My dear Makhanlal,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 8 June 1973 and I have carefully studied the contents.
I am encouraged to hear that you have recommended a total of ten devotees for first initiation from our St. Louis temple. Preaching means to increase our family members, so I can see that the preaching at ISKCON St. Louis is going on very sincerely, otherwise so many would not be interested in becoming devotees. So on your carefully considered recommendation, I am accepting these girls and boys as my initiated disciples and their names are as follows:
- Thomas Doherty—Tamopaha das;
- Jim Higgins—Niscinta das;
- Paul Gibson—Punderika das;
- Lance Nally—Gaya das;
- Steven Lisowski—Satyamadhava das;
- Nancy Alderman—Nikunjarasi Vilasi dasi;
- Deborah Little—Daksinesvari dasi;
- Ginette Newman—Govindarupini dasi;
- Donald Parker—Modandin das;
- Sylvia Parker—Savitri dasi
They may send their beads for chanting along with a copy of this letter to Kirtanananda Maharaja. Now you instruct them carefully that they must chant 16 rounds daily without fail and always follow the four regulative principles as well as engage in daily duties of temple attendance, classes and street sankirtana. The word initiation means "to begin" not that when he is initiated a disciple becomes slack; rather upon initiation he begins spiritual life in earnest. Regarding second initiation, enclosed is one sacred thread chanted on by me, and the gayatri mantra. This should be instructed to Maha Muni in private, have him hear a tape recording of the mantra in the right ear. Hold a fire yajna for the first initiates.
You have asked what is the mentality of the demons who attacked New Vrndavana and why did this happen? You should know this already, that there are two classes of men, devotees and demons. The whole history is that the peaceful devotees are disturbed by the demons but that the devotees are always victorious by the grace of Krsna. In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna ordered Arjuna to declare to the whole world that His devotees would never be vanquished. And in the last verse of the Gita, Sanjaya says wherever there is Krsna and Krsna's pure devotee Arjuna there will always be opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality—tatra srir vijayo bhutir dhruva nitir matir mama. But because we are engaged in warfare with the forces of Maya, there will be casualties. Even Arjuna's son, Abhimanyu a 16-year-old boy was killed at the battle of Kuruksetra. We should be prepared to protect the Deities and always expect Krsna's Mercy, because we are always dependent on Him and we cannot do anything on our own without Him.
You have asked about whether nuclear devastation on this planet would effect the Sankirtana Movement. No, there is nothing that can stop the Sankirtana Movement because it is the will of God Himself, Lord Caitanya, that His Holy Name be heard in every town and village. Neither can the demons devastate this planet independent of the will of Krsna. Nothing happens without His sanction. If Krsna wants to kill someone no one can save Him, and if Krsna wants to save someone no one can kill him. For our parts we should just be determined to carry out our mission against all opposition, demons, nuclear war, whatever. The whole universe is finally subject to certain annihilation by the will of Krsna, but devotional service is eternal and is the only certain way one can save himself from devastation. We can preach all over the world that the only way to be saved from collective and individual devastation is to take to the chanting of Hare Krsna. In short, this material world is a very precarious place therefore we should always chant Hare Krsna and seek Krsna's protection.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami