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                                                                  Inquiries

                                                                  Everyone likes to inquire. Srila Prabhupada writes, "The whole world is full of questions and answers. The birds, beasts and men are all busy in the matter of perpetual questions and answers...Although they go on making such questions and answers for their whole lives, they are not at all satisfied. Satisfaction of the soul can only be obtained by questions and answers on the subject of Krishna." -- Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5

                                                                  "Inquiries into the Absolute" is a wonderful opportunity provided by Srila Romapada Swami to help us fruitfully engage our propensity to inquire and seek answers. Please take advantage!

                                                                  For offline reading, please download all the digests in pdf format by clicking here.

                                                                  Q.1. What is the purpose of marriage as viewed by ISKCON?

                                                                  The purpose of marriage is to provide an opportunity for all the members in the family to properly support one another to peacefully practice and grow in their Krishna Consciousness. In Vedic scriptures, the institution of marriage is referred to as an "ashram" or a sacred place of purification.

                                                                  Q. I'm interested to know what if by nature or past impressions I'm a loner,  always avoiding people/devotees, less expressive or completely seeming introvert, how can I overcome this nature because a part of me wants to be spontaneous or break open but other part holds me back? I fear that due to  exhibiting such nature I may be failing to establish good association/relation as I feel loosely connected to others!

                                                                  I have two very simple recommendations for you.

                                                                  One is to find JUST ONE PERSON with whom you can openly express yourself, and invest in that relationship.

                                                                  Q. I am interested in Srila Prabhupada's translation of the seventh verse of the Siksastakam prayers. His early translation (Adi, Chapter 7) has a "twelve years or more" component, and I wonder why. Is it somehow in the Sanskrit?

                                                                  Later in the Cc, where the actual Siksastakam occurs, it is translated differently.

                                                                  See both versions below:

                                                                  CC Adi 7.81, Purport:

                                                                  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays in His Siksastaka:
                                                                  yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me

                                                                  Q. When we come to spiritual life and understand that we have many bad habits due to being conditioning in the material world for long time, we try to over come the habits by knowledge of shastras, hearing lectures from devotees, by performing service to Vaishnavas and the Lord etc. Some habits are easy to give up, some take little endeavor to overcome and some habits are really very hard to give up. We try our best to overcome these anarthas, but these deeply rooted anarthas seem impossible to overcome. For some time it seems that we have overcome the habits, but after some time they come back to haunt us again and become stumbling block on path of devotion. How do we deal with these kind of Bad Habits or anarthas?

                                                                  Q.  When we come to spiritual life and understand that we have many bad habits due to being conditioning in the material world for long time, we try to over come the habits by knowledge of shastras, hearing lectures from devotees, by performing service to Vaishnavas and the Lord etc. Some habits are easy to give up, some take little endeavor to overcome and some habits are really very hard to give up. We try our best to overcome these anarthas, but these deeply rooted anarthas seem impossible to overcome. For some time it seems that we have overcome the habits, but after some time they come back to haunt us again and become stumbling block on path of devotion. How do we deal with these kind of Bad Habits or anarthas?

                                                                  Q. My relationship with my mother has considerably improved. Even though we do not fight as much, we still argue quite a lot and we do sometimes fight, but for the time being it's quite peaceful. How can I improve my relationship with my mother?

                                                                  In addition to what you are already doing, which are major steps forward, here are some additional recommendations.

                                                                  Q. In the Gita verse 2.47 ("Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities..."), does it mean that we are not the producers of our results? Does the sanskrit word "hetuh" = "cause"
                                                                  essentially mean the "producer" or does it imply something else?

                                                                  Yes,  BG 2.47 says precisely what He means to say: the jiva is not the cause of the results of activities.

                                                                  Please carefully read BG 5.14

                                                                  Q. How can one tell the difference between a devotee who is legitimately practicing raganuga sadhana and someone who may be sincere but misguidedly and inappropriately disregarding vidhi sadhana in the name of raganuga bhakti? How would one preach to a devotee of the latter type?

                                                                  I would rather have a personal discussion with you about this rather than provide an extensive reply; the subject of your question is delicate, and to treat the subject properly a cursory response is not satisfying.
                                                                  Nonetheless, I will attempt to offer a succinct to-the-point response.

                                                                  Q. Why is the mangala arati offered to Radha Krishna when in fact we are glorifying Guru Tattva by singing Guruvastaka prayers? Whereas in ISKCON Vrndavan temple, while the morning arati is offered to Their Lordships, "Vibhavari sesa" is sung and Guruvastaka is sung to Srila Prabhupada. Could you comment?

                                                                  This question has two parts.

                                                                  As our Founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada deliberately took steps which would hold his fledgeling disciples on the path of bhakti by securing deeply within their hearts the all-saving power of guru-nistha. The early stages of ISKCON were simply an explosion of enthusiasm to assist Srila Prabhupada in carrying out his mission.

                                                                  Q. What should I do when my family duty conflict with my spiritual duty?

                                                                  This is a very broad topic!

                                                                  There is a lot to share on this important challenge you are facing!

                                                                  For starters, I will focus only on the OUTLOOK or the PERSPECTIVE with which your regard 'duty'.

                                                                  I will later send additional thoughts, because I want to help you, and support you, to get beyond this intense personal struggle.
                                                                     ___

                                                                  Best is to see family duty as a core part of your devotional service, or your spiritual duty -- not as something that is in conflict with your spiritual duty.

                                                                  A pertinent verse given by Rupa Goswami addresses this -