“Satisfaction of the self-realized spiritual master is the secret of advancement in spiritual life.” (Bg 4.34 Purport) Sometimes Prabhupāda said that one program was the most important, sometimes he emphasized another. There is no doubt that he especially stressed the importance of book production and distribution, but he was pleased with any sincere endeavor in devotional service. He wanted us to become pure devotees and preach the message of Lord Caitanya in various ways. Here are a few samples of how Śrīla Prabhupāda said we could please him.
When a disciple asked Prabhupāda, “How can we please you?” Śrīla Prabhupāda replied, “By desiring to please me you are pleasing me.” (1985 Vyāsa-Pūjā Book, Girirāja Swami’s offering)
How to Please Śrīla Prabhupāda the Most
At the end of a lecture, Nirantara Prabhu asked Prabhupāda, “What pleases you the most?” He was expecting or hoping for the reply “If you distribute my books.”
But after a brief and thoughtful pause, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “If you love Kṛṣṇa.” (Letter, 2 March 1975)
You may please me the most by reading my books and following my instructions therein and by becoming fully Krishna Conscious in this life time. (Letter, 22 November 1974)
Bahulāśva: What is the thing that would please you the most?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa!
Śrīla Prabhupāda: That is the simple thing. You are chanting, I am very much pleased. That’s all. I came to your country to chant, that “You chant also along with me.” So you are helping me by chanting. So I am pleased. But this tendency is very nice, that you want to please me. That is very good. And to please me is not very difficult. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that “Under My order, every one of you go and preach and become spiritual master.” And what is that order? The order is that “Whomever you meet, you talk to him about Kṛṣṇa.” (Lecture, 16 July 1971)
What Śrīla Prabhupāda Wants
I am in favor of whatever will push on this Krsna Consciousness movement throughout the world. (Letter, 27 January 1973)
Prabhupāda wants Kṛṣṇa consciousness pushed on throughout the world. Whatever has to be done to effect that is pleasing to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Simple!
Regarding your question, actually it is a fact that ultimately everyone should preach and distribute books if they want to please me in the best way. Book distribution must be given stress always. . . . I blindly follow my guru maharaj. I do not know what is the result. So I am stressing on this point of book distribution. He told me this personally. . . . So you are all intelligent boys, so you should judge the desire of my guru maharaj and help me in that way. (Letter, 6 December 1974)
14th August, 1976
Residents of New Dvaraka
My Dear Sons and Daughters,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated August 9, 1976 and the enclosed daksina and pictures of the murties in New Dvaraka which I am having framed and put on my wall here in Bombay.
If you feel at all indebted to me then you should preach vigorously like me. That is the proper way to repay me. Of course, no one can repay the debt to the spiritual master, but the spiritual master is very much pleased by such a[n] attitude by the disciple. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said: vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana, “Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one.” Our only business is to be fixed up in devotional service by pleasing the spiritual master. Those who are not fixed up they have various lines of action. (eka means ‘one’ and bahu means ‘many’).
The real ocean of mercy is Krsna and it is the duty of the spiritual master to tell his disciple to come to the ocean and be happy. The spiritual master’s duty is to lead the disciple to this ocean. I am trying my best and if you try to follow surely you will benefit.
Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung, “Krsna sei tomara, Krsna dite para, tomara sakati ache. Ami ta ’kangala, krsna krsna boli, dhai tava pache pache.” “Krsna is yours and you have the power to give Him to anyone you wish. I am poor and wretched and running behind you shouting Krsna, Krsna!”
Krsna is unlimited, no one can catch Him, but if someone follows the parampara, He agrees to be captured. Everyone is afraid of Krsna, but Krsna is afraid of Mother Yasoda. That is Krsna’s special mercy.
I hope this meets all of you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Request
It is requested that all our devotees in the ISKCON community become pure devotees, so that by their mercy all the people of the world will be transferred to Vaikuṇṭhaloka, even without their knowledge. (Cc Antya 1.32 Purport)
Become a Moon
I want one student who follows my instruction. I don’t want millions. Ekaś candras tamo hanti na ca tārāḥ sahasraśaḥ: “If there is one moon in the sky, that is sufficient for illumination. There is no need of millions of stars.” So my position is that I want to see that at least one disciple has become a pure devotee.
Of course, I have got many sincere and pure devotees. That is my good luck. But I would have been satisfied if I could find out one only. There is no need of so-called millions of stars. (Lecture, 15 July 1975)
Big Service and Sincere Service
Do we have to do something “big” to please Śrīla Prabhupāda? Prabhupāda himself always tried to do big things to please his spiritual master and wanted us to do significant service also. He coaxed and pushed us to do big things in Kṛṣṇa’s service, and was pleased when any of his disciples made solid achievements. But most of all Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted us to be pure devotees. When asked what pleased him most, Prabhupāda replied, “If you love Kṛṣṇa.” To chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa in complete purity even once is the perfection of life. And commenting on Īśvara Purī’s gratefulness to Lord Caitanya for developing pure love of God, Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote:
“The spiritual master is not actually happy if the disciple brings him money, but when he sees that a disciple is following the regulative principles and advancing in spiritual life, he is very glad and feels obliged to such an advanced disciple.” (Cc Ādi 7.91)
Śrīla Prabhupāda was pleased with his big-achiever disciples, but he was also pleased whenever a devotee cooked a nice offering for Kṛṣṇa, chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa nicely, or brought up children carefully in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The conclusion is that although Prabhupāda wanted his disciples to do big things in Kṛṣṇa’s service—without which this movement could not have spread as it did—he was also satisfied with sincere service rendered in any capacity. Not everyone can perform spectacular service, but anyone can perform sincere service.
Of course, this should not be taken as an excuse to serve with less than full capacity. Śrīla Prabhupāda was expert in bringing out the best in everyone and getting devotees to do things which they had never imagined they could. He pushed us beyond what we thought were our limits and thus proved that devotional service is unlimited. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda!