CARING FOR CHILDREN IN KRSNA'S SERVICE
Dayananda Dasa Letters, October wrote to protest the submission from the woman who says that taking care of her child is unmotivated and uninterrupted service. When I read her letter, I thought, "Unmotivated and uninterrupted service is a very highplatform." The writer appeared to present caring for children in Krsna's service as inherently a pure activity just by the nature of the activity itself, regardless of her consciousness.
As for Dayananda Prabhu's point, well, he's right but not right. It is true that caring for children is not part of the nine processes of bhakti. It is, indeed, an activity that can support bhakti. He is correct in distinguishing between the nine processes of bhakti and duties in varnasrama dovetailed with bhakti. But he is also wrong, because when one dovetails the activities of varnasrama (such as begetting and raising children) in bhakti , they become bhakti. They become as good as hearing and chanting about Krsna. They become spiritualized, like iron in the fire.
We could say that the writer of that paragraph to which he objects may not be operating on that platform, but then one could say that the hearing and chanting of the neophyte is not unmotivated or uninterrupted bhakti either, but is sadhana-bhakti, or practice bhakti. If we consider sadhana-bhakti to be bhakti, however, then the dovetailed activities of the world are also bhakti.
There is also a way in which begetting and raising children is, indeed, part of the nine processes of bhakti rather than being dovetailed varnasrama. One of the processes is pada-sevanam, serving the Lord 's lotus feet. Such service includes serving the devotees of the Lord , who are always at His feet. Raising children can be considered serving Vaisnavas if one thinks, "To have been born in a Vaisnava family, my daughter must have been a Vaishava in her last life. Let me take care of her so that when she comes of age, she'll choose to continue to make spiritual progress."
Here are some quotes about spiritualized activities:
Unfortunately, Mayavadi philosophers consider devotional activities to be bodily activities. They cannot understand the simple explanation in the Bhagavad gita (14.26):
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunam samatityaitan
"Anyone who engages In spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual." Brahma-bhuyaya refers to Brahman (spiritual) activities.
(Caitanya-caritamrta, Adilila 14.29, purport)
Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (maya ) or sense gratification , it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Krsna consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Krsna consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution, the process of consumption, the contributor, and the result are all combined together Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth covered by maya is called matter. Matter dovetailed for the cause of the Absolute Truth rega ins its sp iritual quality. Krsna consciollsness is the process of converti ng the illu sory consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme. When the mind is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness, it is said to be in samadhi, or trance. Anything done in such transcendental consciousness is called yajna, or sacrifice for the Absolute. In that condition of spiritual consciousness, the contributor, the contribution, the consumption, the performer or leader of the performance, and the result or ultimate gain everything becomes one in the Absolute, the Supreme Brahman. That is the method of Krsna consciousness.
(Bhagavad Gita 4.24, purport)
Scientific knowledge engaged in the service of the Lord and all similar activities are all factually hari-kirtana, or glorification of the Lord.
(Srimad-Bhagavaram 1.5.22, Purport)
Marriage on the principles of religious life is therefore current in all civilized human society because that is the way for restricted sex life. This restricted, unattached sex life is also a kind of yajna because the restricted householder sacrifices his general tendency toward sense gratification for higher, transcendental life.
(Bhagavad-gita 4.26, Purport)
[As for activities] specifically related to begetting and raising children, even in sex life [one] can see Krsna. [Sex] is considered abominable, but even in sex life, if you are following the rules and regulations, you can see Krsna
(Srila Prabhupada lecture, Bombay, February 25, 1974)
How can one "see Krsna" ln begetting children? Krsna says that He is the act of religious begetting and the desire for married relations to beget children .
Act: "I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles." [Bhagavad gita 7.11]
Desire: "Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love." (Bhagavad-gita 10.28) Prabhupada's purport: "Kandarpa is the sex desire for presenting good sons; therefore Kandarpa is the representative of Krsna. Sometimes sex is engaged in only for sense gratification; such sex does not represent Krsna. But sex for the generation of good children is called Kandarpa and represents Krsna."
(Urmila Devi Dasi, BTG Associate Editor)
[Dayananda Dasa declined our invitation to comment on these letters, as well as other, more impassioned, ones. He wrote, "I can definitely write in support of my comments. However, the relationship between bhakti and varasrama is controversial, and my comments may provoke further impassioned response."' -Editor]