How to Pursue Happiness
I am a young Nigerian man, a graduate. However, things have not been working for me, and this is really causing me a lot of frustration and depression. Please, how do I handle these challenges practically, and how best can I pursue happiness? |
Our reply: We are all pleasureseekers by nature, but we have chosen to not include Krishna , God, in our lives, thinking we can enjoy without Him. If we have learned our lesson, we now have the opportunity to reconnect with Him through the practice of bhakti-yoga. We can learnhow to please Him, serve Him, and remember Him. This age is full of distractions, so chanting the names of God, especially as found in the great mantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, is the recommended way to please Him in this age.
You can begin to awaken yourspiritual senses, which are full of pleasure, by chanting Krishna ’s holy names and glories, reading and following His instructions, serving Him in every way you can, telling others about Him, offering your food to Him, and taking shelter of His representatives. If you turn to Him in your heart and tell Him you want to please Him in this lifetime, you will feel a loss of distress. You will also feel encouragement from Him to pursue happiness with Him, not alone. It takes two to enjoy, in a reciprocationof love. If you want uninterrupted and eternal happiness, you must include Krishna . He will accept your service and adoration.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has opened temples all over the world to help everyone serve Krishna . In those temples you can associate with sincere seekers of true happiness. Begin bhakti-yoga by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, reading Bhagavadgita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada , and associating with devotees of Krishna . That is the guaranteed path to happiness. Reply to this letter was written by Krishna.com’s Live Help volunteers.
Is it correct to call Brahma , Vishnu and Siva as the Trinity (knowing that Brahma came from Vishnu 's navel and Siva came from Sankarsana)?
Our reply: Brahma , Vishnu and Siva are qualitative incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, technically called guna -avatars . They are in charge of the three qualities or modes of material nature, viz. passion, goodness and ignorance. In that sense, it is right to consider them a Trinity – in charge of creation, maintenance and destruction of the universe, respectively.
Trinity, however, is generally a misleading term as it is often used and understood as indicating three aspects of the same Absolute, which is a conception or terminology borrowed from Christian teachings. This understanding is not fully correct. Although Brahma and Siva are incarnations from Vishnu and, as you have mentioned, they have their origin in Vishnu , both Brahma and Siva are in a different category ("tattva") altogether, and it is important to understand this distinction.
Krishna is the source of everything, the original cause of all causes. Thus He is the Absolute, and source of all incarnations. But Brahma is actually a living entity ("jiva tattva"), just like any one of us, but he is specially empowered by the Lord for the work of creation. Any qualified living entity can occupy the post of Brahma . Lord Siva is not an ordinary living entity, in fact he is altogether within a different category ("Siva tattva") than living entities. However, he is not in the Vishnu category ("Vishnu tattva") either. He is in a special category of his own. Thus Brahma and Siva cannot be considered on the same platform as Vishnu . Of the three, Vishnu alone is understood to be beyond the control of material influence.
Both Blind Acceptance and Blind Rejection are Condemned
My upbringing, education, and the professional work place culture do not permit me to accept one school of thought as the single authority or final word versus the other. In essence, I think I need more time to convince myself of the authenticity of any teachings. I hope some time will be given to any devotee to develop faith in a particular sampradaya. Is seeking more time acceptable?
– Ram Roy
Our reply: Inquiry is very essential to obtain knowledge; it is definitely not wrong to want to deeply inquire, take time to study and try to objectively understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness from different angles; rather it is recommended and very welcome. In fact, Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraj , a great Vaisnava saint and author, invites us to apply all of our power of inquiry and logic to this process of Krishna consciousness. Such understanding of the çästra strengthens the mind and intelligence and can protect us from the numerous pitfalls on the spiritual path.
Srila Prabhupada also held both blind acceptance and blind rejection as equally to be rejected.
I would like to add a word of caution, though. The spirit of inquiry, Krishna explains in Bhagavadgita , must simultaneously be accompanied by a spirit of service, submission and humility (gita 4.34). Submission and hearing from authority does not mean blind acceptance; rather it is to carefully consider the teachings as far as our God-given intelligence allows, and to do so in a humble frame of mind and sincere eagerness to come closer to God as opposed to the spirit of challenge. Spiritual knowledge, unlike material knowledge, cannot be attained by exhaustive analysis or intellectual pursuits. It is most confidential and can be understood only by following in the footsteps of mahäjanas, and thereby achieving the grace of the Lord.
Modern upbringing and education are geared in the opposite direction, but they can lead only to relative truths, not to the Absolute. They are aimed at sensegratification, not at self-realization. Spiritual education is on a different platform. However, even if one is trained in modern ways of inquiry, if one can avoid the pitfall of endless skepticism, and study carefully from trustworthy sources in a devotional disposition as mentioned above, the Lord in the heart will guide us to knowledge.
Reply to other letters were written by Romapada Swami.