AUSTRALIA has more Indians than Italians. The Indian community in this country has doubled in just six years, becoming our fastest-growing minority, new figures show.
The Indian community are our natural customers. That is why we should look after them. Why shouldn’t we? Obviously we shouldn’t cultivate anyone just to make money. Rather we should make friends with anyone who visits the temple. So inspired they will reciprocate.
My point in highlighting this article is to show that it is natural for ISKCON to attract more Indian bodied devotees. They are our natural customers and there are more of them living in our country now.
They are easier to cultivate than non-Indians. Why? Because they have a natural aptitude and inclination to devotional service. So it is natural for us to find them participating. They already have a stock of ajnata-sukrti.
If they are seen only as a source of income then one is missing the point. They may give but so will anyone who participates in the process of bhakti.
We are sometimes criticised for having too many Indians in our community. That we are neglecting the non-Indian audience.
Those who criticise don’t know or choose not to see the other side of the story. They don’t see the thousands of persons taking prasada at our restaurants and catering events, the yogis at the yoga studio, the jnanis who attend our Gita Workshops at Krsnafest and the people who hear the hari-nama of the sankirtana party. They might take longer to come to Krsna via their ajnata-sukrti but come they will and they are, in the thousands.
Like wet grass that needs to dry out a bit before we can ignite the full flame of Krsna consciousness. We give them the same thing. Krsna kirtana, katha and prasada and the end result is the same. One might take a little longer than the other.
We are making devotees in both audiences, if we can make such a distinction. My realisation of late is there are so many people interested in Krsna. We just have to look after their needs and they will come.
Bhakta Prabhu went to visit some of our neighbours this week. We want to know what their interests, needs and concerns are. One of the things they want is an opportunity to visit the temple to see what we are up to. They feel intimidated because they aren’t Indian or Hindu. We will create an event for them specifically; arrange for some kirtana and a discussion, cook a feast and feed them. Same process. Slightly different application.
In conclusion what should we be doing? Look after everyone. Don’t be surprised if everyone is interested in Krsna. Don’t be surprised at the fact that the Indian community is attracted and don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t change their ways. They are. We have over 250 devotees chanting sixteen rounds in our community. Ninety percent plus are of Indian origin. They are regular ISKCON devotees. We also have our non-Indian participants as well.
They go well together.