मैं सीता बनकर बहुत खुश हूं : साहिबा

साहिबा अहमद इन दिनों बहुत खुश हैं। वजह यह है कि उन्हें दिल्ली की एक रामलीला में सीता की भूमिका निभाने का मौका मिला। उनका कहना है कि मुझे इस बात का फख्र है कि मैं रामलीला में ऐसा किरदार को निभा रही हूं जो हिंदू धर्म में बेहद अहम है। केवल साहिबा ही नहीं बल्कि दिल्ली में हो रही अन्य कई रामलीलाओं में ऐसे कितने ही छोटे-बड़े किरदार हैं जिन्हें मुस्लिम कलाकार निभा रहे हैं।

दरियागंज में रहने वाली साहिबा का कहना है कि वह अपने मां-बाप की अकेली संतान हैं। अभी वह बीए कर रही हैं साथ ही मॉडलिंग का भी उन्हें शौक है। पंजाबी बाग के टीटी पार्क में हो रही श्री रामलीला कमिटी की डायरेक्टर की ओर से उन्हें सीता की भूमिका निभाने का न्योता मिला। इसके बाद उन्होंने अपने मम्मी-पापा से बात की और परिवार की रजामंदी मिलते ही सीता बनने के लिए हामी भर दी। वह पहली बार सीता बनी हैं। दो महीने की प्रैक्टिस से उन्होंने सीता के सभी डायलॉग याद कर लिए। उन्होंने बताया कि सीता की भूमिका निभाना अच्छा लग रहा है। आगे भी अगर सीता बनने का मौका मिला तो वह इस भूमिका को जरूर निभाएंगी।

साहिबा का कहना है कि उनकी चचेरी बहन तबस्सुम भी इसी रामलीला में कैकेई बनी थी। इसके अलावा जनकपुरी की संपूर्ण लीला में भी कई रोल मुस्लिम कलाकार कर रहे हैं। यहां लंकापति रावण के बेटे मेघनाद की दबंग भूमिका में फैज नजर आ रहे हैं तो फरहान विभीषण बने हुए हैं। इनके अलावा जावेद रावण के मामा मारीच का रोल कर रहे हैं। यहां श्रीराम, सीता और लक्ष्मण आदि का मेकअप करने वाले भी बब्बू खान हैं। इनका कहना है कि कलाकारों की कोई जाति या धर्म नहीं होता। हमें तो बस किसी भी रूप में अपना अच्छे से अच्छा अभिनय करके दिखाना है। और फिर सबसे पहले तो हम इंसान हैं, बाद में कुछ और।

इसके अलावा लालकिला मैदान में हो रही लवकुश रामलीला में कैकेई की भूमिका आसिफा ने निभाई है। इससे पहले वह इसी लीला में सीता का किरदार भी निभा चुकी हैं।

Is Jesus Jealous If I Love Krishna?

Question: Is Jesus Jealous If I Love Krishna?

After all my spiritual journey in self realization I have come back to the basics and returned to bhakti yoga. I am happy chanting, although I only chant two rounds daily. I'm married with two children and I beg Sri Krishna for the grace to stop eating meat. I'm making adjustments to keep in the path. Thank you for your free internet course on the Bhagavad-gita. I receive it in Spanish.

Even though I was born and raised as a Catholic, I find that my love for Sri Krishna is compatible with the love for Jesus Christ. Is this okay? Help me understand how because sometimes I am afraid that Jesus will feel jealous of my love for Krishna.

Answer: Jesus Orders Us to Love Krishna

It is very wonderful that you have come back to bhakti yoga. Welcome home! Bhakti is the purest essence of the self-realization path.

I am most pleased to hear of your spiritual progress how you are becoming awakened in Krishna consciousness. Kindly continue is this spirit awakening your dormant Krishna consciousness more and more and your life will be amazingly sublime.

Jesus is not at all jealous if we love Krishna. In fact he has ordered us that we must love Krishna. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." The more we love the father, the more the son is pleased. And the more we love the son, the more the father is pleased. So with complete joy in your heart continue expanding your Krishna consciousness more and more until your heart is overflowing with so much bhakti that your family members become submerged in the nectarean ocean of bhakti by the power of your association.

Guidance for Psychiatric Patient

Question: Guidance for Psychiatric Patient

What guidance can you give me since I am a psychiatric patient?

Answer: Engage Your Mind in Krishna Consciousness

Being a psychiatric patient means that you are suffering from mental disturbances. The first step to become liberated from these disturbances is to understand that you are not your mind, that the mind is simply a tool that you can use in the way you choose to use it. The mind can elevate you or degrade you depending on which way you use it. If you will absorb your mind in Krishna consciousness, you will become ever more blissful and delivered from all anxiety. And if you will engage your mind in sense gratification, your life will become more and more full of anxieties. So try now to engage your mind in Krishna consciousness by reading Krishna consciousness literatures and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra as much as possible. If you can regularly discipline your mind in this way, your psychiatric difficulties will soon be over.

Incarnations of Krishna

Question: Incarnations of Krishna

What are the different incarnations of Krishna as the Supreme Lord?

Answer: Absolutely Uncountable

Even if we could count every grain of sand on all of the beaches of the world, we could not begin to count the innumerable incarnations of Krishna that are manifested throughout the material world and the spiritual world. So there is no way that we can have a complete list. Even if we were to go on for all of eternity compiling a list of the incarnations of Krishna we would never ever be able to cover even an insignificant fraction of the infinite number of incarnations of Lord Sri Krishna.

Freedom from Sex Desire

Question: Freedom from Sex Desire

I know a person who has a dependence on sex. But he is trying to become anti-sexual. He is gay. I like this friend and want to help him. Maybe you can advise me what to do it.

Answer: Base Happiness on Pleasing Krishna

You may inform your friend that as long as we base our happiness on the gratification of our material senses we must necessarily suffer through so many miseries. If we want actual happiness we must come to the platform of engaging all of our senses in the service of the Lord of the senses, Lord Sri Krishna. This and only this will bring lasting peace and happiness to the self.

Help Me Get Out of Suffering

Request: Help Me Get Out of Suffering

If I can be granted any mercy or favor in your sight, please respond with patience and understanding for my ignorance and gross darkness; I am not a devotee.

1. I have the most difficult time trusting God since my prayers don't get answered.

2. I gather that He is aloof and that there is no guarantee for salvation unless I earn it, and still there is no guarantee. Because of unanswered prayers in my practices, I struggle with trusting any deity though I thirst for a personal living God. I am told there is one, but He is not real to me. I am reluctant to surrender to a deity for fear of discouragement, and I am thus walking away from God like I have done many times in the past. Voidism is a 'safe haven' for avoiding this discouragement by putting my salvation all on me, but it does not fulfill the heart of craving for fellowship. Plus, I have been let down by false masters who have knowledge but no wisdom. Worse, they knock other religions and have monetary motivations. Please assist me in this search and help me get out of suffering.

Answer: Follow My Instructions. You Will Be Saved.

If you are prayers are not being answered, you are not praying properly. It is a fact that God is aloof from those approach Him to fulfill their material desires. But He becomes the intimate associate of those who approach Him to humbly submit themselves at His feet as His eternal servants. Your salvation is 100% guaranteed if you will simply surrender yourself to Him. Voidness or the philosophy of absolute nothingness can never bring happiness to your heart because it denies your very existence, which is an obvious absurdity. If a guru teaches that there are different religions, he is not bona fide because religion is one, to become a pure lover God. And he is after your money, he is also not bona fide because the bona fide spiritual master is attracted to Krishna and only to Krishna.

If you are ready to fully open heart and learn the science of bhakti, I am willing to teach you, but for the teachings to be effective you have to be willing to carefully and sincerely follow my instructions. If you will adopt the proper practice of bhakti under qualified guidance I can assure you that will gradually become free from all suffering.

Convincing Members of Other Religions

Question: Convincing Members of Other Religions

why are there so many different religions on this planet? How can I convince a person from another religion about the truth of Krishna?

Answer: First Convince Them That Religion is One

As I have many times explained, this concept of many religions is a man made conception. It does not come from God. When the one true pathway of developing pure love for God becomes politicized, then there is the emergence of this religion and that religion.

Those who are still caught up in the misconception of this religion and that religion should be educated to properly understand that religion is one, to become a pure lover of God. When they can understand this their Krishna consciousness has already begun.

Is Accumulation of Material Wealth Good?

Question: Is Accumulation of Material Wealth Good?

Wealthy people have more probability of turning to spiritual side as they have access to the knowledge. Poor people are unaware of the spiritual knowledge and hence will never get to the spiritual side. Therefore, making people wealthy seems the only way to increase the number of people following spiritual path. Am I correct? Why are we not working on this rather than trying to make a few wealthy people turn to the spiritual path? I get confused over these thoughts.
Answer: Accumulation of Spiritual Wealth is the Best

Wealth and poverty are not determining factors for a person's taking to Krishna consciousness. Sometimes we see that a poor person is more inclined to spiritual life than a wealthy person. So instead of focusing our attention on how to make everyone more wealthy in the material sense, we should devote our energy to making everyone unlimitedly wealthy in the spiritual sense by awakening the dormant Krishna consciousness in the hearts of all human beings by the massive public performance of harinam sankirtana in every town and village all over the world on a regular daily basis.

How to Overcome Depression and Material Attachments?

Question: How to Overcome Depression and Material Attachments?

How to overcome depression and material attachments? It is very difficult for me to do this. I am very much attracted to the material world. I know that is false, just an illusion, but please guide me how to overcome this attraction.

Answer: Become Attached to Krishna

Depression comes automatically for those who are attached to this material world. The only way to overcome this attachment is to develop a higher attachment to Krishna and Krishna consciousness.

But kindly note that this material world is not false, nor is it an illusion. Just as the spiritual world is real, this material world is also real. Within a state the university is real and the prison is also real. The prison is for those who disobey the laws of the state. Similarly, this material world is the prison house for those who have disobeyed the laws of God.


Over the years mystics have debated whether there is a Self or not and some claim that the core experience is not the Self but the void or emptiness. When I look here and now to the core of my experience I discover my awareness. Awareness contains both understanding and feeling in their most basic forms: understanding that precedes specific thoughts, feeling that precedes specific emotions. There is also a sense of “I” that does not identify with my body or my life story, but with awareness itself. If you want to call this a void you can, but it is a feeling, conscious, Self-aware void. About a year after I began to meditate I had a significant experience. I was meditating one day in India when I began to feel myself levitating. I floated to the top of the room and hovered near the ceiling. I thought: “I am doing the Indian rope trick, I will be in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.” I had no doubt that my whole body was floating in the air until I opened my eyes and looked down. Then I saw that my body was still sitting in meditation. So it wasn’t that my body was levitating, I had left my body. Whatever I was, was on the ceiling. I understood in that moment, by direct experience beyond any doubt, what is meant when the teachings say that you are not the body, you are the Self. In India the quest for the experience of the peace of the Self is given the generic term yoga. The term yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yuj to “join” or “harness”. The English word “yoke” comes from the same root. The yoke was an important instrument in Vedic society since it controlled the horses which pulled the plough or the cart. In the Vedic mind there was a correspondence between joining the horse to the plough and joining the mind to the Self. Thus, yoga means “union”, the uniting of different aspects of a person in order to uplift him. Yoga encompasses techniques such as breathing exercises, chanting, service, and especially contemplation and meditation that bring about this union. In the West the term yoga is most often associated with the physical postures of hatha yoga. The term yoga has a much wider application. When I use the term I particularly refer to meditative practices which increase selfknowledge and connect us to the inner Self. A definition of yoga I like is: “Yoga is intelligent effort”. Yoga does imply effort. One school of thought claims that since the Self is always present no effort need be made to attain it. This is an attractive thought, but in practice it is nonsense and even harmful. The Self can be experienced spontaneously by grace, or by accident, but to stabilize in the Self, a consistent, intelligent and passionate effort must be made for a long time to realize it completely. Few become anchored in the Self when they first hear the teaching. Most of us have to go through a long practice of meditation and contemplation and make inner progress little by little, bit by bit. No amount of effort that goes in the wrong direction will attain the goal. We may run with courage, stamina and speed, but if we are going in the opposite direction we will not reach the finish line. There must be true insight and understanding. Meditation helps us understand ourselves and shows us in what direction our effort can be profitably harnessed.

How Do I Find a True Guru?

Question: How Do I Find a True Guru?

I cannot believe that your holy self has replied to my mail. Please guide me that how do I find a true guru? What are the qualities that I should ascertain before requesting someone to make me his/her disciple? Also tell me what all qualities I should cultivate in myself to become a receptive disciple. I am searching the true light which is eluding me. Is it lying dormant inside myself?

Answer: You've Already Found One

You don't have to worry about finding a true guru because you have already found one. To confirm his credentials you need to see if he is presenting the Bhagavad-gita exactly as it was spoken by Krishna without any interpretation. Our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krishna who presents the Bhagavad-gita precisely as it is without any interpretation. And he has trained us how to act in the same capacity. So if you put yourself under our guidance as a disciple you are sure to be properly led on the pathway back to home, back to Godhead.

Yes, the true light is lying dormant within you. And now if you will approach the bona fide spiritual master in all humility with submissive inquiries and loving service, by his grace the dormant Krishna consciousness, which has been sleeping in your heart for countless lifetimes, will be fully revived. You will attain the supreme happiness.

Question: Qualification for Devotional Service

Sir, why is it that some people get interested in Krishna Consciousness quickly while some people don't get interested quickly? Is it because the latter people will get interest in Krishna Consciousness when they are ready to love Lord Krishna? If yes, what makes a person ready to love Lord Krishna?

Answer: Previous Contact or Special Mercy

Those who take a quick interest in Krishna consciousness do so because they had a contact with it in their previous lifetime. Even a slight contact with Krishna consciousness will revive the interest of such persons, who will then seriously try to cultivate love of Krishna.

But Krishna consciousness is so powerful that even if a person had no contact with it in a previous lifetime, he can still take an interest in cultivating love of Krishna by the combined mercy of Guru and Krishna.

Pray Away the Swine Flu?

Question: Pray Away the Swine Flu?

If everyone in ISKCON prays, will the swine flu go away?

Answer: Pray Our Way Back to the Spiritual World

Our Hare Krishna prayer, the mahamantra, is not a material cure for getting rid of the swine flu or any of the unlimited types of sufferings that are going on every day here in this material world. Our chanting is for getting out of this material world, for going back to the spiritual world where the swine flu and all other types of material miseries are conspicuous by their absence. In other words, the miseries of the material world will always be here because this is the world of misery. One who wants to become free from all miseries should fully qualify himself to go back to the abode of Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not that by prayer the material miseries will stop. No. Rather it is by sincerely praying to serve the Lord that we will escape this world of miseries and attain eternity, knowledge, and bliss in the spiritual sky.

Peace When in Anxiety for Krishna?

Question: Peace When in Anxiety for Krishna?

When I was doing my Bhagavad-gita assignment I got this doubt. In Chapter 5 verse 12, the Lord says "The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the results of all activities to Me". Srila Gurudeva, but there is anxiety when the activity is going on that the final result should be pleasing to Sri Guru and Krishna. I am also reading Srila Prabhupada's book for our Sunday classes. Srila Prabhupada was in anxiety when he sent his disciples for acquiring land for Mayapur, when the project at Bombay got delayed, when the publishing of books got delayed, etc. He was happy and breathed with relief after the results were achieved. Before peace could be experienced, there is anxiety from another project that it should come out well for Krishna. Srila Gurudeva, then how is peace experienced or how to implement the above instruction in real life?

Answer: Anxiety for Krishna is Real Peace

The anxiety of a devotee who is trying to please guru and Krishna, is not like the anxiety of a materialist who is hankering for sense gratification. Because the devotee's anxiety is for pleasing Krishna, his anxiety is transcendental bliss.

Did Prabhupada Fully Realize the Self?

Question: Did Prabhupada Fully Realize the Self?

Did Swami Prabhupada fully realize "the self"? If so, did he say when and how?

Answer: Prabhupada Never Forgot Krishna

A spiritual master is always liberated. In any condition of his life he should not be mistaken as ordinary human being. This position of a spiritual master is achieved by three processes. One is called sadhana siddha. That means one who is liberated by executing the regulative principles of devotional service. Another is kripa siddha, one who is liberated by the mercy of Krishna or His devotee. And another is nitya siddha who is never forgetful of Krishna throughout his whole life. These are the three features of the perfection of life. In this connection Srila Prabhupada stated, "Throughout my whole life I do not know what is illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating or gambling. So far my present life is concerned, I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krishna." Therefore we can understand that Srila Prabhupada is a nitya siddha who was Krishna conscious from his very birth.

Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Question: Bad Things Happen to Good People?

How to control mind?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Answer: No One is Purely Good

The mind becomes automatically controlled by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra as much as possible throughout the day, especially during the early morning hours.

In this material world no one is purely good. Everyone has a combination of good and bad karma coming from previous pious and sinful activities. Therefore when bad things happen to good people, they are simply getting their just rewards for previous sinful activities committed either in this lifetime or in previous lifetimes.

"No Mind" Concept on the Bhakti Path

Question: "No Mind" Concept on the Bhakti Path

Some weeks ago you were writing about the state of no thoughts. Perhaps you were referring to what in Buddhism is called the state of "no mind." First I will try to describe what the state of "no mind" really is in the experience of the silent traditions. Then I would like to have a look at its meaning for those who are following the way of devotion.

As I understood by reading books of spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle and through my own experience by practicing silent meditation and japa as well, state of no-mind is a state of awakness and awarness. Actually it is the natural state of the spiritual being beyond and between thoughts and emotions. The inner wisdom deeply to know that I AM. Somebody who lives in that state of no-mind is always in touch with the divine origin of thoughts and emotions. He or she has realized that all the thougts are coming from the divine ground, from God Himself.

Now, what does that mean for those who are following the path of bhakti? The state of no-mind is attained when one's mind is not resting outside in the world of phenomenon but when one's mind is kept in the heart, in the soul. If one's attention is concentrated on that conscious witness of thougts and emotions, this is called soul-consciousness, the platfrom where real bhakti begins. Generally I think we have to be very careful of judging other ways and traditions. Often we only have a conceptual understanding of them and not the experince beyond the words like onenss, impersonal consciousness, no mind, and so on.

Answer: Mind Fixed in Trance Upon Lord Sri Krishna

Everyone is already thinking "I am." The problem is that "I am" is being directed towards matter instead of spirit. Instead of thinking "I am spirit-soul", they are misdirecting their "I am" towards the material body and considering themselves to be white or black, male or female, etc--so many false designations.

While the concept of "no mind" may be attractive to a mind that is too much disturbed by the material energy, it is still a thought conceived of with an active mind. The Vedas describe the state of no mind as Brahman realization. It is a stage of perfection that can be achieved only after undergoing great penances and austerities. The same Vedic wisdom also describes that in spite of all the difficulties one must undergo to achieve "no mind", it is only a temporary state in which one cannot permanently remain, that one must eventually return to the realm of material thoughts. Therefore the Vedic wisdom recommends a higher state of perfection known as Bhagavan realization in which the mind is fully surcharged and actively absorbed 24/7 in thoughts on the absolute plane. Once achieving Bhagavan realization one is guaranteed never to come again to the distressful plane of material thoughts.

So for those on the path of bhakti the concept of "no mind" means the ultimate perfection, the Bhagavan realization stage. On this perfectional stage the mind is 100% absorbed in remembering the transcendental name, fame, form, pastimes, entourage, paraphernalia of that stupendously amazing and sweet personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, who is described as follows in choice poetry by Lord Brahma:

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛtti-manti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraṁ jaganti
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane."
Brahma-Samhita 5.32

In the Bible God says, "Judgment is mine." So we can avoid judgmentalism by accepting without arguments the judgments of the Supreme Lord. Instead of concocting our own judgments we should simply try to understand the judgment of the Supreme Authority. Then we will gain perfect knowledge. We have seen that some people come along wanting to pass negative judgments on others, that they are being judgmental. This is hypocrisy. If it is wrong to judge, how can one pass judgment on others that they are being judgmental? Our accusing finger comes right back and points at us.

Holy Name Has Taste Only After Initiation?

Question: Holy Name Has Taste Only After Initiation?

In the scriptures it is stated to chant 64 rounds. Why did Srila Prabhupada reduce it to 16? And why does he restrict us with various rules? And also, Maharaja, is it true that the taste of the holy name comes only after initiation?

Answer: Taste Greatly Magnified After Initiation

Actually the scriptural injunction as stated by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita is that we should chant His names 24 hours daily. So whether one is chanting 16 rounds or 64 rounds, this is a minimization of the Lord's instruction. The practical reality is that in today's hectic world many devotees are hard pressed even to complete 16 rounds in a day. So for such devotees how would 64 rounds be attainable? So this is Srila Prabhupada's special mercy to allow us to become accepted as initiated devotees even if we can complete only 16 rounds daily. Of course, if you are able to manage it in your schedule, you should chant at least 64 rounds daily. This will give you great spiritual strength. But if you can chant 16 rounds and engage the rest of your spare time and energy in preaching and distributing books of transcendental knowledge to those who are drowning in the ocean of ignorance, this will be even more pleasing to the Lord.

The four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, and no gambling are essential principles for those who want to awaken the dormant love of God which is sleeping within their hearts. If we are trying to light a fire, we should not be simultaneously pouring water on it. So, if one engages in the above mentioned sinful activities, he will be counteracting the purifying effects of chanting with sinful activities which pollute the soul.

By the mercy of Krishna there is taste in the holy name from the very beginning of the self-realization path. But as soon as one takes complete shelter of the lotus feet of the bona fide spiritual master by the process known as initiation, the taste of the holy name becomes magnified many times over.

How to Serve Guru?

Question: How to Serve Guru?

In what ways can a devotee serve his spiritual master in this age? What kind of spiritual duties does Spiritual master give?

Answer: Dedicate Your Life to His Mission

Since the spiritual master is fully absorbed in trying to save the fallen, conditioned souls of this world from the repetition of birth and death, the best service that you can render to him is to fully dedicated your entire life to assisting him in his mission.

When you fully surrender yourself at the lotus feet of the bona fide spiritual master he will engage you in whatever way you can best assist him according to your talents and propensities.

Easiest Way to Achieve Krishna Consciousness?

Question: Easiest Way to Achieve Krishna Consciousness?

What is the easiest way to achieve Krishna consciousness in today's life?

Answer: Full Surrender at Guru's Lotus Feet

According to the authorized Vedic wisdom undoubtedly the easiest and indeed the only way to attain the supreme perfection of Krishna consciousness is to fully surrender yourself at the lotus feet of the bona fide spiritual master.

Connect with Guru Through the Internet?

Question: Connect with Guru Through the Internet?

Gurudeva, when you say we need to seek out the association of a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him, can we use the Internet?

In this information age doesn't the Internet represent Krishna? It is not possible for most of us to come to Texas to live with you, although we would really like to.

Answer: Vibrational Connection is the Best

Srila Prabhupada describes that there are two forms of the spiritual master. One form is his vapuh, his physical presence. And the other form is his vani, his vibrational presence or his teachings. Of these two forms the vani is more important because while we sometimes have access to vapuh and sometimes do not have such access, we always have access to the instructions of the spiritual master. If we always faithfully carry out the instructions that we have received from the spiritual master, we live constantly in the shelter of this divine association.

Such instructions can be communicated via the Internet, via printed materials, via audio or video recordings, or by word of mouth. Regarding taking the Internet as a representation of Krishna, since Srila Prabhupada has written in purport to the Bhagavad-gita, "Anything extraordinarily opulent should be considered to represent Krishna's opulence," the Internet can be taken as a representation of Krishna's opulence.

Killing Plants Different From Killing Animals?

Question: Killing Plants Different From Killing Animals?
While I am a strict vegetarian from birth, many times my colleagues, mainly in the western world, have taken a dig at me on this topic. They argue that killing plants is the same as animals. When I highlight to them that there is a gradation of life forms, they laugh it off saying that who decides which is a better life form to kill? I would like the correct answer from you so I can reply when people make fun of me being a vegetarian.

Answer: Killing is Killing, But...

They are right. Killing plants is the same as killing animals. Whether I kill a rich man or a poor man, in either case I am guilty of murder. Whether I kill a plant or an animal, because they are both living beings, in either case I am guilty of murder.

So what to do? How will we survive? Krishna orders us to take foods from the categories of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and grains and to offer to them to Him before eating. If we offer such foods to Krishna before eating, He relieves us of the sinful reaction of killing the plant and transforms the foodstuffs from matter into spirit for the sanctification of our consciousness. He assures of this in the Bhagavad-gita. But He makes no such concession for the eating of meat, fish, and eggs. Because they are not offerable to Krishna, if we eat them, we are only eating lumps of sin, and we will suffer karmic reactions.

Since the plant's body is offered to Krishna, the living soul in the plant body will receive special blessings. His progress in the cycle of birth and death to the human form of life will be accelerated.

Question: Moment of Enlightenment is Fixed?

I have a little curiosity in continuation to the Question/Answer of 18 August 2009. The question was: "All scriptures state that God is omniscient and that He knows everything - past, present and future. Scriptures also state that humans have a certain element of free will. If God knows everything about our future, how exactly are we free?"

Your answer, "Knowing what someone will do and forcing them to do it are not the same thing," is convincing. But when God knows the future for a particular jiva that means the moment of going back to home from the cycle of birth and death is also fixed. Then is it possible to enlighten ourselves earlier and go back to home in the lotus feet of Lord Krishna?

Or in other words, is the moment of enlightenment in the cycle of birth and death of jiva already fixed?

Answer: No. It Is Up to You.

It is not fixed. It is up to you. You have control over when it will happen. But still Krishna knows.

Conditioned life is within time. But liberated life is in timelessness. This is why it is hard for you to grasp.

You will never be able to fully understand it as long as you are still entrapped within the time/space dimension. So do not be so much concerned about this. Simply try to become liberated as soon as possible by taking complete shelter of guru and Krishna. Then you will have perfect understanding of everything.

Does Taking Credit Reduce Bhakti?

Question: Does Taking Credit Reduce Bhakti?

Sir, is there a danger of a devotee's bhakti getting reduced if he takes credit for the fame of being a nice devotee.

Answer: Credit Takers Have Zero Bhakti

It is not that there is a danger of bhakti being reduced if a devotee takes credit for his reputation of being a nice devotee. His bhakti is already reduced. Why reduced? His bhakti is gone. He has no bhakti because he desires his own worship instead of Krishna's worship. His show of bhakti will soon be finished because pure bhakti is the only thing which fully satisfies the self.

Those who are actually Krishna conscious give all credit to their spiritual master for whatever progress they have made on the path of bhakti. The more that one gives credit to guru, Krishna, and Vaisnavas, the more he becomes recognized and naturally famous.