The joy of selfless salary

Some time ago, I caught Radhanath baba’s disciple, Jai Nitai das, Soho temple president. I asked him about his and his wife salary, and his voice choked in salary prema and he couldn’t reply to my email.

Today, we are bringing you the evidence that salary prema is present in Radhanath’s babas own home base, Chowpatti temple.

He is an advertisement published in whatsapp group:

As you can see, they are offering salary for performing devotional service. Well, as far as I recall, Prabhupada said that exchanging money for devotional service is not exactly how things should be organised.

Well, in that very city of Mumbai, 40 years ago Prabhupada said.

Prabhupāda: Just like we have got so many tenants. They are living in their own. But they have no connection with the temple, neither the temple is paying them or… No, they are earning their own way. Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: In other words, if the temple provides an apartment, it’s the same as paying a salary.

Prabhupāda: Hm?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: In other words, giving an apartment is the same thing as providing a salary.

Prabhupāda: All right, apartment can be… But what is this? They are given high salary. Because his service is essential—”All right, you take apartment.” Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But not…

Prabhupāda: You take prasādam. But why salary? Where is the question of salary? Where is vairāgya, renouncement? So in all circumstances the salary process should be stopped. One who wants salary, he can work outside.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Actually, even if you don’t give a salary, if you give an apartment and you give food and you give all these other things for someone to maintain his household life…

Prabhupāda: Because his service is essential.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: But that has to be determined very strictly.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. Whether his service is absolutely required? So you give him.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: That is the factor. That point must be clearly acknowledged.

Prabhupāda: Hm hm. So he’s trying to practice… Because sevonmukhe, if he gives service, then gradually he’ll renounce. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ [Brs. 1.2.234]. God realization means service. The more you give service to the Lord, the more you become advanced in devotional… So one who is giving service, dedicated life, so maybe… But no salary. They may live in the temple, woman separate, man separate.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: They’re… But the actual thing is that they’re being, living together in an apartment, and the temple is paying for that apartment. They’re not living separately in the temple. They’re being…

Prabhupāda: That is to be discouraged. What do you think?

Girirāja: I agree.

Prabhupāda: In Los Angeles it is very freely going on. In the name of Vaiṣṇavism they are drawing salary, living comfortably, having sense enjoyment. This is not good, not at all. So you all high officers, you think over it and do the needful.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Vairāgya should be cultivated.

Prabhupāda: Vairāgya… Caitanya Mahāprabhu says clearly that niṣkiñcanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya. The bhagavad-bhajana, to become devotee of the Lord, means he’s disgusted with this material world. For him, bhagavad-bhajana. Just like if I become disgusted with something, I require some change, similarly, bhagavad-bhajana is for him who is absolutely disgusted with this material world. And anyone who has got little interest in material enjoyment, he’s not fit for bhagavad-bhajana. He’ll have to accept again this material body, either he becomes Brahmā or becomes an ant in the stool, according to his karma. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa jantur deha-upapattaye [SB 3.31.1]. He’ll have to develop certain type of body according to his desire of enjoyment. This is nature’s law. Then where is the question of going back to home, back to Godhead? Why so many varieties of life? There is Brahmā, and there is ant in the stool. So vairāgya-vidyā-nija… Vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ [SB 1.2.7], janayaty āśu vairāgyam. And vairāgyam means jñānam ca. When one is in full knowledge that “To remain in this material world is useless for me”—jñānam—”I am simply wasting my time by repetition of birth and death,” then he can have vairāgya. “Stop this!” If this sense is not awakened, there is no bhakti. It is not so easy. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]. That is vairāgya. So vairāgya-vidyā… Otherwise why big, big persons, they renounced everything? Bharata Mahārāja, young man, the emperor of the whole world, gave up everything. Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally teaches, young man, good, beautiful wife, young wife, so affectionate mother, so much honor in the society, Nimāi Paṇḍita, so beautiful body… Tyaktvā sudustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīm [SB 11.5.34]. Surepsita. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s position was, even the demigods, they desired such family life. But He still gave up. That is teaching. Therefore Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya says, vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhak…, śikṣārtham: “to teach others.” He understood that in order to teach others vairāgya-vidyā… He is the Supreme Person. Vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhakti-yoga-śikṣārtham ekaḥ purāṇa-puruṣaḥ: [Cc. Madhya 6.254] “That He was, Supreme Lord. Now He has appeared as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.“Śarīra-dhārī: “He has accepted one body as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.” So these things should be stopped, that they should live comfortably with husband and wife, children, and take salary from the… You decide. This is not to our… Besides that, in our BBT it is clearly written that “Fifty percent for printing book, and fifty percent for…” So you cannot violate this. Those who can give voluntary service, “Welcome.” Otherwise we don’t require. At least they should not be given any salary. That is very bad. This is against principle. (Conversation: April 28, 1977, Bombay)

The consequences

You see where this leads to? If devotees who do administrative work receive salary, then temple president can also require salary. And Radhanath baba’s temple president in Soho is already receiving salary.

But, there is injustice in this setup, then cook can also require salary, and brahmacaries who are cleaning the temple can also require salary. In this way, any trace of devotional service is removed, and we become mundane organization where everybody is materially motivated. From this very reason, Prabhupada didn’t allow salaries.

The solution

Prabhupada, offered people to join this movement, society can provide a place to live, and food, and other necessities.

Prabhupāda: Young men of cities, they may come to me and be trained up in the spiritual life, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (Hindi) So long you’ll ask me to keep here, provided you are serious of taking training from me…

Guest (4): I am very much serious.

Prabhupāda: Then you are welcome. I am asking young men like you to come and join me.

Guest (5): (unintelligible) Prabhupāda: Aiye. Yes. I am speaking in English because my students, they cannot understand Hindi. But if educated young boys like you come they will be also able to understand English, so there will be no difficulty.

Guest (4): Thank you, Mahārāja. Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Replay little. [break] Please try to understand the philosophy. Thank you. Yes. (Hindi) So you are welcome. You come. Live with us with your family. We take charge of you. But if you ask some salary, that is not possible. That is not possible.

Guest (4): I have my sisters and mother and father to support. Prabhupāda: So let them come, all, and live with me. (Hindi) That’s nice. (Hindi). That I can take. But if you want money, that is not possible.

Guest (5): No, I don’t want money.

Prabhupāda: Then you come with your whole family. (Hindi) [break]

Prabhupāda: Don’t be dependent. Be dependent on Kṛṣṇa. To live here means to become dependent on Kṛṣṇa. That is there(?). You have to become dependent either to your master or to your boss or to your brother or to somebody else. But if you become dependent on Kṛṣṇa your whole problem is solved. Yes. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [break] Don’t consider about money. (Hindi) …did not care for the family. For political emancipation they sacrificed so much.

Now, if there is enough money, Prabhupada allowed that full-time devotees buy saries for their wives and incur some extra expenses which may be above bare necesities. But there should be no promise of fixed payment for services rendered, and that is exact definition of salary.

Tho will take us seriously?

If we preach about devotional service, surrender to Krishna, sacrifice for Prabhupada, tapasya, renunciation, and in the same time everybody receives salary, and it seems we are going in that direction, then Prabhupada’s movement will look very funny.

Fixing Radhanath baba

Since Radhanath baba is very eager to fix Prabhupada, and turn his movement into Ramesh lovers and hospital builders, to retaliate, we will now also fix Radhanath baba by fixing his quotes. As you can imagine, this will be very funny.

This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website



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