(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 26 December 2014, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 9.19.26)
Prescribed duty does not exactly sound like following the path of ecstasy. It sounds like, “Oh, I do not know if I can do this, if I want to do this?” But we rely on something else. Definitely, we rely on ecstasy! When devotees come back from harinama and say, “The harinama was so ecstatic!” That is good and encouraging. Or when someone with big round eyes says, “Listen to what I have just read,” and reads a passage of Srimad Bhagavatam. Then it is all operating on taste… on ecstasy… on how inspiring it is… on how wonderful it is… So that is what we require – we require the ecstasy of the sankirtan movement. When it is not there, we struggle, but at least the memory of this ecstasy keeps us going. That is why we sometimes say, “In the beginning, we live from Sunday Feast to Sunday Feast.”
It used to be that Sunday Feasts were really big. When I joined, the Sunday Feast was like fifteen preps and all of them were good; there were lots of offerings. So, during the Sunday Feast, one would eat to a stage of approaching unconsciousness and then, the next thing was stashing as much as possible that could easily go till Thursday.
Thursday would be a miserable day because on Thursday, the last leftovers would run out. Finally, Friday was the day of like absolutely nothing and that was when the thought of leaving Krsna consciousness would reach its peak, “I am not going to make it, I am going to break.” Then Saturday was the day before the Sunday Feast, so that is sort of like, “How could I leave the day before the Sunday Feast?” That was basically how this movement survived.
Srila Prabhupada, in the Matchless Gift storefront, immediately started a program which has since been abandoned and I think it is not a good thing. In the Matchless Gift storefront, there was a pot in a corner which always had gulab jamuns and anybody could at any time take one. Somehow or other, that pot was kept full. I think that is an element which has sort of disappeared from our Iskcon temples and that was a mistake. I think at the next management meeting, it should be put on the agenda, “Where is the gulab jamun pot?” I am sure that many members will vote to bring back this essential part of our tradition. Taste is the one little thing that saves lives, it saves lives! So this is our process.