Hearing Devotees of Other Sampradayas

ASK BVKS | October 24, 2011 |

English;

Question:

I heard from other devotees and I also personally faced that many people of ISKCON, especially Tamil speaking initiated devotees are now hearing some lectures from "Velukkudi Krishnan," and they appericiate that. Some of the devotees used to go to the Mayavadi's sanga like of Muralidar, Krishna-premi etc.,

Velukkudi Krishnan is now speaking in the televisions also. Sorry say even the brahmin initiated devotees also hear his teachings including those who know English so please kindly guide us what to do. You know that people those who don't want to change themselves will never going to change but at least the innocent people may know what to do.

Audio answer:

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Question: Since I got children it has been hard for me to follow a strict sadhana. Not only because of having children but also because my husband desires for me to take care of the household in the best possible way and keep a high standard (cleaning, cooking etc.). Around me I have some devotees telling me that I should not worry too much about strictly chanting 16 rounds, raising early and reading, that I will have more time for that in the future. In one way I am inclined to agree that it may be better not to brake my neck but at the same time I know that these are the things that keep us going as devotees and are part of the initiation promise. I pendle between the two ways of thinking and can't settle in my understanding. What is the right way of thought?… Expand>

Question:

Since I got children it has been hard for me to follow a strict sadhana. Not only because of having children but also because my husband desires for me to take care of the household in the best possible way and keep a high standard (cleaning, cooking etc.). Around me I have some devotees telling me that I should not worry too much about strictly chanting 16 rounds, raising early and reading, that I will have more time for that in the future. In one way I am inclined to agree that it may be better not to brake my neck but at the same time I know that these are the things that keep us going as devotees and are part of the initiation promise. I pendle between the two ways of thinking and can't settle in my understanding. What is the right way of thought?

The second is in regards to my children. I always had a strong desire for my children to have a devotional education. To either attend gurukula or be homeschooled. Unfortunately neither is possible where we liveand my husband does not think it is a good thing to move anywhere else. I am very, very scared that our children will be too much influenced by the association in karmi-school and that it will bring them away from Krishna consciousness. What can I do to lessen the risks for this? 

 

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

"...Generally in response to such questions posed by grihasta devotees I suggest that they take advice from other grihastas who are in a similar situation and have been able to negotiate it well in Krishna consciousness. There is no doubt that having children is a major involvement. Especially in the nuclear family, whereas in the extended family there are many mothers looking after the many children. In one letter Srila Prabhupada wrote to a lady disciple who obviously had previously been involved in deity worship. Srila Prabhupada wrote to her that now that she had a child her main service was looking after her baby, not worshiping the Deities.

BUSY PERIOD
Traditionally in Bengal, ladies who wanted to be initiated as Vaishnavas would wait until their main child bearing period was over. Realizing that during that period they’re going to be very, very busy. Anyway, Srila Prabhupada never said to do that, but that traditional practice does recognize the difficulty of maintaining spiritual practice while having children. I am not much in favor of these counting machines for chanting, these “click, click, click… Hare Krishna…click, click”. But I’ve told lady disciples of mine that have have children, especially young children that they can use it. It’s not first class but it is better than nothing and that is really the spirit in which we all have to do devotional service. That we all have to do the best under the circumstances we are in. There’s no perfect situation anywhere. Although in general devotees who don’t have many children or no children they are freer to perform sadhana than those who do have children. And then again, raising children in Krishna consciousness is another kind of service. It can be seen like that. Even though it might not seem to be very obvious that it’s devotional service to clean up the stool after a baby or to separate two young children who are fighting. But it can be seen in that perspective that to raise them in consciousness of Krishna.

EXTENDED FAMILY OF DEVOTEES
If you’re not able to chant all your rounds every day then you can keep a note. It might go up to a few thousand eventually, so later in life you can take up chanting more rounds if it comes to that. Then modern facilities give us the opportunity to listen to kirtan and lectures while cooking and doing everything else. In the absence of an extended family it would be good if all the ladies in that community got together. I don’t know if they do or not and help each other as much as possible.

NEVER NEGLECT YOUR CHILDREN
The children should not be neglected, that’s the point. Even if one’s own sadhana is neglected the children needs to be looked after. They need lot of attention. One way to engage the kids so they don’t bother you so much is to have a T.V. But that’s not a good idea. Not at all. It’s a common solution but it’s really not a solution at all.
So be happy and think that Krishna has put me in this situation at this time and it’s my service to look after the children and look after the family. And everything else you do as well as you can as far as possible not pushing yourself to hard so that you don’t get a mental or physical break down.

FESTIVALS ARE IMPORTANT
And festivals are very important for householder devotees, especially the children. Engaging the children and when they are a little older, preparing for the festivals. Engage them as soon as possible in temple activities. Decorating the temple, picking flowers for Krishna, making dramas, that is a great way to engage the kids and all the parents love it.

EDUCATION ANSWER
As far as education is concerned, for male kids, if possible they could be sent to gurukula in Mayapur. There has been some bad publicity concerning it recently. But as far as I can see it is by far better than what the karmi world can offer. And even it is far ahead of what ISKCON elsewhere has got to offer. There are grown children who are now adults and who are now initiated in Krishna consciousness. Just close here to Brno there is Nrsimha-caitanya, one devotee. How old is he? Early twenties? 24. Any others in this area, boys, girls? Oh, yes, your wife is also raised by devotee parents. So did your wife go to a karmi school? Devotee: “Yes.” 
So she survived it, so it is not impossible. So it would be very advicable for this mataji to consult the parents who for what ever reason was constrained to send their children to karmi schools but whose children have never the less emerged as good devotees. No easy solutions that’s for sure.

MAYA DOESN'T RELAX
It is a great struggle to establish Krishna consciousness in the modern world. But Krishna will be pleased by our service. We should try to do things as best as possible and also understand that we are also constrained by circumstances. It’s easy just to relax and say: “Okay…puh… Too much struggle. Okay, I’ll just chant Hare Krishna as much as I feel like it and watch TV as much as I feel like it. And what I feel, what I can do." But to be a disciple means to voluntary accept the struggle to become purified. To go up. So we try to make things as tight as possible. To keep us focused on the goal of becoming pure devotees. And to keep out maya. Sometimes we see devotees they are following strictly and all of a sudden “Prrrrr… Too much”. And then they collapse and flop into sense gratification. One day they have a flash or realization: “I don’t have to follow all these rules, I can just relax and be happy. And I can still chant Hare Krishna. When I like, how I like, as much or as little as I like. If I like. Oh, following all these rules…it is just too much, I can just relax”. But of course, maya does not relax. When we newly become a devotee we get a blast of bliss and then when we flop into maya we get a blast of maya’s bliss. But it is no bliss. And maya just goes on with her usual business of just squeezing out every drop of you.

KEEP UP THE STRUGGLE
So keep up the struggle. Even devotees sometimes say “I don’t feel like I’m making any progress”. Anyway, even if you feel like you’re not making any progress, just keep on going. Just like you’re in deep water and you don’t have enough strength to swim but you have enough strength to just stay afloat. So you’re not going anywhere but at least you’re not drowning. Hoping that someone may come and rescue me. So if we don’t have enough strength to swim, at least stay afloat and Krishna will come and rescue us. That doesn’t mean that we should just willingly make compromises with maya. But in situations where we find that we are not able to apply ourselves as sidiously as we would like to, just to the best we can, don’t give up."

 

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Guruji, I am from India and have been putting up in US for sometime.From the very begining of my life i am very low at confidence.Due to low confidence i also stammer at times.I always had a problem that people around me used to make fun of me and i used to feel bad , i dont know why i was not able to respond to their comments and i used to feel lonely.I used to visit astrologer and used to get to know that the upcoming time for me is very good and i will do a lot of good things and they named the celestial being ( Planet ) which powers me in rising in my life.When i completed my Graduation in India i started with a Job and could not perform as per my own expectations.I could not close even a single target.I am not sure whether it was too early for me judge myself in doing that job or i was right to understand that i could not do it.Later somehow i felt that i should give up drinking alcohol and eating non vegetarian food and may be god will do some good to me.I gave up these and i had carried a notion in my mind that i will do better if i give up these.I started gathering some confidence after this.Then i switched job and went into other stream.There i started doing good for some time.Later i faced a kind of same that i was not able to perform good and even people used to make fun of me and i used to become dumb and could not respond to them and started feeling bad about it.Later i started worshipping Lord Shani Dev Ji and i started offering prayers and chant mantra in the morning. I started with one and then i went up and started chanting the mantra three times in the morning.I started to gather some confidence and i started to respond to people in their own tone and used to feel good as now i was able to perform better in my job and even people could not make fun of me.I was at high time.I started chanting mantra on way to office and while coming back to home, when i used to be in public transport going to some place and i used to chant mantra whenever i get time.At some occaisions when i used to be free i used to relax and then the idea of mantra would come to my mind but i used to be interested in doing something else but due to fear of God i used to chant mantra.I also had fear that my performance on job and the way people treat me today would change if i dont chant mantra.I started to go against my wishes.After sometime i started doing some things which i thought would appease God.But after some time i realised that i am not happy doing those things although i maintained good job performance and good image amoong people.But i was not Happy with what i started doing to appease God.I was going against my mind in praying whenever i have free time and i doing things which are considered as per rituals while praying god.Slowly i started involving God in my decision making.Like if have to do something i would think what God will think about it and then i used to perform that task.I used to feel that God will get angry if do something or if i dont do something.I lost myself….I used to feel scared in doing anything.when i used to feel that my brain cannot memorise something very simple then i used to turn to God and my brain would catch the thing which i was trying to remember..I also started thinking about the task which i would be planning to do and its results whether I will be rewarded or punished for it by the celestial being (Planet) which favours my rise as per astrologers.I would not do even a single task without thinking on such lines.I would also try talking to god and ask whether a particular task is right or not and i used to feel that God responded.When i have to do something i would ask god and imagine god.This would now happen to all my tasks.This started increasing.I was nowehere myself.My fear started increasing.I would imagine some wrong things about God like shit going towards God and I would forcifully imagine myself coming in between and eating it and saving God and make an attempt not make God angry towards me.There used to be a lot of imaginations like this and i used to create a lot of imaginations to stop them all in attempt not to make God angry.I didnt used to initiate wrong imaginations and i dont know how they would come to my mind.At times i got mentally blocked as this activity reaches its peak i.e. the wrong imaginations come and then i try to overcome them using my own imaginations but then wrong imaginations would again come and i would repeat the same and this would go on.This makes be blank sometimes.some day somehow my mind wandered and there appeared to be some abuse for god in subconsiousness, i immediately asked for forgiveness from god.Today whenever i want to do something,i get fearful towards god and my mind tells me if u dont do or do something god will get angry at you.If my interest is towards something else but the imagination about god tells me do things other tha my interest and then i start to think if i will accept the imagination where i imagine about god then i will increasingly start doing this.And this will affect all other decisions i am making.But then i would give up and go as per my imagination about God and eventually my mind abuses god without my consiousness.When i will catch it in my consiousness,i would ask for forgiveness from god and either slap my self or pull my ears.Then i start to think i should not involve god in my decision making as it ends up in my mind abusing god.Then at times i feel god might get angry if i donnt involve the imagination about god in my decision making. 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Question:

My brother is having his wedding in the summer time on the east coast. I truly don’t want anything to do with weddings and especially those of materialists. I am close with my brother as him and his fiancé are both sweet people. (vegetarians, "half-devotees"). He comes to the temple for festivals and lets me use his facilities as I like (he lives in one of best book distribution places) Boulder, CO. Anyway, I’m saying all this because I truly just don’t know what to do. They really want me to go but I know it will be like hell and so painful to be around all the materialists eating, drinking, and being merry.

ANSWER by HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami: 

"Well, that’s good enough reason to go because, hopefully, in the normal course of events people only get married once in their life. So, it’s a big thing.

Maybe in America it’s 1.5 times or something like that, by average. Of course, you can’t get married 1.5 times, but on average... Or maybe it’s 2.5. I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just 1 because so many people get divorced and so many people don’t get married at all. It doesn’t mean they’ve all became monks. They are vyabhicari (unchaste). They are having sexual liaisons without marrying. So, that’s a good reason to go.

Babhru Prabhu is concerned about: I have to go...and all those materialistic people...

Well, it could also be a good preaching opportunity and as much as you are there, and you are a devotee, they’ll ask you few questions: Why do you like this? And you can explain to them. You could take books, and distribute them also. So, anyway, you have to decide.

I’m not gonna decide for you. It’s the other side of the country. America is a big country. I think more than twice as big as India. So, you can imagine. But, anyway, you can fly around. You have to have money. So, anyway, you decide what to do.

I wouldn’t go because I’m a sannyasi. But you are not. So, you can take an opportunity to please your brother, help him, give him some encouragement in devotional service. You can give him a set of Srila Prabhupada’s books. It’s a great wedding gift.

What do people give? I think they give mixies. I think when people get married they get 20 mixies so they have to sell them back. Mixie-no one outside of India knows what it is. It’s an Indian-English word. What’s the English word? Food blender or something like that.

So, give a set of Bhagavatam. It’s a great gift. That’s my advice, as you’ve asked for it, but it’s up to you.

Hare Krishna!"

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Drinking Milk from Protected Cows

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Question: I have noticed some devotees only drink milk from protected cows and I was wondering if I should do the same. I tend to… Expand>

Question:

I have noticed some devotees only drink milk from protected cows and I was wondering if should I do the same. I tend to drink a cup of milk in the evening because this is what Prabhupada said was needed to develop the brain. I am being told that the milk given by karmis is full of poison and you don't receive the benefit. Others are saying, "what can be done we have to drink milk anyways." What is the correct stance on this issue?

ANSWER BY HH BHAKTI VIKĀSA SWAMI:

Kalki dāsa – he’s given two questions. I’ll answer the second one first.

Some devotees only drink milk from protected cows, and should I do the same? I tend to drink a cup of milk in the evening because this is what Śrīla Prabhupāda said was needed to develop the brain. Specifically, the brain tissues which are helpful for spiritual understanding, Śrīla Prabhupāda said. I’m being told the milk the karmīs give…

Whoops! Indian English made it all the way to America. He’s in America and looks like the effect of Indians, India, so many Indians in ISKCON in America that Indian English is exported to the Americans also.

POISONOUS MILK
I’m being told the milk the karmīs give is full of poison and you don’t receive the benefit. Others are saying: “What can be done? We have to drink milk anyway.” What is the correct stance on this issue?
About drinking milk from Walmart… You haven’t heard of it yet. It’s coming. It’s all over America. You buy milk from cows which are raised for giving milk and for slaughter. Horribly tortured, and then when they don’t give enough milk they are slaughtered. They are tortured throughout their lives. They don’t graze in the fields. They’ve never seen a field in their life. It’s really criminal what they are doing to the cows. That milk, anyway it’s what I believe is called now a one milk which is not very digestible for humans. And yeah, it’s full of poison in various ways. The cows are injected with so many hormones and they’re fed with all chemical foods.

Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted his disciples, he would have them take this milk anyway. I’m not sure if he was informed about all poison that’s in it.

NO HUMAN SOCIETY WITHOUT COW PROTECTION
The real thing our movement should have done, we are celebrating fifty years of ISKCON, but we really didn’t get our cow protection together and Prabhupāda says there’s no human society without cow protection.
It is possible; many devotees in America get milk sent to them from the Gītā Nāgarī Farm. So it’s possible to do that. I don’t know how much is possible for Kalki Prabhu, who’s often out traveling on saṅkīrtana doing book distribution in America.

Here in India, in many places there are goshalas. How do you translate that in English? Cow protection shelters. Yeah where the cows are kept and they’re protected, they are not going to be killed. And you can get milk from them in many places in India. And even when I go to some places in the Gulf countries… There’s actually a goshala in Dubai, believe it or not. All air conditioned and everything. So I get milk there. In Kuwait you get the pata medha milk, dried milk. So that’s a facility.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
You could maybe, Kalki Prabhu, you could get from India powdered milk from protected cows, from one goshala, or it’s a go complex. Shala - you get the idea of a shed or something, but this is huge. How many do they have? Three lakhs cows? How many cows? Some huge number of cows in Rajasthan. We should all go there one time actually. One lakh twenty thousand. Have you been there? Yeah, we’ve all heard, but who’s been there? We should all go there sometime and offer obeisance to swami who’s developed that. Really! Great thing he’s done. He’s probably a Māyāvādī, but doing better than we’re doing in cow protection. So there’s a solution for you.

Another thing you could do is: encourage people, devotees, or people who’re interested to be devotees to join our farms in America and develop this cow protection programmes. Gītā Nāgarī is there. Husband and wife couple in America, they’re just in the process of joining that farm near New Orleans, which I can’t remember the name just now. New Talavan – that’s it, yeah. That’s Nitya Gaura. Do anyone know him – Nitya Gaura? He was in India years ago. He stayed for more than a year. He recently got married, so he’s moving there. And then there’s … New Vrindavan is very famous. I don’t know how much they are doing cow protection. I’m sure they are doing something. Murāri Sevaka in Tennessee. So encourage, take devotees there. Show them. Let them see. It’s possible to protect cows. There must be more. I guess in Alachua, they have some cows also. I hope so. Here and there, there are such things. Abhirāma Prabhu in New York City, he’s very serious about developing such a project. So let’s encourage devotees in the West to get behind it – cow protection.

CONCLUSION
Drink milk. Throw the vegans out. 
He asked: “What is the correct stance on this issue?” 
Well, I’m giving my understanding. I’m loath to say it’s the correct stance, because I wouldn’t say that someone’s necessarily wrong in all respects if they take milk from Walmart. Now that leads us into the next comment.

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Question:

As part of our plan to establish varnasrama projects, when the community gets bigger we will also try to install ksatriya kings. The main duty of ksatriyas is to curb adharma. So if someone in the community is posing as God, he should immediately be killed as shown by Krnsa when he killed Paundraka. But we also understand that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's policy was not to kill demons but the demoniac tendency. So should the King refrain from killing such people? This question can be expanded to include all types of death sentences- even those given to murderers.

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