It’s been more than two years that I started going to ISKCON temple in my city. Ever since my first visit to the temple, I have been a regular visitor there. The temple is so serene. Sitting there in front of Sri Sri Radha Madhava and chanting His holy names fill you with so much peace and bliss.
The devotees at ISKCON follow the four regulative principles as per Srila Prabhupada (the Founder –Acharya of ISKCON)’s directions: No meat eating, no gambling, no alcohol and no illicit sex. Apart from this, the devotees lead a very disciplined life: getting up early, no onion-garlic in food, no tea-coffee and chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Mahamantra daily.
During my initial months, I used to be amazed at the strict rules and regulations of ISKCON, especially the no onion-garlic thing which I really found too hard to follow. But as I started reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, I gradually started to understand the philosophy behind it. Four pillars of spiritual life are the values of compassion, honesty, austerity (discipline) and cleanliness. A tangible progress on the spiritual path is possible only by following these regulative principles and internalizing the values they symbolize.
Today a friend from ISKCON shared a letter from Srila Prabhupada to one of his disciples. In this letter written in 1968, Srila Prabhupada emphasizes on character building by following the four regulative principles. He was very strict about the rules & regulations and in his letter, he says that these strict rules & regulations often dissuade people to join ISKCON resulting in less followers. But he says that he doesn’t need a thousand stars at night, just one moon would suffice.
I have tried to describe the essence of the letter in a nutshell in my own words:
“Material pleasures are not your boon
Seeking them will bring your doom.
Be a devotee, come to Krishna soon
Follow the path, aspire to be the Moon.”
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