Letters of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda
25 December, 1972
Sri Govinda das
My dear Sri Govinda,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated December 5, 1972, and I am greatly pleased to hear from you that you have increased the selling (of) books five times more in Chicago center. That is very good news to me. Yes, there must always be competition, that gives life, that cannot be separated from life. Sanatana dharma means the strong will utilize the energy of the weak, the weak must serve the strong, that we see everywhere, is it not? Who can deny? So that competitive spirit makes us strong, otherwise it is a society of weak men only, and what is the good of such society? But if you ask anyone are you weak or strong, he must answer that he is weak—he cannot control even his toothache, what to speak of his death. Therefore, in fact, it is a society of weak men—everyone is weak before Durga Devi or the material energy. If you see sometimes her picture, the foolish materialist is being held by the claws of her tiger-carrier, while she pierces him to death with her trident weapon. She has got ten arms, each with weapon; she is so strong, but we are so weak that simply by piercing with her trident, the three-fold miseries, adhibhautika, adhidaivika, and adhyatmika, the foolish materialists are all defeated! And before Krishna, Durga devi is very weak—Krishna is the controller of Durga. So Krishna is the strongest: sattvam sattvavatam aham, “I am the strength of the strong.” Therefore, being weak, it is the eternal occupational duty of the living entity to surrender to Krishna, that’s all. In the surrendering to Krishna, if everyone does it, still, the brahmanas will be served by the lower castes, the kings will be served by vaisyas and sudras, the vaisyas will be served by the sudras, and the sudras will serve all higher castes—there is still utilizing the weak by the strong—but feeling themselves always very much weak in comparison to Krishna, the whole society services the Strongest, therefore there will be no envy of the stronger by the weaker class of men. So perfect society, or Vedic society, does not eliminate competition—competition, stronger and weaker, must be there—but it eliminates envy, because everyone is weak before Krishna. Is that clear?
Material life means hatred for Krishna and desire for matter
Regarding your other question, should we become detached from the results of our activities, or should we become simply attached to the Lotus Feet of Krishna, the answer is that both of these philosophies are right. One should not be attached to his personal achievement. But, if one is attached in order to please his Spiritual Master, then it is all right. Unattached to my benefit, attached to Krishna’s benefit. Krishna Consciousness means attachment for Krishna and detachment for personal benefit, that’s all. But in any case, if there is fight amongst yourselves over these things, book distribution, competition, you should not develop ill-feeling. That depends on the persons. If ill-feeling is there, then stop it and all together chant Hare Krishna. Those who are behind should eulogize those who are advanced. If you become envious, that is material. Attachment, detachment—these things are natural. If you become attached to something you become detached from other. So we can estimate our advancement in this way. This is the test. In the Krishna Consciousness Movement there is no question of enviousness, hatred, things like that. Material life means hatred for Krishna and desire for matter. So we have to convert ourselves. When one becomes Krishna conscious actually, he does not even hate material things because he becomes expert how to utilize everything for Krishna. Krishna Consciousness is so nice. We do not hate anything material because we have learned from our disciplic succession how to utilize material things for Krishna’s service. Actually, bhakti means realization of the Supreme, and this means increasing attachment for Him and reforming of detachment or hating of material name and fame.
Lie to some, not to others, that is not a good philosophy
So far this making some false story for collecting money or selling book, of course we may do anything for Krishna, but that is supposed to be reserved for very advanced experts in Krishna Consciousness—they know how to catch the big fish without themselves getting wet. So it is not very much advisable to make lies just to sell book. If we simply stick to describing how wonderful is Krishna, then whatever we may lie or exaggerate, that will not be lie! But other things, lies, they will not help us to train ourselves in truthfulness. Lie to some, not to others, that is not a good philosophy. Rather the brahmanas are always truthful, even to their enemies. There is sufficient merit in our books that if you simply describe them sincerely to anyone, they will buy. That art you must develop, not art of lying. Convince them to give by your preaching the Absolute Truth, not by tricking, that is more mature stage of development of Krishna Consciousness.
Hoping this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami