(Click on photo to see a larger image of Srila Prabhupada.)
"In executing penance, one must be determined to return home, back to Godhead, and must decide to undergo all types of tribulations for that end. Even for material prosperity, name and fame, one has to undergo severe types of penance, otherwise no one can become an important figure in this material world. Why, then, are there severe types of penance for the perfection of devotional service? An easygoing life and attainment of perfection in transcendental realization cannot go together. The Lord is more clever than any living entity; therefore He wants to see how painstaking the devotee is in devotional service. The order is received from the Lord, either directly or through the bona fide spiritual master, and to execute that order, however painstaking, is the severe type of penance. One who follows the principle rigidly is sure to achieve success in attaining the Lord's mercy."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.24, Purport)
"Good things do not come so easily; you know the difficulties that I encountered in my first year in your country. Sometimes I did not even know where I was to live, neither when I came did I have any friends. But I was always determined that somehow I would do everything possible to fulfill the desire of my Guru Maharaj, and despite all difficulties I always remained enthusiastic."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 5, 1972)
"My Guru Maharaj gave me a task and always I was discouraged by my god-brothers, but I did not forget him even for a moment, and I was determined to follow my duty, even though sometimes I did not like to do it."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 5, 1972)
"I am very much encouraged that despite so many difficulties and tricks of Maya that you are still desiring Krishna so much. Thank you very much. In order to attain the topmost perfection of this human form of life one simply has to try for Krishna with enthusiasm and patience, and all obstacles will be overcome. If you are determined in this way to be His devotee, Krishna will provide some happy solution. But even if He puts us into extreme difficulty, we must always be prepared to consider everything as His special Mercy, that He is testing my sincerity, or that this trouble is nothing to what I deserve."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 17, 1971)
"There are many examples in history of persons who have been very much disabled physically, but still have executed Krishna Consciousness. Still, up to date in places like Vrndavana, India, there are many persons who are blind, crippled, lame, deformed, etc., but they are determined to practice Krishna Consciousness to their best ability. So, you should also do like that. Simply be determined to practice the process of Bhakti-yoga with whatever abilities you may have. If you are really sincere, then Krishna will give you help. If you require any medical help, you can take as much as is needed."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 30, 1975)
"The mercy the Lord bestows upon a particular person engaged in executing the responsible work entrusted unto him is beyond imagination. But His mercy is received due to our penance and perseverance in executing devotional service."
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.9.30, Purport)
"We are trying to please Krishna. That is all. We simply must go on with our business, to the best of our ability. We must always sincerely try to do our best with great determination. This is the transcendental position. Success or failure, this is not our business. We leave that up to Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 15, 1973)
"You have asked 'How serious would it be for me if I should miss the golden opportunity to become your initiated disciple?' You should know that the value of accepting a bonafide spiritual master is more than we can calculate. It is not a mere formality. Of course everyone is encouraged to chant Hare Krishna, but until one gives up sinful activities and becomes determined to serve Krishna through His representative then the firm fixing up of devotional service will not take hold, and there is every chance that one will fall prey to all sorts of material desires and have to come back again in the next life -- and one cannot guarantee that he will be born in the form of life he may desire.
I know you have been attending our temple in Boston sometimes, and that you wish to be a sincere devotee of Krishna. So go on faithfully with you chanting and pray to Krishna to give you strength for advancing in His service. It is a fact, however that we must become free of all material desire before going back to Godhead, and this can only be achieved by following the instructions of a bonafide spiritual master."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 12, 1974)
"Your third question is: does the soul ever become weak or strong on account of its association and contact with material nature? It is not the spirit soul that becomes weak or strong but it is his determination to become Krsna Conscious that we become weak or strong. By the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance he becomes weak and by the influence of the mode of goodness he becomes strong. But by the association with the pure devotee he becomes strongest."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 9, 1973)
"The key to success in spiritual life is to always endeavor to please the Spiritual Master, and follow his instructions. One who is determined in this effort will advance very quickly in Krishna consciousness."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 20, 1972)
"Our determination should be to serve the previous guru and acarya. Evam parampara-praptam (BG 4.2). That is our determination. Tandera carana-sevi. Our service... Not directly Krishna. Because to serve Vaiṣṇava is more than serving Krishna directly. Mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika (SB 11.19.21). Krishna likes that. He doesn't accept anyone's service directly. That is a gross mistake. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura is teaching us... (break) ...trying to become one with Krishna or one with the gopis. These are all Mayavada philosophy. Tandera carana-sevi. You have to serve the servant of Krishna, tad bhrtya dasa-dasa-dasanudasah (CC Madhya 13.80). That is the way. Not directly."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, October 4, 1976)
"One thing is, our process of Krishna Consciousness, if it is followed with determination and enthusiasm, automatically it has the effect of fixing us, body, mind and soul, to the Lotus Feet of Lord Krishna, so that all sorts of fluctuations of the material nature, all sorts of difficulties and discrepancies of life are easily withstood. But first you have to agree to understand the process and follow it scrupulously. That is wanting. If I only think I know something, that is mental platform of accept/reject, and any knowledge gathered from the mental platform is like that, tottering and precarious, and it can be immediately rejected at any time.
Krishna Consciousness has great potency to deliver us to the highest platform of perfection, but only if it is understood by the intelligence. Something understood by the intelligence is fixed forever and cannot waver, and that is almost spiritual. From your letter, I can understand you are confused in your mind, because you do not want this, you do not want that, you might like another, like that. That position of confusion is not very much desirable, so you are a Vaisnava, now rid yourself of such misunderstanding of things. Vaisnava means one who is able to sit down anywhere, under any conditions, and be happy. He wants only a place to lay down, a little prasadam, and if there's a little service he can do, gladly let me do it for Krishna, that's all. As long as we are thinking I want this, that is not to my liking, or if I adjust things a certain way everything will be better, these thoughts are material. Devotional service is not conditional. So stop this dreaming state. Try to understand things with the light of your intelligence, and if your are sincere in this way, without a doubt Krishna will give you full facility to understand Him and become freed of the bondage of ignorance."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 8, 1972)
"Advancement in Krishna Consciousness is not the result of material conditions. I shall not expect to find some perfect circumstances of occupational duty which will cause me to be automatically Krishna conscious, no. So why shall I think that by changing this, going here or there, doing something else -- why shall I expect that I will become happy by adjusting material conditions in this way? They have not understood. Real attitude of devotional service is, whether I am here or there, whether I am doing this or that, it doesn't matter, just give me little prasada, little service, or if you make me big leader, that's all right -- that is devotee, satisfied to serve Krishna in any circumstances of life. So try to impress this fact, we should kill this restless spirit. Enthusiasm and patience, these things required. If under changing conditions, I lose my enthusiasm, if I cannot endure the difficulties of my duty, therefore I go away -- then how I can be leader? These things must be understood. Otherwise the whole thing will fall."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 5, 1972)
"Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched."
"In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place."
"You have asked about whether nuclear devastation on this planet would effect the Sankirtan Movement. No, there is nothing that can stop the Sankirtan Movement because it is the will of God Himself, Lord Caitanya, that His Holy Name be heard in every town and village. Neither can the demons devastate this planet independent of the will of Krsna. Nothing happens without His sanction. If Krsna wants to kill someone no one can save Him, and if Krsna wants to save someone no one can kill him. For our parts we should just be determined to carry out our mission against all opposition, demons, nuclear war, whatever. The whole universe is finally subject to certain annihilation by the will of Krsna, but devotional service is eternal and is the only certain way one can save himself from devastation. We can preach all over the world that the only way to be saved from collective and individual devastation is to take to the chanting of Hare Krsna. In short, this material world is a very precarious place therefore we should always chant Hare Krsna and seek Krsna's protection."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 22, 1973)
"So the more we will pass this Kali-yuga, the symptoms will be more acute, intolerable. So we should care. We should take care of this so that we may not come back again to this Kali-yuga. You see? This life should be utilized. Now we are conscious, Krishna conscious. It should be so utilized that no more coming back to United States of America and no more coming back of this condemned earthly planet. That should be the aim. Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama (BG 15.6). We have to be determined to go back to Godhead, to Krishna, where going nobody will come to this condemned place. One should know that this is a condemned place. Unless one is fully convinced that this is a place, condemned, one cannot make progress. If he is satisfied with this condemned condition... Just like these Bowery Street men, they are lying on the footpath. They are satisfied. Condemned condition, but they are satisfied. We should not be satisfied in that way. That is very wretched condition. So we are all in wretched condition under the grip of material nature, always suffering threefold miseries. So we should be conscious. Unless we are conscious about this fact, then our human life is spoiled. They say that you spiritualists, you are very pessimistic. Yes. He should be pessimistic. There is no question of being optimistic. Where is the optimistic view?"
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, December 22, 1966)
"So Krishna, when instructs from within the heart, He is called caitya-guru. And that caitya-guru is expanded by the process, personal presentation of spiritual master. So both ways He is helping us. Krishna is so kind. Guru-krsna-krpa. Krishna is helping from within, but sometimes we are so dull, naturally, that we cannot understand. Therefore He sends His representative to instruct externally. So He is helping internally and externally. There is no difference between the internal and external instructor. We should take advantage of this instruction. That is called vyavasayatmika buddhih, fixed-up resolution. Fixed-up resolution. If we become fixed up in this resolution, that 'Whatever we have heard from my guru, the representative of Krishna, I must execute. I do not care for my personal convenience or inconvenience. This is my life and soul,' then your life is perfect."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mayapur, October 28, 1974)
"You are setting the example of determination which others may see and follow. In this way, go on increasing and such sincerity is noticed by Krishna and He is helping you to approach nearer and nearer to His Lotus Feet."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 21, 1972)
"Wherever we live we worship God. We are not official worshippers. We worship wherever we are.
satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca drdha-vratah,
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
'Always chanting My glories, endeavouring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.'
Our religion is not a part time transcendental recreation. We live in God."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 29, 1976)
"I am glad to note your determination to be freed from the material entanglement by chanting Hare Krishna mantra. This is the recommended process for this age of disagreement for achieving Krishna consciousness. It is authorized, very easy, and it does not cost anything. I understand that you have got japa beads, so this is very good that you are seriously taking to the process. So if you continue Krishna will bless you, and you will go back home back to Godhead. I also understand that you have Bhagavad gita As It Is, so try to read something regularly, but do not neglect the chanting, that is the important thing."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 29, 1975)
"This is very much wanted throughout the society of men, that some few of you will come to the understanding that by serving the Lord with my full energy that this will be my happy position of life and that no other occupation will give me any, not even an ounce of pleasure. Such persons like yourself who are thinking in this way are getting all intelligence and facility by how to do the things properly, and that Krishna is helping you with intelligence and ability, now you take the right course and utilize the opportunity given to you by Krishna to actually inject the human society with that same determination to serve the Lord. Only a handful of you are there who are convinced beyond any doubt about this Krsna consciousness movement, but is sufficient to change the entire course of history."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 3, 1972)
"So go on in this way, serving your spiritual master to best of your capacity, and remaining always fixed and steady in your determination to fulfill the goal of your life, namely, to go back to home, back to Godhead, without further delay."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 9, 1973)