Well Begun is Half Done

My sincere thanks to Caitanya Carana Dasa and entire BTG team for the continuous, wonderful articles in BTG magazine. One English saying goes, “A job well begun is half done,” but while reading January 2016 BTG magazine, I got full spiritual strength for the entire year with articles like “The Taste of Milk,” “Rocket Lesson,” etc. Caitanya Carana Dasa’s “Unity: Within and Without” is the highlight of the magazine; especially quotes from this article are very inspirational and motivational. This New Year issue is really a time bomb, with Damodara Nityananda Dasa’s “Time Bomb” article for neophytes. srila Prabhupada’s books are always like time-bombs to transform conditioned souls into Krishna conscious devotees. Finally, Tattavit Dasa’s article on “Reflecting on Half a Century” was very inspirational.
  – by Raghavendra CS

No Destruction in the Spiritual World

Lord Krishna mentions in the Bhagavad-gita (6.40) that a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world. Why does He mention about the spiritual world?
  – by CP Das

Our reply: In the mundane world, any ordinary activity along with its effects is null and void in terms of benefit or harm to the performer after his or her death. However, the mechanism of reincarnation mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita informs us that the impressions – both positive and negative – of the activities are imprinted on the subtle body – specifically the mind – and carry over even across multiple lives in the material world. Moreover, even the results of our activities in one life carry over to successive lives as the soul transmigrates through different bodies.

The “auspicious” activities mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (6.40) are not just auspicious activities as per mundane calculation viz. philanthropy, altrusim etc., but activities that are auspicious to the living entity ,viz. the spirit soul residing in the gross and subtle body. This is indicated by the word transcendentalist in the translation. Activities considered auspicious in the mundane sphere can at the most affect the subtle body beyond the gross body but being on the material platform can never benefit the spirit soul. Lord Krishna , emphasizing the magnanimous nature of the bhakti process states that even if someone engages in spiritual activities in the material world, such spiritually “auspicious” activities not only benefit the spirit soul during his stay in the material world but also benefit the soul when it reaches the spiritual world far beyond the material world. Activities that are performed in the confines of the material world would usually not be expected to benefit one in the spiritual world that is so far away and so much in contrast to the material world. However, the wonderful nature of spiritual activities performed to please the Supreme Lord Krishna is that the effect does not wear off not just across lives within the material existence but also across the material existence.

To explain with the help of an analogy, the currency of a particular country is useless in any other country, however valuable it is in the original country. A traveler to a foreign country always has to carry with him currency that will be of value in the country he visits. But the currency of effects of spiritually “auspicious” activities that one accrues even within the material world is so potent that not only it is of value in the material world but also benefits him in the spiritual world. The material world and the spiritual world are two separate worlds from our perspective, but from the Supreme Lord’s perspective, it is all His world. The spiritual world is definitely “God’s kingdom” but from His perspective, even the material world is “God’s kingdom” and so currency in relation to Krishna is of value in both the worlds. What we do to please Krishna in the material world is non-different from what a resident in the spiritual world does to please Him, the difference being only in the purity of purpose. Thus, as per Bhagavad-gita (6.40) a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world.

Brahmana to Sudra?

We are brahmanas by birth, but my brother is in love with a girl who is from another caste. If he marries that girl, will he become a sudra?

Our reply: Marriage as per Vedic culture is the coming together of two souls to jointly achieve the success of the human form of life, which is loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord Krishna . With the support of each other in tough times and inspiration of each other in good times, two spirit souls together can help each other cross beyond this insurmountable material existence. Married life also gives the spiritually-oriented couple a chance to serve another spirit soul by giving it shelter in their family in the form of their child and help it achieve permanent shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Thus the primary concern while choosing a candidate for marriage must be spiritual orientation. To facilitate this, we can also take into account subsidiary factors like emotional compatibility, social compatibility, financial compatibility, etc. Astrological matching done before marriage can help check the compatibility of these secondary factors. If the primary concern is fulfilled and these secondary considerations are reasonably fulfilled, then the match will be a beneficial match. Only the secondary considerations getting fulfilled without emphasis on the primary concern will result in a good marriage but with no spiritual benefit. Only the primary concern getting prominence neglecting the secondary considerations can result in marriage break-up or a horrible experience while in the material world.

In previous times of a wellstructured society, one’s caste defined one’s occupation and consequently one’s culture, economic status, emotional makeup etc. But the turbulent Kaliyuga has destroyed all such standards and today a person’s caste only points purely to his bodily identification. Every other consideration connected to the caste varies diversely even within the same caste. Much of the importance of the caste has thus been lost in modern times. Therefore caste considerations cannot be given the same prominence today as one would give them in previous times.

The scriptures mention, kalau sudra sambhava: in Kali-yuga everyone is born a sudra. As Vaisnavas, we request everyone to rise above the bodily platform and choose the highest priority of aiming our lives at the highest destination of loving service to the Supreme Lord Krishna . We should intelligently adjust our situation and take decisions to help us achieve this primary goal of the human form of life.

Replies were written by Krishna.com’s Live Help volunteers.