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The Vedic View
on Teaching

On this page we have compiled many statements of Srila Prabhupada regarding that teaching Vedic culture should not be done for fees but should be for free, and at the end we have drawn some conclusions.


Hrdayananda: Prabhupada, generally in colleges in the West, they charge some fee for going to the college. What is our position?

Prabhupada: No, we don't charge any fee. There is no question of money. Because the brahmanas, they'll teach free. They require money because they have to give fat salary to these rascals.

Morning Walk "Varnasrama College"- March 14, 1974, Vrndavana


"'How much does this course of study cost?' It costs nothing. If you simply come here, you understand everything. We don't charge anything. But how we can charge? We are servant of Krsna. Krsna says, You speak, so we are speaking. That's all. Why should we charge? But if somebody, out of sympathy, gives us something, we don't refuse. But we have no cost. We are working ourself as far as possible and maintaining ourself, but anyone who comes, we don't charge anything So there is no cost. There is no official cost."

Lecture, Honolulu 23rd March 1969


Sri Narada Muni asked Brahmaji: O chief amongst the demigods, O firstborn living entity, I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto you. Please tell me that transcendental knowledge which specifically directs one to the truth of the individual soul and the Supersoul.


The inquisitive student must approach a qualified spiritual master to receive transcendental knowledge by surrender, submissive inquiries and service.

Knowledge received by submissive inquiries and service is more effective than knowledge received in exchange for money. A spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession from Brahma and Narada has no demand for dollars and cents. A bona fide student has to satisfy him by sincere service to obtain knowledge of the relation and nature of the individual soul and the Supersoul.

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.5.1 p


"In New Delhi, the capital, there is a neighbourhood, which is called Canakya Puri, and all the foreign embassies are there.

"Your American embassy is also there. So he was a great politician. But still, he was living in a cottage. He was not accepting any salary because he was brahmana.

"Brahmana cannot accept any salary. Just like you have accepted me as your acarya, but you do not pay me any salary. This is forbidden. The teacher will not accept salary. Then he comes down to the sudra platform. The sudra accepts salary. I serve you, you pay me. And the brahmana will distribute knowledge freely, and the ksatriya will give protection to the brahmana. This is the Vedic system. Even in fifty years ago, education in India, there was no charges. A learned brahmana will sit down in corner of a neighborhood and all the children will come there. They will learn primary education. And the parents of the children will send, somebody will send rice, somebody will send dal... Just like we are maintaining, by collecting. Not here, but in Bombay, our centre is collecting and distributing.

"The whole system was that. Love exchange. I give you some service; you give me something, out of your love. Dadati pratigrhnati. Love means six symptoms. I give you something, you give me something. I give you something for eating, you also give me something for eating. Dadati pratigrhnati bhunkte bhojayate, guhyam akhyati prcchati. If I am in trouble, I express my mind, I open my mind before you, and you also try to help me. These are the six signs of love. That is Vedic civilization. Everything exchange of love. No business, mercantile. All right, let us have kirtana. Hare Krsna."

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24-Los Angeles, June 22, 1972


Pusta-krsna: And that is supposed to be the brahmana class too, the professors. They're the educated class of people.

Prabhupada: No, no. They are not brahmanas. Those who give education in exchange of money, they are not brahmanas. Just like we are lecturing, educated, educating people. We don't say that "Give us salary." We simply ask them, "Please come." Therefore we are making food. I'll give you food. I'll give you good seat. Please come and hear. We are not asking money, that "First of all pay the fees. Then you come and learn Bhagavad-gita." We never say so. So those, these so-called teachers, they first of all set up salary, "What salary you'll give me?" That is dog's business. That is not brahmana's business. Brahmana will never ask. Brahmana is eager to give lesson only. That's all. Brahmana is eager to see that people are educated. "Take free education and be educated. Be a human being." This is brahmana's business. I came here not to ask for any money. But I want to give lesson. This is brahmana's business.

Room Conversation-June 11, 1974, Paris


"Now the school, college, the teacher is also depending on salary. So they are sudras. So what teaching they will give? Teaching is the business of the brahmana. No salary. Formerly, all the brahmanas, they used to have that... It is called tola, catuspathi. Catuspathi. Brahmana, he'll sit down anywhere and invite that 'If you like, you can come and take some teachings from me.'"

Brahmananda: Caitanya Mahaprabhu did that.

Prabhupada: Yes. So still in villages you'll find, the brahmana is sitting somewhere, and the small children are coming, and they're bringing some presentation. Somebody's bringing rice, somebody ... And brahmana was satisfied, satisfied. "Whatever Krsna sends, that's all right." This is brahminical qualification. He doesn't want more.

Lecture Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.22- Vrndavana, August 3, 1974


"Although he was the prime minister, Canakya Pandita maintained his brahmana spirit; he did not accept any salary. If a brahmana accepts a salary, it is understood that he has become a dog. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. He can advise, but he cannot accept employment. So Canakya Pandita was living in a cottage, but he was actually the prime minister. This brahminical culture and the brahminical brain is the standard of Vedic civilization."

Science of Self Realization, Chapter 6, "Spiritual Communism."


One should also avoid those who are averse to Lord Visnu and His devotees, those who are Mayavadis, those who offend the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, those who simply dress as Vaisnavas or so-called gosvamis, and those who make a business by selling Vedic mantras and reciting Srimad-Bhagavatam to maintain their families. One should not try to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam from such materialistic people. According to the Vedic injunctions, yasya deve para bhaktih. The Srimad-Bhagavatam can be recited only by one who has unflinching faith in the lotus feet of Krsna and His devotee, the spiritual master.

Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya Lila, 22.131


Prabhupada: You take prasadam. But why salary? Where is the question of salary? Where is vairagya, renouncement? So in all circumstances the salary process should be stopped. One who wants salary, he can work outside.

Conversation- April 28, 1977, Bombay


Yogesvara dasa: They're supposed to be the educated class too-brahmanas.

Srila Prabhupada: No, they are not brahmanas. Those who give education in exchange for money-they are not brahmanas. For instance, we are lecturing, educating people. We don't say, 'give us a salary.' We simply ask them, please come. That is why we are cooking food and holding so many free festivals. We'll give you food. We'll give you a comfortable seat. Please come and hear about self-realization and God consciousness. We are not asking money-First of all pay the fee; then you can come and learn Bhagavad-gita. We never say that. But these so-called teachers who first of all bargain for a salary-What salary will you give me?-that is a dog's concern.

That is not a brahmana's concern. A brahmana will never ask about a salary. A brahmana is eager to see that people are educated. Take free education and be educated; be a human being-this is a brahmana's concern. You see? I came here not to ask for any money but to give instruction.

Bhagavan dasa: Today the priests are afraid to speak too strongly-or else they'll be fired and get no salary. And the politicians-they're also afraid to say what they really believe. They're afraid that they'll be voted out or get no more money to support themselves.

Srila Prabhupada: The priests are after money. They are not first class; they are low-class men. This is the reason that Christianity has fallen down.

Journey of Self-Discovery, 6.5 Slaughterhouse Civilization


The rules and regulations were already set forth by great sages like Manu, Yajnavalkya, Parasara and other liberated sages, and the enactments were all suitable for all ages in all places. Therefore the rules and regulations were standard and without flaw or defect. Kings like Maharaja Pariksit had their council of advisers, and all the members of that council were either great sages or brahmanas of the first order. They did not accept any salary, nor had they any necessity for such salaries.

Srimad Bhagavatam1.16.1 p


Of the six occupational duties of the brahmanas, three are compulsory-namely, worship of the Deity, study of the Vedas and the giving of charity. In exchange, a brahmana should receive charity, and this should be his means of livelihood. A brahmana cannot take up any professional occupational duty for his livelihood. The sastras especially stress that if one claims to be a brahmana, he cannot engage in the service of anyone else; otherwise he at once falls from his position and becomes a sudra.

Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.14 p


There is no gain, however, in accepting the message of Bhagavatam from the unbelievers, atheists and professional reciters who make a trade of Bhagavatam for the laymen. It was delivered to Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, and he had nothing to do with the Bhagavata business. He did not have to maintain family expenses by such trade. Srimad-Bhagavatam should therefore be received from the representative of Sukadeva, who must be in the renounced order of life without family encumbrance. Milk is undoubtedly very good and nourishing, but when it is touched by the mouth of a snake it is no longer nourishing; rather, it becomes a source of death. Similarly, those who are not strictly in the Vaisnava discipline should not make a business of this Bhagavatam and become a cause of spiritual death for so many hearers.

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41 p


Professional reciters may ask money to extinguish the blazing fire within their bellies, but they cannot make any spiritual improvement or become perfect. It is therefore strictly forbidden to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam as a profession to earn a livelihood. Only one who is completely surrendered at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, depending fully on Him for personal maintenance or even for maintenance of his family, can attain perfection by recitation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is full of narrations of the pastimes of the Lord and His devotees. The process can be summarized as follows: the audience must be faithfully receptive to the Bhagavata message, and the reciter should completely depend on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavata recitation must not be a business. If done in the right way, not only does the reciter achieve perfect satisfaction, but the Lord also is very satisfied with the reciter and the audience, and thus both are liberated from material bondage simply by the process of hearing.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.12.49-50 p


Of course, we distributed Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's message of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra without bargaining or selling. As a result, this movement has spread all over the world.

Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 25.170

Some obvious conclusions from the statements of Manusmriti and those quoted above are:

It is lamentable that at present some persons in their attempt to educate people about Vedic culture have adopted the materialistic paradigm of the modern Mleccha and Yavana society rather than that of Lord Krsna's Vedic culture. One pays a fee and receives a certificate like a mundane school or college. Such financially based procedures are unheard of in the Vedic literature Srila Prabhupada worked so hard to present; in fact, they are forcefully condemned.

It is further regrettable that the practices of mundane schools that Srila Prabhupada referred to as "the slaughter houses of youth" have become the methods of some of those who are supposed to guard and propagate the Vedic heritage.

It is ironic that in studying Vedic culture by this materialistic method one completely departs from the practice of Lord Krsna's Vedic culture, and that which one wants to attain slips through one's fingers like water.

Vedic culture if it is to survive must be taught in the Vedic way; not the materialistic way of being sold as a commodity by dogs in the guise of Brahmanas. If we become after money then Vedic culture will fall down.

Srila Prabhupada: The priests are after money. They are not first class; they are low-class men. This is the reason that Christianity has fallen down.

Journey of Self-Discovery, 6.5 Slaughterhouse Civilization

By not strictly following Krsna's Vedic culture as laid out in the sastra creates a disturbance in society.

"Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, Puranas and Narada-pancaratra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in the society." Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.101

The life and soul of the disciple is to serve the order of the spiritual master and carry out the mission of the guru parampara. To do otherwise is to waste one's human life. Srila Prabhupada has clearly stated that teaching of Vedic culture must be done for free, to do otherwise is to disobey the spiritual master.

"The order of the spiritual master is the active principle in spiritual life. Anyone who disobeys the order of the spiritual master immediately becomes useless."


"Here is the opinion of Srila Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami. Persons who strictly follow the orders of the spiritual master are useful in executing the will of the Supreme, whereas persons who deviate from the strict order of the spiritual master are useless." Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi-lila 12.10

Note: much of this text is based on an article written by Sriman Anantadeva Prabhu we thank him for writing it.