Two Senses of Duty
In her article “Royal Duty, Divine Duty” [July/August 2020] Vishakha Devi Dasi skillfully and endearingly raises our awareness of leadership – both external, influencing our lives under the monarch in the U.K., and internal, our own responsibilities as citizens and developing devotees in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which Srila Prabhupada wants us to truly represent. The wellbeing of the nation naturally must be based on a reciprocal relationship between the two leaderships, the two different yet unique senses of duty working cooperatively to uphold the teachings of the Lord and to please Him.
During my time as a working doctor, I attended a meeting of the College of Medicine in London and had the opportunity to hear a wonderful conversation between the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, and an Indian-bodied doctor. What came across was the royal prince’s heartfelt gratitude for the very personal and diligent care the doctor had been providing. What was being expressed, as sincere appreciation, was the doctor’s totally dedicated sense of duty and caring.
On another occasion, divine duty manifested with the magic that Mother Kulangana’s sense of pure devotional duty or service must have inspired. As she lay in her cottage ashram bed, in her last few days with us at the Bhaktivedanta Manor, a new senior lead palliative-care nurse was brought in to review Mother Kulangana’s pain-relief needs and to set up the required pain-relief delivery systems. Prior to bringing in this (Caucasian) professional nurse, I had the duty of briefing her about Mother Kulangana and her clinical situation, her wishes, etc. When this highly experienced professional finally came by Mother’s bedside, she amazed us all by how she approached Mother Kulangana, whose eyes were closed at the time, and she appeared as though deeply sleeping. The nurse paid obeisances on all four limbs, touching her head to the floor by Mother’s cot. In all my previous years as a home-visiting family doctor with many patients in their final days, I had never seen such a loving, respectful duty by a newly arriving professional to a patient’s side.
Thank you, Vishakha Devi Dasi for your inspirational article. We hold all well-wishes for your leadership at the Manor. Hare Krishna.
Hare Krishna Dasi
Nottingham Nama Hatta
Initiation in ISKCON
I was wondering, how does one ask a guru for initiation? What do I say?
Via the Internet
Reply: ISKCON requires persons interested in initiation to attend a class on the guru-disciple relationship. At many temples it is offered as a six-hour class. You can ask your local temple how to take it. It is also available online (http://www.iskcondisciplecourse.com/). The course is a wonderful source of information all about the guru, how to find one, the qualifications of guru and disciple, and so on. No question goes unanswered.
Struggling with Memories
I’m struggling with my old life and its memories. The thoughts cause so much stress and make me cry. I’m not able to see anything. I want to overcome this situation. Please help me.
Via the Internet
Reply: Great spiritual teachers advise that one should not dwell in the past or think too much about the future, but be in the present. We cannot change anything without the Lord’s will. Our wishing this and that is futile, a waste of our valuable time, which should be spent in pleasing Krishna. Our life is too short to be hung up on our many mistakes, which are natural for the conditioned soul. We pick up, learn from them, and go on our way in devotional service.
Krishna overlooks our mistakes and sees our service attitude, faith, and determination to love Him. Find some project to serve Him with, and go forward, being grateful for everything He has given you. Spend your time in appreciating your position as His eternal servant who has the chance to be with Him. Chant His glories and be happy. Then He will be pleased, and you will be too.
Why Only Krishna?
Why do you only worship Lord Krishna?
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Reply: Krishna is the original name of God, but He is known by many names. So you can call Him something else, but there is only one God, who is Bhagavan, the possessor of all opulences in full: all wealth, intelligence, strength, beauty, fame, and renunciation. You can hear of Krishna’s opulences throughout the Vedic literatures, which present the Absolute Truth. You can realize Him by chanting His names, serving Him, and glorifying Him.
When we serve Krishna, especially by chanting His names, we – the soul – feel relief from material distress and taste spiritual happiness. Krishna is identical to His name. He says in the Bhagavad-gita that worship of demigods is meant for Him alone but is misplaced.
These are just a few reasons to worship only Krishna, either in His original form or as one of His many avatars. Many devotees in the Krishna consciousness movement had never heard of Krishna before Prabhupada arrived in the West, but as soon as they came in contact with Prabhupada or his followers and started to serve Krishna, their conviction that Krishna is God became firm. This is happening all over the world, so you can try the Krishna consciousness experiment yourself and judge by the results.