Question 1: Do qualities a person develops affect only karma?
Answer: Affect karma? Well, due to those qualities you will create a certain karma. Like a person in the mode of goodness will create a very different karma than a person in the mode of ignorance. Karma is the result of our actions.
So a person in the mode of goodness is going to act in a way that creates very good karma. And a person in the mode of ignorance is going to create a lot of very bad karma, and that goes with them to their next life.
So any way you look at it, it’s very beneficial to come to the mode of goodness and then pure goodness. No matter what angle you look at it from, it’s the best choice.
Question 2: It is not very clear to me, the Vedas say that the soul has a permanent nature. You’ve said that the soul has certain qualities. These qualities… do they change? Different souls, do they have different qualities?
Answer: No, no, no. I don’t think qualities is the right word – Characteristics. All souls have desire, It is the soul’s nature and according to the contamination or lack of contamination there will a certain type of desire. If I’m in the mode of ignorance, the soul has desire, but that desire will be contaminated by the mode of ignorance so I want vodka. But if the soul’s desire, which is there, is influenced by the mode of goodness, I want pure spring water without the vodka.
Question 3: And what happens in the mode of pure goodness?
Answer: You have spiritual desires, your desires are spiritual. So not only do you want pure water but you want pure water to offer to Krishna. Now you have taken it to the spiritual level. I want fresh vegetables to offer to Krishna. In the mode of goodness I want fresh vegetables. In the mode of ignorance I hate fresh vegetables, I want rotten 2 year old eggs and dried fish. So you understand a little bit now?
Question 4: Each soul has individuality. How does the individuality of the soul manifest?
Answer: Are you not an individual? Of course you are. And you have your own individual character, personality. In this world we have a material form, that is an individual form and even two identical twins that look exactly alike, if you get to know them, they are very different.
So the soul is always an individual and in the spiritual world it’s still an individual. Each person in the spiritual world has an individual relationship with Krishna, very individual, very unique.
I don’t know what else to say (laughing).
Question 5: Can you very briefly describe the path to success?
Answer: The practice of the bhakti-yoga process is hearing. It has nine processes. The first is hearing. You can’t do anything else until you hear. So that’s devotional service: hearing this truth, hearing the mantras, etc., hearing. The most important sense is the ear, hearing.
Second is chanting. First you hear, then you chant. So you chant the mantras, then you learn the philosophy, you speak the philosophy. That is chanting – speaking about the truth. So that is the second process.
Third is remembering. So we hear, we chant and we remember, we remember what we have heard, we remember all this knowledge, we remember who we are – I’m spirit soul, I’m not the body, we remember we are eternal servants of Krishna. We remember, that’s devotional service too.
And then we offer things, like I mentioned, we offer food, we offer things.
Praying is the activity of devotion. And the more you understand teachings, the more you understand how to pray. So you are praying … your quality of prayer will increase. First is, “God, give me this. I need that.” But later on it is like, “What do you want me to do? Allow me to serve you.” Quality increases.
Doing practical things. Using my talents in God’s service, whatever they are, using my body, using my mind, using my energy – practical things.
It’s like you came to a lecture. That took a lot of practical work: to arrange everything, to get the hall, to get the money to pay for the hall, to put up an advertisement, posters and the newspaper advertisement too, to arrange these packages, to print the cards that go into the packages, to make the prasadam that you’re eating. You know all this is practical stuff. It has to be done, it doesn’t just happen. To go buy these pens, you know, all this is practical work. That is devotional service.
You ultimately come to make friends with God. You can’t artificially do this. This becomes a reality.
And then the final perfection is complete surrender to God. That’s the goal of life.
That’s the steps. But the first two, hearing and chanting, are the most important, especially now in this age. But if you do those, then naturally these others will begin to appear too in your life.
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