The Brain and the Soul
Scientists say that our consciousness comes from the brain and brain damage causes personality change. Is it really that the atma operates through the brain and that’s why it appears we are the brain? – John
Our reply: Regarding the scientists’ understanding of the brain and its function, one cannot deny that scientific and practical experience shows that injury to the brain often results in impairment of reasoning ability and even motor function of the body. What the scientific community neglects to recognize is the higher function of the spiritual intelligence and the self. Lord Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that the living entity (atma) is situated within the material body, which functions just like a machine, made of the material energy. So if the machine is damaged, there will naturally be some impediment to its proper function. However, such damage to the body does not affect the spirit soul.
Krishna and Destiny
I am a follower of Krishna. Recently my mother passed away, and I am very depressed. I don’t know why many bad things come to me. I have surrendered to Krishna, so I feel I am never helpless. Can you let me know how Krishna protects? Why, when I am trying to be good, do bad things come to me? Has our destiny already been written by Krishna, or is He writing it still?
 Jaya Punjabi
Our reply: When we begin the process of Krishna consciousness, Lord Krishna immediately gives His protection. This He provides according to His desire, and the sincere devotee accepts His good judgment in this regard. The living entity has been accumulating reactions, karma, both good and bad, since time immemorial, so some patience is required on our part. Although one unplugs a fan, there is some time while the blades still spin. So although we have taken shelter of Krishna, it may be some time before the blades of our sinful reactions stop turning completely. 
Continue with your sincere service and serious chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In due course all the sufferings of material existence will become inconsequential as you make firm and steady progress in your devotional service.
How Bad Acts Affect Chanting
If I chant the holy name of Krishna and do bad things, what will be the impact? – Rahul Shevkar
Our reply: If one is trying to light a fire, one would be well advised not to do so in the pouring rain. Similarly, if we sincerely desire to advance in spiritual life, we should curtail our tendency to enjoy sense gratification. Gradually, under the expert guidance of the bonafide spiritual master, we should abandon our involvement in sinful activity. This is easily accomplished in the good association of Krishna’s sincere devotees as we take up regulated chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, study the Bhagavad-gita, worship the deity, accept Krishna prasada, and so on. It is a gradual process, but you will find that your taste for abominable materialistic enjoyment will naturally dissipate as you engage with firm determination in the process of devotional service.
Falling Back to Old Ways
I find myself indulging in either sense pleasure or laziness, and every time I make a firm decision to stop myself from committing all these offenses, a few days, or even months, later I go back to my old ways. The strongest reason for this is my material associations, which I have no power to change yet. I am too young to have a spiritual master. What should I do? – Sita
Our reply: You should continue to sincerely chant Hare Krishna with a firm desire to advance in spiritual life. Maintain a fixed number of rounds of japa daily, and read about Krishna as your time allows. Most importantly, try to associate with Krishna’s devotees as much as possible in consideration of your current circumstance. In this way you will make steady progress in your devotional service, and gradually all unwanted habits will dissipate. As you continue with a serious and mature mentality, you will certainly advance.
In Sri Upadeshamrta (Text 3), Srila Rupa Goswami recommends: “There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles, (5) abandoning the association of non devotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.”
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