How to manage our devotion ignoring the materialistic people around us?
A Girl devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
Hare Krishna Prabhuji, My question is that how must a person deal with his family members & relatives who are more into material things? When i see people around me, wasting time in things which are not worthy of their time like watching tv and unnecessary videos on youtube & fb just to get some entertainment. Meeting material friends and trying to enjoy with them. i feel very helpless & get disturb by all this & unable to concentrate on my spiritual life. How must i concentrate on Krishna in such situations and how must i tackle such people? i cannot ignore them or leave them as they are my family members.
Avoiding the materialistic people is impossible.
Why I said so?
Because, it is the reality. We should stand on reality. Many devotees may tell you to avoid materialistic people. But, they will not take responsibility of you desert them and stand on the road side.
I won’t do that mistake. So, I tell you this practical advice.
You can’t avoid materialistic people. You have to live with them.
Krishna Himself interacted with the materialistic people like Kamsa, Duryodhana, etc. He tried to reform them. Since they are destined to be killed, they died. That’s all.
Srila Prabhupada even lived in the same room with the drunk hippies in America. He did not run away from them, but, taught them about Krishna.
Prahalada lived with his father who is like a demon.
I do not own a vehicle because it is not essential for the nature of my profession and personal life. So, I travel by bus. When I travel by bus, I have to hear cinema songs, see girls and boys loving and violating within the bus, etc. But, my purpose is to reach my destination. So, I use them because it is inevitable for me.
I had a gentle relationship with my brothers, sisters, relatives, etc. But, my mother, had more attachments with them. Being a mother of many children, a mother will be like that only. How can I object her? However, I gradually taught her to reduce attachments since she was getting old. She too followed that a few years before her death. Had I deserted my mother because of her attachments with me, now, I will be living with a guilt of having made my mother suffering in her old age.
Thus, being with the materially attached people is inevitable.
If all the people settle in the temples, who will support those temples and their members? So, the outside people have to be with this materialistic world and support them.
Beautiful rose is living in the dirty mud only. A farmer has to live with the snakes only in his fields because snakes kill the rats doing good by avoiding the loss of grains because of rats. Gold starts to glow only when it is kept inside the fire.
Most importantly, DEVOTION IS A PERSONAL AFFAIR BETWEEN A DEVOTEE AND KRISHNA. The exchanges happen between the individual heart and Krishna. The heart is well protected within our bodies. So, it is personal.
A mobile phone signal travels neglecting so many distractions and similar waves with different frequencies. Lakhs of waves are crossing our wave. Still it reaches its destination of our target mobile phone and we speak.
Similarly, our feelings and prayers towards Krishna travel to Krishna in a particular frequency. None of your family members, friends, etc, can distract your wave of devotion.
Therefore, speak to Krishna from within your heart by chanting His Names internally. By performing possible services to Him. Whenever you have more freeness, intensify your performance.
Even when the cinema songs disturb me in bus, I read about Krishna while travelling. When I involve in that, I do not find the distractions diverting me from reading. Because, I am situated with reading.
When a Yogi deserts family and go to forest, he will be distracted by wild animals, other animals, insects, snakes, sound of birds, etc. If you like to avoid distractions, you have to go to Antartica and practice devotion in minus degree celcius temperature.
If you go and settle in the temples, there is no guarantee that no one will disturb you among many devotees there. Even there, you will have to face different kinds of devotees, pressures, politics, etc.
So, wherever you go, you will have distractions.
From today, start learning how to focus on devotion from within this set up. Others will change to the devotional way of life seeing your practices. This is the benefit.