His Holiness Lokanatha Swami
As a Padayatri, I was told a number of times that in Prabhupada’s letters, correspondence, conversations, that if you just search the word book distribution, you will find it a thousand times, thousands of times. When you search for the word padayatra, it may appear 2 or 3 times. This was the argument that some of our leaders used to prove that padayatra was not Prabhupada’s mood. Prabhupada was into book distribution. Padayatra is my personal service that Prabhupada gave to me and when I heard this, I was shocked and hurt. I felt that was not a true representation of Prabhupada. These statements made Prabhupada’s presentation very partial. When I would relate with Prabhupada about padayatra, I had no doubts, and I am fully convinced how much he wanted it for me to get into it.
What we need to do is establish Prabhupada’s viewpoint. We must present and express the complete Prabhupada, Prabhupada consciousness. Book distribution is very much in our minds and if we talk of anything else, then we are made to feel guilty. But during Prabhupada’s time, if we were doing congregational service or Nama-hatta or padayatra or deity worship or cooking or Food for Life, Prabhupada did not make us feel bad or guilty about it. Whatever work we were doing we always felt proud and pleased because Prabhupada always expressed his pleasure. Whatever he had asked us to do, we did it and he was very pleased. We need to bring Prabhupada completely into the center and then we interface with him our service.
I would also sometimes say, “Padayatra is the only way!” We have this tendency to think, “This is the only way, that is the only way.” But harer nama eva kevalam, that is, harinama is the only way. Book distribution, congregational preaching, and everything else—all of these programs assist us in achieving that goal, that harer nama is the only way. I think we have to do things Prabhupada’s way, and in Prabhupada consciousness. The GBC body is representing Srila Prabhupada, and they are the ultimate managerial authorities. With them we need to establish priorities; some things are emphasized so much that if you do something else, you are meant to feel very bad and guilty. I would like to have some further discussion or research done and establish the way Prabhupada wanted.
In the Vedic texts, we are the leading distributor, but when it comes to the Christian literature and all other types, we are not leading. The Christian literature distribution is more than we do and is done mostly by the congregation. We want to make the congregation very, very active. We heard the stories of other groups such as Swami Narayana, Bahais, Swami Shivananda, and half a dozen other groups, who have just finished the centennials of their founders, their acaryas. Their centennials really boosted the congregation. Prabhupada’s centennial is an opportunity to expand and establish ISKCON’s congregation.
Prabhupada’s attitude towards congregation is so sweet. Prabhupada used words such as camels and dogs to describe attached householders, yet he was so sweet, so nice, so gentle, and so caring for the same audience. He would give mahaprasada and made sure everyone got it. That was Prabhupada’s mood for the congregation. Keep that Prabhupada spirit, Prabhupada consciousness, and if you are not happy with the way Prabhupada spoke and emphasized all the aspects of the Krsna consciousness movement and activities, then you are free; you can be the founder of your own society. But this is Prabhupada’s society. “You do as I did,” Prabhupada said.
(Excerpt from the book The Nectar of Congregational Preaching by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry)
For downloading this insightful book, please follow this link https://iskconcongregation.com/product/the-nectar-of-congregational-preaching/