Enjoying Work

How can one remain Krishna conscious and do one’s work? For me to do my work, I must enjoy it. But if I enjoy it, am I engaging in sense gratification? My field of work/study is jazz music.
Brennan Short
Via the Internet

Our reply: Enjoying your work is not sense gratification per se, especially if you can use your work in Krishna’s service. If you can make music for preaching or for the enjoyment of devotees, that will remind you and others about Krishna, and that’s devotional service.

That said, there is much to look out for. Generally the association and venues for this type of work are not conducive to spiritual life. So you have to be careful that your association encourages you to follow the four regulative principles (no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling) and leads you to understand your true spiritual nature, rather than entangle you more and more deeply in material sense enjoyment.

Real enjoyment is eternal and comes from serving others. As a musician, you know that if the audience is happy with your work, that makes you happy as well. So if you can make Krishna happy with your work, then you will become happy by making that offering to Him. It is not necessarily the work itself that will make you happy in the long run but the offering of something that makes others deeply happy. And the person who can offer the most eternal reciprocation is Sri Krishna.

Music is an integral part of the Hare Krishna movement, so you can use your talents to promote the chanting of Hare Krishna and encourage others to do the same. Some devotee groups offer a fusion of modern and traditional music to bring others closer to Krishna.

Ultimately you have to prioritize your spiritual welfare and make choices that favor it. That may at times require sacrifice and tough decisions. There is more to life than work and immediate pleasure, and if a certain type of work does not allow you to achieve spiritual goals, you might have to set it aside for other things, which may offer less pleasure at first but greater pleasure in the long run. Try to consider the long-range goals you have and mold your life so that you can attain the highest, most lasting levels of knowledge, realization, and satisfaction. That is not available from mundane music or anything in the material world. It requires focus on the desire for a spiritual connection with Krishna.

The Quest for Joy

What is the right way to relax mind and body? I’m a physician. How to feel joy all the time?
Dr. Devesh Pathak
Via the Internet

Our reply: The only real way to feel joy all the time is to engage in loving service to Krishna. Everything in the material world will eventually dwindle and die. As a physician you certainly have firsthand experience that the body gets old, tired, sick, and eventually, despite the best medical care, dies.

Since the body is material, like every other combination of chemicals it has a “shelf life” and will come to an end in time. Lasting joy can never be found in that which by nature is temporary.

Since we are the spirit soul, we naturally seek eternal, lasting happiness, but that cannot be had interacting with matter. We must focus on having a relationship with that which is spiritual, and therefore eternal. That is Sri Krishna.

Reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, will give you much insight into the relationship between the soul and the body, and the soul and Krishna. Getting this knowledge will help you find the joy you are seeking.

Also, chanting the maha-mantra – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare – with deep concentration will calm your mind, still your senses, and help you focus. This mantra can connect you directly to Krishna, who is identical to His name, and that connection alone will give you great joy. The mantra costs nothing, travels easy, and is always available, so by chanting, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.