Does more involvement in devotion affect the studies?
Two Questions in Detail:
(1) From a student:
Hare Krishna! I’m a 17 year old neophyte devotee and I’ve started to hear and chant about Krishna. But I’m having a little problem in balancing spiritual and material life. My parents want me to study more as this is class 12 and my grades are not very good. So they’re telling me again and again to study and in the midst of Krishna consciousness cannot give much time to study. Please give me some tips to do Krishna consciousness and study together. Although karma yoga is something I went for but my mind is not having much concentration to study for longer periods. Please help me. Hare Krishna!
(2) From a mother:
“Jay shree krishna, i m a daily reader of your posts….your posts are very nice…..today i want your help. I hv one son. He is 14 yrs old. He is totally different from the boys of his age…..coz he doesn’t like any kind of movies, useless chatting with friends. He only likes his mother and Krishna. Yes, he is a true devotee of krishna . He stdies well but he has only two problems . His concentration is very weak. Thats why he does many silly mistakes . Can u pls guide me with the way to improve his concentration?……..my second problem is that for some days i m watching that he gets angry with small small things . If i tell him something ,he thinks that i m scolding him….this disturbs his study……..same thing happens with his father also. He is a jolly good type of fellow. He loves his family very much. Always spending time with us and loves his son very much but he also gets angry very quickly. So there begins a clash between two. Sometime his father pokes his son which he doesn’t like. I don’t know what to do and how to control the situation. All these thing makes impact on his study.
Can u pls help me wth your advice? Coz i want my son to get success in life.
I have one more request that I don’t want to disclose this matter outside but i told u coz i know and i believe that your advice is Krishna’s advice coz u r devotee of krishna. Pls don’t disclose my real name.
Waiting eagerly for your reply Jay shree krishna”
MY BOLD REPLY IS: Yes! Serious involvement in devotion affect the studies if not balanced properly!
Because, Spiritual activities and material activities can simultaneously exist only if we balance the both properly. If balanced properly, you can do well in both simultaneously. Otherwise, difficult.
I need to collect some boldness to tell a practical problem in following Krishna Consciousness.
Actually, before we came to Krishna Consciousness, we had some grip/ attachment with the glares of this material world. Therefore, we were thinking that the happenings in this material world are real. For example, we were thinking that we must earn in crores , buy cars, construct bungalows, tour entire world, etc. This expectation and related activities gave us some kind of pleasure and grip to perform effectively in material life. Therefore, we were falsely thinking that we were happy and were trying to be more happy.
You/ your son also might have been in that material sprit earlier in your/ his childhood. But, when he came across the advanced concepts of Krishna Consciousness, that speak about detachments from this material world and attachment with Krishna, you/ your son might have misunderstood that everything is maya and hence though he earns well, it is not permanent. Because of this, your/ his efforts in studying might have come down.
Let me compare this with an example. You trust a person very deeply for long period. You discuss with her very frankly hoping that she is a reliable person. But, one day, you find out that she is telling all you said to her to others and commenting about you to others. How would you feel? You will become upset and after that, you will not believe anyone. Right?
Similarly, The students are in theirs very young age. Age to play and study. If they had been fed with the material concepts more, they would have learnt well to achieve in material life. But, if they are given advanced concepts of Krishna Consciousness in that young age, they start to hate this material activities, as they have come to know that this material world is just a temporary and material developments are short lived.
Therefore, their concentration in studies come down. When a boy/ girl is fed up with this material world, he/ she starts getting angry frequently.
Why this happens?
We have been seeing many youth who wrongly understand the concepts of Krishna Consciousness and remain idle without taking any efforts to go for a job. Many youth skip marriage and hate all girls considering the fact that this material world, girls and everything are maya. They lose their interest in going for a job and earning. They like to remain idle or to settle at any temple without fighting for studies/ jobs.
If they really dedicate themselves in temple services and do all the Krishna Consciousness practices properly, that can be appreciated and it is the highest state of service, no doubt. Thus, Some devotees successfully practice brahmacharya in temples and sincerely serve Krishna there. But, some devotees fall from brahmacharya and again come to this material life in their 30s or 40s. When they come to material life again, they would have lost their right age to go to a job and marry.
Therefore, Learn well while studying and settle in a good job. Mean time, keep on chanting Hare Krishna as many times as possible daily, do offerings to Krishna and read basic books on Krishna (Not advanced concepts. They can be read after 20.) daily for some minutes. Marry a devotee in right age and continue your spiritual practices.
When you read the books or hear the lectures of devotees, remember that all these devotional praactices can be done even while working and earning. SANYASA means mental detachment from the material affairs though he remains in material world and continue to perform his duties.
Since you/ your son had heard the advanced concepts of Krishna Consciousness in this young age itself, you/ he might have lost your/ his interest in learning, going to job, etc. You/ he seems to be of dedicated person who takes every word of others seriously and try to follow them.
Then what to do next?
If a student likes to shine in studies, spend more time in studies alone and keep in mind that the studies and earning are the basis to lead a life in this material world. This world is becoming very competitive and hence, one has to first start earning on his own. For prctising Krishna Consciousness, one need not quit his job, family and lose interest in living.
As far as Krishna Consciousness practices are concerned, stop with CHANTING ALONE for about an hour daily or more till you/ he completes your/ his studies. Concentrate in studies in the rest of the time.
If the student is very sensitive, Don’t have the exposure to advanced concepts of Krishna Consciousness till the completion of the studies and starting earning. Read the KARMA YOGA of Bhagavad Gita in which Krishna advises us to perform our assigned duties without fail. He says that without doing our assigned duties, we can’t even maintain our body.
Krishna wants us to work EFFECTIVELY. Not to be inactive or inefficient. There is a better way to serve the Lord by earning well and using a part of our earnings for the service of Krishna. Instead of being a burden for this world without earning and expecting our parents for living, this will be a better way to serve the Lord.
It is good if you concentrate ONLY in Krishna Consciousness as Krishna will have a good full time devotee. But, since you have asked me to advise to shine in studies and material life also, I have given all the above advices.
If we see Krishna in all the available material things and all the living beings, this material world itself will be like Goloka for us. Therefore, see that everything is Krishna’s creations and hence, use your intelligence given by Krishna to earn well and to help for spreading Krishna Consciousness.
All the best.
The extract of this post is: Spend more time in preparing your school/ college syllabus. Spare about one hour for the practice of Krishna Conscious practices. Chanting, honouring prasadam and reading some basic books on Krishna is enough during school/ college. After the completion of studies and starting to earn, they can go for serious practices of devotion. Till that, be in touch with devotional practices for one hour daily and concentrate in studies in all the other time.