October 17, 1967
My Dear Pradyumna,
Please accept my blessings. I've received your letters of Oct. 6&7. Acyutananda is learning Hindi & when he is well versed in the language probably he will be able to translate all the Puranas available in Hindi into English. Brahma Samhita is the gist of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. In the Bhagavad gita as well as in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Krishna is accepted as Supreme Lord & everything about him is nicely described there, similarly in the Brahma-Samhita everything about Krishna is perfectly described. In the very beginning of the book, Krishna is accepted as the Supreme Lord existing eternally in his transcendental form and is the cause of all causes. One who reads Brahma Samhita very carefully & scrutinizingly can understand everything of Krishna without any fault. I recommend, therefore that all my students read Brahma Samhita very carefully—especially because it was translated personally by my spiritual master Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Maharaja.
Regarding Kirtanananda, he is undoubtedly a good soul, but lately he has been attacked by maya; he thinks too much of himself—even at the risk of disobeying his spiritual master & talking nonsense about Krishna. As a man haunted by a ghost talks so much nonsense, so also when a man is overpowered by the illusory energy—maya, also talks all sorts of nonsense. The last attack of maya upon the conditioned souls is impersonalism. There are 4 stages of attack of maya; viz.: 1) stage is that a man wants to be a protagonist of religion, 2) is that man neglects religiosity and tries to improve his economic development, 3) is to be protagonist of sense enjoyment & when a man is frustrated in all the above mentioned stages he comes to, 4) which is impersonalism, and thinks himself one with the Supreme. This last attack is very serious and fatal. Kirtanananda has very recently developed the 4th stage malady on account of his negligence & disobedience to his spiritual master. Sometimes a foolish patient when he is out of feverish attack by the grace of the physician, thinks that he is cured and does not take precaution against relapse. Kirtanananda's position is like that. Because he helped the society in starting the Montreal center I thought he is now able to start other branches & when he asked me to give him sannyasa I agreed taking the opportunity of his presence in Vrndavana. Simply by his Sannyas dress he thought himself as cured of all material diseases & all mistakes but under the influence of maya, he thought himself a liberated patient, just as the foolish patient thinks himself cured from the disease. Under the spell of maya, he deliberately disobeyed me by not going to London & consequently his disease has relapsed. Now in N.Y. he has began to dictate nonsense in my name—such as giving up robes, flags etc. Instead of opening new centers he has began to deliver his nonsense sermons amongst his God-brothers which are all against our principles. For the present he should simply chant Hare Krishna & cease to deliver lectures because he has not understood the whole philosophy very nicely.
Regarding the hippy religion; we must distinguish ourselves from the hippies. The hippies generally maintain long hair & beard & in order to distinguish ourselves from them we should be clean shaved. When our devotees go outside I have no objection if he dresses as nice American or Canadian gentleman. Up to date gentlemen are all clean shaved so if we do not keep long hair & dress ourselves nicely with tilaka, flag & beads on the neck, apart from our devotional service, then certainly we shall be distinct from the Hippies. I think we should follow this principle rigidly & there is no question of giving up robes in the temple.
We do not wish to be estranged from the material world. That is another nonsense. We have to deal with persons in the society & perhaps we are the only community in the world which can render the best possible service to the society.
Ramacandra's victory celebration is observed in the last day of Durga Puja. Vaisnavas are not concerned with Durga Puja. Dipavali or Devali is observed as new years day by certain mercantile community. The Vaisnavas have nothing to do with this ceremony but just on the last day after Devali the Vaisnavas observe Annakuta ceremony. This celebration is the day when Lord Krishna lifted the hill & Madhavendra Puri established the temple in Gopala.
Use brown or unrefined sugar if you can find it. Hope you are well.