Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

I came in touch with Krishna consciousness in 2020 after getting married to my husband, who came in contact with devotees in the US in 2019 and he was practising some principles such as chanting, offering food, reading Bhagavad Gita etc. My husband had developed attraction for the Srimad Bhagavatam and we had the Bhagavatam installation at our home a month after our marriage. I also took up chanting in 2020 and gradually increased my rounds at different points of time during that year. My husband started chanting 16 rounds in the month of Kartik (2020), and I started chanting 16 rounds from January 2021. We have also been part of a Bhagavatam reading group since September-October 2020 and as part of a group of 8-10 devotees, read from Monday to Friday on conference call. 
We went to India after 2.5 years (first time after marriage) for about 40 days and while I was able to chant rounds during the first half of the trip (as my in-laws are not only favourable, they themselves chant 4 rounds everyday), I was unable to be as disciplined when I went to my home. I would often wonder what my relatives would think if I am chanting rounds when they have specially come to meet me, and I prioritised those meetings over chanting and as a result, I could see that my consciousness got affected and I was unable to chant my rounds for about 2 weeks. I became steady again after coming back to the US, but I felt really guilty for not following chanting. 
Now I am 4 months pregnant and due to some reasons, I decided to go to my parent's place in India for the remainder of my pregnancy. Though I will get a lot of physical, mental and emotional support from my family in terms of cooking and health care etc, I am really nervous about following my chanting. As it is, I recently went through a phase where I was questioning ISKCON and its policies, things ISKCON devotees say or do, why to chant 16 rounds and not less etc. The fact that I am not employed since 2020 and cannot work in the US and often feel lonely (my friends left my side, but that's a long story) just added to it all and I was feeling depressed at times. I felt as if chanting 16 rounds was drying me up instead of nourishing me, even though I have seen the power of the Holy Name in my life and have faith in it. I just did not want to continue chanting 16 rounds and wanted to explore other paths in spirituality which gave an "easier" path. But this lasted for about 10 days and now I am back to normal. But it did take a toll on me and my husband, who did his best to support and counsel me. Anyway, now all is okay. It's just that I decided to be kinder to myself and decided to chant 4 rounds for a few days, before returning to 16 rounds. 
I don't want a repeat of last year in India and I do want to prioritise chanting in India. But it takes some time to adjust to the time there and the fact that I am not a very early riser adds to my existing problem. If only I could get up at around 4-4.30am, I could be done with chanting before the day's errands begin. This time, I want to do it more for my unborn baby than for myself because I wouldn't want him/her to suffer because of my mistakes. My parents and extended family are aware that I and my husband practice KC, but they don't know and understand that it's a lifestyle. They are favourable to things like offering food and chanting, but don't quite understand why we need to chant 16 or extra rounds. I am the only vegetarian in my own extended family and they all are aware of it, but they don't know about offering food, and even though they cooked food without onion and garlic last year when we went to meet them, this time, I am wary of eating anywhere except my home because of the baby. I will have no devotee association and I don't know if my parents would be too keen to take me to the temple every week. If it was close, I could have requested them to take me everyday, but it's about 20 minute drive. I want to read spiritual books and listen to spiritual lectures, and that's pretty much what I do here in the US, but in India, my family might question why I have to do it all the time. I am not a very fixed and strong devotee, and even though I am firm on principles, I cannot possibly tell anyone to shut the TV off and things like that. Since I am not that strong, I myself end up watching with them, even though I wouldn't naturally do it too often. I am really worried about all these things. I know that Krishna reciprocates and helps when we take His shelter, but I would really welcome some practical suggestions on how to keep my consciousness proper, especially for the baby. 

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  • E-Counselor

    Hare KRsna Mataji,


    Very happy to note your sincere desire to continue with your sadhana in parents house also, for your unborn child.

    These are the things that I know:

    Even normal Indian families who are not into devotion encourage a pregnant lady to read scriptures so taht the child gets good sanskara. Please tell them that is what you have heard in the USA from your Indian friends and just do it. Maybe an hour or half an hour daily.

    Reading sankrit shlokas actually make the child very intelligent. That is the reason Germans took to sanskrit. Please read shlokas of Bhagavad Gita every day.

    Chant everyday in front of parents also - tell them it helps to control your BP/ calm you down/ remove anxiety. Whatever works, tell them and chant. 

    I can understand that it may be difficult for you to wake up early. You may be experiencing morning sickness as well. Chant any time of the day. TV is on in one room, go to the other room and chant. Lie down and chant when you are too tired to sit and chant. But chant. In fact, we tall all pregnant ladies to chant extra rounds in this time, so that if you are unable to chant few days when the baby arrives, you have already created a bank of extra rounds. 

    Go to temple/ goshala when you can. Request them and see if they agree. Normally in this time, family also wants that would be mother does all this. 

    Meeting relatives, yes meet them. Do not eat in their house, make some excuse. In pregnancy, suddenly one is not feeling like eating. Make excuses where you can. Where you cannot, offer mentally from your plate itself and have. Krsna sees our sincerity and helps. 

    Do whatever you can, and dont beat yourself up . This is the time to be happy, to be calm, to look forward to welcoming a new life. 

    Best of luck.


    Your servant,

    Radha Rasamayi DD

    • Hare Krishna Mataji. PAMHO.

      Thank you so much for all your wonderful suggestions, Mataji. Yes, my mother encourages me to read Ramcharitmanas and my parents got me an audio set of Bhagavad Gita as they know I read scriptures. I will try to apply your practical suggestions regarding other things as much as possible. Thank you so much. I am so grateful. 

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    • Hare Krishna. PAMHO. That's true Prabhuji.. things work differently for different people. Thank you so much Prabhuji.

  • We all go through phazes in our life when we may or may not do our japa or read Prabhupada books. But you have to remember when YOU DID DO IT right? Well bhakti is never lost so dont fear!

    If all our lives was like a perfect movie we would do 16 rounds and follow perfeclty. But life in kali-yuga is anything but perfect. 

    Also sometimes in the start of kc we much more enthusiactic we relish doing rounds, but as life goes on doing krishna bhakti almost because like impersonal just because we cant really talk to krishna (i mean personally) So that is one thing i feel gets in the way.

    Also other people dont understand our bhakti and can really get in the way... they seem to have an easy life of doing zero bhakti thoughtout the day then critisize US for doing it? 

    The only way i found to start again is very slowly. Like a snail crawling. Dont beat yourself up about it.

    • Hare Krishna Prabhuji. PAMHO.

      Thank you so much for your kind words, for understanding my situation, and for your wonderful words of encouragement and motivation. 

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