Coming Close to Srila Prabhupada
I am hankering to know more and more about ISKCON and Srila Prabhupada specifically. Please help. – Brajgopal Jana
Our reply: Generally, people are attracted to the all attractive Supreme Lord. A few fortunate souls are attracted to the pure devotees of the Supreme Lord who spread the teachings and personal fame of this all attractive Supreme Lord and give a chance to the conditioned souls to serve Him. These pure devotees of the Supreme Lord are very dear to Him because of their one pointed, selfless service. Srila Prabhupada is one such empowered personality who established Lord Krishna' s teachings in the modern contaminated setting of Kali-yuga like never before. To know more about him, you may read books authored by him, or to know his persona you may read his authorized biography Srila Prabhupada-Lilamrta authored by Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami. These books are available at all ISKCON temples in various languages. Srila Prabhupada's teachings and an account of his personal life will together give you a complete picture of who he was and what he stood for.
Fulfiling Basic Desires
I have a few doubts about the lives which people live currently. It's a fact that till one's death, a human being is always dissatisfied with whatever he achieves in this material world. If you consider my case, I started my career with a very small salary, and I desired more. After five years when I am getting good money today, I am still not satisfied. My liabilities are increasing and I am observing that this is the case with each and every person. But my needs are genuine providing a home for my parents, giving good education to siblings and fulfilling other basic needs.How to deal with this situation? – Ankit Nair
Our reply: When scriptures refer about a living being's dissatisfaction in the course of satisfying desires, it is often with reference to the unlimited desires for sensual enjoyment, not in connection to desires to satisfy one's basic needs. We should definitely try our best to work honestly and try to satisfy our basic human needs. The problem starts when the definition of "basic needs" broadens to include many non-essential needs.
In your case, although this doesn't appear to be the case, we must brace ourselves to the fact that we will receive only what we deserve and not what we covet. Understanding the higher principles that govern our lives, we should try to improve our life not just on the material platform by working harder and thereby trying to earn more money (to fulfill our basic needs) but by understanding that without engaging in some kind of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, the cycle of karma will viciously entangle us more every moment.
I am facing a certain situation in current times as a result of my own previous actions. Now I am trying to solve the present (difficult) situation by adopting a similar strategy that I had adopted in my past to adjust the situation on a material platform. One cannot untie a huge bundle of inter-tangled knots; one has to slash it with some sharp edged weapon.
Thus, you should try to engage in some yajna (sacrifice) to the Supreme Lord to improve the situation truly and permanently. You can start by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra regularly every day and understand from a practicing devotee the technique to discern between "basic" and superfluous needs and the authentic ways of fulfilling these basic needs.
Sins for Serving Krishna
Silk is said to be pure and is accepted by Krishna but to make silk we have to kill many silk worms. Is this not wrong? We cut tree for wood. Also Saligrama-sila is wrapped and carried in tiger skin. Should we use goods made of leather? How is this acceptable? Is it not a sin? – Radhika Potdar
Our reply: Please refer to BTG July 2011 issue (http:// backtogodhead. in/letters-volume- 08-number-07-2011/) for our reply regarding the use of silk. When we engage in unnecessary, avoidable violence in service to the Supreme Lord, it is definitely not pleasing to Him. When the option of ahimsa silk is available & we use normal silk (that necessitates violence to silkworms), or we use leather coming not from dead cattle etc. we are incurring sin to ourselves. Serving Krishna at the cost of other living entities is not recommended. A sincere devotee makes sure that he serves Krishna with the least possible violence. As mentioned in the previous reply, in the earlier ages the items used in service to the Supreme Lord would be from non-violent sources. Today, if the items are necessarily from violent sources, we can search for a equivalent substitute.
Being Choosy for Krishna
Can we offer Krishna food & flowers on ekadashi? It is said that He is not affected by three modes of nature. Then why do some vaishnavas not offer certain flowers and food to the Lord on ekadashi? – Radhika Potdar
Our reply: When we serve Krishna, it is not just important to use the best substances to serve Him but also to perform our service in the best possible mood. A person with the best internal mood will naturally also use the best substances externally.
Krishna is called bhava-grahi janardana, He takes only the essence of a devotee's devotional mentality. Understanding this, the devotees' mood is to serve Him only those items that are highest in purity in the material world viz. in the mode of goodness (sattva-guna) and never in the lower modes of passion (rajo-guna) or ignorance (tamo-guna). Since Krishna is all pure, He is definitely not affected by the qualities of substances that we offer but impure offerings only echo the devotee's lethargy and carelessness. A sincere servant always wants to offer his master the best that he can offer and a devotee cannot be careless about what he offers to Krishna (the supreme master) under the pretext of Krishna' s being above the modes. Instead, Krishna' s kindness that He appreciates even the finest sentiments of His devotees inspires the devotee to break all bounds in serving his dear Lord with items of the highest purity in the best possible pure mood.
Replies to the letters were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.