Turn to Krishna
Hello, and I could say Hare Krishna , but I am not really eligible! Many years ago I used to go to Bhaktivedanta Manor and used to chant, etc. I often think of the wonderful devotees I used to know who inspired me there. Unfortunately, my life has been governed by alcohol, cigarettes, etc., for the past thirty years or so. I’m sixty-four now, still young at heart, but this path will lead me to destruction if I carry on as I am. I need to be a better person and get my health back, so am turning to Krishna for help. What should I do next?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Please do not ever think you are not eligible to chant Hare Krishna or associate with the devotees. We’re sure that if you contact the devotees at Bhaktivedanta Manor they will be happy to assist you in getting back on the right track. The history of the Krishna consciousness movement, both in modern times and as reported in our scriptures, is replete with persons who were far more crippled by bad habits and materialistic life and then realized their situation and decided to change things for the better. Many of us are aging, and perhaps with maturity we can now understand what Srila Prabhupada told us forty years ago: Life is short, these bodies frail, and the “happiness” coming from intoxication and material lifestyles is fleeting and debilitating. All the hype about enjoyment in the material world is unreal, and the reality in the end is suffering and sadness. Fortunately, due to your previous connection with Krishna consciousness you are now remembering the reality. With some help from your friends, you may be able to not only regain your health but also become active again on your journey back to Godhead. It is never too late. Take heart, chant Hare Krishna , read Prabhupada’s books, and get back in touch with devotees who inspired you.
Sometimes my mind is not concentrating on chanting the mahamantra. Pease help me.
– Nandagopal Chessani
Via the Internet
Our reply: Even Arjuna in the Gita said that the mind is more difficult to control than the raging wind, so it is not so surprising that your mind wanders. It is quite a common problem. Krishna says the mind can be controlled by constant practice, detachment, and determination. So be patient and keep trying.
There are some things that you can do, however, to help you control the wandering mind.
Chant in the early morning. Chanting attentively is easier when the material world is sleeping and the mode of goodness prevails. The period of about one hour and thirtyfive minutes before sunrise is the best. Chant as many rounds as you can before the world starts tugging on you via phone, email, and so on.
Don’t eat a lot in the evening. Your body will sleep well but not too heavily by avoiding heavy food before going to sleep. And make sure that before you go to bed your mind is thinking of Krishna by reading something about Him.
Regularly read about the glories of the holy name and listen to classes about them. There are recordings of the Japa Retreat in Vrindavan on ISKCONdesiretree.com that you can hear to help you to get into your chanting more deeply.
Before you begin your chanting, pray – to the holy name, your spiritual master, and the Lord – to assist you in this service and help you fix your mind.
Chant clearly and pronounce each word out loud. Make sure you get enough rest so you are not tired when you begin to chant. The place where you chant should be well ventilated.
If you find you are drowsy, stand or pace back and forth or go for a walk outside, but best to go somewhere you won’t be disturbed by others or distracted by your surroundings.
Start with these suggestions and see if they help.
How to Pursue Happiness
I am a young Nigerian man, a graduate. However, things have not been working for me, and this is really causing me a lot of frustration and depression. Please, how do I handle these challenges practically, and how best can I pursue happiness?
Via the Internet
Our reply: We are all pleasureseekers by nature, but we have chosen to not include Krishna , God, in our lives, thinking we can enjoy without Him. If we have learned our lesson, we now have the opportunity to reconnect with Him through the practice of bhakti-yoga. We can learn how to please Him, serve Him, and remember Him.
This age is full of distractions, so chanting the names of God, especially as found in the great mantra Hare Krishna , Hare Krishna , Krishna Krishna , Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, is the recommended way to please Him in this age.
You can begin to awaken your spiritual senses, which are full of pleasure, by chanting Krishna ’s holy names and glories, reading and following His instructions, serving Him in every way you can, telling others about Him, offering your food to Him, and taking shelter of His representatives. If you turn to Him in your heart and tell Him you want to please Him in this lifetime, you will feel a loss of distress. You will also feel encouragement from Him to pursue happiness with Him, not alone. It takes two to enjoy, in a reciprocation of love. If you want uninterrupted and eternal happiness, you must include Krishna . He will accept your service and adoration.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has opened temples all over the world to help everyone serve Krishna . In those temples you can associate with sincere seekers of true happiness. Begin bhakti-yoga by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, reading Bhagavadgita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, and associating with devotees of Krishna . That is the guaranteed path to happiness.
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