Cure for Loneliness
Does chanting the maha-mantra stop loneliness?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Yes it does, because it puts one in contact with the reservoir of all pleasure, the Supreme Lord, Krishna. Because He is absolute, His name is the same as Him. So by chanting His name, we’re never alone.
We have been on our own trying to enjoy without Him, and it can get lonely in the material world. But Krishna is anxious for us to return to Him, and we can do that by taking up the process of bhakti-yoga, or loving service to Him. In the eternal spiritual world, everyone enjoys serving Krishna together, each in his or her own unique relationship with Him.
In the meantime, one of the most important elements in practicing bhakti-yoga is to do so in the association of other devotees. That in itself is a cure for loneliness.
Will chanting the name of Krishna award me darshana of Lord Vasudeva (Krishna). If no, then what should I do?
Via the Internet
Our reply: The great teachers and self-realized souls declare that chanting the holy names of Krishna and engaging in His service will give you His direct audience (darshana). You will attract the Lord by doing these things, and He promises that He will accept you back again – even after this one lifetime. Great intelligence, money, austerity, and sacrifice will not be as pleasing to Him as chanting His names and glories and telling others about Him. So take up this simple process that He personally recommends, and try to chant without offenses. Pure chanting cleanses the heart so that we can find Him there.
Can we chant the Gayatri mantra at 8:00 p.m.?
Raghunatha Chaitanya Dasa
Via the Internet
Our reply: Ideally, the Gayatri mantra should be chanted at sunrise, noon, and sunset, which are the three sandhyas, or “junctions” of the day. In The Gayatri Book, which is based on authoritative scriptures, ISKCON’s Sacinandana Swami suggests that we try to chant Gayatri in the forty-eight-minute period surrounding these times – in other words, not more than twenty-four minutes before or after. (Twenty-four minutes is a standard unit of time known as a danda.)
One of Prabhupada’s disciples recalls that he once asked Prabhupada when to chant Gayatri. Prabhupada replied, “Morning, noon, and night.” The devotee wanted something more specific, so he asked again, and Prabhupada again replied, “Morning, noon, and night.”
Prabhupada didn’t speak or write very much about this, so it seems he didn’t stress the importance of chanting at an exact time. Still, Sacinandana Swami’s view that we should chant close to the sandhyas seems reasonable. Therefore, for example, chanting Gayatri at 4:00 a.m. when the sun doesn’t rise until 7:00 a.m. may not be a good practice.
At least in the middle latitudes where most devotees live, we should chant Gayatri according to the sun and not the clock. If the sun sets at 8:00 p.m., for example, then you chant Gayatri then, but if the sun sets at 5:00 p.m., as it does in some places in the winter, then that’s the time to chant Gayatri. One can easily find out the times for sunrise, sunset, and noon on the Internet.
Struggling with Belief
I want to believe in Lord Krishna, but I can’t believe. Why should I believe in Him? Sometimes I start believing in Krishna only when I fear something, and that is temporary. I have many questions but no one to get answers from.
Via the Internet
Our reply: It sounds like you have read the Gita and know about Krishna. Each one of us is a part of Him, and He resides in our hearts lifetime after lifetime. He can reveal Himself to you when you are ready. To help you get ready, He has given nice instructions in the Gita, where He reveals Himself to us.
Krishna hopes that we will take up the process of offering everything to Him, since everything is His anyway (He created everything). The mentality of giving to Krishna will give us pleasure, which tells us that He is receiving our act of remembering Him and reaching out to Him. Love, or bhakti, is an act of reciprocation. When we try to please Krishna, we feel His loving response. The simple act of chanting the names of the Lord can uplift our consciousness so we can experience Him. That is the best proof of His existence.
There is pleasure also in hearing about Krishna from such scriptures as the Srimad-Bhagavatam, which relate many of His activities and give much information about Him. Tasting food offered to Him with love is another joyful way to discover Him. Prasadam really is a different kind of food, from another world. We are from that world, and owe it to our real self to get back there. We are wasting time trying to find the highest pleasure in a temporary place like this material world. We can step into the spiritual world by contacting Krishna all the time.
Developing bhakti takes practice and the guidance of advanced devotees, but the process is being offered to everyone, free of charge. ISKCON’s temples and programs provide strength and enthusiasm to help everyone get closer to Krishna. Please try to take part. We have online classes, webcams around the world, and many websites, such as Krishna.com and ISKCONdesiretree.com, which are excellent source of classes and information.
ISKCON has a lifetime of books to read, especially those of Srila Prabhupada, which have convinced many, many people of the reality of Krishna. Many projects are going on all over the world to spread Krishna consciousness. Spiritual life is not dry. It is very exciting, and the more you take part, the more your realization will come. Begin regularly chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and reading ISKCON books. That will help purify your mind and wash away the doubts. ISKCON members are always happy to provide answers based on the authoritative Vedic scriptures. So feel free to ask them your questions.