Greetings from Alaska

I look forward to each issue of BTG magazine. I’m especially interested in articles on how cities/towns started centers. I live in Wasilla, Alaska, and down the road I hope there will be a center or a group here, and I want to be involved and supportive.

I’m a “one-year-old devotee,” and I have so much to learn. I’m grateful for the magazine and for your store website, from which I’ve bought books, posters, and CDs.

Maybe in a future issue you could have an article about appropriate ways to do things, like taking one’s shoes off (which is obvious if one goes to a temple, but not obvious if one is in a town far from a temple). Also, maybe articles about how individuals live their beliefs if they are far from a center or temple. Keep up the good work!
Rosemary Vavrin
Wasilla, Alaska

Liberation and Devotion

I would like to hear your opinion on the following, which was given by someone in response to the question “What is the method to liberate oneself from life and death?”

“Due to the actions performed, the body has to undergo transmigration and a vale of sufferings. Humans can liberate themselves only when they realize the eternal truth and the Supreme God in their heart. The Supreme God is formless, but He can be attained by devotion, faith, and pure love. A person who realizes Him becomes immortal and is freed from the vicious cycle of life and death.”
Jayatkumar Dhruv
Via the Internet

Our reply: The quote is exactly right except for one very important point: The Supreme God is not formless. How can one have devotion and love for something formless? The Supreme Personality of Godhead has a beautiful form of sat, chit, and ananda (eternity, knowledge, and bliss), and every living entity has an innate loving relationship with Him that can be awakened by devotion, faith, and pure love. We demonstrate that devotion—and develop faith and pure love—by rendering service to the Lord and His devotees without personal attachment or desire and with surrender to the guidance of the scripture and the guru. In this way one can be freed from the vicious cycle of birth and death.

We are stuck in the material world because we are held tightly by the glue of our desire to enjoy separately from the Lord. We don’t understand that our real happiness can come only from pleasing Him with our loving devotional service. When we please Him, we automatically become happy without separate endeavor. When we have no desire to enjoy the material body in the material world, then we are fit to return to the spiritual world, and we become free from samsara, the wheel of birth and death.

Finding Eternal Peace

I just have one question: Do you believe that if a person is humble, thankful, good to their fellow human beings, does not lie, does not steal, and fights their inner demons every day to try and lead a good life—will they be worthy in the eyes of God to find eternal peace?
Ciara Audrey
Via the Internet

Our reply: The person you describe will be worthy to find eternal peace in the eyes of God only if he or she specifically seeks to develop a relationship with God. The Lord, seeing the divine qualities mentioned above, will certainly guide and assist such a person in developing that relationship; however, love is voluntary and requires the conscious and willing participation of both parties. Therefore this humble, thankful, and good person will have to actively seek out a loving relationship with the Lord in order to achieve the eternal peace that comes only from deep reciprocation with the Lord in a loving exchange.

Overcoming Spiritual Boredom

How can constant, moment-to-moment Krishna consciousness be made not boring or bitter?
V.I. Shah
Via the Internet

Our reply: One does not remember and serve Krishna in a vacuum. Devotional service to Krishna has unlimited varieties and opportunities, and there are networks of devotees all over the world with whom you can connect both by computer and in person.

The basic idea is to think of Krishna and offer the fruits of one’s work to Him. You can offer Him the fruits of whatever you are doing daily, and that is being Krishna conscious.

Of course, for a devotee there are certain regulations to follow to stay pure and sinless. However, besides these few restrictions there are many wonderful and exciting things to do for Krishna. There are festivals and feasts almost daily at Krishna’s temples, many enlightening books to read, melodic and soothing kirtanas, and services galore. So if you are finding Krishna consciousness boring or bitter, please connect with other devotees and find new and different ways to bring Krishna into your life and to engage in His service.

Junk Food Blues

Does the food we eat have any effect on our thoughts? When I eat junk food, I feel that it affects my chanting. If that is so, then what should I eat?
Ankur Wahi
Via the Internet

Our reply: Your realizations are proof of the ill effects of eating food not prepared in devotion. Grains cooked by nondevotees have very harmful effects on the consciousness. Best to prepare your own meals and offer them in devotion.

You are what you eat, as they say. Srila Prabhupada didn’t want us eating anything prepared by nondevotees. How can we offer junk foods to Krishna and think that He is really accepting them?

The whole idea is to change our consciousness to Krishna consciousness, and that starts with the tongue—eating only Krishna prasada and chanting His holy name.

Take the time to prepare nice food, fresh and filled with devotion. Krishna will surely accept your offering of that food and enter into it. Then it will be purifying, and not contaminating.