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The Sankirtana Tradition
Worshiping Sankirtana Devotees Is a Tradition
All service is based on the same point: In the heart you have to be attached to Krsna. With some service you can fake it to a certain degree. You can go on for some time gardening, sweeping the floor, or typing correspondence without love of Godhead, but you cannot fake it when you are preaching. You must have some genuine attachment to Krsna within your heart, because every day you are exposed to mdyd. You may consider yourself glorious at doing a particular preaching service, but as soon as somebody criticizes you or a demon gives you trouble on the street, the glorious illusion is shattered and you reconsider, thinking, "Maybe I should become a cook."
The fact that one continues sankirtana proves that one has attained love of Godhead. Therefore we worship the sanki tana devotees. Sometimes a foolish polemic arises if someone dares to say that the sankirtana devotees are the greatest, because others think, "What's the matter with you? Don't you understand that everything else is just as important?" Yes, it is true—the point is love of God—but a preacher must have love of God; otherwise, he sinks back into just taking care of himself. Therefore we worship the sankirtana devotees.In Bengal, if you do a harindma on the street, all the people come out with lotas of water and try to throw it at your feet. They know you will probably jump away, so they are satisfied if it just lands on the ground in front of you. Then they bring out a plate of colored rice and cracked coconut, and they start offering you drati. Everybody—every householder, every villager—comes out to worship the sankirtana devotees. This is tradition.
It is a tradition in Lord Caitanya's movement to worship sankirtana devotees. It is not a concoction of fanatics. It is a sampradaya tradition coming to us through the parampard, and it cannot be whimsically given up. It must be continued, because love of God comes in this age through sankirtana— glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The sankirtana we do nowadays is absolutely parampard. Although book distribution is criticized by some persons of little knowledge, it is Lord Caitanya's mission without even the slightest deviation. It is the authorized means of attaining love of God. Yajnaih sankirtana-prdyair/yajanti hi su-medha-sah—if you have brains, you will join in the sankirtana-yajna and become a lover of God. You will understand and appreciate the association of anyone fully absorbed in this sankirtana movement.