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Letter of December 12, 1992
Dear sankirtana devotees,
Please accept my blessings or respects, and dear Rohinlsuta Prabhu, please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Shrila Prabhupada.
Materially speaking, this year is one of the worst. Even the Queen of England said, "Annus horribilis." This year is horrible. Things are breaking down everywhere, and the dream of a better decade after the fall of communism is fast dissipating everywhere. Economies are stagnating and going into recession, social life is becoming more and more complex, and hatred between people is increasing at each step. War is commonplace and has even returned to Europe in what was Yugoslavia, while the rest of the world braces itself for the next major agitation. Presently there are riots throughout India over pseudo-religious issues, which were created by politicians to increase their power and prestige. AIDS is rampant and there is no cure in sight. There is no peace between people. Even devotees are feeling the pinch, as deviant behavior shocks us into remembering that the material world is not our permanent home.
Looking ow: :!.. work ltuation, .:d considering ttu situation in ISKCON today, I can only understand one point. There is no hope for the world today unless we distribute Shrila Prabhupada's books far and wide. People in the West are too crazy to listen peacefully to a lecture on Krsna consciousness. Indeed, they will not even come! Some may hear, and that is good, but the masses miss the opportunity because they are too unfortunate. But you great souls—you sankirtana heroes—you go out every day and give these people hope. You do not rare for your own comforts, and despite personal difficulties you are dedicated to bringing Shrila Frabhupada's books to every door and in every hand on all the streets of the world. My obeisances to you from all directions! How wonderful it is to be in the association of such great souls. 1 wish that I could be there with you today, for this would be the best means of personal purification. But alas, here I remain captured by the flu, eating pills, drinking teas and juices, and pouring drops of esoteric substances down my parched throat. Ah, the fever of the flu is nothing compared to the fever of material existence, which has me firmly in her grips. Someday I shall be fortunate enough to always have the association of the sankirtana devotees and get freed from the constant headache of problems, which are mounting day by day as the Kali-yuga progresses in all respects.
What benediction can 1 offer you? Krsna Himself did not attempt to offer the gopls any benedictions, because He knew that they would not accept them. The gopls serve Krsna out of love only, and they never are interested in anything in return for that love. This is selfless love in action. Similarly, you devotees are selflessly going out and distributing love of Godhead without any concern for payment in the form of material benefits or benedictions. Indeed, you are not even interested in liberation! Who can understand your deep realizations? Even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are aware of the intense austerities of the sankirtana devotees and are broadcasting their glories throughout the three worlds.Never before in history has there been such a movement to spread Krsna consciousness throughout die world m aw short a period of time. You are part of history in the making. You are actually present when this great movement is making itself known in Europe, where people are dull, ignorant, foolish, envious, and vicious. If we examine these people, we will see that there are few with any good qualities at all, but now and then you meet someone who you know just requires a little push to become inspired to surrender to Krsna. Such a meeting inspires you to go on distributing, for seeing the results before your eyes inspires you to keep on releasing these rays of mercy over the darkened skies of Europe. May you dlwqys he successful in your attempts to open their darkened eyes and awaken them from their long sleep on the lap of maya.
Go on marching, O spirit soul, on the path to the spiri tual goal." Yes. What else is there to do but sankirtana.js1. Nothing, of course, for this movement is based on sankirtana and sankirtana is its primary weapon. Sometimes you meet such nice people that you have to take their names and addresses. The preachers will put these names and addresses in a data base and start to contact these people as they can. Through our preaching programs and by inviting people to our many centers, people can gradually become connected to ISKCON and develop their Krsna consciousness in action by becoming a donor and supporting a center. They perform karma-yoga, giving up the results of their work for the satisfaction of Krsna.Sankirtana takes place on the front lines, where direct contact with the living entity is made and his first commitment to Krsna consciousness is planted as he purchases a book from the enthusiastic representative of God, who stands before him on a desolate street.
As the wind whips through the alleys and catches a piece of paper here and there, the last rays of the sun wash horizontally down the street. The sankirtana devotee adjusts his cap and tightens his belt, as he prepares to meet the material nature head on in a ferocious battle, just as Krsna adjusted His belt before battling Aghasura in Vrndavana. What comparison is there between the streets of Berlin, Stockholm, or Moscow and the transcendental realm of Gokula Vrndavana? We cannot find any similarity by looking with material eyes. But if we understand with the heart of a sankirtana devotee, we can feel the spiritual energy surging through us as we float down the street hand in hand with the Lord, who also is driving our chariot within the heart and guiding us to people who are willing to take their share of the stockpile of love of Godhead in the form of these transcendental books. Because of the devotee's connection with the Lord, the streets, although dark and disturbed, become a place of bliss. The devotee is not at all in anxiety, for he has the connection to the source of all power and porencv. Krsna. What more can I say? Just be satisfied in yourselves, knowing well that you are engaged in the most important service iui uil adKc ui Liie uuiuuus ui suiieinig people in mis woriu. Do not be fooled by any ideas born of self-interest; sankirtana is the means to please the Lord. Our strength is born of our conviction that this sankirtana mission is the topmost. Just perform this mission with enthusiasm, intelligence, conviction, and determination, and clear out the piles of material problems that crowd into our consciousness through the influence of maya Pray to Krsna for strength, and He shall certainly respond. Know it for sure that you are in the best hands.
I hope this meets you in the best of health and highest spirits.