I recently read the article “Can God Be Immoral?” by Mukundamala Dasa from the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of BTG. It is a masterful and thorough explanation of a very difficult subject matter. I work very closely with the Hindu community here in Durban, many of whom are very devout. They find Lord Rama easier to understand than Krishna because from their point of view Lord Rama had only one wife with whom He was very faithful. They find it more difficult to understand Lord Krishna’s familiar relationship with the gopis, with whom He was not married.
I also recently heard a BBC podcast by a so-called scholar of Hinduism. He explained that from a Hindu perspective eroticism is acceptable in spiritual life and gave the example of Krishna and the gopis. Mukundamala Prabhu has very nicely defended Krishna and has explained this subject matter from the point of view of our shastras, thus clearing up misconceptions and confusion.
Durban, South Africa
I would like to know more about the Krishna consciousness movement.
Via the Internet
Our reply: That’s a big question, but here’s a quick overview of what it means to become Krishna conscious. It means that you can begin to explore a different realm of pleasure, a higher platform of knowledge, and a means of discovering your real self and God, Krishna. It’s a gradual process of reviving our innate Krishna consciousness, which has been covered by all the crazy things we have been hearing for many births. The basic message of what we’ve heard is that we are just our body and life is meant for trying to enjoy at any cost.
The Krishna consciousness movement presents a different source of hearing; we are getting knowledge from the spiritual platform. This knowledge, found in the ancient Vedic scriptures, reaches the soul, the real person inside. It wakes us up, and we can begin to reconnect with the Supreme.
You can change what you hear by reading Bhagavad-gita, chanting the holy names of God, which are identical to Him, and learning from spiritual authorities who have realized the truth.
By doing these things, you can experience real satisfaction in your intelligence and in your heart. All of us souls in the material world have been cheating ourselves out of this connection with the source of all pleasure, Krishna. He wants us back with Him, so He will help immensely if we take up this simple, joyful process.
Krishna consciousness is the complete science of the soul. It includes explanations of such topics as reincarnation, karma, dharma, all types of yoga systems, material nature and its effect on us conditioned souls, and what it means to take shelter of God. Krishna consciousness is not a sectarian religion; it is a universal teaching for how to perfect our lives and come close to God.
Please read some books by Srila Prabhupada, the founder of the Krishna consciousness movement. His Science of Self-Realization is a good introductory book, as are small books such as The Perfection of Yoga and Beyond Birth and Death. You can order them from the Krishna.com Store. People all over the world are reading these books and getting great realizations in their spiritual pursuit. Try chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. And if you can visit one of our centers, the devotees there will be happy to answer all your questions.
How can I increase my devotion to Lord Krishna and remove material desire?
Via the Internet
Our reply: How would you increase your devotion to your wife or husband or child or pet? By pleasing them with things they like, by glorifying their activities, by serving them. In the process of bhakti-yoga, we do similar things, but on the eternal platform and in relation to Krishna. We are eternally connected to Him by loving service, but we are temporarily “out of service.” So jump back into the fire of service. Begin by cleansing the heart by chanting His holy names and discussing His glories.
It is so easy to glorify and talk about ourselves. It will take some study and meditation to know how to glorify God, since we have been out of contact with Him for so long. So you need to fill up with Krishna by reading and discussing His instructions. Then you will be more inspired to serve Him.
The guru will direct you in how to please Krishna. Srila Prabhupada has given us many projects to do to spread Krishna’s glories. Just pick any one you like. There are so many things that must be done to maintain our temples, deity worship, public outreach, and so on. There’s no limit. Become attached to giving to Krishna, which waters the plant of devotion.
Srila Prabhupada gave us many instructions to keep us fixed in consciousness of Krishna, and we must follow them: rising early, chanting Hare Krishna a minimum number of times every day, being vegetarian, offering our food to Krishna, and so on. Spending time in the company of other devotees is important. So try to take advantage of that spiritual aid by visiting ISKCON temples and inquiring from the devotees there.
How to be free?
Via the Internet
Our reply: When you speak of being free, that could mean many things. Spiritually, freedom means to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. At the same time, it means freedom from anxiety and from fear of death and other bodily miseries. This kind of freedom is only possible for one who has gotten off the bodily platform and has understood the real position of the self, the soul.
We, the soul, are part of God, Krishna, and we are by nature eternal and full of bliss and knowledge. To realize our true nature is the goal of human life and requires a huge change of consciousness, which begins with a change of what we are hearing. In bhakti-yoga, the yoga of the heart, by hearing about God we learn about devotion to Him and how to revive our lost spiritual consciousness. We can hear His instructions from scriptures like the Bhagavad-gita, and we can chant His name and recount His glories regularly. Life today is a struggle, but if you take up these joyful practices, you’ll find yourself progressing toward real, eternal freedom.