Associating with "un-KC" family

Haribol, PAMHO


I have been reading Srila Praphupad's books for about two years now and mostly follow the four regulative principles. However, I find it hard to avoid committing sins when I am associating with family members who are very materially engrossed. Being around them seems to make me forget about my spirituality, or I use it as an excuse that since they are doing it, it can't be that bad for me to do it etc., or I rationalize that since I am around them and absorbing they're materialistic "vibes" there's not much point in trying to be disciplined myself.  I sense the dishonesty in this and I think the truth is that my mind will give me any kind of rationale to give in to temptation and there's a part of me that wants to give into it. I have a pattern of being strict with myself one day and then the next day giving in to temptation, then begging Krishna's forgiveness, then having a day of strict adherance but giving in to temptation the next day etc.  I know what I should and shouldn't do, but that doesn't seem to stop me from somehow getting caught up in mode of passion and doing sinful things because everyone else around me is doing it, or I feel bored and don't know what else to do with myself. Whatever the case, I am feeling that I can't continue like this because it is destroying my sanity and my integrity and I am really worried what the consequences will be.

If anybody is reading I would be grateful for any advice about how to deal with this situation. I am wondering if I need to stop associating with my family? I have talked to them about possibly moving into an ashram for an extended period and they were pretty understanding. My only dilemma is that since I have some student loan debts I need to be earning an income. I would ideally like to find someplace where I could earn a living while at the same time having the association of sadhus.

I would be grateful for any advice!
Thank you!

Hare Krishna

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  • Hare Krsna

    I have been recently hearing some lectures and would like share what I heard. It may help you like it helped me.
    First, your main problem is frustration with sense control. One day you are motivated, but the next day you are unable to control your senses at all. Krsna explains to Arjuna that this is due to lust. We have lust to enjoy the senses, and we also have lust to control our senses. When we desire to control our senses in an independent mood, without a mood of service, it is also lust. Thus, this kind of sense control does not work. It is more born out of a desire to dominate our own mind. Actually, we are not able to dominate the mind at all, because Krsna mentions in BG that it is one of His energies. How will you dominate Krsna's energy? You can only work on cultivating a spirit of service for a long term solution.

    Now for a practical aspect. I noticed you mentioned that spiritual life involves a lot of intense ups and down. This is more or less a mode of passion that is fiercely propagated in modern society. Actually, spiritual life is based on spiritual satisfaction and a feeling of peacefulness. Exciting things and depressing things will be there, but the important point is that they should not affect your determination to practice Krsna consciousness. In this light, you can examine where you are on the devotional ladder given by Srila Rupa Goswami. He says that first, there is faith, then devotee association. So you have got some faith to chant and come to the temple and talk with devotees. The next step is bhajana kriya, where one takes initiation, or practically speaking, where one develops the necessary determination to practice devotional service. So from Srila Rupa Goswami's analysis, we can understand that you must strengthen your association with devotees in order to develop the necessary determination.

    This leads to the final point of associating with your non Krsna conscious family. There are 2 main aspects of this topic. One is that with proper determination, you will not become contaminated by your family. So if you understand that pleasing Krsna is the most important, then you will develop the determination to say no to eggs. This determination mostly comes from spending quality time with devotees (not just showing up to the temple), and carefully reading Srila Prabhupada's books. The second, and I think very often misunderstood point in Krsna consciousness, is the matter of duty. Associating with our family, having jobs, living outside the ashram, making money, getting married, etc are NOT outside the scope of Krsna consciousness. For the vast majority people, these things are very much crucial for spiritual progress. Krsna particularly stresses the point of executing one's duty in Ch 3-5 in BG. When we perform our duties, our laziness naturally decreases and we become responsible. By becoming more responsible, we gain the necessary mental strength to carry forth in Krsna consciousness. Renunciation of work is completely useless without purification of consciousness. Lord Krsna says this over and over and over. It's much better to be an honest person with a job who chants in the morning than a brahmacari in an ashram with desires. The fall in the ashram will be a lot harder.

    So overall, I'd say the practical advice is to control the senses in a service mood, spend more quality time with devotees, read, chant, take only prasadam, and wake up before sunrise. It's actually amazing how much potency there is in these simple things.

    Take care,

    • Wow, thank you for your comments. This really helps me to feel much better about my situation.


      Actually, we are not able to dominate the mind at all, because Krsna mentions in BG that it is one of His energies. How will you dominate Krsna's energy? You can only work on cultivating a spirit of service for a long term solution.

      Yes, I had never considered that!

      Thank you !
      Hare Krishna

  • Volunteer
    Hare Krishna Rakesh Roshan Prabhu, please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

    For example, senior Devotees teach us to follow 4 regulative principles and chant minimum 16 rounds. and i see how they do themselves also that rules. In this way i do not see that they are saying something which they do not follow themselves or not able to follow.

    it is true that we are not pure yet. preacher is also practicing Krishna Consciousness in order some day to become pure. As like Shukadeva Goswami attained the ultimate goal by speaking and Parikshit Maharaja by listening. In this way preaching process is also part of sadhana which purifies our heart.

    sometimes when we preach to others to do something we get strength ourselves in order to follow what we spoke about. Because the source of words are not the preacher but Krishna. And wise preacher learns while preaching and speaking.

    In this way no need to think that he or she does not follow and says. but he/she will follow, he-she is struggling to follow. It is called sincerity.

    Dear Rakesh Prabhu, the time we see fault in others it means that fault we have. no need to have a headache thinking of other people's bad qualities. the best way the time we saw bad in others we have to try to purify our own heart.


    And of course Krishna gave us intelligence which we can use. If a particular preacher is preaching not so good for our opinion then we keep respecting him but we will listen other lectures who inspire us to chant. No time for critical thinking.

    Your servant,
    • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna Maral mataji,



      We do not have to be critical about others, we do not have time for that but  when we are going to put our life in someone's hands(m not talking about initiation), we cannot do it blindly,just by seeing that someone is following 4 regulative principles and chanting 16 rounds.I do not know what is the scenario in your country for youth preaching but I am speaking about the system here.
      It has to be done after some analysis.

      I do not wish to see fault in others, none of my business.

      But to protect myself and to take proper decisions, I surely need to check it not??


      rakesh roshan

      • Volunteer

        yes, You are right Prabhuji! even while choosing Guru we have to see His qualities. we should not do it blindly. Your servant,

        • Volunteer

          Hare Krsna Maral mataji,

          Thank u for ur enlivening discussion..

          Hare Krsna


          rakesh roshan


  • Volunteer

    Hare Krishna Rakesh Roshan Prabhu,

    the main philosophy is here we take what we deserve and what we gave when we were able to give.

    When we are young and capable to do service then we have to give as much as possible. It means to serve, to give knowledge, to preach, or material help ...whatever we can contribute to the society.

    And when times comes when we are not fit to give physical energy do You think others will neglect us???

    In the reality if a person is really chants nicely and cultivated love for Krishna will depend on Krishna's mercy.

    He won't demand that the society will support him/her.

    For example, Raghunatha Goswami Maharaja was a multi millionaire. then in order to serve to Krishna much time he renounced from worldly duties and lived begging in front of Sri Jaganatha Mandir. But then he thought that it is not good to disturb people by asking them to give something. then he used to eat rice which was left even after cows. washing it and salting. 

    in this way the time when we realize that NO ONE must give to us. that we have no right to demand something from others. Devotee will perform his duties as like Arjuna fought, he will earn money, and when time comes will recounce his duties and will accept whatever Krishna gives.

    But it does not mean that vanaprasthas and sannyasis do not give something to the society.

    They give! they can not give money but they preach, give knowledge about Krishna.

    In this way we should not become like mosquitoes who freely soak our blood.

    Your servant, 

    • Volunteer

      Hare Krsna Maral mataji,

      Please accept my humble obeisances.
      What you are saying is 100 percent true that we should not expect anything from others and do our service to devotees.But here the service is to be done to devotees and not to those who have ulterior motives.
      The examples that you have given are of all pure vaishnavas( Goswamis).

      It is true that we are not supposed to expect anything from others and simply depend on Krsna for mercy ,He will take care of us that is sure.There are no apprehensions about that.But the service that we r supposed to render, we cannot render blindly.. We have to do it to proper devotees and not to those with ulterior motives.If some one asks another person to be like Kolavech Sridhar and he himself is not like Rupa and Sanatan, Plz tell , does it make sense?

      I suppose the right to preach comes by living a life of example and not simply quoting from shashtras. I am not speaking about sannyasis and other pure devotees.

      Wat I mean to say is we have to be careful while rendering our valuable energy, time and service(all of which belong to Krsna) so that it is a proper service to Krsna.We cannot do things blindly and remain unconscious of whether we are serving the right person.

      Also, do we not have the right to expect that at least ppl around us will help us if we face a problem in our bhakti and if they do not, do we not have the right to take a decision to protect our bhakti ??


      rakesh roshan

      • Volunteer

        Hare Krishna Rakesh Roshan Prabhu, please accept my humble obeisances! all glories to Srila Prabhupada!

        All the saintly people come to this world and show us example of how to live properly. Please do not tell me that You or any Devotee here some day can become as pure as those Gsowamis. No!

        The Holy Names are so pure that They can melt even a stone heart. To say that i am not in that category then to make offense to the Holy Names. The Holy Names are Chintamani - touch stones. They can do everything. Goswamis showed that kind of Devotion it means it is available to us also. Bhaktivinod Thakur showed that even if you have 13 children you can become a pure Vaishnav. There is no doubt!

        Soul is pure, full for knowledge and bliss. And when the Holy Names removes the dirt then we are pure Devotees. From our side we need only FAITH to Their power.


        For example, when we serve to someone we have to see Krishna in heart. "i do this service and let Krishna will be happy, let, as a result i will able to chant attentively".

        Our prayer should be: "please dear Krishna, show me my own position, show me the real truth in order i become humble and not to think that i am greater than anybody even an ant!"

        if we see our own position then we will be able to see how great Devotees are. Even a new comer.

        in this way we will serve to everyone.


        But there are types of services:

        fro example, wife can wash the dhotis of a husband but as a service to other man this type of service is not considered good. or mataji can smile to another new comer mataji and talk with her, preach to her which is honorable but if she does it to a new comer boy then it is not considered good...

         we have to use our intelligence what kind of service is suitable according time, place and circumstances. 


        it does not mean that everyone will become a preacher. if person's varna is vaisha then he will look after the small land when he accepts vanaprastha ashram. and live peacefully, most time being engaged with the service. and for him it is not important to fully renounce as a sannyasi. he works in the land minimum hours and other times serves to Lord-Deities or kirtans, or gives advices to other young grihasthas.


        if one has sewing abilities, as we see elder Ladies in our society, they peacefully sew for Deities, do garlands, cook for Deities on the place of demanding something without doing anything. No.


        if one has brahmanical qualities then while accepting vanaprastha he will teach, preach, write. For example, there is on Guru Maharaja in Russia. He is in Vanaprastha ashram, he lives with his good wife. he has hundreds of disciples - we can say half Russian Devotees. but he does not live at the Temple because he is with his wife. He has Deities  at home - in this way his home is a Temple.

        but even though he maintains life by writing books, doing yagya, preaching. He is disciple of His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja. 


         Also, do we not have the right to expect that at least ppl around us will help us if we face a problem in our bhakti and if they do not, do we not have the right to take a decision to protect our bhakti ??

         for example, when Draupadi called Krishna holding up one hand and with other hand pulling her saree Krishna did not come. But when she fully surrender to Krishna then Krishna fully took her under His shelter. 

        In this way if You want to protect Your bhakti Yourself then Krishna lets You to do so, but when we fully depend on Him then He will take us under His full protection.

        when we have difficulties we pray to Krishna, and sometimes Krishna helps us using His Devotees but sometimes He directly Himself comes to help us.

        Your servant, 

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