I believe John Lennon said that, though I think Prabhupada would approve of that sentiment. He often spoke of the folly of the materialist plan makers. Of course I also subscribe that to the saying that “those who fail to plan, are planning to fail”. That means that we all have to chart a direction toward goals, otherwise we are adrift, like a ship without a rudder. (this could be a big topic for another time)
In Prabhupada’s life he was very focused on making plans, yet he always looked for Krishna’s direction, and that shaped the movement and his preaching.
Devotees make plans for service, work, family etc though they depend on Krishna for the results. Though obviously our intention in making plans to obtain the result we envision, we have to really be detached from the outcome, and try to see how Krishna is directing us by the results.
As devotees our responsibility is to try to act on behalf of Guru and Krishna even as we meet the necessities of our lives as a householder or renunciate.
Many devotees were fortunate to live in the Temple for many years. At that time everything we did was obviously connected to Krishna. In the beginning of the movement, living in the Temple was really the only option.
My wife, as a young unmarried lady, used to preach that you could be Krishna conscious living outside of the Temple, but she really didn’t believe it was possible. In those days our conceptions were very black and white as was our preaching.
Often we would present an “all or nothing” perspective—-kind of like “live a surrendered Temple life or die” (you can forget about making any spiritual advancement). I have to say, as immature as that was, it did work for many of us for a time, and we made a lot of advancement in our very focused devotional mood.
Then many of us married, and had to live and work in the world. We discovered that—surprise—Krishna wasn’t only in the Temple. We were no longer carried along by the Temple program, and had to choose to do our sadhana and japa etc. Some weakened with the pressures of living in the world, yet many others became stronger, more realized devotees. We had to step forward and become responsible for our lives.
Now after many years, experienced devotees can try to help others be “in the world, but not of it”, and teach from our experience how to be Krishna conscious despite family responsibilities, and to make plans for Krishna.
I don’t really feel like an “elder”—though the mirror says otherwise—but I do know that part of my service is to give to the next generation of devotees what I have learned.