Attraction Towards the Opposite Sex
I feel overly attracted to women. What should I do about this?
– Harshit, by email
Our reply: As long as you consider woman to be an obstacle she will appear like one to you. If you look at a woman with desire to enjoy she will appear as temptation. But if you consider her as a mother who is worshipable, she will appear as compassion and kindness personified.
When one’s heart is dirty it always thinks of lower enjoyments. But when the heart is purified it always thinks of service and giving joy to others.
The only way to change our consciousness is to change our outlook, of life and the best way to change the outlook is to purify the heart by chanting God’s holy names, especially the Hare Krishna mahamantra with a prayer to help us overcome all temptations.
Dealing with People
How should one deal with people in our day-to-day lives in the professional circles?
– Shrikant, by email
Our reply: Be genuine in your dealings with people. Do not confuse professional life and spiritual life. Don’t try to be a good devotee in office and a professional at home or the temple. Remember that as a professional, Krishna ’s devotees are the best – Arjuna, for example. So you have to perform your optimum best in your work. You are being paid for working, not preaching, not gossiping and not wasting your time. In your workplace, you should try to associate with those people who are committed to their work and also are sincere, genuine people, even if they may not be devotees. At least this type of association will keep you focused on your job and will prevent you from getting carried away into frivolity.
Of course, if you feel that there may be someone sincere and wanting to hear about your spiritual principles, you can give them as much as they can appreciate.
While upholding Vaishnava values, we also have to guard ourselves against getting allured by maya surrounding us in the form of nondevotee association that we have to handle while we manage our professional lives. Protect your heart and invest only as much emotion and affection into dealings as necessary with those who are not Krishna conscious. Ensure you go all protected in the morning by completing as much japa as possible and listen to kirtanas or devotional lectures on your way. If you arm yourself well at the start of the day, you will realize that Krishna protects you.
How should we treat our friends who are not associated with ISKCON and deal with them to nourish and retain our relations with them?
Our reply: All that works for professional life also works for dealings with friends, family and other associates. However you can also add some affection in your dealings with family. Once people know that you care and walk the extra mile for them by demonstrating the service attitude that you will cultivate due to being Krishna conscious, they will respect you for the same.
Often people who know nothing about Krishna make tremendous spiritual advancement by their dealings with a devotee. Our sincerity and the strength of our spiritual practice will enable us to help others, no matter how unfavorable the external conditions.
We can reach people we love in other ways besides our speech and personal example. We shouldn’t forget or underestimate the power of prasada. It is easy to distribute prasada to people wary of evangelistic fervor.
Remember: with people, fast is slow and slow is fast, implying if you try to bulldoze or overwhelm them with your ideas, you will end up driving people away.
Also as you grow in Krishna consciousness you will see your friend circle changing and you feeling miserable in the company that leads to prajalpa. This is a good sign as this is a clear indication of your spiritual growth. You may have to categorize some people as colleagues, some as wellwishers and some as friends. Don’t expect the same love and reciprocation from all three. Give your heart selectively.
What should I do to improve decision-making in my life so I can align my future prospects and career?
Our reply: Decision-making is about developing viveka, the power of discrimination. Viveka is developed by: (a) studying scriptures thoroughly, which will help segregate illusion from reality, (b) by observing how good devotees take decisions in their lives, which will help you differentiate theory from practical, (c) taking guidance from some trusted devotee, which will help you to understand on a personal level where to make exceptions and where to be uncompromising, where to be ruthless to your mind and where to be lenient with it, and also how to tailor-make the teachings of the sastra to our lives. We strongly recommend you to get in touch with an ISKCON devotee whom you trust so that you can get personalized guidance.
Replies to the letters were given by Subha Vilasa Dasa.