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Title: Modernism & Escapism
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2006-10-14 18:14:00
Question from Bhakta Michael, UK:
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! May I humbly request a little clarification from you about spiritual advancement -just so as we can reply to any future questions from others, some of whom are of the modernist, philosophical and spiritual schools of thought, who consider that we must live in the world and simply balance our karma with the support of an advanced spiritual master by being good to all, or even other aspirants as who think that we learn our lessons best that way, and that that is the best for our purification, with no mention of chanting the Holy names or the soul or life after death or the Lord.
Some of them think that is best in the name of spiritual life to artifically escape from our responsibilities in life and not face up to our problems, which, they say, only emerge in the environment in which they were created, ie this vicious Kali Yuga. Please address these questions in your reply.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Thank you Michael for the questions. I was thinking to answer them logically but I remembered a most relevant verse in the Shrimad Bhagavatam:
Shrimad Bhagavatam. 5.18.12
yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
manorathenasati dhavato bahih
yasya—of whom; asti—there is; bhaktih—devotional service; bhagavati—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; akincana—without any motive; sarvaih—with all; gunaih—good qualities; tatra—there (in that person); samasate—reside; surah—all the demigods; harau—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; abhaktasya—of a person who is not devoted; kutah—where; mahat-gunah—good qualities; manorathena—by mental speculation; asati—in the temporary material world; dhavatah—who is running; bahih—outside.
Translation by Swami Gaurangapada:
"One who simply engages is unalloyed and unmotivated devotional service unto Lord Gauranga-Krishna by the offensless chanting of His Holy Names, becomes the abode of all the transcendental good qualities in creation even without striving for them separately. But those who are abhaktas or non-devotees of Lord Gauranga-Krishna and refuse to chant His Holy Names always keep riding on the chariot of their mind in the external material world and cannot posses any of those greatly divine good qualities even if they manage to perform their activities in this world with apparent perfection and expertise."
Regarding escaping from one's duties in the name of spiritual life, I have written an article which you can read about it entitled: "To Study or not Study" here: "http://journal.gaurangapada.com/2005/sep05.html" on the 5th of Sep 2005. It is almost at the bottom of the page at this link. A proper balance betwen the two is very essential and can be easily achieved by always keeping on vibrating the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna while performing any activity in life.