Where’s Lakshmi’s Help?
Why does Lakshmiji help demons and make them materially opulent and not help people who desire to spread Krishna consciousness?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Although material wealth is important and desirable to get things done in this world, it is not necessarily a good thing for a spiritualist. For a spiritual movement, Lord Krishna will give enough wealth to keep His devotees going but not cause them to become distracted and overwhelmed by materialism. Detachment and satisfaction with whatever one has are essential ingredients for a devotee to stay fixed on the spiritual path. Only those who are detached will be peaceful if they have wealth.
Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master noted that even in spiritual circles, as soon as there are big buildings or material opulence people become distracted and may give up their spiritual practices. In some spiritual organizations wealth has been counter-productive, as when leaders fight over the organization’s assets and become enemies.
So although people may get money or power by karmic destiny, that very same “good karma” will cause their downfall if their consciousness is not fixed on obtaining happiness from their connection with Lord Krishna.
We receive material opulence according to our previous karma, but Lord Krishna sometimes takes away the wealth of His devotee to help that person grow in devotional service. And He may test the determination of His devotees to stay fixed in loving service despite the presence or absence of material facilities.
From Contemplation to Downfall
The Gita states that from contemplation of sense objects, lust and anger develop. As devotees, should we avoid material desires and contemplation even in the mind? How does contemplation cause our falldown even though we may not physically do the thing we are thinking about?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Contemplating a sense object starts pushing us toward that thing. That is the beginning of a progression: thinking, feeling, and then willing or doing.
Advertising is based on this progression. First the desire is planted in the mind and heart. One begins to contemplate the enjoyment that will come from doing or having something. That contemplation must be stopped there, and sometimes it is, because we have some understanding that it won’t really satisfy us, or we can’t afford it, or it will be too complicated to acquire, or it will cause us suffering in the long run. Stopping at contemplation is almost impossible for materialistic people, and difficult even for devotees.
But if we contemplate an object, we get attached to it, and that can cause us to pursue it, or to become angry that we cannot have it. Then we make decisions clouded by attachment. Because of intense desire, we try to get that thing, and sometimes we even lose our intelligence and pursue things that are illegal or painful to ourselves or harmful to others. Then we commit sinful acts, or foolish acts that lead to other foolish acts and unwanted consequences. That is how the contemplation eventually causes sinful reaction.
Even if we don’t act on the attachment immediately, if we maintain that attachment then eventually it will push us to satisfy material desire, and that will cause bewilderment of our memory, which will lead to foolish action. And during the entire process, we are not thinking of Krishna. So that in itself has ramifications.
That is why the Bhagavad-gita tells us to curb this tendency “from the very beginning.” Don’t let the attachment grow. By understanding how the material world works, and by knowing the ultimate spiritual source of the happiness we seek, we can curb lust and desire and remember Krishna. We must become detached from the false idea that happiness can come from material things or relationships. With determination, we can fix our mind on Krishna. That pleases Him and will make us happy. Ultimately that is the only way to solve the problem permanently. The Lord tells us that it is possible (although perhaps difficult) by constant practice.
Who Is the Real Guru?
I am not happy with this materialistic life. I want to make my life meaningful. I am very curious to know the real path to meet Paramatma. I know there has to be one way, but I see people following different gurus and methods. I am confused in understanding who is the real guru now.
Our reply: Know that this is a special time in your life. Take your time to search deeply for the Absolute Truth. Krishna is in everyone’s heart and is waiting for you to turn to Him. He will surely send you a representative of His to help in your spiritual progress.
Yes, we do need a guru, for guidance and strength. Please read Srila Prabhupada’s books. That will help you understand the truth. He was sent by Krishna to spread the mission of Lord Chaitanya, the chanting of the holy names, all over the world. Chanting has changed the lives of millions. Many disciples and grand-disciples of Srila Prabhupada are helping with Lord Chaitanya’s mission, and that is bringing them and those they meet closer to Krishna.
The most important questions are What is the goal of life? and What guru can take me there? The topmost goal is to revive our loving relationship with Krishna through devotional service, our real eternal engagement. Krishna, our eternal friend, is anxious to have us back. We can become purified and qualified to return to Him by following the orders of the spiritual master.
You can visit one of our Delhi temples and speak to anyone there to help you. You can also attend the morning services and experience this purifying process firsthand.