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Write to BACK TO GODHEAD
51 West Allens Lane
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19119
I’d like to say your magazine is fantastic. Every page is nectar, from cover to cover. My favorites are Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and “Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out,” but truly the whole magazine is great. The artwork I feel cannot be matched, nor the photographs, editorials, or anything else. I’d like to go on forever, telling you how much I love Prabhupada and the teachings he has brought forth. They have changed every aspect of my life for the better.
Farmingville, New York
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I’m hoping you can make something clear to me. As I read Srila Prabhupada’s books (especially Lord Caitanya’s pastimes), everything seems to whisper, “Just chant, just chant, just chant Hare Krsna!” So I’m feeling great. I can become a devotee at home, within my present situations, job, etc. But then, as I read on and on, I learn that I must be initiated by a spiritual master. So I become discouraged, because if I don’t live at a temple how can I have a spiritual master as you do? I feel I can’t go back to Godhead unless I actually live at a temple.
Can you please clear up my confusion once and for all so I may get on with my journey back home, back to Krsna? Do I have to give up my present situation? Do I have to be initiated and live at a temple in order to become a pure devotee, in order to see Krsna face to face and become His eternal servant? Or do I just keep chanting?
Desert Hot Springs, California
Our reply: It’s true that to reach the perfection of Krsna consciousness you have to take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. This is stated throughout the Vedic literature. In the beginning, before initiation by a spiritual master, you may develop some faith in devotional service to God and in the chanting of His holy names. Then you may associate with devotees and become attracted to the idea of returning to the spiritual world. But if you don’t accept initiation from a pure devotee of Krsna and carefully follow his instructions and his example, you won’t be able to make further progress.
This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you have to give up your job and home and live in a temple. You can observe the principles of Krsna consciousness, including accepting a spiritual master and following his orders, while living at home. Living in a temple gives you the undeniable advantage of being in the company of Krsna’s devotees constantly, but it’s not absolutely required. Initiation by a bona fide spiritual master is.