(Interview with HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj on "Balancing our Spiritual Care and Organizational Responsibilities")

On Organizing once own Spiritual life & Managerial responsibility

Srila Prabhupada always emphasized on Purity & for increasing once purity one has to be very strict about once own spiritual life by chanting attentively every day, attending Morning Program daily & reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. Prabhupada said every devotee should chant their rounds & follow four regulative principles strictly.

Also, Prabhupada emphasized on exemplary behavior. At the same time Prabhupada emphasized on taking higher responsibilities in the society & preach. As the movement expanded, management also increased so Prabhupada wanted devotees to take more managerial responsibilities but this does not mean that they will be given concession in spiritual life, but one has to be exemplary in both.

Secret of being very regular for Mangal Arati

We must have strong faith on benefits of Sadhana with which one makes spiritual advancement. In regards to congregational devotees I give them bridge program where they can at least chant their rounds in the morning. My advice to everyone is that if their Sadhana is strong then that will give you the spiritual strength, just like we take some drinks to make our body healthier. The sadhana is key to spiritual advancement and what we need is determination. Prabhupada used to say, if you take one step towards Krishna, he will take 10 steps towards you. So, I at least try to maintain good sadhana, but it's not always possible and we adjust our preaching plans accordingly, for example, those who are doing college programs, they come home very late around 10.30 PM so then it is tough to get up in the morning. So, we want to safe guard our spiritual life. We should make a rule, no program should be after 8.30 PM and you make little sacrifice and come little early, so that you can maintain your Sadhana. The point is we should be strict in our Sadhana and try our best to follow.

History of Delhi Project & initiatives in improving Sadhana

I tell the devotees that whatever success we're having in Delhi is just because of Srila Prabhupada’s mercy. Actually, Prabhupada did everything translation, printing, donations & distributing books. So, he did so much for the people of Delhi. Prabhupada said Delhi is the most important city in Asia and we should have a major temple here. In the beginning days we worked together for building temple in Neru place then eventually at Punjabi Bag, and now we have 14 temples and many preaching centres. I think the success is there and it is due to Prabhupada’s mercy. Prabhupada spent so much time in Delhi, and that's why we are getting the fruits. It is purely Prabhupada’s mercy and has made this possible.

On Secret of stable Leadership

There was always requirement of stable leadership. And we had at that time Giriraj Swami, Radhanath Swami, Bhakti Charu Swami....and preaching in India is not that tough because everyone knows about Krishna and India also has certain advantages. Prabhupada emphasized stability & stability should be encouraged. And Prabhupada choose leaders not by democratic way but by seeing their qualifications & practice. The leaders be in a position he should not whimsically resign or withdraw and they should also be exemplary. And then the stability will have great effect, positive effect.

On Inspiration & Initiatives behind Printing, Publishing & Distributing Prabhupada’s Books

Initially when ISKCON was established in India, books being imported from Los Angeles. It was only 1976 that we started printing our books, and we started printing our books, in Bombay and is the headquarters of the BBT. Prabhupada was a driving force, who emphasized that we need to have a book in every language. So Prabhupada also gave me the responsibility of BBT so we started pushing production and go on translation. I met Prabhupada in Bhuvaneshwar which is right after the magh mela which we participated in 1977 and Prabhupada told me after what he saw in Allahabad that in India, we can distribute unlimited books. Prabhupada said books are the basis and in ISKCON which lead every corner people know the importance of books, because they have heard this in every lecture, in every festival, importance of books. So, we emphasize that and then in Delhi as I said, the spiritual mercy that Prabhupada himself did book distribution in Delhi. Prabhupada would print books in Chipiwada and go out for book distribution and he will go to the libraries. Prabhupada encouraged book distribution, he planted the seed and we sincerely try to follow and Krishna sent very sincere, dedicated Sankirtan devotees whose enthusiasm is so strong.

On Beginning days which made foundation for success in Soviet block

Prabhupada was very keen to go behind the Iron Curtain at that time and he personally went & preached & gave all training to one person within four days who preached further. So, in 1976 Prabhupada asked me to go to Soviet and me along with Anant Shanti P distributed SP’s books freely because they did not had money. And then in 1977 there was world book fair & then gradually the movement started growing in the Soviet Union. So that was all done by Prabhupada, he planted the seed and it was his vision that Krishna Consciousness should go beyond in the Iron Curtain.

On Importance of making collaboration with the Local Government Officials

One thing Prabhupada said “Love for me will be shown by how you cooperate....!!” Prabhupada told all of us to work cooperatively. Prabhupada wanted us to cultivate important people of society. As when Prabhupada was alone he met Lalbahadur Shastri the late Prime Minister of India. So as ISKCON expanded, its reputation also expanded. The people respect ISKCON. And we've seen we've been lucky meeting Prime Minister and all that, but Prabhupada wanted us to cultivate important people. Cultivating takes a lot of effort and time, but it's definitely helpful in the long run.

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