What to do if the parents object going to ISKCON?
Actual Questions from two devotees:
Qn.1: A male student:
“sir, i want to join sankirtana parties, singing Hare Krishna..all over the world, i can go to Indian cities,or to foreign lands, but my family..,(father n mother) is not allowing me as they are meat eaters, sometimes tobaco, my mother is complete materialist, but by grace of Lord Krishna….i gained true knowledge of life. please suggest me how to convince my parents that they allow me to quit engineering and become a pure devotee for whole life please……help….”
Qn.2: A girl:
Hare Krishna Prabhuji. As I am new to Krishna Consciousness, my parents are a scared of the changes (in me). They are now scared of ISKCON. They said they don’t want me to go there or associate with the devotees. They think I am brainwashed and I am not looking at this clearly. How do I explain them that this is not harmfull at all? I want them to understand how good this is for me. I don’t want to fight with them. Rather I want them to understand. Please help me Prabhuji. They even refuse to talk to any senior devotee. They are very adament on making me understand this. What should I do? I know how important this movement is for everyone. I can’t not be a part of it now. Please help me and please don’t mention my name.
Well. Some parents object going to ISKCON. This is the problem faced by many girls and boys now a days. Almost all the parents readily support their children going to temples, worshiping and coming back. For example, you go to Tirupathi Balaji temple. Stand in queue. Have darshan there. Come back. So, they have no reservations in sending you to the Balaji temple.
As far as going to ISKCON temple/ center is concerned, it is like a Gurukul (Spiritual School) to learn and practice devotional practices that makes great impacts in the minds of people and hence some parents do object. Even in Srila Prabhupada’s period, some parents even filed cases that Srila Prabhupada is brainwashing their children and retaining them. But, it was dismissed later by the court.
(Why some devotees fear to attend ISKCON and follow strict rules? READ HERE!)
This is natural in this world as this society is the mix of variety of people. the Spiritual organisations have to face such problems. Because, they are spreading the scriptures and devotional practices. The devotees who are interested in learning the scriptures and dedicate to the service of the Lord, readily take part in it.
Whereas, those who are interested in deity darshan / worship alone may not show much interest in such deep concepts. Therefore, they may argue that we should go to temple, have darshan and come back.
When we impart Perfect spiritual knowledge to the devotees, it is viewed by them as brain washing and hence some parents object going to ISKCON. If we preach them “Eat anything”, “enjoy life”, “marry and enjoy” or” enjoy even without marriage”, “get so many children”, “buy houses, cars, ornaments, and become the richest man”, etc, they will be comfortable about it.
(My Vedic Brahmana family is against ISKCON way of devotion. How to explain? READ HERE!)
Therefore, when we preach against this material attachment, the parents fear whether their children will become a ‘sanyasi’ and then leave their home and hence the parents object going to ISKCON. Some innocent devotees start to hate their family members after attending Krishna Consciousness / devotional sathsangha. As we are taught that this material world is temporary and all the people are temporary relations, they do so misunderstanding that we do not require anyone.
Actually, we are taught another aspect also. All these creations and living beings are coming from Krishna. Thus, Krishna is the source for all. In fact, Krishna is residing as Paramathma in all living beings. Therefore, we should not hate any living being, particularly, our parents and relatives. They may not be Krishna conscious and may be materialistic, but, still they have to be respected.
(I like to do full time service to Krishna, but fear seeing advanced devotees. What to do? READ HERE!)
In fact, they too are Krishna Conscious, as everyone in this world is already and naturally Krishna Conscious. But, it is remaining dormant in them because of their more involvement in materialistic way of life. When we associate with the devotees, our dormant Krishna Consciousness is brought out. That’s all. Till they realize their real status of the servant of Krishna, they will object you.
Another factor is that, in any spiritual organisation, there will be a few devotees to discourage others by highlighting some mistakes in that sathsangha. In any very big group, there will certainly be some people like that. Some new devotees even believe that.
Of course, there will be some faults in any administration, planning and implementation as this involves vast network of devotees. Everything in a sathsangha can not be perfect. Of course, there may be some shortcomings in the management, policies, etc. The management trusts the devotees and entrust a certain responsibilities to them. There are some chances for mistakes or violations. If there are 1000 people in an organisation, a few may deviate and commit mistakes.
Therefore, we can not accuse the whole organisation for the mistakes of a few people. Particularly, ISKCON is that of Srila Prabhupada. The people may come and go, but, the organisation will remain. This was the dream project of Srila Prabhupada and every devotee has the responsibility to protect this organisation from such mistakes. It is our responsibility.
(How to take some services in ISKCON Temples? READ HERE!)
I have already said: Why we go to a spiritual organisation? To learn about Krishna. To have sathsangha. To chant and sing. To Practice devotion. That’s all. No more expectations. If you stop with this, you can peacefully do your practice in any sathsangha. If you desire for any position, naturally, there will already be some waiting list and hence, there may be chances that you may not get it. So, associate with any sathsangha without any expectations. This will do good for you. You can study in a school but, you need not desire to become its principal. If Krishna wants you to be in a position, He will make it happen in His own way.
I am a member in this sathsangha for very long years since my twenties. I have seen a very few disturbing incidents happening around me by a very few individual devotees. New devotees join, some old devotees leave, some devotees accusing each other, etc.
I have also seen many achievements also around me by some devotees. I am still in this sathsangha, because, this is the organisation of Srila Prabhupada who started this with his painful efforts and it first taught me how to worship and love Krishna. Therefore, we have to protect its image considering the more positives it has. There is no other organisation now that gives such a well structured process in Bakthi Yoga.
So, my advice to you: Go to Sunday programs. Associate with the devotees there. Hear classes. Sing kirtans. Chant. Have Prasadam. If possible, do make some donations to meet their expenses. Come back. Do not involve in administrative issues (or) do not care for the mistakes of a very few devotees. It is not easy to manage such a huge sathsangha of devoteees that is a very sensitive one. You do not need such issues. The administrators will take care of them. You just remain as an ordinary devotee and come back.
(GUIDE FOR DEVOTEES: CAN GIRLS AVOID MARRIAGE AND STAY IN THE TEMPLES? A TEST FOR YOU! READ HERE!)
Now, convincing your parents. Your parents object going to ISKCON because, they might have seen some changes in your activities after going to ISKCON. You will be objecting onion , garlic, Non veg, etc. You may not be that much affectionate to them as before. You may speak “Everything is maya; All of you are my temporary relations”, etc. So, they might have feared. You might have stopped watching T.V, going to cinemas, having meat, etc. In this kaliyuga, the parents consider their children as normal ONLY IF they enjoy movies, T.V, friendship, chats, etc. Otherwise, they fear that he/ she has some behavioural problems.
Therefore, first , be normal. Don’t speak of advanced concepts to your parents right now. They will fear more. When your parents are in good mood, tell them:
“I assure you that I will never deviate from the instructions given by you. I will definitely marry a boy/ girl when I attain that age. I will score high in my exams. I will also do all the helps for both of you. I never hate anyone of you and will never violate your advice. But, everyone of us have different preferences and tastes that is natural. I naturally like hearing about Krishna, chanting and singing. They are not brainwashing us. They are just teaching that we should not develop too much of desires as it will bind us and hence we should be normal. There is nothing wrong with them. They never compel us to take diksha, or to do certain service, or to remain in temple, etc. Everyone is taking part voluntarily. Don’t worry whether I will go away from all of you. They never advice like that.
I also assure you that I will take just 3 hours every week to attend the programs and will be back here immediately after the end of the sunday programs. I will be very careful in dealing with people that you need not worry. All I beg you is, just 3 hours a week on sundays to hear and sing about Krishna.
(I like to join ISKCON to become a Member and Practice Devotion. How to Join? READ HERE!)
I assure you that I will be your same affectionate daughter always. If you like to confirm whatever I said, both of you come with me every sunday to the temple. Be with me. Hear the classes. Chant. Sing songs. Be with me. Help me to hear about Krishna, please. I don’t want any jewels, flowers, many dresses, vehicles, etc. This is my ONLY request from you as your daughter/ son. Please don’t deny my genuine wishes. If you permit me to attend the sunday programs, Krishna will be very happy about both of you and shower His mercy on both of you.”
Tell them like this. Any NORMAL parents will agree if their daughter begs like this with so many assurances. Atleast they will accompany her without denying her the chance to associate with the devotees.
After a few months/ years, when your parents look for marriage for you, request them to get a good working devotee boy/ girl (a boy who is also earning for living). Before marrying him, speak to him and tell him that he must co-operate with you in your service to Krishna and to attend sathsangha atleast 3 hours a week . If he okays, marry him. After your marriage, your husband will co-operate with you as he has agreed. You can take him also to temple that will be very good.
Such a life, ie, both husband and wife involving in Krishna Consciousness, will be beautiful. Now, your parents can not object you after your marriage.
So if your parents object going to ISKCON behave as if they do not fear and also follow devotion.
All the best.
(AFTER COMING TO DEVOTION, I HATE MARRIAGE AND LIKE TO SETTLE IN THE TEMPLE. CAN I DO SO? READ HERE!)