Questions on Duty (12/22/11)
I am finally back online… though only for a couple of hours in the morning. Then next week I go off again because of more travel.
I’ll see if I can shed some light on your email below.
I have been reading the Gītā with your anuvṛtti. I have really enjoyed it thus far. My wife too actually. I am not a sycophant, I actually really like it. It has brought up some questions in my mind. Particularly in relationship to the performance of duty, pleasing Kṛṣṇa and the relationship with the guru.
So my basic understanding is that guru is the medium by which we approach Kṛṣṇa. He gives us direction on how to please Kṛṣṇa. When guru is pleased, Kṛṣṇa is pleased.
As for performance of duty, I am bewildered frankly. I don’t know what is my duty, and I don’t know what is appropriate to ask of the spiritual master in relationship to performance of duty.
There are 2 types of duties that you have. One is to maintain your family by legal means and avoid karmic (sinful) activities like breaking the 4 regulative principles. etc. The other duty is toward the guru and the service of Kṛṣṇa.
Right now you have a duty to maintain and guide your family but on a practical level (except for chanting and reading) you have no service to guru or Kṛṣṇa that you are doing. That is often the case with householders. They are so busy struggling with maintaining their families that there is no time or cash left to try to serve guru and Kṛṣṇa. That’s the simple truth of it.
Is it appropriate for example for me to ask whether I should take a certain job, or work in a certain field?
Yes, appropriate to ask, but sometimes difficult to accept and follow.
I have had a lot of difficulty career wise due to some mistakes I made when I was younger. Many of the things that I would like to do, or have a tendency to do are not available. Arjuna is on the battlefield wondering what he should do. I am sitting here wondering what I should do. I am struggling to take care of my family. I have certain options available but I don’t know if I should go forward. Some of those options may be risky, (UFC, Pride etc) dangerous ( French foreign legion) or controversial, and may involve breaking certain of the ‘regulative principles’. I want to please Kṛṣṇa, I want to have a spiritual master who will give advice/direction that isn’t bullshit, whose direction I can actually follow, and in whom I offer my best to while properly executing my duty, taking care of my family etc. Is mine the right attitude?
Yes, that is the right attitude… especially the part about the “bullshit”!
You can do almost any work required, just don’t eat meat, take intoxication or get yourself killed. I have an aspiring disciple in the US Army Special Forces stationed in Japan. He is in the Paratroopers Division. I have another aspiring disciple who is a retired Navy Seal. He was on many gritty missions, killed a few people and suffers from his own battle injuries. But avoiding eating meat and intoxication is essential even for a modern Vaiṣṇava warrior. Try to work for the ‘good guys’ and not the ‘bad guys’. If I was younger and not a sannyāsī I would probably choose to be in some sort of black operations, CIA, special forces or something like that. My brother is an admiral, my sister CIA, my uncle FBI, etc… that sort of stuff runs in our family. But I chose a very different path in life back in 1967 and I have no regrets.
I have made a lot of mistakes in my life, and I don’t want to continue to make more mistakes speculating my way through life.
Good idea. As you develop a plan… keep me posted.
Hoping this meets you and the family well.