No Anxiety Now
I have recently subscribed to BTG. After a hectic day at work, I was reading the article “Desperation and Destiny” by Yugavatara Dasa (BTG Sep 2012). I believe that the article was written only for me because before reading the article I had many sleepless nights due to anxiety. Now, my mind is clear and I take life as it comes, with deep love towards Lord Krishna. Life has changed a full circle for me in a couple of months of association with Lord Krishna.- Sudarshan
Why not Countless Species?
Why has Lord Krishna created 84 lakh species? Since there are countless desires in a living entity, why there aren’t countless species? – Jagdish Soni
Our reply: The number of species viz. 84 lakh is not the result of some complex, extensive calculation that equates the wide variety of desires that living entities posses with the available species of life found in the world. This number is derived from a verse in the Padma Purana starting with jalaja nava laksani that mentions that there are 9 lakh species of life in water, 20 lakh species of life in trees and plants, 11 lakh species of insects and reptiles, 10 lakh species of birds, 30 lakh varieties of beasts, and 4 lakh species of human beings.
Srila Prabhupada mentions in one instance an explanation for the number 84 lakh – “…And it is very exact mathematically calculated. Because the nature is working in three modes, so you mix up these three modes, it becomes three into three equal nine, and again you multiply nine into nine, equal to eighty-one. Again eighty-one into eighty-one. So many varieties come. Therefore generally it is taken, 84 million varieties. 8,400,000. That is already there…” (Morning Walk Conversation, December 3, 1973, Los Angeles)
Thus we see that the number 84 lakh is linked to the multiple combinations and re-combinations thereafter of the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion & ignorance) rather than unlimited material desires. Of course, the multiple combinations of the three modes will give rise to different desires but the basis of the number 84 lakh is not the desires themselves but instead the combination of modes that gives rise to those desires.
In the Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that if he surrender to Him, the Lord will take care of everything. How can I practically implement this in my life while working in office, talking to our colleagues, walking on road, travelling, etc.? – Ashok Gerira
Our reply: One will surrender to someone only when one has complete faith in that person. Thus, to surrender to Krishna, we need to inculcate that kind of faith in His shelter. Formation of such faith although hard labor, is facilitated by the easy process of sravanam (hearing) from bonafide devotees of the Lord. As we hear authentic information about the Lord, we feel more & more attracted to Him. As we become purified by receiving pure knowledge, we will develop an inclination to serve the devotees of the Lord who impart to us such beneficial wisdom. By this combination of knowledge and service, we will gain unshakeable faith in the Supreme Lord seeing practical and realistic implementation of His words in the lives of the devotees.
In Bhagavad-gita (18.11), Lord Krishna mentions, “It is indeed impossible for an embodied being to give up all activities. But he who renounces the fruits of action is called one who has truly renounced.” Thus, from the Lord’s perspective, when someone renounces action, such a person has not renounced truly but when someone has renounced the fruits of one’s actions then he has renounced truly. Taking a hint from this verse, when someone works in office or talks to colleagues etc, one can begin to surrender to Krishna by offering the results of these actions to the Lord. Put simply, the benefits that one receives by carrying out any activity in this world viz. money, fame, resources, facilities etc. when offered to Krishna qualify us to be called as surrendered to Krishna. As one’s faith blossoms more in the association of devotees, the concept of surrender will also mature into more deeper applications. But to begin with, one can start by offering the results of one’s actions to Krishna.
BTG Encouraging Cow Slaughter?
On page 8 of BTG (November 2012) the section “Cow Slaughter” justifies eating of cow meat once the cow is naturally dead. It said that one does not have to wait long for this since cows live sometimes as short as ten years, and once the cow is dead one can eat it. I was shocked to read this in the official magazine of ISKCON conveying acceptance of eating cow meat once it is dead. As a devout Hindu and decades-old member of ISKCON, I find the above statement scandalous.- S. S. Sharma
Our reply: As per Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.17.38), King Parikshit allowed the personality of Kali to reside in places where the following four activities would be performed – gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter. He did this not because he encouraged those activities but because he understood that there always are and will be people in human society who will prefer to engage in these irreligious activities. To fulfill the needs of these people who are ever eager to engage in these harmful activities in a regulated way is important to prevent them from engaging in unrestricted, wanton engagement.
Considering the above, animal flesh eaters are advised in the Vedas to eat the flesh of low animals like pigs, sheep etc., but never the flesh of higher animals like cow. In spite of such restrictions in the Vedas, we see that sometimes foolish, low-class people engage in eating flesh of these higher animals. Thus, if someone is strongly inclined for eating cow flesh then, Srila Prabhupada says, such a person may do so after the cow is dead by the natural course of life. Such eating of flesh from a dead carcass saves them from the severe sin of go-hatya, willful killing of cows.
Replies to letters were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.
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