While visiting Srila Prabhupada at his Los Angeles ISKCON center on Watseka Avenue, he told me to “make Gour Nitai Deities for Hawaii.” By now, he actually wanted Gour Nitai Deities in every center. He often said “If they simply chant Hare Krishna before Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, all problems will be solved.”
Srila Prabhupada knew by now that Westerners are not able to follow the strict rules of Deity Worship, and often there are not enough devotees to perform such proper worship. So Srila Prabhupada’s main emphasis was always on Hare Nama Sankirtan, and less on Deity Worship. He never wanted the Sankirtan, the public chanting of the Holy Names, to become secondary to Deity Worship.
However, he also wanted his disciples to become attracted and attached to the beautiful Forms of Lord Krishna, so in his larger centers he installed Sri Sri Radha Krishna Deities. In homes, and smaller centers, he felt that Gour Nitai Deities would be best, since there would be less facility for such elaborate worship. He would say, “There are so many rules and regulations for the worship of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, but for Gour Nitai, is we simply chant Hare Krishna before Them, They will be pleased! They are so much merciful, They do not easily take any offense.”
So in 1970, in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada gave me detailed instructions for making the first Gour Nitai Murtis. He even posed with his arms upheld, saying the Divine Brothers should be in a dancing Sankirtan mood. He also described the exact color for Them–a golden-yellow, like the color of marigolds. To be certain, I went to a paint store and got a sample sheet of paint colors. He looked at the sample and check-marked the exact golden yellow color. He then assured me that as soon as these Gour Nitai Deities were ready, he would come to Hawaii to install Them.
When Goursundar and I took his leave to return home to Hawaii, Srila Prabhupada told us, “People are suffering due to lack of Krishna consciousness. They do not know it, they are thinking they are enjoying. But they are suffering. Please, be compassionate upon them. Preach this Krishna consiousness in Hawaii, and help the people there to understand about Lord Krishna.”
While saying this, and bidding us goodbye, tears trickled down from his eyes, he was so much absorbed in the mood of divine compassion. Though I was young and inexperienced, for a few moments I glimpsed his incredible love and compassion for the souls suffering in this world. That was a very memorable moment. I then returned home to Hawaii, not only with his new instructions on Deity making, but also his mood of how to preach Krishna consciousness.
We must always see ourselves as messengers, here to bring good news to the conditioned souls. Not that we are greater, or in any way better, but that we are simply more fortunate in that we have been given the grace of God in the form of the Guru and his instructions. If we preach with this mood of compassion, our words will reach the heart of the soul. If we preach with a desire to be famous, or powerful, or rich, or to appear like some great learned scholar, our preaching will have little or no effect. In fact, it may actually be harmful, as people will go away in disgust. As disciples and followers of Srila Prabhupada, we have a duty to represent Krishna consciousness as he has done, to the best of our ability. CC Madhya 25.276: The devotees who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu take the responsibility for distributing nectarean devotional service all over the world. They are like clouds pouring water on the ground that nourishes the fruit of love of Godhead in this world. The devotees eat that fruit to their hearts’ content, and whatever remnants they leave are eaten by the general populace. Thus they live happily.