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Congratulations for the special issue of Back to Godhead devoted to Krsna consciousness in the USSR. It was most timely and has served to focus people's attention on the antagonistic attitude of the Russian authorities toward the devotees of God. The four regulative principles followed by the Hare Krsna devotees are a guarantee of their exemplary behaviour. Moreover, the chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra is not only good for those who chant, but also serves as a blessing for those who happen to listen to it. Such a group of peaceful and God-loving people could only be an asset to any society.
Dr. D. R. Sharma
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We and many of our friends who receive or look at your magazine have been feeling for some years that an improvement is needed, and finally it is time to let you know in writing. We would like more of the beautiful and cosmic pictures of Lord Krsna in full color. We feel that that is the paramount purpose of your magazine, to focus of Him, and that far too much space is give to unnecessary pictures of our modern world or other concepts, many of which are ugly. If you were to include more of the most magnificent pictures each month, and preferably none of the other silly concepts or objects of criticism, you would find that the fulfillment and fruit of your purpose would come better and sooner.
Taansen and Shirsha Sumeru
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I appreciated Mathuresa dasa's article "The Acre/Cow Theory" [May issue], yet the tone of the essay (though it was very humorous and personal) indicated that the author is one of the devotees who still have some doubts that simple living can work comfortably outside of India or some other third-world country, such as the Philippines.
Self-sufficiency need not be very austere and difficult. Sure some hard work is required in the beginning, but please don't even jestingly speak of "perishing before the end of the summer" or "freezing to death" the first winter. I realise that Mathuresa may have been employing a literary device to win the sympathy of the readers, but still I feel we should all rather boldly put forth the conclusion, which has been confirmed by Srila Prabhupada, that a man can live quite easily without any modern conveniences, just by working six or eight weeks a year. And this can be done even in cold climates. People must simply learn the art.
MATHURESA DASA REPLIES: While I don't doubt that simple living with an acre of land and a cow can work, I don't know of even one Western devotee of Krsna who is living that way. Even if someone has land and a cow, he relies on machinery and outside jobs. This is also the common experience outside of the Krsna consciousness movement.
So although my jesting may have been a literary device, it is also a matter of honesty to admit that I personally (like other devotees) have not been willing or able to practice the lifestyle we all agree is ideal.
If I can't yet practice what I preach, the preaching is empty, and self-effacements is necessary if I am to be heard at all. We need an example of a devotee putting the acre/cow theory into practice.