An excerpt from a morning walk with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Badger, California, on June 24, 2007, published in Walking with a Saint – Morning Walks and Conversations 2007


Madhuvrata dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, you mentioned to Giri Mahārāja on the morning walk that preachers have five symptoms.

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I told him, “Why have you shaved your face? No other brahmacārī or sannyāsī has done this.” He said that he shaved for preaching. Then I said, “We have not shaven, but who is preaching more – you or us?” He admitted, “You and all other sannyāsīs are preaching more than I am.” Then I said, “If you shave in the future, I will reject you.”

Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: Then you told him some symptoms of a preacher. You said that the number of disciples will increase, and money will come [meaning ‘the results of people’s energy will be offered in Kṛṣṇa’s service’].

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: If one is preaching, but those to whom he is preaching are not inspired to take shelter of guru and initiation, then his preaching is like zero.

Also, money will follow him. Vaiṣṇavas do not want money, but still it will come. The success of one’s preaching depends on how much he inspires others to take harināma and thus make their lives successful. That person is doing a high class of preaching.

I asked him, “What have you done? Nothing.”

I told him, “You preach, but no one is coming to take harināma, so what is your preaching? How much money have you given to me?”

He said, “Nothing.”

“So why are you preaching, and why have you shaved?”

Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: Some devotees think that there is no need for them to preach yet, because they are not yet advanced. They think, “First we will read and chant. Then, when we become advanced, then we will preach.”

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: They should enjoy the world, and then return to the world. They should take birth after birth, and they should suffer the pain of life and death.

Śrīpāda Nemi Mahārāja: I see that you don’t accept their idea.

Yaśodānanda dāsa: Śrīla Gurudeva, how can we help fulfil Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s mission to make Kṛṣṇa consciousness the worldwide religion?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: We are doing this. Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did this, and after him, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja preached everywhere. Then, whatever Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja left for me as his remnants, I am taking and continuing his mission.

Devotee: Gurudeva, one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples, Jayapatākā Svāmī, claims to have about 60,000 disciples. Do we consider this to be a symptom of successful preaching?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: He himself does not chant, and he is not established in bhakti. What to speak of him? In India there is a person named Asaram Bapu, and he gives dīkṣā by phone to thousands of people at a time. He has more disciples than Jayapatākā Svāmī. Do you know Kṛpālu Mahārāja? He is now in jail. He has millions of disciples.

Aniruddha dāsa: Our Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted a planetarium to be constructed in Māyāpura, and now the GBC has pledged to construct it at the cost of about sixty million dollars. They are doing this mostly in order to gather all of the Prabhupāda disciples together, because they are seeing that many devotees are fleeing ISKCON and coming to you. Do you think we should support this project?

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Why are you thinking about them? What is the use? Don’t think about them.

Aniruddha dāsa: But you said that successful preaching means ‘followers and money.’

Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: So follow me. Follow Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Why follow them, and why always think about them? If you think about them, their bad qualities may come to you.

An excerpt from an interview with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda for the London Times, Published in Science of Self Realization, Chapter 2, Separating the Saints from the Swindlers


Reporter: Does “surrender” mean that someone would have to leave his family?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No.

Reporter: But suppose I were to become an initiate. Wouldn’t I have to come and live in the temple?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Not necessarily.

Reporter: I can stay at home?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Reporter: What about work? Would I have to give up my job?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, you’d simply have to give up your bad habits and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra on these beads—that’s all.

Reporter: Would I have to give any financial support?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No, that is your voluntary wish. If you give, that’s all right. And if you don’t, we don’t mind. We do not depend on anyone’s financial contribution. We depend on Kṛṣṇa.

Reporter: I wouldn’t have to give any money at all?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: No.

Reporter: Is this one of the main things that distinguishes the genuine guru from the fake guru?

Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes, a genuine guru is not a businessman. He is a representative of God. Whatever God says, the guru repeats. He does not speak otherwise.


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Unless indicated differently, all verse translations and quotes are from the books by Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda (

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