Krishna is always ready, but are you?
I read in one of your articles that Krishna takes care of every living being in this world. But hasn’t he send us here with a purpose to fulfill our karmas?
Hare Krishna. I have read your email and have noted its contents.
Your first question:
” I read in one of your articles that Krishna takes care of every living being in this world. But hasn’t he send us here with a purpose to fulfill our karmas?”
Ultimately everything is running under the direction of Krishna, but this material world is here for a specific reason. We came here because we wanted to be independent of God. To enjoy independently. So, Krishna is always looking out for his devotee and grants us the opportunity. Krishna gives us the opportunity to ‘try’ to be independent in this material world. Krishna is running everything, but we want to try so he says, “okay, here is your chance.” Of coarse it is a joke really- we cant even control our senses not to mention a million other things. We can’t control the wind, we cant control the rain, we cant control temperature in the air outside, Yet Krishna is contolling everything. Here everyone is thinking, “I can do what ever I want, I have freedom.” Freedom from what? Free to think we have freedom?
The material world is yet a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. In the spiritual world everything is blissful, full of love, all walking is dancing, all talking is singing, everything is done in a relationship with Krishna. Here in the material world, in fact, we can see that things look nice. There are beautiful women and hansom men and this world can be seen as a beautiful place: beautiful flowers, beautiful rivers, beautiful sunshine, sunsets, sunrises. This is somewhat like the spiritual world where Krishna lives in his two armed form, but its a perverted reflection- just as if you look into a muddy river you can barley see your face in the water. If we are looking at the ‘ideals’ as if we were inside a room looking out a foggy window, the material world looks very wonderful. That is because Krishna’s “external energy” looks beautiful to our material eyes. But, when the living entity comes into the material world (which is a manifestation of Krishna’s external energy), his “eternal love” for Krishna turns into lust and the entity is strongly bound by the stringent laws of material nature. We are not part of Krishna’s external energy (also called “maya” or “illusion”), we are part of Krishna internal energies. That is why we are not happy here. The “Jiva” is part of Krishna and at the same time an individual parcel of Krishna. So we can see that this world is a temporary place filled with temporary things. We are eternal and our eternal place is with Krishna. Srila Prabhupada writes:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead expanded Himself into many for His ever-increasing spiritual bliss, and the living entities are parts and parcels of this spiritual bliss. They also have partial independence, but by misuse of their independence, when the service attitude is transformed into the propensity for sense enjoyment, they come under the sway of lust. This material creation is created by the Lord to give a facility to the conditioned souls to fulfill these lustful propensities, and when they are completely baffled by prolonged lustful activities, the living entities begin to inquire about their real position”
Initially when we come here from the spiritual world, we have no bad karma. We create our bad karma here. Karma means: for every action that I do, there is a re-action. So, since my eternal love for Krishna is now turned into lust because I am in the material world, I will strive for something that I want. A man sees a beautiful woman: “Oh, look how can I get her.” He has to work like a dog to fulfill this lusty desire. Then he wants this and that and he is never really satisfied because he is always searching for ways to serve his senses- he is always making new bad karma. Bad Karma is what keeps us here in the material world.
This is karma: to work for something that will not bring us happiness: action, then reaction. He wants (lust), he works (action), he gets what he wants (re-action). But, when he begins to realize that it is not really satisfying at all, he inquires “who am I, why am I here, what is going on?” Or bad karma could also mean killing another living entity. Krishna loves all living beings and certainly doesnt want them harmed. Originally he knew all this, but that is what Krishna’s external energy does to the “jiva” the spiritual entity- he forgets who he is.
We carry our karma from previous lives also: if someone is very into doing service and good deeds for other people (a philanthropist) in his next life he will be rich- everyone will do good deeds for him- thats action and then re-action. So, you see this keeps him in this material world. Its a constant cycle.
But, to do service for Krishna, then you can get out of the cycle. By serving Krishna you can develop your eternal relationship with Him and then you can be with Him in the spiritual sky. But, not merging, we do not merge with Krishna. Krishna is not an idea or a force or some light. He is a real person, the Supreme Person. He is an individual The Supreme Individual and we are also an individual but small and weak compared to Krishna. We have similar characteristic: He has arms, we have arms, He has legs, we have legs and so on. So in the spiritual sky we can dance with him, be his friend, lover, consort, or what ever our desire is and that is eternal bliss.
“The words ‘I’ and ‘Me’ does not exist for us as nothing belongs to us but does that mean that we are not supposed to fulfill our duties towards our parents and our dependents?”
We are individuals and Krishna is also an individual. The words “I” and “me” do exist, you exist and I also exist. But “I” am not an American, or Indian, or Japanese, or Chinese. “I” am Krishna’s eternal servant. All the things in the world are not meant for “me”. I am not this body, I am the life force, the soul. With out the soul, the body is dead.
But the problems come when we go to serve our senses. When our senses tell us: “look food, I’m hungry: look beautiful women, I must have sex” We immediately listen to the eyes and the genitals, “Oh I must be hungry, Oh, i must have sex.” We must use our intelligence and not serve the senses, but control the senses and engage them in productive things that will make “us” happy. And what will make us happy? Developing a relationship with Krishna. Serving him without any expectation. So we can eat food first offered to Krishna and have children that will be Krishna Conscious.
Yes, our karma from a previous life may be to have a family, parents and children that we have to take care of. We should ‘not ever’ renounce our duties to our family. We can also show them Krishna. We should not renounce everything, this is not real renunciation. Real renunciation means serving Krishna with what we have.
“na karmanam anarambhan
naiskarmyam puruso asnute
na ca sannyasanad eva
“Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.”
Srila Prabhupada says that “Without purification, one cannot attain success by abruptly adopting the fourth order of life (sannyasa). According to the empirical philosophers, simply by adopting sannyasa, or retiring from fruitive activities, one at once becomes as good as Narayana. But Lord Krsna ‘does not approve this principle.’ Without purification of heart, sannyasa is simply a disturbance to the social order. On the other hand, if someone takes to the transcendental service of the Lord, even without discharging his prescribed duties, whatever he may be able to advance in the cause is accepted by the Lord (buddhi-yoga). Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Even a slight performance of such a principle enables one to overcome great difficulties.”
So we can see that mere “renunciation” is not the way to go, especially in the age of “Kali”. One does not give up useing his senses, but one uses his senses in the
service of Krishna. That is the real meaning of renunciation. In this way we are serving Krishna and renouncing any reaction we might get. We never think that we should do this or that for Krishna and expect something in return. Just unalloyed devotion to Krishna. If one has many material things, he should not throw them all away, he should use them in the service of Krishna. Use all the material resources available for Krishna. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita:
sannyasas tu maha-baho
duhkham aptum ayogatah
yoga-yukto munir brahma
“Unless one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, mere renunciation of activities cannot make one happy. The sages, purified by works of devotion, achieve the Supreme without delay.”
“I have to confess that at some point of time in my life I have committed certain sins. I knew I was wrong but due to certain circumstances I committed the blunders. Can I still get redemption from my sins if I surrender to god completely?”
Yes, simply chant the “maha-mantra”: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
In this material world, in the age of Kali, Krishna descends Himself in the form of the Holy Names (the maha-mantra). The maha-mantra and Krishna are non-different. By chanting these names and rendering service to Krishna you will relieve yourself of all sinful activity.
It is said in the Bhagavad-gita:
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”(BG 18.66)
Srila Prabhupada says:
“According to the devotional process, one should simply accept such religious principles that will lead ultimately to the devotional service of the Lord. One may perform a particular occupational duty according to his position in the social order, but if by executing his duty one does not come to the point of Krsna consciousness, all his activities are in vain. Anything that does not lead to the perfectional stage of Krsna consciousness should be avoided. One should be confident that in all circumstances Krsna will protect him from all difficulties. There is no need of thinking how one should keep the body and soul together. Krsna will see to that. One should always think himself helpless and should consider Krsna the only basis for his progress in life. As soon as one seriously engages himself in devotional service to the Lord in full Krsna consciousness, at once he becomes freed from all contamination of material nature. There are different processes of religion and purificatory processes by cultivation of knowledge, meditation in the mystic yoga system, etc., but one who surrenders unto Krsna does not have to execute so many methods. That simple surrender unto Krsna will save him from unnecessarily wasting time. One can thus make all progress at once and be freed from all sinful reaction.”
So surrendering means incorporating Krishna into your life. You can still have a job and serve your family, that is mandatory. Just simply bring Krishna and Srila Prabhupada into the picture and you will be guided in the right direction. It doesn’t matter how many sins you have committed, Krishna accepts anyone! Even if you kill another living entity, still, if you stop killing and you are sorry and you become a devotee of Krishna, He will forgive you. He is our eternal father. Sometimes we make mistakes like little chidren, but like a father forgives his chilren when they make a mistake, Krishna also forgives us. Krishna says:
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit a water, I will accept it.”
So Krishna says what he likes. He does not accept and dead flesh, dead meat, dead fish, or eggs. A devotee follows the following four regulations: “No meat eating, no illicit sex life (sex-life outside of marriage), no intoxication, and no gambling.” So just chant Hare Krishna with love and devotion and follow these four regulations. Its that easy! So it is all based on our desires, if we desire Krishna and we want to be with Him: then we can begin our devotional service to him. Sing his name (the maha mantra), offer food to his picture or statue, read his pastimes, there is so much we can do for Krishna. Everthing can be done for Krishna.
So there is no need to give it all up, simply incorporate Krishna into everything and then you will see, “Oh, Krishna is here and I dont want all this nonsense. I want to be with Krishna always.” A devotee is always happy serving Krishna where ever that devotee may be.
So “renounce all worldly pleasures” means to incorporate Krishna into your life and not just give everything up and take to the 4th order (sannyasa). This is not what Krishna wants. Sannyasa is the highest order of life means that one is expert in teaching and propagating Krishna Consciousness. That is the purpose of the fourth order. At the end of life, when one has full knowledge of Krishna Consciousness he takes sannyasa and preaches to others. In fact the sannyasa order is not recommended at all in the age of Kali. There are many phony Sannyasas looking for money, fame, admiration, and fortunes.
We can see quite clearly that Srila Prabhupada did not want anything for himself. He used everything anyone gave him for preaching Krishna Consciousness all over the world. The name “Hare Krishna” is all due to Srila Prabhupada. He is the 32nd acharya directly from Krishna when he spoke Bhagavad-gita on the battle field. So he is authorized to speak. Lord Caitanya says: “trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih”
“One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. ln such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)
Srila Prabhupada was so humble he said, “I may not be perfect, but the knowledge which I have taken from Krsna, if I present it as it is, without any interpretation, then what I give you, that is perfect. It is very easy to understand. I have given several times… Just like a peon has brought a money order for you, thousand dollars. So he’s giving you. So you cannot say, “Oh, here is a peon. He’s a poor man. How he can give me one thousand dollars? He’s not giving; the money is sent by somebody else. He’s simply handing you.”
So Krishna is always ready, but are you? Simply chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare as much as you can with love and devotion and Krishna will be pleased. This will immediately relieve you from all sinful activity.
Thank you very much for your letter. I hope that I have answered your questions. If there is anything else, please let me know.