Advancing in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

Srila Prabhupada Letters

Continuing with our series of a True account entitled Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers… A search for meaning carries Bob Cohen, a young American Peace Corps worker halfway around the world, to an ancient village in the midst of West Bengal. There, in a small bamboo hut, he finds a teacher who is able to tell him everything he ever wanted to know.

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter Eight

Advancing in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness

(an exchange of letters)

Springfield, New Jersey
June 12, 1972

Dear Prabhupāda,

I offer my humble obeisances.

I have been associating with the devotees of the New York temple. With the association of such fine, advanced devotees, I hope that I may make some advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. My fiancee has started to come to the temple and is chanting a little. She knew nothing about Kṛṣṇa consciousness until I wrote her about it from India. Ātreya Ṛṣi has been kind enough to invite us to his home so that we may see an ideal householder life.

I went to Bombay the end of April for termination from the Peace Corps. I was fortunate enough to come down with a minor illness, so that I had to stay in Bombay for two weeks. I spent the time with the advanced and kind devotees at Juhu. Unfortunately you had left five days previously.

I understand so little, but I have faith in the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and hope to take to it more and more.

I look forward to Ātreya Ṛṣi’s description of the temple in Los Angeles and hope that I may personally hear you in New York.

Thank you for the kindness you have shown to a very undeserving boy.

Sincerely,
Bob Cohen

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
ISKCON Los Angeles
June 16, 1972

Bob Cohen
Springfield, New Jersey

My dear Bob,

Please accept my blessings. I thank you very much for your letter dated June 12, 1972. I have noted the sentiments expressed therein with great pleasure. I am very glad to hear that you are associating with us. I know that you are a very good boy, very intelligent, and your behavior is gentle, so I have all confidence that very quickly Kṛṣṇa will bestow all His blessings upon you, and you will feel yourself becoming perfectly happy in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One makes his advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness by voluntarily giving up his attachment to material nature, or māyā. Such renunciation is called tapasya. But we are not very willing to perform austerities without good reason; therefore any man with a good scientific and philosophical mind, like your good self, must first appreciate what transcendental knowledge is. If you get knowledge, automatically tapasya will follow, and then you make your advancement in spiritual life. So to get knowledge is the first item for anyone who is hoping to find the perfection of his life. Therefore I advise you to read our books daily as far as possible and try to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision by discussing it frequently with the devotees at the New York temple. In this way you will gradually become convinced, and by your sincere attitude and devotional service you will make progress.

Yes, having some faith in me and in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness process is the first and only requirement for getting actual wisdom. If there is faith, understanding will follow. And as your understanding increases, so will your disgust with the spell of illusory energy. And when you voluntarily give up your entanglements in the material world, then the progress is assured.

I think we are just now typing up the tapes of those conversations we held in Māyāpur, and we shall be publishing them as a book. It will be called Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers. I shall send you a copy as soon as they are ready to distribute. Meanwhile, I shall be stopping in New York for two or three days on my way to London for the Ratha-yātrā Festival there. I am not yet certain when I shall be arriving in New York, but it will be some time in the early part of July. You may keep in regular contact with Bali Mardana regarding the arrival date, and I shall be very much engladdened to meet with you in New York once again. Again we shall discuss if you have any questions.

Hoping this will meet you in good health and a happy mood,

Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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