I am a twenty-four-year-old man incarcerated in Florida. The first contact I ever had with this wonderful movement was in January of 2002. I had written Muktakesha Dasa of the ISKCON Prison Ministry and asked a few questions. His reply came with two copies of BTG. When I opened the pages and laid my eyes on a picture of Lord Krishna, I was instantly hooked. Since then, I’ve stayed in contact with devotees regularly, and I practice the philosophy to the best of my ability.
I just wanted to send a big thank you and to let you know that I’ve very grateful for the service you provide.
Hardee Correctional Institute
Bowling Green, Florida
Why No Eggs?
Many people understand abstinence from meat, but with eggs it is harder to explain. Nowadays eggs are unfertilized, and there is nothing being harmed (as in an embryo), so people question the difference between consuming unfertilized eggs and drinking milk.
Our reply: In the cookbook The Hare Krishna Book of Vegetarian Cooking, author Adiraja Dasa writes, “Those who abstain from meat but eat eggs or fish are not considered true vegetarians because they are eating flesh, even though it may be hidden, as in eggs, under a calcium coating. One who becomes a vegetarian only to avoid killing may see no reason to refuse unfertilized eggs, but if we take the Vedic view that all flesh is unfit for human consumption, it makes sense to shun eggs, which, fertilized or not, are nothing but the assembled materials for the bodies of chickens.” Eggs are not something attractive for Krishna to eat, and we offer everything to Krishna before consuming it.
As for milk, Krishna created a symbiotic relationship between cows and human society. Cows produce more milk than their calves need, and the extra is meant for human consumption. Krishna Himself played the role of a cowherd boy in His youth when He appeared in this world (as well as eternally in the spiritual realm), and He greatly enjoys milk and the many palatable foods made from it.
I am interested in guidance on how to live the life of a devotee. It is very easy when you are with other devotees or in a temple, studying the Gita, but it is difficult for me to maintain that same focus at my work. Any suggestions would be helpful.
Via the Internet
Our reply: It is nice to note that you would like to keep focused on Krishna even at work. Yes, it is easy, as you say, when we are with devotees or at a temple. But Arjuna had the same problem you have. And he was wondering if he should renounce everything and focus on Krishna exclusively. But Krishna encouraged him to keep fighting but at the same time remember Him.
How do we maintain this focus on Krishna at work? If we are in love with someone, we tend to keep remembering him or her even in the midst of our work or under any circumstance. Krishna is the supremely attractive person. We have a natural tendency to love Him, but it is covered now. So to revive that love, we need to chant the holy names of Krishna regularly and read about Him from Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam.
If you are not already doing so, chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra every day as much as possible, either quietly on beads or singing by yourself or with others. Read the scriptures that tell about Krishna, and offer your food to Him. You can do these things before you go to work or when you return. There is also a lot of opportunity to associate with devotees through various websites, such as Krishna.com.
By practice, Krishna will remain in your mind, you will start seeing Him in every action you do at work, and you will do your job well.
In the article on ISKCON Ujjain in the last issue, the caption for the photo on page 28 misidentified one of the three personalities pictured. They are in fact Krishna (with peacock feathers) and Balarama, along with their classmate Sudama. They are facing a larger deity of Sandipani Muni in the temple, which sits at the site of his ashram.
Replies were written by Krishna-kripa Dasa.