Is it right for a devotee distancing himself from friends and relatives?
A Girl devotee asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhu, I have been worshipping Krishna from childhood but am very new to the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. Now coming into KC, I have lost the desire for material things. I do not like to talk or mingle much with non devotees. But as I am from a non devotee family, all my friends and family members happen to be non devotees. Now because I don’t like to talk much on mundane matters I talk very less. I only speak when someone speaks to me otherwise I do not contribute much to their mundane talks. I only like to talk about Krishna. But because of this my parents and relatives criticize me a lot. I have even distanced myself from my friends. I do not like to visit them or talk with them as I used to do previously. I talk with my college friends as I meet them every day at class. Earlier I used to go visit my friends watch movies or go to some places. But now I rarely do so. I can feel my friends have also distanced themselves. Now eventually I will lose all my friends. Now I want to ask you am I doing a right thing by seperating myself from my friends and family? Please hide my name.”
You can’t distance yourself from this material world.
In all stages of our life, we have to deal with the people of all kinds.
We hire an auto or taxi. We use drivers who may not be a devotee.
We can’t look for a devotee milkman to buy milk every day.
We can’t search for a school/ college that is following devotional way of teaching. They have to run according to the government rules that prohibit preaching about religion in the recognized institutions.
All the people can’t work in temples alone to expect devotional environment. We have to work in government offices, companies, etc where we can’t expect temple like environments.
Thus, we are forced to live with the materialistic people.
If you hate this materialistic environment, you can’t earn and live in this world.
Only if you bear the muddy environment of the beautiful lotus flower, you can pluck one and have it.
Similarly, you can get Krishna only if you practice devotion from this muddy/ materialistic environment.
All we have to do is to is to learn to live in this material world following devotion to Krishna.
There are two ways for this:
(1) You can neglect the materialistic people fearing for getting affected by them.
(2) You can make your devotional/Krishna consciousness strong that can’t be affected by the other people though you mingle with them.
The first way is not practically possible. You are following that way only. This will give frustration, disappointment, negativity, etc.
If you have to live in this world, you have to earn. To earn, you have to go out. If you go out, you will have to mingle with the different kinds of people.
Otherwise, no earning, no life.
If you mingle only with the devotees, will they offer you job, earning and all?
Impossible. They will just advise us to be only with the devotees. They can’t compensate the monetary loss because of our being only with the devotees.
So, the point is that WE SHOULD SPEND MORE TIME WITH DEVOTEES TO RECHARGE OUR DEVOTIONAL MINDSET. We can spend more time with the devotees, but, can’t get all our people as devotees only. Because, the devotees are minorities whereas the non devotees are majorities in kaliyuga. Right?
Money is also required to live here. Just attachment to money is wrong. Earning in an ethical way is not wrong.
Even making profits in a business is allowed. All we expect is that you should spend for the Lord and His services also.
You can’t earn from spiritual service alone. If everyone starts to earn through spiritual means alone, there will be only temples and mutts everywhere. No business, no production, no earning and so on.
So, be practical in life.
If anyone advises you to remain ONLY with the devotees all the time, ask them politely: “Will you support my family and my own needs till I die?”
I never do that blunder. I encourage others to get Krishna by being wwith these material environment and job that is unavoidable.
Krishna too never said so. He wants us to work.
The problem with the devotees is that they forget Karma Yoga once they start to follow Bakthi Yoga.
If all the people follow Bakthi yoga alone, who will produce grains, vegetables, etc., to them?
So, stop thinking impractically.
You just keep your devotional practices very strong by chanting as much as possible daily, developing love to Krishna, following other devotional practices while going to work to earn. This regular and sincere devotional TOUCH and CONSCIOUSNESS will make you not affected by the actions of the materialistic people.
So, there will be no issue in mingling with them.
However, just for having friendship with these materialistic people, you need not go to movies, clubs, etc., with them. Just be a nicely speaking friend to them. Take part in permissible activities with them like discussing about studies, job, etc. You can even discuss about Krishna with them limitedly because overdose may make them distance form you.
Be a sincere devotee from within your heart. Do not show yourself as a distant person from others. Make others to think that you are a principled person. So, you will be surrounded by like minded people who have higher goals in life.
Had Srila Prabhupada distanced himself from the drunkards, hippies, etc, he could not have achieved this much in his service to Krishna. He mingled with them and because of his power of devotional dedication, others changed as devotees. He did not become a non devotee.
So, you have to make yourself spiritually/ devotionally strong.
That is what you have to do.
Not distancing from others.
You become strong in devotion to Krishna. Be with the world. Atleast a few people will see your devotion and think of following that in their life too.
So, mingle with this world and make others come like you as a good devotee.
Do not run from life. It will chase you wherever you go.
Just be a spectator of the materialistic world and try to make atleast a few persons as devotees.
That’s all you can do till you live in this world.
This is my advise from my heart that thinks practically, not just theoretically.
I never advise impractical things. So, be in this world and its people and also follow devotion sincerely.
Let atleast a few persons become devotees because of you, or ateast seeing you.
All the best.