Srila Govinda Maharaja “1994 Letter to Brazilian Devotees – The Four Regulative Principles”


Srila Govinda Maharaja

The following letter was sent by Srila Govinda Maharaja to the devotees in Brazil to clarify the
role of the four regulative principles with regards to the practice of Krishna Consciousness.

To see actual letter in PDF format CLICK HERE.

All Glories To Sri Guru and Gauranga

Dated: 6 December 1994

My dear Sri Bhuvan Mohan Prabhu, Sri Rukmini Pati Prabhu, Sri Vyasa Prabhu, and Sri Palak Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble dandavat pranams in remembrance of my Divine Masters Srila Guru Maharaja and Srila Swami Maharaja. I received your phone call and faxes on 5th December.

Fortunately I have got the opportunity with my friends like Sripad Sagar Maharaja to preach Krishna consciousness in Brazil, by the grace of the devotees there, especially your graces. I think you are all qualified. mature devotees in Krishna consciousness. When it is you who are recommending someone for initiation, how can I think that they don’t know the rules and regulations? For me it is impossible to think that one who comes to receive initiation does not know about the four directives and the rules and regulations of Krishna consciousness. I am thinking that they must all know the primary rules and regulations. Srimad-Bhagavatam has stated that by following the directives one will be pious, otherwise if one is engaged in sinful activities, how can he get the connection with, and the practice of, Krishna consciousness? It is a very simple matter. Before eating it is necessary to wash our hands, wash the plate, take clean water. and then respectfully take prasadam. Everywhere there is a natural process of rules and regulations. The four regulations are the basic foundation for everybody. These regulations are like learning the alphabet. Without learning the alphabet it is not possible to read any book.

Now, when the position you mention has come within our society. I must say it clearly that when anyone wants to practice Krsna consciousness he must try to make himself a pious person. But piety must be disturbed if one will not follow the four regulative principles. What do we want? We don’t want anything mundane, like wealth. women and fame. Our greatest enemy is fame. therefore Srila Saraswati Thakur said it was comparable with the pig’s stool. perhaps for the time being they can’t leave the habit, but why should my friends eat that pig stool 24 hours a day? If we have no sincerity in our practicing life, we cannot get the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu. Anyway. with full affection and humility you must tell my friends that this is our healthy principle. On rare occasions, we may see a Paramahamsa Vaishnava breaking the rules. like Srila Vamsidas Babaii Maharaja: but that is not our ideal. and should never be imitated.

I think that Sripad Bhuvan Mohan Prabhu’s preaching tactics may not always be palatable for newcomers and others, but we should not forget his position of spiritual standing. He was blessed by both Srila Prabhupada and Srila Guru Maharaja and myself and all my friends in Brazil had the opportunity to practice Krishna consciousness by his grace and earnest desire. It was he who brought the Deity of Sriman Mahaprabhu there for installation and for the preaching of His Divine Conception. and all the Brazilian devotees are benefitted by that. So we should not give pain to his heart. Mahaprabhu will not be happy with us if we do that. When we are forming a society or anything, that is only as eyewash to satisfy the mundane requirements. But what’s the value of a nose without breath? Our life-force is the mood of Devotion to Krishna, and that will increase with the association of, and service to, the devotee. No doubt there is a gradation, but that is because we are unqualified and we must follow according to junior and senior positions. On the whole, we must not forget that we are practitioners as students. The first requirement of practicing Krishna consciousness is to serve and satisfy the Vaishnava. If we only sing Vaishnava Thakur dayar sagar e dase karuna kari day and night without following that, then the fruit will not come to our hand. When we cannot help ourselves, how can we help others? So it is my request to my friends that they try to follow this principle directive. The Scriptures have said, sadhu-sange krishna-nama, ei matra chay, samsara jinite ara kona vastu nai. Service to Guru and Vaishnava without offence and service to Hare Krishna Mahamantra without offence are one and the same thing. So whatever we do, we must not be offenders to Harinama and the Vaishnava. And we can get this qualification through humility, tolerance and giving honor to others. If we are sincere and sacrifice ourselves. we must follow these directives of Sriman Mahaprabhu. Mundane ego can destroy everything. so we must first try to leave our ego and fully surrender to Guru and Vaishnava.

It is my request to my faithful friends Sri Palak Krishna Prabhu and others, they must consult with you all and what will be practically suitable for our preaching mission there you try to do that happily together. It is my desire that everyone will come under one umbrella and happily give nourishment to each other, and serve the devotee, the Deity and our mission. From far, what can I say more? It is my earnest request to Sri Palak Krishna Prabhu, you please look after our mission with your God-gifted capacity and try to make a harmonious devotional atmosphere. in cooperation with Sri Shuvan Mohan Prabhu.

If necessary I can help you further by sending to Brazil Sripad Bhakti Ananda Sagar Maharaja. who is my good well-wisher and friend, and affectionate disciple of both Gurus, Srila Guru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada. Because my health and age is not permitting me full freedom to travel widely. But still I am doing my Seva as instructed by Srila Guru Maharaja. I am awaiting your progressive and positive news. Again with my dandavat pranams to you all, and my blessings and well-wishes to the junior devotees there in Brazil.

Yours affectionately,
Swami B.S. Govinda