To the delight of all unmotivated vaisnavas, we want to report that ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor just introduced new form of devotional service called “salaranam”, that is very high level which goes beyond 9 standards forms of devotional service.
This level comes when you are so much surrendered to the Lord, that you are receiving salary for your devotional service.
This article comes as a follow-up on the article about Soho temple president, after I asked him what is his salary, his voice choked in ecstasy and he couldn’t reply.
Back to the basics
Offering salary for your “devotional service” is deviation from the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Proper devotional service is unmotivated and uninterrupted (ahaituki apratihata) and can never be paid for. Srila Prabhupada warned us many times not to develop merchant mentality in our relationship to Krishna.
If pujari is brahmacari, there is no question of salary, if pujari is grhasta, temple can pay for his expenses, provide food and shelter him and his family. Pujari can receive everything he needs from the temple, but he can’t receive money, especially not monthly fixed amount for services rendered. People who are working full time have right to be maintained by society, society should provide them with place to stay and food. Additionally, society can provide them with clothes and all other necessities, but no salary in form of money.
Prabhupāda: In Los Angeles it is very freely going on. In the name of Vaiṣṇavism they are drawing salary, living comfortably, having sense enjoyment. This is not good, not at all. So you all high officers, you think over it and do the needful.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Vairāgya should be cultivated.
Prabhupāda: Vairāgya… Caitanya Mahāprabhu says clearly that niṣkiñcanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya. The bhagavad-bhajana, to become devotee of the Lord, means he’s disgusted with this material world. For him, bhagavad-bhajana. Just like if I become disgusted with something, I require some change, similarly, bhagavad-bhajana is for him who is absolutely disgusted with this material world. And anyone who has got little interest in material enjoyment, he’s not fit for bhagavad-bhajana. He’ll have to accept again this material body, either he becomes Brahmā or becomes an ant in the stool, according to his karma. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa jantur deha-upapattaye [SB 3.31.1]. He’ll have to develop certain type of body according to his desire of enjoyment. This is nature’s law. Then where is the question of going back to home, back to Godhead? Why so many varieties of life? There is Brahmā, and there is ant in the stool. So vairāgya-vidyā-nija… Vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ [SB 1.2.7], janayaty āśu vairāgyam. And vairāgyam means jñānam ca. When one is in full knowledge that “To remain in this material world is useless for me”—jñānam—”I am simply wasting my time by repetition of birth and death,” then he can have vairāgya. “Stop this!” If this sense is not awakened, there is no bhakti. It is not so easy. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]. That is vairāgya. So vairāgya-vidyā… Otherwise why big, big persons, they renounced everything? Bharata Mahārāja, young man, the emperor of the whole world, gave up everything. Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally teaches, young man, good, beautiful wife, young wife, so affectionate mother, so much honor in the society, Nimāi Paṇḍita, so beautiful body… Tyaktvā sudustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīm [SB 11.5.34]. Surepsita. Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s position was, even the demigods, they desired such family life. But He still gave up. That is teaching. Therefore Sarvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya says, vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhak…, śikṣārtham: “to teach others.” He understood that in order to teach others vairāgya-vidyā… He is the Supreme Person. Vairāgya-vidyā-nija-bhakti-yoga-śikṣārtham ekaḥ purāṇa-puruṣaḥ: [Cc. Madhya 6.254] “That He was, Supreme Lord. Now He has appeared as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.“Śarīra-dhārī: “He has accepted one body as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya.” So these things should be stopped, that they should live comfortably with husband and wife, children, and take salary from the… You decide. This is not to our… Besides that, in our BBT it is clearly written that “Fifty percent for printing book, and fifty percent for…” So you cannot violate this. Those who can give voluntary service, “Welcome.” Otherwise we don’t require. At least they should not be given any salary. That is very bad. This is against principle. (Conversation: April 28, 1977, Bombay)
This article originally appeared on Lasting Impression website