How to feel the need to get serious about spiritual life?

How to avoid getting distracted from the spiritual journey? How to develop the desire to get serious? How to do what I know is the right thing to do?

Radha, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I chant more than 16 rounds a day and try to focus my mind on Krishna but my mind gets distracted on watching TV or talking to a friend on whatsapp or playing a game on the phone. I know I should instead read Srila Prabhupada’s books or chant more or go to the temple and get association of Devotees but I don’t. On my weekends I feel like I want to relax after a tiring work week. I still finish my 16 rounds everyday but feel like I am not Krishna conscious 24 by 7 which I want to be. I ask Krishna for his mercy. I know I have to be serious about being Krishna conscious but then I tell myself I still have time to do that once I am older. I also know I can go at anytime and need to think about Krsna to get liberation. I don’t know how to control these distractions. 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Filip Misic, 13 June 2018

Mother Radha,

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

You sound like a very sincere devotee. Krishna Consciousness is a gradual process, so we shouldn’t expect to become liberated souls in a flash.

 It takes determination, just like you are nicely chanting 16 rounds. In this way one by one your anarthas or impurities will wash away by the chanting of the holy name. It is also important to associate with devotees, so you will have to force your mind to go to the temple and get Devotee association. The mind wants to stay in its comfort zone, but we must pull it out of there if we want to advance. The devotees are very friendly and loving. I hope this helps you 🙂

your servant, Filip

Bhakta Sunil, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna Mataji

Please accept my humble respects

Jaya Srila Gurudeva! Jaya Prabhupada

The fact that you are asking this question shows that you are on the right path to overcome distractions and become fixed in Krishna consciousness, so congratulations for already being on the path to overcome the distractions

Please read the following questions and answers from http://www.backtohome.com wrt distractions

Answers According to Vedic Knowledge

Question: Overcoming Distractions and Laziness?

— dated 2 January 2018

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

All glories to You and Gurumataji

While reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter 2, Verse 44 I was asking myself about my connections with the material enjoyment. I found that in past examples how distractions led me to rather enjoy myself than instead of doing some devotional service. Because of it I was prone to postpone or sometimes even not to complete the tasks I set up for my sadhana activities. Sometimes I even had problems with consistency chanting 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mahamantra every day on my japa mala bears. How to prevent distractions and how to stop myself from getting involved in enjoyment when distractions or laziness arrive.

I am begging for Your guidance. 

Your student

Answer: Beg Krishna to Help You

If you will regularly every day sincerely beg Lord Krishna to protect you from distractions and laziness, He will reciprocate with your sincere prayers and bless you to always be enthusiastically absorbed in His pure devotional service.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Properly Balance My Activities? — dated 4 January 2016

I am a 12th standard student. I chant 6 rounds regularly, but in a very inattentive way. In the past few months I have been struggling to control my mind. I have not prepared myself for exams well as I was most of the time engaged in unproductive activities like spending excessive time on cell phone using Internet. Everyday I delayed my studies but as I started chanting seriously I feel a sense of control and am able to do all my activities without distraction. But the problem is that I still don’t fully utilize my potential as I lack the enthusiasm or motivation to study hard and do other devotional activities with a serious intent to please Krishna. So how can I become motivated to study for Krishna and at the same time perform my devotion with a deep intent to please Krishna.

Vishal

Answer: Prioritize Krishna

If you will begin every day focusing your attention exclusively on Krishna by carefully chanting His names, you will then be able to do all of your duties throughout the day as an offering of love to Him. In short, you must always prioritize Krishna. Then everything will work out nicely.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Answer based on Vedic knowledge :

Question: Why Does Maya Distract the Neophyte Devotee? — dated 8th March 2018

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

My question is: As soon as one starts becoming attached to Krishna why does Maya try to distract attention from Krishna?. She should be happy that one is becoming attracted to her master, and she on the contrary must help such a soul to increase his attraction to Krishna. Please guide.

Your servant,

Avinash G.

Jai Shree Krishna

Answer: To Test Our Genuineness

Maya is there to make sure that we are truly serious about Krishna consciousness, that we are not just making a show. When she sees that we are fully serious she no longer tries to distract us from Krishna. She will then assist us giving us all help in our Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Hope this helps

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Radha, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Thank you for your response. I have tried to force myself to go to the temple but somehow or other don’t go. I used to go to temple regularly a few years back and got very attached with a devotee which didn’t end well.  From that time I don’t like going anymore. I feel very uncomfortable around people from the time I have become Krishna conscious. I like being by myself and chanting and reading. I will beg Krishna to let me go again.

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 14 June 2018

Dear Mother Radha,

Hare Krishna!

Being Krishna conscious 24X7 is no easy thing. To aspire for it is a very wonderful situation to be in! 🙂

The “time to be more Krishna conscious when I am older” doesn’t work. There are millions of old people everywhere – are they taking to Krishna consciousness in large numbers? Not really, because momentum is very important. Whatever I have cultivated now is what I will carry forward as I get older, not that I will be able to develop new habits suddenly just because I am older. Most practitioners of Krishna consciousness actually start when they are younger, though of course, there are exceptions.

It is not unreasonable to want to relax at home after a tiring week. With this online group, and with Srila Gurudeva’s programs, we are taking the temple to the comfort of your own home. For example, we have the Bhagavata Online Academy, we have the daily email, video, Q&A, and we have plans for many more projects.

The best way to be Krishna conscious is to actively participate and maybe even take charge of some project or service. It can be according to your own time and travel constraints, but the Internet has opened up a vast service avenue for all of us.

If you are interested, then please actively participate in the Bhagavata Online Academy, the chanting challenge (for example, can you find someone to chant 1 round with you, on the phone), and other projects without necessarily traveling a lot physically. Or, if you want, you can also assist us with some projects coming up.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Radha, 14 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I would love to assist with projects. If you have anything please let me know anyway I can serve Krishna 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19 June 2018

Hare Krishna! For now, we are requesting everyone to kindly join (or participate if already joined) the Bhagavata Online Academy and participate actively (as in, reply to an email) at least once a week… this service will enliven us all…

Visvanath das, 21 June 2018

Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva,

How do we join the Bhagavata online academy. Is there some link?

Thank you all for helping my KC.

your servant,

Visvanath das

Darryl E., 21 June 2018

Is this mail group also called the Bhagavata Online Academy?

Darryl H. Eschete

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 21 June 2018

Hare Krishna!

Thank you!

This is the “Students of Sankarshan Das Adhikari” group. The Bhagavata Online Academy is separate from this but a prerequisite is that they must be members of this group and subscribed to Srila Gurudeva’s eCourse.

Here is an excerpt from Bhaktarupa Prabhu’s email re Bhagavata Online Academy:

Bhagavata Online Academy

One of the activities of this group is that we have an organized study program to read Srila Prabhupada’s books, so that the members can get a thorough understanding of the philosophy and concepts of Krishna consciousness. We start a google group every year and enroll members from the sda_students group to read the books together along with their fellow group members. These books are read over a period of time in an organized way, as little as 2-3 pages a day. A facilitator of the group will be asking questions from the pages read from the book for each day of reading. You can reply back to these questions with your answers. You are also welcome to ask you own questions that come up in your reading 

We call this book reading group as “Bhagavata Online Academy”, as it appropriately denotes that the group is aimed at reading, understanding and implementing the Bhagavata Dharma, as taught by our beloved spiritual master of the whole world Srila Prabhupada in his books.

Quote from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.28 

“Prahlāda Mahārāja continued: I received this knowledge from the great saint Nārada Muni, who is always engaged in devotional service. This knowledge, which is called bhāgavata-dharma, is fully scientific. It is based on logic and philosophy and is free from all material contamination”.

2017-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in January 2017. This group is currently reading “Science of Self Realization”. You are welcome to apply for membership to this group, where you can read Srila Prabhupada’s books systematically along with the other group members. To join the group, please click on the link https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/2017-bhagavata-online-academy and enter your joining comments.

Just for your information, we present the other groups that were started in the reverse chronological order. 

2016-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2016. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”.

2015-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2015. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”. 

2014-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2014. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Sri Brahma Samhita”.

2013-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2013. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading read “Srimad Bhagavatam”.

2011-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2011. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Srimad Bhagavatam”.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Darryl E., 21 June 2018

“Science of Self Realization” was my first of Prabhupada’s books and still my favorite. I will apply for membership, yes.

Darryl E.

Radha, 24 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I follow all the regulative principles and chant 16 rounds or more everyday but I still have so many material desires which becomes worse especially since I work with non-devotees.

I want to start wearing the kanthi mala but after you wear the mala you can’t eat out. I visit my sister every year in Florida and on flight you cannot bring your own food so will it be a sin to wear the kanthi mala and eat food not offered to Krsna on the flight as it is a long trip.

Hare Krishna

Radha

Satish kumar, 25 June 2018

Hare Krishna Prabhu!

During the cleaning process, if there is still some dust left shall we feel that the cleaning process is completed? We have developed certain wrong notions during the process of our growth, due to lack of proper spiritual masters and be sincere and pray to Lord Krishna, God so kind enough in listening to the prays of sincere Devotees. But don’t lose your confidence till you achieve your goal

I hope this will help you in reaching your perfection.

Haribol

God brother

Satish kumar

Radha, 27 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Thank you for your response but I still did not get the answer about wearing a kanthi mala. I know you can only eat food offered to Krsna but when travelling and you cannot cook is it wrong to eat food from outside when wearing a kanthi mala. 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Paramhamsa das, 27 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Regarding the food offered to Krishna when travelling the most immediate example to consider is that Srila Gurudev , Srimati Gurumataji , who makes 2 round the world trip every year for preaching  for past many years . And still they maintain their standard of not eating the karmi food offered in the flight by packing their own Prasadam . The trick is you have to pack dry prasadam, like dry fruits, roti /puri with more oil so it stays fresh longer and some type of  dry sabji , The list can go on and on , but the understanding is  If you have the desire then Krishna will surely fulfill just needs a better planning ahead of your trip . 

About neck beads Nectar of devotion chapter 9 Srila Prabhupada mentions of its importance  quoting from Padma and Skanda purana . 

Please read the https://www.vedabase.com/en/nod/9 

I hope I answered your question  if not please feel free to inquire further . 

your servant, 

Paramhamsa das. 

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 27 June 2018

Mataji,

To put on Tulasi neck beads means to take a vow of trying one’s best to reach the platform of pure devotional service. At the very least, one should abstain from knowingly consuming foods that Vaishnavas avoid, such as meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, tea with caffeine, coffee, chocolate, mushrooms, etc. Otherwise, it becomes like I am advertising myself as a Vaishnava but it is a mere farce.

Yes, one can take some additional effort to keep oneself pure, packing Prasada may take a bit of additional time but it is well worth it and pays off in terms of better service, better chanting, and better effectiveness in sharing Krishna with others, plus better peace of mind for oneself too.

One can do one’s best while Krishna helps our best get better.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

Mind is like a child, Intelligence is like the mother

How does a mother take care of the child? Your intelligence should take care of your mind the same way. Read to find out more!

Hearing a class by my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari on SB 3.31.15, he made this statement “The mind is like a child, and the intelligence is like the mother of that child”.

When I first heard this many years ago, I was startled by the clarity of the example, especially when after some time, I observed my wife with our son.

Even though every child is unique in a way, children are also very similar to each other. They often have short attention spans, are easily distracted, can be either very easy to convince or stubbornly refuses to co-operate. Children are also extremely imaginative and inventive, and usually don’t bear grudges against the mother even though the mother may be strict.

When we compare our mind to a child, the comparison fits very nicely! So, for most people struggling to control the mind, look no further than the means adopted by an expert mother.

What does a mother do? The mother treats the child very lovingly. She coaxes, cajoles, and pleads with the child. But she is also firm with the child when it is time to be firm. She sometimes shouts at the child, she also sometimes yells and when it comes to it, offers correction in an appropriate way. It sometimes happens that the mother walks away from the child too and the child often suddenly complies with the wishes of the mother and follows along with her. Sometimes, others may see a mother as being harsh, but more often than not, she knows what she is doing!

The playful child, the whimsical child, the recalcitrant child, the stubborn child, the angry child, the sad child, the moody child, they all find their match in the same mother, behaving in specific different ways.

This is how intelligence is meant to be used, to act just as a mother.

The mind has three functions, thinking, willing, and feeling. And the mind is like a flip-flop switch – the same situations will cause it to react differently and keep changing around, often for no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the mind will think positive, sometimes it will act negative, sometime it will be cheerful, and sometimes it will be gloomy, sometimes it will be hardworking, sometimes it will be lazy. But just as a mother can get a child to act for his own welfare, similarly the intelligence is meant to perform that service.

Here are some examples, conversations between the intelligence and mind.

OK mind, so you want to do that? Why is that? Does it make sense? (the mind rambles on) “Hey look at this!” (intelligence distracts the mind)

Mind, mind, my dear mind, do you know what an amazing surprise I have for you today? (mind eagerly follows the intelligence waiting for the surprise).

Mind, if you continue to do this, I will have to take (names a privilege) away.

Mind, you can do whatever you want, but I’m not going there with you (mind follows).

OK, I cannot do justice to the nuances of the range and subtleties of the conversation between any mother and child in such an abbreviated manner, but I am hoping the examples point you in the right direction. On the spiritual path, the mind may present many such obstacles every moment, but we are meant to use our God-given intelligence properly.

It may take some time apparently (it does not have to, many have attained spiritual perfection in a moment, but that is rare), Sri Krishna instructs us in this encouraging way…

शनै: शनैरुपरमेद्‍बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया ।
आत्मसंस्थं मन: कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥ २५ ॥

śanaiḥ śanair uparamed
buddhyā dhṛti-gṛhītayā
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
na kiñcid api cintayet

Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/25/

Krishna also says this, specifically…

यतो यतो निश्चलति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥ २६ ॥

yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/26/

Again, please note that we are not the mind. We are spirit soul. The intelligence, mind, and our sense of identity all are part of what is known as our “subtle body”, but more on that another day.

And how to make sure that our intelligence is being a “good mother” to the mind?

अध्येष्यते च य इमं धर्म्यं संवादमावयो: ।
ज्ञानयज्ञेन तेनाहमिष्ट: स्यामिति मे मति: ॥ ७० ॥

adhyeṣyate ca ya imaṁ
dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ
jñāna-yajñena tenāham
iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/70/

Study Bhagavad Gita daily. Try it!

With gratitude to my spiritual master, who mercifully came back to the material world just to save me, and many others like me. Dear Srila Gurudeva, I pray to assist you in your mission, moment after moment, day after day, and life after life, more and more and more eternally ever-increasingly.

Imperfection is no excuse

There are many travails on the spiritual journey, tests of faith, challenges, mainly our own imperfection, but imperfection is no excuse…

I have heard this from many aspiring spiritualists, the train of thought goes somewhat like this… “I have tried, I have tried so hard, but I couldn’t… everything I did was imperfect… it is hopeless, so I might as well not bother”.

This could be about rising early in the morning, it could be about the Four Regulative Principles, it could be about Chanting Hare Krishna, it could be about being kind to others… or any of the beautiful goals spiritualists aspire for.

For a conditioned soul, imperfection is a given. Sometimes, it feels like I can get nothing right. I try one thing, it results in disaster. I try another thing, it is a failed attempt. No matter how hard I try, my faults dominate my effort! Wot to do?

Keep trying!

Sri Krishna says these most encouraging words…

सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत् ।
सर्वारम्भा हि दोषेण धूमेनाग्न‍िरिवावृता: ॥ ४८ ॥ saha-jaṁ karma kaunteya
sa-doṣam api na tyajet
sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa
dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ

Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kuntī, even if such work is full of fault.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/48/

Have you ever seen a little child learning to walk? They fall. Many times. Over and over again. And for a long long time, children who recently learned to walk are known as “toddlers” – because, yes, they are unsteady on their feet, they tend to fall down.

But just as a healthy little child has the innate ability to walk, so, you, dear spirit soul, you have the innate ability to regain your spiritual perfection.

In fact, you are already perfect, your consciousness may be contaminated, but that can be rectified. I may be imperfect, but my Best Friend has no weakness!

So arise, awake, and don’t give up on your spiritual goals, because even though every endeavor is covered by fault, still…

शनै: शनैरुपरमेद्‍बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया ।
आत्मसंस्थं मन: कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥ २५ ॥ śanaiḥ śanair uparamed
buddhyā dhṛti-gṛhītayā
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
na kiñcid api cintayet

Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/25/

“A big shot is a little shot who kept shooting”. DON’T GIVE UP!

By the Grace of God, Step by Step, you will shoot down all your imperfections. By the Grace of God, Step by Step you will make it, just dont’ stop trying.

My dear Best Friend and Well-Wisher, Sri Krishna, I pray to try, every single day, every single moment, keep trying to be Your pure unmotivated devotee. Please help me.

Varieties of Determination

KV Rao, 6th January 2014

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to your devotional service!

I got following doubt while reading New Year greetings saying determination, resolution, vow etc.

What is the use and result of determination in the mode of goodness, passion and ignorance? Please share your thoughts.

Haribol!

your servant,

Rao

Sunil 06th January 2014

Hare Krishna everyone

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Rao Prabhuji determination is very essential for practising Krishna consciousness. Many impediments can come to one against chantingand practising devotional service. So determination plays an essential role in Krishna Consciousness

One must be determined to engage one’s mind in devotional activities like chanting , reading , listening. There can be so many distractions to completing 16 rounds of chanting. For eg., one may feel like switching on television or engaging mundane gossip on social media instead of doing japa. At such time one determinedly do the japa.

This determination helps one to transcend the mode of goodness , passion and ignorance

Determination to serve and please Lord Krishna can be practiced in mode of goodness , passion or ignorance ; Such determination gets enhanced and gives nice results especially when he or she gets association of a pure devotee and inquires from the devotee submissively

Regards,

Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 16th January 2014

Dear Sriman Rao,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Determination in the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance are described by Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita:

BG 18.33: O son of Pṛthā, that determination which is unbreakable, which is sustained with steadfastness by yoga practice, and which thus controls the activities of the mind, life and senses is determination in the mode of goodness.

BG 18.34: But that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive results in religion, economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna.

BG 18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion — such unintelligent determination, O son of Pṛthā, is in the mode of darkness.

You are much  better at summarizing symptoms and characteristics of the various types of determination.

From this, we can understand that the use of the determination in the mode of ignorance is zero, the use of the determination in the mode of passion binds one to endless birth and death, and the use of the determination in the mode of goodness can lead to liberation from material bondage, unless one gets attached to the results.

The results of the determination in the mode of ignorance are always unpleasant, whether successful or not – take for example foolish but determined political and national leaders who took their country to such massive problems such as needless war-mongering. Even if someone remains on the level of dreaming, etc., such a person is always unsatisfied.

The results of the determination in the mode of passion (most new year resolutions by a majority of people fall into this category) are mixed, as in, they may be successful, but regardless of result, they don’t actually liberate one.

The results of determination in the mode of goodness are conducive to spiritual perfection, though not always.

There are also combinations of determination – someone might desire something in the mode of goodness but be determined to achieve it through actions in the mode of passion (someone wants good health, but goes about it by a very strenous physical exercise regime). Someone might want something that is in the mode of passion, but set about achieving it with actions in the mode of goodness (for example, a foolish militant who wants to destroy but diligently learns the art of explosive warfare).

Indeed, the endless combinations of the three modes make up all the varieties in the material world.

So  may our determination and resolutions be conducive to always remaining conscious of Krishna in thought, word, and deed.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.backtohome.com