Family Strife

I am a twenty-seven-year-old male from Assam, India. Till now I enjoyed my life totally by following Western culture, but now I have realized that the actual meaning of life is in Bhagavad-gita, so I want to come under ISKCON.

I have started being a complete vegetarian, and every day I read at least three or four pages of the Gita, but my family and friends are shocked by seeing this change. My parents are nonvegetarian, so I have to face a big problem every day, and it ends with a quarrel, which I really don’t like. Please help me.
Anal Sengupta
Assam, India

Reply: You are thinking quite clearly. You have some realization of things that ninety percent of the people in the world do not understand at all. For your own spiritual life, try to hear devotees speaking about Krishna consciousness. There are many online opportunities for you to hear lectures and kirtanas and even chat with devotees, such as through There you can hear talks and even take courses on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. You can get good association with devotees in that way and start to build opportunities to increase your association, your reading, and ultimately your involvement with ISKCON and the philosophy of Krishna consciousness as given to us by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

As for quarreling with friends and family, it is best to listen politely and then do what you need to do without fighting. You are an adult man who can make appropriate decisions in your life. You should understand that the real fear your parents and family face is that you will neglect your responsibilities to your parents, especially in their old age, and especially financially, so you must act responsibly and not make them think that you are becoming a religious fanatic.

Arjuna, in Bhagavad-gita, wanted to leave his responsibilities and just chant Hare Krishna, but Lord Krishna told him that he had to fight, that it was his duty. We often have responsibilities or duties in the material sphere that are uncomfortable but necessary, and neglecting them prematurely will cause friction and may cause others to reject Krishna and spiritual life.

If, rather than quarreling, you keep good relationships with others by behaving responsibly and respectfully while remaining spiritually strong and presenting logical and even scientific arguments (e.g., about vegetarianism), you may find that they develop respect instead of anger. But it will take care and patience, both of which are qualities of a devotee.

If you take the suggestions about online association, you will be able to make connections with devotees that can help you in your spiritual quest and also improve your family relationships.

That Pesky “S” Problem

How can I control my mind from sexual desires?
Via the Internet

Reply: Krishna in the Gita tells Arjuna to control the mind by constant practice and determination. Staying away from the opposite sex and people who like to enjoy the opposite sex will help. Why pour ghee on the fire? Be careful of your diet. For example, don’t eat heavily at night, stay away from yogurt after lunchtime, and eat fewer sweets.

Try to increase your association with persons who are not so attached to sexual attractions. Rather, fill your mind with more scripture, kirtana, and service to Krishna. The mind has to be kept busy. If you are not married, you may want to consider it so that at least you can control your urge in regulated sex life in marriage. If there is a temple near you, you can see if they have a mentorship program for extra guidance and advice. Pray to Krishna for the strength to overcome this urge so you can peacefully serve Him.

Ups and Downs

Whenever I want to do something good, something bad happens. I don’t know why. I want to have good relations with nature and people around me, but I am always scared that I may do something that may hurt them. At times I am high on confidence, and sometimes I am very low. I don’t know what to do. I want to learn the secrets of life so that I can be a better human altogether. Hey Lord Krishna! Please help me out. Please.
Via the Internet

Reply: It sounds like you are a sincere devotee but maybe a little too attached to what people think of you. Yes, we all could be and want to be perfect and pure and great devotees. We have to be patient; these qualities come after some serious purification. If we are practicing Krishna consciousness, we are “in the shower” getting clean. The process will work, gradually.

Be patient and enthusiastic and see your mistakes as a way to become humble, a good quality. In Krishna’s eyes each of us is great. He sees us as the soul and not the body. He is helping you by making you want to improve more and more and to really understand the mistakes you have made – not just in this life, but for lifetimes. We have a lot of work to do with Krishna to prepare us to meet Him again. He is working with us, not against us. He is more anxious for us to come to Him than we are to go to Him. Just be determined and patient.

How Does One “Perform in Krishna Consciousness”?

The Bhagavad-gita states that one should perform in Krishna consciousness. What does this mean exactly? Should the work I’m doing, whatever it may be, be done as a way to serve Krishna? Or is it simply keeping Krishna and His teachings in your mind at all times?
Joseph Rubalcava
Via the Internet

Reply: Lord Krishna speaks the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna on a battlefield. Arjuna is a warrior and is about to fight in a battle. His questions are similar to yours. “Should I work for You, or should I just keep You in my mind all the time? After all, war is not good, and I could just chant Hare Krishna and be happy. I’m not interested in winning the kingdom anyway.”

But Arjuna has misunderstood, so Lord Krishna answers, “Yes and yes. Yes, do whatever you do as an offering to Me, and yes, even fighting in this war should be done as an offering to Me. And yes, do everything in devotion and do it with your mind fixed on Me. Make your life an offering.”

“And,” the Lord even says to Arjuna, “fight and think of Me.”

We may not have direct access to Krishna to ask, “What should I do?” So for guidance we need to study the scripture and consult senior devotees. But the beauty of Krishna consciousness, or bhakti-yoga, is that we can do almost anything and make it an offering to Krishna. He says at the end of the ninth chapter of Bhagavad-gita: “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.”

Some things are easier to offer than others, but mostly it is a matter of consciousness. Take the fruit of your work and somehow use it to enhance your devotion to Krishna, thereby benefitting others as well.