So you want to serve the needy?

Would you like to help others? How do you know you are actually helping them and not prolonging their misery? How do you know you are not getting entangled in an endless web of actions and reactions?

Some say “manava seve madhava seva“, which means “by serving the needy man, you serve God”. Let us examine this… if you feed the hungry, or clothe the naked, or try to heal the sick… will that actually help them? Sure, there is some temporary relief from the pangs of material suffering. If temporary relief is your goal, sure, but what if you want to really help them out of this mess they are in? You surely cannot feed, clothe, or shelter someone forever. Even if you did, you cannot protect them from old age, disease, and eventually death.

They are suffering primarily because they are spirit souls masquerading as material bodies. The material body gets hungry, gets sick, gets old, and dies, and this is the main cause of problems.

So yes, we can serve God by serving the souls, but how we serve them determines if we become the cause of their emancipation or the cause of their (and our own!) continued bondage.

The law of karma is very complicated, and impossible to trace out fully due to the immense complexity, but it is very very precise. It will surely pay back in just measure every single reaction to every single action.

So yes, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Not to be administered by us, but we do become instruments of that, mostly unwittingly. What personal enmity did the soldiers from Nazi Germany have against the soldiers from America in the Second World War? Why did Guenter kill Billy? Why did Tommy kill Thorsten? They owed a debt to each other, one to kill, and one to be killed, and in that particular lifetime, one soul was born in Nazi Germany, and the other was born in America. Both were enlisted, and many souls’ karmic reactions came together and manifested as the Second World War.

Every single occurence in the world is simply an example of karmic debts… someone becomes a father, someone becomes a daughter, someone becomes the slaughtherer, someone becomes the slaughtered, and in this way, ad nauseum, someone becomes an exploiter, someone becomes the exploited.

Don’t believe me? OK, let us see, what could be the karmic reward for feeding a hungry man? To be fed yourself, maybe many times over, but being fed yourself primarily. And what does the person who was fed need to do? They need to repay their debt to you. This means that both to enjoy the benefit and to get paid back, both you and the person you fed need to take birth again. Birth again, old again, sick again, and surely death again.

Don’t forget that whatever you fed someone was also a living entity – whether seed, vegetable or animal. So, who pays the debt to that living entity. You both, benefactor and beneficiary.

Same with opening up hospitals – you will one day get free medical treatment yourself.

Opening up orphanages? You will be taken care of by benevolent strangers when you become an orphan yourself.

Any philanthropic activity on the material platform results in such karmic bondage, subtle or gross.

All this sounds depressing, no?

How to actually help someone? It is commonly understood that teaching someone to farm is far better than just feeding them a few meals. Knowing that each living entity is actually spiritual in nature wearing a material covering. It then stands to reason that teaching them to shed the material covering, or in other words, helping them be purely spiritual, that is the way to actually help someone.

Want to help someone? Help them be truly spiritual through your help, let them begin their journey back home. This starts with being purely spiritual yourself. If you cannot do this, then you can continue your philanthropy, don’t stop it, because one day you may progress further…

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते ।
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ॥ १२ ॥

śreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj
jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate
dhyānāt karma-phala-tyāgas
tyāgāc chāntir anantaram

If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.

So if you want to renounce the fruits of action, that is OK, but know that there is more, such as cultivation of knowedge, but the real deal – realized knowledge, you need to live your knowledge. Even better than the cultivation of knowledge is meditation, and what is the highest?

Being purely conscious of Krishna is higher.

What is even still higher?

And even higher?

And the highest?

मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय ।
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशय: ॥ ८ ॥

mayy eva mana ādhatsva
mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya
nivasiṣyasi mayy eva
ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ

Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

Ultimately however, this the way to please God the most…

Generally it is advised that Bhagavad-gītā be discussed amongst the devotees only, for those who are not devotees will understand neither Kṛṣṇa nor Bhagavad-gītā. Those who do not accept Kṛṣṇa as He is and Bhagavad-gītā as it is should not try to explain Bhagavad-gītā whimsically and become offenders. Bhagavad-gītā should be explained to persons who are ready to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is a subject matter for the devotees only and not for philosophical speculators. Anyone, however, who tries sincerely to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is will advance in devotional activities and reach the pure devotional state of life. As a result of such pure devotion, he is sure to go back home, back to Godhead.

Want to read more? Try this.

Help others, truly help them, start by helping yourself first.

You can start by chanting this purely spiritual mantra, even if just once:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Maha Mantra, the Great Mantra for Deliverance from Material Bondage and Development of Pure Spiritual Nature

Try it out. Help me help others. Please let me know I may serve you on your spiritual journey.

How to understand being insulted?

In general, karmic reactions are to be understood to be the result of our own past actions. But is is always the case? Are some situations outside of the Karmic balance?

Dr.Gopal Shinde, 13th May 2013

Dandavat to prabhus,

I have following question regarding Dhruv Maharaj
Kindly enlighten me.
I thought of asking this question to Guru Maharaj but then thought to keep it in this forum so as to not waste Guru Maharaj’s time

We get insulted because of our karma , we have insulted someone in past therefore they are insulting us in present , as Guru Maharaj has clarified in one of the question answer in Daily Thoughts through
My question is when did dhruva maharaj insult suruchi …in his past life? if he hadnt insulted suruchi why was he insulted ?

Kindly pardon my ignorance

aspiring to be your servant……
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 14th May 2013

Dear Gopal,

Hare Krishna!

Srila Gurudeva never considers that his time is “wasted” when someone asks him a question. In fact, a spiritual master is served by us asking him questions and doing practical service to assist him “pariprashnena sevayaa”.

In fact, all of us, especially those who want to receive initiation, should make the effort to develop a personal relationship with him. He likes this, and we all benefit from having many disciples with a personal relationship with the spiritual master. Of course, he does spend upwards of 8 hours every day on email no matter where he is, answering emails practically every single moment he has. It took me a while to understand the great privilege of receiving an email from him… this is like disciples of Srila Prabhupada writing letters to him and receiving replies. Don’t think that this group is meant to replace that. It is meant to serve the spiritual master, not act as a barrier between the spiritual master and the students and disciples! 🙂

Yes, some questions may be directed to his disciples, and if unsatisfied/dissatisfied with the answer(s), one should approach Srila Gurudeva.

Your consideration to save some of his time is very noble, but do not feel that he has no time for you. He is your spiritual father, and to a father, hearing from children is always pleasurable.

Yes, correct, a pure devotee understands that all suffering is reduced reaction to their own previous actions… but in the case of Dhruva Maharaja, there is no recorded history of this, but just consider how long ago this happened… Maharaja Dhruva was the son of Uttanapada who was the son of Svayambhuva Manu who was the son of Lord Brahma, the creator of this universe which is currently 155 trillion, 20 billion years old. (ref:

For a pure devotee, such a thing is usually understood to be “Leela”, in other words, there is no karmic action-reaction cycle behind this, it is Leela, directly Krishna’s plan. Dhruva Maharaja is considered to be an eternally liberated soul, nitya siddha, even though he may have acted as a hot-headed little Kshatriya boy at some time.

Just like the example of Srila Prabhupada – he tried to establish League of Devotees in Jhansi, but he was cheated by some politician’s wife… does that mean that Srila Prabhupaa previously cheated that person? No, we cannot understand it in that way. This is Leela, Krishna’s direct plan to send Srila Prabhupada to America to establish ISKCON which would then flood the whole world with Krishna consciousness, including a little Indian city, famous for some historical reasons, known as Jhansi. 🙂

I hope this makes sense.

Mahabhagavat Das

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