How do I manage my career/personal life as a devotee?
A male devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Hare krishna prabhu. Each day one thing revolves in my mind whenever i feel low, that there is Rajan Prabhu,who is consistently, without even a single day break updating post related to k.c. daily. We skip so many times chanting, devotional service but not even on single day you skipped this service. You are our source of inspiration. I just follow your ideology because there is resonance with our practical life. Please throw some light on your personal life in subsequent counselling. How do you manage your daily life like managing business and devotional service, day to day life etc.(I think you might have got what i am asking !!)”
Before replying how I manage my business and life, let me write why and how I made my career spiritual with my past background.
Actually, since I took birth in a Poor Brahmana’s family, spiritual orientation was in my gene. However, We were not from Gaudiya tradition, but, Vedic Brahmana family. So, like other normal brahmanas, I too was just a sincerely studying boy in my school age, but, I was worshiping most of the deities worshiped in India, mainly Vishnu/ Krishna and also Shiva, Ganapathi, Women deities, etc. We never disrespected any other gods.
So, naturally, I had no idea about giving up attachments and expectations in my school age. So, I was praying God to get some benefits like good marks in school age. My devotion was not Nish kam during school age.
Because of my childishness and My Poor family situation I even prayed to Lord for the upliftment of our poor family. So, whenever I went to temples, I prayed “Krishna, please make my family rich and relieve my father from poverty. He is struggling.”
So, I was a devotee EXPECTING SOMETHING FROM GOD like many others in my student age. I did not know in that age that there are duties even without expectations. I was thinking that God is a person who is sitting in a higher world to give whatever we pray to him. I never heard about SERVING to the Lord. I knew only praying to the Lord for our needs.
Because of the poverty in my family, I did not get good schools for studies. I was admitted in a free Government elementary school. In that school, they offered mid-day meals only for scheduled and backward communities. As we are from the forward community, we were not given free food in noon though we were extremely poor. So, every day, we will be starving till 4 PM. My father would return from daily paid work only at 3 PM with his daily earnings. So, we would fill our stomach with plenty of water in the morning and afternoon without food. When we returned from schools at around 4.10 PM, my mother would have prepared the food after the return of our father. So, we, the children would sit in line and our mother will feed all of us that day’s food. So, we ate only once a day that too after 4 PM during my school days.
This poverty made me to think that we should become a rich man and clear the poverty of family. So, I wanted to continue college studies. But, we had no money to admit in the college. So, I did a part time job between 6 am and 8 am and again between 6pm and 10pm. I paid my college fees for three years with my own earning only. When I finished my college, I went to good jobs in reputed companies. I earned well and saved for my dream of starting a business and becoming rich.
When I saved sufficient money for starting business within 2 years, I started my company. I invested all my earnings so far. But, unfortunately, the publicity and brand building costs shot up many folds beyond my controls since there was an economic slow down in the country and publicity costs went up three folds. So, I was forced towards a situation to do one of these two things:
(1) Borrow around 11 lakhs and continue brand building activities of the company.
(2) Or, Close the company with this position to avoid further loss and join a job again.
I did not like to close the company for short of funds. I wanted to borrow and promote the company and make it healthy. So, I borrowed 11 lakhs from relatives for heavy interest. The interest alone worked out around Rs.25,000 per month (Big amount decades back).
At this stage, a devotee from ISKCON came to my office and sold Bhagavad Gita As It Is. They also got some regular donations from me every month and would be giving small books of Prabhupada.
After reading these books, I lost my interest in becoming a rich person. My thoughts reversed. The Karma Yoga Portion of Bhagavad Gita attracted me much. Previously, I was chanting Vishnu Sahasra Nama. After joining ISKCON, I started to chant Hare Krishna Maha Manthra. Krishna had advised us to work for Him , not expecting big profits for material gains. Whatever the Lord offers as a profit, we should accept it. If He gives loss, we should bear that also with a balanced mind.
When I realized the real picture of our human life, I became agitated why I started business resigning my executive job in a reputed company. My mind asked me: “What are you going to do by becoming rich? Can you eat more food beyond a limit just because you have plenty of money?”
Had I joined ISKCON before starting my company, I would not have started business for becoming rich and I would have continued working in my previous company that was very convenient for performing devotion. This is sure.
Krishna too wanted to teach me that I SHOULD NOT DESIRE TO ENJOY EXCESSIVE WEALTH AND COMFORTS. So, He gave me plenty of problems in my business during initial days. I had paid the interest of Rs.12 lakhs for the loan of Rs.11 lakhs. The interest crossed the capital amount. The interest burden was more than my earnings during the initial days. So, I could not use even a good shirt/ pant.
One day, all my company funds became empty and I did not have money even for the city bus to return home. I had just Rs.3.50 and the bus ticket was Rs.4. The bus conductor asked me ticket. When I gave 50 Paise short, he unloaded me from the bus. So, I walked a long distance for my home. That is why, I am still very simple in life. I remember all my past poverty.
But, as I had read Bhagavd gita As It is and other books of Srila Prabhupada sincerely and was chanting and hearing lectures, I had totally lost my interest in becoming rich. But, I wanted to become a more perfect boy. So, I was trying to follow the four regulative principles and other devotional practices. As Krishna had advised us to work JUST FOR HIS PLEASURE, I was just performing my duties sincerely and efficiently. To make my business spiritual, I will always be chanting Hare Krishna in my office whenever I get a gap of 5-10 minutes. Thus, I chanted even 20-24 rounds a day some times.
After reading Bhagavad Gita and other books of Srila Prabhupada, I started to think that THERE IS NO NEED FOR DESIRES FOR US BECAUSE WE ARE GIVEN FRUITS ACCORDING TO OUR PAST KARMA. We have right JUST TO WORK.
Reading the life history of Srila Prabhupada, I learnt how he suffered in his pharma business. Krishna gave him total loss to embrace him and make him a leader in His devotional services. More loss, more clearance of karma and hence more closer association of Krishna
When all the other Pandavas shouted at Yudhishtra why he should play gambling with Duryodhana & Co, even second time though he knows that he will be defeated?
Yudhishtra knows that we can’t defeat our fate. So, it is better to go in the same route on which the fate pulls us. By getting defeated, we are clearing our karma. So, we are purified. So, Yudhishtra went for playing gambling second time also, even after getting defeated in his first attempt. Unless he clears his past karma, he can’t get success in his future wars because he will have a pending karma to get defeated.
Thus, Yudhishtra cleared his karma by accepting and inviting defeats. So, he could succeed in the Kurukshetra war later. Had he not allowed himself to be defeated in gambling, he will be defeated in Kurukshetra war.
So, Pandavas cleared their bad karma by allowing themselves to be defeated by the fate in gambling.
Similarly, I started to take my failures AS THE GIFT FROM KRISHNA TO CLEAR MY BAD KARMA. In fact, I thanked Krishna for giving me such load of loans and difficulties in clearing because, I myself could feel that I am getting purified. SO, I MADE MY MIND READY TO FACE MORE AND MORE DEFEATS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS.
When I read that Kunti prayed for more problems so that she can remember Krishna all the time, I too started to enjoy facing problems because, I knew that Lord is purifying me by giving problems.
So, I started NOT TO FIX any targets and I started to see the incoming money like seeing ordinary papers. I started to wear a simple dress and I had just two sets of dress for my essential usage. I lost my interest in dressing attractively to avoid disturbance from girls that may affect my devotional practices.
The magic of Krishna is peculiar. When I was aiming to be a rich man, Lord gave me plenty of problems. He never allowed me to earn well. Though I performed very efficiently, Krishna would raise the cost of running the company and make me a loss maker.
But, when I decided NOT TO WORK FOR PROFIT, BUT TO WORK FOR KRISHNA JUST AS A DUTY AND WITHOUT BECOMING ADDICTED TO MONEY, Krishna started to offer money to me. I was doing the same work and same efficiency. But, earlier, I made loss. But, when I became MENTALLY like a sanyasi deserting all my preferences in life and deciding to accept whatever I get as Krishna’s blessing, Krishna started to make my company very profitable and I cleared all my loans of Rs.23 -24 lakhs (Loan + Interest) within two years easily.
Same Rajan. Same brain. Same Performance. Same Company. How profits came suddenly once I decided to stop expectations in life?
It is Krishna. If He had given good profits two years ago, before meeting ISKCON devotees, I would have become a highly materialistic guy enjoying all the comforts of life. Krishna decided to give money to me seeing my situation. He expected whether I request Him for money. As Srila prabhupada had made me matured through his books, I did not ask for any benefits from Krishna at that time though I was making loss initially.
Srila Prabhupada had made my heart like a stone that could not be shaken by anyone and anything. I felt like a sanyasi within mind. Money would come. I would just count it and settle it as repayment for any lender of loan and donate for Krishna’s service, without feeling happy for earning well. Whenever I got money, I started to think like this:
“This is Krishna’s money. He did not give this money two years ago. He is giving now only. There must be some reasons for that. So, we must treat every rupee we earn as the gift of Krishna and spend that money ONLY FOR ESSENTIAL EXPENSES. We should not lead a posh life style because, Krishna may think that Rajan has got pride in earning well and leading a posh life. So, let us resolve to lead the simplest life throughout my life that may make Krishna happy and I too can be an example for others to lead a simple life. If we get addicted to money, Krishna needs no time to pluck all the money given and make us beggars. So, be humble and detach from money mentally though you handle money in business”
How it will be if a sanyasi runs a company? I was/ am running my company like a sanyasi runs a spiritual organisation. I sincerely worked keeping Krishna in mind. I never make budgets, but, Krishna makes His own budget. He would have already decided how much can be given for the company run by me.
So, Money would come. But, that money could not make me proud. I am still using simple but neat dress. I do not use any costly comforts like a/c, cars. Because, I know what poverty is! How cruel the hunger is! When Maya gives money, she will be happy when we add more and more pleasures in life. But, for me, the money is given by Krishna, not maya. Krishna is giving me seeing my devotion towards Him without expectations. So, when Krishna gives money and if we spend even a single rupee lavishly or unnecessarily, He will not hesitate to make us poor again. Because, KRISHNA NEVER LIKES “PRIDE’ (Ego). If you have even a trace of pride about yourself, you can’t get the blessing of Krishna.
If you have some pride, Krishna will first teach you lessons to clear your pride (Ego), and then give you whatever you need. Before giving your needs, He first makes you matured. Because, you will not become addicted to money.
Same He did in my case. Initially, I tried to BECOME RICH. So, Krishna taught me that money is a dangerous mode of trick followed by maya to involve you in material activities more and more. So, he made me empty like a beggar and then started to give money after making me matured WITHOUT HAVING ANY EXPECTATIONS IN LIFE.
So, though I earned sufficiently later, that money could not shake my simplicity even a bit. When I became empty in business, I saw that as the mercy of Krishna to teach me lessons to avoid pride and desire to become rich. So, I became humble in life like ever before. I started to work like a keyed doll. I skipped attachments with beautiful girls, bundle of money, comforts, fame, appreciations, etc, etc. Though I am doing my activities like others, I do them without expectations, but, materialistic people do with bunch of expectations. That’s all.
So, when I successfully deserted my taste in money, Krishna started to clear all my loans within a short period that is impossible normally. Now, I do not have even a single rupee of loan and Lord is keeping me financially ok and I have resolved not to borrow in life and not to use credit cards and spend everything as cash and carry. If you will have no money in future, just live with water and be still humble.
So, when you do your duties like a sanyasi, you can lead your life in a balanced manner. When you work without expectations like I did, Lord will be double happy and He will give you whatever you genuinely need.
That is why, even now, whenever my business goes down because of my concentrating more in Lord’s service, I do not cry and stop the service to Him, but, just take efforts to compensate the loss through other means. I feel service is more important and my business will come and go.
Because, KRISHNA NEVER ALLOWS HIS DEVOTEES TO FALL / PERISH. HE PROVED THAT IN MY CASE. SO, YOU TOO CAN REALIZE THIS!
I like to state that all the above writings are true and not magnified for getting appreciations. I just wanted to tell how to work without expectations as that devotee asked. So, I explained what I saw in my past life. So, my words can be believed.
Thanks To Srila Prabhupada whose books gave me a balanced mind to face both happiness and sorrows without agitations. Without him, I am zero. Had I not read Srila Prabhupada’s books, I would have become a materialistic businessman. He reformed me as a servant of Lord and His devotees like all of you.
Now, as asked by you, read how I manage my career and devotional practices in THIS LINK of this site.