How to take right decisions related to Devotion, Personal and Professional life?
Meera asked like this:
“Hi Anna, “As you know I really appreciate your service and I really like your attitude in spiritual advancement with logic.
In Bhagavad Gita (2-7):
“O Krishna. I am confused about my duty, and am besieged with anxiety and faintheartedness. I am your disciple, and am surrendered to you. Please instruct me for certain what is best for me”.
Regarding the quote, Will krishna help us and guide when we are stuck and unable to take decisions related to personal and professional issues. How to choose between what we need and what’s right how will we know which is right.”
This confusion is existing mostly among the followers of ISKCON’s way of life. Because, ISKCON speaks of the topmost process of following devotion with love towards Krishna just to serve Him, not for personal benefits.
Of course, while trying to follow such a high level of devotional way of life, many problems occur in families. Because the consciousness of this devotee changes to spiritual from material.
In general, the society, including the parents and spouse considers only the material success as the scale for evaluating the status of a person. If one earns in lakhs or crores, add so many comforts to his family, wears rich ornaments, the society considers him a successful person.
If one is spiritually rich following material detachment and devotion, the society considers him a person who is not competitive to face the challenges of life and hence following devotional way of life leaving everything to karma. For them, this is the lazy way of life by those who failed in material life.
I too am leading such a life only. When the ISKCON devotees met me decades ago and gave Bhagavad Gita As It Is, inviting me to the temple, I read that book and got enlightened and then visited the temple and added Krishna as the prime member and target of my life.
Previously, I was doing business for profits and fame only. After getting associated with ISKCON devotees and installing Krishna in my heart, I lost my interest in living for profits and fame. I started to consider myself as an insignificant person.
But, others including our brothers and sisters who misunderstood my consideration of myself as insignificant, started to think that I am developing inferiority complex and losing my competency in material life.
Of course, they were partly true. I lost my interest in competing in material life. I started to oscillate between Krishna and business.
One day, I casually opened a Facebook profile and Page. I wrote a quote on Krishna. I did that daily. The devotees found them useful and hence became regular visitors. So, I devoted more time for e-preaching. This severely affected my profits in my business.
Since 2011, my business started to gradually come down since my consciousness changed. Though I wanted to devote more concentration in business, I felt that the devotees will be waiting for that day’s posts in our page and hence spent 4-5 hours daily to solve the problems of the devotees.
Thus, I had to sacrifice my profits in business though I wanted to work and earn, but, I could not devote more time for business because of this preaching service.
Since I wanted to make myself as a full time devotee, I lost my interest in running for money.
I know that I am doing wrong by not restricting myself with just half an hour or one hour for preaching daily. Since the page grew fast, I was forced to devote more time here since I gave priority for Krishna’s service.
Now, I am feeling the heat of my not balancing my devotion and personal life. My personal life is miserable as on date (20.07.18). I am left with nothing.
The trend of kaliyuga is that only 4-5 devotees have understood my difficulties and are supporting for the running of this service. Others just read and go. In India, the people are very much interested if they get anything free. The politicians have made them like that giving freebies for votes. If they have to pay something, the people become silent though they too are earning and enjoying the comforts. Some of them will be happy to indicate inadvertent mistakes only without considering the miserable condition of the preachers.
This is the case in ISKCON temples also. Hundreds of devotees come and go. But, the entire temple service is running only because of the support of 3-4% of the devotees by donating regularly for the temple. This is what our temple administrators say. If these few people do not support, the temple can’t run. This is the ground reality. You ask any temple administrator. They will agree with that.
So, I am thinking of making changes in the way of performing the preaching service using a free medium instead of paid medium and spending just one hour every day. Because, it is apparent that I can’t live with the preaching service alone. I have rental, food, internet, and some other basic needs to live. I do not even have a own house to live. I can’t manage these basic needs just by concentrating only in this service. I have to do my business devoting more time for that since KRISHNA HAS ADVISED US TO WORK AND MANAGE OURSELVES. HE DID NOT ADVISE US ONLY TO PREACH WITHOUT WORKING. So, I am rethinking my working style.
Thus, I am the best example for a devotee suffering because of not properly balancing the personal needs and devotional service. That is why, I am crying in my writing advising the devotees to properly balancing their Personal life, Profession and devotion. DO NOT DO THE SAME MISTAKE I DID DEPENDING ONLY ON DEVOTIONAL SERVICES. We have to survive and lead our life. For that, we need money. To earn money, we have to work something in the material world because the devotees will not protect us throughout our life.
Therefore, my advice to the devotees based on my own experience with the devotional service and profession is the following:
(1) Concentrate fully in studies devoting time only for chanting 4-8 rounds every day. Do not go for advanced concepts while studying.
(2) Prepare yourself for the best job opportunities anywhere if that job is not a challenge to your dignity. Join in a job, earn and support the devotional services with the part of that earning and also take care of your family needs. Be wise and practical since we need more than Rs. 2 lakhs even for the cremation and last rituals now a days (as in July 2018), if anyone dies. We spent that amount after the death of my mother.
(3) Do marry a person by choosing based on your preferences. If you are interested in devotional way of life, marry a devotee who is in almost equal standing like you. Do not skip marriage unless you are sure that you are prepared to protect yourself throughout your life even during the last days of life with diseases and you can lead a disciplined life without illicit sex. As in July 2018, if we need to join in a decent old age home, we need more than Rs.20 lakhs as deposit. So, we need money even to die with dignity. Earn and save for your last period.
(4) In case the marriage life is uncorrectably problematic even after many attempts to set it right, come out of that life and lead a dignified life with the children by going to a job. I support divorce ONLY IN CASE ALL THE EFFORTS OF A SPOUSE FAIL TO CORRECT THE PARTNER. Instead of living with an uncorrectable drinker, abuser, womanizer, etc, one can lead a lonely devotional way of life dedicating our life for Krishna.
(5) Throughout your life, spend atleast one hour daily for chanting the Holy Names of Krishna from within the heart, not lips alone. This should be your compulsory duty every day. In free time, read the books related to Krishna. Reduce watching materialistic programs in the media, but have exposure to them just to know the trend of the society and to live accordingly.
(6) Take any eatable only after offering to Krishna. Sri Ramanuja have even condemned the house maid in his Purvashrama life for eating a mango without offering to the Lord. This ensures karma free food as prasadam for us.
(7) Just to become a great devotee, do not quit your job, marriage, studies, parents, sibilings, etc. You stand alone even amidst the materialistic people. Atleast one person will get reformed seeing you.
(8) Visit nearby temple once a week and spend 2-3 hours there. Return home and do your ‘day to day’ duties related to family, job, studies, etc, keeping Krishna in mind.
(9) Though your family members are highly materialistic, do the services to them as a duty for family and speak kindly to the family members because they alone are going to bury or burn us after our death and they only are going to clean our stool when we are bed-ridden. Though your co-staff are materialistic, speak kind words to them within a limit. Perform well in your job and earn a good name. Save for your retired and last period of life, though not for your generations.
(10) In a nutshell: SPEND JUST 1-2 HOURS EXCLUSIVELY FOR DEVOTIONAL PRACTICES EVERY DAY. SPEND THE REMAINING 22 HOURS WORKING FOR YOUR FAMILY AND CAREER, BUT DO ALL THESE DUTIES KEEPING KRISHNA IN MIND.
Devotion will give Krishna to you. But, it will not offer food to your body. Krishna orders us to work for our daily needs. Your body is also important because, only with this body, we have to get Krishna. So, follow devotion and also work for maintaining your body.
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that those who do not work can not even maintain their bodies. He too is working just as an example for others to work.
Then, what is wrong in studying, going to the jobs, marrying and following the devotion in these arrangements?
Think wisely and practically. Do not be over enthusiastic and suffer later like me. Learn from my mistakes. I am helpless now though I am surrounded with more than a lakh of devotees. You too do not commit such a mistake. We only should take care of all our basic needs.
THE MANTHRA THAT I RECOMMEND FOR OTHERS IS:
DO ALL YOUR DUTIES EFFECTIVELY KEEPING KRISHNA IN MIND. DO NOT SKIP THE DUTIES FOR SERVING KRISHNA. YOU WILL SUFFER LATER IN LAST PERIOD IF YOU DO SO.
THIS IS MY WARNING ALSO!