Welfare Work: Real welfare work

                                                                  Q. I can say I have practically no knowledge of the scriptures; but I believe in GOD - in all gods. Prior to coming to the US, I used to pray a lot. However, after coming here I have reduced that, apparently for no particular reason. But I have started praying to my parents, because I feel that by serving one's parents, one can serve God. I would like to understand what really is a person's duty - is it to serve God directly or to serve his parents and reach God through them?

                                                                  Q. If I have two options, viz.
                                                                  1) Serve someone in need i.e. help others through community service -OR-
                                                                  2) Chant the name of the God.

                                                                  Q. People should help people just for the sake of helping them, and without any additional motivation. The propagation of that kind of behavior is the positive part of society in general. Doing everything for God negates the basic human decency of every good act, even though the outcome might be the same. The difference in motivation removes all of the good will from the equation. Essentially, people who do things only for indirect purposes are only automatons.

                                                                  Q. Is donating "blood" correct according to the shastras? Nowadays there is a lot of encouragement for blood and organ donation. How should we look at these from a Vedic perspective?

                                                                  There are no specific injunctions for/against blood donation. However, in principle such acts are generally understood to be within the category of material or bodily compassion, which is not only temporary but also superficial in that it does not address the real issue.

                                                                  Q. 1. In ISKCON devotees always say that we should talk about Lord only. I work in a public sector corporation. I have many friends; they are materially very much attached. They tease me and they even tease my Lord.

                                                                  Q. Are we mis-interpreting our books by giving a physical form to the concept of Brahman, the supreme source of energy? Krishna and Rama are characters in a story written by ancient philosophers who wanted to bring some standards for living, stories written to explain the concept of good living. Are Hindus losing their scientific acumen by worshiping their texts instead of really understanding the concepts? Isn't it enough that I lead a good life, helping others, being honest?