Q. How can I stop sinful thoughts occuring in my mind?
A. You can stop sinful thoughts by loudly chanting the Holy Name of God, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Also it is useful to engage the mind with ideas of how to benefit people instead of ideas of how to exploit them. The best benefit you can offer anyone is to engage them somehow in Krishna’s service.
Q. How to overcome depression and stress?
A. Srila Prabhupada was once asked if we his disciples were hippies… he responded by saying, “No we are happys” Yes this Bhakti Yoga is the best process for reviving our original joyful nature. Ananda maya byasat, means our nature is full of bliss. The direct means of connecting to this nature is by chanting Hare Krishna. I personally find that chanting in the kirtan with as many devotees as possible is the best way of getting out of depression. Of course chanting on our beads is also blissful.
Serving the devotees and the Lord, remembering the devotees and the Lord, praying to them any of the nine processes of devotion can lift us out of our material consciousness or ignorance. Studying Srila Prabhupada’s books carefully and associating with his followers one will gradually become enlivened in one’s constitutional position of happiness.
Q. I have been in contact with ISKCON for one year, but I am still not happy. I believe that I have taken birth to serve India. I want to live and die for India. I don’t want to go to the kingdom of God until I feel that I have completed my job on this earth.
My problem with ISKCON is that the lectures teach only the ways to go to God, but I want to know the ways to live in this Kali-yuga. Of course, I will remain a devotee of Lord Krishna. But please give me some tips that will help me live in this Kali-yuga.
Let me tell you my aim in this life: I want to fight for justice. I want to serve the people of India. I want to serve the society.
A. Lord Krishna has appeared in this Kali-yuga as Lord Caitanya, who states that the duty of every Indian is to make his life perfect by becoming Krishna conscious and helping others become Krishna conscious. If you accept that as your service for India, you will make a great contribution. Because Srila Prabhupada took Lord Caitanya’s instruction seriously, he was able to greatly benefit the world by giving the perfection of India’s spiritual culture, pure devotion to Lord Krishna. If you follow in his footsteps, that will be the greatest service you can perform for Krishna, for India, for the world, and for yourself.
The best way to live in this world is the same as the way to go to the spiritual world: to fully engage in God’s service.
It is said that those who have lost their spiritual vision in this age of Kali can get light from Srimad-Bhagavatam. So you can study under the guidance of a realized soul and be enlightened and act in an enlightened way. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says that those who know the essence of things worship the age of Kali because in this age one can attain all desirable things simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord.
The greatest injustice is that because people lack real knowledge, they are being systematically slaughtered life after life as a result of neglecting their relationship with God. You can teach, by your own example, that life’s goal is spiritual realization, and you can also help educate others and end this slaughtering by teaching them Bhagavad-gita. If you want to do good to others, why not work for their eternal benefit? If you do this, you will be forever gloried and your soul be fully satisfied.
Q. When you say that we serve all living things when we serve Krishna.Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I mean when we help someone else aren’t we serving the Lord indirectly?
A. When we water the root of the tree all the leaves and branches are nourished. When we feed our stomach we nourish all of our bodily parts. Do we feed our stomach by sticking our hand in the rice and trying to digest the rice through our skin? No. By taking the rice in our hand and feeding it to the mouth the food goes to the stomach and from the stomach the hand gets its nourishment. Our so-called service to man will always remain imperfect until we make God the absolute center of our life. We will simply render some service to their temporary material bodies without benefiting their eternal spiritual beings even the slightest bit.
In India it is popularly said, “Manav seva, Prabhu seva–Serving man is serving God,” but this is a modern day misconception that is not supported in the Vedic literatures. The real fact, according to the Vedic wisdom is that by serving God we automatically give the best service to all living beings.
Try to understand that we cannot factually help anyone in the real sense unless we are reconnecting them with God. We may provide someone with all material facilities but they will still get sick, get old and die. But if we can awaken their dormant Krishna consciousness, we are eternally and unlimitedly benefiting them. They will become forever free from birth, death, old age and disease.
In the Vedic culture material help is also given but it is always understood to be less important than giving them Krishna consciousness. We give material help and at the same time give them Krishna. Material help gives limited temporary relief. Krishna consciousness gives permanent relief from all forms of suffering.
Q. If the Lord dislikes killing, why are animal sacrifices to God found in the scriptures?
A. Although animal sacrifice to God is mentioned in the scriptures, it is ultimately forbidden there. Sometimes the scriptures recommend animal sacrifice for meat-eaters who can’t give up their habit all at once. They can offer the animal in sacrifice and then eat it, gradually becoming free of the desire to eat meat.
Fortunately, today we can perform the sacrifice of chanting Hare Krishna and eating delicious vegetarian food offered to Krishna .That will quickly purify us and free us from the base desire to eat meat. There’s no good reason for anyone to kill animals today.
Q. How does one deal with losing one’s job? I was a heavy drinker and have found great comfort in Krishna consciousness. I have started drinking because the pain and anxiety are so great. How do I deal with this?
A. The best remedy is to increase your absorption in Krishna consciousness. Chant more, read more, and if possible, associate with devotees. Many of our habits come from association. If you had friendships with devotees, you would be much less inclined to look for solace in a bottle. Besides these spiritual solutions, read literature or attend meetings that will convince you that even on a material level, drinking will only make things worse.
Q. I am a Life Member of ISKCON. I understand that a more materialistic life means a less spiritual one. But I’m not strong enough to follow all of God’s rules (as mentioned in the Gita). I therefore follow a more materialistic life and less of a spiritual life, apart from praying to Lord Krishna almost daily.I want to make money, get married, have a sex life, and eat meat. If I do all these things, does that mean I can never enter God’s kingdom when I die, even though I believe in God’s existence and pray to Him daily?
A. You are correct in saying that material life and spiritual life oppose each other. Fortunately, the power of Krishna consciousness is such that you don’t have to give up your ordinary life and leave for the forest. You can spiritualize your life by connecting it with Krishna. But connecting with Krishna means following His instructions. If we disobey Krishna or his representative, how can we expect to please Him with our prayers? The regulative principles followed by members of ISKCON are traditional rules found in the Vedic scriptures. Although any civilized person should follow them, in modern society they seem like great austerities. Our conditioning and karma make us think we can’t follow them. But if we are sincere in making spiritual progress, we’ll get the resolve to follow them.
Achieving the association of Krishna is no small feat. We shouldn’t think we don’t have to work for it. It takes effort or what we refer to as austerity. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Rishbhadeva tells his sons that human life is meant for austerity because by austerity one can attain unending bliss. Our problem is that we’re not serious about attaining the goal. Materialists are so serious about such things as making millions of dollars or winning Olympic medals that they perform incredible austerities to attain their goals. We have to muster at least a minimum amount of desire if we expect to attain Krishna.
Srila Prabhupäda said that performing sinful activities while trying to advance in spiritual life is like trying to ignite a fire while pouring water on it; it won’t work. What you propose won’t work. You can’t have it both ways. Your problem is one of desire. You have to increase your desire for spiritual life. How can you do that? Regularly chant Hare Krishna, read Srila Prabhupada’s books, associate with devotees, visit the temple, and so on. You are fighting an inner conflict, being pulled in two directions. If you want to be successful, you have to increase your attraction to the pull of Krishna. Sinful life will dampen the power of even the best spiritual practices. Again, you have to have enough determination to give up sinful life. Pray to Krishna for that, not for material things. He can give you strength and determination, as He has for thousands of others.
Most ISKCON devotees came from backgrounds that included sinful acts, but they were able to give them up. It’s not so hard to give up meat-eating, for example. Millions of people who aren’t even spiritually inclined have given up this vicious habit. Don’t think that you can sincerely offer prayers to the Lord while slaughtering his innocent creatures. We suggest you at least give up this bad habit to show Krishna you’re trying.
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.
Q. I was chanting 16 rounds for 3 years.Due lack of association work and family responsibilties it is reduced to 0.Pl. HELP ME.I am Asst.Professor at Frcrit and also a Classical Musician.There also i am on cross roads wheather give more time to Music Or Job(Engg). Because that is my Part time job..I am neither able to focus on music nor Engg nor Chanting .Is there any Practical way out?
A. Sorry for such a delayed answer. Most of the people in this age are faced with the problem of lack of time. We have to understand that this human life is meant only for self-realisation. So our primary thrust should be towards achieving this result. At the same time we should try to maintain our family and occupation. Once we fill in our time with activities that are most important, other activities automatically fit in the remaining time. Also if we show our sincerity to Krishna, He will schedule our life in such a way that we have more time for Krishna consciousness.You can again move gradually towards chanting 16 rounds and more importantly associate with devotees, through which we develop faith in this process.
Q: How is it possible to chant & meditate on the Supreme Lord in Kaliyuga when distraction is another name given to Kaliyuga.Simply taking God’s name with no feelings or devotion is also an offence or waste of time.What Is the need to simply finish 16 rounds & get satisfaction that i am a devotee but have 0% love for the Lord ? Will u answer how to chant holy name in this circumstance when we do not have a taste & associtation of devotees?
A. Compared to the process in the previous yugas like meditating on the form of Krishna, performing large sacrifices, elaborate deity worship – which are not even remotely possible today – the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna is the easiest form of attaining the lotus feet of Krishna, even taking into account that we are living in Kali yuga.
The chanting of Krishna’s names is so powerful that there are many examples of how aspiring devotees living under extreme circumstances without the association of devotees, access to prasad etc. have perfected their lives.
But when we have the opportunity we must take the advantage of devotee association, Srila Prabhupada’s books so that we have the conviction and develop the determination to chant Krishna’s names.Over a period of time we willl develop a taste for chanting as long as we do not commit offenses to the holy names. We should also understand that we do not chant for the taste we get, but for pleasing Krishna.