February 14, 1970
My Dear Madhudvisa,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your two letters dated 10 and 12 February, 1970 respectively. I am glad to learn that you are early planning for the upcoming Ratha-yatra festival. In this connection, I have requested the exact date of the festival from India but it has not yet been replied, so you may plan for any suitable date between 20 and 31 July—even if it does not correspond, we have to arrange conveniently, that is allowed.
So far additions for this years Rathayatra, you may make three Rathas, one for each of the Deities. The rest of the details are already there, simply you may may supply more money for festoons, decorations, flowers, bells, flags, etc. The Spiritual Sky is far away, but you just try to do it following Jagannatha Puri Rathayatra. Jagannatha Puri or wherever Rathayatra is performed is not different from the spiritual sky.
In the spring you may lead a very big procession on Lord Caitanya's birthday. This is a good plan to celebrate this great spring festival out of doors. So make this a very opulent procession with large Sankirtana Party and you may also celebrate in this way again with a procession on Janmastami day. These two important subjects may be observed in this way by all the three areas and similarly in other centers also.
Regarding your first question, a pure devotee is never under the modes of nature. In other words, no material laws apply on a devotee because he is fully under the direction of Krsna. So a devotee can continue his present occupation or he may change it if he likes. Krsna does not force a devotee because the devotee acts spontaneously according to the desire of the Lord; in this kind of loving service there is no question of force. Force is applied only when there is denial of Krsna. Just as the citizens of a state have freedom to follow the laws of the state, that is subordinate freedom, and the freedom of the living entities is also subordinate to Krsna. The clue is given there in the Bhagavad-gita that the living entities are fragmental parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, this means that all the qualities of Krsna are therefore present in minute quantity in each of His parts and parcels. That is simultaneously one and different philosophy—the living entities thus have free will because they are parts of Krsna and Krsna has free will, but the free will of Krsna is Supreme while the freedom of the parts and parcels is minute. So if the living entity out of love subordinates his free will to Krsna that is his liberation. He is no longer forced to act helplessly, but he acts freely rendering loving devotional service to Krsna in every way. Then we have the practical conclusion from Krsna confirmed by Him in Bhagavad-gita (18:66), "Just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore you have nothing to fear." In this way astral influences are also material and therefore they do not affect the devotee who has taken protection of Krsna's internal energy, by surrendering his life and soul in the service of the Lord.
Your second question about spacemen from other planets; it is stated in the Vedic literature that there are many planets where the inhabitants are more advanced than the inhabitants of this earth planet. So it is not unlikely that such people may have developed space travelling methods. They occupy higher posts in the creation of the Lord and so they may be considered as demigods in the same way as the president is specially empowered by the nation, but this does not mean that such spacemen are necessarily carrying the messages of the Lord, just as the business of the state employee is not to act as the state representative but he acts in his particular job.
Because Krsna know everyone's future does not remove our free will. Someone may commit a theft, and if I know that then I know that he will be captured and punished. That is knowing his future, but know that future does not mean that he had no choice not to commit the criminal act. There are two destinies for every one. One destiny is in Krsna Consciousness and the other destiny is in material consciousness, so if someone is in Krsna Consciousness then Krsna knows his future and if he is in material consciousness and acting in that way then Krsna also knows his future. In this way the free will is not affected by knowing the future of the living being, that is an erroneous conclusion.
In regard to praying to Lord Nityananda Prabhu I have written to you in my last letter that such prayer is quite appropriate. Our only prayer should be in the matter of desiring further development of devotional service and such sincere prayer should be submitted not directly to the lord but through the via-media of His bona fide servitor or representative.
I am very glad to learn that S.F. Temple is doing very nicely in the street Sankirtana with transcendental plays. And your BTG sales are very encouraging to me. I have heard from Gargamuni that you are ordering 20,000 issues of BTG and this is very good news. Selling BTG means that out movement is increasing and our philosophy is being appreciated. Uttama Sloka is a very good devotee and I am also glad to learn that he is of great assistance to you in guiding the new devotees. He may remain there with my permission for as long as he may like, I know that he is very valuable as an expert Temple manager.
I have already sent Hamsaduta to oversee the Germany center and help them be organized.
I am very happy to learn that you are arranging for opening another center in San Jose. From your letter I can understand that it will be a good start in spreading our Krsna Consciousness movement to the Spanish speaking people. I do not care whether the center is opened this place or that place, simply I want to see that eventually a center is opened in every place. So far now you may start the center in San Jose, and as you say that there are many advantages to this procedure, you must develop it nicely. This will be a good opportunity for Citsukhananda and his wife to engage some Spanish speaking devotees to help them when the South American center is first opened. So by the near location you should keep in close touch and give them all assistance as much as possible. Your plan is fully approved by me, and you may immediately begin your preparations without delay.
I am so very happy to learn of your increasing desire to spread this Sankirtana movement. My Guru Maharaja used to say that one who has actually got life cannot do but preach this Krsna Consciousness—real spiritual life means he must preach, and he is really a preacher. Now we must prepare all our disciples for serious preaching work, so I am requesting everyone of my initiated students to very seriously chant daily sixteen rounds without fail and to strictly follow the regulative practices. If these two things are done regularly there will be no chance of falling down because these principles are the essential basis of spiritual strength. In addition to this the classes and individual study of our scriptures must be done very scrutinizingly by you all so that you can be preachers fully convinced yourselves of this transcendental science and its necessity for the mankind in general.
If one simply regularly chants and follows the rules and regulative principles all questions of philosophy will be answered by Krsna from within and all doubt will be cleared also in this way. And the same answers are there again in our books like Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, etc. So please see that all the initiated devotees stick rigidly to their daily chanting and regulative living in devotional service. This is most important.
Hope this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami