Letter Eight

śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅgau jayataḥ

Śrī Uddhāraṇa Gauḍīya Maṭha
Chowmatha, Chuchura (Hooghly) 05/10/1960

My dear ——,

Diligence in observing rules and regulations is itself a primary means to enter the domain of Bhagavān. Therefore, the two of you – husband and wife – should collectively chant a total of one lakh. For example, my dear daughter-in-law can chant forty-thousand names, and you, sixty-thousand. In this way, you will daily complete the chanting of one hundred-thousand names between you.
If you have farmland, then you can plough and cultivate it yourselves. Vaiṣṇavas are not restricted in this regard. Agriculture is more virtuous than commerce. Commerce necessitates bending the truth. There is hardly a need for untruth in agriculture. Therefore, agriculture is the best livelihood for householder Vaiṣṇavas. A householder is forbidden to beg.
On Thursday (03/11/60), on the full moon day, you are to conclude your vows and shave your head. Kārtika-vrata began yesterday, Tuesday 4 October. This falls within Cāturmāsya. From this full moon until 3 November, do not take sesame or mustard oil. You can use peanut oil or ghee. Do not consume salt that is extracted from the earth. Salt sold by a brāhmaṇa during the month of Kārtika is considered non-vegetarian. Do not take citron or pomelo in the month of Kārtika. These can be taken during any other months.
It was not proper for you to take prasāda cooked by someone who is a Vaiṣṇava in name only. It is not an easy thing to be a pure Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava who has received initiation but not received the sacred thread cannot be called a pure Vaiṣṇava. Also, do not take cooked foods from a person simply because he has taken birth in a brāhmaṇa family or introduces himself as “Gosvāmī”. You may only accept fruits and roots from such persons.
Those not born in brāhmaṇa families but initiated into a viṣṇu-mantra attain the status of brāhmaṇas. Those who do not accept this are not Vaiṣṇavas. Never take food cooked by them. If they are not under the guidance of a Gauḍīya Maṭha, even if their conduct is pure or if they introduce themselves as Vaiṣṇavas or brāhmaṇas, you should not accept foodstuffs from them. Paan (betel nut) induces indulgence. Bhagavān may partake of such items, but it is not proper for any conditioned soul to consume them.
If your mother or mother-in-law observes a pure standard of conduct or if, after bathing, she offers you some dry foodstuffs, you may accept it in an emergency, otherwise not. You should always respect your mother, who bore you in her womb, but if she is not vegetarian, you cannot offer the deities anything she has touched. If she bathes and washes her hands and feet properly, she can cut up fruits or vegetables, and you can wash them thoroughly, cook the vegetables and offer the vegetables and fruits to the deities. There is nothing wrong with offering respects to your mother by touching her feet.
Separate sleeping arrangements are best. “asat-saṅga-tyāga—ei vaiṣṇava sadācāra – Abandoning improper association constitutes the proper conduct of a Vaiṣṇava.” However, if you fall into unavoidable difficulty, what can you do? All rules and regulations can be adjusted in times of emergency or grave danger. To save one’s life, one may receive medicine and a diet from any person. Of course, adhering to the rules and regulations is the most auspicious thing you can do. I conclude here.

Your eternal well-wisher,



Śrī Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava
Śrī Gauḍīya-patrikā, Year 28 Issue 2

Kṛti-ratna: Jewel Among Guru-sevakas
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