Can one change his fate by his own actions?
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Reply: As conditioned souls in the material world, with mundane consciousness, we get what we pay for – karmic reactions. But the intelligent person, by pursuing the transcendental path of bhakti-yoga, makes a unique position for himself. Krishna spends a lot time in discussion about choosing the steps to get out of the karmic cycle. If we offer Him what we do, then we are free from the reactions. Worshiping Krishna destroys karmic reactions. A verse quoted in Srila Prabhupada’s Nectar of Devotion says that if we raise our hands while praising the Lord in the temple, our sinful reactions go away, just as birds fly away when we clap our hands.
Krishna says that chanting His names erases all one’s past karma. To help us reach Him, He will personally make customized arrangements in our lives that were not in our fate before surrendering to Him.
Krishna sends His representatives to guide us in how to properly execute our duties in Krishna consciousness. He is more than doing His part to get us back to Him. Now, with the help of the spiritual master, we can do our part in this lifetime. There is no time to waste in this surrendering process. Our lives are very short.
The Purpose of Life
What is purpose of human life on this earth, and what is the secret of life?
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Reply: The intelligent human being will inquire about the Absolute Truth and engage in the process of self-realization, guided by spiritual authorities who represent God, Krishna. All our questions can be answered and the real purpose of life can be perfected by proper study and training. Only human beings have the intelligence to reach the stage of enlightenment where they can find out who they are, who God is, and what they should be doing in this lifetime.
God is in everyone’s heart, and He is waiting patiently for us to turn to Him for answers and for instructions by which we can attain perfection. When we are sincere, God sends His representative to help us. Krishna gives His instructions in different scriptures, and recommends different processes of purification at different times. The Vedas give complete direction and recommend the chanting of the holy names for direct communication with the Lord.
The authorized method of self-realization Srila Prabhupada gave us is perfect for this age when it is very difficult to concentrate on spiritual things. It has been successful all over the world, and many people are experiencing a revolutionary change in consciousness. This lifetime is the chance to step off the wheel of birth and death that we are stuck on and to achieve complete liberation. When Krishna is pleased by our service to Him, then He will allow us to go to Him. That is the real perfection in human life. We have a golden opportunity, so everyone should take advantage of it. It is a joyful process, and anyone can take part.
Reading the Gita
How to read Bhagavad-gita properly?
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Reply: Krishna recommended to Arjuna that he hear submissively and with attention. If you read Srila Prabhupada’s translation and purports, you will receive a perfect injection of the Lord’s message. Krishna says that to access the full potency of the message, we must hear from His representative.
It is best if you can study Bhagavad-gita with advanced devotees, such as in a reading group, a study group, a seminar, or a retreat. In that way you can have discussions and get all your questions answered. There are several online study groups, and most of our temples have regular classes on the Gita. Your study of the Gita should never end. Even if you read it many times, you will always get new realizations.
I’m going through a very rough phase of my life. I want peace of mind, but I have no trust in people, no one to talk to, no one to share with about my deathlike pain in life. How can I get my share of happiness and peace of mind? How can ISKCON help me? I only thank God for giving me food and shelter.
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Reply: In these challenging times, it seems you are not alone in going through difficulties. It is good that you have gratitude for the basic necessities. Krishna will test one’s faith and devotion at times, so this might be what is going on in your life. Yes, we must look for help and strength from devotees and Krishna when things get tough. There are always tribulations that pinch us hard and make us look at how miserable this material existence is without Krishna. He is calling us home and sometimes helping us get there in ways we don’t always understand until later.
Try to see it that way and take shelter of your local temple or of Krishna conscious association available on the internet. There are live temple webcams where you can hear daily classes and see aratis. ISKCON has many seminars and chanting festivals all over the world. And Srila Prabhupada’s recorded classes can be found online. Increase your reading of Prabhupada’s books, and chant the maha-mantra as much as possible. There is a real shelter in bhakti that separates us from much of the influence of the crazy material world.