[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World, U.K. 1996 (Radlett, 16 May), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
Srila Gurudeva: So, the Western countries had no background or even a smell of Krishna consciousness. I know that is very hard to sow the seed of devotion in the Western countries. But, Svamiji mercifully gave this seed of bhakti. If this seed is properly watered, tended to, and nourished, then leaves will gradually unfurl and this seed will take the form of a very big tree. It may also take the form of a beautiful creeper. This tree or creeper will cross the heavenly realms and enter the spiritual sky. It will also cross the abodes of Vaikunta, Ayodhya, Dvaraka, Mathura and will finally find shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna in Vrindavana. So, it is very difficult to sow this seed of devotion in anyone, especially in someone who has a dry heart. The vairagyamana purusha, or the heart of he who has no attachment to worldly desires or anything is like a desert. No seed will germinate there. The heart of someone who is excessively attached to this world is also like a desert. The heart of someone who is excessively detached is also like a desert. The heart of an excessively attached person is like a cold desert where no seed can be sown, while the heart of an excessively detached person is like a hot desert filled with sand. Even a powerful seed sown here will not sprout.
So, Srila Svami Maharaja miraculously made these two kinds of desert like hearts, very fertile. He made them fertile by his harikatha, by his exposition on the pastimes of Krishna and by his own practice of bhakti. If you aren’t practicing bhakti and have not established yourself in the line of devotion, then you may chant harinama ten lakh times, but no change will manifest. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and all our disciplic Acharyas have practiced devotion to Krishna themselves, and then they have preached what they have practiced. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has ordered His devotees to practice and then preach.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]