THE PRABHUPADA CONNECTION
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All Devotees Are More or Less Poets
"You have got some poetic sense also, and all these talents, the artistic sense and poetic sense, can be engaged in the service of Krishna. All devotees are more or less poets. Out of 26 qualifications of a perfect devotee, one is poetic sense. So we can write so many poetries in praise of the Lord, or about His pastimes. Similarly we can draw so many nice pictures about His different activities, and such engagements will give us chance to elevate ourself to the perfectional platform of spiritual understanding."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 21, 1968)

"One of the qualifications of a Vaisnava is that he is poetic. This means that the Vaisnavas are very much enthusiastic to describe on paper the glories of Lord Krsna and Krsna Consciousness. In our Back To Godhead I am very pleased to see that many of our disciples are becoming eager to record their thoughtful ideas about Krsna Consciousness. This eagerness is one of the symptoms that a devotee is making progress in the matter of spiritual purification."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 25, 1969)

"There is a verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam that a book or poetry in which the Holy Name of Krishna is depicted, such language is revolutionary in the matter of purifying the material atmosphere. Even though such literature is presented in broken language or grammatical inconsistency or rhetorical irregularity, still, those who are saintly persons adore such literature. They hear such literature, and chant it and adore it, simply because the Supreme Lord is being glorified in this literature. In other words, we are not meant for presenting any literary masterpieces, but we have to inform people that there is a fire of maya which is burning the very vitality of all living entities, and they should guard against the indefatigable onslaught of material existence. That should be our motto."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 13, 1969)

"I started this movement by book selling. I was never a beggar for money, but I was writing books and selling. My Guru Maharaja very much liked my writing and he used to show others in my absence 'Just see how nicely he has written, how he has appreciated.' He encouraged me, and my Godbrothers, they also like my writing. After I wrote that poem for Vyasa Puja of my Guru Maharaja they used to call me Poet."

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 3, 1975)

"Essential truth spoken concisely is true eloquence."

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 1.106)

"Poetic skill used with due consideration is very pure, and with metaphors and analogies it is dazzling."

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 16.86)

"By remembering the lotus feet of the Pañca-tattva, a dumb man can become a poet, a lame man can cross mountains, and a blind man can see the stars in the sky."

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 8.5)

"In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.5.11) it is said:

    tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
    yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
    nāmāny anantasya yaśo ’ṅkitāni yat
    śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ

'In explaining the glories of the Lord, inexperienced men may compose poetry with many faults, but because it contains glorification of the Lord, great personalities read it, hear it and chant it.' Despite its minute literary discrepancies, one must study poetry on the merit of its subject matter. According to Vaiṣṇava philosophy, any literature that glorifies the Lord, whether properly written or not, is first class. There need be no other considerations."

(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Ādi 16.102, Purport)

"Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all-perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.10)

"Art, literature, poetry, painting, etc., may be used in glorifying the Lord. The fiction writers, poets and celebrated litterateurs are generally engaged in writing of sensuous subjects, but if they turn towards the service of the Lord they can describe the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Vālmīki was a great poet, and similarly Vyāsadeva is a great writer, and both of them have absolutely engaged themselves in delineating the transcendental activities of the Lord and by doing so have become immortal."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.22, Purport)

"We should know for certain that the Lord is the ultimate sanctioning officer, and we must therefore dedicate our attempts to the mercy of the Lord for ultimate success or to get rid of the obstacles on the path of success. The Lord is all-pervading, all-powerful, omniscient and omnipresent. He is the ultimate sanctioning agent of all good or bad effects. We should, therefore, learn to dedicate our activities unto the mercy of the Lord and accept Him either as impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It does not matter what one is. One must dedicate everything in the service of the Lord. If one is a learned scholar, scientist, philosopher, poet, etc., then he should employ his learning to establish the supremacy of the Lord."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.32, Purport)

"Spiritual enlightenment is possible by the mercy of the spiritual energy of the Lord. The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is first addressed to the spiritual energy of the Lord, Hare. This spiritual energy acts when a living entity fully surrenders and accepts his position as an eternal servitor. When a person places himself at the disposal or order of the Supreme Lord, that is called sevonmukha; at that time the spiritual energy gradually reveals the Lord to him.

Without revelation by the spiritual energy, one is unable to offer prayers glorifying the Lord. Any amount of philosophical speculation or poetic expression by mundane persons is still considered to be the action and reaction of the material energy."

(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 4.9.6, Purport)

Prabhupāda: That song you were reading last night, Nitāi pada kamala? That is Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura's song. For the Vaiṣṇava, to become poet is another qualification. Vaiṣṇava has twenty-six qualifications. I think it is written there.

Allen Ginsberg: And one of them is to become poet also.

Prabhupāda: Poet. He must be poet. All the Vaiṣṇavas, they are poet.

Guest: Because they are so deep in love with God.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Poetry comes out in deep love with something.

(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Columbus, Ohio, May 13, 1969)

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