Grassroots Krishna Conscious Material I loved the article “Becoming Wealthy On $2 a Day,” by Dhanesvara Dasa, in the November/ December issue. It’s true that the U.N. sets a false bar for poverty and for measuring “having enough.” I loved the photos with the article, as well as the graphics for Jahnudvipa Dasa’s article on yoga. The piece on book distribution was also very nice. Overall, the whole issue is grassroots Krishna conscious material. Job well done! Bhaktimarga Swami ISKCON Toronto, Canada

Indian-Greek Connections

Congratulations to Tattvavit Dasa for writing the excellent article “Meditating on Krishna in Athens,” in the January/February issue. There are a lot of similarities between Greek and Vedic philosophy, and Tattvavit did a good job showing some of these similarities. The Greek concept of logos (the word) was very similar to the Vedic vak. The Greek “music of the spheres” seems to be the same as the Vedic akasa vani (sound or message from the sky). According to Voltaire, “The Greeks, before the time of Pythagoras, traveled into India for instruction. The signs of the seven planets and of the seven metals are still almost all over the earth, such as the Indians invented.” I have no doubt that the ancient Greeks traveled to India for knowledge, and this explains the many similarities.- David Hedges Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA

Tone-Deaf Bhakta

I am a fairly new bhakta, reading Back to Godhead regularly. I have one major question that has been plaguing me and hindering my further involvement. In the Hare Krishna movement there seems to be so much emphasis on the musical glorification of Krishna’s holy names. I have a complete lack of musical talent. In fact, any attempts of mine are sorely offensive not only to any present listeners but I fear unto the Lord, Sri Krishna Himself. How am I to participate further in this movement? – Bhakta Daniel

Our reply: Many devotees can’t carry a tune, but that doesn’t matter at all. You probably won’t be asked to lead the singing in the temple, but that’s not necessary for your spiritual advancement. You can sing along with everyone else to the best of your ability.

It is said that Prabhupada’s spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, would sometimes ask someone to lead the chanting who was not a good singer. He did this apparently for at least two reasons: (1) to remind the good singers that their musical ability was not the most important thing (so they shouldn’t be proud of their beautiful singing), and (2) to remind everyone that it is one’s devotion and not the musical quality of one’s singing that pleases Krishna.

We can apply this principle to our spiritual life in general: If we offer the best we have to Krishna with devotion, He will accept it.

It can be somewhat disturbing to others if someone sings loudly out of tune, but if you sing along with others at a moderate volume, Krishna will be pleased, and no one should be offended.

Who or What to Believe In?

It is very difficult for me to choose my creed that is, which set of religious principles to follow. I am afraid to dedicate myself to abiding by some set of regulations because I am not sure that I am able to hold fast to those commitments and not change my mind and follow another way or abandon spiritual life altogether, in which case bad reactions may occur. In short, I am afraid to believe in God because I am afraid of offending Him by my improper actions or inaction, and hence the reactions may follow and make my condition even worse.- Alex

Our reply: Our relationship with the Supreme is based upon love, not upon the religious principles one accepts as a means of expressing that love. As in any loving relationship, each party is always looking out for the best interest of the other and doing everything within their power to give the other full protection from harm. It is only because of that deep loving relationship that the Supreme Lord, through the agency of His pure devotees who act as our teachers (gurus), gives guidance through religious principles for our purification and protection from sinful reaction.

Lord Krishna guarantees His full protection from sinful reaction to those who surrender their lives to their spiritual loving relationship with Him. He gives this promise at the end of His instructions in the Bhagavad-gita.

So you need not worry about taking to spiritual practice, for Krishna is even more interested in our true well-being than we are. As our love for Him develops, under the direction of the qualified spiritual master, unwanted habits of sinful activity will naturally diminish, and we will begin to realize our true spiritual potential.

The laws of nature already dictate that we suffer or enjoy according to the reactions to our activities. So what harm can there be in taking up a spiritual practice that will permanently end all good and bad reactions on the material plane?

That you have such deep concern about offending God in the course of your spiritual pursuit and practice is evidence of your seriousness and sincerity. Such qualifications exemplify your eligibility for advancement in spiritual life.

Replies were written by’s Live Help volunteers.

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