Stuck in Reincarnation?
How would I know if I were doing something that would keep me stuck in the cycle of reincarnation? For example, I see Krishna in all things, but if I eat a little meat with Him in mind, will He turn me away? Or if I do something outside the rules devotees have to follow, but as an offering to Krishna, is it still bad? How would I know if something is going to cause me to be born again? In the Gita Krishna says you only have to remember Him at the time of death to attain Him. Is this true no matter what you do in life? — Rachel
Our reply: To know if something is keeping you back from Krishna and within the cycle of birth and death, you need to connect with a bonafide spiritual master, a guru, who will guide you through the process of purification to the level of pure devotion. If you can see Krishna in all things, why would you eat His creatures? He surely does not appreciate spiritual seekers or anyone else killing innocent creatures or engaging others in the killing. This world works on the principle of action reaction, and hurting others brings around a reaction. You will have to feel the pain you have caused by eating animals.
What Krishna says about remembering Him at the time of death is undoubtedly true. But we never know when the time of death will occur. Thus we prepare to remember Him at any moment by following His instructions. If we want to reconnect with Krishna, we must be ready to follow His guidelines. If we are not leading a Krishna conscious life, at the time of death we will not be able to remember Krishna.
Remembrance, forgetfulness, and knowledge come from Krishna. It is not hard to follow the principles of liberation. You just need proper association. There is nothing in sinful activities that can bring you actual pleasure. They are abominable. You just need some time without this lower taste to be able to appreciate the higher taste and abandon the former altogether.
I’ve heard that Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga are names of persons whereas Lord Brahma is the name of a position. Please educate me on this. — K. V. Rao
Our reply: You are correct that Lord Vishnu, Shiva, and Durga are divine persons. Lord Vishnu is the Personality of Godhead Himself. Lord Shiva is in his own unique category. He exists eternally and is not of the material energy. When the material world is annihilated, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu remain. Durga Devi is an expansion of Lord Krishna’s internal energy, and she manages the material energy. She is the eternal consort of Lord Shiva.
The post of Lord Brahma, on the other hand, is a position occupied by a jiva soul, a soul like you or I. We are spiritual energy but very small, and so we become covered by the material energy. When the material energy is not manifested, then Lord Brahma is also not manifested. Also, there are many Lord Brahmas who manage the various universes within the material world. So there are many positions available, and very advanced devotees may be appointed to the post of Brahma.
Why These Painful Bodies?
I came to know that the root cause of our suffering is our karma. What about the animals then? Why has God created one animal to eat others? Why did He create bodies with a lot of pain? Who is responsible for the pain of animals? Why should they be born here and suffer? Who is enjoying their suffering? Why can’t God stop the suffering? If we kill a cow it is wrong, but if a tiger kills it is nature. What is the reason behind all this? —Suresh Venkata
Our reply: First of all, the root cause of our suffering is not karma, but material desire and ignorance of our eternal spiritual nature. We think we are matter and that matter will make us happy. Because of that illusion, we work hard to enjoy the material world, and the result is karma because selfish action leads to reaction. Whether “good” or “bad,” any reaction leads us to repeated birth and death and to temporary happiness and suffering. And the cycle goes on.
The pain of the body comes with the package: The body is matter, and matter gets old, rots, and dies. We suffer both mentally and physically. We suffer mentally because we want to enjoy and pain gets in the way. We suffer physically because pain prevents us from doing what we want to do, or have to do. Yet we still attempt to enjoy, often at the expense of others, even the animals, and so we get karma and suffer now and in the next life.
Animals are suffering due to past karma, due to past material desires, stemming from their attempts to enjoy in some human body before. The animals don’t generate karma; they simply move up the evolutionary scale, undergoing birth and death until they reach the human form. There the soul has choices to make. In the animal form there are no choices. Instinct drives their actions, and so there are no reactions, just upward movement until they reach the life of choices, human life.
The fact that one living entity is the food for another in the animal kingdom is just the law of nature in action. Being born as a cow and getting killed by the tiger is the end of some reaction, and so now the souls are free of some karma and can continue their journey toward human life, where their own choices will determine their future suffering and enjoyment, and where their emancipation from suffering altogether is possible. If in the human form they become Krishna conscious and engage in Krishna’s service, which is karma-free, then there will be no more suffering and no more birth and death. When we are engaged in Krishna’s service, there is no reaction, no more birth and death, and therefore no more suffering.
You ask who is enjoying the suffering of the animals. Some people enjoy eating meat, and so they kill animals to enjoy now. But in the future those people will suffer in an animal body and perhaps get killed by a tiger or a butcher. What goes around comes around. This will continue until we leave the wheel of repeated birth and death.
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