Family life

Girlfriend not interested in Krishna consciousness.

Since I started chanting, I've lost all attraction to my girlfriend. She's still attached to me, but is not at all interested in Krishna consciousness. Should I try to maintain the relationship anyway, perhaps by pretending that I'm not practicing Krishna consciousness?

Our Answer:
That the chanting has decreased your material desires is a good sign. That's what's supposed to happen. Keep up the good work. It's not surprising that she's not interested in devotional life, if she's not practicing it. If you feel the relationship isn't helping your own spiritual progress, perhaps it's Krishna's mercy that you aren't attached to her. You can always pray for her ultimate benefit.

If you give her prasadam or encourage her in some practical service, like chanting in kirtan, she may someday be able to chant and develop enthusiasm for spiritual practices.

Perhaps she could develop relationships with some of the female devotees in your area. The more friends we have who are devotees, the better.

To maintain the relationship by pretending not to practice Krishna consciousness (some devotees have tried this) wouldn't be helpful, since strong relationships are based on honesty. In the long run, if you plan to get married someday, you may wish to consider marrying someone who's at least open to becoming enthusiastic about devotional service. You might point out to your girlfriend that you doubt your relationship could succeed as a marriage if Krishna consciousness—which is an important part of your life now—has very little meaning for her.

I was once engaged to someone but could see that the relationship wasn't helping my spiritual life. At the time, I was so attached that it was difficult to drop it. But I prayed to Krishna that, if He thought this relationship was the best thing for my spiritual life, that He arrange for it to continue, or if He thought another girl would be better, then let that happen, or if He thought the best thing was for me to go back to being a brahmachari (celibate student), which incidentally was very nice, that that might happen. As it turned out, the girl broke up with me within a month, and I chose to be a brahmacari again.

One idea is, if you're attached to maintaining the relationship and she's attached to her idea of you but unwilling to accept your commitment to Krishna consciousness, is for both of you visit Mayapur, the birthplace of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You could pray to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that she becomes a devotee. If she even goes to Mayapur once, her life will be perfect. Such is the power of the holy dhama. Then, if you end up splitting, you can be satisfied you gave her the best benediction. If you prefer, you can take her to Vrindavan.

Meanwhile, keep chanting with as much attention as you can and you'll get the full benefit of practicing Krishna consciousness.

Motivation to serve Krishna

The Gita seems to say that action with view to a personal outcome is incorrect. All action must be a devotion to God, but sometimes it is difficult to find motivation. When bills have to be paid and children fed, it is difficult to think about devotion to Him, although I try. Any pointers, please? What if, after all that I practice in my own life, there are still failings. Why shouldn’t one just give up?

Our Answer(s):

It's true that work for fruitive results is not recommended in the Bhagavad-gita, because that will result in another temporary, miserable, material body. Thus, in Bhagavad-gita 3.9, we see that Krishna recommends work as sacrifice for Lord Vishnu.

Before that in Chapter 2, verses 12-30, He makes it clear that we are spiritual souls, not these bodies, and so on that platform it is reasonable not to act for the pleasure of the bodily senses.

It is always helpful to think of the Lord as the proprietor of your home, and your family members as His eternal servants. Then you can perform the activities of maintaining them as service to Krishna.

Offer all the food you prepare to Krishna. Get together with your family members for sometime and chant Hare Krishna in the evening or morning.

Some householders also have Deities of Krishna and perform some daily worship. All these things are meant to help us absorb our consciousness in thoughts of service to Krishna. With practice, in time, this will become our habitual way of thinking.

We're all spiritual beings, eternal servants of Krishna, so it's only natural that we should think and act this way. You should never give up your spiritual practice. It's the one area of activity that guarantees ultimate success in life—even if you think you're not practicing perfectly. Krishna appreciates your efforts.