Social Service for Krishna Devotees – Recommended or not?
A woman devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare Krishna Prabhuji, There is so much injustice in this world, even animals behave much better than humans; everywhere war,crime,lust, money , greed , power, desires etc are there. life has become complicated or rather it has been made complicated. i mean that we go to temples and live spiritually and on the other hand when i see this world; i ask myself what i am doing for the betterment of the others. i know that these sufferings are the part of their karmic account, but being a servant of the lord my only duty is to serve the krishna and listen to his teachings; there is not any responsibility towards this society to make there lives better.???sometimes i feel helpless that i am unable to atleast help the people who are really in need. jai shri krishna”
Yes…We have responsibilities for this society also. I have some bold and practical advice in this matter of Social Service for Krishna Devotees. Please read and understand correctly.
You may be thinking that giving Krishna Consciousness to people itself is a great social service Social Service for Krishna Devotees. In reality, we come across so many people who are suffering in life. Of course they are materialistic. Should we go away from them?
(When Krishna instructs a person to help others, how can we say that Krishna does not direct us as Paramathma from heart? READ HERE!)
In this matter of Social Service for Krishna Devotees, there are many differences of opinions. Some devotees prefer to mingle only with devotees. Though the outsiders are suffering, they do not care them and they stick to their devotional practices. Is this right or wrong?
They justify their NOT CARING the materialistic people saying that we should not mingle with materialistic people as we too will fall down and they are facing their karma and we are nothing to do with that.
Such have been given for us. Are these advice right?
I will not go away without hearing the problems of those material people and trying to explore the possibilities of whether I can help them any way. By doing so, if I fall down, I will be happy.
The devotees are already devotees. So, we need not spend much time with them except giving some guidance. They will use the available inputs and come up in spiritual life. It is our duty to add more devotees to Lord from among non-devotees. So, we will have to deal with non-devotees also.
All the today’s devotees were yesterday’s non devotees only. Someone has tried to make them as devotees and they have become so.
So, if anyone comes and asks for some helps from you, please do if it possible for you.
(Should a devotee be merciful even to cruel and clever people? READ HERE!)
I recommend helping anyone who is truly in need. But, there are Four conditions for the devotees to involve in social service without affecting their spiritual standing:
(1) Help the needy, but expect nothing in return from them (Nishkam Seva). Do any helps as an opportunity given by Krishna to serve His creations.
(2) And, we should be very careful while associating with non-devotees that our good qualities must be passed to them, not in reverse. We should not get some of their bad qualities.
(3) Now a days one can earn for their daily living even as a cleaner in a hotel or tea shop, as a construction worker. Opportunities are there. So, Do not help a healthy and lazy person who is not working. It will make him lazy. Help only the needy that will invite the blessings of God. Eg.: You MUST help the Visually and mentally challenged persons and abandoned elders. No excuses.
(4) HELP BOTH FOR IMMEDIATE AND LONG TERM NEEDS: After first helping them for their immediate needs and making their mind relieved, then, help them for long term benefits by speaking about Krishna and leading a life with balanced mind in all situations as advised by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. This is the best way of doing Social Service for Krishna Devotees.
(How Krishna helps us through the people, not directly? READ HERE!)
If we are that much confident of not getting attracted by their materialistic life style and if spreading Krishna Consciousness is our goal of life, then, we can deal with those materialistic people also and help them keeping our mind like water on the lotus leaf.
For example, If our parents are materialistic, should we go away from them? Not necessary. If we are very sincere in our devotion, they will be reformed as devotees in due course of time.
So, we should not avoid materialistic people. We must go to them and help them by giving some material support that immediately helps their material needs. Then, we must speak about Krishna Consciousness to them.
Sri Ramanuaja was given the manthra OM NAMO NARAYANA by his guru. His guru told him not to preach this manthra openly to all and if he preaches openly, he will go to the hell. But, Sri Ramanuja went to the top of the Vaishnava temple namely THIRUKOSHTIYUR and loudly preached that manthra publicly for all.
(Should we spend money to offer food and things to Krishna, instead of poor? READ HERE!)
He told when asked by his guru: “If I go to hell by preaching this manthra to all the people publicly, I am ready to go to hell, but, these ignorant people will get relieved and go to Vaikunta”
My view is also the same. If I will go to hell if I speak about the Lord to the sinners, I am ready to go. Because, 100’s of people get Krishna Consciousness. That is important.
Of course, we can give HariNam (Krishna’s Names) for all, but, should give the knowledge of scriptures only for those who have true interest to learn them as said by Krishna in Bhagavad Gita’s last chapter.
Should we preach them only about bhakti?
Actually, we must bring the people to the devotional practice and also teach them how to perform their routine activities like working and earning in a surrendered mindset, ie, as karma yoga. If we do not tell them about karma yoga, they may skip their studies or business or job and family and then come and settle in temple. We will not be able to keep all of them in the temples.
(What is the actual meaning of Karma Yoga? How can we get initiative to work if we don’t expect the fruits? READ HERE!)
So, we must encourage them to work and earn and also apply them in Lord’s service. This is the right way of preaching and Social Service for Krishna Devotees.
We should preach and also advise on their material needs and encourage them to be patient. A devotee is naturally expected to be merciful on fallen souls. How can we tell the devotees NOT TO care the non devotees? We can help the society in whatever way we can. But, AS PER THE ABOVE FOUR CONDITIONS.
So, we need not stop social service by Krishna devotees, ie, helping the people materially BECAUSE, A CERTAIN PERCENTAGE OF WHATEVER WE HAVE EARNED SHOULD BE SHARED TO OTHERS THAT WILL PURIFY US AND IT IS ALSO AN INDICATION OF DETACHED MINDSET. When we bring them to DEVOTION TO KRISHNA, it will make them free from miseries permanently. If we do so, it is a right balance that will make our preaching successful.
A DEVOTEE SHOULD NOT BE SELFISH AND HE SHOULD NOT HAVE TOO MUCH OF ATTACHMENTS WITH MONEY THAT PREVENTS HIM FROM HELPING OTHERS. A DEVOTEE SHOULD BE COMPASSIONATE WITH OTHERS AND HELP THEM.
How can a devotee go away silently when someone is in need of his support? Shouldn’t he see Krishna in all the living entities?
So, there is no need for selfish rules in this matter. Be compassionate and take care of your needs also. Take part in needy social services also.
You need not indulge in social service all the time. Just help the needy atleast when you are approached by them and after helping, forget it.
This is my humble view about the social service by Krishna devotees.
(Will Performing our Prescribed duties, ie, Karma Yoga give rebirth? READ HERE!)