Preaching in Poland, 1998. Photo by Padmākṣa Dāsa, used with permission.

Prabhu: Another question is this, in relation to preaching and trying to establish a society, and applying the principle of lazy intelligence and using our energy and our endeavor where it makes the most of a difference. So I am just thinking about the dynamics of educating children. Because I see, for example, in our community, in our congregation here, we have spent a lot of time preaching to young men, Westerners like myself. And there is a chance that we might, like once or twice a year, catch a young man in his twenties, mid-twenties who has had a history of drug abuse and illicit sexual relationships and so on and so forth. And we can spend a lot of time like trying to create and store some faith into them. And then we have the Indian community where they are having anna-prāśana ceremony every second week. Like they are producing a lot of children. So I am just wondering a little about our focus. It seems that we are quite like preoccupied with breaking the ice and introducing newcomers and kind-of neglecting the next generation. And I am just thinking, these children, they're taking birth like with faith, they are entering into these families by the dint of their previous piety. So you have a lot of experience in Māyāpur with souls being born into devotee families. For me it's a new experience. I am trying to create some community. And so, I'm just wondering about like targeting young Indians. And if you have some advice in that regard, and if it is a worthwhile endeavor. Because I see that initially, like right now I am running a little internet school, and the kids, they are very, very receptive. They are learning verses from the Bhagavad-gītā and they are hearing the stories of the Bhāgavatam, and they are very appreciative. But I am just wondering about when these kids, they will enter into their teenage years... And so maybe you could say a little about your experience in that regard, you have some word of advice maybe?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Point is is, you just keep... Whatever avenue that you have, that you can relate to and your devotees in your circle that you are working with can relate to, you develop those programs. And so you are going to preach to these people. You can't worry, 'Oh, but when they become teenagers they may go away ..' You have to work as that when they become teenagers they will stay, even if they don't. See is, why is education for the brāhmanas? Are brāhmanas looking for profit?

Prabhu: No, they are looking for knowledge.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay. Are they looking for control?

Prabhu: No.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Are they looking for, you know, that whatever they do that it will be... How you say? Recognized by everybody and everybody will think they are doing fabulous?

Prabhu: Well, not of the pure brāhmanas.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right. So are we interested in anybody else other than pure brāhmanas as leadership?

Prabhu: Oh, as leadership? I am thinking like, just about the...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Don't give me what's around. Tell me what we are supposed to be doing!

Prabhu: As leadership, sure, brāhmanas, ideally, yes.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, okay. So, therefore, since that's what we are ideal, that's the strategy that Prabhupāda has given us, we will stick to that. Others want to do other things, let them do. What do we care? So now, the point is, why is education for brāhmanas? Because they are the only ones that can put up with putting in so many years and that, and then people go away. And then you keep doing, until one stays. Kṣatriyas, you know, it's like that, they will stop doing - it's not practical. Vaiśyas, there is no profit, they will stop. Śūdras, if it's not about themselves, they will stop. Does that make sense? So you have to think like a brāhmana. You are going to try to do, it works, then great. And if it doesn't work you are going to keep at it because this is what Kṛṣṇa said we are supposed to do. Right? This is our duty. This is what we do. So, therefore, you teach. You find out the best way that they are becoming appreciative, that they are developing and moving forward. Some will get through nicely through teenage, some may get kind-of halfway through, some will fall apart at seams. But the point is it's what happens. It's so much about profit and loss now. Before in our temple in 1973, over three months the temple would have 30 devotees in it, and over another three months you would have 50 devotees, and it would go back up and down to this. So you would have five people join, five-ten people join a month, and you would also have five-ten people a month leave. No one noticed. You just keep at it, keep preaching. Now it is, 'Oh, there is so many leavings, what's wrong with us?' and all that. What do you mean? They are conditioned. That's as far as they can handle.

Do you understand? So you make something and see what's getting the best results. So if within the Indian community you can do something for the kids, you do. Within the local community you are doing something, you do. Point is is, there are no, other than you and your devotees there is no one else in Denmark that is devotees? That are living outside and stuff? They don't have families, they don't have kids?

Prabhu: Definitely, there is plenty.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah. So, therefore then, if you can cultivate them, nice. If they are not interested, you cultivate the Indians, like that. You cultivate whoever is willing. That was Prabhupāda's point: he will go anywhere where anybody is willing. So, according to your ability and those who work with you, their ability, and how much you can work with, you choose what you can work with nicely and you are getting a good result, put your effort there. Some other aspects come up as you are going along, then you add them in. But don't worry, you know, 'Should we deal with Indians or not, or with Westerners or not? You know, we are in the West, we should deal with Westerners...' It's kind-of like... How you say? One has to appreciate that, technically speaking, I don't know a nice way to say this, but white men are dying out. Everybody else in the world, they don't mind getting married and having children. So, therefore, you will see, all these Western countries, the white population is getting less and less and less. And everybody else is, they identify more with the rabbit population, you know, how rabbits go for it. So they are happy. So this whole thing that, 'Oh, only if you preach to Westerners that's valuable preaching, and this and that. The Asians, oh, that doesn't matter and all that.' But we have to appreciate is, in America they just... Because when the new president takes over, they put people in all the places and that, and the cabinets, and all the different positions around the government. 55 of those major positions are all from an Indian background. Means, they are Americans, they are born in America, but their heritage is India. That's how it works. You know, you got to... One has to let that go. And wherever it is, means, you have white guy that is interested - preach to them! You have Indians that are interested - preach to them! You know, if you have a Chinese guy there, you preach to him. It's whoever is willing to listen, that's who you preach to. Whatever form, they have their campus that they will let you in there and preach, do it. If you go down to the [indistinct] there. You go out on the street, do Harināma and that work, you do that. You go sit in the park and talk to people... And that way you find whatever works.

And so, but know that you put it in, you put in the time. You are steady. That's the whole point: brāhminical culture means you are steady at it. And so then it will grow. And you are willing to start with a few. If you could start a school with two or three people, you do. I think, I can't remember, but I think it was in America, one of the major schools there, universities, very famous... Princeton, right? It's one of the Ivy League. It started with one professor and, I think, seven students. That's where it started. All of the big universities started like that. Oxford, Cambridge, you know, Paris, Bologna, everybody. They all started with one teacher and a few people hundreds of years ago or a thousand years ago, or like that. And then they grow. So education start... And it happened. It's in somebody's house, then it gets bigger, then they buy the house next door and expand the college. And then at some point, then they get a big building. At some point people give money and they actually build a facility. They just start like that. This whole idea, 'No, we have to have a big thing and a big classroom and all the different desks,' no, you don't. You have a teacher, you have kids - you can teach. And with that... That's why brāhmanas, they do that. They can do that. Everybody else, then they gotta cut a profile. Is that okay?

Prabhu: Thank you very much Mahārāja! That was very inspiring and very encouraging, and enlightening also. Thank you so much!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay. Hare Kṛṣṇa!

From Vedic Leadership and Management Winter Seminar Part 2, based on the instructions of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira in the Mahābhārata, given as Zoom Conference with European leaders