God Comes to Us
It is clear from the jubilant faces of the onlookers in the article “Chanting at the World’s Biggest Street Party” [March/April] that people are excited to see the Hare Krishnas. If people do not go to the temples, churches, and mosques, God will go to them. This is the essence of sankirtana. Everyone can benefit by association with God simply by hearing His names while passing by or remembering them later on.
Thank you, Krishna-kripa Dasa, for helping to expand Lord Chaitanya’s movement by traveling to promote congregational public chanting.
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
How to Know if We’re Good Enough
How does one know that one has become a pure devotee, uncontaminated by the material world and pure enough to return to the spiritual realm and achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirth? Does Krishna say anything specifically about this in the Bhagavad-gita? How do we ever know we have been “good” enough to achieve liberation?
Via the Internet
Our reply: We simply follow what Krishna asks us to do in the Bhagavad-gita. By doing that, we can experience that we are becoming free from selfish desires, and our consciousness expands. With expanded consciousness, we see one reality: all living beings are part of Krishna.
Somewhat paradoxically, the more we advance in spiritual life, the more we see that we have not advanced. So how do we know that we have become good enough to achieve liberation? We never think we have become qualified. But Krishna, out of His infinite mercy, sees our sincere endeavor and liberates us.
In the Bhagavad-gita (9.34) Krishna says, “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”
Krishna repeats this promise almost verbatim in text 18.65: “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My dear friend.”
So there you have it. By engaging in bhakti-yoga, one will go back to Krishna-definitely, no questions asked, and with a full guarantee. Krishna makes this promise, and He says “without fail.”
Destination of the Liberated Soul
I’d like to know more about what happens when someone thinks of Krishna at the moment of death and therefore becomes eligible for promotion to the spiritual world. Where exactly does this soul go?
And I’ve read that such a person’s past and future generations also get liberation. Is this a hard-and-fast rule that applies even to sinful ancestors and descendants?
Via the Internet
Our reply: When someone thinks of Krishna at the time of death-a very difficult thing to do-then one attains Krishna. According to the scriptures, first the soul is transferred to wherever Krishna’s pastimes are going on in the material world and is engaged in His service there. Then, after that final life in the material world, the soul is transferred to Krishna’s abode in the spiritual world.
When one becomes a pure devotee and gets liberated, it is said that generations before and after also get liberation. This statement is meant to emphasize the power of pure devotion to Krishna. Srila Prabhupada once said that it means that the ancestors and descendants will be given a chance to engage in devotional service, qualifying them for liberation. So even if someone is sinful, that person will still be given an opportunity to get liberated. It is up to him or her to make use of the chance.
Why No Meat or Alcohol?
Why do people eat only vegetables in spiritual life? And why is alcohol forbidden?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Spiritual life should involve the least amount of violence in all one’s activities. When one eats vegetables, most of the time one does not kill the plants. For example if you are taking tomatoes from a plant, the plant continues to give more tomatoes. Of course, eating vegetables can involve killing, but killing a plant is much less violent than killing a chicken or a goat or a cow.
As devotees of Krishna, we are vegetarians primarily because we eat only what we first offer to Krishna and in the Bhagavad-gita He ask for vegetarian food.
Alcohol causes intoxication and loss of discrimination. Even under civil laws, one cannot drink and drive because of alcohol’s detrimental effects. Alcohol makes us forget Krishna and who we are-His eternal servants. We avoid it so that we can always remember the Lord.
Striving for Consistency
How can I become consistent and overcome my attachment to worldly pleasures? I am always failing in my chanting and other devotional activities. I do not know how to overcome this. Please help.
Via the Internet
Our reply: Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that lust is the greatest enemy of the soul, for it binds one tightly to the material world. The first step to overcoming it is to recognize that we are failing. You have done that, and that is wonderful.
We then have to sincerely develop a desire to overcome our shortcomings. That means accepting the remedy, which is to associate with devotees more advanced than us and spend lots of time in their company engaging in devotional service. By doing that, we will be consistent with our chanting, and it will be easy to overcome lust and other worldly pleasures. So please pray to Krishna to give you the association of devotees, and serve in their company.