(Delivered Sunday, June 4, at Tompkins Square Park
by Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary)
My dear young beautiful boys and girls of America. I have come to your country with great hope and a great mission. My Spiritual Master, Om Vishnupad Paramhansa Paribrajaka Acharya Sri Sriman Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, asked me to preach this cult of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Western World. That was the seed-giving incident. Gradually the seed fructified, and I was prepared to come to the Western World. Still, I do not know why I was so much attracted by the land of America. But from within Krishna dictated that instead of going to Europe I should better go to America. So you can see that I have come to your country under order of superior authority. And even after arriving here, when I perceived that some of the youngsters are being misled, confused and frustrated this is not the condition in your country only, but in every country, the young people are neglected, although it is they who are the flower and future hope of everyone so I thought to myself that if I go the American youth with my message and they join with me in this movement, then it will spread all over the world and then all the problems of the world will be solved. How I would like to be with you in person today, but Krishna has prevented that, so please pardon me and accept my blessings in this written form.
This process of Samkirtan this singing and dancing is so nice because from the very beginning it places everyone on the spiritual platform. There are different platforms or levels to our existence: the bodily platform, the mental platform, the intellectual platform, and the spiritual platform. When you stand on the spiritual platform then all the problems created by the necessities of the body, mind, intellect, and ego become solved. Therefore I appeal to you to join this movement most seriously. The process is very simple: we ask everyone to come join with us in chanting, hear something of the philosophy of life taught by Lord Krishna, take a little prasadam (foodstuff that is prepared and offered to the Lord), and peacefully, with refreshed mind go home. That is our mission.
We do have certain restrictions; practically, they are not restrictions, but something better in place of something inferior. The other day, Mr Alan Burke questioned me on his television program, "Swamiji, why do you insist on marriage?" And I answered him, "Unless one becomes peaceful in home life, how can he make any advance in any other area of life or knowledge? Therefore everyone should get married just to be happy and peaceful." You are all beautiful, nice educated boys and girls why shouldn't you get married and live happily? If you live peacefully, regulated lives, eating nothing but Krishna prasadam, then the tissues in your brain will develop for spiritual consciousness and understanding.
However, if you are not agreeable to these simple restrictions, still I request you to join the chanting with us. Everybody can do that, and that will gradually clarify everything, and all problems will be solved, and you will find a new chapter of your life. Just this week I have received a letter from a girl in New Jersey who has had such an experience. She writes:
You don't know me by name, but I am the girl who joined your parade in Washington Square this past Saturday.
When I first saw your group I thought you were all crazy. Either that or on dope of some kind. After listening and talking with some you I realized that it was neither of those. You people plainly believed in what you were doing and I admired you for that much; but my curiosity drove me further and I had to find out why. So I followed you and as I did, the chant you sang began to take hold. The next thing I knew I felt free of myself and I was singing too. I didn't know where I was or where I was going but I was too elated to care. It wasn't until we stopped that I learned where I was.
By that time I had picked up bits and pieces of what Krishna Consciousness was about. One of your members asked me to visit your temple and I followed you still further, hoping to discover just what it was that made you feel so strongly about something I'd never heard of.
After having taken a meal with you and reading your literature I left; but not alone. I took with me a new awareness of life. It occurred to me how futile my desires for the material things in life were: that a new dress, or big house or color television were not important. If only people would open their eyes to the endless number of pleasures God has already given us, there would be no need to look any further.
You people are truly lucky. You may have had to do without many things but because of this you are able to enjoy the simple God-given treasures of the world. Because of your beliefs, you are the wealthy; and I thank you for sharing a bit of that wealth with me.
So we invite you to please chant with us it is such a nice thing; come to our temple if you like; take a little prasadam; and be happy. It is not very difficult if you just chant this HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. That will save you. Thank you very much, and God bless you.
Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta