Guru-Disciple Relationship

Q: I was reading about the Guru-disciple relationship in the Kularnarva Tantra and it made me feel really bad about myself. I don’t think I could ever live up to discipleship as portrayed there and in other places—so surrendered, so obedient, so self-effacing and so on. Should I give up and plunge myself into worldly life?

Ans: You have to know how to read Indian scriptures. Part of the problem is cultural. When Indians read these texts, they understand them in a different way from the way outsiders do. You should think of these as scriptural guidelines. The point of the Guru-disciple relationship is to connect you with the source of Shakti to which the Guru is already connected. Some disciples find it hard not to be in control. Without even knowing it, they try to tell the Guru what to do. That is like the tail wagging the dog. When you surrender and don’t create resistance, the Shakti flows in the right direction.

When I was with Baba, I practised my ‘disciple-bhava’. I tried to be obedient, egoless, do everything he told me, and always mold myself to what I thought his wishes were. But then I noticed that he had many Indian buddies who were much less formal and much less ‘correct’. Sometimes they even seemed to be having spirited arguments with him. At first I judged them and thought they were bad disciples and I was much superior. Then I used to wonder, why Baba didn’t bust them for being so impertinent. Then, my mind flip-flopped and I saw they had a natural flow of relationship with Baba and my own relationship was too formal and theoretical. Yes, I found all these ways and more to torture myself. The scriptural injunctions are guidelines. And as your relationship with the Guru grows more real, it will naturally become less formal and more nuanced. As in any relationship, there may be an ideal pattern, but in practice, the ways are infinite. Westerners are sometimes under the misapprehension that the Guru-disciple relationship is a form of robotic slavery. This is simply not true, though if you are with a great Guru, his instructions will be valuable for you and will help you overcome negative tendencies which you may be blind to. In fact, the disciple always has choice. He can disagree with the Guru and fight with the Guru—he can choose A or Not A. As long as the Shakti is not blocked. The one thing the disciple shouldn’t do is cut himself off from the Guru and block the flow of love between
them. Of course, that happens, and it is so painful that the disciple ‘fries’. In other words, the kind of choice I am suggesting is different from one that some ‘disciples’ make. That is, obey the
Guru or leave in a huff. Keep your heart open to the Guru and act naturally. But make sure you don’t win any arguments!

How Can Someone Want to Be Cheated?

Question: How Can Someone Want to Be Cheated?

1. How to balance approaching and being approached? Everyone should approach pure devotees to seek spiritual knowledge, but nobody does. Out of compassion, oftentimes it's the pure devotees who are approaching mundane people to enlighten them in spiritual knowledge. When you are preaching, is it that you approach them and tell them a lot, or that you only tell them a little, and if they are interested, they will naturally approach you?

2. Those who approach bogus gurus are not sincere. In this age, many people are misguided. You told me that those unfortunate individuals who are cheated are not sincere, it's because they want to be cheated. Well, I never understand about this. It seems that they also want eternity, knowledge and bliss. Could you kindly tell me what is the meaning of "want to be cheated"? What are their subtle desires? Can you give an example?

Answer: By Desiring to Be Told, "You Are God."

The preacher has to judge by the result. Whatever is most effective for the delivering the fallen, conditioned souls back to home, back to Godhead is the strategy which should be adopted. What is proper in one situation may not be proper in another situation. Therefore the preacher should always be attuned to time, place, and circumstance and adjust his teaching style accordingly.

We cannot say that those who approach bogus gurus are not sincere. They may be sincere and misguided. But a sincere, seeker of the Absolute Truth will not be satisfied after having met such cheaters and will continue looking for a bona fide spiritual master until he finds one. It's the ones who stick with the bogus gurus who are showing their lack of sincere desire to know things as they are.

For example, I have just recently been informed about a bogus guru who teaches his disciples that they are God. A sincere, honest person will realize that this is nonsense and will look elsewhere for a spiritual master. But someone who would like to consider himself to be God will stick with the bogus guru who tells him that he is God.

How to Save the World from Destruction?

Question: How to Save the World from Destruction?

I completely believe in God. I want to know from you at which stage of the Kali Yuga we are living right now? Some are saying the world is going to perish with in a few years. How can we protect our world from the destruction? When again is the Supreme Lord coming to this horrible world to save all of us from the sins?  I am hoping for your reply soon.

You have been doing a great job by spreading God consciousness in this world, which is completely doomed by sin day by day and is ignoring the moral life presented by the Supreme God.

Answer:  Put Krishna Back in the Center

The Vedic scriptures have informed us that the world civilization will gradually deteriorate over the next 427,000 years so much so that there will be no solution except for Lord Kalki to come and annihilate the demons for bringing in another Satya Yuga.

We are currently witnessing a world civilization which is very much in peril in many ways. There is the global warming crisis, the oil crisis, the terrorism crisis, the economic crisis, the food crisis, the AIDS crisis, and so many other problems. All of these problems are manifestations of the godlessness which is becoming more and more predominant on this planet. Like Ravana the leaders of the modern day civilization are trying to have the kingdom of God without God. But they cannot have it. All of their plans to solve the problems are doomed to certain failure unless they bring back isavasya, the God-centered principle, for the human civilization.  If this can be done, the Vedic scriptures predict that we can have a Satya yuga-like atmosphere on this planet for the next 10,000 years even in the midst of the Kali yuga.

How to Abolish Sex Desire Forever?

Question: How to Abolish Sex Desire Forever?

Thanks a lot for sending such a nice and very useful article "Beyond Sexism" in your "Thought for Day" for 26 April 2009. Sometimes I wonder why God has made sex. (He says in Bhagavad-gita 10.28, "Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love.")  Was it not possible to create generations without sex? Perhaps I think like this because although I am 65 years old, I am still disturbed by sex desire.  God can do whatever He wants.  So why does He not abolish sex desire from our minds?  And how can we abolish sex desire forever?  Kindly reply in detail.

Answer:  Transform It Into Pure Love

I am happy that you are finding benefit from my humble attempt to share with you what I have learned from my spiritual master.

Since Krishna is the origin of everything, sex also originates in Krishna. Sex desire in its pure original form is the attraction felt between Krishna and Srimati Radharani. It is only when the living becomes envious of Krishna and desires to take His position of enjoyment that sex desire becomes manifested in its perverted form. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains:

kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world."
--Bhagavad-gita 3.37

When our original pure love for Krishna becomes contaminated by contact with the material nature it  is transformed into lust.

Krishna is able to impregnate the material nature with countless numbers of living beings simply by His glance.  He does not require sex to do so.

The heavenly pleasure of sexual intercourse is experienced by us because without that pleasure who would want to take the trouble of raising children.

Krishna is giving us the means to completely abolish sex desire.  All we have to do is purify our consciousness by reviving our original loving relationship with Him.  Then as pure love was transformed into lust, lust will be transformed back into its original state of pure love. Such revival cannot be forced upon us because love is voluntary. Love cannot be forced.

I sincerely hope that this fully answers your questions.

Are There Gurus Outside of ISKCON?

Question: Are There Gurus Outside of ISKCON?

There is a young swami who gives discourses from the Bhagavad-gita etc. He is an enlightened spiritual master with many followers, even though he is young. And his bliss is notable!

Are there not swamis outside ISKCON that are spiritual masters who can lead to bliss just as well as you? He has awakened my spiritual world, even though I read your "Thought for the Day". And it seems that you both preaching similar truth. Please answer this question.

Answer:  Use this Test to Find Out:

Since I am not familiar with the teachings of the swami, I cannot comment on whether or not he is bona fide. But I can teach you the principle by which you can test whether or not he or anybody else is bona fide.

The Vedic wisdom does not state that a guru has to be a member of ISKCON be bona fide. It simply states that the person must present the teachings of Krishna as stated in Bhagavad-gita without any interpretation, addition, or subtraction. This is the only requirement for being a bona fide spiritual master.

While on the surface it seems that all gurus who teach the Bhagavad-gita are bona fide, upon carefully comparing their Bhagavad-gita presentation with Lord Krishna's actual Bhagavad-gita teachings, it becomes clear that some gurus are presenting the Bhagavad-gita as it is and that some are in the name of the Bhagavad-gita giving their own philosophy.

Of course for the neophyte it is sometimes hard to make the distinction. Just like one time when a man was leaving India he wanted to turn his Indian rupees into US Dollars. He went to the money changer at the airport and gave him his rupees. When he got his dollars he was also handed back one of his rupee notes because it was counterfeit. He did not have the trained eyes to discern that it was counterfeit, but the money changer did.

In the same way a neophyte on the self realization path requires training in order to distinguish between someone who is accurately presenting the Bhagavad-gita and someone who is distorting it. It is unfortunate that most of the current Bhagavad-gita commentators twist the words of Krishna is such a way as to deny the personal existence of Krishna. They will say that it is not to the person Krishna that we must surrender. They teach us that instead we should merge into the impersonal oneness and become God. Such a philosophy is most destructive and dangerous because it blocks the ability of the aspiring transcendentalist to ever develop a loving relationship with the Supreme Person.

Sometimes such impersonalists will also promote bhakti or devotion to Lord Krishna and will even quote from the Bhagavad-gita. But they present devotion to Krishna as the beginning stage of self-realization, as a stepping stone to merging and becoming God. So we must carefully avoid such impersonalists who grossly twist the Krishna's words in such a misleading way. Unfortunately in the Kali yuga people are generally more attracted by the cheaters who distort Krishna's teachings than they are by those who present Krishna's teachings as they are. We cannot judge who is properly presenting the Bhagavad-gita by popular votes when the mass of people are not educated to properly understand the Vedic conclusion. In this connection it should be noted that Adolf Hitler was made the leader of Germany by popular vote.

So instead of popularity we should based our understanding a of guru's authenticity on whether or not he is faithfully presenting the teachings of Krishna without any addition or subtraction. Otherwise we may think we are being enlightened when in fact we are being misled. Anyone can make a show of bliss. But only a genuine spiritual master gives us the Absolute Truth.

So now that I've taught you the guru test, if you will carefully apply it, you will be able to know whether someone is a bona fide guru or not.

Is it Right to Fall at Guru's Feet?

Question: Is it Right to Fall at Guru's Feet? 

Is it right for a person to fall to feet other than Krishna? I never feel to. Even if he is a spiritual master, he is below God. Why should I fall at his feet? Are they equal to Krishna? They never can be. Then why should one do like this? I'm ignorant. Please give me knowledge.

Answer: You Must. 

I appreciate very much the way that you honestly revealed your doubts and humbly requested to be enlightened with knowledge. This way of submissive inquiry is the proper way to approach the spiritual master.

The bona fide spiritual master never claims that he is God and never allows anyone else to present that he is God. He is the humble servant of God and always presents Himself as such teaching his disciples how they also can become the humble servants of God.

When we seriously take up the service of Lord Krishna according to the instructions which He has given in the revealed scriptures, we will discover that He orders to become the devotees of His devotees. Therefore because we want to be His devotees we dutifully bow down at the feet of His devotees offering them all respect as His representatives. 

Even in ordinary life we see that a policeman is not the government. He is an ordinary citizen just like you and me. But when he is on duty as a policeman and issues us a citation for driving too fast we must offer him all respect as the government by obeying his instructions.

Similarly, if we are really surrendered to Krishna we will follow His instruction that we should become the devotees of His devotees. This instruction is found in the Adi Purana as follows:

ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha
na me bhaktāś ca te janāḥ
mad-bhaktānāṁ ca ye bhaktās
te me bhakta-tamā matāh

"The person who claims to be My devotee is not My devotee. Rather it is the devotee of My devotee who is My actual devotee."

So if we refuse to bow down to Krishna's devotees on the plea that they are not Krishna, Krishna will never accept our devotion to Him. In other words, we cannot be truly devoted to Krishna unless we are devoted to His devotees. In conclusion, the secret of success in spiritual life is to become the devotee of Krishna's devotees because this the only way that Krishna will accept our devotion.

Isn't It Just Selfish?

Question:  Isn't It Just Selfish?

A person from Israel asked you what to do to get rain in Israel. You have replied that a massive sankirtan (congregational chanting of the holy names of God) will resolve the issue. Sure it will play a remarkable role in solving the long running issues of the region. When people would come together and sing the names of the Lord leaving behind all their divisions of religion and beliefs the environment there would be purified and so many issues would get resolved. But it does not guarantee rain like you have told the person. Everything is in the hands of the Lord. If he wishes Israel would get rain, if he doesn't there will be no rain. Whatever happens, would be for the good. Should we be trying to please the lord to get our wish fulfilled? Why should we hope? You say we should be trying to please the lord every single moment of our life. Some people please the lord but in return hope their wishes will be fulfilled. Isn't this selfish? Then even to surrender to the lord with the thought in our mind always that we want to be liberated from this painful existence is just selfish isn't it? Isn't a person who is completely driven to take up the path of devotion just because he/she does not want to be born as another species just being selfish?

Answer: Krishna Reciprocates with Selfless Bhakti.

Of course, it is a fact, as you are saying, that if we pray for rain that we are being selfish. But if we pray for the pleasure of Krishna and accept whatever comes as His mercy, rain or no rain, by His grace according to His words in the Bhagavad-gita the rain will come. Who can deny it?  So you are wrong when you state that massive sankirtan yajna will not bring the rain. Krishna directly states in the Bhagavad-gita that rain is produced by the performance of yajna.

And it is also a fact that if we pray for liberation from the cycle of birth and death, we also being selfish. Therefore the pure devotee prays simply to be eternally engaged in the Lord's service in any condition either in the material world or in the spiritual world. And because of his completely pure surrendered attitude, at the time of death he is immediately delivered back to his original home in the spiritual world.

You have presented yourself as my shishya, my student.  Therefore I beg to point out to you that according to the instructions of Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita one is never to tell his teacher that he is wrong as you have just told me. This is an offense known as sadhu ninda, which nullifies whatever devotional service one has done.

Of course this does not mean that we have to blindly accept what we hear from the spiritual master. If something does make sense to us, instead of telling the spiritual master that he is wrong, we should submissively inquire from him to help us understand how it is true. In short, our mood before the spiritual master should not be a challenging mood. Rather it should be a mood of submissive inquiry.

I am hoping this meets you well,

Class by Birth?

Question:  Class by Birth?

While reading the book title "Science of Self Realization" written by Srila Prabhupada, I have been pondering about these two questions. Can you please answer them and remove my ignorance?

1. It is said that a human being (due to his consciousness) takes his next body according to his thoughts at the time of dying. It is also said that animals do not have developed consciousness hence goats can still keep eating while other goats are killed before them. So, if animals do not have developed consciousness what decides the next body acquired by them?

2. Regarding the varnashram system, it was said that a person falls in a particular class of society as a brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, or sudra due to his qualities and work and not due to his birth in a particular class. But in all the scriptures like Ramayana and Mahabharata we read stories that a person is considered to belong to particular class due to his birth. In Vedic times are children born in particular class forced to following their birth dharma or allowed to choose their own dharma? If so, can you please give some example where a person born in one class has chosen different dharma than their parents? Is it practical to follow varnashram dharma in today's world?

Answer:  No. Class According to One's Qualities.

The animals naturally progress birth and birth through  various animal births until they reach the human form at which time that soul has the opportunity to escape the cycle of birth and death by surrendering himself fully unto the Lord.

Although in the Vedic times a soul would generally take birth from parents of the same varna as his own nature, in many cases it was not so. Just like in the Jabala Upanisad there is the history of a boy named Satyakama-jabala who approached Gautama Muni for becoming his disciple. The muni asked the boy what was his caste because in the Vedic times nobody could be accepted as a disciple unless he was born in a high class family as a brahmana, ksatriya, or a vaisya--especially brahmana. When he was asked, "Which family you belong to?" he said, "I do not know what is my classification." Gautama Muni asked "Who is your father?", and the boy could only say, "I do not know." So the sage told him, " Go ask your mother." Then he went to his mother and inquired, "Who is my father?" She said, "My dear boy, I do not know." His mother was a prostitute who engaged in sex with so many men. So by whom she was pregnant she could not remember. Just as his mother told the truth, Satyakama went to Gautama Muni and also told the truth, "Sir, my mother does not know who is my father." "Oh, that's all right." Gautama Muni replied, "You are a brahmana because you are truthful. You do not hide that you are a prostitute's son. You are plainly speaking that your mother does not know who is your father." So because he exemplified the brahminical quality of honesty Gautama Muni said, "Yes, I'll accept you as my disciple."

So even though the varna of one's parents has an influence on one's own varna, it is definitely not the deciding factor. What nature and activities one manifests are the real deciding factors for determining one's varna, or position with the social strata.

In order to bring happiness to the human society it is essential that everyone be engaged in earning their livelihood in a manner which is compatible with their nature. In the present social system so many people are miserable because they are forced by circumstances to earn their livelihoods in ways that are not compatible with their natures. In other words, instead of loving their jobs, they hate their jobs.  In a varnashram society everyone has a job which they love.

How to Get Rain in Israel?

Question:  How to Get Rain in Israel?

My country, Israel, is having a serious drought, and we are not receiving any rain. What should we do?

Answer: Organize Massive Sankirtana

Krishna states the Bhagavad-gita:

annād bhavanti bhūtāni
parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ
yajñād bhavati parjanyo
yajñaḥ karma-samudbhavaḥ

"All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced  from rains. Rains are produced by performance of yajña [sacrifice], and yajña is born of prescribed duties."
--Bhagavad-gita 3.14

So the solution for drought is massive sankirtana yajna. The entire population of Israel should be mobilized for massive public chanting of the holy names of God. The Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Hare Krishna communities may all chant according to their respective scriptures the holy names of God. The point is that everyone should be out in the streets singing the holy names of God and dancing in ecstasy. This will undoubtedly bring the desired rain to Israel. Plus if the Palestinians will also join in the sankirtana, it will also bring peace between Palestine and Israel.

How to Conquer Negative Thoughts?

Question: How to Conquer Negative Thoughts?

How do I conquer fear, negative thoughts, and bad dreams? Help me.

Answer: Inundate Your Consciousness with Krishna

Simply you must inundate your consciousness with Krishna consciousness as much as possible by hearing about Krishna, chanting the names of Krishna, reading about Krishna, bowing down to Krishna, serving Krishna, associating with Krishna's devotees, serving Krishna's devotees, etc. In this way by filling your heart always with Krishna, the garbage of fear and all other negative thoughts will naturally go away, and you will also have Krishna conscious dreams when you sleep. Of course just as it takes time to clean your house, it will also take some time to clean the house of your consciousness. So you must be patient and continue with your chanting with the full faith that by this process you will attain all perfection.

How to Be Humble?

Question:  How to Be Humble?

1. How to become humble? Humility is not taught in today's modern education system. Being humble doesn't comes naturally from within.

2. What are the etiquettes one must have to be a Vaisnava?

3. I experience bliss while doing kirtan, but there is no such bliss while performing japa.  Why?

Answer: Give Respect Without Expecting Respect

The formula for becoming humble is that you should offer all respect to others without expecting any respect for yourself.

The formula for how to be a Vaisnava is given by Lord Krishna as follows in the Bhagavad-gita:

satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā
nitya-yuktā upāsate

"Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion."
--Bhagavad-gita 9.14

If you are not tasting bliss when you chant japa, it is because you are trying to taste bliss.  If instead of trying to taste bliss you will try to give bliss to Krishna by chanting His names with love, you find yourself swimming in an ocean of unlimited bliss at every minute.

हिंदुओं की आखिरी पीढ़ी का अंत!

अमानवीय की हदें लांघ रहे पाकिस्तान में..

हिंदुओं की आखिरी पीढ़ी का अंत! ...

हिंसक हत्याओं, बर्बर अत्याचारों और जबरन धर्मांतरण से मिट रहा नामोनिशान

आंकड़ा चौंकाने वाला नहीं डराने वाला है.. पाकिस्तान में हिन्दू विलुप्त प्राय: हो रहे हैं; स्वात में बचे 100 हिंदू पाकिस्तान में हिंदू आबादी पर लगा पूर्ण विराम है। राजधानी इस्लामाबाद तक हिंदुओं के लिए सुरक्षित नहीं रही है। आजादी के तुरंत बाद पाकिस्तान के 3 करोड़ मुसलमानों में हिन्दुओं की आबादी लगभग 15 से 20 प्रतिशत थी । लेकिन आज  ये कुल आबादी का केवल 1.6 प्रतिशत रह गए हैं। उसी समय तत्कालीन पूर्वी पाकिस्तान यानी आज के बांग्लादेश में हिंदू जनसंख्‍या 30 प्रतिशत थी जो आज 7 प्रतिशत से भी कम हो गई है। पाकिस्तान में हिन्दुओं की घटी आबादी के पीछे कारण पलायन नहीं बल्कि जबरन धर्मांतरण, लड़कियों से बलपूर्वक शादी और अंतहीन बर्बर, पाशविक अत्याचार है। 

पाकिस्तान में मौजूद हिन्दू आबादी में अनुसूचित जातियां भी शामिल हैं जिन्हें वहां हिन्दू नहीं माना जाता। उल्लेखनीय है कि 1998 की जनगणना के मुताबिक पाकिस्तान की जनसंख्‍या 132, 252, 279 थी। इसमें मुस्लिमों का प्रतिशत 96.28 या वहीं ईसाई 1.59 और हिंदू 1.60 प्रतिशत थे। मौजूदा हालात में इस प्रतिशत में और भी कमी आई है क्योंकि स्वात घाटी में तालिबान का कब्जा और शेष पाकिस्तान में हिंदुओं को या तो ईसाई बनने पर मजबूर कर दिया है या भारत में पलायन करने पर। विभाजन के दौरान लगभग 7226000 मुसलमान भारत छोड़कर पाकिस्तान पलायन कर गए और लगभग इतने ही 7249000 हिन्दू और सिख पाकिस्तान से विस्थापित होकर भारत पहुंचे। लेकिन दमन और पाशविकता का खेल पाकिस्तान में आजादी के बाद शुरू हुआ जो आज तालिबान की बर्बर दस्तक के साथ अपने चरम पर पहुंच गया है। बंटवारे के पचास साल बाद भी पाकिस्तान में ज्यादातर हिन्दुओं की सामाजिक और आर्थिक हालत अब भी चिंताजनक है। सरकार हिन्दुओं की संख्‍या कम दिखाने के लिए आंकड़ों में भी फेरबदल करती है। थरपाकर में हिन्दू बहुसंख्‍या में हैं लेकिन सरकार ने मुसलमानों का बहुमत दिखाने के लिए हिन्दुओं और मुसलमानों की संख्‍या क्रमश: 49 और 51 प्रतिशत कर दी है।

पाकिस्तान में सिंध को छोड़कर गांवों के बजाय शहरों में हिंदू आबादी स्वयं को थोड़ा सुरक्षित पाती है। नार्थ वेस्ट फ्रंटियर प्रोविंस में गांवों में हिंदू नगण्य है वहीं शहरों में 0.11 प्रतिशत की मामूली बसावट में सीमित है, फाटा का भी यही मिजाज है यहां शहरों में 0.22, गांवों में 0.03 प्रतिशत हिंदू हैं। पंजाब में शहरों की अपेक्षा गांवों में हिंदू मौजूद हैं तो सिंध में गांवों में 9.77 प्रतिशत और शहरी क्षेत्रों में 3.09 प्रतिशत हिंदू। बलूचिस्तान में शहरों में 1.58 प्रतिशत हिंदू बचे हैंऔर गांवों में 0.15 प्रतिशत हिंदू हैं। राजधानी इस्लामाबाद में हिंदुओं की आबादी महज 0.3 फीसदी है। 
धर्म बचाएं या जान

पाकिस्तान वहां के हिंदुओं की कब्रगाह भी बनता जा रहा है। स्वात घाटी में बचे-खुचे हिंदू अल्पसंख्‍यकों के आसान शिकार के लिए लाल पगड़ी पहनकर घूमने के तालिबानी आदेश को सिरफिरा समझकर दरकिनार कर दियाजाए तो भी शेष पाकिस्तानी सूबों में हिंदुओं की हालत बेहद खराब है। लगभग 18 करोड़ की आबादी में सैकड़ों पाबंदियों में जकड़े हिंदू अल्पसंख्‍यकों को बराबरी वाले ईसाइयों जितने भी हक हासिल नहीं है। पाकिस्तान में हिन्दुओं को सरेआम मारा-पीटा जाना आम बात है। धर्मांतरण के नाम पर हर वह जुल्म पाक में रहने वाला हिन्दू सहने को मजबूर है जिसे मानवीय व्यवहार बिल्कुल नहीं कहा जा सकता।

जुल्म का आलम यह है कि भारत में छोटी से छोटी साम्‍प्रदायिक घटना पर भी पाकिस्तानी हिन्दुओं की खाल उधेड़ दी जाती है, फिर वह चाहे बाबरी मस्जिद प्रकरण हो, गुजरात के दंगे या फिर कश्मीर घाटी में होने वाली छोटी-मोटी मुठभेड़।

संविधान से कोसों दूर हकीकत

पाकिस्तान के संविधान में कहा गया है कि अल्पसंख्‍यकों के अधिकारों की सरकार को हिफाजत करनी पड़ेगी और उन्हें नौकरियां देनी होंगी लेकिन हकीकत इससे बहुत भिन्न है। हिन्दुओं के बच्चों को स्कूलों में उचित शिक्षा नहीं मिलती और उन्हें ज्यादा नम्‍बर लेने के लिए इस्लाम की शिक्षा हासिल करनी पड़ती है। नौकरियों में भी भेदभाव होता है और प्रतिष्ठित पदों पर हिन्दुओं को नौकरियां नहीं मिलती हैं। बांग्लादेश के 13,000,000 हिन्दू भी ऐसे ही हमलों और अत्याचार के  शिकार हैं। 

न कोई कानून, न सुनवाई

सिंध प्रांत में कई हिन्दुओं की गुमशुदगी दर्ज की गई है। कई गुमशुदगियां अगवा किए जाने की घटनाओं से भी जुड़ी हुई हैं । 9 सितंबर को एक 55 वर्षीय हिन्दू गोवर्धन दास उर्फ जी. एम. भगत को पुलिसकर्मियों ने उठा लिया था। यह घटना उमरकोट जिले की है। प्रवर्तन एजेंसियों ने भगत को गिरफ्‍तार किए जाने की वजह तक नहीं बताई। घटनास्थल सत्र न्यायालय के पास ही था। भगत के पुत्र ओम प्रकाश ने हैदराबाद उच्च न्यायालय में एक मामला भी दर्ज कराया। भगत के उत्पीड़न का मामला संगीन है। इसी तरह 2001 में चेतन कुमार नामक एक हिन्दू को आतंकवादी होने के शक में गिरफ्‍तार कर लिया गया था। हालिया रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक मानवाधिकार आयोग को ऐसी शिकायत मिली है कि इनमें से कई लोग डर के मारे लापता हो गए हैं। आयोग ने पुलिस को इन मामलों की तहकीकात करने को कहा है। आयोग का कहना है कि इनमें से कई हिन्दुओं को या तो अवैध तरीके से हिरासत में रखा जा रहा है या इनका अपहरण कर लिया गया है। 

2008 में पाकिस्तान की जनसंख्‍या
मुस्लिम- 17.30 करोड़
हिंदू- .32 करोड़
ईसाई- .28 करोड़
अन्य- 20,000

Beginning of Hinduism?

Question:  Beginning of Hinduism?

Did the Hare Krishna movement originate in India?  Is the movement of Indian origin?

Is Hinduism the oldest religion?  Did it begin in India?

Answer:  There is No Such Thing

Although historically rooted in India, the Hare Krishna movement did not originate in India.  It originates in the spiritual world and was first manifested in this universe 155 trillion years ago when Lord Krishna enlightened Lord Brahma with Krishna consciousness just after the creation of this universe.

The word "Hindu" is not found in Vedic scriptures, the foundation of Indian culture. It was coined by the Muslims to describe those persons living east of the River Sindhu, which is now known as the Indus River. Therefore, strictly speaking the term "Hinduism" is a misnomer. Vedic scholars know that the actual term for India's ancient religious culture is "sanatana dharma", the eternal religion of the soul.

Sanatana dharma is indeed the world's oldest religion because it has no beginning point in history. It means to fully absorb yourself in loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna or Vishnu. There is no such thing as the beginning of sanatana dharma or "Hinduism" because, like the Hare Krishna movement, it has no beginning point in history having originated in the spiritual world.

Liberation From this Material World

I want to tell some bad news and some good news. Let's get the bad news over with first so that even while hearing the bad news you can remain enlivened and remain hopeful by looking forward to the good news.

So here's the bad news first:

In spite of all the glamour and glitter of this material existence when we minutely analyze the actual situation here it becomes painfully obvious that it is hopeless. It's like living on death row in a prison. Everyone is simply waiting their turn to be put to death by laws of nature. There is no way that you can escape. Kindly do not blindly object to this, protesting that I am speaking too negatively here. Kindly open-mindedly consider whether what I am saying is true or not. Is everyone awaiting their turn to die or not? If you are honest, you will have to admit that everyone here is waiting for their turn to die.

So now that I've given you the bad news I am going to keep my word and give you the good news:

Even though there is no way that you can escape, there is a means of being released from this prison of certain death. You simply have to reconnect yourself through loving service to that supreme person who is the source of all existence. He is ready to release you immediately. Try to understand that He is the supreme person and that all of His activities are transcendental and then surrender yourself fully unto Him, Lord Sri Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Sometimes I think your approach to spirituality is very radical, and at other

Question to Swami Shankarananda ji:  Sometimes I think your approach to spirituality is very radical, and at other

Answer:  It’s probably better for others to evaluate my approach, but your question brings up some interesting issues.  I am a traditionalist as far as lineage goes.  A teacher should have been initiated and designated by his own teacher.  By initiation, I mean actual transmission of the awakening by Shakitpat.  Also, it’s important that a spiritual teacher be told by his own teacher to serve that function, although there may be exceptions to this rule.  Some of the offerings of the New Age marketplace seem shallow and mind-born because they lack dimension.  Let’s say that somebody reads a lot of texts, listens to a number of Gurus speak and decides he has it all worked out, and is ready to hang out his shingle.  Such a teaching would lack profundity and stability.  It wouldn’t deliver.

On the other hand, some of the religious traditions, which have a lot of history and lineage, can lack the spontaneity and aliveness of being present.  They have too much history, too much orthodoxy and too much doctrine.  When I read some of those texts, I sometimes feel that the layers of maya are covering the original truth.  There may have been a great sage whose awakening gave birth to a particular tradition, but that original lightening bolt has, by now, gone too deep into the earth.  It has wandered too far from the original grace and become enmattered.

Such traditions, and I’m not mentioning any names – you’ll have to use sodium pentothal on me – have been worked on by too many minds.  They are too religious and intellectual, and inspiration has been replaced by dogma.  Every word that the original teacher might have uttered has been commented on and footnoted to the point where each is a technical term that can’t be approached directly, but only with the help of a team of scholars and linguists.  This accounts for the curious phenomenon of Zen Buddhism, which reacted against the over-intellectualisation of the Buddhism of that period by utterly rejecting all doctrines and even all rationality in order to freshly encounter reality.

There is one more thing I would say.  We are spiritually at an interesting historical moment.  I was part of a wave of seekers who went to the East after the sixties and imbibed the Eastern teaching.  I approached those teachings with respect and reverence and for many years, I marinated myself in them.  However, I agree with a scholar hero of mine, Heinrich Zimmer, who said that the West would have to find its own solution, different from Eastern solutions.

Nowadays, I am one of a number of teachers from my generation who have brought the Eastern teachings back to the West.  While I revere those teachings, I also respect our cultural norms and methods.  There was a time, mind you, when I was so in awe of Indian culture and thought that I was ready to throw out everything Western.  I no longer feel that way.  My approach now is pragmatic.  I think we have to take the insights and techniques of the East and work with them in a natural way within the parameters of our own understanding and culture.  Yoga is universal and Western culture just needs a little something added to it to connect it to the divine.  Of course, adding that little something changes everything.

So there you have it.  The dilemma is that we’re caught between the proven worth of a tradition and the aliveness of the present moment.  One impulse says that whatever is new-minded is simply the product of somebody’s cleverness and of no substance, while another says, ‘Tear down the institutions, burn all the teachings, experience God in the moment!’  Both of these unruly beasts live within me, I have to admit.

What’s the answer?  As always, it’s a matter of discrimination and concrete individual cases.  So now tell me, am I a radical or a traditionalist?

I Need Your Mercy

Question:  I Need Your Mercy

I've been chanting my 16 rounds daily for a few weeks now. I have now set myself the goal of being a disciple of a spiritual master, but I find that my 'pride' is getting in the way of it.  I really enjoy the association of devotees and love hearing about Krishna from them.  When the devotees speak of their spiritual master, they say how much they love him and that they have a personal relationship with him, and how merciful he is.  They talk about touching his feet and bowing down offering obeisances.  The thought of actually bowing down to somebody and glorifying his feet, for me, is hard to fathom.  I want to be humble, so how do I get past this?  How will I start up a relationship with a spiritual master and come to love him?

Answer:  You've Got It!

Since I am a spiritual master, you already have a relationship with a spiritual master. Love for the spiritual master is not artificial. It naturally develops by engaging in the six loving exchanges with the spiritual master which are as follows:

1. Giving gifts to the spiritual master
2. Receiving gifts from the master
3. Giving prasadam to the spiritual master
4. Receiving prasadam from the spiritual master
5. Opening your heart to the spiritual master (as you have just done)
6. Keep your heart open when he reveals his heart to you (as you are hopefully doing now).

So simply engage in the above six items with spiritual masters and everything will automatically follow from that. Do not worry that you have to do anything artificially. In our Krishna consciousness movement Srila Prabhupada says that blind following is condemned.

We're All One?

Question:  We're All One?

I've recently come across a website where someone brought up the impersonalist point of view that we're all one and that God is a collection of all souls. How exactly should I respond?

The following is his text:

"I'm a firm believer of this (we're all one). This ties into my spiritual religious beliefs, but I think that everyone is infinitely more interconnected than is currently believed. I pretty much see the whole world of beings as all part of the same, and everyone that surrounds me is nothing more than a part of me. This ties into the limitless, endless possibilities of the mind. If we were able to all function as one we would essentially be 'God.' That is actually what I believe God to be, the sum of all of our souls. Although, I do consider myself either an atheist or spiritual with regard to religious beliefs. (See 'Karma' for related discussion). Agree? Disagree?"

Answer:  Simultaneously One and Different

You can tell Mr. Firm Believer that we while we can accept that everything is one and different, we cannot accept that everything is one and the same.

We do not base our philosophical understanding on our beliefs as Mr. Firm Believer has done. Basing our vision of reality of beliefs is the same trap that sectarian religionists fall into. They accept religion without any philosophy and thus end up becoming sentimentalists and sometimes fanatics and extremists. We would caution Mr. Firm Believer not to get stuck in this same trap and thus miss fulfilling the purpose of human existence, which is to fully realize the Absolute Truth.

Of course, we can readily agree that everything is one because everything that exists is a manifestation of  God's expanded energy. In other words, everything is one in the sense that God and His energy are non-different, just as there is no difference between the sun and the sunshine. The sunshine is nothing but the expanded energy of the sun. So when the sunshine appears on the eastern horizon we can rightfully say that the sun has appeared.

So the oneness of everything is an undeniable fact. But absolute two-ness exists at the same time. Even though the sun and the sunshine are one, there is also a difference. Even though the sun shine appears on the eastern horizon it is not that the sun planet is sitting on the eastern horizon. If it were, the earth planet would be burnt to a crisp by the fiery sun planet.

So there is God in His original from which He has expanded everything, and there is His expanded energy. Both are God. But one is the expander God, the other is the expanded God.

So in conclusion, while on the one hand since God and His energy is non-different there is nothing but Krishna, at the same time nothing is Krishna except for His original, primeval personality from which everything has emanated.

Why Doesn't Krishna Pursue Krishna Consciousness?

Question:  Why Doesn't Krishna Pursue Krishna Consciousness?

The highest pursuit is Krishna consciousness. If that is the highest pursuit, how come Krishna does not pursue it?

Is Krishna Consciousness similar to the celestial kingdom?

Answer:  He Doesn't Need To, But Then He Does.

Krishna consciousness is devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna. So why would Krishna have to pursue devotion to Himself? He is more interested in being devoted to His devotees.  But when He sees that His devotee Srimati Radharani is tasting more pleasure by being His devotee than He is by being the object of her devotion, He decides to also pursue Krishna consciousness by becoming His own devotee in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Even though the higher celestial planets in this universe have all kinds of amazing tantalizing pleasures, that pleasure has an ending point.  The inhabitants of those celestial planets still have to eventually die. So the happiness on those planets is very pale when compared tasted by those persons who become purely absorbed in Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is the platform of immortality where life is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss.

Lack of Taste in Chanting

Question:  Lack of Taste in Chanting

Though born in a cultured spiritual and devotional family, i didn't take to devotional life until 6 months ago.  By the mercy of the devotees I understood Krishna consciousness and feel fortunate to have had the association of such great devotees.  I have been chanting mahamantra 16 rounds daily for the last 4 months now. I follow all the regulative principles and read the books and listen to lectures, which would be the main activity in 24 hrs. I enjoy the lectures by various Maharajas and thoroughly enjoy the Srimad Bhagavatam. I am trying my best to be sincere in devotional service. However, probably because of my previous sinful activities, sometimes I am not able to enjoy the chanting. Sometimes I do enjoy, mostly I do not. I sit in front of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's picture and try to concentrate while chanting. I feel like stopping chanting and instead listening to a lecture or reading the Srimad Bhagavatam.  I feel sad when I am like this. I do not know how to overcome this, and I feel distressed. Please by your mercy guide me in right path and help me in my spiritual path.

Answer:  Keep Chanting. Taste Will Come.

In the neophyte stage chanting is sometimes bitter. Just like a person suffering from jaundice tastes sugar candy to be very bitter. But the cure for jaundice is to take sugar candy. So even though it is bitter the patient takes it on the order of his doctor. In this way he gradually becomes cured and the sugar candy regains its natural sweetness. Therefore even when bitter you must continue chanting. In this way you will become cured from all material disease and your chanting will be sweeter than honey at every minute.

Lightheaded and Tired While Chanting

Question:  Lightheaded and Tired While Chanting

Why do I get light headed/ tired when I chant? I've recently acquired some beads and a bead bag. I've been chanting for only a week, so I am new at this. Sometimes I don't get tired, sometimes I do. Is this a normal beginner thing?

Answer:  Tolerate Them and Keep Chanting

Physical sensations such as feeling lightheaded while chanting are not very important. They will come and they will go. Just try to tolerate them without letting them distract you from focusing on the chanting. If you are feeling sleepy you may stand up to chant your japa, or you may even pace back and forth in your room, if this will help you to be more alert. The important thing is to dive deeply with love and devotion into the transcendental sound vibration of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. This will carry you far beyond the miseries of material existence and your temporary body into the transcendental dimension of Lord Sri Krishna where life is eternal, full of bliss, and full of knowledge. It takes time, and it takes a lot of practice. But if you will seriously dedicate yourself to chanting japa every day, your spiritual perfection will gradually become more and more manifested like a beautiful sunrise on a glorious spring morning.

Origin and Purpose of Hare Krishna

Question:  Origin and Purpose of Hare Krishna

I'm a junior in high school and am writing a research paper in my English class on the topic "Counter-Culture/Hippies/Hare Krishna." I was wondering if you would mind answering the following questions. 

1. What are the origins of Hare Krishna?
2. What is the purpose of Hare Krishna?
3. Can you think of anyone specifically who played a vital role in bringing Hare Krishna to the United States, if so how did they do that?
4. What impact do you think Hare Krishna has had on the United States?
5. What successes and failures have you noticed in the U.S.'s interpretation of Hare Krishna?
6. Are there any certain locations of great importance to Hare Krishna, any in the U.S.?
7. Has there ever been any controversy surrounding Hare Krishna?
8. How would you compare Hare Krishna to western religion, such as Protestant Christianity?
9. Besides spiritual matters, how is Hare Krishna involved in its local community?
10.  Any other interesting facts about Hare Krishna you would like to share?

Answer:  Krishna Consciousness is Eternal

I am very happy to hear of your interest in the Hare Krishna movement and will be glad to answer your questions.

You have asked, "What are the origins of Hare Krishna?" The Supreme Lord Himself is the origin of the Hare Krishna process. The Hare Krishna process of connecting with the Supreme Person through pure, loving devotion is known as Krishna consciousness and has no beginning point in history. It has existed as long as God has existed. It is taught in the Vedas, the world's original and oldest scriptures and is also presented in an elementary form in the Bible and the Koran. All the modern day religions are simply derivatives of the original Krishna consciousness system of unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Person.

Next you ask, "What is the purpose of Hare Krishna?" The purpose of the Hare Krishna movement is to enable those who practice it to become perfect in love of God. Plus the movement wants to awaken the entire to this most amazing original system of spiritual purification, so that the everyone can be saved from all varieties of suffering conditions.

Then you ask, "Can you think of anyone specifically who played a vital role in bringing Hare Krishna to the United States, if so how did they do that?" That person is my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He came to America in 1965 from India on the order of his spiritual master, and by 1966 he had attracted a small band of disciples in Manhattan's lower east side. He then dispatched them to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world and quickly the Hare Krishna Movement became world famous.

You inquired, "What impact do you think Hare Krishna has had on the United States?" The answer is that it has had a tremendous impact. Millions of people have heard the Hare Krishna mantra and heard of the Hare Krishna movement. Future historians will note that the introduction of the Hare Krishna in the United States was one of the major turning points in world history.

You next question was, "What successes and failures have you noticed in the U.S.'s interpretation of Hare Krishna?" The Hare Krishna people in the USA and throughout the world do not interpret the Hare Krishna process. We are following it in its original pure form that was taught by Lord Krishna in the 5,000 years old  scripture known as the Bhagavad-gita. Those who strictly follow it become all successful in their lives. The only failures we have seen are in cases of those who tried to invent their own so-called version of Krishna consciousness without strictly follow the instructions given in the Bhagavad-gita.

You wondered, "Are there any certain locations of great importance to Hare Krishna, any in the U.S.?" We have hundreds of locations all over the world that are of great i important including many throughout the USA.

You inquired, "Has there ever been any controversy surrounding Hare Krishna?" The answer is that we have been a constant controversy because in a greedy, selfish world pure God-consciousness will always be controversial. This is why they crucified Jesus.

Then you asked, "How would you compare Hare Krishna to western religion, such as Protestant Christianity?"  Hare Krishna is not another religious sect. The Krishna consciousness process is the essence of religion, religion in its original, pure form before it was divided into sects. A purely Krishna conscious person is the best Christian, the best Jew, the best Muslim, and the best Hindu.

In answer to your question, "Besides spiritual matters, how is Hare Krishna involved in its local community?" The practice of Krishna consciousness has a more powerful benefit on our local communities than anything else. When we water the root a tree all the leaves and branches are nourished. When we feed our belly the entire body becomes fed. Similarly when we channel our loving devotion to Lord Sri Krishna we give best loving service to our communities and the entire world. When we become properly situated spiritually everything material becomes automatically properly adjusted.

Your final question is, "Any other interesting facts about Hare Krishna you would like to share?" The answer is that there is nothing more amazing and interesting than Krishna consciousness. It brings one into direct communion with God Himself, the source of all existence, twenty-four hours a day.

How to Share Krishna with my Family?

Question:  How to Share Krishna with my Family?

I have very recently started to follow Krishna Consciousness and already I feel its affects in my life. It has been a source of joy for me and so naturally I want to share it with my family. But I am uncertain on how to do this. Firstly I am more then a little scared of being alienated from them if I seem over-zealous. Secondly the people in my family are either atheist or very staunch Christians so ideas like reincarnation and karma could sound foolish or heretical to them. Lastly I am a little worried that if I don't represent my faith well that it might leave a bad impression of Krishna Consciousness.

Answer:  Melt Them with Sweet Words

Thank you very much for taking up the process of Krishna consciousness. This is the most wonderful news that you have joined us in practicing Krishna consciousness. The basic principle in convincing others about Krishna consciousness is humble persuasion by always speaking sweetly and politely. This is elaborately described by Srila Prabhupada in his Caitanya Caritamrita purport as follows:

"Impersonalist Mayavadis always try to defy Vaisnavas because Vaisnavas accept the Supreme Personality as the supreme cause and want to serve Him, talk with Him and see Him, just as the Lord is also eager to see His devotees and talk, eat and dance with them. These personal exchanges of love do not appeal to the Mayavadi sannyasis. Therefore the original purpose of the Mayavadi sannyasis of Benares in meeting Caitanya Mahaprabhu was to defeat His personal conception of God. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, however, as a preacher, turned the minds of the Mayavadi sannyasis. They were melted by the sweet words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and thus became friendly and spoke to Him also in sweet words. Similarly, all preachers will have to meet opponents, but they should not make them more inimical. They are already enemies, and if we talk with them harshly or impolitely their enmity will merely increase. We should therefore follow in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as far as possible and try to convince the opposition by quoting from the sastras and presenting the conclusion of the acaryas. It is in this way that we should try to defeat all the enemies of the Lord."
--from purport Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 7.99

Although atheists and Christians generally take issue with the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, if we diligently follow example of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we will be able to gradually bring them to Krishna consciousness.

How to Get Free from Material Desires?

Question:  How to Get Free from Material Desires?

Whenever I think of Lord Krishna I feel alone as if Krishna is not with me. Why is this so?

It becomes quite hard for me when I think about leaving everything, giving up all material desires. I feel that material desires are a part of my life. Even I feel that we are born to live under guided by these. How can I get free from all these materialistic desires and feel that Lord Krishna is always with me?

Answer:  Spiritualize Them

Actually you are never alone. Lord Krishna is with you at every minute. But now you are feeling alone because you have become covered by maya or illusion. If you will seriously take up on a regular daily basis the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra, all of your feelings of loneliness will go away, and you will feel how you are swimming in the unlimited ocean of Lord Krishna' most sublime association at every minute.

Desire cannot be stopped. It is a natural function of the living entity. If you will simply engage your material desires in the service of Krishna, they will gradually be transformed into spiritual desires, and you will naturally become completely free from all material desires.

We have an unlimited ocean of transcendental knowledge to satisfy your thirst for knowledge beyond your wildest dreams.

Is the Pleasure of Chanting Real?

 Question:  Is the Pleasure of Chanting Real?

After reading lesson C47 I remembered that once you mentioned that this life is just like taking a train, just for transportation to another life, a better one, which is our destination. In lesson C47 you said there is no point in trying to squeeze the pleasure out of this life, that we should focus on the more important task, which is the destination towards which this life can take us.

Therefore, I have to ask: Just as on a trip with the train  we try to make ourselves comfortable, we try to enjoy the trip itself, as long as it takes, of course knowing that when we reach the destination we have to get off the train, why then we should despise this life we are living and not enjoy it? I do not mean by this that we should involve in perverted activities (like greediness or lust). You give us advice to chant and glorify God all the time, even in this life. Isn't that also a form of enjoying this life? Is it wrong for someone to think that the pleasure he/she gets from chanting is not real pleasure, but an illusion?

Answer:  Chanting Pleasure is Really, Really Real!

Krishna consciousness means to enjoy life unlimitedly right now right here today by reconnecting ourselves in love with that Supreme Person, Who is the source of everything including existence itself.

The pleasure of chanting of Hare Krishna is real pleasure. It is not any sort of illusory, temporary pleasure like that which is experienced alternatively in this material world with so many varieties of material miseries. It is pure pleasure that stands fully on its own, unlike material pleasure which requires being contrasted with material miseries to be appreciated.

How to Reach 16 Rounds Every Day?

Question:  How to Reach 16 Rounds Every Day?

I am trying to do sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna chanting each day. Sometimes I reach the goal. Sometimes I do not. How can I achieve this goal of chanting 16 rounds every day without fail?

Answer:  Don't Neglect to Feed the Soul

Your desire to be steady every day in chanting at least sixteen rounds is a first class desire.

As we make sure to eat sufficient meals each day for keeping our body satisfied and healthy, we must similarly make sure that we chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra on japa mala beads every day to make sure that the spirit-soul, which is situated in the body, is in an enlivened spiritually-surcharged state.

Just as we do starve the body by not eating, a devotee does not neglect the spiritual upkeep of the soul within. After all, the real self is the soul within, not the temporary body, which is a covering only. Therefore each day our first priority should be to complete at least 16 rounds of japa before we even think about eating. So rise early before dawn, take your bath, apply tilaka to your body, dress nicely in devotional clothing, and fully absorb yourself in chanting until you have completed at least 16 rounds of japa. Then you may take your breakfast and begin your daily duties.

Why Are My Good Qualities Gone?

Question:  Why Are My Good Qualities Gone?

I made advancement in Krishna consciousness, and become familiar with the process, my good qualities went away. Though I can taste much happiness in chanting,  (I like to be with Krishna during chanting, and I may like to chant for hours, feeling very happy and inspired.) yet some of my good qualities have gone away. I want to be recognized by other devotees. I am always proud, even though I can feel some upsurge of humility during chanting. But previously I was very sincere. At that time I did not want any recognition. Why do such subtle desires come out? Today I can see the devotees' good qualities in the recordings of their chanting, in the photos of their association, but I myself do not have their good qualities. I feel myself to be rascal number one, not worthy of their blessings. So I want to ask, why are my good qualities gone? What happened? How to get them back?

Answer:  Your Good Qualities Have Increased

In the beginning you could not see your faults because you no had idea of what is false pride and how to conquer it. But now, because you have seriously taken up the pathway of Krishna bhakti under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, you are experiencing a powerful awakening of natural humility and saintly qualities within your heart. This is truly wonderful. I am very happy to see how genuine bhakti is dawning within your heart.

To make steady progress on the path of bhakti it is necessary to become more and more aware of our faults. This is why it is the duty of the spiritual master to chastise his disciples. This is his mercy upon his disciples to help them become free from the six finds of faults: lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion, and envy. That you are realizing your faults even without being so much corrected is your great credit. I am very proud to have a sincere student as you. Kindly continue as you are doing:  chanting and following the bhakti principles. Your rewards will be unlimited. You will see Krishna face to face and become His personal associate.

When Will the Kali Yuga End?

Question:  When Will the Kali Yuga End?

In this Kali yuga material comfort is given the prime importance. If one has to survive in today's world, one has to take up a job or do business, otherwise, nobody is going to feed us. After a hectic day when one returns home one has to attend to the household chores. There is hardly an hour to pray to the Almighty. In such a situation one can only aim to achieve Nirvana by praying in the morning and evening and abstaining from a sinful life. Is this not sufficient?

Another doubt is regarding rebirth. In Hinduism one has to do sraddha every year on the death anniversary of one's relatives.  one has to perform this ritual, otherwise the soul will not get peace. Now my question is if that person is in another body already why should we perform this? Moreover in the next birth the soul does not recollect anything from the previous birth.

Answer:  As Soon As You Take Up Krishna Consciousness Seriously

In terms of happiness and peace of mind, we were much better off as a world society in former times when every family had some land and a cow and easily got all their eatables by planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. God supplied the land, the sunshine, the water, and the seeds. while the bull provided the labor.

Now we have gotten away from the land and crowded ourselves into congested, heavily polluted, expensive, crime-ridden cities, which are in constant danger of terrorist attacks. What have we gained by all of this industrialization and high technology? We can now risk our lives on the highway every day as we commute long hours to and from our place of employment. We have become the slaves of mega-corporations who work us like machines as long as it it is profitable and lay us off as soon the the corporate profits are endangered. While we formerly had peaceful, dignified, healthy lives raising our families in the fresh, open air and sunshine, we now spend our days as corporate slaves stuck in cubicles in constant fear of losing our jobs, our houses, and our cars. We have little contact with our children, who are stuck in impersonal day care centers or in schools which teach them that they evolved from the monkeys and how to wear condoms for enjoying monkey-l ike sex with their classmates.

So how we can we maintain our sanity in the midst of all this chaos? The  answer is given by Krishna:

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform--do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me."
--Bg 9.27

If we will follow this simple principle of offering every thing we eat to Krishna, offering our long hours at work to Krishna, offering our families and our very selves to Krishna, we will live in a wonderful higher-than-nirvana anxiety-free spiritual atmosphere at every minute, 24 hours a day.

Is this some make believe fairy tale? No, it is already being done every day at every moment by thousands and thousands of members of the worldwide Hare Krishna movement. Join with us today in full Krishna bhakti bliss and say good-bye to your anxieties once and for all. Kindly participate in the activities of your nearest Hare Krishna center. They will teach you how to always live in this sublime state of consciousness known as Krishna consciousness.

If you will regularly chant the Hare Krishna mantra there is no need to perform the sraddha ceremony for the deliverance of your departed ancestors from inauspicious circumstances.  Simply by your becoming a pure devotee of Lord Krishna twenty one generations of your ancestors will become delivere from material existence back to their original home in the spiritual world.

Kali yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, will continue for the next 427,000 until Kalki Avatar brings in another Satya Yuga. But for you the Kali yuga will end immediately, if you will seriously take up the pathway of Krishna consciousness. You will be living in the Satya yuga right now!