Letter to: Karunamayi

Los Angeles
25 February, 1968
San Francisco
My Dear Karunamayi Dasi,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your nice letter dated Feb. 15, 1968, and I thank you very much for it. I can see how you are advancing in Krishna Consciousness by the feelings expressed therein, and I am so glad you are feeling such transcendental pleasure in serving the Lord. This transcendental pleasure is unlimited and increases as we increase our desire to give more and more voluntary service. To surrender to Krishna all at once is not generally possible, but as we serve Krishna more and more, we gradually become more and more surrendered at His Lotus Feet. So you please continue to serve Krishna in these ways you have mentioned, and do not feel that your service is any less valuable than that of others. In the transcendental loving service of the Lord, it doesn't matter whether we are working, cooking, painting, writing, chanting, or whatever, they are all the same. There are no such distinctions of higher and lower on the transcendental platform. The important thing is that we are engaging our time and energy in the service of the Lord. After all, we are so tiny, what can we do? Krishna sees simply that this time is being spent in His service. Please continue to help Gargamuni in his efforts to spread Krishna Consciousness, and chant, and continue your duties, and in this way you will be happy and successful in Krishna Consciousness. I am happy to hear you are so much anxious in helping to start a new temple. Your enthusiasm is very encouraging to me; there is great need for the spreading of Krishna Consciousness, and we need so many enthusiastic boys and girls for carrying on this great mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. My Guru Maharaja wanted that this Krishna Consciousness be spread all over the Western countries especially, and now in my old age, I am leaving this great responsibility in the hands of all you my students.
Regarding your questions: Once prasadam (water, or foodstuffs) is offered to the Lord, His Plate should remain on the altar for about 15-20 minutes (while the portion in the pots may be taken by the devotees). Water need only remain there for a few minutes. Once the prasadam is removed from the altar, and touched by us, it should not again be placed on the altar. Whatever we offer should be as fresh and pure as is possible.
So long we are engaged in the service of the Lord, He has assured us all protection. But if we are attacked, of course we must defend ourselves as best we can. Nobody can compare with the Merciful Nityananda. He can defend Himself quite well; He could have killed the sinners in an instant, but He had decided that He wanted to save these sinners. He was setting an example that we have to preach Krishna Consciousness even at the risk of personal violence. Just like the children sometimes become violent, but the father knows he can defend himself at any time, and so he tries to teach them correctly by reprimanding them.
Yes, it is respectful to circumambulate the temple, keeping your right side to the Deities if possible. You may dance around the temple in this way if you like.
I have no complaints with my health and I am feeling well. Hope you are well.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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