Two Corrections to “Red Square”
Thank you for publishing “A Sadhu at Red Square,” by Kashishvara Prabhu (Jul/Aug 2018). It’s very nice but needs two corrections:
1. Ananta Santi Dasa (Anatoli) wasn’t Prabhupada’s “only Russian disciple.” Another one was Valmiki Muni Dasa, who passed away in 2003 in Los Angeles. He accompanied Ananta Santi on his first preaching tour to Estonia in the 1970s and played the major part in developing the centers there and in Latvia.
2. In the same column of the article the text gives the impression that Putin mockingly said he was a Hare Krishna in 1990s, but that happened in the twenty-first century.
A Relevant Verse About Difficulties
Regarding the article “Dealing with Difficulties,” by Adi Purusha Dasa (Sep/Oct 2018), it was very nicely done, but it’s missing one of Srila Prabhupada’s favorite verses:
“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words, and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)
Via the Internet
How to overcome fear of someone?
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Reply: The question of how to overcome fear is a very important one, no matter who or what we are afraid of. All fear is caused by the same things. First, it is due to a lack of faith that the Lord is in control and whatever happens to His devotees is arranged for their spiritual benefit. Second, it is due to attachment. We are attached to something (whether our body or our phone), and we are afraid of losing it. We know by our intelligence that everything in the material world must come to an end at one time or another, and so we live in fear that we will lose something or someone dear to us because time is ticking away. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says kalo ‘smi: “Time I am.” In His form as time, He takes away or breaks down everything. And if we are attached, we will suffer. Fear is part of the suffering.
The material energy is designed to give us the results of our previous actions over many lifetimes. We cannot change that. But we can become detached and understand that what comes our way is beyond our control. All we can control is our reaction to it.
The third reason for fear is connected to the first and second reasons. It is our inability to control anything outside ourselves and outside our own behavior. We know what we want, and we try to never have any problems, but still problems come, and they cause us suffering. We try, even struggle, to get out of the suffering, but still, sometimes without any apparent cause, we are forced into situations that bring us suffering. Because we often feel helpless, we become fearful.
To get out of fear, it helps to give up our attachments, realizing that Lord Krishna is in control and that what is to come will come according to our karma. Furthermore, we become fearless when we realize that the only way to become happy is to serve the Lord.
In the Bhagavad-gita (18.66) Lord Krishna says, “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” He will protect us, so there is nothing to fear. Being delivered from sinful reactions means no more material suffering.
As for fear of a particular person, if you are in danger, don’t be just philosophical; be practical as well. Avoid that person as much as possible or, even better, try to figure out a way to work out the difficulties. Check to see what you are really afraid of. It might be inside yourself, and becoming aware of that fear may help you overcome it by understanding your true spiritual nature and taking shelter of higher knowledge and your relationship with Lord Krishna.
Brahma’s Creative Impulse
How did Brahma’s impulse for creation arise?
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Reply: It would be best for you to read about this in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, where it is dealt with in detail, but here’s a summary.
When the time for universal creation comes, the inspiration for doing the work comes from Lord Krishna. Lord Brahma finds himself sitting atop a lotus flower and is confused about what to do. He hears a voice utter the word tapa (“austerity”), and he takes it as a divine instruction. He performs austerity for a very long time and becomes completely purified and aware that he is to be responsible for the creation and population of the material realm. As a result of his having reached the appropriate level of realization and qualification, Lord Krishna gives him the inspiration, ingredients, and instructions for universal creation. The instructions are imparted into Brahma’s heart by way of the flute song of Lord Krishna. This is depicted on the cover of the book Sri Brahma-samhita, published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
Waiting for the Joy
Does a devotee always keep hoping year after year that some day he will become a pure devotee and get extreme spiritual joy? At the moment, when he is too fallen and thus unable to get spiritual joy, does he always remain frustrated by thinking so? How to deal with not getting extreme spiritual joy even after practicing Krishna consciousness for decades?
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Reply: Devotees are always hoping against hope that they will get the mercy of guru and Krishna and then be blessed with the privilege of loving devotion. A true devotee is not looking for spiritual joy but rather looking to please Krishna. When Krishna and guru are pleased, the devotee is automatically pleased.
The most advanced devotees always consider themselves unqualified and fallen, but they are also convinced that Krishna is most kind and will be merciful to them in their attempt to serve. They are confident that the Lord, responding to the recommendation of their spiritual master, will accept their service. Once one understands the highest goal of life, there is no longer interest in material happiness, so the effort to please guru and Krishna is the only desire of the devotee. Spiritual joy is a byproduct of pleasing Krishna and His pure devotees.