One day, as I attempted to meditate, I heard the voice of Shri Vrindavan Bihari Krishna speak to me over the sound of Rama lila blaring at me from one side and the aggressive clamor of a kirtan coming from the other, and this is what he said:
“Live and let live! Do your bhajan and let others do their bhajan!”
And like a stenographer, I took down the letter that he dictated to me:
To all my beloved saints and great souls, to all my beloved devotee sadhakas:
I humbly ask you to come together, meet and consider the following points–
- This Vrindavan is a center of love for me, a place where people come to do bhajan, to chant my names and meditate on my pastimes.
- This Vrindavan is for everyone. Somebody might worship Shyama Shyam or Bankey Bihari, others might worship Rama, another person might even worship Devi or Shiva, and so on. This is not the issue: everyone is free to worship me as they like.
- So you may speak on the Bhagavatam, sing bhajans and kirtans, and in this way try to enchant me and show me your love, but if other devotees are disturbed by the loud noises coming from your loudspeaker, by that fact your own worship will be without benefit. How can I be pleased by your actions if it causes pain to my devotees?
- Whatever form I take, I dwell within all as the Antaryami. I am not something external. I recognize what is natural and genuine love and what is merely show. I know the hearts of all.
- For that reason, I say, yes, by all means worship me with love, in peace, staying within the four walls of your own ashram or temple. Sing! Dance! Have rituals galore!
- But remember: Vrindavan is a place of worship and not one of evangelization. Vrindavan evangelizes itself through being itself!
- Students come here from far and wide to study shastras related to me. Bhajananandis come from far and wide so that they can engage in lila-smarana meditation on me. For them, the early hours of the morning and evening are valuable times when they can concentrate. Besides them, there are people who are ill, and there are small children, and there are people who work hard all day who need their rest. How can anyone find peace when you fill the ether with sounds that could wake the dead?
- Give it a little thought. Sometimes the noise from four or five loudspeakers at a time comes through someone’s window. Sometimes four or five loudspeakers do a battle of the decibels on the same streetcorner as different ashrams with different programs try to outdo each other. Do you ever stop to think about what effect you are having on the poor neighbor who has to suffer through this? Do you think he can chant his mantras? Do you think he can think of me? Most of all, do you think he appreciates or enjoys being attacked so aggressively from every direction by the noise — even if you think it is something wonderful?
- For this reason I ask you to please take down the loudspeakers from your roofs and from the poles on the roadside and keep them inside your ashrams or temples and try to please me in your own way without making an external show.
- You are not the only one in Vrindavan who reads the sacred texts! You are not the only one who does my puja, sings nam or lila kirtans! There are thousands who do so! They are all dear to me, and no one is dearer to me because they force the world to hear them sing or speak! I am pleased by genuine bhakti and not by great displays of devotion.
- For these reasons, I ask you to keep your devotion private. Do your bhajan and let others do theirs. Live and let live. Thank you.
Your own Thakur, Vrindavan Vihari,
Nikunja Keli Mandali, Sri Vrindavan
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