Love Letters from God

I want you to know how I am feeling inside after reading the article “Worthwhile Endeavor” [Srila Prabhupada, September/October]. The whole article is divine. I feel that I am getting love letters from almighty God, Lord Krishna, through the spiritual master His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I realize now that Krishna, the spiritual master, and all the devotees love all of God’s children more than we can ever dream. I know that love is Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Art Noldon Crescent City, Florida, USA

The Most Secret of Secrets I really appreciated Arcana Siddhi’s article “The Secret Behind ‘The Secret.’” [November/December] She very clearly explained the difference between real knowledge, which can help us achieve the highest goal of life, and information in the guise of knowledge that can distract and confuse us on our spiritual quest. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.2), this knowledge is the most secret of all secrets and the purest knowledge. Pauupati Dasi Alachua, Florida, USA

Vegetarian Christians

Your editorial [“Carnivore Nation,” November/December] makes some good points, although sometimes it sounds like Christian bashing. Of course, many are misled by Kali-yuga and think that it is God’s order that they eat meat. Currently there are some strong exceptions. For starters, look up They say that the best way to glorify Jesus is to be a vegetarian activist. “The Bible says kindness towards all creatures. Animals are creatures.” Their main theme is that Jesus could not tolerate seeing the cruel way that animals are being treated.

See home/home.asp. The founder is a Christian minister who is inspiring many thousands of Christians to become “health ministers”: “teaching healthy living from a Biblical perspective.” They promote basically a vegan diet. I recently met a Primitive Baptist pastor in Lynchburg, Tennessee (home of Jack Daniels Brewery and many meatproducing farms), who has sent three from his church to become health ministers and is teaching his philosophy weekly in his church.

I would say that this is due to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings being spread so widely. – Kavicandra Swami 

Caring for Children In Krishna’s Service

Dayananda Dasa [Letters, November/December] wrote to protest the submission from the woman who says that taking care of her child is unmotivated and uninterrupted service. When I read her letter, I thought, “Unmotivated and uninterrupted service is a very high platform.” The writer appeared to present caring for children in Krishna’s service as inherently a pure activity just by the nature of the activity itself, regardless of her consciousness.

As for Dayananda Prabhu’s point, well, he’s right but not right. It is true that caring for children is not part of the nine processes of bhakti. It is, indeed, an activity that can support bhakti. He is correct in distinguishing between the nine processes of bhakti and duties in varnaurama dovetailed with bhakti. But he is also wrong, because when one dovetails the activities of varnaurama (such as begetting and raising children) in bhakti, they become bhakti. They become as good as hearing and chanting about Krishna. They become spiritualized, like iron in the fire.

We could say that the writer of that paragraph to which he objects may not be operating on that platform, but then one could say that the hearing and chanting of the neophyte is not unmotivated or uninterrupted bhakti either, but is sadhana-bhakti, or practice bhakti. If we consider sadhana-bhakti to be bhakti, however, then the dovetailed activities of the world are also bhakti.

There is also a way in which begetting and raising children is, indeed, part of the nine processes of bhakti rather than being dovetailed varnaurama. One of the processes is pada-sevanam, serving the Lord’s lotus feet. Such service includes serving the devotees of the Lord, who are always at His feet. Raising children can be considered serving Vaishnavas if one thinks, “To have been born in a Vaishnava family, my daughter must have been a Vaishnava in her last life. Let me take care of her so that when she comes of age, she’ll choose to continue her spiritual progress.”

Here are some quotes about spiritualized activities:

Unfortunately, Mayavadi philosophers consider devotional activities to be bodily activities. They cannot understand the simple explanation in the Bhagavad-gita (14.26):

mam ca yo ’vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

“Anyone who engages in spiritual devotional service without motivation, rendering such service for the satisfaction of the Lord, is elevated immediately to the spiritual platform, and all his activities are spiritual.” Brahma-bhuyaya refers to Brahman (spiritual) activities. Caitanya-caritamrta, adi 14.29, Purport

Everything that exists is situated in that brahmajyoti, but when the jyoti is covered by illusion (maya) or sense gratification, it is called material. This material veil can be removed at once by Krishna consciousness; thus the offering for the sake of Krishna consciousness, the consuming agent of such an offering or contribution, the process of consumption, the contributor, and the result are all combined together Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth covered by maya is called matter. Matter dovetailed for the cause of the Absolute Truth regains its spiritual quality. Krishna consciousness is the process of converting the illusory consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme. When the mind is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness, it is said to be in samadhi, or trance. Anything done in such transcendental consciousness is called yajna, or sacrifice for the Absolute. In that condition of spiritual consciousness, the contributor, the contribution, the consumption, the performer or leader of the performance, and the result or ultimate gain everything becomes one in the Absolute, the Supreme Brahman. That is the method of Krishna consciousness. – Bhagavad-gita 4.24, Purport

Scientific knowledge engaged in the service of the Lord and all similar activities are all factually hari-kirtana, or glorification of the Lord.- Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.22, Purport

Marriage on the principles of religious life is therefore current in all civilized human society because that is the way for restricted sex life. This restricted unattached sex life is also a kind of yajna because the restricted householder sacrifices his general tendency toward sense gratification for higher, transcendental life. – Bhagavad-gita 4.26, Purport

[As for activities] specifically related to begetting and raising children, even in sex life [one] can see Krishna. [Sex] is considered abominable, but even in sex life, if you are following the rules and regulations, you can see Krishna  – Srila Prabhupada lecture, Bombay, February 25, 1974

How can one “see Krishna” in begetting children? Krishna says that He is the act of religious begetting and the desire for married relations to beget children.

Act: “I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles.” (Bhagavad-gita 7.11) Desire: “Of causes for procreation I am Kandarpa, the god of love.” (Bhagavad-gita 10.28) Purport: “Kandarpa is the sex desire for presenting good sons; therefore Kandarpa is the representative of Krishna. Sometimes sex is engaged in only for sense gratification; such sex does not represent Krishna. But sex for the generation of good children is called Kandarpa and represents Krishna.” – Urmila Devi Dasi BTG Associate Editor

Gauna-dharma Reconsidered After reading and rereading Dayananda Prabhu’s letter about the raising of children and its identification as gauna-dharma, I must respectfully disagree with him. Though he utters the sacred name of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and that of Brahma-samhita to invoke a sense of authority for his readers, he merely uses these sources to define gauna-dharma. Its relation to the grhastha aurama and to raising children comes from his own extrapolation.

Gauna-dharma, as the phrase implies, refers to duties affected by the modes of material nature: We may do service to Krishna, but if we are under the modes such duties will be impure and accepted by Him only out of His mercy. Why isolate grhasthas and the service of raising children? All service prior to pure devotion can be seen as gauna-dharma.

Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy describes two kinds of dharma: (1) mukhya (primary) and (2) gauna (secondary). Gauna-dharma, or subsidiary devotional activity, refers to acts conducive to the development of bhakti by dint of their results being offered to Lord Krishna. Again, this applies to just about everything we do until we are pure devotees. Because we serve under the direction of Srila Prabhupada and the disciplic succession, our service is accepted even though it isn’t pure.

In Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s book Jaiva Dharma, when Babaji Maharaja speaks of kanistha-adhikaris, who are not pure, he talks about even their primary devotional activities as gauna-dharma. “Consequently,” says Babaji Maharaja, talking about a fledgling devotee, “his hearing and chanting do not assume their primary identity, but are manifest in a gauna (secondary) form. Furthermore, whatever arises from the three gunas sattva (goodness), raja˙ (passion), and tama˙ (ignorance) is known as gauna.”

So, while I agree with Dayananda Prabhu that certain activities in the rearing of children might smack more of gauna-dharma than others e.g., helping them brush their teeth may be less directly bhakti than reading to them about Krishna I would not categorize the entire project as a function of gauna-dharma. Indeed, depending on the purity and intent with which it is done, it might actually be considered pure bhakti.

When a sannyasi searches out bamboo shoots to make his danda or a temple president pays bills to keep the temple running, are those acts gauna-dharma? Maybe, but then the distinction between that and pure bhakti becomes somewhat blurred, and who among us is qualified to single out such a category of devotional service as inferior to the rest? A hard-working Krishna conscious parent is more in the line of pure devotional service than a renunciant who doesn’t focus on Krishna. Satyaraja Dasa BTG Associate Editor

[Dayananda Dasa declined our invitation to comment on these letters, as well as other, more impassioned, ones. He wrote, “I can definitely write in support of my comments. However, the relationship between bhakti and varnaurama is controversial, and my comments may provoke further impassioned response.” Editor]

Please write to us at: BTG, P. O. Box 430, Alachua, FL 32616, USA. E-mail: