THE SOUL AND SIN
I have read that qualitatively the soul is like Krsna, just as a small particle of salt is same in quality as a huge chunk of salt. And since the soul is qualitatively like Krsna, it has all the qualities of Krsna. I believe that with Krsna, there is nothing like sin. Why then can the soul sin?
Our Reply: We, the soul, can sin because we have independence. We can choose to act according to our spiritual nature and remain free from sin, or we can act in defiance of our spiritual nature and become entangled in sinful life. This independence, when purified and used to serve Krsna in devotion, gives great pleasure to both Krsna and His devotees. Krsna respects the right of each soul to choose its destiny. This
is revealed in Bhagavad-gita (18.63) when, after teaching the whole Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, Krsna tells him, "Do what you wish to do."
FROM PIG TO HUMAN
Through what deeds can a pig get a human body? Or a dog? Or any other living being?
Our Reply: Animals do not perform good or bad deeds for which they get karma to determine a future life. They are burning off their bad karma by accepting animal bodies. They gradually are promoted from one animal form to another, being purified of sins, until they rise to the level of a human being. Then they once again get the chance to elevate themselves to higher planets or the kingdom of God, to return to human society after death, or to degrade themselves and go back down to the animal kingdom.
CHANTING VERSES, CHANTING JAPA
Is chanting important? Every day I recite verses from Brahma-samhita, isopanisad, Bhagavad-gira As It Is, and Krsna verses recited before lectures in ISKCON. Since chanting these verses is a form of bhakti-yoga, do I need to chant japa of the Hare Krsna mantra? Or can I follow my way of doing bhakti, or devotion?
Our Reply: Your chanting of verses is very beneficial, and you should keep it up. All the nine limbs of bhakti free us from sins and bring us closer to Krsna . Lord Caitanya is the yuga-avatara, the incarnation who came to teach the dharma for th is age, which is the chanting of God's holy names. He taught that the chanting of the holy names, as in the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, is the best of the nine processes of devotional service. His followers generally wouldchant the mantra a fixed number of times around their beads.
It is best to accept a spiritual master who is a follower of Lord Caitanya and chant the maha-mantra under his direction rather than to construct your own practice. Srila Prabhupada was such a great devotee that he engaged in deity worship and organized a Rathayatra ceremony even as a child, but still he accepted a spiritual master and chanted the Hare Krsna mantra under his direction. So you also should accept a guru in the line of Lord Caitanya and practice as the guru advises. Since you already have a relationship with ISKCON, it would be wise to find a guru who is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and wh o can help you to follow Prabhupada's instructions.
BEARDS AND HAIR
What, according to the sages, is the significance of not cutting the beard and growing one's hair?
Our Reply: Generally persons trying to realize their nature as spiritual souls do not want to spend unnecessary time taking care of the body.Regarding the hair and beard, this is done in one of two ways: (1) always shaving off the beard and hair so you do not have to worry about them, or (2) just letting them grow, without taking unnecessary care of them. Since cleanliness is an important part of spir itual life, Srila Prabhupada preferred the first method for his disciples.
DEALING WITH ANGER
Can you please advise me on the best way to deal with anger when someone has done something to you!
Our Reply: The bad effects of anger can be eliminated if one is fully engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. A devotee considers that if someone harms him then he must have harmed the other person in a previous life. He also knows that Krsna reduces the karma of His devotees, so the devotee can remain peaceful, understanding, "Everything is all right. Actually I'm suffering less than I deserve." The more we are absorbed in devotional service to the Lord, the less we are affected by anger. So if you do not have a program of chanting Hare Krsna on beads, begin one today and witness the freedom from anger yourself.