The Reading Room
Welcome to this new section of Krishna.com dedicated to the writings of our previous Acharyas.
According to Srila Prabhupada, the foremost exponent of Krishna Conciousness in the western world, "Acharya means one who knows the intricacies of Vedic knowledge and he personally behaves in terms of that knowledge and teaches his disciples in terms of that knowledge. Acharya means the person whose behavior is to be followed. Not that as we follow somebody according to our taste. Not like that. That acharya comes in the standard disciplic succession."
We hope that these works of the Acharyas give the insight and as to which they were intended and inspire you in your Krishna Consciousness.
Looking for something on a particular topic? By a particular writer? Within a particular time? Search here for articles by title, topic or author.
Q : I want go to Vrindavan. How can i go there?
A : From the devotional point of view, you need the blessings of devotees like Tulasi devi to attain Vrindavan. By material calculation, you just need a ticket on the train or bus, or else take a taxi from Delhi.
Q : how to stop smoking?
A : Have you tried chanting Hare Krishna? Some people get enough spiritual strength simply by doing that to stop smoking.
Q : how can I spend my time on the Web for developing Krishna consciousness? What forums/blogs/websites to join?
A : Read all the 'teachings' material on Krishna.com.
Q : which books to start?
A: You should read Bhagavad-gita at some point, but Science of Self-Realization and Isopanisad may be easier. You can go to the Online Books page of Krishna.com and get online versions.
Q : I don’t get inspired to chant. I have a strong desire to serve Krishna. but I am so low. I feel I am disturbing the Lord
A: Two ways to become inspired to chant:
1. Force yourself to chant every day anyway and you will become purified and like it.
2. Serve and glorify devotees who like to chant.
Q : How to do that? How can I have satsang on the Web?
A : On Krishna.com there are some live video lectures in the evenings (USA time).
Q : will Krishna accept me?
A : Krishna is willing to accept people who never stop trying to attain His mercy, no matter what their previous position, as we are all His children.
Q : how to serve devotees?
A: Assist them in their service to the Lord. Is there a Hare Krishna temple near you? If so you can go there when you have free time, and ask what you can do to help.
Q: How can one get Krishna Consciousness? How can chanting give mental satisfaction?
A: The chanting is a spiritual vibration that elevates our consciousness above the material plane.
Q: But how can we be devoted while chanting? Sometimes when we are chanting our mind is thinking of something else. So how do we control our mind towards chanting?
A: Yes. That is why we have to practice. By constant practice we improve. By giving up we fail.
Q: In a single instant of time our mind wanders a lot
A: Yes. As much as the mind goes off, we must bring it back. Just like a mother must bring her child back from his mischief time after time. We must be very patient. Patience is a quality of goodness, which enhances meditation.
Q: Do you mean that meditation is the way in which we can enhance Consciousness? If so, what kind of meditation? Is chanting is a type of meditation? What does Krishna mean?
A: Krishna means the all-attractive person. It is said 3 Ramas equals 1 Krishna, and Rama equals 1000 names of Vishnu.
Q: Did Srila Prabhupada say that Krishna means omnipotent?
A: Mostly he says Krishna means “all attractive.” Omnipotence is just one attractive feature of Krishna.
Q: How to consider Krishna as God?
A: The way Krishna describes Himself in Bhagavad-gita it is clear He is God.
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. (Bg. 10.8).
I am seated in everyone's heart and from Me come remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness. (Bg. 15.15).
Q: How can we believe that Krishna is there?
A: 1) Great saints have realized that Krishna is here.
2) The scriptures like Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam affirm Krishna's existence.
3) By following Krishna's instructions in Bhagavad-gita, one can see how one's life improves.
Q: If Krishna does not show himself then how will we know that he is there? We know him only by the deity, how will we show great affection to him? He has to at least come and speak to us.
A: Krishna shows Himself as the deity and as the holy name. To see him personally before you in his spiritual form, you require great qualification. Just as you cannot demand the president of a country to appear before you, you cannot demand that the Lord appears before you.
Q : how is it possible to control sex desire?
A : Hare Krishna, Thank you for your question. Different things can be said about controlling sex desire. Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita that lust arises from contemplating the objects of the senses.
Q : then what to do?
A : Therefore try to avoid thinking about or seeing the opposite sex as far as possible.
Q : but today it is very difficult
A : The secret according to Krishna is to get a higher taste from spiritual activities.
Q : how?
A : We have to engage the mind is hearing and chanting about Krishna and performing practical service for Krishna. We also should eat vegetarian food that is offered to Krishna.
In these ways we can spiritualize our mind by engaging it in Krishna's service.
Another thing is that we should not be impatient because sex desire is something that we have been involved with for many lifetimes. It is not like it will disappear suddenly. But it becomes easier to tolerate as we absorb our mind in a positive spiritual way.
We can read sections from the scripture that describe how entangling sex desire is. These include the Forest of Enjoyment chapter of the Fifth Canto, Lord Kapila's teachings about adverse fruitive activities in the Third Canto, the Aila Gita from the Eleventh Canto, etc.
These convince us intellectually of the value of controlling sex desire.
Q : I will read it
A : Then there are also foods that can be avoided. Don't eat too many grains or yogurt at night. Don't eat lots of rich foods like cashew nuts. This causes nocturnal emissions.
Don't talk about mundane male/female relationships or associate with people who do.
Bhakti Vikas Swami has a book on Brahmacarya, celibacy. You can find it on his web site www.bvks.com.
Q : ok thanks for solution I will try to read it then
A : Very well. Good luck. You can also pray to Krishna. That definitely helps. Kapila's teachings are in Canto three, Chapter 30. And Aila Gita is Canto Eleven, Chapter 26.
Q : I heard that A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami told His sannyasis to initiate on His behalf, so why do His sannyasis get their feet washed and have their own vandana? Sorry if it sounds offensive; it is just a query.
A : The idea is that while Srila Prabhupada was personally present, he wanted the leaders to initiate on his behalf, and after he left this world, they could become regular gurus.
Washing of the feet of sannyasis is a Vedic custom and not restricted to gurus. Also worship is permitted of the Lord, the demigods, the guru, the brahmanas, and ones superiors. It is also not restricted to gurus. See Bhagavad-gita 17.14.
Q : how does one become a guru?
A : Basically in ISKCON any disciple of Srila Prabhupada in good standing can become a guru--that is, those who are steady in their vows to chant 16 rounds (1728 times) the Hare Krishna maha-mantra daily and refrain from illicit sex, intoxication, meat eating, and gambling. There are just some recommendations from responsible leaders that are required, but I do not know exactly the extent of that.
Q : I’m interested in how one becomes guru?
A : In the Vedic tradition there are 2 types of gurus, some initiate and some instruct. Instructing gurus are called shiksha guru
Q : how does one initiate?
A : In ISKCON one has to be authorized by the GBC
Q : who is the GBC?
A : The GBC means The Governing Body Commission. This is the highest managerial authority in ISKCON
Q : how does one get into GBC?
A : One gets recommended and selected by other members. Generally a serious and respected devotee from a region. There are generally GBC representatives from each country. The aim is to manage the society in accordance with Prabhupada's desire which is to spread Krishna consciousness in a unified way.
Are there no elderly people in Goloka? Were the scriptures written by humans? Does Krishna appear on earth every Dvapara-yuga?
Q:. Scriptures say that there is no birth, death, old age and disease in the spiritual world. Does that mean that there are no elderly people in Goloka? What about the elderly gopas and gopis?
A: The older gopas and gopis do not experience the sensual malfunctioning which characterizes old age in this world.
Q: Thank you. I have one more question. While telling some of my friends about Bhagavad-Gītā or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, a question that I usually face is, "How far can we believe in the scriptures, which were ultimately written by humans?" They do not understand or care who Srila Vyāsadev is.
A: Well the scriptures say they were not written by ordinary humans, but by a being empowered by God with the necessary vision. Ultimately you can test a scriptural statement by acting according to them and seeing if the predicted benefit is attained.
Q: Most of the youth today are totally unaware of the importance and authenticity of the Vedic scriptures. They are just not ready to believe that some God-empowered being wrote them. Since they haven’t seen Vyāsadev, they do not believe that he wrote them
A: Well, as it is a fault to have blind faith, it is also a fault to blindly doubt. You have to test the statement as far as is possible.
Q: Okay. I’m sure this is going to help me. I have one more question. Does Krishna appear on earth in every Dvapara-yuga? Is it the same with His other incarnations?
A: No, just once in a day of Brahmā. Once in a thousand Kali-yugas.
Q: What exactly happens to the conditioned souls after the annihilation, which is during the night of Brahmā.
A: They remain in a dormant, unconscious state, until creation is re-manifested.
Q: This is regarding the question about Krishna appearing every Dvapara-yuga... You said he appears once in a thousand Kali-yugas… If I’m not wrong, did you mean to say once in a thousand Dvapara-yugas? But does He come as Krishna only in this Dvapara-yuga?
A: I believe so.
Q: And does He display the same pastimes every time He appears?
A: Of course. But sometimes it’s a little different. Mostly its the same.
Q: So there are millions and millions of pastimes going on even now?
A: Yes, on different planets
Q: Speaking about planets, can you please explain to me the exact structure of the creation, starting from Krishna to Maha-vishnu.
A: Why don’t you check it out yourself in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam? We have it online if you want to check it out.
Q: Sure, which Canto and chapter can I find it in?
A: Check out Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 3. Also, Canto 2 is dedicated to Creation and the Incarnations.
Q: Okay, I’ll check that out.