Category Archives: Devotional Service

Going Back to Krishna

Q. How we can detach ourselves from the materialistic world to get back to Krishna?

A. It begins with hearing about Krishna in disciplic succession. By regularly hearing about Krishna in the association of devotees and rendering service according to what we hear, knowledge and detachment automatically arise and attachment to Krsna is awakened. Then all the impurities in the heart are vanquished and we become eligible to go back to Godhead.

Devotional Service

Q. I have a confusion regarding whether bhakti can be spread freely among masses. Although Srila Prabhupada demonstrated practically, my doubt relates to observing the lives of simple minded villagers in the dham, who have a simple living and great dependency on guru and Lord. It is practically not possible for me to live such a simple, spiritual life (due to present obligations). So is it to be concluded that Srila Prabhupada wanted to lift us to certain level, before we could take pure devotion (in next life in dham) or with the present practice, the same can be achieved?

A. Srila Prabhupada taught that you should stay in your present position, and purify your existence by hearing and chanting about Krsna. Gradually, higher and higher spiritual qualifications will come. You must learn the art, gradually, of dedicating your God-given talents and assets to His service. This is also wanted. In this way, the masses can take part in the process of bhakti with incredible success.

Attitude…?

Q. Both in spiritual life and also in material life people speak of attitude. What should be the approach of a spiritual aspirants towards other spiritual aspirants and with materialists?

A. The answer to this can be found in a number of places, where qualifications of a madhyama adhikari are described. Amongst spiritual aspirants, there are those more advanced, those who are peers and those who are less advanced. In all cases, we should try to render service to the vaisnavas. Those who are more advanced, we should hear from them and serve them favorably. Amongst those who are peers, we should exchange realizations in the matter of spiritual understanding. With regard to those who are less advanced, we should try to extend ourselves in a helpful and compassionate way. As far as the materialists are concerned, their individual attitude should be carefully determined. It should first be determined whether the materialist is simply innocent and requires good association or is adamant and opposed to the supremacy of God. If the non-devotee is simply innocent, then we should carefully try to give some association to help that individual progress in his spiritual life. Those who are overt atheists, we should carefully guard against taking confidential association with them.

REINCARNATION

Q. After we quit these bodies and get new bodies, will we forget all of our present spiritual activities (like interacting with devotees, Deity worship etc)? It makes sense that we would forget this live’s material (maya) actions, but aren’t things done in Krishna consciousness transcendental even here, so why wouldn’t we remember them?

A. In the Bhagavada Gita 15/15 Krsna says from Me comes knowledge, rememberance and forgetfulness. He also says He will carry what we lack and preserve what we have. So we should have faith that simply by sincerely serving Krsna all our needs will be met and regarding the details we can just let Him worry about that.

Approaching a guru

Q. A man who most of his time is engaged in maintaining his family, running business, who acts in the atmosphere of material life and cooperates with people for whom spiritual life makes almost no sense – can such a man consider approaching a guru?

A. Spiritual life is one of internal intentions. If you “really” want to serve Krsna then Krsna will give you such intelligence that  you will be able to make spiritual progress from whatever position you happen to find yourself in. So we should try to cultivate this kind of sincere determination, that so long I have been serving Maya… this one life time I want to serve Krsna. If we have this mentality then Krsna will help us in every way including sending us to a bona-fide guru.

Transforming Lust into Love

Q. How to transform lust in to love of godhead?

A. Transforming mundane lust to love of Godhead is done by practicing sadhana bhakti or this process of Krishna consciousness. This is explained fully by Lord Krishna in the latter part of the 3rd Chapter of the Bhagavada Gita. Srila Prabhupada’s purports there give us the sum and substance of how to successfully bring about this transformation. Please read them carefully.

Destiny and prayer

Q. If everything in our life is fated, then why we must pray to GOD?

A. We pray to, and glorify God because He is deserving of it. Here in the material world we have forgotten God because we want to take His place as the enjoyer, controller and owner. When we realize our mistake by the mercy of His devotees, then naturally we will want to pray to Him to ask His forgiveness for our offenses and for strength not to again forget Him.

So we do have some individual free will, to turn to God or to turn away from Him. That free will is not interfered with by God, even if He may know how we will use it, He still gives us the right to choose.

Fall down

Q. When one thinks he has found a bona fide spiritual master and later it proves to be wrong, would it be appropriate to say that initially, or in the first place, the judgment of the disciple was wrong and thus he never got a bonafide spiritual master?

A. That may be a possibility. There are some instances when one does accept a bona fide spiritual master but later on that spiritual master may fall away from the strict standards. Narahari Sarkar, one very saintly follower of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, has written one text which describes the latter of these two situations. In either case, the aspiring devotee should just go forward on his spiritual journey, with greater wisdom and accept the shelter of one who is a bona fide spiritual master. When one is fully sincere to attain spiritual perfection, then Krishna will bring the devotee to His bona fide representative.

Overcoming Fault Finding Tendency

Q. I have a “natural” tendancy to be very critical and hence find mistakes/faults in people. Most of the time, I find fault with people at the mental level and not necessarily express it. This habit also extends to devotees. I feel and know I am not supposed to do this. But, like I said, this has become a habit and I am finding it hard to relinquish it.

In this whole process, I know I am wrong and hence I am always upset with my behavior (but this happens as a reflex action and not able to control my mind).

Please advise me as to what I should do and how I should stop this habit of mine! I feel this will hamper my devotional process and that Guru and Krishna will not be happy with me.

A. There is a very simple and sure solution recommended to overcome fault-finding tendency — deliberately cultivate the opposite habit! Search out and heartily appreciate the genuine good qualities in others, particularly in relation to how these qualities are the gift of Guru and Krishna, and are to be used in their service.

You can begin by making a very deliberate & conscious effort, as a daily exercise, of acknowledging and appreciating good qualities in devotees and whenever circumstances allow, verbally expressing such appreciation and praise. Even better are opportunities to offer heartfelt service to devotees in a humble mood and while offering such service doing so as a meditation and expression of appreciation of specific good qualities you find in them – such genuine service to vaishnavas can soften the heart and purge all critical mentality. You can also seek out the association of those who themselves have such a quality of genuine appreciation for others and serve in their company.

As you practice appreciating others, rather than arbitrarily praising some independent traits, it would be much beneficial to try to identify in what way Krishna’s descending mercy is flowing into & transforming these devotees’ lives and how they are making sincere efforts according to their capacity to take shelter of Krishna and His devotees. It is by this one good quality — “krsna-eka-sharana” – that a devotee in time develops all desirable qualities, whereas it is concluded that a non-devotee has no good qualities whatsoever, because he is hovering on the mental plane. (Cf BG 1.28 purport)

Ultimately, we are interested neither in criticizing so-called bad qualities nor in praising mundane good qualities. Krishna decorates His faithful devotees with transcendental good qualities and by appreciating His devotees we are actually praising the manifestation of His mercy. You will find that even if there may be some factual, minor discrepancies in devotees, these become insignificant in comparison to the more significant factor of how their original nature is unfolding in relationship with Krishna, just like the black spots on the moon become insignificant in comparison to the flood of cooling illumination it provides.

Another very helpful meditation you can cultivate is to learn to see through the eyes of scriptures what the praiseworthy qualities in a devotee are. You can repeatedly study relevant sections from the Bhagavad-Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam where Krishna glorifies those engaged in His devotional service and how very dear they are to Him. E.g see BG 7.16-18, 9.14,15,22, 9.29-34. By regularly meditating on these passages, we can cultivate very deep respect and appreciation for the actual position of devotees beyond the external, circumstantial and temporary characteristics that we generally tend to focus on and instead appreciate their essential characteristic of taking shelter in Krishna.

By developing this spiritual vision, it can then also be extended to those who are not devotees; rather than being disturbed by their faults, we can learn to see the root cause of their difficulties viz. their disconnection from God and thus develop compassion for them.

Moreover, remind yourself of the fact that devotional service rendered sincerely is *SO* powerful that it can wipe out all discrepancies, in us and in others.

The process of devotional service is very powerful and by adopting the right means and applying oneself to them, lifetimes of habits and conditioning can be easily overcome. Have trust in this fact and with enthusiasm take up these positive steps. When we are actively cultivating the positive, there is no room for the negative; and the converse is also true! You are recognizing what is wrong and why it is wrong and you also feel genuine regret, but now do not dwell on it and let yourself be defeated by negative thoughts of frustration or anger towards yourself or how you are displeasing Guru and Krishna. Instead take up the positive and liberating process of rectification — this will be most pleasing to them and attract their descending mercy which will further fill your heart with deeper appreciation of the glories of vaishnavas

Q. My question is that i am getting detatched from devotional service because my mind is diverting to material things.Right now I am working in Dubai and have lost the association of devotees.I am chanting 16 rounds daily still I am suffering from such a problem.Kindly tell me how I can save myself.

A. There are many many wonderful devotees in Dubai with whom you can associate and draw great inspiration. They have a regular weekly program and they even had a Rath yatra last year. The only hope for all of us conditioned souls to be determined in Krishna consciouness is by associating with sincere surrendered souls and rendering devotional service and there is ample opportunity for doing both in Dubai.

Also,there is a very wonderful website called www.iskcondesiretree.com which has more than 27,000 lectures and kirtans by various senior and advanced vaishnavas of ISKCON.You can download these lectures and listen to them and in this way you can get the association of the devotees through the sound vibration.