I was pleased to read Nagaraja Dasa’s article “Finding a Guru” [“From the Editor,” Nov/Dec]. It was well presented. The question “How do I find a guru?” really needs a full article, and as such there is an important aspect of this topic that wasn’t addressed. Nagaraja Dasa stated, “All devotees in ISKCON are potential gurus.” It appears that he meant potential initiating gurus, because all who strictly follow their guru are also gurus (teachers), although they might not initiate disciples.
Many qualified gurus in ISKCON do not formally initiate disciples. Many of these gurus are willing to establish ongoing relationships with devotees who seek their guidance, support, and inspiration. This relationship can exist for both those who have initiating gurus and those who don’t.
More gurus are required to minister to the needs of devotees. One’s own guru may be far away or too busy to give the time and attention one sometimes need. Also, one may not be ready to take formal initiation but may still want to take shelter of and receive ongoing guidance from senior devotees. So it is important for people to understand that they can also have a deep ongoing relationship with a guru who doesn’t initiate them.- Mahatma Dasa Alachua, Florida, USA
Thanks to Krishna.com
My wife and I live outside a small Texas town. We both worship Lord Sri Krishna and thank Him for leading us to His truth through the outreach of Krishna.com. Krishna. com has allowed us to learn and practice the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. Being “alone” in our worship of the Lord Sri Krishna in this part of Texas, we are really never alone thanks to Krishna.com. Back to Godhead allows us to receive new and refreshing information regularly, and the products you sell help us to learn the ways of our Lord. We love giving to Krishna.com because we know Krishna blesses us for it. Our hearts are full with His love and presence. Krishna.com is our road to travel for self-realization. – Jnana Bhakti Dasa Stanton, Texas, USA
Why should we chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra when we can simply work and live in a good way? – Deepak Kumar
Our reply: Honest work and living in a good way are certainly commendable, but such a way of life will not liberate one from the endless cycle of birth and death in the material world. We are all pure spirit souls, part of the Supreme Lord, and will find complete fulfillment and enjoyment only on the spiritual platform of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.
To purify our existence and attain our true spiritual identity, the great acaryas (spiritual masters) recommend that one take to the simple process of chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Chanting is the best means of complete self-realization in this age.
By taking up the simple process of chanting the holy names of the Lord, we will be able to fulfill the mission of human life and ultimately return to our spiritual identity in the personal loving association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna.
Maya Won’t Let Go
Someone from ISKCON told me that if you wish for something, Krishna will make an arrangement for it. For example, if you want to forget Krishna, then He will make such an arrangement. Then why is Maya still catching me when my heart needs liberation and I’m truly trying to change? – Mukul Baweja
Our reply: The desire for pure service to Krishna is not just a statement or a thought; it must be demonstrated as a way of life, that of acting in pure devotion. Maya Devi is a great devotee of the Lord. She is like the security guard for the spiritual world. She will not let anyone in without the proper credentials, which are a pure heart free from material desires and filled only with the desire to serve the Lord. If there is any tinge of material desire, her job is to find it and then not let you in.
Your job is to continue to purify your heart, as Maya Devi does her job of checking again and again and asking you to prove that you are pure.
If we break a regulation but our desire is sincere, Krishna will see that and He will help. But we can not fool Krishna with artificial sincerity. He will look to see if indeed our desire is to purify our heart. Sometimes He will help by testing us, taking things away whatever He feels is necessary but He will watch to see how we take shelter of Him, serve Him despite difficulty, associate with devotees, follow the regulations, and remain determined even in the face of struggles.
Knowledge & Renunciation
While trying to be Krishna conscious, how can one dovetail the desire for knowledge and renunciation? – Vikas Shah
Our reply: Krishna consciousness is based on the Vedas, and veda literally means “knowledge,” so there should be no problem in dovetailing one’s desire for knowledge. There are two types of knowledge: that which deals exclusively with mundane things, and that which deals with the relationship between the material word, the spiritual energy, and the spirit soul (you and I). One can dovetail mundane knowledge by using its results in Krishna’s service. And one can use spiritual knowledge to extricate oneself from the cycle of birth and death.
As for renunciation, Krishna says, “One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.” (Bhagavad-gita 6.1)
Since nothing is ours in the first place it all belongs to Krishna what can we renounce? Therefore Lord Krishna describes renunciation as doing one’s duty without being attached to the results, offering them to Him.
Both rejection and attachment are signs of personal desire. We want to avoid things that give us pain or discomfort and get things we perceive as giving us happiness. Or perhaps we want to look renounced or wealthy so that we can gain fame or adoration. All these are selfish motives. True renunciants see pebbles and gold, friends and enemies, as the same, neither hating nor desiring anything. They simply do their duty to the best of their ability and understand that the Lord will choose to award or withhold the result.
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