By Sajjanasraya dasa
We can do great things, and I heard that if we want to accomplish great things we have to start with apparently small things, look at the details, concentrate on the essential, so we can go deep into the path of Bhakti. We should feel it is the most important thing in our life and put all of our heart and intelligence into developing our love for the Lord and giving it to others. We need to become friendly and compassionate at all levels. Becoming a happy, mature, advanced devotee, filled with compassion for others, is the best way to expand the Krishna consciousness movement. It is the attitude we have that is important and sometimes we can preach nicely even without ‚Äėpreaching‚Äô.
Some snapshots from life in the temple come to my mind: We are in the temple and this morning is Haridas Thakur appearence day. After Tulasi puja and in few minutes will be japa time. ‚ÄúSome announcement?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúYes! Today it is a very special day, a great, great devotee appeared for our benefit‚Ä¶this morning let‚Äôs try to chant with all our attention, let‚Äôs put all our gratitude, love and attention on our japa‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ
I have to go to cook, the kitchen is spotlessly clean and neat. We know we have to cook for the Sunday feast and it must be a very, very good feast, nothing ordinary. The head cook also reminds us that we have to try our best to satisfy Krishna, put our skill, our attention in the cooking and be concentrated. The food we cook will go to the spiritual world, Krishna, Sri Radha, the gopis, the cowherds boy will taste our preparations, and then all devotees and guests will taste it, we have to cook with love‚Ä¶.. let‚Äôs pray, let‚Äôs try our best!‚Ä¶
Before harinam we check our dress and our motivation. We are going in the town center so the harinam should be nicely done. The devotees are advised to dress in simple clean and (ironed) dhotis and saris. We give our full attention to the Holy name.
An Istha ghosti is a wonderful opportunity to understand the hearts of the devotee. We express our feelings, and give suggestions to improve our divine service and to increase our sense of belonging in our devotional community.
The essence of everything is serving and doing things for Krishna with love, attention, care, respect, concentration and helping others to know their best friend. If people are ready to listen we can tell them directly about Him. Those who aren‚Äôt ready to hear directly about Krishna will be influenced by kindness of the devotees. Our outreach to others can take many forms.
We can feed poor and rich people prasadam, provide medical care, help people out of the ruins of an earthquake or a Tsunami. We can console the sick or help a person after a car crash (even if he is a butcher!). We can open Krishna conscious hospitals or schools up to university level. We can publish magazines and daily newspapers and hold conferences.
Apart from big projects, we can help others with little acts of kindness like giving a warm greeting to someone or helping an old lady cross a street. We can be kind and friendly to our neighbours. All this will help keep our hearts open and loving. Once Bhaktisiddhanta Sarswati Thakura chastised his disciple for not giving some donation to a beggar and said such neglect would make his heart hard. Our loving, giving and compassionate attitude will help us and others will be attracted to our good behaviour. This will allow them to be more open to hear the most important news we have to give them– the words that will help them to be free for ever from all kind suffering and death, words that can help them to go to our real home to be happy for ever. So before telling them the good news, good behaviour must be there. Obviously we can not ‚Äėpreach‚Äô and being dishonest, rude, fanatic, indifferent or proud. Behaving in those way we become ridiculous and inefficient. Once in sankirtan a person told me: ‚ÄúYou know, sometimes religious people ‚Äėlove the universe‚Äô, they developed cosmic love, universal love, they say ‚Äėwe are all brothers‚Äô but then they fight all day with the neighbour next door‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ During a famous meeting made mainly by sankirtan devotees Srila Prabhupada praised them for their service of distributing his books. Then one devotee said: ‚ÄúSrila Prabhupada what pleases you most?‚ÄĚ It seemed that the devotee asked that question because he was sure of the answer, he thought that Srila Prabhupada would have said something like ‚Äėthat you distribute my books‚Äô, but instead Srila Prabhupada said ‚ÄúThat you become pure devotees‚Ä¶‚ÄĚ Srila Prabhupada also said that “a devotee is a gentleman” So giving others books of knowledge it is important because there people can find so many informations and inspiration, but then people needs living examples of purity to follow- sankirtan, I think, is not only giving others Srila Prabhupada‚Äôs books. That it is an aspect of sankirtan, others can be being expert in reading and explaining them, welcoming people at the temple, creating there a friendly and pure atmosphere, taking care of new people, make them pure devotees.