The Hare Krishnas are not pessimistic, optimistic, or realistic – we are simply joyful!

Are the Hare Krishnas pessmistic? Are they realistic? Why do they keep talking about death and the futility of the material pursuit? Could it be, could they be, simply… joyful?

Brajanath Das, 20th February 2017

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

Please help me to how to explain if someone says that the Hare Krishnas are not realistic but pessimistic

your servant
Brajanath das

Bhaktarupa Das, 21st February 2017

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You have asked what if someone questions why Hare Krishna’s are pessimistic. You wanted to explain to them that we are realistic and not pessimistic.

One of the dictionary meaning of “pessimistic” is
“tending to see the worst aspect of things or believe that the worst will happen”.

Dictionary meaning of “optimistic” is
“hopeful and confident about the future.”

If we introspect ourselves, as devotees we follow the regulative principles and chant at least 16 rounds of mahamantra every day.
Generally for non-devotees, following them every day is very austere and difficult. In fact even for devotees in the beginning it is very austere and difficult. But still why do we try to follow them strictly? If there is no benefit in doing so, why do we still do it? The fact is there is immense benefit.

A student who is serious to graduate from school, undergoes severe austerities in studying the subjects thoroughly by spending long hours, sacrificing other recreational activities like watching movies, TV, passing time in browsing internet, Facebook, whats-app, etc. which the student would have engaged in these recreational activities if not serious about graduating from the school. Such taking up of austerities by the student should be criticized as being pessimistic? or appreciate the student as being optimistic who spends time in recreational activities by neglecting to prepare for the graduation?

The sincere student who takes up austerities for graduating is the one who is actually optimistic about the life. The student sees a very bright future and enjoy bigger happiness by taking up these austerities. But the student who does not see the value of graduating from school and spends time in immediate recreational activities is the one who is actually pessimistic. Because the student is pessimistic, looks for all those things that can give immediate sense enjoyments rather than taking up austerities now for a bigger and lasting happiness in the future.

Similarly we “sadhakas” or practicing devotees, also take up austerities now because we are optimistic about our future. We wanted to taste lasting happiness, we realize that the happiness or pleasures provided by the immediate recreational activities did not give us lasting happiness, which every one of us are looking for. This is the exact same thing Lord Sri Krishna and the saintly devotees in the line of disciplic succession are teaching us. We are infected with the disease of ignorance, which hides our original identity, nature and relationships. They teach us on how to get rid of the disease and rise above and situate in the platform of pure last happiness. That process is called Krishna Consciousness. In the beginning these austerities might seem to be very bitter. But Krishna explains that happiness which is bitter in the beginning and becomes nectar in the end is in the mode of goodness. Scriptures explain that this is called “shreyas”, but that happiness which is like nectar in the beginning and becomes bitter in the end is in the mode of passion, called as “preyas”. The sense pleasures provided by the recreational activities are in the mode of passion. It will appear nectar in the beginning but it will turn to be bitter or even poison in the end.

Optimistic people take up austerities to obtain lasting happiness; but pessimistic people settle with immediate temporary pleasures, not seeing the optimistic future. Therefore the Hare Krishna devotees are not only realistic but in fact they are optimistic.

Hare Krishna!

your servant,
Bhaktarupa Das

Dra Varni, 21st February

Hare Krsna!!! Very optimistic, destination and a vehicle for departure. dra

Dra Varni

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 22nd February 2017

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for the question, and a rare and wonderful response from Bhaktarupa Prabhu! Thank you!

Such questions really should be answered in the same vein as they are asked – most people asking such questions about Hare Krishnas are really not serious about understanding spiritual life – why should we justify anything to anyone? We don’t owe casual askers anything. When someone is serious, then they ask questions differently, and they accompany their question with actions too, trying to do something about their spiritual progress. So we should know when to answer and when not to answer directly.

Actually, we are truly pessimistic about anyone’s chances in the material world, everyone who was born in the material world eventually dies. And everyone who tries to make some nice situation here fails, at minimum, at death, but mostly everyone fails at other times too. We challenge anyone on this point – so many empires have come and gone, so many people have come and gone, so many great people are totally forgotten – what is the value of material efforts? Zero, it all comes to nought.

And we are immensely optimistic about Krishna’s mercy, in fact, we are not just optimistic, but we are experiencing it every day, so we have got direct confidence by personal experience.

The best answer I got to such questions was “try it and see for yourself”. If someone chants Hare Krishna even just once they will benefit more than anything I can say to them for all my lifetime:

https://www.vedabase.com/bg/9/2

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

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. BG 9.2

Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport:

“Generally, people are not educated in this confidential knowledge; they are educated in external knowledge. As far as ordinary education is concerned, people are involved with so many departments: politics, sociology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, engineering, etc. There are so many departments of knowledge all over the world and many huge universities, but there is, unfortunately, no university or educational institution where the science of the spirit soul is instructed. Yet the soul is the most important part of the body; without the presence of the soul, the body has no value. Still people are placing great stress on the bodily necessities of life, not caring for the vital soul.”

Then he writes: “It is said that the execution of devotional service is so perfect that one can perceive the results directly. This direct result is actually perceived, and we have practical experience that any person who is chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa (Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare) in course of chanting without offenses feels some transcendental pleasure and very quickly becomes purified of all material contamination. This is actually seen. Furthermore, if one engages not only in hearing but in trying to broadcast the message of devotional activities as well, or if he engages himself in helping the missionary activities of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he gradually feels spiritual progress. This advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification. The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.”

And finally, to conclude (purport continues but for this point – this is sufficient):

“The process of devotional service is a very happy one (su-sukham). Why? Devotional service consists of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized ācāryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn; then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful. One can execute devotional service even in the most poverty-stricken condition. The Lord says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam: He is ready to accept from the devotee any kind of offering, never mind what. Even a leaf, a flower, a bit of fruit, or a little water, which are all available in every part of the world, can be offered by any person, regardless of social position, and will be accepted if offered with love. There are many instances in history. Simply by tasting the tulasī leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord, great sages like Sanat-kumāra became great devotees. Therefore the devotional process is very nice, and it can be executed in a happy mood. God accepts only the love with which things are offered to Him.”

We are not even realistic, we are simply joyful! 🙂

Srila Prabhupada’s final words in that purport?

“Thus the process of devotional service, of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is the king of all education and the king of all confidential knowledge. It is the purest form of religion, and it can be executed joyfully without difficulty. Therefore one should adopt it.”

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

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How to convince someone that materialistic life is futile

Jaanvi, 27th February 2015

Dear all,

Hare Krsna

How could one convince anyone who is materially involved and see materialistic lifestyle as very normal due to the external atmosphere where most people from all the culture are very material and living life to the fullest in the material sense?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Premananda das, 28th February 2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

According to the Bhagavad Gita 16.11-12 the demoniac are always after sense gratification and have concept of after life.They believe only in this life and make plans to enjoy this life to the utmost.

Their belief is any activity can be done there is no sin accrued and their is no karma .

Even at the point of death these foolish people ask the physical to prolong life for another 4 to 5 years as their desires are not fulfilled but fail to recognize that as soon as the notice comes by the laws of nature or destiny the physician will be unable to help him.

According to the Upanishad there are 2 birds sitting on the same tree one is enjoying or suffering the fruits of his activities and the other is witnessing all the activities.Unfortunately they do not believe in the concept of soul and Supersoul .

Even if they heard about this concept they do not beleive and have no conception of God.Their only wish is to fulfill their hundreds and thousands of desires and will use all the illegal ways and means to accumulate wealth and gratify their senses .

Honestly rather than convincing the materially involved people who due to external or illusory energy want to live life to the fullest if they are known to you feed them prasadam and pray to Srila Prabhupada .

As in if you hit your head on the wall it will hurt your head.

Therefore it is said you can lead the horse to water but can’t make him drink .

your servant
Premal

 

Bhakta Sunil, 28th February 2015

Hare Krishna mataji

Hope you are doing well
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Many of us are so accustomed or conditioned to lower tastes that it is not easy or quick for many of us to get convinced of taste higher than material pleasure which has become a culture as all in all meaning of living life to the fullest

It is a question of replacing low taste to high taste , for tasting cannot be stopped or renunciated , as Heart is by nature always pleasure seeking

You may try the following tips to convince of Higher Taste or the “Highest Pleasure” :

a) Establish your Divinity first and share as much as you know : For example you can cook and offer to Lord , then give them to “taste”. This is one of the easiest way to convince

b) You can show them transcendental art ( Photos from Iskcon Books ) and allow them to take Darshan from Iskcon Temple Direct broadcasts online

c) You can share poetic thoughts of Senior Devotees , which are easily imbibed or rhyming to the listener. For example “, quotes like “If you give mercy , you get mercy” , and “If you fail to plan , you plan to fail” , and many quotes and even understanding of Scriptures from Iskcon web-pages. Do research on Google

d) Play melodious kirtans and automatically they can listen

Depending on their reaction , you may down-titrate or up-titrate the transcendental prescription

Hope this helps,

your servant,
Bhakta sunil

 

Sacinandana Das, 28th February 2015

Hare Krsna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All Glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

By performing Kirtan and giving Prasadam.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

 

Jaanvi, 13th March 2015

Dear Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for sharing all your advice.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

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How to Balance Spiritual Practice in Family Life

Advaitakrishna das, 6th May 2013

Hare Krsna

Please accept my humble Obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

WE all hear that chanting is the most important aspect of our spiritual life. We also hear that Srila Prabhupada mentioned that 99% of our spiritual advancement depends upon chanting and also that it took him some 28 or 30 years to bring it to perefction.

May I request to kindly advise on this and oblige.
Making an effort to be in the service of Srila Prabhupada
Your servant
Advaita KrsnaDas

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 6th May, 2013

Dear Advaita Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for reminding us! Yes, you are right, indeed, chanting Hare Krishna is our main activity. Why 99%, one an say that 100% of spiritual advancement depends on chanting Hare Krishna sincerely.

I haven’t heard that statement by Srila Prabhupada that it took him 28-30 years to perfect chanting Hare Krishna. But we can understand that Srila Prabhupada is very very humble and surrendered and doesn’t think himself to be a great devotee. But, we understand Srila Prabhupada to be a Nitya Siddha, so there was never a time when he was not perfect, even when he was a little child, or acting as a Grihastha.

However, in order for a person to chant effectively, there are so many important things, to take only Krishna Prasada, and to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, and to avoid the ten offenses against the holy name, and to follow the four regulative principles and serve the Vaishnavas carefully. A person who is chanting well is understood to be doing those things effectively also, and a person doing those things sincerely, can expect to advance in the matter of chanting nicely.

Group members, please let us share our feedback on this important point.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Sanil, 6th May 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

What I understood from the teachings of Srila Gurudeva is that we should totally avoid material activities and whatever spiritual activities done by us shall be as recommended by scriptures and shall be done as a service to Guru and Krishna and not for our enjoyment. Doing things for our enjoyment is miserliness. Srila Gurudeva always advice us to be selfless.

your servant,
Sanil kumar

Advaitakrishna das, 07th May 2013

HARE KRSNA
Please accept my humble Obeisances Prabhuji,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Sorry but my note was not intended at “reminding anyone”.
Please forgive me if it sounded like that. My apologies.

Just one question ,if you could kindly advise.
In Grahastha ashram there are so many distractions,could be social obligations,family responsibilities and other distracting issues of sense gratification.

How do we keep our sadhana standards strong enough so as to protect ourselves from not getting carried away and progress in Bhakti?

your servant
Advaita Krsna Das.

Sanil, 7th May 2013

Hare Krishna

I just want to add some more points to avoid any misunderstanding. All spiritual activities shall be done as a loving service to Guru and Krishna and not for our benefits or enjoyments. When Guru and Krishna are pleased not only us , but the entire world will be pleased. We can offer everything to Krishna except, meat, onions, coffine, intoxicants, etc. The most important requirement is bhava (the feeling). It shall be done as a loving service. Krishna had even ate the peelings of banana when accidentally offered but with love. The basic bhava required is love. We must do everything including our material duties as a loving service to Krishna and offer it to Him and the result (prasadam) thus obtained shall be used Krishna consciously for spiritual activities and not for our sense enjoyments

Thanks a lot to Srila Gurudeva and all glories to His noble mission of revolutionising the world with Krishna consciousness

your servant
Sanil kumar

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 07 May 2013

Dear Advaita Krishna Prabhuji,

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Well, you did not intend to remind, but due to your email I personally remembered that chanting Hare Krishna is our primary service, so I didn’t take it in a negative way but positive. I was thinking “Advaita Krishna Prabhu is thinking of this chanting Hare Krishna and he is revealing his mind in confidence to us, this is a good reminder to all of us to refocus back on chanting Hare Krishna”. So please kindly do not worry Prabhu. I am a Grihastha myself, so I see what you mean and I understand that.

Once I heard a class by His Holiness Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaja in Toronto, Canada… someone asked a similar question. His exact answer I am not able to quote, but I will paraphrase it. He said that yes, in Brahmachari life, Vanaprastha life an Sannyas life, surely disturbances can be less, Grihastha Ashrama is like flying in a plane at low altitude, and therefore the turbulence is experienced more. But he went on to say that in Grihastha Ashram it is possible to be perfect pure devotee. If he says so, then it must be true. There are so many pure devotees, Arjuna, Maharaja Parikshit, Prahlada Maharaja, Dhruva Maharaja, Ambarisha Maharaja, even Srila Prabhupada, did you know he was in Grihastha Ashram for more than 36 years? And so many others all over the world even today, pure devotees in Grihastha Ashram.

Then I heard several lectures by my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari, many persons ask this kind of question… and he says that the critical thing for Grihastha is to maintain the four regulative principles strictly. He said that if we prioritize chanting 16 rounds and strictly follow regulative principles, and maintain diet strictly ONLY on Krishna Prasadam, then 99% of the problems will be resolved by themselves, because the Grihasthas become strong and clear-headed. The main thing is to remain Brahmachari even in Grihastha life… He says that to supercharge spiritual life, one should try to be up for Mangal Arati every morning. I am personally yet to fully implement that instruction but I am sure that it will be possible soon.

Ultimately, the only way to do something is to actually do it, you know what I mean? Chanting minimum 16 rounds can be done only by actually chanting minimum 16 rounds somehow (yena kena prakaarena – somehow or other). Reading Srila Prabhupada’s books can only be done by actually reading Srila Prabhupada’s books… BTW, we have book clubs here, you can join our 2013 book club which now has 70+ members. There is another 2011 book club for which membership is already closed because “class full” 🙂 In this way we can organize such projects ourselves in our own small way, increase the spiritual vibration, and create a revolution in consciousness, and usher in the golden age within this age of kali.

Primarily, the thing to remember is that Grihastha Ashram is the best Ashram to spread Krishna consciousness. I can work in the corporate/business world, a Sannyasi cannot work in that kind of environment… so I get to serve with the money I earn, and I get to meet all these people, give them Krishna Prasadam, trick them into saying Krishna’s name, like I met one person at the water filter today, and I asked her what she was doing on the weekend, and she said she was going to her cottage, I said I had a seminar coming up at the Hare Krishna temple… she asked me where is the Hare Krishna temple, so she said Hare Krishna and heard Hare Krishna. People see my Tilak (it is fainter than at the temple, but it is there), and ask me about it… Grihasthas can go to all these social gatherings dressed in full Vaishnava attire and talk about Krishna, relate everything back to Krishna. I only eat fruits or s salad in such events and that too just namesake, I take full Prasadam from home just before entering the party so I am not hungry. Grihasthas can distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books personally and follow up in a way that a traveling preacher cannot do. Prabhu, we have to do our share and support the Sannyasis, Vanaprasthas, and Brahmacharis in their service also.

Read books, hear lectures, take on responsibilities, incorporate hearing and chanting into family time, do what it takes Prabhu… you have surely done it at some point, and you can look at your present situation and see where you can make some adjustments.

Prabhu, Grihasthas are the future of the Krishna consciousness movement because 99% of the population will be in that status of life, whether officially or not. Without active and strong spiritually surcharged Grihasthas, there will be no spreading of Krishna consciousness movement on this planet.

So Prabhu, please immediately without wasting another moment, get back to full enthusiastic mode, chant, read, let there be an overflow of spiritual vibrations in your heart, and without fear share this overflow of Krishna consciousness with one and all. You can surely do it. And with your blessing I can also do it.

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Sanil, 07th May 2013

Hare Krishna Prabhuji
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

If we read carefully, the answer to keep our sadhana strong is already mentioned by Mahabhagavat Das Prabhu :
Quote

” in order for a person to chant effectively, there are so many important things, to take only Krishna Prasada, and to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, and to avoid the ten offenses against the holy name, and to follow the four regulative principles and serve the Vaishnavas carefully. A person who is chanting well is understood to be doing those things effectively also, and a person doing those things sincerely, can expect to advance in the matter of chanting nicely.”
Unquote

Regarding sense gratification, it is a material activity. The pleasure obtained by sense gratification is not the real pleasure, it is temporary. The permanent and real pleasure is possible only in spiritual mode. We must offer all our activities in the Grihasta ashrama to Krishna and must carryout upto His satisfaction since He is the Supreme Enjoyer and we need to strictly follow the regulative principles to advance strongly in devotion as a loving service to guru and Krishna. The result thus obtained shall not be used for sense gratification. Anything we consume over and above our necessities incur sin (As confirmed by the Lord). Thus by taking only Krishna prasadam and fully involved in other Sadhanas we can be fully in spiritual mode and gradually elevate ourselves further.

your servant,
Sanil kumar

Ashok-Sahu, 08th May 2013

Hare Krishna Advaita Krishna Das Prabhu,

Please accept my humble Obeisances Prabhuji,
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

As a grihastha myself, I too have the similar feeling to share with you.
But what I have understood is, It is our own drive towards our own spiritual perfection and the drive or responsibility we own to bring others into pure Krishna Consciousness is the key for us. If we have the strong desire and drive to progress in spiritual life, we will definitely progress irrespective of in what situation we are in. It may happen that we will progress two steps forward and one step backward in certain situation, nevertheless we are progressing. However, If we are determined to maintain the standard of Krishna Consciousness gradually with our own determined effort and by the mercy of Guru, Krishna, Vaisnava we will definitely reach our goal sooner or later.

We just have to keep moving, feel suffocated if we are not in Krishna or devotees association in any of the form like Prasada, deity, books etc,

This Intense desire to reach spiritual perfection can take one towards perfection

Hare Krishna
Ashok

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