Category Archives: General

Free Will

Q. If Krishna is all powerful and wants us to come back to Him, then why does He not simply do it?

A. The answer to your question, which you have asked is a very fundamental one, rests on the understanding of the living entity’s free will.

Because there is free will, the living entity can choose to misuse his/her free will.
When this choice of misuse of free will is exercised by the living entity, the Lord may sanction it. But the punishment is also there along with the sanctioning, so that the living entity learns the lesson that misuse of free will, will not bring happiness. If you look on the other side of the question, ‘Why is it that God does not restrict our free will so that we cannot misuse it?’, then you have a situation where love is also not voluntary but forced.

That is not love, that is something else. For there to be real love for God, there must also be the opportunity for free will, including the misuse of free will.

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Radharani and Tilak

Q. Why Radharani does not wear tilak? The question is on behalf of my friend. My explanation was that tilak comes from lake where gopis gave up their bodies and go back to join Krishna in Spiritual Dham. It is the dust of all gopies. But she does not seem to be satisfied with my answer. Can you help?

A. Traditionally Indian women wore bindis on their foreheads, not the Gaudiya Vaisnava tilaka that we see today. That’s why we see Radharani and other deities of gopis not having the regular tilaka. Modern women do not put anything on their forehead. That’s probably the reason why Prabhupada told ISKCON women to wear the regular tilaka in order to distinguish them from others.

Another reason: It’s Her personal choice.

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Effect of past life

Q. I too believe that GOD exists. But very recently I have been experiencing very bad moments, whatever I think it doesn’t happen, whatever I touch it gets postponed, wherever my name is involved the work some how mysteriously gets cancelled. So I started checking my numerology and astrology online, people tell me that our present life karma is based on past life deeds. Is it true?. Is our fate is already written by Brahma, are we just puppets in God’s hands. I checked my last life jyotisha in some astrology website it says that in my past life I was a big cheater and also based on my name numerology I carry my past life karmic debts to this life.
I don’t understand why should I be responsible for my past life which I have no clue about, why can’t God punish people in the same life itself for their misdeeds and give everyone a fresh new life. My main question is can’t we change our fate written by Brahma.

A. One’s karma is based on one’s deeds, not only of one past life, but of many many past lives.
Everything is calculated very precisely.  Continue reading Effect of past life

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Fate factor

Q. Can I choose to be Krishna conscious or is that decided by fate?
And do I have the freedom to choose Krishna or is that decided by fate?
I want to be Krishna’s servant, can I choose that or is that decided on fate?

A. You have full rights to exercise your free will.
If you desire to serve Krishna or you want to become Krishna conscious, it is your free will.
It is not decided by your fate or predetermined activities.
Our present is the result of our past actions and our future is the result of our present actions.

As soon as you decide to choose Krishna, you are going closer toward Him.
The moment you forget Krishna, you again suffer.

It is fully dependant upon your strong will.
Fate can be changed.

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Difference between Goloka and Vaikuntha?

Q. What is difference between Goloka and Vaikuntha?
And on what basis is it decided that a soul will go to Vaikuntha or Goloka?

A. These are two separate but related questions so we will answer them together.

Go means cow and loka means abode.  So Goloka is the spiritual abode of the cows where Shyamasundara Krishna is eternally engaged in His pastimes with the cows, cowherd men and cowherd women.  Vai is a modified prefix (upasarga) which has a sense of negation and kuntha means anxiety.  So Vaikuntha is place without anxieties. Vaikuntha has several Vaikuntha planets – each presided by Narayana the Lord of Vaikuntha.  Continue reading Difference between Goloka and Vaikuntha?

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Purpose of creation, maintenance and destruction

Q. If after the end of Kali-yuga , Satya-yuga is to come, then what is the purpose of the formation, maintenance and destruction of the universe over and over again?

A. The entire purpose of this process of creation, maintenance and destruction is to give the living entities a chance to return back home, back to the Spiritual world which is our eternal home. But when a  jiva wants to enjoy separately from God (Krishna), he is sent to this material world which is created just to facilitate his illusory enjoying mentality. We are eternally servants of Krishna but when we develop the mood of being a master or an enjoyer we fall down. Just like our hand, as long as it is connected to the body, it is useful. But when it is separated from the body, it becomes useless. Similarly as long as we are connected to God,we are valuable but when we separate ourselves,we become worthless.  Continue reading Purpose of creation, maintenance and destruction

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Avoiding intoxication

Q. Why do you avoid smoking or drinking coffee, tea or alcohol?

A. Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol—to varying degrees these are all intoxicants. That is, they all have a toxic effect on the body. Devotees of Krishna eat and drink only things that can first be offered to Him, and in the scriptures He requests pure, nutritious food and beverages.

By avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and similar substances devotees keep their minds clear for concentrating on spiritual goals.

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Avoiding meat

Q. Why do you avoid meat?

A. The most important reason why we must refrain  from eating meat is: Krishna’s instruction to us in the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. He requests us to offer Him everything we do, including our eating. He asks us to offer Him with love and devotion, “a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water.” Because Krishna doesn’t ask for meat products, we don’t offer Him any. Since the true aim of life is to please God and re-establish our love for Him, we don’t want to displease Him. The Gita’s third chapter gives the process of purifying our lives or making them pleasing to God.

Krishna is very merciful. He understands our need for material things. Therefore, He created a way for us to offer or sacrifice the things of the world for a spiritual purpose. In that way we can fulfill our desires and needs for material things and not incur karmic reactions. Krishna says that if we offer our food to Him we become free from sinful reactions. The idea behind “offering” something to God is that everything actually belongs to Him. If we don’t acknowledge that, we’re subject to a “fine,” or karmic reactions. This is just like taking advantage of gas, water, electricity, and so on, in your home. You can use these only if you’re willing to pay for them. Besides the spiritual consideration, a vegetarian diet is natural (humans have vegetarian digestive systems) and compassionate. It brings economic benefits both individually and collectively, and it is beneficial to one’s health and to the environment.

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Being vegetarian

Q. Why are you Vegetarians?

A. The Vedic scriptures establish nonviolence, called ahimsa, as the ethical foundation of vegetarianism and for a peaceful society. According to the Vedas, God is the Supreme Father of all creatures, not just humans. Therefore, slaughter of innocent animals is considered equivalent to killing one’s brother or sister.

Krishna devotees follow a wholesome lacto-vegetarian diet excluding meat, fish and eggs. Although it may be argued that vegetarians are guilty of killing vegetables, foods such as fruits, nuts, milk, and grains do not require killing. Also plants have an undeveloped consciousness as compared to animals. Therefore, when a plant’s life is taken, the pain involved is dramatically less than that of a highly-sensitive animal such as a cow or lamb.

Further, in Bhagavad-Gita (9.26), the Lord says, “If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.” Here He clearly specifies what He will accept. According to karma, nature’s law of action and reaction, human beings must suffer for any killing that is against God’s laws. For this reason, as well as to show recognition and appreciation for the supreme proprietor and supplier of all food, devotees prepare vegetarian meals as devotional offerings to Krishna, God. Then food is called prasadam (spiritual food), which can be fully enjoyed without karmic reaction.

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Temple activities

Q. What do you do in your temples?

A. The temple is a place to especially remember God and deepen our relationship with Him. It’s a holy place to develop community with others through glorifying God and increasing our understanding of spiritual knowledge.

Our temples are open to the public. Although services are held throughout the day, most visitors come for the special Sunday program, the ‘Sunday Feast’.

A typical Sunday Feast program consists of a formal ceremony called arati in which deities (forms of Krishna) are worshiped to the accompaniment of sacred songs sung by the congregation. This is followed by a lecture on the Vedic scriptures. At some temples there might be a play or more singing. The festival always includes a vegetarian feast of delicious food that has been prepared for and offered to the Lord.

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