devotees how they can always be twenty-four hours engaged according to your instruction.


  14. Puskaraksa das says :


    Prabhupāda: Yes, that is helping one another. If I am deficient, by seeing your example I shall correct myself. This is the idea, not that a fool’s paradise: all fools and join together. Not like that. There should be ideal life, at least the leaders, the president, the GBC. They will show the example, and they will follow. Then it is beneficial. And all of them are fools? Then it is fool’s paradise. At least, in the blind association, at least if one man has got eyes, then he can lead all the blind men. But if all of them are blind, then it is fool’s paradise. So somehow or other, we have got now a position. People likes us. So we should not spoil by personal sense gratification. That is my request. If we can maintain this institution rigidly according to the order, then many people will be benefited. By seeing our behavior, by character, they will become. Apani ācāri prabhu jīveri śikṣāya. The leader should be ideal.

    Devotee (1): We should dedicate our lives to preaching this message of Lord Caitanya.

    Prabhupāda: Yes, preaching, preaching, you will become perfect preacher. Preach only what you have heard from Kṛṣṇa and guru, that’s all. Don’t add and subtract. Then you are secure. And if you add some concoction just like somebody says that “I may do whatever I like independently. If I chant, then everything is all right,” this is nonsense addition. It is not the fact. That is the danger. Some inexperienced man, he introduces some concoction. Sometimes they say, “Prabhupāda said it.” More misleading. Yes. (end)

    So, from this, as you rightly outlined, dear Pragosh Prabhu, we all have to acknowledge that taking up a position of leadership within a spiritual Movement, and all the more within the Spiritual Institution representing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Caitanya, along with His intimate entourage, acting as the bona fide Parampara, is neither a light responsibility, nor a position which one may feel entitled to misuse in any way.

    Hence, even if we may not feel like we measure up to the high expectations of the pure devotee, still we have to at least make sure each leader has the right motivation, i.e. one is purposefully endeavoring for the welfare of ISKCON, the devotees and conditioned souls at large, and has chased away the witch of labha, puja, pratistha (search for name, fame and position) as well as any selfish pursuit and misuse of Guru and Krishna’s property and Lakshmi (i.e. Srila Prabhupada’s blood).

  15. Praghosa says :

    Yes they must have either:

    “chased away the witch of labha, puja, pratistha (search for name, fame and position) as well as any selfish pursuit and misuse of Guru and Krishna’s property and Lakshmi (i.e. Srila Prabhupada’s blood)”

    or is keeping them well at bay…

    As Srila Prabhupada often explained we do not have to be perfect (uttama adhikaris), but we must not adjust the message of Krsna or the spiritual master:

    “One who distributes knowledge exactly as God distributes it, who distributes the same knowledge imparted by God, is also perfect. A postman may deliver us a hundred dollars, but we do not consider that the postman is giving us a hundred dollars. The money is sent by a friend, and it is simply the postman’s business to hand it over as it is, without taking anything or adding anything to it. His perfection is that he delivers the hundred dollars as it is sent by one’s friend. That is his perfection. The postman may be imperfect in so many ways, but when he does his business perfectly, he is perfect”

  16. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dear Pragosh Ji, you will certainly agree that theoritical knowledge may not be sufficient:

    Srila Prabhupada – Lecture on BG 9.1 — Vrndavana, April 17, 1975:
    “Jñānaṁ vijñāna-sahitam. Jñāna, this knowledge, most confidential knowledge, it is not sentiment. Vijñāna-sahitam. It is science. Just like in scientific knowledge you must know theoretically and practically. Not only that, you simply know that so much oxygen, so much hydrogen produces water by mixing… That is theoretical. You have to make water by mixing these two chemicals—that is practical. So in the B.A.C. examination they take examination, test, theoretical and practical. So theoretical is,, Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). But when you really surrender, that is practical science. That is practical. If you decide to surrender—that is called śaraṇāgati—then you have to learn the science how to become surrendered. That is vijñāna. Jñāna means theoretical knowledge and vijñāna means practical knowledge. So we have to do it practically, not that “I have read Bhagavad-gītā and Bhāgavata. So I have become a devotee.” No. You should practically demonstrate in your life that you are actually devotee. That is called vijñāna-sahitam. Jñānaṁ vijñāna-sahitam.”

    Similarly, leaders must be qualified and not just have the capacity to repeat what they may have memorized:

    Srila Prabhupada – Lecture on SB 1.15.37 — Los Angeles, December 15, 1973: “So the leaders must be perfect. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, at least three persons in the society… The first: the priest or the spiritual master, who are engaged in teaching people about religiosity, he must be perfect, above suspicion. Similarly, public leader, he must be also above suspicion. A brāhmaṇa… Brāhmaṇa means priest also. He must be above suspicion. And the king must be above suspicion. Then things will go on. But there is no such restriction. Nowadays it is the days of vote. Any rascal, if he gets vote somehow or other, then he acquires the exalted post. That is also written in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that in the Kali-yuga there will be no consideration who is fit to occupy the exalted post of presidentship or royal throne. Simply somehow or other, by hook and crook, he’ll occupy the seat. Therefore people are suffering.”

  17. Puskaraksa das says :

    Hence, Srila Prabhupada concludes:

    Srila Prabhupāda – Morning Walk — December 16, 1973, Los Angeles:
    “Because they are not leader, perfect leader. With imperfect knowledge they become leader. Therefore we… Our process is to accept a leader who is perfect. That is our process. And the others, fools, they accept a leader who is not perfect. But either we or they, they must accept a leader. The only difference is that we accept the perfect leader and they accept the imperfect leader. Therefore they are cheated.”

    Further, Srila Prabhupada explains what the symptoms are of both a perfect leader and a perfect system:

    Morning Walk — March 16, 1976, Mayapura:
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: A leader means that he’s following a system. So what are the criterion of…?
    Prabhupāda: That already told. He does not commit any mistake.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, that I understand.
    Prabhupāda: He is not illusioned, he is not a cheater, and he is perfect.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So now you’ve defined a perfect leader. What is a perfect system? What are the criterion for a perfect system?
    Prabhupāda: Perfect system means from which we do not suffer. That’s all.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No suffering.
    Prabhupāda: No suffering.
    Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That is the main criterion.
    Prabhupāda: Yes. We are always hankering after happiness. So we do not like suffering. So if there is no suffering, that is perfect system.

  18. Praghosa says :

    Yes Srila Prabhupada set the bar very high, particularly for leaders. Hence there is no doubt about the standard we have to rise to due to that special mercy of His Divine Grace.

    Of course as Srila Prabhupada said so many times, Krsna consciousness is a gradual process and that is no doubt applicable for leaders to. Also as previously discussed there are two types of perfection, those who are actually liberated and those who are on the path of liberation. For those who are on the path of liberation there may be occasional mistakes as elaborately explained in the api cet su-duracaro verse. In the purport to that verse Srila Prabhupada explains:

    “one fully engaged in the devotional service of the Lord is sometimes found engaged in abominable activities, these activities should be considered to be like the spots that resemble the mark of a rabbit on the moon. Such spots do not become an impediment to the diffusion of moonlight. Similarly, the accidental fall down of a devotee from the path of saintly character does not make him abominable”

    Additionally it is explained at length throughout the Bhaktivedanta purports that the motives of devotees and non devotees are very different and hence have to be judged (and dealt with) differently.

    I think the following words of Srila Prabhupada explain very nicely the reasons why some of our leaders in the past (and maybe presently too), faced the problems that they did and the solution to those problems. You get a real sense from Srila Prabhupada throughout the whole issue that generated his below thoughts, that he was so appreciative of the sacrifice his leaders made, while knowing well they were not perfect, as well as all of them not being properly situated. So yes we all look forward to the day when we have perfect leaders, in the meantime we can mediate both on the appreciation Srila Prabhupada had for his less than perfect leaders and the compassionate way he dealt with them when they ran into difficulty.


  19. Praghosa says :

    “What constitutes a normal condition will not be the same for everyone, therefore there are divisions of varnasrama: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra; brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. Especially in this age, Kali-yuga, it is advised that no-one take sannyasa … From this we can understand that, in this age, the sannyasa asrama is forbidden because people are not strong. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed us an example in taking sannyasa at the age of twenty-four years, but even Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya advised Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be extremely careful because He had taken sannyasa at an early age. For preaching, we give young boys sannyasa, but actually it is being experienced that they are not fit for sannyasa.
    There is no harm, however, if one thinks that he is unfit for sannyasa; if he is very much agitated sexually, he should go to the asrama where sex is allowed, namely the grhastha asrama. That one has been found to be weak in one place, does not mean that he should stop fighting the crocodile of maya. One should take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, as we shall see Gajendra do, and at the same time one can be a grhastha if he is satisfied with sexual indulgence.
    There is no need to give up the fight. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore recommended: sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. One may stay in whichever asrama is suitable for him; it is not essential that one takes sannyasa. If one is sexually agitated, he can enter the grhastha asrama. But one must continue fighting. For one who is not in a transcendental position, to take sannyasa artificially is not a very great credit. If sannyasa is not suitable, one may enter the grhastha asrama and fight maya with great strength. But one should not give up the fighting and go away.”

  20. Puskaraksa das says :

    “One night Abhay had a striking dream, the same dream he had had several times before, during his days as a householder. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati appeared, just as Abhay had known him, the tall, scholarly sannyasi, coming directly from the spiritual world, from Krishna’s personal entourage. He called to Abhay and indicated that he should follow. Repeatedly he called and motioned. He was asking Abhay to take sannyasa. Come, he urged, become a sannyasi.

    Abhay awoke in a state of wonder. He thought of this instruction as another feature of the original instruction Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had given him at their first meeting in Calcutta, the same instruction that his spiritual master had later solidified in a letter; become an English preacher and spread Krishna consciousness throughout the Western world. Sannyasa was for that end; otherwise, why would his spiritual master have asked him to accept it? Abhay reasoned that his spiritual master was saying, “Now take sannyasa and you will actually be able to accomplish this mission. Formerly the time was not right.”

    Abhay deliberated cautiously. By accepting sannyasa, a Vaishnava dedicates his body, mind and words totally to the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, renouncing all other engagements. He was doing that already. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had offered sannyasa to his leading disciples so that they could continue his mission; they hadn’t done it. Preaching in the West had proved perilous even for the Gaudiya Math’s most recognised sannyasis. How could he, a mere householder, presume he could succeed where the others had failed? He was hesitant. The helpless, incapable feeling he had expressed in his “Viraha-ashtaka” was there. But now his spiritual master was beckoning him – over all other considerations, even over natural humility. Now, although he was elderly and alone, the desire to preach just as his spiritual master had preached remained within him, a fierce though sometimes quietly expressed determination.

    The Vedik standard and the example set by the previous acharyas was that if one wanted to lead a preaching movement, sannyasa was required. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had taken sannyasa to facilitate his missionary work. Lord Chaitanya had taken sannyasa to further his sankirtan movement.”


  21. Puskaraksa das says :


    “Of course, Lord Chaitanya was the Supreme Personality of godhead, but when His young students had been disrespectful towards Him, treating Him as an ordinary man, He had taken sannyasa. Because a sannyasi is automatically respected, Lord Chaitanya’s acceptance of sannyasa was a calculated tactic; as son as He began travelling throughout India as a sannyasi, he immediately attracted thousands of followers to the sankirtan movement.

    Knowing that many cheaters would accept the saffron dress and abuse the respect given to sannyasis, Lord Chaitanya had advised against accepting sannyasa in the Age of Kali-yuga. He knew that cheaters, in the guise of sadhus, would act immorally, accumulate funds for their own sense gratification, and make many followers simply to enhance their own prestige. Posing as swamis, they would cheat the public. Because the people in Kali-yuga are unable to follow the rules and regulations of sannyasa, Lord Chaitanya had recommended that they simply chant Hare Krishna. However, if a person could actually follow the rules, and especially if he had to spread the sankirtan movement, sannyasa was necessary.”

    Satsvarupa Maharaja – Srila Prabhupada Lilamrita

  22. Payonidhi Das says :

    Bhanu Swami translated the Isopanisad with the commentaries of Vedanta Desika an acarya in the Sri Sampradaya line and there in the purport to Isavasyam idam sarvam sloka, he states that those who worship Krsna for money are not actual devotees of Lord Vasudeva..this always comes to mind…when there is discussion about money…

  23. Puskaraksa das says :

    Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.3.10

    akāmah sarva-kāmo vā
    moksa-kāma udāra-dhīh
    tīvrena bhakti-yogena
    yajeta purusaḿ param

    akāmah — one who has transcended all material desires; sarva-kāmah — one who has the sum total of material desires; vā — either; moksa-kāmah — one who desires liberation; udāra-dhīh — with broader intelligence; tīvrena — with great force; bhakti-yogena — by devotional service to the Lord; yajeta — should worship; purusam — the Lord; param — the supreme whole.

    A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.

    The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Śrī Krishna is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as puruṣottama, or the Supreme Personality. It is He only who can award liberation to the impersonalists by absorbing such aspirants in the brahmajyoti, the bodily rays of the Lord. The brahmajyoti is not separate from the Lord, as the glowing sun ray is not independent of the sun disc. Therefore one who desires to merge into the supreme impersonal brahmajyoti must also worship the Lord by bhakti-yoga, as recommended here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhakti-yoga is especially stressed here as the means of all perfection. In the previous chapters it has been stated that bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal of both karma-yoga and jñāna-yoga, and in the same way in this chapter it is emphatically declared that bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal of the different varieties of worship of the different demigods. Bhakti-yoga, thus being the supreme means of self-realization, is recommended here. Everyone must therefore seriously take up the methods of bhakti-yoga, even though one aspires for material enjoyment or liberation from material bondage.


  24. Puskaraksa das says :


    Akāmah is one who has no material desire. A living being, naturally being the part and parcel of the supreme whole purusaḿ pūrnam, has as his natural function to serve the Supreme Being, just as the parts and parcels of the body, or the limbs of the body, are naturally meant to serve the complete body. Desireless means, therefore, not to be inert like the stone, but to be conscious of one’s actual position and thus desire satisfaction only from the Supreme Lord. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has explained this desirelessness as bhajanīya-parama-purusa-sukha-mātra-sva-sukhatvam in his Sandarbha. This means that one should feel happy only by experiencing the happiness of the Supreme Lord. This intuition of the living being is sometimes manifested even during the conditioned stage of a living being in the material world, and such intuition is expressed in the manner of altruism, philanthropy, socialism, communism, etc., by the undeveloped minds of less intelligent persons. In the mundane field such an outlook of doing good to others in the form of society, community, family, country or humanity is a partial manifestation of the same original feeling in which a pure living entity feels happiness by the happiness of the Supreme Lord. Such superb feelings were exhibited by the damsels of Vrajabhūmi for the happiness of the Lord. The gopīs loved the Lord without any return, and this is the perfect exhibition of the akāmah spirit. Kāma spirit, or the desire for one’s own satisfaction, is fully exhibited in the material world, whereas the spirit of akāmah is fully exhibited in the spiritual world.

    Thoughts of becoming one with the Lord, or being merged in the brahmajyoti, can also be exhibitions of kāma spirit if they are desires for one’s own satisfaction to be free from the material miseries. A pure devotee does not want liberation so that he may be relieved from the miseries of life. Even without so-called liberation, a pure devotee is aspirant for the satisfaction of the Lord. Influenced by the kāma spirit, Arjuna declined to fight in the Kuruksetra battlefield because he wanted to save his relatives for his own satisfaction. But being a pure devotee, he agreed to fight on the instruction of the Lord because he came to his senses and realized that satisfaction of the Lord at the cost of his own satisfaction was his prime duty. Thus he became akāma. That is the perfect stage of a perfect living being.


  25. Puskaraksa das says :


    Udāra-dhīh means one who has a broader outlook. People with desires for material enjoyment worship small demigods, and such intelligence is condemned in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.20) as hrita jñāna, the intelligence of one who has lost his senses. One cannot obtain any result from demigods without getting sanction from the Supreme Lord. Therefore a person with a broader outlook can see that the ultimate authority is the Lord, even for material benefits. Under the circumstances, one with a broader outlook, even with the desire for material enjoyment or for liberation, should take to the worship of the Lord directly. And everyone, whether an akāma or sakāma or moksa-kāma, should worship the Lord with great expedience. This implies that bhakti-yoga may be perfectly administered without any mixture of karma and jñāna. As the unmixed sun ray is very forceful and is therefore called tīvra, similarly unmixed bhakti-yoga of hearing, chanting, etc., may be performed by one and all regardless of inner motive.

    Srila Prabhupada Patita Pavana ki Jaya!

  26. Payonidhi Das says :

    Srila Prabhupada did not allow salary in ISKCON or that it should be used for anyones personal business:
    Morning Walk “Varnasrama College”- March 14, 1974, Vrndavana

    “Brahmana cannot accept any salary. Just like you have accepted me as your acarya, but you do not pay me any salary. This is forbidden. The teacher will not accept salary. Then he comes down to the sudra platform. The sudra accepts salary. I serve you, you pay me. And the brahmana will distribute knowledge freely, and the ksatriya will give protection to the brahmana. This is the Vedic system. Even in fifty years ago, education in India, there was no charges. A learned brahmana will sit down in corner of a neighborhood and all the children will come there. They will learn primary education. And the parents of the children will send, somebody will send rice, somebody will send dal… Just like we are maintaining, by collecting. Not here, but in Bombay, our centre is collecting and distributing.

    “The whole system was that. Love exchange. I give you some service; you give me something, out of your love. Dadati pratigrhnati. Love means six . I give you something, you give me something. I give you something for eating, you also give me something for eating. Dadatipratigrhnati bhunkte bhojayate, guhyam akhyati prcchati. If I am in trouble, I express my mind, I open my mind before you, and you also try to help me. These are the six signs of love. That is Vedic civilization.Everything exchange of love. No business, mercantile. All right, let us have kirtana. Hare Krsna.”

    Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24-Los Angeles, June 22, 1972

  27. Payonidhi Das says :

    We are born with nothing in this material world and leave with nothing at death, and everything in between is given to us to worship Nitai Gaura and Radha and Krsna