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A Good Image Is Essential In Preaching

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Date: 
Tuesday, June 23, 1981
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So we are going all over the world. We see that the thing which is in common is that people none of them have any direction. No one has any direction whatever direction they have is just as Prabhupada said, “Running into the forest fire, trying to escape from the fire here and there.” When I flew from London to Miami, then the plane was filled with Britishers, going for the Miami holiday ,that they saved up for two years, then when I went to Miami , I saw the Britishers as red as the lobsters (devotees chuckle) sun-burnt, with the skin peeling off, enjoying their holiday. And like this everyone, they work so hard with the idea that I will enjoy my vacations. I'll enjoy my… which is no goal, there is no cause.

Last night in Penang, we invited everyone to take that proverbial a house, which at any moment someone can come remove you from by killing you, no one wanted to take such a house even though it was free from rent, had all facilities; that of course when we pointed out that everyone is living in that same type of houses, body, then they became very much attached. “We are very attached to making money and we are attached to doing this, doing that... so I explained to them that we are not against making money. Make as much money as you can, but use up to 50% of it for Krishna; or more. That will be your perfection. So basically there is no spiritual direction. Whatever direction is there, because it's material, it's always changing. So here, in Thailand, there is a cultural direction, you see ; which people may or may not be forgetting. But one can see that as everywhere, things are becoming more and more impersonal. Life is becoming more and more of a routine, of a drudgery, boredom. No change, no... whatever change, that's a little sense gratification-- get drunk, go to the parlor whatever-- some type of nonsense for momentary sensation and then, back to the drudgery.

So I was reminded that when Krishna comes into Vrindavan, that all the residents of Vrindavan they call daily festival. Nitya utsav, Nitya Mahotsav daily great festival just to see Krishna's face, his lotus face, to hear the sound of his flute, when he comes in with all his cows, cowherd boys with the dust going all over the holy Dhama, and the residents. That time it's called Godhuli, (it) is very auspicious to be bathed in the dust. It is one of the sacred baths, (if one) bathes in the dust kicked up by the hooves of the cows, especially Krishna's own Surabhi cows, how auspicious, how transcendentally relishable! So this Krishna conscious movement is actually a festival… daily festival, singing, dancing, feasting, even (when) we are serving, devotees always happy, always happy, because in this life, nothing to worry about and next life there is nothing to worry about. Therefore, with no worries, constantly serving, happy to be under the mercy and grace of lord Krishna and his devotees ; constantly feeling spiritual bliss and, and in their complete peace they are (in) perfectional happiness and daily festival.

I can just picture the Sankirtan party in that central square by all the main walks here in Bangkok to getting all the proper permissions and everything not to disturb anyone with the pictures of Panchatattva and lord Buddha and other suitable pictures may be Narasimha dev or Krishna, the pictures on very big stick with just a type of Buddhist draping around the pictures hanging down and the whole thing made to be a complete cultural experience with big incense burners with Mahaprasad distribution, and with very short pamphlets after doing a lot of PR with all the Buddhists, so that they also realize that we are bringing the people on the similar path that all the people there lives have nothing, no variety, no change.

Just to see Prabha Visnu swami and our Atmavidya prabhu loading up the van, the car, at least half the airport stopped. All the custom agent came ; taxi drivers, tourists standing by the window , police men watching them tie up the luggage on the roof of Narasingha Tirtha's car, you see. That would give an indication that they are pretty hungry for some type of experience , you see. So, what else is there that can provide such experience as Krishna consciousness festivals-- wonderful festivals with Prasadam, with that experience. When I went to the boarders of Cambodian refugee Buddhists, they all loved to sing Kirtan they chanted hare Krishna they clapped their hands. That... getting the public to sit down in big public group just sing with us hare Krishna clapping their hands they may watch the devotees dance ; the dancing Buddhas... It’s there actually ; there is a dancing Buddha in Buddhist culture. So everyone should be happy enough to dance, otherwise what is the value of any type of religious process-- Buddhism or other wise? If one is not happy enough to dance, śrama eva hi kevalam ... its all useless waste of energy.

So Srila Prabhupad... Mercy is unlimited ; Srila Prabhupad’s mercy was... it is enough to deliver the whole universe, the whole material creation, simply by speck of dust of his lotus feet anybody can be delivered! He wants everyone to chant Hare Krishna ; everyone to be happy in Krishna consciousness. Therefore he has asked his disciples and followers to do that very holy task of making people happy in Krishna consciousness. So Krishna is known to be very clever. He is very clever at attracting the mind , the minds of all the residents of Vrindavan-- everyone in Vrindavan was mad after Krishna. Whether they were elderly Gopi , whether they were the cowherd men, whether they were the friends of Krishna, His mother, His father, the servants, the Gopis, the younger cow herder girls, even the cows, the peacocks, everyone was mad after Krishna! That he is all attractive that Krishna is very clever in capturing the mind, you see. That is why he has the name Krishna-- all attractive. So simply, we have to know how to present Krishna.

Krishna is unlimited so we can present Krishna in the setting which will be very culturally acceptable, assumable-- at least they can relate to it-- to this Thai people. And however, that we are going to only give Krishna in his pure form, through His holy name, through His pure philosophy, through His pure Krishna Prasadam and everything else is just of course, packaging. So that packaging, lord Chaitanya has shown. When he went into the sankirtan party with his beautiful garlands and with his Mridangas and Kartals with his fourteen Sankirtan parties that went through the whole Nabadweep, the resounding of the vibrations of those Mridangas shattered all the illusions and Maya of the living entities. So we heard how in Hong Kong that you can practically ignite an atomic bomb on the street and no one will stop ; that there very hard to get people to stop. They are very much into going wherever they are going. No matter what you do, practically the Sankirtan distributors to get a person to stop has to utilize Kungfu or something (devotees laugh)...

So of course what our method of distribution, what our method of preaching will be, but we can understand that people will definitely stop to see devotees perform such festive activities like Sankirtan... like, they definitely will accept Prasadam and simply how to present it in such a nice way that no one will be offended, you see. And that the people can easily participate and surely the people will like to participate, because the people are very simple. They want to get lots of merit. Lots of good karma and if they could just understand that, by even witnessing Sankirtan, taking little Prasadam, chanting... is far far distant, just chanting unlimited, even just by witnessing that they a accruing more merit than they can accumulate by millions of years or births of pious activities in this material world. By simply one time chanting hare Krishna, so much merit they can get that they could never expect. So this is a very great opportunity to give souls who have never commit any Vaishnava Apradha. Krishna consciousness... the people of Thailand have never committed a Vaishnava Apradha. How could they? There is no Vaishnav. They have never committed Krishna Apradha because Krishna is not here. In their culture, they have Ram. Thailand’s ancient name is Shyam, Siam.If you look in old maps, in Sanskrit you'll see that this is Shyam desh, Burma is called Brahma desh. Even today in Bangladesh, the students, they still teach them , Burma Brahma and Shyam desh, just like probably Bangkok has a different name for the Thailand people (devotee says kongkain and GuruMaharaj repeats it) So, similarly, for the followers of the Vedas, this is Shyama. It is named after Krishna and Burma is named after Brahma. If you study this ancient history of Mahabharata, this is all part of the kingdom of maharaja Yudhisthir. So this is a great cultural heritage ; there is actually links. So we can come in on a cultural wave ; culture, philosophy, festivities.

Similarly, here in the temple we should try to produce the type of festival mood because in small temple it sometimes tends to get dry. Sometimes little conflicts come up, because so few people are living together. I haven’t got any complaints yet ; maybe everything is going nicely , but sometimes it does happen. But the more we can keep a festive mood, the preaching mood , can let out whatever energy is build up in Sankirtan, in chanting, in preaching, in serving srila prabhupad and Sampradaya very enthusiastically then of course everything goes on increasing. I was saying here is a place where there is no Vaishnava Apradha.

When srila Prabhupada went to America people accepted Krishna consciousness very quickly. Of course, Americans in general and westerners are burned out from material life, because they don’t have any offenses. So Here, the people may not be very burned out yet. Like Srila Prabhupada said, “new crows.” They are just looking forward to new boom of economic development, possibly. That's generally the mood in developing nations , but then of course, here we are Vaishnavas in foreign bodies ; we have also a lot to offer , in terms of aspiring students visiting other parts of the worlds to superficially attract... there's different ways we could try to (attract)... then we have to create a very congenial, Vaishnava mood, a festive mood. We need now local devotees to help push on this movement. We need to be established as bona fide monks, keep a good self respect, a good public image ; there are so many fallen people (who) come through here who may have had previous connection with Vaishnavism or Krishna consciousness , but we, as representers of srila Prabhupada and the Sampradaya , we have to present a very pakka, proper image ; just like when we came to the airport, the immigration man offered me his bowed head , the custom man just said, “just go through.” They are respecting monks. All it takes is, us to do a little irresponsible action ; then they will differentiate that “They are those nonsense Hare Krishna monks who do these non sense things.”

I know that Srila Bhagavan Maharaja, he very carefully kept the image very nicely in Europe. And also Tirthapada kept it very nice in England. And similarly , in Latin America , we have it impeccable... image ; they love us there. The presidents of the countries are willing to give us interviews and everyday radio television also. When I go there, we always have press conferences arranged .They come in news papers, radio, TVs, they are all there photographing me, for one and half hour, they are taking notes ; they print everyday, one or two articles , prime time 8 o clock news , 5 minutes nationwide television, “Meet the pope of the hare Krishna movement , '' or whatever , however they describe me there. So, here we are coming into a fresh field. I don’t think we have any type of good or bad opinion. People don’t know us at all. So therefore we should create very good opinions , which is in heart , which is a very good movement. We don’t have any bad part (attached) to us... (that would be the case) only if we were irresponsible , shortsighted. We should be very careful to create a good image by presenting Krishna consciousness very carefully and there is no doubt that Krishna consciousness will be very successful , very successfully preached here.

It requires some dedicated service ; assimilating some of the local language and culture by some of the devotees , and then preaching very enthusiastically. Here there is no economic problem to speak of , compared to like Nepal or Bangladesh , other places in India has some members , but even in India , some places. Here there is no overall economic difficulty ; simply , we have to be sincere , and no doubt Krishna and srila Prabhupad will send us all type of help. kali kale dharma naam sankirtana krishna kripa bine nahi tar parivartan. We should never forget that in this age , the yuga dharma is harinam sankirtan. Therefore it is guaranteed that it will be spread. The other thing is that it can only be spread with the mercy of Krishna. We should never think that simply by our own endeavor , we will succeed we should always be depending on the mercy of our spiritual master, previous Acharyas, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu , by very deeply taking shelter of their lotus feet and, using our maximum energy, intelligence , definitely Krishna consciousness will be very nicely distributed. So lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu predicted that in every town and village is message will be spread. So therefore we know how dear this is to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. “ jai sri Krishna Chaitanya prabhu Nityananda Sri Adwait Gadadhar Srivasadi Gaur bhaktvrinda... hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. Actually just being called on (inaudible) in Malaysia, where so many of the people are Muslim and Chinese Taoist.

Only10% are Hindus. Actually I preach to the 10% , the Hindu Tamils. A few Chinese are coming. So here, practically 100% are Buddhists ; few Indian mercantile people are there, that if we properly cultivate, we can preach to the whole country. And only preaching, they are getting , Sankirtan there are some distributors are doing 1000 Malaysian dollars a day from the Chinese. It's about $ 500 a day , which is more than you did in Japan in most days. He does that everyday actually. $ 400 is like $ 5 (hundred) , 3 or 4 (hundred) American dollars daily. Going in shaved up, in a dhoti to the Chinese people , having a little Chinese book, especially looking just like Taoist type book, on the way to chanting, has the mantras down ; gives him in the temple. “This book costs us $ 4 to print. Please give something more.” “Have some ten dollars.” That's it. Apart from that , even the Indian boys who go to the Chinese shops, they are getting US$100-150 a day. Which we don’t get even in America today. We get $ 80, $ 70 , working hard in the airports. But in the beginning, this couldn't be done. Even Sankirtan couldn't be done. How much you want to on depend on Sankirtan , that we can see in the future , but in Malaysia they said it couldn't be done couple of years ago. Now they're doing this. Here when the people go out in begging bowls every day, every morning. So it’s not like it's not part of the culture. It’s just a question of the right mantras, the right books, and the right... everything, you know. Inspiration by lord Chaitanya, even Sankirtan devotees , they also (will) be successful.

Devotee talking to Gurumaharaja : (not clear)

Very nice. Not all America I just visited Miami, Atlanta, Tennessee, Mississippi, new Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Laguna Beach , Santiago, Honolulu. But next time I'm gonna visit most of America (devotees laugh). Actually they called me up and they asked me , “Why you didn’t you visit Boston providence? Why didn't you visit Vancouver?” Actually I either just visit some devotees. For 8 years, they were chanting 16 rounds, but they would never take initiation ; so last time I went there, there were 3 devotees in Toronto living outside. They were coming. So they developed some faith. So they asked Vishwa Karma if they could take initiation from me. So I gave them initiation this time. Now there's another 5 that want initiation. Sunday feast to get this ; Vishwa Karma is encouraging them. I moved my... the tape ministry from Los Angeles to Tennessee, because take this off. A break... this person. Half a million bliss bars! It's what they've targeted. 42 states! The distribution is under 42 states.

Devotee asks Gurumaharaja : Did you go to Dubai? Gurmaharaja : No, next time.

You wanted the fan (devotees talking) in hutch case. It was one day quickly. No, because tapes , when I go, in America I tell all just stories , when I get back to India I have to do the sharp talk. When I get there just one day, I don't know anything going on in the temple, I just come and just tell stories about lord Chaitanya and go on. So it's like stories series , children stories... Chaitanya's (Gurumaharaja Laughs as he say “Caitanya's”.) stories. So this trip was Nabadweep stories, and stories of Narrotam das Thakur , Jhanava devi, and like that. Previous, like Ramanujacharya... Next trip , we'll have Chaitanya's stories from the Chaitanya Bhagavat.