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"Changing" my husband- My real life experience

Mine was a typical Arranged marriage... My parents found a well educated and well settled match for me, and for them the reason that I want to marry a devotee was not "practical enough" to say no to this marriage. After marriage I discovered that my husband loves eating non-veg food, drinks alcohol quite frequently, smokes occasionally and is agnostic spiritually. These were certainly not the qualities I had ever imagined my life partner would have. I felt quite helpless and didn't know what to do.

    Initially I thought that I can sort things out by reasoning with him. But this turned out to be my biggest mistake. I quoted scriptures and he quoted the so-called scientific studies. Our logical talks would turn into arguments and then end into major fights where we would not be on talking terms with each other for days. His " Male Ego" didn't allow him to accept his arguments to be wrong, and his previous conditioning would not let him accept the word of scriptures to be true. The more I tried reasoning with him, the more he was getting convinced that his thoughts are scientific and my belief in scriptures is dogmatic. 

   One day a devotee friend of mine told me about a website called iskcondesiretree.com . I saw discussion forum here and thought of asking devotees for help. I posted my situation in this forum and soon a senior devotee game me a wonderful suggestion which later changed my husband completely. This happened around 4 yrs back, and this website had an entirely different look then. I don't know how to access the discussion forum of the old website, otherwise i would have simply posted that link here.

   He suggested that there is no use arguing with your husband as it will only make the things worse. Being the wife, I have control over the kitchen and this will be a major tool for changing my husband. He suggested that when I offer food to Lord Krishna, I should specifically pray that may this food change the habits of my husband and may he  become advanced spiritually. Apart from this he advised that I should not force any thing on my husband and serve him duty-fully. Of course I had to maintain my own spiritual practice and not to get deviated by other things. This advice, though simple, had a major impact on my life.

   Here's a little secret I would like to admit which so many devotees might not like.  My husband was a non-veg lover ( though he would never bring it inside our house), so he liked the food cooked with lots of onions in it. He would not eat the curries made without onion and say that the food without onion has no taste. So I was offering the food with onion to  Lord Krishna and asked forgiveness from HIM for this offence!!!! Now that might sound really bad to many devotees here... 

  Apart from praying to Lord Krishna for changing my husband, here are few other things I simultaneously did, which I feel helped in developing the Krishna Consciousness in my husband...

1) I made it a point never to argue with my husband over any spiritual topic, no matter how much he provokes me to do so.

2) I took a vow to Chant 4 rounds daily for him. I had a belief that if I'll chant for him, he'll get some sukruti, which will help him to come closer to Lord Krishna. I don't know if he really got some sukruti like this, but this vow of mine made him chant few rounds of Hare Krishna Mantra occasionally.  On the days when I used to fall sick, I used to tell my husband that today I am not able too finish the 4 rounds which I do for you, so will you please help me by doing those rounds yourself? And since I'll say this in a very submissive tone, he'll agree to help me by doing his rounds himself!!!

3) I mostly listen to some lectures online while I am cooking. If I found certain part of lectures specifically to be about drinking or meat eating etc, I used to play those parts in the evening while cooking dinner, while my husband is also there in the house. I'll play the lectures on my laptop in the room  and work in the kitchen,pretending that I am listening this lecture for the first time. I believe that words coming from the mouth of a pure devotee have a great potency of transforming those who hear them. Though my husband would be busy doing other things, trying his best to ignore the lecture, but still he would hear some part of it which will surely leave some impact on him.

4) I made it a point to manage my home nicely and take good care of my family so that his conception that taking jap mala in hands means leaving the worldly duties is proved wrong.

5) Whenever my husband appreciates me for being a good wife, I always say that it's only because of Srila Prabhupada that I am convinced that the only duty of a girl is to serve her husband and her family nicely. I give credit of all my good qualities to Srila Prabhupad and this gives me a chance to explain what a wonderful person Srila Prabhupad was, and how his teachings are the way to live a harmonious life.

6) I started visiting our local ISKCON temple at least once a month. My husband met many ghristha devotees there who were working on very high posts in their offices but were serving humbly in the Temple. This created a positive image of ISKCON in front of my husband, which helped a lot in his transformation.

   Since my blog is getting too long I would just say that I started seeing my husband change gradually. He gave up eating non-veg, then he gave up smoking and drinking. By our second marriage anniversary my husband knew the four regulative principles by heart, and was convinced to follow them for all his life. But still there were two issues. He still wanted food to be cooked with onions and he still liked to drink tea frequently. I had firm faith that Lord Krishna will arrange something so that he'll leave onions and tea also.

   On our second marriage anniversary one of our aunt gave us Laddoo Gopalji deity as a gift and said that she knows we can take good care of HIM. Since I am busy preparing breakfast in the morning, my husband agreed to bathe the  deity and dress HIM up. Sweet innocent smile of our Ladoo Gopal ji did some magic on my husband and just a week after taking care of HIM, he said that it's not good to offer food with onion to Ladoo Gopalji...So from now onward we will not bring onion into our kitchen. I was really amazed to hear these words!!!! I thanked Lord Krishna a million times in heart for this transformation and prayed to HIM that may both of us serve HIM till the last breath of our life.

   Though my post has already become too long, but still I am tempted to tell one more incident about how my husband gave up drinking tea. One day my husband saw that I am giving him tea without first offering it to our Ladoo Gopal ji. He asked me that why am I not offering tea to HIM. I said that Ladoo Gopalji doesn't drink tea. He asked me that how am I so sure that He doesn't drink tea? So instead of giving any Shastric reference or saying that I have heard this in ISKCON, I simply said that Laddoo Gopalji has HIMSELF told me this, and if you don't believe me you can ask HIM yourself. I suggested him  to write YES on one chit of paper and NO on the other chit of paper, fold those chits, and keep them in front of Gopalji. Then he asked Gopalji that whether HE drinks tea or not, and picked up one chit with with closed eyes. The chit said NO!!!! My husband again kept the folded chits and again asked the same question and again he got the same answer. He did this three times and every time he got the answer that Ladoo Gopalji doesn't drink tea. From that day onward my husband also gave up drinking tea completely!!!

   By the mercy of Lord Krishna, Srila Prabhupada and senior Vaishnavas, my husband has " changed " so much that his old friends get shocked when they meet him after a long time. My husband is now my strength in following the path of Krishna Consciousness and he not only supports me, but is now walking on this path me. 

   I wanted to share my story as it gives faith that sincere prayers and firm faith can really change a person. Change is a gradual process, but if we'll stick to our Sadhna and keep praying to Lord Krishna, then change will surely happen one day....

  

   

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Comments

  • Wow matajii.. Lovely reading your post
  • Mataji what a beautiful leela krishan played and you also played...getting to Krishna consciousness is a fortune in itself.. congratulations what a amazing real life example...

  • Hare krishna Mataji. Your story is truly inspiring and hopegiving!!!

  • Hare Krishna mataji,

    Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful post.

    Please note:

     

    Obviously, we do not offer the foods with onions or garlic to Krishna.  That is a “No” straight away.  However, in this particular scenario, you were so helpless and had to compromise.  At the beginning, you were using the onions not to satisfy your own taste but were simply trying to find ways to transform your husband.  Sometimes, one of the spouses might need to come down with some compromise in order to pull the other spouse up.  When the knowledge and intelligence did not work, you could not  be rigid and strict from the beginning and did not stop using onions to avoid more conflicts in or even breaking away of, your marriage. had you not done all that, your husband would have still remained karmi. Moreover, it would have given a bad name to Srila Prabhupad’s ISKCON. Your husband would have a misconception about marrying a devotee. If god forbid yourr marriage had failed, he would have only blamed you or your so called "dogmatic views values " for the failure.

     

    In preaching and converting one’s spouse, if rules, knowledge and education do not work, the next alternative is to find a compromised, simplified and lenient way. If the preacher is sincere, Krishna will help. You are the living example of that.

     

    Jai!! 

     

    Ys,

    Durga Basnet

  • Volunteer

    Hare Krishna. To make things more clear I thought asking the question “Can food with onion and garlic could be offered to Krishna?” to H.G. Chaitanya Charan Prabhu on his website “The Spiritual Scientist”. H.G. Chaitanya Charan Prabhu is a very senior devotee and currently editor of Iskcon’s global magazine “Back to Godhead”. In his answer Prabhuji has clearly said that food with onion and garlic cannot be offered to Krishna in any circumstances. If due to certain circumstances one is forced to take food with onion and garlic then one should chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra several times and then can take it. But in none of the circumstances such food which is considered to be contaminated could be offered to Krishna. To hear the complete answer please go to the link: http://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2013/01/can-food-with-onion-an...

     

    Your Servant

    Purushottam Kumar

    Can food with onion and garlic be offered to Krishna during emergencies?
    From Purushottama Pr: Answer Podcast Answer Podcast Hindi
  • Thank you very much Mataji for this very inspiring story.

    Jai Srila Prabhupad. Jai Sri Krsna!

  • Hare Krishna Purushottam Kumar Prabhu ji.

    I know that offering food with onion and garlic to Lord is a big sin and I am certainly not saying that it is justifiable by any means. I have only narrated my own life experience here, which certainly doesn't correspond with the the rules and regulations of Krishna Consciousness.

    My husband would not like the curries cooked without onions, so I had only two choices. Either to keep him giving the un-offered food forever, or to beg forgiveness from Lord and ask Lord to purify this food cooked with onions so that my husband's consciousness can be changed and he can give up eating tamsik food quickly. 

    As you have said that one purpose of Prasadam is to purify our consciousness, so certainly the food offered to Krishna was instrumental in purifying my husband's consciousness so that he gradually gave up all his tamsik habits.

    In my case, offering food to Lord didn't help only spiritually, but it also helped in developing the habit of offering food to Krishna, because of which my husband later gave up drinking tea which can not be offered to God. I repeatedly used to tell my husband that since I am cooking food for Krishna, so there are certain rules for kitchen which I follow and expect u to follow... Thus gradually he also became used to used to this kind of life style, and came to the platform where he can follow rules and regulations of Sadhana Bhakti.

    I think that in practical life, for following rules and regulations of Bhakti, one has to first come up to a certain platform. If we straight away expect a person, who has no previous connection with Bhakti, to follow all the regulations, then he might be scared away and never come into Krishna Consciousness. 

  • Thanks a lot Bhaktin Maral Mataji, Alka Mataji, Kashyapi Mataji & Eternal Muser ji for your comments and kind appreciation. But I don't really deserve this appreciation as I am still a struggling Sadhaka, far away from being a true devotee. 

    My husband changed only because of the mercy of Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupad and I can not take any credit for it. I shared my experience because I thought that it may give hope and faith to some one who is in the condition where I was 4 yrs ago. 

    Kindly give me your blessings so that I can advance in Bhakti and serve Guru and Gauranga till the end of my life.

    Hari Bol!!

  • Hare Krishna

    First off, let me offer my dandavat pranams to Deepti Mataji; she has demonstrated the characteristics of a true, empowered Devotee. Bringing a person who is entrenched in the web of the material world onto the Path of Krishna Consciousness is something only a true, empowered Devotee can accomplish.

     

    My two cents on the issue of her actions as an ‘Aparadh’ (meaning sin/offense):

     

    One must note that Deepti Mataji offered onion-vegetables to the Lord, not as a prasadam per se, or to legitimize her own relishing of the same. She did this as part of an exquisite, highly intelligent, albeit unconventional plan, to convert her husband into a Devotee. A plan that was fabulously successful. I can only admire her for her spiritual tact and diplomacy.

     

    In Kalyuga, it is not humanly possible to go through life without sinning. Perhaps, everything that we do, think or say is technically ridden with offenses, because we are materially conditioned. If every action of ours was completely pure, we would not be here in the first place. So if a technically ‘sinful’ action were born of a pure Krishna Conscious intent, I do think that that action cannot be labelled as an ‘Aparadh’ per se.

     

    In my humble opinion, Rules and Regulations for Krishna Consciousness are extremely important and necessary, but they are only the means to an End, not the End in themselves. The End or the Goal is the attainment of pure devotional service to the Lord. And achieving Krishna Consciousness for oneself and one’s family is the ultimate goal for a Grahastha. In the light of this, I do feel that Deepti Mataji has achieved tremendous success in her goal.

     

    I was discussing a similar problem with a very senior and experienced Devotee the other day. He observed that one of the sad things about spirituality today is that an aspiring Devotee can tend to get so caught up in rules and regulations, that he forgets the goal altogether. He ends up constantly worrying about ‘offenses’, committing them, feeling guilty about them, finally getting stuck in a non-productive rigmarole. This attitude itself poses an impediment to a person’s spiritual advancement.

     

    The above Devotee also revealed a very beautiful fact to me that I have embossed in my mind. I wish to share this because it is relevant to this situation, and also because it gives great hope to aspiring Devotees like myself. Prabhuji said that in the matters of spiritual endeavour, Lord Krishna only sees the desire of the person, not the result. If our desire is bona fide and aimed towards pleasing Krishna, the action, even if incompletely or improperly performed, will be considered righteous and satisfy Him.

    He also said that instead of judging every step of our spiritual endeavour, we should just persist in going forth in whatever way we can, with the desire to please Krishna, and leave the judging of our actions to Krishna Himself.

    I think Deepti Mataji’s action fully confirms with the above concept.

     

    Finally, we must remember that it is Lord Krishna about Whom we are discussing ‘Aparadhs’ against. The same Lord Krishna, who forgave even a most wretched sinner like Ajamila just because he inadvertently chanted His name at the time of his death. Is it possible then, that this ever merciful and forgiving Lord, will label Deepti Mataji’s loving, Devotion-based actions as an ‘Aparadh’ and bear a grudge against her?

    I don’t think so.

    Haribol.

    Your eternal servant,

    eternal muser

  • Volunteer

    @Bhaktim Maral. Thanks Mataji. But there is a difference between not observing Ekadasi vrat and offering something to Krishna which is not allowed.  On ekadasi day, grains or other non – ekadasi food can be offered to Krishna and it is not wrong because it is we who observe Ekadasi and not Krishna. Also due to some reasons if someone is not able to follow ekadasi vrat may be due to poor health or other reasons then it is not considered to be a very serious issue. This is why on pandava nirjala ekadasi it is often said that if someone has missed any ekadasi fasting then by doing pandava nirjala ekadasi it can be compensated.  I think no one should in any circumstances offer onion & garlic or any other foods which are prohibited to Krishna.  There are 2 purposes as why we offer food to Krishna – first is to please Krishna and 2nd is to purify ourselves. How can we give something to Krishna which does not please Him. I do not think that Srila Prabhupada or any of our Vaisnava acharyas have allowed us to do so in any situations or circumstances.  This is my personal viewpoint. So, please forgive me if I am hurting any ones’ feelings.

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