February 25, 1970
Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Founder-Ācārya International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Thank you very much for your very interesting letter of February 15, 1970, with enclosure.
I am afraid that whenever you quote a passage purporting to show that only the chanting of the name Krishna is required, I can quote another one which requires something else, adding, yadi śloko ‘pi pramānam, ayam api ślokah pramānam bhavitum arhati: “If mere verses are authoritative, this verse also ought to be regarded as authoritative.” And there may be no end to this in the foreseeable future, as Patanjali also says, mahān hi śabdasya prayoga-visayah: “For vast is the domain for the use of words.”Yours very sincerely, J. F. Staal From: A.C. Bhaktivedanat Swami 3764 Watseka Avenue Los Angeles, California 90034
April 24, 1970
Dear Dr. Staal:
I beg to thank you very much for your kind letter dated February 25, 1970. I am sorry that I could not reply to your letter earlier because I was a little busy in the matter of purchasing a new church estate at the above address. We have secured a very nice place for a separate temple, lecture room, my quarters, and the devotees’ residential quarters, all together in a nice place with all the modern amenities.
I beg to request you to visit this place at your convenience, and if you kindly let me know a day before, my students will be very glad to receive you properly.
Regarding our correspondence, actually this quotation and counter-quotation cannot solve the problem. In a court both the learned lawyers quote from law books, but that is not the solution to the case. The determination of the case is the judgment of the presiding judge. So argument cannot bring us to a conclusion.
The scriptural quotations are sometimes contradictory, and every philosopher has a different opinion, because without putting forward a different thesis, no one can become a famous philosopher. It is therefore difficult to arrive at the right conclusion. The conclusion is, as above mentioned, to accept the judgment of authority. We follow the authority of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is nondifferent from Krishna, and His version according to Vedic scripture is that in this age this chanting is the only solution for all problems of life. And that is actually being shown by practical experience.
Recently there was a big procession of our students in Berkeley on the Advent Day of Lord Caitanya, and the public has remarked as follows: “This crowd of men is not like others, who assemble to break windows and create havoc.” This is also confirmed by the police in the following words: “Members of the Krishna consciousness movement cooperated fully with the police, and their efforts to maintain peaceful order throughout the parade were so successful that only minimal police involvement was required.”
Similarly, in Detroit there was a big peace march, and our men were appreciated as “angels” in the crowd. So this Krishna consciousness movement is actually needed at the present moment as the panacea for all kinds of problems in human society.
Other quotations will not act very appreciably at this time. In a drugstore there may be many medicines, and all may be genuine, but what is required is that an experienced physician prescribe medicine for a particular patient. We cannot say in this case, “This is also medicine, and this is also medicine.” No. The medicine which is effective for a particular person is the medicine for him—phalena paricīyate.Yours very sincerely, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Final Note by Srila Prabhupāda
In a court of justice two lawyers put forward their respective relevant arguments taken from the authorized law books to decide a point, but it is up to the judge to decide the case in favor of one of the litigants. When the opposing lawyers put forward their arguments, both of them are legal and bona fide, but the judgment is given as to which argument is applicable to the particular case.
Lord Caitanya gives His judgment on the authority of śāstras that the chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the only means to elevate one to the transcendental platform, and actually we can see it is effective. Each and every one of our students who has seriously taken to this process may be examined individually, and any impartial judge will find it easy to see that they have advanced in their transcendental realization further than any philosophers, religionists, yogīs, karmīs, etc.
We have to accept everything favorable to the circumstances. Rejection of other methods in a particular circumstance does not mean that the rejected ones are not bona fide. But for the time being, taking into consideration the age, time, and object, methods are sometimes rejected even though bona fide. We have to test everything by its practical result. By such a test, in this age the constant chanting of the Hare Krishna mahā-mantra undoubtedly proves very effective.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
RELATED LINKS: Los Angeles Times Article – “Krishna Chant” SRILA PRABHUPĀDA’S LETTER TO THE LOS ANGELES TIMES The Exchange Between Srila Prabhupāda and Dr. Staal (Part I) The Exchange Between Srila Prabhupāda and Dr. Staal (Part II)