Exciting Issue

I just devoured the July 2009 BTG and liked it very much. The two letters appreciating Caitanya Carana Dasa’s moon article were very nice. Then there was a wonderful presentation of core Krishna consciousness principles from the Guru Granth Sahib which established that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even according to Sikhism. Then there were many thrilling padayatra pastimes. And the editorial was powerful and presented how medical science has not been able to solve the problem of disease at all.

Overall, an exciting BTG issue.

(Abhijit Toley, Pune)

End of the World

There is a notion that the world will end by 2012. What is the Vedic view on this? Should we believe these earth-destructive notions?

(Ghanesh, Ranipet, TN.)

Our Reply: Many notions similar to this one have been popular in the past too. Before the year 2000, there was a notion floating around predicting massive social failures at the turn of the millennium. This prediction was connected to the inadequate allotment of space in computer memory for storing four digits of a year. However, no problems worthy of notice occurred.

The present prediction is based on interpretations of some ancient Mayan (ancient civilization from Central America) calculations. Some new-age interpretations of this prediction include quite far-fetched predictions, viz. magnetic pole reversal of the earth etc.

According to the Vedic conception, time is circular consisting of four phases called yugas (Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali). The time span of these individual phases progressively declines. Currently, we are in the phase called Kali-yuga which has a total span of 4,32,000 years, out of which only around 5000 years have passed. A major part is yet to pass. After every cycle, there is partial devastation which is called pralaya.  From the above calculation, for the next pralaya to happen, there are at least 4,27,000 years yet to pass.

The Vedic scriptures too have predictions for the future. And we are witnessing their validity. In compliance with the predictions mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Canto 12, chapter 2), we are witnessng a rapid degradation in the consciousness of people, which will continue further. Other predictions mentioned in the same text have also been verified by the passage of time viz. the appearance of Lord Buddha etc.

Thus, these Mayan predictions don’t match with the Vedic understanding of the “end.” However, there could be some events happening around this time that could be very disastrous.

Onion and Garlic

I talk about Krishna consciousness to many of my friends. By the mercy of Lord Krishna everyone is chanting four or five rounds. However, they are eating onion and garlic in a lot of their food, and I cannot help them in this regard. Could you supply some information to help me with this?

(Mala Sharma, Baroda, Gujarat)

Our Reply: As your friends are aspiring devotees of Lord Krishna, you can tell them that devotees eat only what is offered to the Lord. The Lord’s great devotees tell us He doesn’t eat onion and garlic, so we can’t eat foods that contain these items. Secondly for practitioners of spirituality, the mode of goodness is the most conducive. Texts 17.9 and 17.10 of Bhagavad-gita clearly describe food in the lower modes of passion and ignorance. Onion and garlic match with these descriptions because of their pungent smell.The Manu-smrti (5.5) says, lasunam caiva palandu abhaksyani: “Garlic and onions are unworthy of eating.”

There are some reports about the therapeutic effects of garlic. While eating garlic may be beneficial for bodily health in some cases, it is definitely injurious to one’s spiritual health. Your friends have to make a decision.

Washerman’s Mistake

I read the letter of Mr. P. K. V. Menon from Kerala on “mindless killing” of washerman by Lord Krishna and the subsequent reply by Nanda Dulala Dasa (June ’09).

I definitely agree that the Lord is omnipotent and knows us more then we do ourselves. The Lord knows our past, present and future; according to which He decides to reciprocate. In a lecture given by His Holiness Bhakti Dhira Damodara Swami in Vrindavana, he mentioned that this washerman was also present during Lord Rama’s pastimes. At that time, he had commented that Lord Rama should not accept Sita, who was kidnapped by Ravana. Lord Rama did not punish him then but banished Sita Devi to the hermitage of Valmiki Muni.

In Dvapara-yuga, the Lord appeared as Krishna and gave the washerman another chance to realize his mistake and surrender at His lotus feet by serving Him with devotion. The washerman lost his chance and was therefore punished for his misdeeds in his previous life.

Until and unless we know that a sinful activity was done by the washerman, we would presume that an “innocent” washerman was killed by the Lord. We are all punished for our sinful deeds either immediately or later, until we surrender to the lotus feet of Lord Krishna with devotion, because only He can deliver us.

(Manali D Bijlani, Delhi)

Our Reply: This story is known to us. We tried to answer the question based on reason and logic. Since the questioner had doubts about the very nature of God exemplified by his statement, “God also commits sinful errors, doesn’t He?”, we thought it wise not to quote any further scriptural authority that will prompt him to repeat his question again.

We are nonetheless thankful for your comments.

Reply to the letters were written by Nanda Dulala Dasa.

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