Question: My friend says that lying is fine if it is for Kṛṣṇa. She would lie to her parents and visit the popular Kṛṣṇa temple, and now has become an initiated member. She cites the examples of the gopīs to justify this. I find this unethical.
Answer: The main point is that those people who are not dhārmic to begin with – by which I mean not adhering to the principles of dharma – find it very comforting that they are expected to renounce dharma when they come into contact with bhakti. They think that they are engaging in śuddhā-bhakti. This is a big misconception. People who are not following dharma have two choices. If they do not have the guidance of a real guru, they should stick to basic moral principles and try to understand bhakti. Otherwise, if they have guidance of a real guru, they should follow that guru. Any independent decision they make will be marred with their previous vāsanas, which they will then rationalize with bhakti philosophy. It will sound good, but it is without any dharmic foundation. The person may be going to a temple for some hidden motive and not for the sake of bhakti. It is not easy to see this difference. In śāstra you can find examples and quotes for everything. It is very easy to think of oneself as a pure devotee such as a gopī. Even the most dharmic sages bow their heads to the gopīs. So it is hard for me to accept that somebody in modern times can be compared to these gopīs and at the same time cheat their parents or family member in order to go to the temple. At the same time I do not mean that one should not go to the temple, even if it entails tricking relatives. But one should not compare oneself with great devotees like the gopīs. Your friend may have some other hidden motive which she may not be aware of.
Chanting without Accepting Guru
Question: What happen to a person who chants the mahāmantra but fails to accept a guru in this lifetime? Will he take another birth in a manner that facilitates association with a guru? Or can the person still attain Kṛṣṇa–prema on the strength of the Name? Otherwise, what is meant by “the Name is all powerful”? Is the potency of the Name a function of one’s accepting a guru?
Answer: Although the Name is all-powerful, it does not reveal its power to a person who is not free of offense, niraparādha. There are ten major offenses against Śrī Nāma and one of them is śruti-śāstra-nindanam – criticizing śruti and smṛti. Criticizing śāstra is not just a verbal act; it includes not respecting what is stated in śāstra. Accepting a guru is one of the important instructions of śastra. In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī lists guru-pādāśrayas– accepting a guru – as the primary step on the path of sādhanā bhakti leading to prema. So, if one chants the Name without accepting a guru and avoids offenses, then the Name will guide him to a guru. This is the verdict of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhakur in his commentary on the story of Ajāmila in the Bhāgavata. This makes sense if you understand the meaning of Kṛṣṇaprema and its process of attainment.
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The basis of Vedic culture is family (parivar), that of modern culture is bazaar. They are diagonally opposite.