How should I maintain balance between my work life and spiritual life?
Via the Internet
Our reply: This is a very relevant and common question. In material life we are generally driven to accumulate many things, thinking they will make us happy, or at least happier. Because we are looking for many things, we work very hard. In the end we realize that we have many things but have neglected our relationships and, most important, our relationship with God. We are not able to take even one thing with us to our next destination; therefore our entire life has been wasted.
Finding the balance will be much easier if we keep these points in mind and consciously simplify our lives. It is easier to find time to do spiritual things and keep things in proper perspective if we keep our material wants to a minimum.
So the first thing in life balance is to understand what is most important to us and make sure that goes into our day first, if at all possible. We never forget to eat or sleep, and even if we do, that forgetfulness will not last long because eating and sleeping mean so much to our health and happiness. If our spiritual life is important to our happiness and we are aware of the limitations of material life, then we will not neglect the spiritual part of our lives. It will go into our day at the very beginning so that there will be less chance of leaving it out.
Also, we can consider that spiritual life is like spicing in cooking. A relatively small amount of spicing, if done nicely, can change a bland preparation into something wonderful. Even a small amount of spiritual practice can change a materialistic day into a transcendental endeavor. If we sharpen our consciousness by chanting Hare Krishna and reading literature about Krishna at the beginning of our day, the rest of the day will be more focused and happier.
Besides that, your work can and should be devotional. Don’t separate the two as if they had nothing to do with each other. Everything a devotee does should be done for Krishna. The fruits of work, either in money or skills, can be offered in Krishna’s service. Also, taking care of your family, especially if they are devotees, is a very important service, and so using the fruit of your work for that purpose is a valuable offering to God.
Mostly it is the consciousness that turns something from being material to being spiritual. We want to focus our consciousness on Lord Krishna, thanking Him for whatever we have, and accepting His plan in our lives. So no matter what we are doing, we can make it an offering to Him.
Happy Sinful Celebrities
It has been seen in this world that people who do not believe in God and never bow down to God live a happy, well-settled life compared to devotees. They keep on doing sinful activities like animal killing, and nothing happens to them, There are many such examples in today’s society, like all the famous TV superstars. How can we understand why God is doing nothing to them?
Via the Internet
Our reply: First you should understand that you are only seeing the outer shell of these people. Actors, movie stars, those in the limelight – they have a very high suicide rate, they are often drunkards and drug addicts due to severe depression, and they have one divorce after another. These are certainly not the symptoms of someone living a happy life. Everyone in the material world puts on a happy face, but you can’t really understand their suffering. If you read the news you will see how vicious and miserable people really are.
There is more to happiness than wealth, beauty, and fame. Inner satisfaction and freedom from fear are the real marks of a peaceful person. The material world tricks us into thinking that happiness can be measured in things or situations that make others envy us. But beneath the facade of someone who has these is a person fearful of losing his or her position, always trying to please others, always trying to maintain a false appearance of satisfaction, while in reality striving constantly for more and more, fearing loss, and ultimately fearing death. There is never satisfaction.
To find real happiness one must seek the eternal. The soul is eternal and cannot find real happiness in anything temporary. Since the body itself is temporary, anything connected with it will be destroyed, either now or later. Old age and death will rob these foolish people of their wealth, beauty, and fame, and their illusion of fearlessness and pride will disappear as soon as old age and disease appear and they have no ability to stop them.
When you want to consider true happiness, you should know that it must come from the eternal – that which goes on when the body is finished. It can only be from the soul’s relationship with Krishna, or God. That loving relationship is the only true source of pleasure and the only eternal thing.
People get wealth or fame or beauty due to past good deeds, but if these are not used wisely and lead to sinful activities like meat-eating and intoxication, then eventually suffering increases and material assets disappear. The bank robber seems rich until the police catch him and put him in jail. No one can escape the laws of material nature. Everyone gets his karma.
Some karma looks good, and some looks bad, but “bad” karma often helps one understand that the material world is not our source of happiness. Poor people are often humble, kind, caring, and God conscious, while rich and famous people are often angry, spoiled, vindictive, arrogant, and self-centered. All the decorations of the body are temporary, and people who have them live in fear that they will be taken away. Good and bad karma is all bad because ultimately it will cause one to take birth again in another temporary body, and a human birth is not guaranteed.
So don’t be fooled. Look to your loving connection with Sri Krishna, accept what is eternal as your source of true pleasure, and you will never be disappointed.
In Touch with Krishna
How can I feel Krishna?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Lord Krishna is a person, so to get to know Him you will have to make the effort to chant His name and listen to the sound vibration. He is also present in the form of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and you can get to know Him by reading as well. As for feeling Him, that too is possible, because one can sense His presence in many ways even in the material world. The vastness of the sky, the tremendous power of nature, and the regularity of the cycles of life are all ways to feel Krishna’s presence. In the Bhagavad-gita He lists many ways to sense His presence – through the taste of water, the fragrance of the earth, and the light of the sun, for example.
If you are looking for Krishna, you will come to sense His presence all around you; if you are not looking for Him, He will remain unnoticed.
Your eyes need to be trained to see the spiritual energy behind and within everything in the material world. It is the driving force of everything, and it is coming from Lord Krishna. By chanting and learning more about Krishna, you can see and sense Him everywhere.