Letter to: Janmanjaya, Taradevi , Los Angeles , 1970-07-09
My Dear Janmanjaya and Taradevi,
Please accept my blessings. I beg to thank you for your encouraging letter dated nil. You opening a new center of ISKCON in Atlanta, Georgia, has given me great transcendental pleasure because it is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's desire that in every city and town and village of the earth there shall be the chanting of the Holy Names of Krsna.
It is very good news that you have so quickly found a suitable house for our purpose that is very well situated. Now that you have earned the respect of the city authorities you must push this Sankirtana movement very vigorously and to the best of your capacity and Krsna will give you more and more intelligence how to do it nicely. Yes, everyone will be impressed with the sincerity of our students because they are actually advancing in spiritual life. Our program is not a bogus thing, it is the eternal reality of transcendental life of full bliss and knowledge in the service of the Lord. So it is not very wonderful that your sincerity is noted by the authorities, any sane man will have to admit that our program is the sublime.
So as you are given full facilities for the execution of Sankirtana activities you must do it wholeheartedly and especially try to encourage the hippies to accept this Krsna consciousness movement. They are our best clients. They are feeling very keenly the frustration of material life and it is our duty as good Vaisnavas to be very sympathetic with them and bring them to take up this Krsna consciousness, then their lives will become perfect and our mission successful.
I have read the article sent by you cut from the newspaper and it is very nice. They have presented some of our philosophy very nicely and favorably. I beg to thank you also for the check which you have sent as contribution to my book fund, I think it was for $50.
Regarding your questions: Hindu means the culture of the Indians. India happens to be situated on the other side of the Indus River which is now in Pakistan which is spelled Indus—in Sanskrit it is called Sindhu. The sindhu was misspelled by the Europeans as Indus, and from Indus the word "Indian" has come. Similarly the Arabians used to pronounce sindus as Hindus. This Hindus is spoken as Hindus. It is neither a Sanskrit word nor is it found in the Vedic literatures. But the culture of the Indians or the Hindus is Vedic and beginning with the four varnas and four asramas. So these four varnas and four asramas are meant for really civilized human race. Therefore the conclusion is actually when a human being is civilized in the true sense of the term he follows the system of varna and asrama and then he can be called a "Hindu." Our Krsna Consciousness Movement is preaching these four varnas and four asramas, so naturally it has got some relationship with the Hindus. So Hindus can be understood from the cultural point of view, not religious point of view. Culture is never religion. Religion is a faith, and culture is educational or advancement of knowledge.
Regarding your second question how to convince the young persons who are thinking that Meher Baba is an avatara. It is very difficult to deal with these misguided people. If you meet sincere people you may inform them that we are concerned with Krsna Who is historically 5,000 years old. So any other party who comes from India or any part of the world cannot claim such long history as far back as 5,000 years. There are sometimes manufactured avatara. in the history of the Vedic literature, but we don't accept them. We take the oldest one which is genuine—that is Krsna consciousness. We are not interested in anything newly manufactured. If Meher Baba or for the sake of that, any other Baba claims to be Krsna, so why any intelligent man will go to the substitute leaving aside the original?
Hope this will meet you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami