Archive [2k]
Letters [2k]
Bio/Info [2k]
Saturday, May 3rd, 2003

Guru's Orders

A time for sravan and a time for kirtan

When I leave for Johannesburg next month, it will be almost nineteen years to the day since I left South Africa to live in Goswami Maharaj's temple in San Jose, to help with the layout of Srila Sridhar Maharaj's Golden Volcano of Divine Love and other books which were published by the Guardian of Devotion Press.

I used to "preach" in South Africa, in the early days (1981-83). I used to visit about ten nama-sanghas every week for an hour-long program of kirtan, lecture, and prasadam.

I thought that I was a big preacher, that I was doing good by trying to attract others to Krishna consciousness, by giving them tulasi-mala (as was the practice at that time) so that they could chant the maha mantra.

But when Srila Guru Maharaj heard about this, he was not pleased. Rather, he censured me for distributing japa-mala, or chanting beads, to the uninitiated: "Japa-mala is to be given only after connection with the guru."

Of course, my intentions were good, but as Emerson says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Because Srila Guru Maharaj had so much affection for me, because he did not want me to "spoil" my life, he chastised me:

"Try to save yourself first. Don't be so eager to uplift others. Save yourself first, then you will know what to do... Dive deep into the study of the scriptures. Realize yourself, and from that plane you will speak... First know what the truth is, then go to distribute, otherwise in the name of distribution, you will distribute poison. Half-knowledge, half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood."

To save myself — to get a proper conception of Krishna consciousness — I went to live in the San Jose temple, to help Goswami Maharaj in his service to Srila Guru Maharaj. Living in the superior association of the temple devotees and serving Goswami Maharaj gave me a much deeper understanding of Krishna consciousness and a profound appreciation for vaisnava-seva.

For almost twenty years I did no preaching at all; I just listened (sravan dasa). Now — in Russia and in South Africa — the order has come from Srila Gurudeva: "Preach!"
Rev [1k] Fwd [1k]

  iMonk Tilak [4k] URL:
Layout by imonk — May 3rd, 2003.