Srila Prabhupada’s Instructions
ISOKRSNA is attempting to compile the instructions of Srila Prabhupada in a single place. The idea is to categorise it for devotees to easily find Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on a subject matter. This is regularly being updated so come back frequently to find more such instructions.
CHANT 16 ROUNDS ON JAPA BEADS
First Regulative Principle is to chant Hare Krishna MantraThe first regulative principle is that one must chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra loudly enough so that he can hear himself, and one must vow to chant a fixed number of rounds.
FOLLOW 4 REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES
- No meat eating, must be strictly vegetarian
- No gambling
- No illicit sexual relationships
- No addiction to indulgence in any form of intoxication, including coffee, tea and cigarettes
- Wake up early in the morning
- Attend Mangala Arati
- Daily read Srila Prabhupada’s books
- Attend daily Srimad Bhagavatam class
BASIC REGULATIONS FOR JAPA – HOWTos
CHANT like the Cry of a child for its mother These three words, namely Harā, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma, are the transcendental seeds of the mahā-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy, to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother’s presence. Mother Harā helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father’s grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.
Chant Prabhupada Pranama before starting to chant
Do not cross the Mula bead, switch and chant to the other side Prabhupāda: Nama.
Prabhupāda: Viṣṇu (repeats each word) pādāya kṛṣṇa preṣṭhāya bhū-tale śrīmate bhaktivedānta svāmin iti nāmine. You chant beginning from here, Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare, Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. Then begin again, another. In this way, there are 108. Come this side. Don’t cross. Then again chant on this side from this way to this way. Your name is Viṣṇujana. Viṣṇujana. V-i-s-n-u-j-a-n-a. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Chant Pañca tattva matra before commencing to chantThe method prescribed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s pure devotees is to chant first the full Pañca–tattva mantra and then chant the mahā-mantra-Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Japa and KirtanaWhen a Vedic mantra is chanted within the mouth so that only the chanter can hear, the chanting is called japa. But when such mantras are chanted loudly, it is called kīrtana. The Vedic hymn Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare can be chanted both softly to oneself or loudly; therefore it is called the mahā-mantra, or the great hymn.
When japa is practiced it is for the personal benefit of the chanter, but when kīrtana is performed it is for the benefit of all others who may hear.
Chant in Brahma Muhurta. Hear distinctlyChanting japa should be done early in the morning with full concentration preferably during the Brahma Muhurta time. Concentrate fully on the sound vibration of the mantra, pronouncing each name distinctly and gradually your speed in chanting will increase naturally. Do not worry so much about chanting fast, most important is the hearing.
Chant in Brahma Muhurta. Hear distinctly It is not that one must chant at a certain time. No. At any time one may chant.
Chant on Japa beadsThe reason for the Japa beads is so that you can keep track of how many times you are chanting Hare Krishna mantra daily. It should be chanted a steady amount of times regularly. We chant at least 16 times around the string of 108 beads daily (one full mantra on each bead). This keeps us strong in spiritual consciousness.
Be careful not to lose the sanctified beadsPlease be very careful to keep these sanctified beads. One should be heedful not to lose them.
Offer obeisances to Tulasi MaharaniWe can follow his(Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s) example, however, by chanting sixteen rounds of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra on beads every day and offering respect to the tulasī plant. This is not at all difficult for anyone, and the process of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra with a vow before the tulasī plant has such great spiritual potency that simply by doing this one can become spiritually strong. Therefore we request the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement to follow Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s example rigidly. Chanting sixteen rounds does not take much time, nor is offering respects to the tulasī plant difficult. The process has immense spiritual potency. One should not miss this opportunity.
Replace lost beads, re-sanctification by Spiritual master is not requriedAlso, I have sent beads of Sukasagari dasi, duly chanted. In cases when beads are lost, it is not necessary to give new ones to the spiritual master for again chanting. Once the disciple received the Hare Krishna Mantra from the spiritual master, that is an eternal blessing, whether these beads or those beads.
String the missing beads when required If beads are missing from japa beads just string the missing beads. That is all that is necessary.
Chant to develop forbearance“A devotee engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord should practice forbearance like that of a tree. Even if rebuked or chastised, he should not say anything to others to retaliate.
This practice of forbearance tṛṇād api sunīcena is very difficult, but when one actually engages in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the quality of forbearance automatically develops. A person advanced in spiritual consciousness through the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra need not practice to develop it separately, for a devotee develops all good qualities simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly.
HEARING THE JAPA
BECOME PURE BY HEARING EACH WORD CAREFULLY As you chant, try to hear each word very carefully and always complete your sixteen rounds. Regular and attentive chanting, along with following the four regulative principles will keep one pure. Simply by following these principles and chanting Hare Krishna one can make his life successful and perfect.
LOUD OR LOW CHANT ATTENTIVELY BY HEARINGThere is no such requirement that Japa should be silently and chanting should be be done differently. Loudly or silently, everything is all right. There is no such restriction. Only thing is that we should chant very attentively, hearing the vibration very distinctly
ADVANCE BY HEARING Please try to chant at least 16 rounds of the beads and while chanting try to hear each and every word. That will make you advance in every respect.
MANAGE TIME FOR JAPA
Priority 1 – Chant 16 Rounds So far as your question about arranging time, our first business is to regularly complete our chanting 16 rounds each day. Then we must offer to the deities mangal arati in the morning, and the other paraphernalia and activities shall be executed as time permits. If there is no time then we must disregard.
Never forget chanting 16 rounds among all Krishna duties Amongst all our duties surely we must not forget to complete our sixteen rounds. We should not be carried away simply by the Krishna duties which is also regarded as good as chanting, but in all circumstances, we shall not forget this duty.
As a rare exception, one may finish pending rounds next day Generally, we recommend our disciples to chant at least 16 rounds on their japa beads daily, and this should be completed. But if one is not even able to chant 16 rounds, then he must make it up the next day. He must be sure to keep his vow. If he does not strictly follow this out, then he is sure to be negligent. That is offensive in the service of the Lord.
Work for Krishna, but don’t forget to chant You have asked me how many hours you should work. Our life is dedicated to Krishna, and you should work for Him 24 hours. We have different varieties of service. For you, you should work on painting as long as you think yourself fit; don’t overwork. Balance time should be spent for chanting and reading S.B. So far remembering me and Krishna, it should be simultaneous.
Chanting itself is panacea for all time problem Actually, there is nothing wrong with you because you have already come to the platform of Krishna Consciousness. Only by the influence of your past habits is it taking perhaps more time for you to adjust things. I hope that by the Grace of Krishna you will stick rigidly to chanting your 16 rounds or more daily. This will solve all of your questions. Try to engage yourself in the service of Krishna and everything will be revealed to you without fail.
BENEFITS of CHANTING
Reach to highest stage of devotional service by chanting
- Everyone begins his devotional life from the neophyte stage, but if one properly finishes chanting the prescribed number of rounds of harināma, he is elevated step by step to the highest platform, uttama-adhikārī.
- While walking, just like our students, they take the beads. They’re walking on the sea beach, still chanting. Where is the loss? But the gain is so great, that we are associating with Kṛṣṇa personally. The gain is so much.
- Even if one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. One who becomes accustomed to this practice will always remain in a pure transcendental position, untouchable by sinful reactions.
- The soul is permanent. It has no development, no decrease, no destruction, nothing of the sort as compared with the body. The only difficulty of the soul is that in the conditioned state of material body, the soul is supposed to forget its identity; by chanting Hare Krishna gradually the soul revives its identity or it comes out from the forgetfulness. This is not exactly development, but it is reviving one’s consciousness. Everything will be gradually clear as you go on chanting Hare Krishna.
- This sound vibration is not material, it is spiritual, and powerful beyond our conception. So it cannot be hindered in any way by something material; it surpasses all these material barriers. So you can know it that when you are chanting, you are also giving benefit to even the child in the womb.
- The thing is that as we go on chanting Hare Krishna, in the pure status, we shall be on the loving platform and at that time, we shall feel the greatest separation from the Lord; but that feeling of separation from the Lord is more relishable than meeting the Lord. These are all transcendental existential understandings and as we grow in Krishna Consciousness, we understand everything, gradually, by the Grace of the Supreme Lord.
OFFENSES AND ILLS OF NOT CHANTING
Forget to eat, sleep but do not forget to chant
- So anyone who will stop chanting, he will be a victim of māyā. Always remember it. Therefore we insist, “Please do not forget to chant at least sixteen rounds.” That is minimum
- If you cannot finish sixteen rounds, then you must not sleep on that day, you must not eat. Why don’t you forget to eat, forget? Why do you forget chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa? This is negligence,aparādha, offense. Rather, you should forget your sleeping and eating, and must finish sixteen rounds. This is called determination. This is called determined. So you are welcome to take initiation, but if you are neglectful, if you want to make it a farce, that is your business. I cannot give you any protection.
- Avoid offenses to progress through different chanting phases – from namaparadha, to namabhasa, suddha nama.
- Regarding quality of chanting Hare Krishna, we shall try to avoid the 10 kinds of offenses, that is the quality.
Glorifying acaryas and great devotees
- Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has very nicely described this vasudeva, or śuddha-sattva, in his Bhagavat-sandarbha. He explains that aṣṭottara-śata (108) is added to the name of the spiritual master to indicate one who is situated in śuddha-sattva, or in the transcendental state of vasudeva.
- The proper form of address to Bhaktivinode Thakura is Om Visnupad Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. After my Guru Maharaja, all acaryas should be addressed as Srila. “Om Visnupad Srila”.
Appearance of a Vaishnava and cleanliness
- Wear Tilaka all the time
- Keep a shikha all the time
- Wear a tulasi neck bead all the time
- Men should keep their hair short
- One should cut or shave hair once every month. Preferably on Purnima day or fourth day from ekadasi.
- Take bath twice daily
- Wear dhoti in the temple, but outside western clothes are ok.
- One should take bath each time after passing stool
- After eating, wash hands and rinse mouth properly
- One should also wash hands after drinking water
- In the toilet room wash with water and wash your hands with soap. Then wash feet, face and mouth.
- Your cloth must be washed daily, especially any cloth used to sleep in.
- Keep yourself clean outside by bathing, etc. and clean inside by chanting Hare Krishna Mantra.
- One should try to maintain these instructions on cleanliness even during travel
- It will be nice for women to wear sari.
Instructions on Kirtana
- Krishna Kirtana is not for earning livelihood.
- Ideal Kirtana party should consist of 12 people. 2 people playing Mrdangas, 8 people playing kartalas, 1 person playing tamboura and 1 person playing melodious harmonium. Person playing Tamboura should lead the kirtana.
- Dressing up and enacting like Panca Tattva, Radha Krishna, Asta Sakhis, Nrsimhadeva and Prahlada etc. is encouraged during kirtana parties. The most important point in this connection is that we shall never be professional.
- Responsive chanting is very nice; one good singer may lead, and the others may join in. It is very good for two reasons especially: One, the chanter gets to rest, so he does not become tired, and two, you get to chant and hear, that is the process.
- Blowing of the conch shell and horns during Kirtana is very nice.
- We should do varieties of show and performances during the Kirtana.
- At break of Kirtana, we shall sing and chant Sanskrit verses from Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Sometimes in the middle of chanting and singing, we shall speak also.
- Kirtana parties should travel all around the world.
- The harmonium should be practiced just to follow the song; not simply for tuning.
- One should perform Kirtana at least twice daily
- Outdoor Kirtana MUST be done.That is your first and foremost business. It is more important than Temple worship.
- The outdoor kirtanas should be rigidly followed at least one hour daily.
- A variety of instruments is not important for Kirtana. Mrdanga and Kartals are enough. If someone is an expert in a particular instrument, he can be engaged for Krishna’s service without diverting attention to add instruments.
- Women kirtana party for singing Gita Gan (Srila Prabhupada’s translation of Bhagavad Gita verses into poetic bengali)
- In spiritual enthusiasm, one may dance during Kirtana.
- 24 hour Kirtana is encouraged, if it is possible. Everything is kirtana including recitation of Bhagavatam which is also kirtana, and japa as well.
- Harmonium is good for bhajan or outdoor Kirtana but should not be played during arati or Kirtana in front of the deities.
- Regarding instruments for temple kirtanas, karatala and mrdanga are sufficient. There is no need of other instruments.
Plays, Dramas, Dance, Acts, Skits and Puppets
- Dramas are alright if you can perform them nicely. Even if you don’t speak them in English, they can be rendered into Hindi on the microphone while the drama goes on. But the puppet shows should be stopped. It is nonsense.
- Perform plays for the public. It can be very attractive if it is done very nicely.
- Perform dance in troupe. Prepare 7 different dances (a new one each day) from the Caitanya Caritamrta for displaying and performing during the Mayapur festival. Prepare 7 different dances from the Krishna book for performing during the Vrndavana festival. We can have a party of about 15 persons who can go all over and perform these dances. It will be very attractive, if nicely done and people will be inclined to buy books and even buy tickets to see such a performance.
- While performing dramas, always the actors must be Vaisnavas. Outsiders may help but devotees should have all the major roles.
- So you may perform such plays conveniently. It is a very nice program, but do not sacrifice other programs on account of it.
- This drama-playing is very good presentation for attracting their attention and displaying Krishna Consciousness very beautifully. Make everything very simple, without too much fancy costumes, and the real message will come out very nicely.
- These kinds of dramas about Krsna, Krsna’s pastimes, and also Lord Caitanya’s pastimes, are very much desirable for presenting to the public widely. So if you can organize your traveling party to present such dramas all over your country and other places that will be very much appreciated.
- Emphasis should be given to the words of Bhagavat, they are spiritual and will have powerful effect if someone only hears them with attention, do not be very much enamoured by fancy costumes and stage-decorations, they will only distract. Real acting art is to know how to speak. So the art is catching their ears. Now in that spirit go on with your work and try to do something wonderful.
- It is very nice that you are preparing these puppet stories of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Such program will not fail to have an uplifting effect upon the viewers as well as the players. So do this nicely, it shall be very good.
- Prepare puppet show of Krishna Consciousness stories. This is very nice to propogate the movement of Lord Caitanya.
- Musical instruments and any musician allowed to perform at the temple should only play Hare Krishna or Vaisnava songs and no other musical demonstration should be entertained. Please follow this principle.
- Ratha Yatra festival is for 8 days. There are two festivals; one going, and one returning.
- Janamashtami feast to be held next day, so that you can finish two festivals in one—namely, Nandotsava and Vyasapuja (Spiritual Master’s Birthday).
- Make use of puppet show or similar attractions during festivals to attract more people.
- Lord Caitanya’s appearance day, deities should be decorated with flowers and garlands and Sankirtana should be performed regularly from Morning to evening. Just after seeing the Full Moon on the sky the days fast should be broken i.e. The devotees should observe fasting the whole day. In the evening the devotees should take food as in the Ekadasi days. The next day celebrate feasting on account of Lord Caitanya‘s appearance and read about His life as given shortly in Srimad Bhagavatam and also read from Teachings of Lord Caitanya and Caitanya Caritamrita. Optionally, The devotees can celebrate amongst themselves with a small scale feast. The celebration can open to the public on the following Sunday. The preparation to be offered specially on Lord Caitanya’s appearance day occasion is bhuni kichri: Fry equal parts dal and rice in ghee and massala. Add two times water as dal and rice, and add vegetables (if you use more ghee, use less water). Cook it until it is dried and the rice is soft.
- Regarding the observance of Lord Caitanya’s Advent Day: No, there is no need for any other devotional songs or chants; simply chant Hare Krishna, with Kirtana or beads, and sing the prayer “Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita Gadadhara, SriVasadi,Gaura Bhaktavrinda.” ….
At the meeting everyone should try to speak something on CaitanyaMahaprabhu’s life, teachings, and philosophy. You can take quotations from the above mentioned books, and have discussions.Fasting should be continued up to evening, then you may have food like on Ekadasi, fruits, milk, etc. On the next day you may observefestival.
- Lord Ramacandra’s appearance day(birthday) is to be observed in the same way as Lord Caitanya’s appearance day, namely fasting and then accept ekadasi prasadam and continuous Kirtan from morning to evening. One may observe feast on the following day.
- Vamana Dwadasi and Pārśvaika Ekādaśi (Appearance day of Srila Jiva Gosvami). Vāmana Dvādaśī means the advent of Lord Vāmanadeva. Therefore we have fast., Ekādaśi fasting, and we observe two fastings in one day, Ekādaśi and Vāmanadeva, Vāmana Dvādaśī. The same process as we observe Ekādaśi, and the evening there should be a meeting discussing on the life and work of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī.
He is one of the very important ācāryas in our sampradāya, so especially his Sandarbhas should be discussed. If there is no such book, then the following discussion may be, take place. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī…
- Anant Caturdasi Vrata (also Haridasa Thakur disapperance) – Fasting until 5 o clock.
- Vijayadasmi (also Madhvacarya appearance day) – there is no fasting, but in the evening we should celebrate some feasting and discuss about the life and works of Śrī Madhvācārya as well as Rāmāyaṇa incidents where Rāma and Rāvaṇa fought.
- Deity worship has two divisions, namely pure and mixed with fruitive activities. For one who is steady, Deity worship is compulsory. Observing the various types of festivals, such as Śrī Janmāṣṭamī, Rāma-navamī and Nṛsiṁha-caturdaśī, is also included in the process of Deity worship. In other words, it is compulsory for householder devotees to observe these festivals.
- The idea of Guru Purnima is to offer gratitude to the Spiritual Master by the disciple once in a year. That is called Guru Purnima. So far as we are concerned, Gaudiya Vaisnavas, we offer all our gratefulness to the Spiritual Master on His Appearance Day Ceremony, called Vyasa Puja.
- Why we worship Tulasi? – Sri Tulasi is the eternal consort of Krishna, and the most pure devotee, and therefore, the Tulasi plant is worshiped by Vaisnavas.
- From 15th April to 15th June is the best season for gr,owing this plant. (In Hawaii)
- Protect the Tulasi seedling from the attack of sparrows by covering it by a net.
- All the devotees should pour water at least once in the morning before taking prasadam.
- Do not water Tulasi devi in large quantity. Only enough to keep the ground soft and moist.
- Tulasi devi should receive sufficient sunlight.
- Transplant small Tulasi plants in rows when they are 7 inches high.
- It is difficult to grow in cold countries, devotees should grow with care in flower pots.
- All Visnu-tattva Deities require profusely Tulasi leaves.
- Lord Visnu likes garland of Tulasi leaves.
- Tulasi leaves mixed with sandalwood pulp and placed on the lotus feet of the Lord is the topmost worship.
- We should be very careful that Tulasi leaves cannot be placed on the feet of anyone else except Lord Visnu and His different forms.
- Tulasi leaves cannot be placed even on the lotus feet of Radharani or on the lotus feet of the Spiritual Master. It is entirely reserved for being placed at the lotus feet of Krishna.
- We can place Tulasi leaves in the hand of Radharani for being placed on the lotus feet of Krishna.
- Offer obeisances to Tulasi maharani bowing down ((pancanga pranam) by chanting the following mantravrindaai tulasi devyai priyaai kesavasya ca
visnubhaktiprade devi satyavatyai namo namah
- When collecting Tulasi leaves from the plant, the following mantra should be chantedtulasya mrta janmasi sada tvam kesavapriya
kesavarthi cinomi tvam barada bhava sobhine
- Collecting the leaves should happen once in the morning.
- While circumambulating the Tulasi plant one should chant the following mantrayani kani ca papani brahmahatya dikani ca
tani tani pranasyanti pradaksinah pade pade
- Each bowl or plate offered to Krishna shttp://www.isokrsna.com/srila-prabhupada-quotes/daily-inspirational-quote-srimad-bhagavatam-2/hould have at least one Tulasi leaf.
- Worship of Tulasi Maharani – Simply all the devotees may offer a little water every morning and in the evening offer obeisances and ghee lamp (one wick) and circumambulating three times repeating the mantras. The plant may remain in the garden.
- In the evening a lamp should be offered to the Tulasi plant and in the morning each devotee should offer a little water and offer obeisances.
- The fig tree (banyan) is not worshipable by us. Try to worship tulasi instead. That will include all tree worship.
- Tulasi Devi thrives on devotion.
- Tulasi Devi is a pure devotee of Krishna and she should be treated with the same respect given to all Krishna’s pure devotees. Simply by worshiping her faithfully, a devotee can get himself free of from all material miseries.
- One should not circumambulate when the Deity room is open. One should close the doors of Deity during Tulasi puja and then open them afterwards.
- Watering Tulasi and keeping her clean is all that is required to keep her healthy. No need of using any sprays – not at all.
- If it is not possible for Tulasi to survive the winters when planted in the ground, then a suitable house should be provided for her.
- “Every living entity is constitutionally a servant of Kṛṣṇa.” One should know this fact perfectly and should preach it to the mass of people. If one realizes that he is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa but does not preach it, his realization is imperfect.
- Kṛṣṇa wants everyone to surrender unto Him because everyone is constitutionally His servant. Therefore, as a sincere friend of Kṛṣṇa, one should preach this philosophy, requesting everyone to surrender unto Kṛṣṇa.
- Become a partner to Krsna and preach his teachings. – Therefore part and parcel’s duty is… Just like in a office, if I say, “This man is one of our part,” or “one of my partner,” a partner means he is working for the same interest. That is partner. So similarly, we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa—that means we must be partner of Kṛṣṇa. And what Kṛṣṇa wants? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇam [Bg. 18.66]. He wants. So as partner of Kṛṣṇa, you should preach that “You surrender to Kṛṣṇa.” That is your business.
- Preaching means to propagate or to vibrate what Kṛṣṇa has said. So this is the position of the preacher, that you simply repeat, like a parrot, no qualification.
- Sādhu means who is trying to make others sādhu. He is sādhu. Sādhu means he should preach according to the scriptures, not outside the scriptures.
- My Guru Mahārāja used to say that “You do not try to preach for getting some money. Money will come automatically. On your feet money will say, ‘Please accept me.’ ” You should preach very sincerely. That is your business. Never bother that “Where is money? Where is money, money, money?”
- Preacher should do good to the innocent persons, who does not know how to love God, what is God, a preacher’s business is to teach him. And not to waste his time with the demons, one who is not interested in the matter of God.
- He (Preacher) should make friendship with devotees. He should preach amongst the innocent, and he should kick on the face of the atheist. Upekṣā. “Hut! (laughter) I don’t like you.” That’s all, no business with him.
- You should preach what Kṛṣṇa says. Then you are right. Why should you say something which Kṛṣṇa does not say? Then you are misguided.
- I am so glad to learn that you are eager to preach but we should know it that we cannot preach without being solid in our standing as devotee. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that “apani acari prabhu jivare sikhaya.” This means that Lord Caitanya wanted that one should preach by behaving himself exactly what he preaches. So our Krsna consciousness movement, preaching, depends on personal behavior.
- If you want to preach the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ on the principles of Bhagavad-gita you will find so many differences. Those who are following Jesus Christ, let them follow strictly to the principles of the Bible. Preaching the gospel on the basis of Bhagavad-gita will not be successful. If you want to do that I cannot check you but I cannot allow you to do such things from within our society.
- Actually, it is a fact that ultimately everyone should preach and distribute books if they want to please me in the best way.
- I blindly follow my guru maharaj. I do not know what is the result.
- Preaching means some inconvenience.
- If you feel at all indebted to me then you should preach vigorously like me. That is the proper way to repay me.
- One should know this fact perfectly and should preach it to the mass of people. If one realizes that he is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa but does not preach it, his realization is imperfect
- One should preach the gospel of Bhagavad-gītā for the benefit of all. Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by the Lord so that human society can be perfectly organized from all angles of vision-politically, socially, economically, philosophically and religiously. From any point of view, human society can be reformed by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement; therefore one who spreads this philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness for the benefit of all conditioned souls in the universe is perfect in pure devotional service.
- My Guru Mahārāja used to say that “You do not try to preach for getting some money. Money will come automatically. On your feet money will say, ‘Please accept me.’ ” You should preach very sincerely. That is your business. Never bother that “Where is money? Where is money, money, money?”
- Argumentum Ad Baculum by being humble – Srila Prabodhananda Saraswati technique
Prasadam - offering and distribution process
- Once prasadam (water, or foodstuffs) is offered to the Lord, His Plate should remain on the altar for about 15-20 minutes (while the portion in the pots may be taken by the devotees).
- Water need only remain there for a few minutes.
- Once the prasadam is removed from the altar, and touched by us, it should not again be placed on the altar.
- For dishes, best thing is everyone who is eating Prasadam should wash his plate. Otherwise, one man has to do so many dishes. So even the guests should also wash their dishes, that is the system in the Temple; not leave one man to do it.
- Regarding prasadam offering to the Deities, you will take from the cooked foodstuffs in a plate just sufficient for one man’s eating, and this prasadam should be offered to the Deity, not the whole quantity. The rest of the foodstuffs may remain in the oven to keep it hot until the devotees accept and honor it.
- Regarding your question about offering Prasadam, whatever is offered to the Deity actually it goes through the Spiritual Master. The Spiritual Master offers to Lord Caitanya, and Lord Caitanya offers it to Krishna. Then Radha Krishna eats, or Jagannatha eats, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu eats, then the Spiritual Master eats, and it becomes Mahaprasadam. So when you offer something, you think like that and chant the Gayatri mantra, and then everything is complete. At last, ring the bell, take out the plate and wipe the place where the plate was kept.
- Regarding prasadam, leftovers should always be taken if they have not spoiled or if they have not been touched by diseased persons. We should never waste Krishna prasadam.
- Best thing is to cook only what is required and then give each person what he wants.
- The Vedic system is that, the people sit in rows behind their plates and servers pass down the rows and put a very small portion of each foodstuff on each plate, unless there is some objection by a person then nothing is given. Then if anyone wants more, the servers pass up and down the rows continually and give more if anyone requests. In this way nothing is wasted and everyone is satisfied.
- No, food which has been offered should never be put back into the refrigerator with the unoffered foods, or brought back into the kitchen.
- Refrigerator should always be very cleansed and pure.
- Everyone should be careful to make only as much as they can eat; they cannot keep any leftovers in refrigerator. If there is any food extra, that should be kept separately; and if there is a separate refrigerator, not within the kitchen and not having in it any unoffered foods, then you may have such special refrigerator for leftover prasadam.
- One should never eat within the kitchen, there is ample place to eat so why should one eat in the kitchen? Kitchen should be considered as good as the Lord’s room, and nobody should wear shoes in the kitchen, smelling and tasting of foods being prepared for the Lord should never be done, talking within the kitchen should be only what is necessary for preparing the prasadam, or about the Lord, and dirty dishes (those taken from kitchen and eaten from) should not be brought back into the kitchen (but if there is no other place to wash them, then they should be put into sink and washed immediately.), hands should always be washed when preparing prasadam, and in this way, everything shall be prepared very cleanly and pure.)
- For offering prasadam simply prayers to the Spiritual Master is sufficient. The process is that everything is offered to the Spiritual Master, and the Spiritual Master is supposed to offer the same foodstuff to the Lord. When a thing is offered to the Spiritual Master, he immediately offers to the Lord. That is the system, and as we come by parampara system, it is our duty to go through the right channel—namely, first the Spiritual Master, then Lord Caitanya, and then Krishna. So when we chant prayers, we do this, Bande ham Sri Guru . . . and gradually to the Goswamis, then to Lord Caitanya, and then to Radha Krishna. That is the praying system. But offering the prasadam to present everything before the Spiritual Master whose picture is also in the altar, means that the Spiritual Master will take care of offering the foodstuff to the Lord. Therefore simply by chanting the prayer to the Spiritual Master, everything will be complete.
- Only thing is whatever is offered must be with respect and devotion. (He is neither hungry nor poor, nor unable to eat, but He accepts everything, when such eatable is within the groups of vegetables, fruits, flours, milk, water, etc. is offered to Him with love and devotion, and faith.
- Krishna is offered foodstuff in goodness. The foodstuffs in the modes of goodness are wheat, rice, pulse (beans, peas), sugar, honey, butter and all milk preparations, vegetables, flowers, fruits, grains. So these foods can be offered in any shape, but prepared in various ways by the intelligence of the devotees. The ingredients are always the same as above, whether you fry them, boil them, bake them, powder them, or whatever way they are combined or cooked, the idea is that they must come from this group of foodstuffs. So you can make your own recipe if you like, so long as the ingredients are within this group. This foods group is stated by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita, and we follow accordingly.
- Now the thing is that you must consider by whom you are being taught what is healthy and what is not healthy. What is their authority? Actually, this healthy and non-healthy is a material consideration, and we are simply interested in what Krishna wants, so we offer to Him to eat whatever He wants. And He asks for food preparations from within this group. I hope this will clarify the questions about Prasadam preparations for you to understand.
- Yes, leave Krishna’s plate for 15-20 minutes or more, not more than half an hour. After offering the plate, the balance in the pots should be distributed immediately. The plate can remain on the altar while the rest is being distributed.
Fasting - Ekadasi, Janamashtami etc.
- The Kṛṣṇa conscious person observes fasting as it is recommended in the scriptures. He does not fast or eat more than is required, and he is thus competent to perform yoga practice.
- In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekādaśī, and on the appearance day of the Lord, etc. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great ācāryas for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world.
- There are prescriptions for fasting on certain days of the month. One may not be inclined to practice such fasting, but because of his determination to make advancement in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he should accept such bodily troubles which are recommended. However, one should not fast unnecessarily or against Vedic injunctions.
- The scriptures recommend fasting for spiritual advancement, not for some political end or social purpose. Persons who take to such austerities are, according to Bhagavad-gītā, certainly demoniac.
- One should fast on the two Ekādaśī days, which fall on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon, and on the birthdays of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Rāma and Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There are many such fasting days.
- Lord should eat luxuriously but devotees should eat simple foodstuff. Lord should not be made to fast with us.
- Regular prasāda is offered to Lord Viṣṇu on Ekādaśī because, while fasting is recommended for devotees on Ekādaśī, it is not recommended for Lord Viṣṇu.
- It is a prejudice amongst smārta-brāhmaṇas that a widow must observe fasting on Ekādaśī but a woman who has her husband should not. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, introduced the system that a woman, even if not a widow, must observe the Ekādaśī day and must not touch any kind of grains, even those offered to the Deity of Viṣṇu.
- In the Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa it is said that one who observes fasting on Ekādaśī day is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life. The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one’s faith and love for Govinda, or Kṛṣṇa.
- The real reason for observing fasting on Ekādaśī is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting or performing similar service. The best thing to do on fasting days is to remember the pastimes of Govinda and to hear His holy name constantly.