Dear devotees, Greetings from Miami.
Today I just received a copy of the third edition of the Confidential Science of Bhakti Yoga in a deluxe edition, which was a joint effort of the United Sevas, this edition was published by Seva Ecuador and worked very neatly by Seva Bogota .
Today I want to share with you three topics:
The first is over the inclusion of astrology in our preaching within Vrinda Family. Most astrologers are basically rookies and because they have faith in the Vedic culture, they should be devoted to preaching the Law of Karma ... as a part of a Universal Cosmic Law and must take refuge in God. Another way to apply astrology in Vaishnava community is in the study of couples’ compatibility, in order to help those who want to make a home. This gives them a guide and a natural protection. But is not authorized to make charts among Vaishnavas, it is forbidden, because when one takes refuge in Sri Radha nothing else is needed much less searching karmic calculations of Durga Devi...
Astrology should be used only to enthuse people not for other purposes, because there is much speculation about it too. In the past there were occurrences where many astrologers used their position to seduce women, and that's not right. Astrology can be used to make a great sermon and bring more worshipers at the feet of Krishna, but, how about if the astrologer tells a devotee something that discourages them away from their spiritual master? This is very dangerous. You cannot put others into anxiety. Besides, Srila Prabhupada told us every time you clap in the kirtan your destiny changes.
Rakhe krsna mare ke, mare krsna rakhe ke
"If Krsna wants to kill someone, no one can save them, and if Krishna wantsto save someone, no one can kill them.”
And, as Srila Prabhupada says, you must be ready to die today. It is better! Of course, it is not that the devotees are free of karma, but devotees should not be influenced by astrological predictions. The service of an astrologer is just awakening faith and joy in the hearts of others.
My second message is on Sankirtan. We need your presence and attention very much as well as your Sankirtan and collection because as Srila Prabhupada said, the collection should be daily. He stressed that 50% of our energy should be directed to the distribution of books and so Lakshmi will come. Of course, there are devotees, who don’t distribute books and have Laksmi, but forget the temple and the temple gets nothing. The church grows when more people are connected with it. And of course, the temple administration should be very transparent. If there is no transparency in how Lakshmi is being utilized then nobody will want to donate anything.
Prabhupada said it clearly: every dollar that goes in and out of a temple should be noted, there should be no secrets in the administration. Therefore a temple where there is no Laksmi there is not enough preaching, because in the end, we all must put Lakshmi in order to survive. One cannot live by the sweat off of another person, of course, there are some cases where someone has to do something specific and is maintained or works without pay. Srila Prabhupada bothered if he had paid devotees in the temples because they did not dedicate themselves in the service that will generate Lakshmi. Of course, there are exceptions, but it is clear that Sankirtan will deliver everything we need including materially. Lakshmi management must be very transparent in our temples, always. We should have millionaire temples for Krishna. In spiritual life we need a vibrant center, where the realization is real, it must be seeked after constantly. It's the first thing that the preacher should look for: what to do to keep things vibrant. When someone gives me a donation for Krishna they always expect it to be well used hence, the senior devotees are the guardians of the Mission, and everyone should help make the best possible. Everyone should do so Krishna feels pleased with us-to avoid having to return to Earth to pay debts. What if you want to go to Krishna Loka and someone comes with an invoice? And the bill says, this is equivalent to a birth in Mexico ... So pay your debt! But, no!
So please, please: Keep the community transparent and always with love. That is my wish.
The third part of my message today is to glorify a wonderful group of conscious artists. The group Nimai from Chile formed with Govinda Prabhu Bhajams and Mother Malini. They produced a year ago an audio CD of the Ramayana and this product was nominated and elected for a Vrinda Award 2012. It has an output level that can be called "classic" and is a key element in preaching. It was produced by Nimai Group as a great gift to the world and the devotees. Thus, in Cart Records, we had the adventure that different Sevas produce classic collections. Still, many of them go unnoticed, because unless there is a tremendous promotion, then the materials are lost. For this reason I promote this Ramayana of Chile. This CD takes a unique position. Additionally, it represents a classic in Vaishnava education in order learn Vedic history; for there are many facts that are declared as mythology, but have been verified by archaeological evidence, and this is the position of the history of Ramayana. Therefore, the Ramayana should be in the bag of each sankirtaneer to assess the tremendous value of the job these devotees did. Those who composed the music and recorded in the studios of Santiago, they will receive this beautiful fame for the service they have done and although they did not do it for fame, this reputation is entirely deserved, and is more: not only do they deserve the fame, the people of the whole world deserve to hear from Lord Rama thanks to this production.
I ask you to send these Sunday messages to all the temples; all church leaders must be current on it. What to say of the congregation of the devotees? And everyone should be very aware, because without exaggeration, we have an interesting product each week because we have many devoted activists producing materials.
Yesterday I revisited my CDs and found a work completely missed: The recording of the Bhagavad Gita in Quechua; it is a tremendous job, but nobody is talking about it. This is something which has been unspoken and not glorified, lost. And that is very pitiful, and it may happen that a devotee who has done a great job becomes discouraged because no one used their material. These things can happen. And why, because other devotees did not pay attention. For example:
If you produce Vaishnava material and Vaishnava family is not supporting you, then one naturally feels frustrated by it, and that often happens to us. The Spoon Revolution also has lots of CDs and DVDs to promote most of the ministries, and everyone involved here are very nice and enthusiastic, but they know nothing of the materials that exist, they have not received them or they have not been copied and so, they miss things. So we must always be active in promoting all the nice things that devotees produce.
Now I want to tell you a little bit about the trip of these days in Puerto Rico. There Giriraj Prabhu together with our local devotees, are active in diverse areas of the island. They have a beautiful island called Vrinda Kunja, where we can create programs similar to those carried out in the Eco Village in South America. On the other hand, in the temple of Bayamon we have a beautiful house of Gouranga with an exclusive privilege: It is next to a hillock (mountain) called Govardhan. A hillock is a piece of land that rose like a mountain and goes about 50 meters up. So this is a huge Govardhan hillock. This Govardhan hillock can be accessed from our church and even though it is not our property, we are caring for it. It is a beautiful botanical garden that is difficult to find words to describe it. We just need a way to accommodate those whom are over 40 so they can go ... because at the moment only athletes can go up. The hummocks are an ecological phenomenon and in Puerto Rico they are very lush. The preaching in Puerto Rico is under way but, as always, it takes more hands-on, more enthusiasm and more South American spirit. And obviously, we are fortunate to have a very good spirit that is obviously created by the management of so many beautiful sannyasis and the diversity that exists among our devotees. For the Union in Diversity exists in the Vrinda Family.
In Puerto Rico I gave some lectures in Yoga schools, where everyone liked the Kirtan and dancing. I also had a conference at Hector’s, who is a longtime devotee who never took initiation, highly educated and knowledgeable and teaches Bhagavad Gita and leads many of his listeners to take initiation. It's very nice to go and see a circle of seniors studying the Bhagavad Gita very seriously. Thus, we can take the example of what can be achieved when one is determined and fixed on something. Soon there will be more people who are devotees it only requires confidence and perseverance. Nothing more, nor your own house or anything, Hector got a friend's house to give lessons ... this is an example to show that any devotee can preach, preaching and taking it to heart. And that means Krishna Consciousness. Success comes when things are taken seriously.
Another excellent devotee is mother Mantra Manjari who has a great school in a house where she lives with her beautiful family. Arjuna Prabhu recently rented an apartment near the university with the desire to preach to young people. As in all the temples in the world, here too there is a shortage of devotees and it is not as easy for someone to surrender to Krishna, especially in an island devoted to vacationing with beautiful beaches around, but be what it may, you can die even in Puerto Rico. Therefore, there is no reason to not surrender to Krishna at once because it is the only thing that will save our soul from the material duality. Although we can prove that in warm weather places - festive – tourism, the process of Bhakti Yoga is more difficult, but if someone really takes to heart this process it will be achieved. Sri Gaura Avatar said that in every town and village in the world should receive the chanting of Holy Name of Krishna. That's the order of Sri Mahaprabhu and I hope that in a short time, the devotees of beautiful Puerto Rico publish photos of their programs and those who wish to support the service there, inform me. The only need is enthusiasm (and the U.S. visa).
Finally, in this message today. I want to share with you an issue that can be called:
Celebrating the joy of the association of devotees. Sometimes devotees tend to be discouraged due to some misunderstandings or errors that have not been forgiven, and so, they lose the joy of sharing with the devotees. We already know that this medicine is called humility, that's well known in our process but, most importantly remember that there is no joy in life without the Vaishnavas and that impediments exist only to give you the impetus to take more responsibility. And admire the creativity of others, whether above or below your creativity. A necklace is composed of many stones ... while a necklace of a single stone is rather a chain, the devotees are the beads and the thread that connects them is the spiritual master and Krishna himself within the Vaisnava world. Each bead must be content with the existence of the other pearls because together we are shaping the collar. And while each bead has its own beauty and is self sufficient, not one pearl alone can be a necklace, but in the Vaishnava family this necklace is formed naturally, and the ones that fall outside of the collar are those that are not connected with Krishna or his spiritual master. So I say ...
For the future of the Vrinda Family we must ensure that there can be no circumstances in which a genuine pearl questions or prevents the existence and growth of other genuine pearls, and the nature of genuine pearls is to grow and expand, produce more pearls and perhaps one day produce more necklaces connected with the thread of Krishna and have the ability to expand to where he desires. So, take care to not apply the criterion of being absolutists to other pearls and necklaces because those who are genuine are empowered to sow the seed of faith and the consciousness of the great joy of his own existence and activity as well as the existence and activities of everyone else. This power of joy comes from Union in Diversity, it comes from an open mind, it comes from understanding and that in the kingdom of Krishna there are many varieties, not all the same...just like each tree species has particular type of leaves and each of the leaves of the tree are seen individually...In this way we can realize that our Creator has an infinite capacity for creativity and we leave to Him the right to decide at every moment of our lives. That means we must take responsibility for several areas and leave Krishna with the last decision.
In the future we will have plenty of variety, but accompanied by much imitation, and surely one or two who will appear to be a fraud. However,we must remain aloof from fraud, but without destroying the freedom of anyone. It is the right price that everyone can grow and expand the Vaishnava family because after all those which belong together remain together and all that is genuine does not need advertising, and what is fraud will eventually fall under its own weight.
So our responsibility is to connect with those who make us happy and those who we can help to make happy. And with this criterion we can recognize and so we know where to find the devotees whom are humble and happy, to know if the seed is good. And we will know where the devotees are sad and discouraged. With this I conclude my message today. I’m wishing each and every one of you thousands and thousands of blessings in the holy name of Krishna and the will of our Acharyas Srila Prabhupada ki jay.
Your always well-wisher,
Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti.