Hare Krishna Devotees,
Please accept my humble pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.
In one of his lectures on Bhagavad Gita verse 7.1-3 in London on Aug 4 1971, one devotee asked Srila Prabhupada whether he needs to persuade his family members to take to Krishna consciousness, instead of worshiping the demi-gods. In reply Srila Prabhupada gave him the following thought provoking reply which gives us a clue on when our preaching would be effective.
"First of all you persuade yourself; then you talk of your family and relatives. If you understand factually, then you will be able to convince others. But if you don't understand yourself, what is the use of talking family and friends? First of all you. Aapani aacari' prabhu jivera shikaaya. First of all, you have to act accordingly; then you can teach others. And if you are not pure, if you indulge in all kinds of sinful activities and you talk of Bhagavad-Gita, what will be effect? There will be no effect. This is going on. They are doing all nonsense, and talking of Bhagavad-Gita. Therefore it is not effective. For last one thousand years Bhagavad-gita was known in the Western countries, but there was not a single Krishna-bhakta. Because they did not act accordingly. Simply talked of Bhagavad-Gita. That's all. Simply talking will not do. You have to behave as these people are, these boys and girls are behaving. Then you will understand Bhagavad-Gita."
Lord Krishna Himself says in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3, verse 23
yadi hy ahaṁ na varteyaṁ jātu karmaṇy atandritaḥ
mama vartmānuvartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
For if I ever failed to engage in carefully performing prescribed duties, O Paartha, certainly all men would follow My path.
So if we want to inspire others to come to the right path, first we ourselves must follow what we are preaching about. If that is not the case, then our words will not reach their hearts.
Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.
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