SRILA PRABHUPADA'S VALUEABLE INSTRUCTIONS ON RUNNING A KRSNA CONSCIOUS TEMPLE
TEMPLE SUCCESS FORMULA
The most important thing is that we must be ideal Krsna Conscious persons, and then we can attract others. This means chanting, reading my books, going on sankirtana, following the regulative principles and worshiping the deity. Whoever take part in these things, no matter what he has done of sinful activities before, will automatically advance in spiritual realization. This is the simple process and if we follow it we will become ideal. Otherwise, they will become victims of women and wealth.
Letter to: Jayatirtha — Bombay 1 May, 1974
Just see that our routine programme such as rising early, cleansing, reading books chanting, street Sankirtana, deity worship, and so on, if these items of regular programme are maintained to the highest standard and not neglected for anything, then everything else we try for will come out successful without fail.
Letter to: Trai — Sridhama Mayapur 1 March, 1972
PREACHING IS OUR REAL BUSINESS
Preaching is our real business, preaching and distributing books. If your preaching work is strong, then your management of temple affairs will also become automatically very strong. Just like if the head wills it, the hand will move. Preaching is like the head of our KC Society—if the head is removed, the whole body dies.
Letter to: Patita Uddharana — Delhi 8 December, 1971
If you want to study, there is much time in the day for studying, but you must go also on Sankirtana party, that is the result or practice of your studying. Simply studying is dry and useless without chanting.
Letter to: Sankarasana — Paris 23 July, 1972
You are fixing up your new place very nicely, that will attract men to come there. But always remember that our first business is preaching and distributing literatures, never mind we have to live under a tree. But because the people of your country expect something, we must give them place, but preaching is our real business.
Letter to: Narottamananda — Vrindaban 23 October, 1972
TEMPLE A BASE FOR BOOK DISTRIBUTION ARMY
There is no doubt about it, to distribute books is our most important activity. The temple is a place not for eating and sleeping, but as a base from which we send out our soldiers to fight with maya. Fight with maya means to drop thousand and millions of books into the lap of the conditioned souls. Just like during war time the Bombs are raining from the sky like anything.
Letter to: Ramesvara — Bhaktivedanta Manor 3 August, 1973
As far as studying my books is concerned, I have already given the order. One hour in the morning class and one hour in the evening and if there is extra time during the day it may be used for studying but we cannot expect everyone to be studious. If someone has desired to distribute books all day he may do this, but he must always follow the principles of rising early, chanting 16 rounds, etc. Just as some rich men have no inclination for studying, but still he opens many schools for others to study at. Like this, all of my students may not be inclined to study but they are very much eager to give others the opportunity to read my books and this should not be discouraged. All programs must go on but it is a fact that this book distribution program is very very important.
Letter to: Rupanuga — Sydney 14 February, 1973
QUALIFICATIONS OF A TEMPLE PRESIDENT
So as president, you must make sure that all the students are regularly chanting 16 rounds, taking bath, attending mangal aratrik, reading our books, and following the regulative principles. If everyone keeps strictly these principles then success is assured.
Letter to: Sridama — Honolulu 5 May, 1972
The important thing is to see that everyone is following a regulated schedule of chanting 16 rounds, reading, Sankirtana, and temple worship. Any breakage in the performance of one's duties will surely be a hindrance in one's advancement. So, as President, you should see that everyone stays engaged 24 hours a day in Krishna's service.
Letter to: Vrindaban Candra — Bombay 9 November, 1970
One thing is that you should keep everything very clean. That is the first business. Every room should be as clean as a mirror. The prasadam room should be immediately cleaned after taking prasadam, otherwise you are inviting rats. Be careful.
Letter to: Mukunda: — Bombay 20 October, 1973
MANGALA ARATIKA COMPULSORY
To rise early in the morning and attend maìgala-ärati is compulsory. It is part of this education, spiritual education.
January 25, 1977, Puré
Everyone must attend the morning and evening program, otherwise it will be a dead temple.
Letter to: Dhananjaya das — Mayapur
Everyone must attend the ärä..., maìgala-ärätrika. One must attend this. One must attend this. Otherwise no prasädam. If one says, "I am sick," no prasädam. "You are sick. You cannot digest. That's all." And sick, sleeping, and at the time of prasädam, voracious eating, that is not sickness. If you are sick, you cannot take food. Don't take.
Morning Walk -- February 26, 1976, Mäyäpura
Here, in our Kåñëa consciousness movement, in every center, everyone, at least who are living within this temple, must get up at four o'clock to perform the ärätrika. This morning I was asking somebody that if you cannot rise, then you cannot live in this temple.
(class on Çrémad-Bhägavatam 6.1.11)
HOUSEHOLDERS SHOULD NOT LIVE IN A TEMPLE TOGETHER
They should not simply, husband and wife, live in the room together in the temple, otherwise there is no restriction.
Letter to: Ekayani — Bombay 3 December, 1972
It is a fact that householders should not live in the Temple together. Whether with child or without child, householders should not live together in the Temple. Otherwise, what will the Brahmacaris and Sannyasis think? So this should be discouraged.
Letter to: Rupanuga — Bombay 30 December, 1971
Regarding householders living in the temple; in India no woman is allowed to stay in the temple at night. But for our preaching work I have permitted women to stay in the temple. But, in the temple, husband and wife should live separately. There are many young brahmacaris and Sannyasis in the temple and men and women living together is simply a source of agitation, so therefore this is my order; ideally the husband and wife can live separately in the temple. If this is not possible they should live together close to the temple and attend temple arati etc . . . and if this is not possible the last alternative is to live away from the Temple and conduct your own deity worship etc.
Letter to: Ravindra Svarupa — Nairobi 25 January, 1972
Householders cannot undergo strict disciplinary activities of austerity, therefore for every householder the path of Arcana Siddhi[Deity worship] is very much recommended. According to Vedic system, all householders are ordered to keep Deity at home and follow strictly the worshipment process. That makes the home pure, body pure, mind pure, and quickly promotes one to the pure platform of spiritual life. The temple is also specially meant for the householders.
Letter to: Himavati — Hawaii 18 March, 1969
CAREFUL ABOUT LIVING AT THE COST OF OTHERS
There are certainly many householders in our Kåñëa consciousness movement. They join the movement and live in the society's centers, but if they take advantage of this opportunity and do not work but live at the expense of the movement, eating prasäda and simply sleeping, they place themselves in a very dangerous position. It is therefore advised that gåhasthas should not live in the temple. They must live outside the temple and maintain themselves. Of course, if the gåhasthas are fully engaged in the Lord's service according to the directions of the authorities, there is no harm in their living in a temple. In any case, a temple should not be a place to eat and sleep. A temple manager should be very careful about these things.
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A brähmaëa or sannyäsé is qualified to ask charity from others, but if he takes more than necessary he is punishable. No one can use more of the Supreme Lord's property than necessary. Lord Vämanadeva indirectly indicated to Bali Mahäräja that he was occupying more land than he needed. 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 brähmaëas and sannyäsés who live at the cost of others.
IF NOT FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLES EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FAIL
This routine work, such as chanting, speaking, rising early, cleaning, cooking and offering prasadam, arati, reading books—these activities are the backbone of our Society, and if we practice them nicely in a regulative manner, then our whole program will be successful. If we become slack or neglect these things, then everything else we may try will fail.
Letter to: Patita Uddharana — Delhi 8 December, 1971
Those who think they have already attained such perfection and give up the regulative principles are called sahajiya, or those who take things cheaply and simply imitate. This early rising, holding classes, going out regularly for sankirtana, worshiping the deity are the very substance of devotional life.
Letter to: Bhurijana — Bombay 29 April, 1974
Thank you for representing me there in LSS by stressing the importance of attendance to the morning and evening programs and following all of the spiritual practices. This is wanted. Without these things there is no devotional life.
Letter to: Hrdayananda — Bombay 21 December, 1974
Our activities are arati, kirtana, classes, just as we do here in Los Angeles. Everything is done in conformity to a regular standard. For example, all the temple members, without exception must rise by 4:AM and attend mangala arati. Everyone living in the temple must agree to the standard by proper understanding of the philosophy of tapasya. We cannot expect our guests to follow all our principles, but whoever lives in the temple must follow. That means all must sit down together and hear the Bhagavatam class just as I held it day after day when I was at the Manor. There should be a regular daily schedule of events and it should be followed closely. After the class and breakfast everyone should go to their respective duties, deity worship, sankirtana, clean-up and so throughout the day this atmosphere of constant engagement will produce the truly happy result of transcendental life.
Letter to: Mukunda Los Angeles 12 January, 1974
So two times daily everyone must attend the classes. During the morning and evening times there should be no business, simply kirtana, chant, dance, and be purified. Do not be paramahamsa that now I haven't got to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Don't be a better paramahamsa than your Guru Maharaja. I go and sit and I enjoy the lectures and how they are performing kirtana. So as I am doing, you must also do.
Letter to: Gopijanavallabha
19 September, 1974
NO 16 ROUNDS PATHWAY TO HELL
I think it is very obvious, even you have admitted, that the problem is that you are not following the basic principles of our society. The fact that you have not chanted your rounds for a long time is enough to make you without any spiritual strength. The best thing for you is to seriously try to follow all of the rules and regulations very strictly under the guidance of the temple authorities. Then your mind will become very clear, not so agitated. You have taken initiation from me, so actually you are obliged to do this. You have promised, therefore there is no choice,—you must follow strictly. Otherwise, you are carving your pathway to hell.
Letter to: Gauragopala — Honolulu 26 May, 1975
Sometimes we have to do so much managerial or office work, but Lord Caitanya promises us that because in the Kali yuga this is required for carrying on our preaching mission. He gives assurance that we will not become entangled by such work. When the work has to be done, do it first, then chant. But you must fulfill at least 16 rounds daily. So if necessary sleep less but you have to finish your minimum number of rounds.
Letter to: Kirtiraja — Bombay 2 January, 1972
There are many regulative principles in the çästras and directions given by the spiritual master. These regulative principles should act as servants of the basic principle—that is, one should
always remember Kåñëa and never forget Him. This is possible when one chants the Hare Kåñëa mantra. Therefore one must strictly chant the Hare Kåñëa mahä-mantra twenty-four hours daily. One may
have other duties to perform under the direction of the spiritual master, but he must first abide by the spiritual master's order to chant a certain number of rounds. In our Kåñëa consciousness
movement, we have recommended that the neophyte chant at least sixteen rounds. This chanting of sixteen rounds is absolutely necessary if one wants to remember Kåñëa and not forget Him. Of all
the regulative principles, the spiritual master's order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential.
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NO EATING SLEEPING PROGRAM
Kirtana is our first duty. The Deity worship should be simple and the eating should be as meager as possible.
Letter to: Palika — Bombay 13 November, 1975
The temple is Vaikuntha, where Krishna and remembered and served 24 hours daily without stopping.
Letter to: Sarvamangala — Bombay 6 November, 1974
Regarding my books, everyone should read. I am also reading. Everyone should be engaged 24 hours. That is the sum and substance. How much you should read and how much you should do other types of service, that has to be decided by each individual devotee. Eating and sleeping should be minimized—not a single moment should be misused.
Letter to: Govardhana — Mexico City 15 February, 1975
NO JOINT MESS PROGRAM
The idea is that all the devotees must attend arati, prasada, and other temple services. If they miss they will be deviated. So if they are living far away, like in Laurel Canyon, then another temple should be started. Unless there is arrangement for another temple, it will be not a nice proposal. Temple worship and prasada must be partaken, otherwise it will be ordinary residential quarters like karmis.
Letter to: Karandhara — Tokyo 2 May, 1972
If you make a joint mess, if you go and collect something and then eat and sleep, then everything will be... Therefore I do not want to keep separate. The temple worship means there will be regulative principles, that you will have to rise early in the morning, you have to attend class, kértana... These things, as soon as you give up all these things, zero. Then it will be like karmés, as they are, hard labor, collecting money, and enjoying senses. That's all. So that is the pitfall everywhere. In the church, temple, as soon as they get some nice income, then in the name of "priest," "sädhu," "sannyäsé," they do the same thing.
Room Conversation -- September 19, 1973, Bombay
No publication, no preaching, simply bring some foodstuff... My Guru Mahäräja used to say, "Joint mess," a place for eating and sleeping. Amar amar ara takana (?)(Bengali): "Joint mess." He said this.
Room Conversation -- April 22, 1977, Bombay
Regarding the grhasthas houses, we have given these houses with the purpose that they should execute devotional service exactly like the Brahmacaris and sannyasis. Otherwise, why purchase houses near the temple? The whole idea is to live near the temple and take advantage of the temple program, which means morning arati, classes, sankirtana and all services connected with the temple. They are also members of the temple.
Letter to: Jayatirtha — Bombay 5 May, 1974
SIMPLY SHOWING DEITY NO PREACHING -FAILURE MOVEMENT
My Guru Mahäräja used to say that if one is inclined to collect money by showing Deity, it is better to become a sweeper in the street. It is better to become a sweeper in the street, because he's earning his livelihood honestly. And this man who is keeping a temple and doing all nonsense, simply by showing Deity, collecting some money, this class of men, they're most sinful. You cannot do so. You cannot take other's money. You'll be debtor. Therefore gradually, because this class of men are developed at the present moment, they have become... In Våndävana there are so many temples, they have become, made a business by showing temple, collecting money. This is not good. There must be... Temple means people should come, people should learn the science of God. That is temple. Not that to make a business of temple. Therefore everything is, not only in India, all over the world, the churches also, they're dwindled.
Bhagavad-gétä 9.2 -- Calcutta, March 8, 1972
My Guru Mahäräja used to say, präëa arthe yaìra sei hetu pracära. "One who has got life, he can preach." The dead man cannot preach. So you become with life, not like dead man. Without life... Just like all my godbrothers. They are dead men. And therefore they are envious of my activities. They have no life. If you want to make easy-going life, showing the Deity and then sleep, then it is a failure movement.
Morning Walk at Marine del Rey -- July 13, 1974, Los Angeles
Guru-krpa: Srila Prabhupada, what about, say, many of your Godbrothers? They also have disciples, and they also are properly initiated by a proper spiritual master, and they give the Hare Krsna
Prabhupada: The thing is the spirit, real service of preaching, stopped. Formality is going on, but the real business.... Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement means amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. That is stopped. Do you follow? The formalities is there, but the real life of Caitanya Mahaprabhu's movement is preaching. Otherwise why Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa. Tara means preaching. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna-upadesa' [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. And that is stopped. They are satisfied if they could construct one temple and beg some rice from the neighborhood: "Sir, we have got some temple," that's all. They are satisfied. The spirit of preaching forward-papi tapi jata chilo, hari-name uddharilo -- that is stopped. So by hari-nama, by chanting, by this way, to live little peacefully in the temple and eat and sleep, that much they have got. If that is the success, that success they have got. And this was condemned by my Guru Maharaja, that "To earn some money by showing Deity in the temple and eat and sleep -- better you become a sweeper in the street and earn your honest livelihood and live." This is cheating. This was condemned. To construct a temple.... Just like the Vrndavana Gosvamis are doing. They thought that "This is our business. Some innocent people will come here and offer some.... Bas, that's our good income." According to the temple's popularity, they think, "This is our success." Therefore they are deteriorating. So that is not success. Success is his who is pushing forward the preaching method. That is his success. And if we think that "By showing a temple Deity we get some money and rice and cloth and just peacefully live here. Don't bother about going to Fiji and all over..." (laughs) That much success they have got. But that is not Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara.
Room Conversation -- May 2, 1976, Fiji
EVERYONE MUST BE SHAVEN HEADED
All of my disciples must be clean shaved. Even anyone who stays with us must be clean shaved. They can visit, but anyone who wants to remain with us must be clean shaved.
Letter to: Upendra: — Vrindaban 30 August, 1974
DONT STEAL MEN FROM OTHER TEMPLES, BETTER TRAIN LOCALS AND EXPAND THE MOVEMENT
You ask me how to recruit strong devotees to come there. You have to prepare strong devotees, not import them. You yourself become strong devotees and teach others by your example. Importation is not a good plan; everyone should be strong by behavior and action.
Letter to: Gurudasa — Hyderabad 24 April, 1974
Try to recruit any such local men there for helping you spread this movement in Indonesia and other places nearby, because it will not be possible to always import our men. Better is that you convert the local people and train them nicely in our philosophy and send them off for preaching party.
Letter to: Amogha — Los Angeles 29 September, 1972
Regarding sending men to Bangkok, let us see who is a spare man or is having visa problems. But our policy as you know is not to import devotees, but to make devotees out of the local men there. That is better.
Letter to: Pancadravida — Bombay 4 January, 1975