Bhakti Means Devotion Service

Can you please tell me about bhakti-yoga?
Vaibhava Shukla
Via the Internet

Our reply: “Bhakti means devotional service.” (The Nectar of Devotion [NOD], Preface) Bhakti connotes devotion, or love, and love implies service, or activity intended to please the beloved.

Love is the most fundamental drive of every living entity. We cannot be happy without satisfying the desire to love, and we will not be able to perfectly fulfill the desire without permitting its expansion to the most inclusive extent.

“In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved.” (NOD, Preface)

Love can become all-embracing only when we understand that Krishna is the supreme beloved, the root of all creation. By embracing Him, we successfully embrace everyone, just as pouring water on the root of a tree successfully nourishes every leaf and branch.

The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krishna.” (NOD, Preface)

The word yoga means “to connect.” Though yogas are commonly used for health and fitness, the Vedic texts explain that yoga is meant to connect with God.

So bhakti-yoga means to practice connecting with God and reestablishing our relationship with Him through acts of love and service, or devotional service.

Ending Evil

Will Lord Krishna ever come to earth to put an end to all the evil deeds of human beings and make this world free from sin?
Nabin Ranjan Das
Via the Internet

Our reply: There are many avatars, or incarnations, of the Supreme Being, as stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.26): “O brahmanas, the incarnations of the Lord are innumerable, like rivulets flowing from inexhaustible sources of water.” However, the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28) states krishnas tu bhagavan svayam: “Lord Sri Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.” From Krishna come the avatars, who descend into this material world to carry out certain missions. This happens especially when miscreants and atheists dominate the planets.

In the current age, Kali-yuga, many years will go by during which constant disturbances and social upheavals will prevail, but the Vedic literature predicts that at the end of the yuga Lord Kalki will descend to change everything: “Thereafter, at the conjunction of two yugas [great ages], the Lord of the creation will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation and become the son of Vishnu Yasha. At this time the rulers of the earth will have degenerated into plunderers.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.25)

Lord Kalki will destroy the wicked rulers and the rest of the demoniac population and usher in a new age of goodness. The scheduled time for Lord Kalki’s appearance is still hundreds of thousands of years away. But we don’t have to wait that long to see evil diminish. Around five hundred years ago, Lord Krishna came as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and launched the sankirtana movement of the congregational chanting of the names of God. The Lord’s names are also an incarnation, since He and His names are identical. The Krishna consciousness movement is spreading the holy names all over the world, and this will no doubt go far in diminishing the evil in the world.

Worried Parents

I am practicing Krishna consciousness and am facing a challenge by my parents. They tell me that if I practice Krishna consciousness I will never be able to marry. They are generating fear in me about this. I wish to be a brahmachari now but get married in the future. But they fear that practicing Krishna consciousness will cause me to renounce material things and wife. What can I do to convince my parents?
Via the Internet

Our reply: You can start by showing your parents married devotees. Show them that in ISKCON there are many married couples who don’t renounce married life. You can explain that brahmacharya is only one aspect of bhakti to Krishna. Of the spiritual authorities known as the twelve mahajanas, seven are married: Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Manu, Prahlada, Janaka, Bali, and Yamaraja. So married people are equally important for spiritual life as brahmacharis.

It is a misconception that spiritual life means only renunciation. Educate your parents by taking them to the temple and by showing them married devotees and famous examples from scripture. And be patient. They might need a little time to change their opinion.

No Peace

I am not able to get internal peace. I am always restless, and many times I have sleepless nights due to my career tension. How can I overcome all this?
Via the Internet

Our reply: You can lessen career tension, or stress in general, by carefully choosing your friends with and where you go for association. If you mix with people who are interested only in money and the opposite sex, stress and tension are a guaranteed result.

The best solution is to go to your local ISKCON temple regularly, at least once a week, attend programs, and engage in some sort of service every time you go. Then gradually you will see your tension decrease, and you will be happy.

How to See God?

Is it possible to see God? If yes, then how?
Via the Internet

Our reply: Yes, we can see God (Krishna). First we must get purified to the point of wanting only Krishna. In our pure state of existence we are Krishna conscious. Being contaminated by the material energy, our spiritual senses are now covered. If we take to devotional service and change our attitude to just wanting to please Krishna, then we can qualify ourselves to get His mercy. When He is pleased with our purity, then He will reveal Himself to us. He wants to see our eyes full of tears of love for Him. The process of purification is to chant His name and glories, hear His instructions from His representative, and faithfully follow those instructions.

Looking for Happiness

How can I get happiness and not suffering?
Santosh Kumar Bohara
Via the Internet

Our reply: Krishna says that the material world is a place of suffering, so we can’t escape it. But we can transcend it if we are situated in Krishna consciousness, and not bodily consciousness. Easier said than done, but we will find some success if we take to this science of self-realization. We need to engage in spiritual activities to revive our spiritual consciousness; then we will not be so affected by material things.

Plus, if we achieve complete absorption in our relationship with the Supreme Lord, Krishna, we will reach the spiritual world and never return to this material world. So in this world you can become transcendental, fixed in your real identity, and next lifetime return to your real home, where there is no suffering.

That is what Krishna offers to those who take up the process of bhakti, loving service to Him. For too long we have neglected our real business of pleasing Him.

You can begin the process by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, which is asking Him to accept your service again. This will put you back in contact with Him. Take up His service and be happy, even though the body will go through suffering. You can be fixed on Him, seeing the suffering as a reminder that your real goal is transcendence. This takes a lot of practice and purification, so please take up this process seriously and as soon as possible.