Today, thinking of how valuable Krishna consciousness is and how few people are accepting it—and how people are suffering for want of Krishna consciousness—I felt somewhat discouraged, but then I thought of Srila Prabhupada’s encouraging words to a reporter from the New York Times, John Nordheimer, in September 1972.
“How many followers do you have?” Nordheimer asked.
“Well, this is a very difficult job, naturally,” Srila Prabhupada replied. “We don’t have a large number of followers. When you try to sell a diamond, you cannot expect many customers. Nonetheless, a diamond is a diamond, even if there are no customers. The number of customers is not the test. The customer must pay the value of the item.
“In this Society we propose that you give up illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling. When people hear this, they go away, saying, ‘Oh, Swamiji is very conservative.’ But I cannot become liberal and tell everybody, ‘Go ahead and do all nonsense, and you can become God conscious.’ I cannot possibly recommend that. Therefore, my first condition is that if someone wants to become my student he has to follow these four regulative principles. Consequently, I do not have many followers, but I do have a select few. One moon is sufficient to dissipate the darkness. If there is one moon, there is no need for millions of stars. It is useless to expect a large number of followers. We want only one good follower. If I can get one man to become Krishna conscious, I will consider my mission fulfilled. If you talk to whatever small number of followers I have, you will find that they talk better than any great philosopher, better than any scientist or politician. That is the quality of my students. . . . Because they are select, they will bring about a revolution in the world.”
Yours in service,