In London, Srila Prabhupada received a parcel from Vasudeva. It contained a small oil painting of Radha and Krishna and a letter. During his visit to Hamburg, Prabhupada had encouraged Vasudeva to devote as much time as possible to painting. A picture is worth a thousand words, he had said, and Krishna conscious paintings act like windows to the spiritual world. Srila Prabhupada needed paintings for his new temples, because as long as no Deities were installed, the devotees' objects of worship were pictures of the guru-parampara, Lord Caitanya and His associates, the Pancha-tattva, and Radha-Krishna.
Vasudeva happily concentrated on this direct instruction from his spiritual master, but although enthusiastic to focus all his attention on Krishna, he still felt the strong pull of material allurements. In his letter he explained his predicament, and Prabhupada replied without delay:
I thank you very much for your nice letter and the beautiful picture of Radha-Krishna which you have sent to me. Immediately upon receipt of this picture, I have hung it on the wall directly above my Deities, and it is appearing very nice there. Thank you very much. I always remember you that you are such a sincere and good boy, and I am sure that Lord Krishna will help you more and more to advance in Krishna Consciousness.
Krishna is very merciful to His sincere devotees, but also we have to remember that maya is very strong. Therefore, we have to always be engaged in serving Krishna. At every moment we should be doing this or that service for Krishna's transcendental pleasure. If we do not remember this, then maya is right there to grab us. It all depends upon our leaning towards Krishna or towards maya. If you lean towards Krishna, you will be in Krishna consciousness; and if you lean towards maya, then you will be captivated by material nature. Krishna and maya are just like light and shadow which are directly next to one another. If you move a little this way, you are in light and there is no question of shadow. But if you move a little the other way, you are in darkness. So if we remember to always be engaged in Krishna's service, then there will be no maya and everything will be all right. Please always remember this great secret of advancement in Krishna consciousness.
So as you are showing promise to be a nice artist, I think you may next paint some pictures of the spiritual masters in the line of disciplic succession. Also, continue to fix up the new temple nicely and promote the sankirtana movement as far as possible. These, along with promoting our literatures will give you sufficient engagement to fill your time. Also, continue to chant all of your rounds daily, and read our magazines and books as much as possible. In this way your future will be very bright, and surely you will be able to do great service to this movement within your lifetime.
Vasudeva Dasa: "At the end of 1969, Srila Prabhupada returned to the United States. A few months later, while he stayed in Los Angeles, I sent him a photograph of my first painting of him. A week later, I sent him another gift, an oil painting of his spiritual master, for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's appearance day. When I inquired about how long an express parcel to L.A. would take, I found out that I had only one day to do the painting. It was already late in the afternoon, and I had to hurry out and beg for the necessary materials before the shops closed. The next day, because the painting was still wet, I had to secure it inside a large box in such a way that it could dry during transport. The parcel looked as unusual from the outside as its transcendental contents. After Prabhupada received the painting, he wrote to me:
Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 20. February, 1970, along with an enclosed photograph of one painting of the spiritual master [Srila Prabhupada] rendered by you. In the meantime, I have received also one painting of my Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Both these paintings are very, very good, and I am therefore requesting that you be able to devote yourself full time in developing this great talent of yours. There are many paintings required not only for our temples, but for illustrating our books also. So I think this work will be more than ample and you will be happy in this work.
While still in Los Angeles Srila Prabhupada also received a letter from Krishna Dasa that explained his vision for spreading Krishna consciousness in Germany:
If it is your desire, Prabhupada, with the organization of Germany's Sankirtana Party we would like to make a tour of Germany during the summer and, if it is with your blessings, to open a second temple at least by the end of 1970, either in Berlin or Munich.
Germany (West) has a population of over 50 million, and that is not including East Germany. In England there are over 60 million, but the difference lies in the concentration. In England there are a few large cities (London, Birmingham, Liverpool, etc.) whereas in Germany the folk are spread in hundreds of towns all over Germany, and these towns are situated only short distances apart.
Another hint of Germany's importance is that the German Mark (currency) is one of the most stable monetary systems in the whole world. As you have said many times previously, the Germans are a very intelligent people. Now the only problem is to reach the people in large numbers, and this will be through SKP and new temples. Especially in main cities (Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, etc.) all of which have a population of half a million to a million (except Berlin which has three million). All these cities are centers of industry, trade, art and travel, and all have Universities.
Krishna Dasa also suggested to Prabhupada that Hamsaduta Dasa and his wife Himavathi could visit Germany. He knew Hamsaduta from Berkeley and admired his enthusiasm for taking devotees out on sankirtana. Himavathi, an excellent cook, would also be an asset in taking care of the new girls.
Mandalibhadra was the only householder in the Hamburg temple, but his wife was not much inclined to take part in the temple's activities. And naturally the brahmacharis found it difficult to deal with new female devotees. Because Hamsaduta had experience in managing temples and preaching, Krishna Dasa hoped that he might help spark a Krishna conscious revolution in Germany.
From "Srila Prabhupada and His Disciples in Germany" by Vedavyasa Dasa