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Chapter 49: Arjuna Chants Rounds? We Must Set Example

Śrīla Prabhupāda Uvāca 49
Arjuna Chants Rounds? We Must Set Example

August 1973, Bhaktivedanta Manor, England

Once, during Śrīla Prabhupāda's afternoon massage, Rebatinandana Swami entered the room with a problem he thought only his spiritual master could solve.

"Śrīla Prabhupāda," he said. "Syamasundara is the GBC and he's making all these decisions. I want to accept his authority, but I had to come to you because he is not chanting his rounds. I know this for a fact. He doesn't chant any rounds. Also, many of the devotees in the temple find it difficult to follow his authority. I wanted to know how we should handle this."

Śrīla Prabhupāda was silent for a moment and then replied, "Syamasundara, he is very busy. Arjuna, when he was fighting the battle of Kuruksetra, he did not chant his 16 rounds. When you are fighting a battle, where is the time to chant your rounds? So, perhaps Syamasundara is too busy. Anyway, you should see it like that. As long as he is in charge, you should follow, and encourage him to chant if he is not chanting."

Another time during an afternoon massage in Calcutta, a devotee entered the room and asked what should be done because Gargamuni Mahārāja, the temple administrator, was not chanting his rounds.

"He should not be in office," Śrīla Prabhupāda responded. "He may be materially qualified in so many ways, but it is not enough. In management one has to have his transcendental aspect. One has to be following the regulative principles and chanting. Otherwise, it is simply useless just to have some management knowledge."

Śrīla Prabhupāda did not remove Gargamuni Mahārāja from office at that time. He was the acarya and was able to make adjustments according to time, place and circumstance. This can be understood by reading his letters and listening to recorded conversations. Sometimes Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote instructions in a letter that were meant only for the person receiving the letter. It was not meant to be a general policy. We can read his books to learn the absolute truth. He often called them "law books for the next 10,000 years."

Śrīla Prabhupāda's personal presence on this planet was so potent that he could carry fallen souls such as myself, and keep us engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, even when we were not strictly following his regulations. Since his departure I have realized that if I want to associate with him and perform devotional service, I must strictly follow his instructions. This may seem like common sense to most devotees, but to me it is a revelation. Śrīla Prabhupāda lives eternally in his instructions and his followers live with him. Śrīla Prabhupāda, please engage me in your service.