(H H Kadamba Kanana Swami, Cape Town, South Africa, 29th June 2012) Lecture: Ranchors Gita
Devotee: I was wondering when you are preaching to people you always try to speak to them on their level, so that it relates to what they understand. How do you draw the line between trying to relate to the level of people that would understand and giving them an interpretation of Krishna Consciousness?
Maharaja:There is a limit to how much we can adjust to people. Prabhupada would also say that:
‘More important than trying to please the people, we have to be sure that we are pleasing Krishna.’
So we can present things in a way that people can understand but we can never displease Krishna by compromising the truth! We can present the truth in different ways but we cannot water it down! As soon as you start watering it down, then that’s where the actual conclusions change a little bit:
‘Well anyway these principles are not so important.’
No, if you don’t follow it then it will not help you. We have to be clear. We can say it in different ways. We don’t have to say:
‘And you will go to hell.’
But we can say:
‘It will not help.’
We have to be truthful, and we should not change the philosophy and when we start to water down the philosophy too much, then we become dissatisfied. There is a story about Vyasadeva in the Srimad Bhagavatam who gave so many different types of yoga processes and was depressed because he hadn’t directly glorified Krishna. So that’s an extra warning – don’t go too indirect, because if you do then you will be depressed. That is the warning from the Bhagavatam in itself.
The art is to tell people everything but in a way that it sounds quite acceptable. You know just like, for example, if you say, ‘sinful activity,’ since some people have an allergy to the word ‘sin,’ because they came from some heavy religious background…. So instead of sinful activity I’d say ‘destructive activity,’ and when you say ‘destructive activity,’ then everyone agrees:
‘Oh yes, no destructive activities. No, that’s not good.’
Self destructive, socially destructive – instead of sin if we say ‘destructive,’ then it is much easier to accept. So sometimes the word just makes it a world of difference. That is okay, if you can change a word but not the message!