Changing Our Fate
Is there any chance of changing our fate? If we can change our fate, what do we need to do?
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Our reply: What you are calling “fate” is karma, or reactions to our actions. Everyone is facing both good and bad karma for their self-centered activities, performed both in this life and in previous lives. At every moment we generate new karmic reactions if we are engaged in activities simply for personal sense enjoyment. And if our activity causes suffering to others or is contrary to the laws of nature, then there are particularly undesirable consequences.
But karma can be changed by devotional, spiritual activity. Activities done for God or His devotees rather than for one’s own sense gratification generate no karma, and Krishna, God, is pleased by these devotional acts. When the Lord is pleased by the devotee’s engaging in selfless service, He intervenes in that devotee’s life, eliminates all good and bad karmic reactions, teaches the devotee the lessons needed to be learned in this life to stop the cycle of repeated birth and death, and ultimately directs the devotee toward His service, which is also karma-free. So any spiritual act of devotional service offered for the pleasure of Krishna will change your fate, or karma, and also prevent you from generating any further karmic entanglement.
Chanting God’s names, reading scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam, offering your food to Krishna, going to the temple, offering prayers, and many other devotional activities can alter your karma and prevent further karmic reactions.
Miracles for Faith
Will it be good to go to the Himalayas and see yogis performing miracles with mystic powers so that we can get a very strong conviction that something exists above matter and the subtle mind can be used to control matter?
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Our reply: If you have the time and energy to go there, it might strengthen your faith in something beyond the material. On the other hand, you can strengthen your faith in easier ways because with some logical consideration, some reading of the Bhagavad-gita, and some spiritual practice of your own, you can make your own miracles. Even now you can see miracles all around you, such as nature’s wonders and the complexity of the living cell.
And you can find miracles in your own life. Carefully examine your life experiences with an open heart, and you will see God’s hand in many places. Honor Lord Krishna’s name by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and you will experience miracles in your heart and mind by connecting to Sri Krishna. Dance before the deity of Lord Krishna in the temple with sincere devotees. That will convince you that miracles are all around us.
Why No Meat?
I told my friend, “Why are you eating meat?” He replied, “Why are you cutting plants to eat? The jiva [soul] is present there.” Please convince me according to our scriptures that we cannot eat meat.
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Our reply: Every living entity is a spiritual being and has an eternal relationship with Krishna. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.26) that if one offers Him a leaf, a fruit, or some water with love and devotion, He will accept it. He does not mention animal flesh. A devotee does not want to harm even an ant, as is evidenced by Jada Bharata’s avoiding the ants that crossed his path (Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 5, Chapter 12).
If a devotee does not want to unnecessarily kill anything, and if eating meat is not essential to one’s life, then why would a devotee eat meat? It is not good for the body, and it is violent.
One might ask, “If you had to kill the animal yourself and prepare it for your dinner, would you do it?”
Lord Krishna does not want to eat it, so it cannot be offered to Him; therefore the killing is full of bad karma as well. Slaughtered animals are filled with chemicals of fear and anger, resulting in the loss of mercy and compassion in those who eat them, as is quite obvious in modern society.
On the other hand, we have to eat, so we choose to take what causes the least harm to the least conscious living entity. Most grains are harvested after the plant dies. Fruits and vegetables are generally picked from the plant without causing harm to the plant. They will fall to the ground and rot if not picked. And the plants are often annuals, which means they grow, flower, fruit, and then die anyway.
Since we are human beings, we can choose what to eat, so devotees choose to eat what is easily available, most healthy, suitable to offer to Krishna, elevating to our consciousness, and karma-free when offered to the Lord.
In the Vedic rituals where animals were offered in sacrifice, the mantras guaranteed the animals a higher birth in their next life. But we are not able to do that. If we cannot provide the proper reciprocation for taking a living entity’s life, then we create serious karmic repercussions if we do so.
As intelligent human beings, we need to make decisions that are good for us karmically, physically, mentally, and sensually. If we act mainly for sensual pleasure, then we act on the level of animals, who cannot make intelligent decisions but just do what feels good or attracts them instinctually. We have to make choices about what to do, including what to eat, and the reactions to our choices will be ours to reap.
The Source of Love
Is Krishna love? Also, what is the purpose of Gaura Hari?
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Our reply: Krishna is the source of love, or the source of the reciprocation of intense eternal love between Himself and His loving devotees. He creates us, the living souls, to fulfill His desire to enjoy wonderful relationships. So without Him, there is no love.
On the material platform, we desire to enjoy relationships for our own benefit. But real love is love without expectation of a result and motivated only by the desire to please God, Krishna. That is the highest love. It is selfless, not selfish. Krishna is the fountainhead of all the loving relationships we hanker for but can’t find in the material world. If we take up His service, we will become purified and begin to revive that eternal relationship of love again.
Regarding your second question, Gaura Hari is a name for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who appeared about five hundred years ago to introduce the chanting of the holy names of God as the means of self-realization in this age. He is Krishna Himself playing the part of a devotee. He is the most merciful incarnation because He allows us to easily approach Krishna through His name and to engage in a simple process of serving Him and pleasing Him. You can read the Chaitanya-charitamrita to learn more about His role in starting this Krishna consciousness revolution.