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Grey Areas

I've been really disturbed lately by all the "grey areas" that I see in the movement these days.

Therefore, I've been working really hard on clearing out grey areas from my life and my consciousness.

The problem I'm having is that grey areas are so insidious. Just when I think I've removed them all, I find more to remove. I guess they are like Maya is, insidious and ever-more sublte. In fact, I think it would be quite realistic to say that grey areas are Maya.

It's exhausting work, and the conclusion I've come to is that I can't clear them all out. It's just not possible.

If I were to clear out every single grey area, it would really pretty much amount to be being a pure devotee.

I'm not. Not even close.

I guess being perfect, or perfectly pure, is something that's going to take time.

How much can I do at this moment? How much can I do today? How much can I do tomorrow?

Those are the kinds of questions I'm asking myself, the things I'm searching.

I'm also asking "how much is enough for now" because I really don't know. Perfection is unrealistic, and fanaticism doesn't work in the long run.

It's very humbling always to realize how many ways, in how many things, I fall short of the incredibly strict standards that Srila Prabhupad gave all of us.

It seems now days that things like "attend morning and evening programs at the temple" are considered "optional". Meaning, if you can, that's great, but if you can't that's fine too.

Maybe that's okay for others, or okay for some, but I know what the standard is that was set by Srila Prabhupad. Since I'm his disciple, then that is the standard I have to measure myself by, not by what anyone else is using for their standard.

I think since my home is my temple, then it would be fine to have a morning program and evening program at home. (a complete program the way he prescribed it I mean) How in the world would I do that and also do the other things I have to do? It seems completely impossible.

I guess, like I said before in my blog about "The Essentials", if you know it's essential, really know it's essential, then you find a way to do it.

I don't know what's essential anymore.

It's not only the new devotees who have become confused and lost because of all the grey areas that exist now, it's the older devotees too.

At least this one.

* Navasi's blog
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Sun, 01/11/2009 - 17:17 — shikha
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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 15:05 — Go-Seva
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Hare Krsna Navasi~

I am only a fledging neophyte carefully tending my "seedling" devotional creeper compared to you, but when it all gets to be too much for me, I take Srila Prabhupada's advice: Just chant and be happy.

It seems that in all the books I read about Srila Prabhupada and his intimate association with devotees at the time, the common advice he gave to everyone in distress or with questions was the same. "Just chant Hare Krsna. Chant your sixteen rounds and follow the regulative principles." I especially like when he said to two senior sannyasis, "All right, you just chant your sixteen rounds, follow the four regulative principles and do any damn thing you want!" ~Both quotes are from Srutakirti Dasa's "What Is The Difficulty?"~

When everything is muddled and I have so much on my mind about so many different things, this is what I can always remember. Although I have never chanted sixteen rounds (but hope to this weekend at the NYC japa workshop!), I believe that Srila Prabhupada was onto something. I think that he knew that everything else would fall into place as long as you held on to the "basics." As I am a very simple person, this is the easiest and most sublime way for me to come to terms with everything facing me, and I believe anything Srila Prabhupada says.

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 23:48 — abrennan
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I hope you came back and tell us all about the workshop

Visit the Food Channel @

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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 00:58 — Navasi
Navasi's picture

I already asked Lisa to tell us all about it when she got back, when she told us she was going in a comment in one of my recent blogs.

Maybe it will encourage her further to do it, now that you have asked.

Hare Krishna


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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 23:30 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
What I Want

Dear Lisa,

Thank you for your comments and the information there.

That's very interesting, because the thing that I notice is "do any damn thing YOU want"....

I'm trying to do what Srila Prabhupad wants.....

I'm not very good at it, but that's what I'm trying to make an improvement on.... like I said in my post.

Thank you for sharing that.

Hare Krishna,

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 06:03 — Snehal
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Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna!

Once again your blog has come in time for me as I was also trying to search for answers to questions like, what is my best and how much should I do this moment?

Of course I havent discussed this with my instructing guru but from what I have being thinking, I feel that whatever we do throughout the day, we must try to fit it within the 9 process of devotional service. Like if we are at work, offer our work and surrender to Him, chant, read or hear about Him. If we have dieties at home then serve them and if nothing then at least remember and offer Him prayers within our hearts. This is how we can keep ourselves absorbed in KC throughout the day.

As for standands are concerned, I feel everyone will have different standards as per his/her understanding and level of advancement. What I mean is Haridas Thakur being highly advanced could chant throughout the day, but we being fallen cannot do this. So at least in this preliminary stages, we could keep our minds engaged with spiritual activities that it likes. For example, someone may like listening to kirtans than lectures. So one can keep listening to kirtans till he developes taste for lectures. In this way, one can slowly ans steadly lift oneself to next level with higher standard. Krishna is merciful and appreciate the sincere effort and one day by His grace we will be able to achieve the standards set by great souls and acharyas.



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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 09:23 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
What I Like

Hare Krishna, Snehal,

Thank you for your comment.

I'm confused though.

I like to write here on this website, I love to write about Krishna consciousness. I love to talk to the other devotees here, by typing things.

So, that's what I like (as far as after doing the essential things, chanting my rounds, reading scripture (or listening to a lecture).

I don't understand how I would "steadily lift myself to the next level or standard" of having an entire morning and evening program by writing.....

The morning and evening program as prescribed by Srila Prabhupad would involve Mangal arotike at 4:30 am (with some form of Deity worship) a one hour Srimad Bhagavatam class, then Gurupuja later, with the singing of all the prayers to go with it.

I would not be writing at all :)

That's just the morning program, not even to mention the evening program.

I wouldn't have time to write anything. Still, I don't understand how my writing, that I love, would bring me to the point of doing these other things.

Of course, that is an example of something, and you're addressing the concept, but that is the particular thing I've been concerned about personally, and I don't understand how to apply what you're saying to what I'm concerned about.

Maybe I'm not understanding how you mean this.

Can you please explain?

Thank you,
Hare Krishna,

*to clarify, I usually do most of the writing I do around 5:00 am, so that would interfere with the morning program, and I can't do the writing later in the day because of other things. Sometimes I can, but it's rare. I can (and do) make a few comments at various times, but not a lot of writing.

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 19:54 — Snehal
Snehal's picture

Hare Krishna!

You are greater than me in all the respects of material and spiritual life. Futhermore I do not possess any qualification. How can I suggest you anything? But because I made some comments which has confused you I will clearify.

What I meant was as far as one is engaged in either of the process out of 9 devotional processes, one is on the right track. So do what you like (of course devotional service) in the begning which will purify you to bring you to the next level. What one likes to do and what one does will depend on his level of advancement. And so I said standards are different for different people depending on their level of advancement. That was the basic concept I was talking about.

Now in your case, you like to write. Honestly, your writtings are very inspirational. I am sure you have touched spiritual lives of all who follow your writtings regularly. This is the service that Lord wants you to do, help others through your words. Or in other words, Krishna is making you an instrument to reach to other devotees. This is what Krishna has assigned you in your level of advancement.

So I think you should perform your service sincerely, till you are given oppurtunity to have morning and evening programs. When Krishna wants you to serve tat way, we will Himself make some adjustment in your schedule by which you will be able to write some other time in the day, allowing you to perform Mangal aarti at 4:30am. Till then keep this desire in your heart and keep prayering.

Honestly speaking, Krishna and Prabhupad will be much more happy and pleased by you now (just by your writtings) that they would be if you perform Aartis twice a day. I feel so because by performing aarti you will benefit yourself and a bunch of people but by writting you are benefitting thousands of people here. Krishna has Himself said in Gita that a devotee who gives the spiritual knowledge to others is very dear to Him. So you are dear to Krishna. And Prabhupad always emphasised preaching so you also please him too.



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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 23:25 — Navasi
Navasi's picture

Dear Snehal,

Thank you very much for your nice, detailed explanation.

It is not necessary to posses any kind of qualification, or more qualification that I have, for you to suggest things about my spiritual life.

Suggestions can come from anyone, anywhere, at any time, because they are coming from Krishna.

What I choose to DO with your suggestion, how I choose to view your suggestion, that is up to me. That is the aspect that "depends on qualifications" ... namely Mine.

So, please don't be concerned at all about that.

Now, what you have said about my writing, and my morning program, is very interesting.

You see, this is exactly what I've been thinking all this time, the thinking that caused me to write instead of having a morning program, and an evening program.

It's a general understanding, that we have to try to do the most important things first, then after that, we can concern ourselves with the less important things.

This is in fact exactly what I was addressing in my original post. It creates a confusing grey area, because now I think: "I don't have to worry about the morning program or the evening program, because it's more important to share Krishna consciousness with others".

So, I keep writing and pray that "some day Krishna will arrange my schedule so that I can have a morning and evening program".

The thing is, I am trying very hard to surrender more to Krishna, and to please Srila Prabhupad more. I am trying to see "what I can do today, to remove these grey areas from my life"... like I said in my post.

So, reading what you wrote here, this is what occurs to me:

Yes, Srila Prabhupad emphasized preaching, but he also emphasized attending the morning and evening programs, for all devotees. That was a requirement. It was not "optional".

It was so "not optional" that he even gave the instruction that a sick devotee was to be carried into the temple room to attend mangal arotike, so as not to miss it.

It seems to me, that he was in fact saying that "if we are going to preach, we must first do these things" (i.e. attend morning and evening programs, especially the morning program, that was the main "not optional" one as far as I understand, and I can only work with what I understand of course)

Now, I could be wrong, and that's why I said "it's a grey area", but that's how it seems to me.

What you said has cleared all this up for me, actually, because now I'm seeing this is in fact something I can "do today".

I don't have to think that "if Krishna wants me to have a morning and evening program, He will arrange my schedule to accommodate it".

I can instead think "I will do what Srila Prabhupad said was required for me to do, and if Krishna wants me to write, and feels it is genuinely valuable to other devotees, in fact preaching, and not just "pleasing myself because I like to write", then Krishna will arrange for me to be inspired/find time at some other time of the day".

It's interesting to me to see how I have decided I must arrange to do what I like to do, what "I think" is important to do, then Krishna will arrange for me to do what my Guru told me to do.

I think I need to reverse the order of this.

Do what Srila Prabhupad told me to do, then if Krishna wants me to do something else, He will arrange for that.

See, your suggestions were incredibly helpful, and in fact, I have now sorted this issue out entirely, due to reading what you wrote.

: )
(well not only what you wrote, what everyone else wrote, what I have been praying about, and so many things, but you have helped)

Thank you,

Hare Krishna,

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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 00:08 — Snehal
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Haribol Mataji!

You have actually sorted it out in a very interesting way. I am glad it helped you. Of course, it was Krishna who gave you intelligence to sort it out in that way. So all glories to Krishna!

Well, I didnt know that the morning and evening programs were so intensely emphasized by Srila Prabhupad. Srila Praphupad was a great devotee and he could have his own vision but I think the reason for such strong emphasis was to produce excellent and first class devotees who could spread KC even after he has left fhis body. He wanted to give us (neophytes) an oppurtunity to see him through you (His diciples), to learn and understand KC through you (his diciples).

Now I understand why you were so concerned with this issue. I am happy that it has resolved now. But there is certainly something more to think about this for me and others (devotees in preliminary stages) to really understand what is required to balance spiritual life.


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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 01:16 — Hari_Priya
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Great discussion

Hare Krishna Navasi Prabhu!

Hare Krishna Snehal!

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that He will give knowledge to us fallen souls out of His mercy, the knowledge that's needed to reach Him. Well, He is certainly doing that.

I have never read a more intruiging yet understandable concept in K.C until now. 'What to do and what not to do.' Krishna is giving knowledge to us, through you both.

I feel Snehal is right, Navasi Prabhu, your writings inspire us all. So please keep writing and enlightening us. We need you and your advice.

I have asked what I wanted to in the forums Navasi Prabhu, it was regarding our attitude towards Krishna's mercy. Once again, Snehal came to my rescue, but please post your thoughts on that too.

Please accept my humble and heart-felt obeisances, Snehal. You have been a great inspiration.

Hare Krishna!
Hari Priya

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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 04:10 — Snehal
Snehal's picture
All thanks to Krishna

Hare Krishna Hari Priya!

I am glad that this discussion has helped you. Thank you for your appretiation. But actually, all thanks must go to Krishna, as He inspired all of us to put up such a helpful discussion.



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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 01:39 — Navasi
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Writing :)

I wasn't planning to stop writing, Hari Priya,

I only said I was going to start having a morning program and then let Krishna arrange for the writing.

: )

I'm glad you found this interesting. I don't usually post things that I need help with, I try to post things that are more "for everyone".

But this one was really about me, and what I need to do, at this point in my life.

I appreciate everyone's help with it.

Hare Krishna,

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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 01:58 — Navasi
Navasi's picture

Dear Hari Priya,

I don't know what it is about you, but I seem to get very familiar with you :)

Just like the way I somehow told you that dream of mine, with Srila Prabhupad, when you first came to connect.

I never told anyone else that, like I said, except my husband.

So, it's strange, and it causes me to be more "casual" with you.

Therefore, I need to add to my above comment:

Thank you for telling me you feel my writing is helpful, and for your wishes that I continue to write.

Also, for your comment expressing your genuine appreciation for this discussion and the things Snehal and I are talking about here.

I wish I has been feeling less familiar with you, and said them in the first comment.

I don't want to offend you.

Hare Krishna,

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Tue, 12/02/2008 - 06:33 — Hari_Priya
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Hare Krishna!

Please don't apologise Navasi Prabhu, or I will start feeling guilty. You are older and advanced than me and I have a lot of respect and admiration for you. To me Krishna's devotees are as good as Krishna Himself. I see Him through you.

I am not offended, I was just observing that everyone finds it difficult to overcome Maya sometimes. I am trying to learn to cope up with it and the rest is Krishna's will.

Hare Krishna!
Hari Priya

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 05:57 — dru
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The soul is natural, beyond standards

Hare Krsna,
Dear Navasi Mataji,

I see you're too much emphasizing on accepting or rejecting things and in today's day this idea doesn't seem to work. There is no old or new, the soul has been ever since. Our soul will adapt to things natural to us, and those natural things are love, compassion, freedom and of course craving for Krishna. Perhaps, by letting your mind decide whats good and bad or whatever your soul is not been given a chance to do the things it wants to!! A natural servitor, lover, friend or one with any relation with Krishna doesn't follow any standards, but they come to such a person. We call this person a devotee, there is no as such pure or impure devotee from my perception, as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, even a person who once chants the names of Lord is considered as devotee. And, that He said must be out of reason that if a person calls out for Krishna by all heart and then forget to do that, our Lord doesn't forget the call and personally comes forth to pick that person out of this entanglement or so-called maya. He will bring you to standards. But certainly this is dangerous to think that "I can do whatever I want because Krishna will bring me to standards", so that said it depends from person to person. But you being in presence of Light this is what is good for you is what I reckon.

This is the age of Kali, and day by day one will be tortured by its effect. The mortal temptations, the imperfect happiness or deceptive miseries, they all are part of it. So, people yet to come, the people unborn yet how are they going to escape this clutches of maya? I simply don't want to think of this, for I know if Krishna can pick a corrupt person like me, He can pick all those fallen souls as well. We can't perceive His long term planning and we keep struggling, so we need to give up this, accepting or rejecting. That is the reason one needs guidance from a spiritual master, and in olden days unlike today as we reason even commands from Gurus, things like that never happened, for reason being there wasn't corruption. Today people are cynical. I hope my point is understood from the original point of view.

Hari Bol.

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 09:18 — Navasi
Navasi's picture
In Presence Of Light

Thank you very much, Dru.

I loved your comment.

I have been doing all kinds of accepting and rejecting recently, and I've gotten totally mental about it all.

Tangled up in my mind for sure. No question about it. I appreciate you showing me that.

I really love this:

"He will bring you to standards. But certainly this is dangerous to think that "I can do whatever I want because Krishna will bring me to standards", so that said it depends from person to person. But you being in presence of Light this is what is good for you is what I reckon."

It's very tricky business, or "dangerous" as you say, to think we can just "allow" for anything since Krishna will eventually rectify us, or "bring us to standards".

At the same time, we also have to remember that it is in fact Krishna who does "bring us to standards", by His mercy, and the mercy of our guru, when we are sincerely endeavoring to the best of our ability and praying for help.

*Thank you for reminding me that I am in the presence of Light, as you said : )


As far as the future, the rest of the world, and others, I also like what you said, especially this part:

"That is the reason one needs guidance from a spiritual master, and in olden days unlike today as we reason even commands from Gurus, things like that never happened, for reason being there wasn't corruption. Today people are cynical."

That's so true, there is so much corruption and faithlessness in this age of Kali, and everyone is so cynical. We even "reason" commands from our own Guru.

Shocking reality check about Kali Yuga there.......

Thanks again, Dru, all of this is so helpful, and I appreciate it very much.

Hare Krishna,

(I think I understood your point from the original point of view, I hope so :)

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Mon, 12/01/2008 - 09:50 — dru
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I'm so glad for once at least I could explain what I felt in heart. Anyway thanks for sharing this, because all of us face same problem at some stage in our lives. Hope you have wonderful and blissful devotional time ahead.

Hare Krsna.