In Need of a Goal

My mother is mentally ill, and my father has died. I want to choose a goal. Please reply about what I am to do in this dilemma.
Via the Internet

Reply: We are sorry to hear about your situation. You haven’t given many details, but if you have time for study, you will find answers is the books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. You should also consider having an occupation that allows you time to pursue spiritual life. We are usually too worried about our material status when we should be trying to depend on Krishna and get our spiritual life together. Life is very short, and it is best if we can finish up our business here and go back to Krishna.

As you are experiencing, material life is miserable, so we don’t want to remain in the material world. Find some work according to your nature and also feed your soul as much spiritual food as possible by hearing and chanting the glories of Krishna. If you live near a Hare Krishna temple, try to visit and render some service there. These are all purifying activities that will protect you from the bad influences of Kali-yuga, the current degraded age.

We all need to stay strong and connected to Krishna. The Krishna consciousness movement is a bhakti movement, and bhakti is a joyfully performed process of spiritual advancement. Hare Krishna devotees have many websites that make seminars, classes, and kirtanas available to you. Please take advantage of them.

Bad Thoughts When Chanting

When I am chanting, a lot of bad thoughts come to my mind. Why is that, and what can I do about it?
Via the Internet

Reply: Continue chanting; eventually the bad thoughts will go away. It is something like this: Before cleaning your house, everything looks in order. When you start cleaning, you move things around. In the middle of the cleaning, you will see that the house seems dirtier than it was before you started cleaning. But if you continue cleaning, gradually everything will be clean and back in place.

Similarly when the mind is not cleansed (before chanting), it looks like everything is normal. But when you start cleaning the mind by chanting, the dirty things in your mind will come to the surface. By continuing your sincere chanting and by taking shelter of Krishna’s lotus feet, the dirty thoughts that come up to the surface of the mind will be completely wiped off. This is how the chanting process works. So do not quit. Just continue, and gradually your mind will become cleaner and cleaner and cleaner – to the point where you will have tears of love for Krishna when you chant.