Public Chanting For Spiritual Growth
I liked the From the Editor article "Beyond Religion" in the January/February issue. In answering Mr. Gupta's question "Why are you asking me to do more?" you explained that Krsna consciousness goes beyond performing daily rituals and endeavoring for salvation. The goal of life is not salvation but pure love of Krsna, which He gives to those who satisfy His servants.
That made me think about how Lord Caitanya became dissatisfied with chanting solely among His associates for their benefit and routinely took His followers out of homes and temples and into the streets to spread the maha-mantra through public chanting. And Srila Prabhupada com-missioned his students to perform harinama-sankirtana (congregational chanting) regularly. The desire to spread the benefits of chanting is a distinguishing feature of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, followers of Lord Caitanya.
Congregational chanting easily and quickly puts the performer on the high platform of preacher. If Mr. Gupta is not performing this sacrifice, may I suggest he begin? Surely Krsna will see that His servant is pleased and will bestow the true goal of Krsna consciousness: love of Sri Krsna.
Rupacandra Devi Dasi
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
I just read your article about the London harinama chanting party [March/April]. Urmila Devi Dasi wrote, "Perhaps some of us chanters consider what people will think of our acting like madmen, but most of us are so absorbed in the chanting that public opinion seems like a far-away dream of no value." This reminded me of when I first went on harinama in London in 1999. I would notice people looking at me and would wonder what they thought of me chanting. But nowadays this self-consciousness is not an issue. Imperceptibly my attitude changed. Over the years my interest in chanting grew to the point that I feel part of the group and look forward to moving from spot to spot (Leicester Square, Picadilly Circus, and so on) to chant and dance.
Vedic Evidence Against Meat-Eating
One simple reason that meat-eating incurs bad karma is that there is no need for it, as God has provided humanity a bounty of natural foods without having to resort to slaughtering animals. I have been told that there are specific references in the Vedasand other scriptures to that effect, but I have not come across any such reference in the Vedas, not even in the Gita.
Another matter that has bothered me is the cruel practice of animal sacrifices, like the asvamedha-yajna, found in the Vedas. This seems contrary to the otherwise lofty thinking of the Vedas.
Via the Internet
REPLY BY Krsna-krpa Dasa: Lord Krsna denounces meat-eating indirectly in the Gita. In verse 9.26, He says that He will accept a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water if it is offered with devotion. He does not mention that meat is acceptable, and because it cannot be offered there is karma incurred in eating it.
Bhagavad-gita 17.10 describes that untouchable and decomposing food is in the mode of ignorance, and it can be argued that meat falls into that category. Srila Prabhupada certainly understood it in that way. The mode of ignorance directly opposes devotional service to Krsna, and is therefore condemned.
As for your second question, an animal killed without regard for scriptural rules suffers by having to repeat its term of imprisonment in that body, whereas animals killed in authorized Vedic sacrifices are elevated in their next life. The apparent violence is in fact beneficial to the soul within the body of the sacrificed animal. Animal sacrifices are forbidden in this age, however, because priests lack the purity and expertise required to raise the animal to a higher stage. The recommended sacrifice for this age is the fully nonviolent practice of chanting the holy names of the Lord.
Working for Justice
I have been in contact with ISKCON for one year, but I am still not happy. I believe that I have taken birth to serve India. I want to live and die for India. I don't want to go to the kingdom of God until I feel that I have completed my job on this earth.
My problem with ISKCON is that the lectures teach only the ways to go to God, but I want to know the ways to live in this Kali-yuga. Of course, I will remain a devotee of Lord Krsna. But please give me some tips that will help me live in this Kali-yuga.
Let me tell you my aim in this life: I want to light for justice. I want to serve the people of India. I want to serve the society. Please help me.
Pradeep N. Rajvanshi
Belgaum, Karnataka, India
REPLY BY Krsna-krpa Dasa:
Lord Krsna has appeared in this Kali-yuga as Lord Caitanya, who states that the duty of every Indian is to make his life perfect by becoming Krsna conscious and helping others become Krsna conscious. If you accept that as your service for India, you will make a great contribution. Because Srila Prabhupada took Lord Caitanya's instruction seriously, he was able to greatly benefit the world by giving the perfection of India's spiritual culture, pure devotion to Lord Krsna. If you follow in his footsteps, that will be the greatest service you can perform for Krsna, for India, for the world, and for yourself.
The best way to live in this world is the same as the way to go to the spiritual world: to fully engage in God's service.
It is said that those who have lost their spiritual vision in this age of Kali can get light from Srimad-Bhagavatam. So you can study under the guidance of a realized soul and be enlightened and act in an enlightened way. The Srimad-Bhagavatam says that those who know the essence of things worship the age of Kali because in this age one can attain all desirable things simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord.
The greatest injustice is that because people lack real knowledge, they are being systematically slaughtered life after life as a result of neglecting their relationship with God. You can teach, by your own example, that life's goal is spiritual realization, and you can also help educate others and end this slaughtering by teaching them Bhagavad-gita. If you want to do good to others, why not work for their eternal benefit? If you do this, you will be forever gloried and your soul be fully satisfied.
CORRECTION: In the last issue, the photographer for the article "Dynamic, Expanding Bliss: The Hare Krsna Mantra" was Rajasana Devi Dasi, not Rajasana Dasa. We apologize for the error.
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