Srila Prabhupada On Opening Hospitals and Schools

It is not sannyasi business. For starting school the government is there, public is there. Why you…- Srila Prabhupada

Renunciation Trough Wisdom, 2.9-Following in the Footsteps of Self-Realized Saints

The mahatmas are always ready to render such service to the Lord with great determination. In this regard His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura once made this comment in a lecture:

The neophyte Vaisnava devotees’ ringing the bell even once during worship of the Deity of the Supreme Lord is a million times more valuable, spiritually and otherwise, than the charitable fruitive workers building many hospitals, feeding thousands of the poor, or building homes, or even the empirical philosophers’ Vedic studies, meditation, austerities, and penances.

The mahatmas have shown the perfect path of charity: devotional service to the Lord. If anyone ignores this path and instead builds hospitals, his effort to help humanity is a mere pretense. Humanity can never reap any permanent advantage from such activities. Indeed, the number of patients only increases along with the number of hospitals.

And as for feeding the poor, this will never eradicate poverty, but encourage it. Frankly speaking, we are not against opening hospitals or feeding the poor, or any other such humanitarian service. But what we have learned from our beloved spiritual master is that when devotional service to the Lord is neglected, every other activity is illusory and futile. Without genuine devotional service, even opening hospitals and feeding the poor in the name of Lord Krsna is futile. Spiritual groups that do not strictly follow in Lord Caitanya’s line cannot comprehend this because they do not wish to abide by the instructions of the mahatmas. They do not follow Lord Caitanya’s injunction to be “more humble than a blade of grass.” If they were that humble, they would give up their pride in being the doer of good deeds, the wisest person, the most devoted, and so on.

Those who strive to emulate the mahatmas never fall prey to passivity and regression. Their eagerness and determination to serve the Lord steadily increase. Such followers observe spiritual occasions like Janmastami and Ekadasi for the pleasure of the Lord, in the way that the previous acaryas and mahatmas have recommended. This is devotional service proper. Because the mahatmas are more humble than a blade of grass, they worship Lord Krsna and everything in relation to Him.

 Atheists, however, exhibit a different mentality altogether: they want to flaunt their abilities and charitable disposition. They may pretend to serve Lord Krsna, but their aim is “to sit on the Lord’s head” once they attain perfection. In other words, they want to usurp His position. Therefore they do not really serve Lord Krsna, nor is He their real object of worship. The mahatmas never associate with these demoniac people. They are fixed in their resolve to serve the Lord, and thus they always remain connected to Him through devotional service.

Bg 2.2—London, Aug 3, 1973

Therefore the so-called good men of this world, who are engaged in so many welfare activities, humanitarian activities, by mental concoction, they may be all foolish activities in the estimation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are very much puffed up, that “We are doing this, opening hospital and school, and philanthropism, nationalism.” Is there any such thing in the Bhagavad-gita? Is there any advice that “You open hospital, school and do this philanthropic work?” No. If you have got anything to give in charity, you are charitably disposed, Krsna says, “Give it to Me.

If you are so rich and if you have got this good intention to give in charity, give it to Me.” Yat karosi yaj juhosi yad asnasi yat tapasyasi dadasi yat [Bg. 9.27]. Dadasi yat means “whatever you give in charity.” Kurusva tad mad-arpanam: “Give it to Me. Yes, I am expanding My hand. Come on.” But they have forgotten Krsna or Krsna’s advice, and they remain puffed up, that “I am engaged in this activity, that activity, this activity.” Thousands of millions of such activities may be very good in the estimations of the fools and rascals, but it may not be accepted by Krsna. That is the crucial point. But our point is that unless accepted by Krsna, it is simply srama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8], simply waste of time. Our philosophy says. We have to satisfy Krsna. We haven’t got to satisfy ourselves that “I am doing very nice work in this way.”

So all these people, they are manufacturing concocted ideas. Mano-rathena asato dhavato bahih…. One who is not Krsna conscious, not devotee of Krsna, he has no good qualification. “No, he’s a very big man. He has opened such big, big hospitals, big, big schools, big, big, big…” Yes, that may be good from the material estimation, but because he’s not a devotee of Krsna, these are not good qualifications. This one word: Harav abhaktasya, harav abhaktasya. If one has no devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot have any good qualities. These are not good qualities.

Bg. 10.4-5, Purport

Ahimsa, nonviolence, means that one should not do anything which will put others into misery or confusion. Material activities that are promised by so many politicians, sociologists, philanthropists, etc., do not produce very good results because the politicians and philanthropists have no transcendental vision; they do not know what is actually beneficial for human society.

 Ahimsa means that people should be trained in such a way that the full utilization of the human body can be achieved. The human body is meant for spiritual realization, so any movement or any commissions which do not further that end commit violence on the human body. That which furthers the future spiritual happiness of the people in general is called nonviolence.

Raja-vidya Chapter 7: Knowledge as Faith in Guru and Surrender to Krishna

It is not uncommon in India for a man to give up all material engagements, to leave his home and family and take the renounced order, sannyasa, and after meditating for some while, begin doing philanthropic work by opening some hospitals or engaging in politics. The hospital-making business is being conducted by the government; it is the duty of a sannyasi to make hospitals whereby people can actually get rid of their material bodies, not patch them up. But for want of knowing what real spiritual activity is, we take up material activities.

Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 14, Purport

This is the Lord’s last instruction in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66): sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. “Give up all other processes and just surrender unto Me alone.” Unfortunately, foolish men have misinterpreted this prime teaching and misled the masses of people in diverse ways. People have been urged to open hospitals but not to educate themselves to enter into the spiritual kingdom by devotional service. They have been taught to take interest only in temporary relief work, which can never bring real happiness to the living entity.

They start varieties of public and semi-governmental institutions to tackle the devastating power of nature, but they don’t know how to pacify insurmountable nature. Many men are advertised as great scholars of the Bhagavad-gita, but they overlook the Gita’s message, by which material nature can be pacified. Powerful nature can be pacified only by the awakening of God consciousness, as clearly pointed out in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14)… By knowing the material manifestation alone, one cannot be saved, for in the course of nature there is devastation at every moment (ahany ahani bhutani gacchantiha yama-layam). Nor can one be saved from these devastations by the opening of hospitals. One can be saved only by complete knowledge of the eternal life of bliss and awareness.

SB 3.25.27 Purport

Unless one has good engagements in spiritual service, it is not possible to get out of the attachment to material service. Those who are not devotees, therefore, are interested in so-called humanitarian or philanthropic work, such as opening a hospital or charitable institution. These are undoubtedly good works in the sense that they are pious activities, and their result is that the performer may get some opportunities for sense gratification, either in this life or in the next. Devotional service, however, is beyond the boundary of sense gratification. It is completely spiritual activity.

SB 3.27.3, Purport

The foolish conditioned soul may think that he is offering charity by opening hospitals for material benefit or by opening an educational institution for material education, but he does not know that all such work is also faulty because it will not give him relief from the process of transmigration from one body to another. …One who desires material liberation has to turn his activities to devotional service. There is no alternative.

Nectar of Devotion—Bombay, Jan 7, 1973

They are trying to open hospitals. Just like one Sindhi gentleman, he has contributed about five or seven Crores of rupees to start a hospital here. One of his relative came to see me. So I said that  “However magnificent hospital you may start, you cannot stop death. That is not possible. That is not possible. You may try in your own way. The whole struggle is now to mitigate our suffering condition. But the suffering condition is continuing. You may open nice hospital, but you cannot stop death. That is not possible. You may invent nice medicine, up-to-date, scientific medicine, but you cannot stop the disease.” They do not see this.

Cc. Adi 1.15—Dallas, Mar 4, 1975

The Krsna consciousness movement is teaching all over the world this philosophy, that your first and foremost business is to become Krsna conscious. There is no question of so-called economic development, sense gratification. No. These are not important things. There are many missionaries, they open hospitals or similar philanthropic activities, but we never do that. So many friends advised me to open some hospitals, dispensaries. Oh, I flatly said that “We are not interested in the hospitals.” There are so many hospitals. So people who are interested in hospitals, they can go there. Here is spiritual hospital. The disease is the other hospitals, they cannot stop death, but our hospital can stop death.

General Lecture—Los Angeles, May 18, 1972

To give help to the poor, or to open a school, hospital—this is called karma-kanda. Out of many millions of these karma-kanda people, one is jnani.

Morning Walk— Los Angeles, Dec 8, 1973 

There are so many people suffering in the human society. What they can do? Suppose they are opening hospitals. Is that guarantee for a cure of disease or no death? Then what is the humanity. You cannot do anything. You may advertise yourself, “I have opened so many hospitals and beds.” But what you can do? Is that guarantee that there that there will be no disease and everyone will be cured, nobody will die. Then what is the humanitarianism. You cannot do anything.  …

Our endeavor should be: If one man can take it up, then there will be immense good for the human (society)… Therefore I say this is the only humanitarian work. This is the only humanitarian… All others (are) bogus. They cannot become success. They are opening hospitals, but there are many millions of persons there without any (hospitals)…, and even if you give good medicine, good hospital, is that guarantee?

Cc. Adi 8.20, Purport

The distinction between Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s gift to human society and the gifts of others is that: whereas so-called philanthropic and humanitarian workers have given some relief to human society as far as the body is concerned, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu offers the best facilities for going back home, back to Godhead, with love of Godhead. If one seriously makes a comparative study of the two gifts, certainly if he is at all sober he will give the greatest credit to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Krishna: The Supreme Personality of Godhead-Chapter 87:The Prayers by the Personified Vedas

 Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks in this connection that if sannyasis (persons in the renounced order of life, who have left their homes for self-realization) do not engage themselves in the devotional service of the Lord but become attracted by philanthropic work, such as opening educational institutions, hospitals or even monasteries, churches or temples of demigods, they find only trouble from such engagements, not only in this life but in the next. Sannyasis who do not take advantage of this life to realize Krsna simply waste their time and energy in activities outside the jurisdiction of the renounced order.

 A devotee’s attempt to engage his energies in such activities as constructing a Visnu temple, however, is never wasted. Such engagements are called krsnarthe akhila-cesta, variegated activities performed to please Krsna. A philanthropist’s opening a school building and a devotee’s constructing a temple are not on the same level. Although a philanthropist’s opening an educational institution may be pious activity, it comes under the laws of karma, whereas constructing a temple for Visnu is devotional service.

SB 6.3.12-15—Gorakhpur, Feb 9, 1971

Nowadays it has come, daridra-narayana. “Daridra, the poor man has become Narayana; therefore he should be served.” This nonsensical theory has come up by some nonsense. But actually a qualified brahmana should be given charity. A sannyasi, Vaisnava, should be given charity. That is sattvika charity. And rajasika charity means to open hospital, schools. These are rajasika charity. And tamasika charity means without any discrimination: a Bowery man given one rupee and (he) immediately purchases a bottle of wine. So this is tamasika charity. By tamasika charity, one is degraded.

 Morning Walk—Nellore, Jan 6, 1976

Prabhupada: They are all foolish. We call them mudhas, duskrtino mudhas. So their demand is not legitimate. If a mudha… If your small child says, “Father, give me a bidi, cigarette,” would you give him? Because he is mudha. So the father is intelligent—“No.” So similarly, the mudhas may demand that “Open this hospital.” But we are not going to do that. We know…. Of course, hospital required so far the body is concerned, but there are so many hospitals. The real hospital which is not existing, we are starting. That is our mission, which is not possible for the so-called leaders and politicians.

Bg. 4.37-40—New York, Aug 21, 1966

Sometimes we find a person leaves all worldly engagements, leaves his family, gives up his family connection, becomes a renounced order, sannyasi, and highest order, and then, after some time, he becomes engaged in opening hospitals and philanthropic work and in politics. We have seen it. Oh, why? You have renounced the world. Why you are hospital-making business? Hospital-making business is there, going on by the government, by the state. You are not meant for making hospitals.

You have to make hospital how people can get rid of this material body. That is spiritual activity. We also require to open hospitals. And what is that hospital? To cure this material disease, not this temporary disease. Again we may be attacked. The complete cure of material disease… That sort of hospital will be required. That hospital is this Krsna consciousness society.

 SB 1.2.7—Delhi, Nov 13, 1973

We have seen so many sannyasis. First of all they say, “This is false. The world is false. Let me take sannyasa.” And after remaining a few years of sannyasa, then he learns how to eat meat, how to drink wine, how to associate with women. Then he must have some business, that philanthropic work – open some school, open some hospital. Why? If he is full and the whole world is false, why you are interested in opening schools and hospitals and… [break] …to open hospital and open school. No. They are not very much interested. We are interested to open school if there is education for Krsna consciousness, as we have opened in Dallas, Texas, small children. That we are interested because that is Krsna. There is Krsna. But we are not interested in so-called godless education. That is not our business.

SB 1.8.42—Mayapur, Oct 22, 1974

So there is no ananda. Therefore they come down again. Punar musiko bhava. Again open  hospital because there is no engagement. And he has to raise fund. So this is very easy thing: “Sir I am going to open a hospital. Give me some fund.” Nowadays, especially, it is very difficult to collect fund. If you say, “I am going to open a temple,” nobody will give you. But if you say, “I am going to open a hospital,” he’ll give you.

Morning Walk—Bombay, May 9, 1974

Indian Devotee (5): He says, “You try to find some other doctor.” He told me, “You find out names and addresses of the local doctors, and we’ll pick one of them.”

Prabhupada: No, no, we cannot divert our attention. It is not possible. Say, “No.” You can say that “We consulted Prabhupada. He said, ‘At the present moment, unless our building is there, we cannot accept any other extra business.’” Tell him like that. [break]

Prabhupada: For nothing. No, no, that is not possible. These are for the karmis, bodily concept of life. If government has got so many hospitals, what is the use of opening a teeny hospital by us? Vivekananda’s policy—to collect money by school and hospital. So you can tell him that “At the present moment, we are concerned about the sanction of the building and temple. So when the building is there, then we can consider, not at the present moment. We require money. We collect for this purpose. We cannot divert attention for medicine and other things.”

Indian Devotee (5): Actually I could gather that he just talked because he also said that we should train up some devotees to do bandage and other things like that.

Prabhupada: (laughs) No, no, this is not….Daridra-narayana-seva. We are not all these false things. Doctor Ghosh is also after daridra-narayana-seva. [break] We will collect medicine. Our… We shall pay for the expenditure. Our men will be engaged for bandaging. (laughs) Nonsense.

Bhagavata: And the preaching stops.

Prabhupada: Ah. They cannot understand what is the meaning of this Krsna consciousness. They are such dull headed men. They have no brain to understand.

Bhagavata: …take Caranaravindam from the hospital. So before we left, we had kirtana. And immediately all the patients became happier.

Prabhupada: Just see.

Bhagavata: The whole attitude was very dull and unhappy and morose, that “Oh, we are in the hospital. My body, my body…” As soon as we had the kirtana, they all got out of the bed and they came and stood around and they watched and some were clapping and chanting.

Prabhupada: Just see: Immediately life. Oh, just try to understand how much great responsibility you have got.

SP Letter to Dr. Ghosh—Bombay, 17 Nov, 1974

Regarding the charitable dispensary, I am not very much enthusiastic for this enterprise because nowadays to keep a proper dispensary pushing on requires much attention and money also. I have heard from the authorities of the Rama Krishna Mission that their charitable dispensaries of hospitals are mostly run by paid men, as formally no intelligent medical practitioner was joining them to run it on.

Therefore I may suggest that if you are really inclined to retire, you are welcome to live with us. We have got three very nice places in India in Bombay, Vrindaban, and Mayapur. We have spent many lakhs of rupees for constructing these centers, and if you live with us in any one of them, you are welcome. You can live with your good wife as vanaprastha, and when you decide to do so, we may maintain a small dispensary for taking care of our own men. But for the general public opening a charitable dispensary is not in our program at least for the time being.…

Further I beg to inform you that all my temples and centers here in India are being managed by my foreign disciples. I want that they should be admitted as immigrants. They have embraced this Vaisnava religion and have given money for constructing these temples and are managing them. Although we have got a few Indians to join, they are neither educated nor expert.

In Allahabad you are known to so many lawyers and judges. Kindly consult with them how my foreign disciples can get immigration status in this country. If they were forced to leave, I will be in a great disturbed condition how to manage all these centers. Kindly find out immediately some good lawyer. I think Sir Tej Bahdur’s son maybe helpful in this connection.

Morning Walk—Los Angeles, July 9, 1974

Prabhupada: Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Unless one becomes a devotee of God, there is no question of religion. It is all cheating. By opening hospital, schools,… There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands upon thousands of years, the hospitals and schools are being opened, philanthropy. What is the result?

Bali Mardana: Atom bombs.

Prabhupada: Atom bomb. Result is atom bomb.

Hrdayananda: You’re the only one, Prabhupada, who dares to criticize hospitals and schools. (laughter)

Prabhupada: Yes, so many people came to request me… Even Dr. Ghosh. Eh? You know.

Satsvarupa: He wanted you to open a medical dispensary.

Prabhupada: “No, no, we are not going to waste our time in that way.” I frankly told him. We have no extra time to waste like that. What he thinks very big project, we say it is waste of time. (laughter)

Jayatirtha: Yes.

Hrdayananda: Jaya! It is a completely revolutionary idea.

Prabhupada: Yes. I cannot allow anyone to waste his valuable time of human life.

SB 6.2.46, Purport

It has actually been seen that even after achieving so-called perfection, many karmis, Jnanis, and yogis become attached to material activities again. Many so-called svamis and yogis give up material activities as false (jagan mithya), but after some time they nevertheless resume material activities by opening hospitals and schools or performing other activities for the benefit of the public.

SB 7.13.27, Purport

Although the Mayavadi philosophers strive to refrain from materialistic activities and merge in Brahman, and although they may actually merge in the Brahman existence, for want of activity they fall down again into materialistic activity (aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [SB 10.2.32]). Thus the so-called renouncer, unable to remain in meditation upon Brahman, returns to materialistic activities by opening hospitals and schools and so on. …

Spiritual activities are activities performed according to the order of Krsna (anukulyena krsnanusilanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]). If one does whatever Krsna says, his activities are not material.

SB 8.4.13, Purport

Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho ‘nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (SB 10.2.32). Although the impersonalist rises to the Brahman effulgence and enters into that effulgence, he has no engagement in the service of the Lord, and therefore he is again attracted to materialistic philanthropic activities. Thus he comes down to open hospitals and educational institutions, feed poor men and perform similar materialistic activities, which the impersonalist thinks are more precious than serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. The impersonalists do not think that the service of the Lord is more valuable than serving the poor man or starting a school or hospital. Although they say brahma satyam jagan mithya—“Brahman is real, and the material world is false”—they are nonetheless very eager to serve the false material world and neglect the service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Cc. Adi, 8.19, Purport

However, since he is not aware of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and therefore has no spiritual activity, he must come down for further activities in this material world. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.2.32): aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah, patanty adho ’nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah.

Because Mayavadi philosophers have no information regarding the transcendental service of the Lord, even after attaining liberation from material activities and merging into the Brahman effulgence, they must come down again to this material world to open hospitals or schools or perform similar philanthropic activities.

Cc. Madhya 19.149, Purport

There are many jnanis or sannyasis who, after taking sannyasa and giving up the world as false, return to the world to engage in politics or philanthropy or to open schools and hospitals. This means that they could not attain the real Brahman (brahma satyam). They have to come down to the material platform to engage in philanthropic activity.

Teachings of Queen Kunti, Chapter 25-Unalloyed Devotion

We see many Mayavadi sannyasis who say brahma satyam jagan mithya, but after they take sannyasa they return to the material world to open hospitals and do philanthropic work. Why? If they have left this world, considering it mithya, false, why do they return to take up politics, philanthropy, and sociology?

A Second Chance, Chapter 11

Often big svamis talk about attaining “Brahman realization” but do not remove themselves from worldly pleasures and pains. They involve themselves in humanitarian activities, thinking, “My fellow countrymen are suffering; let me open a hospital” or “They are uneducated; let me open a school.” If someone is really on the platform of brahma-bhutah, why would he accept any particular place as his country? …

The symptom of lamentation reveals that the so-called liberated person has not been cured of his attachment to worldly pleasure and pain. That means he has not become joyful, because one who is joyful does not lament. So many learned sannyasis have fallen down to material activities because they have not in fact realized Brahman. It is not so easy.

Krishna Consciousness: The Matchless Gift,    Chapter 7

There are many examples of sannyasis who give up the world, renouncing it as false, saying, “Let me turn to Brahman,” but they again become entangled in the work of the world when they set up hospitals and perform philanthropic work and welfare activities. If the world is false, why are they attracted to welfare activities?

A Second Chance, Chapter 18

Many so-called svamis and yogis give up material activities as false (jagan mithya), but after some time they nevertheless resume material activities by opening hospitals and schools or performing other activities for the benefit of the public. Sometimes they participate in politics, although still falsely declaring themselves sannyasis, members of the renounced order. All these activities are illusory aspects of the material world.

Bg 4.11—Bombay, Mar 31, 1974

Therefore you’ll find there are so many big, big swamis. First of all they give up this world. Brahma satyam jagan mithya: “This world is mithya. Let us take to Brahman. Let us become Brahman.” But after keeping some days in so-called Brahman, they again come back to open hospital, school. Because there they could not get anything. Therefore something must be done, profession. So open hospital and raise fund. That’s all.

Bg 4.24—Bombay, Apr 13, 1974

Therefore the impersonalists, without understanding of Krsna, even if very much advanced, they do not get any occupation. They again come down to the material platform to open hospital, school, college, why? Because the impersonalist says that this material world is false. If the material world is false, why you come down again to the false platform to open schools and hospitals? That means aruhya krcchrena param padam patanty adho ‘nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah [SB 10.2.32].

Bg 7.3—Vrindavan, Oct 31, 1973

Big, big sannyasis—brahma satyam jagan mithya—they give up this world as mithya, but again they come to these worldly activities: opening schools, opening hospital and politics and sociology, so many things. But if it is mithya, why you are engaged in this?

Therefore Bhagavata says that “Although they got up to the platform, aruhya, after much penance and austerities, they fall down.”

Otherwise a common man, he is also opening hospital. And if a sannyasi who has rejected this world as mithya, and if he also wants to open hospital and school and college, then what is the difference between the common man and this learned scholar or learned self-realized brahma-jnani? That means he has not realized what is actually siddhi, what is brahma-jnana. Otherwise why he is coming?

Bg 16.6—South Africa, Oct 18, 1975

Therefore sometimes we find that although they say it is mithya, jagan mithya, and take sannyasa and for some days they remain meditation or aloof from any worldly affairs, but later on, when they do not find Brahman, they come again to this maya to open hospitals, schools, as sannyasi. Just like in our country there are many. The beginning we see that… Vivekananda Swami, he took sannyasa and meditation.

Later on, after his touring in the Western countries, he came to India to open hospitals, schools, like that. But if the world is false, then why you are coming to open school and hospitals? Because they could not get… And some other sannyasi also, he is now taking part in politics. If jagat is mithya, why you are taking part in politics? These question are there.

SB 1.2.20, Vrindavan, Oct 31,1972

One who does not take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, he may rise up very high by austerity and penance, but he cannot remain in that position. He may give up artificially this material world, jagan mithya, but he has to come down again to this mithya jagat and open schools and hospitals, because he cannot remain in that impersonal way. That is the experience.

SB 1.8.42—Los Angeles, May 4, 1973

Therefore we see so many sannyasis, they say brahma satyam jagan mithya. They give up, take sannyasa, but after taking sannyasa, after a few days or few years, they come back again to this material world to open hospital, philanthropic work, school. Why? If you have left this world as mithya, as false, why you are again coming to politics, to philanthropy, sociology and so on? Why you are coming again?

SB 6.3.16-17—Gorakpur, Feb 10, 1971

In our country many very, very big swamis, they attain perfection and realize that he is Brahman. But after a time again he comes down to this material field of worker, opening hospital, schools. So these Mayavadi sannyasis, they say that the world is false. Brahma satyam jagan mithya. So if the world is false, then why they come down to open schools and colleges and hospitals? That means they could not stay in the Brahman atmosphere for want of activity.

SB 6.2.14—Vrindavan, Sep 17, 1975

Therefore we see sometimes big, big sannyasis, they gave up this world as brahma satyam jagan mithya, but because they could not get ananda, they come down again. Again they become busy in opening hospital and school and philanthropic work, politics, because they could not get ananda. That is the defect of the impersonalists.

SB 7.9.8—Calcutta, Mar 5, 1972

Just like many so-called sannyasis, they rise to the brahma-pada: aham brahmasmi, but because they cannot stay there, they come down again to this material world and they are busy for opening hospitals, schools, and philanthropism. … That means you have no taste. Actually you have not arrived, the same thing.

NOD—Vrndavan, Oct 20, 1972

We have seen many, many great sannyasis. They give up this world and take sannyasa for merging into Brahman, but later on they come back again to the material activities for opening hospital, schools, and philanthropic work. Why? …The reason is they could not get any pleasure in so-called Brahman-realization. Therefore they come back to give food to the poor, to open hospital, philanthropic work….Therefore, if you stick to Krsna consciousness, you will enjoy blissful, transcendental blissfulness. Then you’ll not be attracted with this humanitarian work or philanthropic work. Param drstva nivartate [Bg. 9.59].

NOD—Bombay, Dec 26, 1972

Prabhupada: Yes, their position is sense enjoyment. If, by bhoga, they are not satisfied, then tyaga. Brahma satyam jagan mithya. Give it, give it up. Again, by tyaga, when he does not find any sense pleasure, then again comes back: All right, come to social service, open hospital, open the school. Why are you coming again?

NOD—Bombay, Jan 7, 1973

Thus we have seen many sannyasis, they give up this world as brahma satyam jagan mithya, but they do not get any benefit out of it. Therefore they come down again to open hospitals and schools and philanthropic work. They fall down.

NOD—Vrindavan, Nov 9, 1972

But we have practically seen many sannyasis, they renounce this world as mithya and take to Brahman realization path, but after some days, they come down to politics, sociology, philanthropy. Why? If Brahman is satya, jagat is mithya, false, then why they, from the platform of satya, they fall down again in the mithya? This is our question.…That means they could not realize the happiness of Brahman….Because they found it better happiness by taking in politics and on political movements or opening school, hospitals. They found better happiness in these activities.…

Therefore we see so many learned scholars, sannyasis, they give up these material varieties as mithya and enter into the impersonal Brahman, but without variety there, they come again to the material variety for opening schools and hospitals. This is the fact.

NOD—Bombay, Dec 27, 1972

And we have seen practically, so many big, big sannyasis, they give up this material world, take sannyasa to understand Brahman, but because they could not understand Brahman, they again come to open hospital and schools. That is their business. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanti adhah [SB 10.2.32]. But one who is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he does not come to these material activities again.

Cc. Adi 7.108—San Francisco, Feb 18, 1967

Devotee: Well, I believe you once said that once a conditioned soul becomes perfected and gets out of the material world and he goes to Krsnaloka, there’s no possibility of falling back.

Prabhupada: There is possibility, but he does not come; just like after putting your hand in the fire, you never put it again if you are really intelligent. … So if one is intelligent enough, if he has got actually the bitter taste of this material world, he’ll never agree. He’ll never agree. But those who have not advanced to such knowledge, they think, “Oh, this material enjoyment is very nice. Let me taste it and let me do business in my sannyasi life, and stealthily and privately, let me enjoy.” These things are going on. That means they have no taste. They come to hospital-making or this philanthropy. This come again. Sthanad bhrastad patanty adhah.

 Cc. Madhya 22.27-31—New York, Jan 15, 1967

Many sannyasis, they were very educated, and they have undergone severe penances, but without Krsna realization they fall down. How they fall down? Sometimes they fall down, becomes a victim of a woman. Sometimes they fall down for this philanthropic work. Sometimes they fall down in the matter of opening hospitals. Generally they fall down by becoming a victim, victim of woman, and others, they also become victim of this material nature, become attracted by this social work…. why should he come to the social order or philanthropic order?

That is his falldown. That is his falldown. He should be situated completely in spiritual order. He has nothing to do. He should simply be engaged in spiritual service, in Krsna consciousness. That is the perfection of renouncement. …

Those who are not attracted by the Krsna conscious activities, there is every chance of falling down again, because he has no other alternative. Either he has to serve this way or serve that way. If he is not attracted to serve in Krsna consciousness, then he has to serve in material consciousness. So those who are not fixed up in Krsna, however he may be advanced in spiritual realization, there is falldown.

Cc. Madhya 25.29—San Fracisco, Jan 21, 1967

“Now I understand vasudevah sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], You are Vasudeva, Krsna. You are everything.” That is the ultimate end of knowledge. And so long one does not come to this point, it is to be understood that he has no shelter. And because he has no shelter, he has to come down again. Again to the opening of hospitals and giving medicine or so many things philanthropic, what the ordinary men are doing. What is the use of your sannyasa, renouncing this world? …

Vivekananda came here to preach Hindu religion. Before that he had no idea of philanthropic work. And when he came back to India: “Oh, this is your religion. Oh, so many Indians they are suffering. So many Indians they have no shelter. Oh, give them shelter. Give them hospital.” Now he became… And he collected fund.

Vivekananda started new religion, daridra-narayana. Daridra-narayana means the poor, poverty-stricken Bowery men, they should be served, not Krsna. That is their mission. The Ramakrishna Mission means to serve daridra-narayana. … So these things are going on. These things are nothing. They are symptoms of falling down, nothing more. 

CC Madhya 25.31-38—San Francisco, Jan 22, 1967

Similarly, all these exercises, all this cultivation of knowledge, if they do not reach to the lotus feet of Krsna, they are sure to come down again to these material activities. They are sure. Because they have no taste for Krsna, they have to They will come again for opening hospitals and so on, so many activities, material activities.

Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [SB 10.2.32]. This is falldown. Patanty adho anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. “My dear Lord, because they have neglected Your lotus feet.”

Festival Lecture—Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur App. Day, Gorakhpur, Feb 15, 1971

Then he becomes a sannyasi, a renouncer. But he cannot live in that renouncement platform. And then he again comes back to this material world and engages himself in some philanthropic work: “Let us open hospital. Let us open schools and college…” If the brahma satyam jagan mithya… If the world is mithya, false, why you are a sannyasi, you are coming again back to this platform? That means he’s not satisfied in so-called brahma satyam. Practically, he has no realization of Brahman. Therefore he comes back again

General lecture—Montreal, Jul 18, 1968

Many sannyasis, brahma satyam jagan mithya, “Brahman is truth and the world is false.” They take sannyasa, and after some time they come to the hospital opening business. They come down again to politics, hospitals, philanthropy, welfare work. Why? …Because there is no place. He has no engagement and he wants association. He wants to render some service, but there is no service to Krsna. He comes to give service to the nonsense maya…. Vivekananda came here to preach in 1893 to Vedanta. Now he learned the business of opening hospital.

General Lectue—Nellore, Jan 4, 1976

We have seen many sannyasis. They give up this material world, that brahma satyam jagan mithya. Then, after some years, he comes down again this mithya jagat to open schools and hospitals. And if this world is mithya, then why you are interested with the schools and hospitals? That means they could not get any Brahman realization.

Sannyasa Initiation Lecture—Calcutta, Jan 26, 1973

So there are so many sannyasis, we see, they give up the so-called mithya world and come to the Brahman realization by meditation, by meditation, meditation… Then meditation means hospital and school. Because there is no Brahman, there is no reality. So after much meditation, (he) comes to the conclusion that “Now I am a sannyasi. I must open schools, college and daridra-narayana seva and goat-narayana killing.” This kind of sannyasa has no meaning. … So this kind of false sannyasa is not accepted by the Vaisnavas. Vaisnavas, they accept sannyasa for better activities. For better activities means dedicated life for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Mam ekam saranam vraja.

Morning Walk—Bombay, Nov 4, 1975

Prabhupada: … Vivekananda, he fell down to hospital. That is fall down. You say, brahma satya jagan mithya: “The world is false.” Why you come down to false again? That means you did not get any substance in your so-called Brahman knowledge. 

Yasomatinandana: Vivekananda fell down still further because he said…

Prabhupada: No, no, further… Not… At least we can see this, that after preaching Vedanta, he came in India. He became captivated with hospital, as if there was no hospital. There are many thousands of hospitals, and ordinary men, they are inclined to open hospitals. Why…? You have realized brahma-satya. Why you come to hospital? And nobody questions. Your progress would have been completed when you, in… mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54], if you had been promoted to the bhakti stage. That you haven’t got. You come to the hospital stage. That means falling down. 

Room Conversation— New delhi, Dec 11, 1971

Here is a rascal, Vimukta-maninas tvayy asta-bhavad avisuddha-buddhayah. “No. We have undergone so much austerities, penances. Whole life I remain brahmacari, then I took sannyasa. I have followed the rules and regulations very strictly, and still I am rascal?” Yes, you are rascal. “Why” Aruhya krcchrena: because the symptoms are there that you are a rascal.

So you have to understand by the symptoms. What is that symptom? Because you left this world, “This world is false. Brahman is truth,” then why you are coming again this false world to open hospital, school, philosophy, humanitarian, all this nonsense? 

Room Conversation with a Reporter—Jul 24, 1973

Prabhupada: So he wanted to stop these material activities. Jagan mithya. Sankaracarya never advocated for nationalism, for starting schools or college, hospital… never. Why? Why should he do? If we say jagan mithya, then why should we bother all these things? …

Just like this, now you are talking of mithya, how do they consider mithya? Because this artificial non-attachment will not stay, therefore, they say it is mithya; but they are accepting it, under a different name—“Now let us start this school, now let us start this hospital…” They’re coming to the mithya platform, under some disguise of philanthropy activities. If it is mithya why you are starting a school? ….

It is not sannyasi business. For starting school the government is there, public is there. Why you… That means brahma satyam you could not understand; you are coming to the school-starting. He could not perceive that brahma satyam; although he tried to do it, but he could not understand. Therefore now he has to maintain himself, eh? So, people will not give him alms; so he must show that, “I’m starting this school, I’m starting this hospital, I’m doing this, give me some canda. Give me some subscription,” and taking subscription and become fat, that’s all. This is going on.

Garden Conversation—New Vrindavan, Jun 27, 1976

They take sannyasa, but after some time they fall down; again take to other businesses than Brahman in the material world. Just like our Vivekananda. He came to the Western countries to preach Vedanta, and he has advertised that “Whole America has become Vedantist.” The proof of Vedanta is when he returned to India he became very enthusiastic to open hospitals like the Christian missionaries. So if the material world is false, so why he’s trying to open hospitals? Brahma satyam jagan mithya. Jagat is mithya. So why in the mithya platform he’s taking credit by opening hospitals?

Dhrstadyumna: Well, as long as people are suffering, they can’t realize that they are God.

Prabhupada: So you cannot stop the suffering. You are unable. You are also suffering from the same disease. So don’t say that jagat mithya. If they are suffering, that’s a fact. Then how do you say it is mithya, it is false? If it is mithya, then why you are affected by the suffering? There are so many questions. That means not realization. Contradictory.

Garden Conversation—New Vrindavan, Jun 22, 1976

So many Mayavadi sannyasis, they give up, “This world is false,” and they merge, so-called merge, but the mastership mentality is there. But in the void, simply spiritual light, he cannot do any mastership; therefore again falls down in this false world, and he wants to be by becoming a leader of hospital, and school, college, a Christian missionary. And our Vivekananda also imitated that. So this, this is the material disease. He is actually servant, but he wants to become master. That is the defect. So he has to give up this mentality, mastership, then he’ll be making real progress.

Evening Darsana—Hrishikesh, May 15, 1977

Prabhupada: If he does not get ananda, if he cannot dance with Krsna, then he falls down. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [SB 10.2.32]. Again material dancing; again hospital, schools. Big, big sannyasis could not get any relish. Then… (Hindi) The brahma satyam jagan mithya. If it is mithya, why you are after school?

And so far devotees are concerned, especially in this age, directly, directly engage him in bhakti-yoga, and everything will be all…

Transcendental Diary, Vol.2—May 28, 1976

But Vaisnava says, “No, you must have the real thing, then you can cease from this unreal necessities.” Otherwise after living for some time in brahma-satya, then you’ll come, “Oh, this is useless. I don’t enjoy. Let me go again to open hospital, school, engage in some politics,”

Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami, ISKCON in 70’s—Jun 18 – Jul 24, 1973

Go to them, flatter them, make them our friends, and then kick them: “Whatever you have learned is all hodge-podge because you are rascal. Just throw it out and hear about Lord Caitanya.” Kumar had a book. Prabhupada said that the gosvami author was opening a hospital at the end of his life. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was never interested in opening a hospital.

Science of Self Realization, Chapter 6, part-4: Declaring Our Dependence on God

In 1972, the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh was stricken by a severe drought that affected millions. Hoping that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness would provide assistance, T. L. Katidia, Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Relief Fund Committee, wrote to Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada responded with this surprising and edifying letter.

Revered Swamiji,

The residents of the twin cities are happy to have this opportunity to meet you and your esteemed followers. You may be aware that due to inadequate rainfall during the last two years and its complete failure this year, more than half of our state [Andhra Pradesh, a state in southern India] is in the grip of a serious drought. With a view to supplement governmental efforts to combat this evil, a Central Voluntary Organization of citizens drawn from various walks of life has been set up. The members of this organization surveyed the areas affected by drought.

The situation is pathetic. There are villages where drinking water is not available for miles. Due to scarcity of fodder, the cattle owners are parting with their cattle for a nominal price. Many of the stray cattle are dying away due to unavailability of fodder and water. The food problem is also very serious. Due to high prices of food grains on the open market, purchase of grains at market prices is beyond the reach of poor villagers, with the result that at least five to six million people are hardly having one meal a day. There are many who are on the verge of starvation. The entire situation is most pathetic and heartrending.

We therefore appeal to your revered self to consider how your Society could best come to the rescue of these millions of souls who are in unimaginable distress. The Committee would like to suggest that members of your Society appeal to the bhaktas [devotees] attending your discourses to contribute their mite to the Andhra Pradesh Relief Fund.

The Committee is prepared to send some of its representatives along with members of your Society wherever you wish to distribute prasada to the hungry millions in the state.

As manava-seva is madhava-seva [“Service to man is service to God”], the Committee is confident that even a little effort by your gracious Society will go a long way in mitigating the sufferings of hundreds and thousands of people.

Yours ever in the service of the Lord, T. L. Katidia, Secretary

Andhra Pradesh Relief fund Committee Hyderabad, India

 My dear Mr. Katidia,

Please accept my greetings. With reference to your letter and your personal interview, I beg to inform you that without pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, no one can become happy. Unfortunately people do not know who God is and how to make Him happy. Our Krsna consciousness movement is therefore meant to present the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly to the people. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, Sixth Chapter: tuste ca tatra kim alabhyam ananta adye/ kim tair guna-vyatikarad iha ye sva-siddhah.

The idea stated in this verse is that by pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we please everyone, and there is no question of scarcity. Because people do not know this secret of success, they are making their own independent plans to be happy. However, it is not possible to achieve happiness in this way.

On your letterhead I find many important men in this country who are interested in relieving the sufferings of the people, but they should know for certain that without pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead all their attempts will be futile. A diseased man cannot live simply on the strength of the help of an expert physician and medicine. If this were so, then no rich man would ever die. One must be favored by Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Therefore if you want to perform relief work simply by collecting funds, I think that it will not be successful. You have to please the supreme authority, and that is the way to success. For example, due to the performance of sankirtana here, the rain has begun to fall after a drought of two years.

The last time we performed a Hare Krsna Festival in Delhi, there was imminent danger of Pakistan’s declaring war, and when a newspaper man approached me for my opinion, I said there must be fighting because the other party was aggressive. However, because of our sankirtana movement, India emerged victorious. Similarly, when we held a festival in Calcutta, the

Naxalite [Communist] movement stopped. These are facts. Through the sankirtana movement we can not only get all facilities for living, but also at the end can go back home, back to Godhead. Those who are of a demoniac nature cannot understand this, but it is a fact.

I therefore request you, as leading members of society, to join this movement. There is no loss on anyone’s part for chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, but the gain is great. According to Bhagavad-gita (3.21), what is accepted by leading men is also accepted by common men:

yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate

“Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.”

The sankirtana movement of Krsna consciousness is very important. Therefore, through you I wish to appeal to all the leading men of India to accept this movement very seriously and give us all facility to spread this movement throughout the world. Then there will be a very happy condition, not only in India but all over the world.

Hoping this will meet you in good health, Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami




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