You Can't Learn to Swim Unless You Get in Water

ASK BVKS | February 16, 2012 |

English;

Question:

For a very long time, I have felt very nervous about joining devotees on Harinama or book distribution. Honestly, I feel a bit embarrassed at the thought of my friends seeing me with devotees, or seeing me distributing books or seeing me in a Tilaka etc. I am worried people will think this guy is a nut or a fool! I am worried they will judge me and I will lose my so-called social standing.

Right from my childhood, I have been a very shy and lonely person and I am always easily embarrassed. I grew up with severe inferiority complex in my childhood. Both my parents were completely uneducated, not respected, not well off etc. They passed that over to me. That low self esteem has stayed with me. Hence I am very scared and nervous of doing anything public.

Maharaja, I am very much worried that this nature of mine will interfere with my future service to you. How do I fix this issue? I really really want to make progress and I will follow any order you give me here to correct this situation.

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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.

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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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