ASK BVKS | May 27, 2011 |
My question is in two parts. One, what is the mechanism which allows a devotee to overly criticize the activities of another devotee when they are also doing the same. (petty household matters). My understanding is that we should avoid blaming vaishnavas as Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explains in His book Bhajana Rahasya as it is the first offence and the most serious offense against the name. Secondly, how do we deal with persons who are senior to us but making the first offense due to lack of knowledge about bhakti?
August 16, 2012 |
Question: I heard a lecture today by a current GBC Sannyasi. At the end he mentioned that we have to maintain our body and that he exercised daily to achieve that. He then mentioned that it's necessary for devotees to engage in recreational activities, including sports etc. to keep their body maintained. I was very confused about that instruction, considering Srila Prabhupada mentions many times in his books that devotees should avoid frivolous sports.
April 4, 2011 |
Question: Yogananda talks about the spiritual eye – a golden disk surrounding a blue field and in the centre a 5 pointed silver/white star, and the devotee has to penetrate this like moving through a tunnel to the star and into it to get samadhi. My question is simple. Does this image of the third… Expand>
Yogananda talks about the spiritual eye – a golden disk surrounding a blue field and in the centre a 5 pointed silver/white star, and the devotee has to penetrate this like moving through a tunnel to the star and into it to get samadhi.
My question is simple. Does this image of the third eye have a reality? Krishna is also blue and gold. Say this spiritual eye is the impersonal feature of krishna – is it nevertheless real?
I am not interested in discussing the legitimacy of Yogananda. I would just like to know what you think of this idea of the spiritual eye. Also, the tunnel with the light at the end is part of the Near Death Experience, or NDE.^ Show less
August 30, 2016 |
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>
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.
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.
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."
^ Show less
English with Český translation; Brno, Czech Republic
January 27, 2017 |
English; Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, India
July 28, 2016 |
English with Русский translation; Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
October 22, 2016 |
English; Hyderabad, Telangana, India
December 25, 2013 |
English; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
May 18, 2016 |
English; Mayapur, West Bengal, India
January 14, 2015 |
English; Salem, Tamil Nadu, India
August 3, 2011 |
Question: Once when Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur coming out from temple with few grihast disciples and he saw none of them gave anything to beggars' sitting out side. So he instructed them to give something. And he told that, if you will not sacrifice in this way than you will loose your mentality of sacrifice. And then you… Expand>
Once when Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur coming out from temple with few grihast disciples and he saw none of them gave anything to beggars' sitting out side. So he instructed them to give something. And he told that, if you will not sacrifice in this way than you will loose your mentality of sacrifice. And then you will not sacrifice for Vaishanava or deity. BSST himself also distributing to raw material on auspicious day.
What shall we do? Shall we give charity to beggar?
And if we do so, then is there any karmic reaction in case beggars' misuse it?
February 24, 2016 |
English; Hyderabad, Telangana, India
August 29, 2015 |
English; Dublin, Ireland
August 24, 2013 |
English; Inis Rath, Fermanagh, Ireland
September 18, 2011 |
Question: Does the ghost yoni come under the 84 lakh type of yonis and how ghostly soul enters into the body of another living human being for sense gratification? Why it doesn't enter into the dead body?
December 9, 2005 |
English with தமிழ் translation; Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
April 30, 2011 |
Question: How do we really make a distinction between nitya siddha and sadhana siddha jivas? Despite them being two different by definition obviously, their pastimes on the earth, their qualities and potency, is there any difference, are those things the same? Could you say, those who are Sadhana Siddha do not exercise/expose as much… Expand>
How do we really make a distinction between nitya siddha and sadhana siddha jivas?
Despite them being two different by definition obviously, their pastimes on the earth, their qualities and potency, is there any difference, are those things the same?
Could you say, those who are Sadhana Siddha do not exercise/expose as much spiritual potency as Nitya Siddha jivas, or that sadhana siddhas do not have as much extent of spiritual influence?
Generally, Prabhupada has said the previous acharyas (Bhaktisiddhanta, Bhaktivinode) are Nitya Siddha, therefore, is it correct to deduce only those who are acharyas are nitya, and everyone else is sadhana siddha?
Sometimes, with an acharya we know is nitya siddha, Bhaktvinode Thakur for example, it may appear he was formerly materialistic then by Sadhana became Siddha, Prabhupada has stated otherwise so we accept that as the truth, therefore it is difficult to distinguish between the two, as even if they are actually sadhana siddha they have pastimes appearing as if they were worldly.
November 8, 2013 |
English; Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India
June 17, 2011 |
Question: 1) What is bhakti as per traditional Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas? 2) Is bhakti to Sri Krishna means renunciation? 3) Kindly give me sastric references for Q1 and Q2?
August 21, 2014 |
English; Drumshanbo, County Leitrim, Ireland
September 30, 2013 |
English; Coventry, England