Questions and Answers at NYC Rathayatra

June 14, 2014 |

English; New York City, USA

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Question:

In a lecture at the philosophical camp 2011, Baroda, Your Holiness gave a lecture titled "Path to hell is paved by good intentions". I have two questions related to this lecture:

1) Your Holiness said that one may think that his intentions are good, but it may not be good enough and one may not even know that. So how to ensure that one's intentions are good enough? Is that possible one may try his best to be good intentioned still his effort is not good enough?

2) Your Holiness mentioned that there are some main points that one must understand, then other misunderstandings can/will be cleared in a course of time. But Your Holiness didn't describe these main points. So if I can know which are these main points that one should understand?

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Should devotees observe a full fast of abstaining from water on Pandava Nirjala Ekadashi? Some devotees, don’t go to bed on Ekadashi, they stay awake all night and as soon as the night is over, they go to sleep. What should our attitude be?

Answer by HH Bhakti Vikāsa Swami: 

Observing jagarana – staying awake at night on Ekādaśī is the proper way to observe Ekādaśī, or if you want to observe it fully as in sastra, one should do that. Actually, there are many rules to follow. One’s last meal before the Ekādaśī should be at midday on the day before - on the Daśamī; and that should also be a very simple meal, according to sastra. And we have our daily duties and services to do in Kṛṣṇa’s service, so if just we go to sleep after staying awake all night, then in the name of extra service, we are cutting down our regular service. It’s like some devotees chant 64 rounds a day, but then they miss maṅgala-ārati, or they’re chanting their rounds during maṅgala-ārati… You’re trying to do something extra, but you’re cutting down on some of the basics. So, what’s the benefit? It’s best to stick to the basic things that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave us. If you want to do something extra, that’s nice, but we shouldn’t promote as if: “This is the great thing!” Prabhupāda already gave us all that we need for going back to Godhead. So, if we can just follow the basic things - that’s more than most devotees are doing. We always have to do something different. Or do something to show that we are better than others because we are doing something different. If you don’t do what I’m doing, then you can’t go back to Godhead. I’ve discovered the great secret. I’m the messiah for the present age. Hare Kṛṣṇa. If you go out and distribute books all night - that would be more pleasing to Śrīla Prabhupāda than staying awake. And a lot of this staying awake, I see actually they’re half-asleep anyway. So-called staying awake.

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