Jessica M, 05th November 2012
What should one do when they begin to experience doubts while on the path to Krishna consciousness?
I have been chanting for five months now and reading the Gita As It Is as well. I don’t know any devotees in my area though and have a lot of curiosity and begin to find myself reading material that endorses a more impersonalistic viewpoint from which I first came from before learning about and accepting Krishna consciousness. I feel a bit torn…At first I felt so convicted, while chanting, and now I’m doubting things.
I would love to feel that sense of conviction, faith, again. Any advice?
Thank you. Hare Krishna!
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 05th November 2012
Thank you so much for writing in!
We welcome encouragement and support for Jessica from the global community here! Please don’t let her think that she is all alone on this path of Bhakti. This community is especially for those who live far from association of devotees, but of course, anyone who is genuinely desirous of spiritual advancement can benefit from this.
What you are going through is natural. I also came from a phase in life where impersonalistic philosophy dominated. As long as we are not fixed up in devotional service, this comes back again and again. It is a very seductive philosophy, because it encourages the material mind to remain as it is today, the undisputed master of the soul.
Whenever we think about something, one pragmatic thing to do is to assess who is to gain from a course of action. For example politicians push projects where they or their close circle will gain… actors promote goods which increase their own wealth, and so on, the world is full of such examples.
Impersonalistic philosophy does not have any genuine element of surrender to God… so that means the mind remains the master – the mind chooses what to do and what not to do, the mind disguises actions and thoughts and words as “realizations from the impersonal oneness”, but if we see carefully it is just rantings of the mind.
You should ask your doubts, specific individual doubts, the questions should be asked submissively so that those who have the knowledge are inclined and encouraged and pleased to share with you. When you get the answers, do your best to act on them. If you don’t act on the answers received, then they will remain mere theories.
Bhakti Yoga is very very personal, and it is experiential… what is involved for an experience to occur? Some effort! 🙂
So, why don’t you wholeheartedly participate in the activities of this group – this question is surely a start!
Virendra Trivedi, 06th November 2012
I asked similar question many years back to a senior devotee in a public forum and he gravely replied: “If you have doubt then come out challenging; willing to be defeated by authoritative reference and ready to be convinced by logical reasoning. This doubting phase is a dangerous situation. Don’t you know what Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita? Samsayatma vinashyati: The doubting soul is ruined. So don’t delay it. Act fast.”
So that is all I can advice you.
But here is something more I can tell you from my personal experience: I acted on his advice and I was saved from being ruined. To be defeated or corrected by devotees is also a very very good fortune which most people in this world do not have.
Just expose your doubts in this transcendental e-association of devotees as HG Mahabhagavat prabhu has suggested and see them replaced with your previous sense of conviction and faith once again. Participate in the association of devotees more often and their love will not let you feel torn anymore. You will certainly keep going higher and higher in spiritual life 🙂
Rahul Mangla, 06th November 2012
Welcome to this wonderful group of devotees Jessica mataji. Please share your doubts in this group and I am sure your lost conviction and faith will return.
Rupa Manjari devi dasi, 06th November 2012
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!
All glories to Srila Prahbupada!
Doubts are natural on this process of devotional service and are nothing to be ashamed of. When we first come to Krsna consciousness there is some faith called Sraddha, due to the association of some devotees or the holy named that incites are to take up the process, then there is a long process before we get to
nistha (firm unflinching faith). We first have to go through the stage of sadhu sanga (associating with the devotees) bajana kriya, (we start taking up the process, taking shelter of a bona fide spiritual master), and the long desert of anartha avritti, the clearing of the unwanted things within the heart). So during this stage doubts are natural, and clearing these doubts by making humble inquiries are all about the process.
This Krishna conciousness process does not require blind – faith, in fact blind fact is actually discouraged, that is why the faith you see in advanced devotees are strong, it is based on realization through pratical experience. But I assure you they also had to go through the stage which we all are going through, the doubting stage. Even my beloved Spiritual master his Grace Srimad Sankarshana das Adhikari often speaks of the time he first came to Krsna consciousness – he was also influenced by the impersonal Mayavadi philosophy, and was reluctant at first to surrender to his now beloved Spirtual master His divine grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
But through association, he especially mentions the association Visnujana Swami his faith increased to the stage he had firm faith in Srila Prahbupada and now look at him now! Complete faith, no doubts to the point his only desire is to serve Srila Praahbupada, by bringing and guiding everyone to Krsna consciousness. Every minute, every second, he is engaged in answering e-mails, because his only desire is to clear up the doubts of all those who inquire from him so they can too progess and experience the sublime existence of being pure Krsna conscious.
Thus my spiritual master is constantly encouraging me to bring all my doubts to him. Sometimes I brings my doubts up with other devotees other devotees, and other times to my spiritual master. My spiritual master has a wondeful way of eradicating my doubts immediately but some times it takes time, and it comes down to “lets just continue this process and then wait for Krsna to revealed the answers because this process is so potent and real, and tangible, and though sometimes the mind may decieve you to think otherwise, once someone begins they develop a higher taste, and so once they begin they can never fully go back to there original mindset, in other words, they can not actually fully enter material existence again. Many times I felt like running back to my christian ways going back to church, because of some aspects I could not yet understand, but it would take me only one hour in the church to realize they were missing the missing link which Krsna Consciousness has. I see proof of this all the time when I am distributing books or prasadam on the street. I meet many people who
have taken up the process before me, and for some reason or other, they stop, but the faith doesn’t go. They are so convinced of the authenticisty of Krsna consciousness, they still read Bhagavad-gita, or at least revere it, and tell others about Krsna consciousness, in contrast to those who leave other systems of religious practice which is based on blind faith, often become athiests.
Personally I dabled a little bit in the impersonal philosphy, and my first doubt was, “This world is real but temporary “I was convinced it was unreal, but inquires eradicated that doubt. But the strongest doubts I had to deal with was my christian conditioning. And with Krsna consciousness there is a lot of doubts that can come if you are from Christian background the first of course being the deity form of the Lord which to a condition Christian is “idol worship”, and of course Krsna lets Maya test you a bit, to see where you go for shelter, whether you take shelter of your mind, or his devotees. On this point though I inquired and I could therotically understand the post box anology, (as you send a letter through the post box, the Lord allows us to worship him through his authorised diety form, it is the Lord’s mercy because he appears to us in material form, because our eyes to not have the spiritual vision to see him), but still some doubt was lingering but then one day nine months after I started taking up the process Krsna did something wonderful. One of the devotees in my community was going to India and wanted me to take care of her Radha Krsna dieties. She asked me to do arti everyday for them, offer, flower, ghee lamp and insense and of course offering of food. They at first appeared just like statues but I stared doing arti for them and offerings, and by the end of the month I could actually realize the mercy of Krsna through his diety. Through this intimate service I could experience a attraction for Radha and Krsna devoloping and so felt reciporaction from them.
The process of Krsna consciousness can sometimes be diffcult to understand intellectually but without a doubt if you give it some time you will understand it practically through experience, as Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita 9.2
pavitram idam uttamam
su–sukham kartum avayayam
“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it
is joyfully performed.”
So I wish to encourage you Jessica, we have all been there and are still there to various degrees, but if you inquire from devotees in this forum, and inquire from senior devotees. I especially reccommend to humbly inquire from pure devotee becasue they can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth. BG 4.34, “Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.” So I especially enccourage you to bring you doubts to His Grace Srimad Sankarshan das Adhikari, with which you are already his student on his e- course.
You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can guarantee he will be delighted to answer you inquiries. Of course we are also happy to answer your inquiries to the best of our abilities. Many of my doubts were cleared up just through inquring from devottees in my community, and a lot of mine are getting cleared up through this forum.
Some through direct inquiry and others through the inquiries of others. And finally just keep with the process, eventually, everything will become revealed,
dadmi buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti ti
“To all those who are constantly devoted to serving me with love I give the understanding by which they can come to me.”
Rupa Manjari devi dasi
Shobha, 07th November 2012
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!
All glories to Srila Prahbupada!
Very nice answer. Thank you for sharing your realization.
your humble servant,
Hemanga Das, 08th November 2012
Hare Krishna Devotees,
Please kindly accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
It’s so enlivening to read devotee emails who are always up to guide others in spiritual path. Thank you Rupa Manjari Devi Dasi Mataji for sharing your experience.
This present Karthik month is like a Mega Sale.Any effort to chant more rounds or read Srila Prabhupada books will definitely help in spiritual advancement.Let’s all utilize this wonderful opportunity.
Rahul Mangla, 10th November 2012
Hare Krishna to all devotees,
Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Srila Gurudev & Srimati Gurumata.
All glories to Srila Prabhupad.
Please find below link which focuses on the detrimental effects of doubt in the path of devotion.
Tirtharaja Dasa, 15th November 2012
Hare Krishna Jessicca,
When one starts experiencing doubts, that is a sign of making spiritual progress for the faith we have on Krishna is not blind faith but is faith with a purpose that is backed by Shastra (Krishnas own words or descriptions of
Krishna and the like) and emulated by great saintly personalities down the ions of time.
There is a very nice book on this matter and I advise that if you can gret a copy then get a copy immediately for it deals with this matter of doubt precisely. Conclusively we have to practically read all of Srila Prabhpuadas books but for starters this is a good starting point. The book is entitled Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service by Srila Satsvarupa dasa Gosvami.
Just to give you a test, He writes quoting from Bhagavad-gita (7.27 purport) p. 2 “…Due to desire and hte, the ignorant person wants to come one with the supreme Lord (impersonalism) and envies Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead” One form this rebellion takes is doubts towards the teachings of the revealed scriptures and on the same page…Ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this life nor the next..”. further, “…The doubts that have arisen in your heart because of ignorance should be slashed with the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, arise and fight.” and He concludes, … Meditation on these verses has been helpful in curing my doubt.
In his own words he advises…” Until one reaches the liberated stage, doubts will continue to come. They may not be serious, or they can become so grave that they can impede our progress. We should not hide the fact and bluff as if we are perfect. We have to learn how to deal with the obstacles on the path.
I hope this helps
your lowly servant,
Sunil, 15th November 2012
Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada
Respected Jessica I have read your question. I humbly suggest to you that you try to chant as attentively and sincerely as you can. Process of Chanting is like meeting with God through transcendental sound vibrations
And when you are free please give as much time as you can , to reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. If any question or doubt comes
to your mind while reading Srila Prabhupada’s books , please post them here
Sanil, 17th November 2012
Hare Krishna Mataji,
Kindly accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva
Following understanding helped me a lot:
o Srila Prabhupada says in the purport of Bhagavad-gita that one with the conviction that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead will receive the maximum benefit of reading Bhagavad-gita. So, I wanted to be convinced
o When I searched, I found out that the acharyas in the disciplic succession, pray to Lord and also spread Krishna Consciousness not for any material achievement or sense enjoyment. In fact they have rejected all material
benefits on their path of spiritual progress.
o Srila Gurudeva sacrificed everything material he had except a guitar, with which he had a strong attachment. Later on Srila Gurudeva said that he even sold that guitar for paying the rent of the temple. I just heard a seminar
of Srila Gurudeva in the net http://www.theultimateselfrealization.com in which he says the following in between the seminar:
“I have been married and my wife is sitting here now, Vishnupriya Devi Dasi. We married since 1984. That means almost 29 years married. We remain brahmachari the whole time, strict brahmachari. I am not saying that every householder should do that, because householder life is meant for producing children. But Prabhupada said if a householder does not want to have sex life, which is very good. They can remain brahmachari. They can do that. There is a very nice verse in Srimad Bhagavatam, 7th canto (SB 7.12.11). Srila Prabhupada talks about the rules and regulations for the householders and sanyasis. I recommend that all householders should study this verse very carefully.” So, I realised that they are selfless people; they are not interested in any material achievement or sense enjoyment. Hence, I did not find any reason why I should not believe them. I feel and understand the unlimited mercy and
blessings they shower when I associate with them.
o I also noted that associating with devotees help me lot to be focused. By this virtual network, it is very easy for me to have association all the time.
o Also, I realized the importance to finalize what I need at the end. So, I came to following conclusion:
o I don’t want to be a miser – since, miser is satisfied only when he satisfy himself. The miserly satisfaction is incomplete and temporary and doesn’t provide any real satisfaction.
o I wanted to be a selfless lover. So, in that process, I understood and convinced that only Srila Prabhupada’s teaching can guide me to realize these goals.
o I wanted to achieve perfection: To achieve perfection, I am convinced about Srila Prabhupada’s teaching that:
v I should fully surrender to a bona-fide spiritual master who is perfectly situated, so that I can get proper guidance.
v I should offer everything to Krishna, and my only aim should be to satisfy the senses of Krishna. So, I need to do everything very carefully and lovingly before I offer it to Krishna and I should not do anything which Krishna
doesn’t like. And at the end, when I achieve this, I am convinced that it will help me in the following:
o I will be in perfect love relationship with Krishna, since I am serving Him unconditionally.
o I will love everybody and everything (and I will not hate anybody or anything) since I know that everything is Krishna’s energy and Krishna’s arrangement.
o With Krishna’s mercy, I will be able to transcend all dualities.
o I will achieve spiritual perfection and unlimited bliss, since I am doing everything perfectly and unconditionally and there is no sin associated with it, and lastly,
o I am protected, since Krishna had declared it through Arjuna that my devotee will never perish.
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