(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 March 2013, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.12.6)
Krsna consciousness starts with inspiration. First, it is the unknown spiritual benefit which gets purified and then attraction develops. Jagai stopped Madhai from hitting Lord Nityananda for the second time because before that, Jagai had already appreciated the kirtan, he said, “They sing so nice, actually.” And Madhai said, “Argh, shut up!” That kind of response but Jagai said, “No, this is nice.” So, he had heard the chanting and received some unknown spiritual benefit and then he developed some appreciation. So, it has to come to that point when appreciation grows and one comes the point of conscious devotional service, where one chooses for it but still, his choice is very weak.
In the beginning, he has some taste for it but still there is a lot of hesitance, “Well, I don’t know. I can’t do this. Is it the real thing?” Therefore he cannot take too much correction. So in the beginning, we just feed the enthusiasm and the inspiration. Then as the person becomes more fixed, we have to say, “But now, it’s time to tighten the screws. Now is the time to change your behaviour.” And some things, of course, you’ve got to say quite early, “No, meat! Forget this intoxication, it’s not going to work.” And then, “No illicit sex.” You sometimes have to approach it in steps, “At least you should be married.” But then, we are not talking about what the higher standard in a Krsna consciousness marriage should be; we don’t tell them that on the first day. So little by little; it’s about tightening the screws.
In the eleventh canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, it says, “One has to take a horse and one has to take the reins.” You cannot always keep the horse tight as it goes mad. Sometimes, you just have to give the horse some space to be a horse! So in the beginning, when guiding people, we need to also give them some space, with gradually we have to tighten the screws and bring more and more standards in. Because after all, pleasing Krsna is not just the sentiment.
Pleasing Krsna means making offerings that Krsna actually likes and pure devotees teach us how to do it. You cannot just go, “But this is my offering from my heart. I feel I want to offer it like this.” That’s neophyte but more than that is how does Krsna want it, “Okay, I’m going to learn from the experts how to do it the way Krsna wants it then my offering will be more pleasing to Krsna!”
So slowly, more and more standards come in and it goes on and on. Therefore Prabhupada, with his close men, he would hammer them. They would get it! Those who were kind of a little more distant, he would encourage them. So the preacher must know when to give some inspiration and when to correct.