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I'm 27, and my parents want me (their eldest son) to get married, but I want to join ISKCON. What should I do?

by Laxmimoni dasi

Lord Chaitanya's sankirtan movement is vast. There are many, many aspects to preaching and joining; you can preach and join from any position, married or single, and living in any place. Since you're 27, you can do what you wish...but I would expect that marriage is something that's going to happen, and that you also must have some job in order to support a family.

When you say you "want to join ISKCON" do you mean that you want to remain brahmachari (celibate student) and never marry? This is a very rare position. Most men find it necessary to accept a wife. But this doesn't have to limit your involvement in ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada himself became a devotee as a householder. He supported the devotees, had preaching programs in his home, distributed and printed Back to Godhead magazines, wrote for his spiritual master's magazines, and in many ways tried to spread Krishna Consciousness.

"Joining ISKCON" doesn't only mean moving into a temple. It means dedicating one's energy toward supporting and spreading the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and following good sadhana (regular spiritual practice), reading Srila Prabhupada's books, etc. You can establish a temple in your home and help to make your parents and other family members Krishna Conscious as well.

If you are considering leaving your family to join the temple, and remaining in the temple...that is another thing. You are 27 - a grown man - and it is a heavy decision to leave your family, but you can do whatever you feel is best. Your parents don't have to agree, although that would be nice, but at 27 it's not essential. If you have a spiritual master, or other senior devotees in the temple that you go to for advice, I would suggest you also consult with them.

But consider carefully before you take any action...and understand that joining ISKCON does not necessarily mean you have to leave home and move into the temple.