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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Preacher’s concession

Monday, 13 October 2008 / Published in Danavir Goswami, Quotes / 6,274 views

By Danavir Goswami

[The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming volume of Sri Garga Samhita, Canto 4 Chapter 8 verses 21-23. The translations are from Kusakratha Prabhu and the purports are from Danavir Goswami…to be available at:]

Text 21

evam snatva nara-varah
nalapet tad-dine nicams
tatha pakhandino naran

evam—thus; snatva—bathing; nara-varah—an exalted person; krodha-lobha-vivarjitah—free of greed and anger; na—not; alapet—should talk; tad-dine—on that day; nican—to degraded people; tatha—so; pakhandinah—to offenders; naran—people.


In this way one should bathe. On ekadasi day one should be free of greed and anger, and one should not talk to sinful people, atheists, and offenders.


This verse reminds me of a morning walk conversation, for which I was present, of 1975 in Chicago. Strolling through a city park early in the morning, one disciple among a group of about twenty mentioned to Srila Prabhupada that he had heard that Ekadasi was an inauspicious day and should be counteracted by chanting many rounds. The guru dispelled that illusion by responding that Ekadasi was indeed the most auspicious day. Then the disciple asked whether chanting twenty-five rounds was recommended for devotees on Ekadasi. The reply is here:

Prabhupada: Oh yes, Ekadasi, simply you should chant. No other business. Nirjala.
Devotee: Should they go out for preaching work?
Prabhupada: No, those who are preaching, not for them. Those who are sitting idle… (laughter) A preacher is so exalted. He hasn’t got to follow any regulation. But don’t take it.” (laughter)

Nirjala means fasting even from water. In this charming exchange, Srila Prabhupada shocked his students by saying that devotees who are engaged in preaching work such as book distribution sankirtan need not follow any other Vedic rules and regulations. Upon hearing, “He hasn’t got to follow any regulation” the students walking with him spontaneously began to laugh. Then after a poignant pause His Divine Grace delivered the sobering conclusion, “but don’t take it” meaning “but do not take advantage of it.” In other words, the preachers of Krishna consciousness should comply with Vedic principles while at the same time continuing their enthusiastic missionary work. Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita:

yukta-cestasya karmasu
yogo bhavati duhkha-ha

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

Although strictly observing Ekadasi is highly recommended in the sastras, Srila Prabhupada brought forward an even higher Vedic principle namely that of disseminating transcendental knowledge. Lord Krsna states:

ya idam paramam guhyam
mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah

For one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.

na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi

There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear. (Bhagavad-gita 18.68-9)

The spiritual master carefully chooses among the millions of Vedic injunctions those most essential for his disciples’ spiritual advancement. Moreover, as the founder-acarya of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada’s advice is meant to be followed by all of the society’s members (present and future), for the remainder of the “golden age of Lord Caitanya.” It is said that the Krsna consciousness movement will be prominent within the ten thousand years since Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s birth (1486 AD) but after that people will become too degraded to accept Krishna consciousness.

Texts 22-23

mithya-vada-ratams caiva
tatha brahmana-nindakan
anyams caiva duracaran
aagamyagamane ratan

para-dravyapaharams ca
durvrttan bhinna-maryadan
nalapet sa vrati narah

mithya-vada-ratan—to liars; ca—and; eva—certainly; tatha—so; brahmana-nindakan—to they who have offended brahmanas; anyan—to others; ca—and; eva—indeed; duracaran—misbehaved; agamya-agamane—to illicit sex; ratan—attached; para—of others; dravya—the property; apaharan—stealing; ca—and; para—of others; dara—the wives; abhigaminah—approaching; durvrttan—wicked; bhinna-maryadan—who break the rules of morality; na—not; alapet—should talk; sa—he; vrati—following the vow; narah—a person.


A person who follows the vow of ekadasi should not talk to liars, offenders of brahmanas, sinners, debauchees, thieves, adulterers, and the ill-behaved and immoral.


Venturing out into society for distributing transcendental books on any day, even Ekadasi, almost guarantees contact with the regrettable types of persons mentioned in this verse. How then can such a seeming violation of this Vedic injunction be adjusted ? King Yudhisthira answers this question:

tarko ‘pratisthah srutayo vibhinna
nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah

Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the sastras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahajanas advocate.

To illustrate this point imagine an automobile and driver approaching an intersection where a red traffic light is illuminated. The driver dutifully stops the car at the appropriate place behind the pedestrian crosswalk and waits for the light to turn green. The driver also sees a uniformed policeman standing in the middle of the street moving his arms and blowing a whistle. The policeman turns toward the car and driver, catches her attention and motions her to drive through the intersection. The driver acknowledges the policeman’s request but points her finger toward the red light so that the policeman will understand that the reason she is not driving forward is because she is obeying the traffic signal. The policeman makes a sour face, blows his whistle and more emphatically motions for the driver to proceed through the intersection. But the lady again responds by pointing directly at the red light with two forward poking motions as if to tell the policeman, “Don’t you see that I cannot go forward because the light is red?” Now the policeman becomes visibly angry, his face turns red and for the third time he motions for the driver to drive forward while stridently screeching his whistle. Nevertheless, the driver, who has never gotten a traffic violation for going through a red light, once more points to the red traffic light. The policeman walks over to the driver and vociferously says, “What is wrong with you? I have instructed you to move your car forward three times and still you sit there pointing at the red light. I know the light is red, it is malfunctioning and that is why I am out here directing traffic. It has been stuck on red for hours in all four directions. It will not turn green until it is repaired. The repair men have been called and they are coming but in the meantime I am directing traffic. (Raising his voice) Do your understand?” The driver replies, “Officer, I respect what you are trying to do but I read in the drivers’ manual that one is never supposed to drive through an intersection when the light is showing red, so I am following that. After all the law is the law, sir. I have never run a red light and I do not plan to begin now.”
In this analogy the traffic light represents Vedic injunctions, the driver represents the pious person trying to obey the scriptures, the malfunctioning of the traffic light represents the current cataclysmic age of Kali and the policeman represents God’s representative-the mahajana (perfected spiritual teacher). The policeman apparently supersedes municipal law by ordering drivers to pass through a red light but in actuality he perfectly upheld the real intent of the law. The factual purpose of automated traffic signals was meant to regulate the safe flow of moving vehicles. The poor driver, confused by apparent contradictions, stubbornly stuck to her driver’s manual without understanding the true meaning of the law. In Sanskrit parlance this is called niyama agrahah. In her mind she was the most obedient citizen but not so to the policeman, the other drivers behind her nor to the municipal court judge.
The Vedas certainly establish the importance of following Ekadasi completely, yet His Divine Grace emphasized propagation of sankirtan and the public distribution of transcendental literature over and above a strict observance of every minute detail of Ekadasi. By instructing his followers in this way, Srila Prabhupada did not minimize the importance of the Vedas or Ekadasi-rather he fulfilled the essential purpose of both. The fully-authorized saintly person extracts allusive essentials from the Vedas by accentuating one activity ahead of another.
Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami stresses the quintessential activity of broadcasting the glories of the holy name:

kali-yuge yuga-dharma-namera pracara
tathi lagi’ pita-varna caitanyavatara

The religious practice for the Age of Kali is to broadcast the glories of the holy name. Only for this purpose has the Lord, in a yellow color, descended as Lord Caitanya. (Caitanya Caritamrta Adi 3.40)

In summary we say that if one can minutely execute Ekadasi and also effectively preach Krsna consciousness, then that is excellent. Nevertheless, devotees in general are advised to actively disseminate Krishna consciousness, distribute books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, honor grainless prasadam on Ekadasi and have confidence that they are not violating Vedic principles by failing to fast from all food and drink. By such missionary service and simultaneous adherence to the ordinary observance of Ekadasi, devotees will definitely please the Lord Who fervently desires to save the drowning souls of Kali yuga. Those unable to preach in this way, should try their best to fast completely on Ekadasi, avoid talking to sinners, debauchees, thieves, adulterers, the ill-behaved, immoral, and so forth.

Become a devotee; make Mum and Dad cry
Changing the design of the TVP: Reply to Hari-sauri

13 Responses to “Preacher’s concession”

  1. scooty.ram says :


    I would like to know the value traditional gaudiyas gave to Garga samhita.
    Who and where were these text quoted?
    I guess 6 Goswamis never quoted this.
    Please let me know


  2. • “The confidential science of pure devotional service is taught explicitly only in a few Vedic scriptures little known to the public. Amongst these rare texts are the Gopala-tapani Upanisad, the Narada-pancaratra, the Garga-samhita, the Visnu Purana, the Hari-vamsa Upapurana, the Uttara-khanda of the Padma Purana, and the Bhagavata Maha-purana.”

    — (Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Dig-darsini Commentary
    on Brhad-bhagavatamrta: 1.1. 21-23)

    • “Mayapura is the Lord’s yogamaya potency. It is filled with ever-increasing bliss. In the Garga-samhita it is described as ‘the destroyer of sins.’”

    maya mayapuri saksat
    sri-garga-samhitayam sa
    kirtita papa-nasini

    —(Navadvipa-dhama-mahatmya, Chapter 3; Text 19 by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

    • “Parvati said, ‘O lord Siva, Please describe to me the most wonderful character and confidential activities of the One on whom you meditate and adore with great devotion. Previously I heard from your mouth the thousand names of Lord Krsna, now please tell me His story.’
    Siva (Mahadeva) replied, ‘O Goddess who provides welfare to all, the life story of Lord Krsna has been included in the Garga-samhita.’”

    —(Garga-samhita Mahatmya, taken from Sammohana-tantra)

  3. Akruranatha says :

    How could we possibly avoid talking to sinners, debauchees, thieves, adulterers, the ill-behaved, and the immoral?

    It is much, much easier to take some fruit, peanuts and tapioca and go out on book distribution!

  4. I recall when Garga samhita started coming out some Gaudiya math persons objected that this book is not quoted by our acaryas, but soon they realized they where wrong.Now some Gaudiya maths take the Garga samhita very serious. Kusakrata Prabhu has done a great service by translating it and HH Danavir Maharaja for commenting on it.
    i just found another place where Bhaktivinoda Thakura quoted Garga Samhita:

    It sn his Sri Amnaya Sutra part 1:

    “I take shelter of the perfect Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is older than the oldest, greater than the greatest, the supreme person, the supreme master, full of transcendental bliss, a jewel mine of mercy, and a jewel mine of transcendental virtues.”

    In Bhaktivinoda Thakuras, Navadvipa Dhama Mahatmya praman khanda:

    Text 24

    Prthu-kunda (in Navadvépa) is described in Garga-samhitä, where Arjuna says: O son of Devaki, please tell me who owns this wonderful lake filled with golden lotuses and surrounded by golden vines?

    Text 25

    The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: In ancient times the great king Prthu of the Sväyambhuva dynasty performed spiritual austerities here. This is his wonderful lake.

    text 26

    O son of Prthä, one who drinks the water here is at once free from all sins. The lowest of men who bathes here attains the supreme abode.

  5. In regards to vers 4.8.22-23 of the Garga Samhita;

    A person who follows the vow of ekadasi should not talk to liars, offenders of brahmanas, sinners, debauchees, thieves, adulterers, and the ill-behaved and immoral.

    I fully agree with HH Danavir Maharajas analyzise of this vers, even about the lady in the trafic light.However being a sankirtana devotee for 30 years I like to offer another light this vers can be seen in, and with this I mean no disrespect to Danavir Maharaja.
    While constantly associating with nondevotees, the bookdistributors may take this ekadasi to take a break from nondevotee association. Not that this day is used in frivilious talk and elaborate honoring ,elaborate ekadasi feasts, but used for 24 hours hearing and chanting about Krishna. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung that ekadasi is the mother of devotion.
    There is many other days a devotee can do bookdistribution.However if it is not possible , then surely go on sankirtana that day and at least chant extra rounds and hear extra about Krsna, read Srila Prabhupadas books more etc.We have seen other talks with Srila Prabhupada where he did not mind but actually encouraged strict ekadasi performance.
    But Danavir Maharaja has emphazised correctly.In a time when less persons go on sankirtana , maybe on these days, the non regular sankirtana devotees could go out.Thus give some much needed rest for the regular sankirtana devotees, that day after day have to see and assocaite with nondevotees.

  6. Akruranatha says :

    Some devotees keep ekadasi so strictly, nirjal every time, and chanting all night through without sleep. (!) We have to admire them. To me it seems super human.

    I remember Mahanidhi Swami as being one of these transcendental personalities, when I saw him in Vrndavan in 1991: he was fasting from even water and doing parikrama every ekadasi (probably still is), a very holy, advanced sadhu.

    I am glad we have some great examples like that. People should not think the bhakti cult is just an “easy path” for those who cannot come up to truly high standards of knowledge, austerity, renunciation and detachment.

    On the other hand, those of us who just fast from grains and beans and who try to hear and chant a little more, although we are fallen, are also following Prabhupada’s orders. He made it easy for us.

    Not that we should have the mentality of taking advantage, but we should also avoid the mentality of condemning those who do the minimum that Srila Prabhupada required.

    The more we raise the minimum standards, the more we exclude people who cannot handle that much austerity. Therefore the best policy is to be lenient with others and not impose standards Srila Prabhupada himself did not impose, and at the same time we can take whatever personal vows of austerity that we find optimizes our own ability to serve the sankirtan movement.

    This looks like it will be another great book by Danavir Maharaja.

    [For the editors (if there is still time for typo corrections): I think the word “allusive” in the text should be changed to “elusive”. “Elusive” means difficult to discern or hard to express (eluding the grasp), whereas “allusive” means given to allusions or casual references to other works. For example, Tarentino or Spielberg movies are often “allusive” in the sense that they contain allusions or references to other movies and pop culture. Saintly persons can extract “elusive” essentials from the Vedas, because they know the actual purpose (“vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo”) and how to help others achieve that purpose.]

  7. “I think the word ‘allusive’ in the text should be changed to ‘elusive’. ”

    Correction noted with much thanks.

  8. Srila Prabhupada had high expectation of devotees in the beginning of ISKCON he tried
    hard to introduce 64 rounds. Even in Gaudiya Math most devotees do not chant 64 rounds they have minimum 4 for grhasthas in some temples.Srila Prabhupada wanted a higher standard.So he introduced minimum 16 rounds.Now this being said this is the month of Kartika. One of Radharanis names is Kartika ,She Herself becomes this month to accept the devotees devotion. Especially it is recommended if possible we spend 1 month in Vrindavan if possible .1000 times more is the benefit of devotional service this month and by staying in Vrindavan and performing devotional service another 1000. However those who sacrifice everything to stay in the west to distrbute Srila Prabhupadas books I am sure Radharani will give them all blessings even as if they where in Vrindavan for Kartika, similarly is the case with ekadasi.Thus HH Danavir Maharaja has really given us his mercy in this matter, by his enlivening purports to this text.
    Of course some are strict like Akruranatha Prabhu is mentioning.For sannyasis , varnaprasthas and widovs to perform more tapasya is easier.Thus Hari Bhakti Vilasa says that those who fail to observe Kartika in these 3 catagories go to hell.
    In either case, we should always try to surrender more to Krsna, not less.We will not be like Sukracaray that told Bala Maharaja not to surrender to Krsna.To always try to fully surrender to Krsna is always the best.

  9. I have a question for Danavir Maharaja: I would like to know if you also will translate the parts of Garga Samhita that Kusakrata Prabhu did not ?

  10. In response to Comment #9: Yes, we have begun arranging for the translation work of the cantos not translated by Kusakratha Prabhu. Thank you.

  11. Maharaja you just made my day , I am very happy , and looking forward to read commentaries to the Garga Samhita
    Thank you very much

  12. this is from Garga samhita mahatmya:

    Sri Garga Samhita Mahatmya:
    Saunaka Rsi said, “I have heard from you in detail glorification of the Puranas, which is very pleasing to the ears. Now, kindly tell me about the Garge Samhita, which is filled with narrations of the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. In this Samhita, there is wonderful glorification of Sri Radha and Madhava.”

    Suta Gosvami said, “O Saunaka, the glories of the Garga Samhita were revealed to me by Narada Muni. Thereafter, Lord Siva had spoken it to Parvati, along with the Sammohana-tantra. Lord Siva resides underneath an eternal banyan tree on Mount Kailash.”

    “One day, as she sat along with her husband, surrounded by numerous Siddhas, Parvati requested him to narrate the pastimes of Lord Krsna.”

    Lord Siva replied, “O goddess, listen now as I recite to you the life of Lord Krsna when He had incarnated on the earth, which is the remover of all kinds of sins. Long ago, Lord Krsna had Himself narrated His pastimes to Radha, and then later on, to Sesa, who thereafter recited them to Dharma. Dharma then recited the story of Lord Krsna’s earthly pastimes to his sons, Nara and Narayana and Narayana narrated it to Narada Muni. Later on, Narada Muni narrated the pastimes of Lord Krsna to Garga Muni, whereby he attained the platform of realized transcendental knowledge. At that time, Narada Muni said to Garga Muni.”

    Narada Muni said, “O sage, I have narrated the glories of Lord Krsna briefly and so it would be good if you compose them in a more elaborate form. Previously, I had inspired Srila Vyasadeva to compose the Srimad-Bhagavatam for this same purpose. The Samhita composed by you should be in the format of me narrating it to king Bahulsva.”

    Garga Muni cheerfully accepted this most difficult task put before him by Narada Muni. Thereafter, Narada Muni ascended into the sky, holding his vina in his hand, and went to Brahmaloka. And, Gargacarya composed the Garga Samhita, which bestows devotion to Lord Krsna upon the hearer.

    In this regard, the following history is cited: There was a king named Pratibahu, the son of Vajra, who resided at Mathura, the abode of Lord Krsna. His wife was named Malini. He performed some difficult vows in the hopes of receiving a son. And yet, in spite of all his endeavours, the king did not receive a son and so he became quite morose. No one could him because it was his belief that the life of a man without a son is completely useless.

  13. One day, after the king had become old and grey, the sage, Sandilya, came to him. Seeing how the king appeared morose, the sage inquired about his welfare. In reply, King Pratibahu revealed to him is misfortune of having no son. The sage then spoke to the king for his welfare.

    Sandilya Muni said, “O King, after trying so many means for fulfilling your desire, without success, you should now listen to the Garga Samhita, along with your wife. In his Kali-yuga, Lord Visnu bestows riches and sons upon those who relish this divine literature. And at the end of life, such persons proceed to the abode of the Lord, Goloka. There are no hard and fast rules for listening to the Garga Samhita- it can be heard at all times and at all places. However, those who are not devoted to their spiritual master, who have no faith in the existence of God, who are sinful, and who do not follow the life of a Vaisnava, will achieve no good result while listening to the Garga Samhita.”

    “The speaker of the Garga Samhita should be selected with great care. He should not be an envious person who continually criticizes others. He should be devoted to Lord Krsna and well-versed in the devotional literature. After the recitation of the Garga Samhita, there should be the performance of hari-name-sankirtana. The bona-fide speaker of the Garga Samhita should be treated with all due respect and he should be awarded gifts in charity in consideration of his highly meritorious service rendered.”

    King Pratibahu became very pleased while listening to the words of the sage, Sandilya. He said, “O sage, I take shelter of you. Please recite the Garga Samhita to me and in this way, bestow upon me a son.”

    Thereafter, a nice pandal was erected by the side of the Yamuna and all the people of Mathura came to listen. After the conclusion of the recitation, the sage, Sandilya, was given a great deal of wealth in charity by the king. Then, by the mercy of the great sage, Radha and Krsna appeared before the king. Everyone stood up and then bowed down to offer obeisances to the Supreme Lord and His consort. The king and his queen offered prayers, as did the sage, Sandilya, and the citizens appealed to the Lord to forgive their sins, benedict the king with a son, and award them all devotion at His lotus feet.

    Lord Krsna then said, “Whatever ever has been spoken by all of you will certainly come to pass. The Samhita composed by sage Garga fulfills all aspiration of those who respectfully hear it.”