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Question on Karma — Letters

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We welcome your letters.
Write to BACK TO GODHEAD
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19119

I’ve been reading Back to Godhead for a long time now because my sister subscribes to it. Lots of times in your articles you mention karma. I have a question about this.

Isn’t it just your karma that you are all Krishna believers and other people are Christian or Jewish or whatever? And if it is just your karma to be Krishnas, then why bother to go out and try to convert people to your way of life? Why not let them just live out the destiny their karma has determined for them?

Andrew Sailles

Seattle, Washington

Our reply: The answer to your first question is no. Becoming a devotee of Krsna has two causes, neither of which involves karma, or selfish action followed by a reaction.

The first cause is some kind of service performed for Lord Krsna, even unknowingly, in this life or previous lives. This service produces an attraction for Krsna consciousness, either later in this life or in the next.

An even more important cause, however, is the mercy of a pure devotee of the Lord. Because such a devotee directly experiences the great value of Krsna consciousness, he tries to give it to others. His vigorous efforts in spreading Krsna consciousness can bring anyone to devotional service, especially a person with a history of some service in his past.

This brings us to your other questions. When a devotee goes out to spread the message of Krsna consciousness, he is, as you say, trying to change the destiny people’s karma has determined for them. But what’s wrong with that? Whether Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or atheist, a person who lives out his karmic destiny is sure to suffer repeated birth, old age, disease, and death. Only pure devotion to God can break the chains of karma and release us from these four miseries.

So in an effort to give everyone a chance to begin serving the Lord, devotees of Krsna go out and chant Hare Krsna, sell literature about Krsna, give out food offered to Krsna, and tell people about Krsna. This is the least we can do to try to repay the infinite debt we owe our spiritual masters.

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