A Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you for the May/June issue and the moving article on Narasimha’s lost temples. May we all be so eager to meet the Lord of our hearts! I know age doesn’t matter, but I was hoping for a feature by a “younger” devotee and was pleased to see this one.
Indra Bahia (30 years old)
Sri Jagannath Mandir, Berlin, Germany

What About Eggs?

Are eggs nonvegetarian? My father is an egg trader. Can I invest my money in his business and support him? I am a vegetarian and an ISKCON follower.
Mukul Baweja
Via the Internet

Reply: We devotees of Krishna eat only what is offered to Krishna, and the scriptures make clear that eggs (whether considered flesh or not) are not suitable for offering to Krishna. Our restriction in ISKCON is “no meat, fish, or eggs.” This restriction is not difficult to follow. There are thousands of preparations that Krishna likes that we can prepare for Him without these items.

We have found that for baking, you can use two tablespoons of yogurt to replace each egg in a recipe. It works great.

We would advise that you avoid investing in the egg industry. Best to keep your path of bhakti clean and clear of obstacles.

Seeking Help Through Prayers and the Lottery

I had never prayed to God much. But after I fell in love with a guy, I started to believe and trust in God. I have started reading Lord Krishna’s books a lot. I am so happy that I have started to know about God. Initially I prayed for the guy I want to marry, but after knowing more and more  about God, I got a lot of interest and felt connected to God more.

I have been praying sincerely for my parents to get agree to let me marry him. Actually, his family’s financial situation is not good. So we have both been trying to win the lottery for more than three years. We are trying our 100% and praying to God with full concern. Yet we are failing. I want to know why I am failing. Why are my prayers not being answered? 
Priya
Via the Internet

Reply: Krishna is in your heart and will help you get closer to Him, as you desire to. He knows what is good for you and what is bad for you, and He may not permit you to get things that may not be good for you. To ask the Lord to engage you in devotional service and accept you is a higher level of praying. Asking for material things is a lower level.

Krishna may not fulfill your request, at least not yet. He is most pleased when we don’t want any material gain for ourselves. As we become purified by glorifying, worshiping, and serving Him, then our desires will become spiritual.

Every woman is encouraged to get married and serve nicely with her husband, but Krishna may be testing your determination and patience, increasing your faith in Him. We always wish for good things to happen quickly, but be patient. He certainly has a plan for you.

Playing the lottery is not a good way to please God, since it is gambling, one of the main activities we are instructed to avoid in spiritual life. Surely there is a better way to solve your problem.

Searching, Doubting

Where is God?
Vaishal Iraghuwanshi
Via the Internet

Reply: Lord Krishna says that He is within everything and outside of everything. He is in everyone’s heart as Paramatma, Supersoul, and He lives eternally in His spiritual abode. Because He is absolute, He is identical to His name and is present wherever His name and glories are chanted. He is in His deity form, in His prasadam, and in the Vedas. He has innumerable forms and expansions – too many to list. He is present for His devotee at all times and in all places. In the Bhagavad-gita He tells of these expansions and forms. In this age especially, He is easily present for us when we chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Controlling the Mind

How to control one’s thoughts? And what is the best way to mold thought for Krishna?
Madhwesh Upadhyay
Via the Internet

Reply: Controlling the mind and fixing it on Krishna takes some practice and determination, even though, as parts of Krishna, we are meant to be Krishna conscious. But now we are busy with our own desires. The Krishna consciousness movement is designed to connect us with Krishna as much as possible.

The process of always chanting Hare Krishna helps direct our attention to Him, and it purifies the heart, the sitting place of consciousness. Besides chanting, we should hear of His pastimes to have some place for our mind to dwell. It is hard to think of someone you know nothing about.

It is also important serve Krishna, trying to please Him in whatever way we can. If we have projects, engagements, and activities to do for Him, then our mind will be absorbed. Otherwise, Maya, illusion, has many engagements for our mind and will keep us away from Him.

Being steady in our sadhana, or spiritual practices, also helps fix the mind. The mind can be trained if we keep practicing diligently. The Hare Krishna mantra is actually a prayer begging for Krishna to accept us and engage us in His service. So keep chanting, and the mind will eventually get captured by Him.

Obstacles

How to avoid problems that come in the way of devotion?
Avi Mari
Via the Internet

Reply: There are many impediments a devotee may encounter, since we are not already pure and free from material contamination. We should avoid association with things that make us forget Krishna. To keep strong, we have to have a strong daily devotional program, full of japa, reading, kirtana, and prasadam.

Usually our mind is being affected by outside influences, our past sinful activities, and our own weakness. We have to be aware of our enemies – things that distract us from Krishna consciousness – and try to avoid them. If we are always chanting and remembering the Lord, then Maya will not attack. A satisfied intelligence, full of spiritual knowledge and philosophy, is a great weapon to cut down those enemies.

Some problems may be there just to test us and see if we can transcend with our higher knowledge. The devotee learns how to analyze the problem and see how Krishna has sent it and how to depend on Him to help deal with it. Krishna, scripture, and saintly devotees are always there to help us. Try to stay in that association, and you can deal with any problem.