All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Please accept my humble obeisances.
It has been estimatedly a month since we have had had your association in Brisbane, but it feels like it has been such a long time. I wish you come again very soon. Brisbane needs more inspiring people to visit. I know my father would have been very excited for your visit. I think it was by his plan, and of course Lord Krishna's, that you came.
As you said, you wanted me to write to you, so here I am, writing. I would like to ask you some questions and hope that you may enlighten me.
ASA - Esteemed Readers, this is Laksmi, Daughter of Raktaka Das and Acyuta-priya Devi Dasi, very intense person, writing.
ASA - Laksmi. Just reading this letter we are feeling very sad that we are not in Brisbane with everyone. We shall meet again.
1. How do we concentrate our minds when we chant? For example, when I am chanting, my mind runs wild. As much as I would like to think of Krsna or concentrate on the Mantra, other things seem to enter my mind; I will be thinking about what homework I haven't completed and so on ;) Of course, it takes time to develop such a stage of chanting. I am just wondering what I can do to simply enhance the quality of my chanting.
HpS - Everyone is different. It is like asking, "What is a healthy diety for me?" Basic principles are to follow the four principles strictly. That gives WONDERFUL baiss for a peacful mind. Then the full morning program. Get up early and chant as many rounds (all!) as you can early. Have a little Arati for your Deities, Kirtan, and read Srila Prabhupada's books, best with other devotees. Then should be easier to concentrate. Always chant with meaning! Pray! I want to see my, Poppa, again! Dear Radha, I want to meet your Krsna! Rama (Balarama), I want to get free from greed and just do something permament for others.....
2. Similarly, while we are performing some devotional service, in what mood should we be performing it? Obviously, in a loving mood and want for serving Lord Krsna, but sometimes, even without our knowledge, we will perfrom actions, for example, singing, dancing, cooking, etc. in the mode of passion or goodness. I believe the mode of goodness is better than the mode of passion, but a devotee of Krsna does not aim to be in the mode of goodness, rather something higher. So how do we attain this attitude towards our service?
HpS - In the beginning we may be doing it out of fear, I don't want to go to hell, this is devotional service in the mode of ignorance but it helps us advance. Then in the mode of passion we want things! Relationships. O.K. It is purifying. Then in the mode of goodness we act because we know it is the right thing to do. It will take us to our original spontaneous service. Try to do your service because you want to see Krsna, your Deities, Temple Deities, happy. Smiling at you! SB has thousands of pages of advice about this.
Actually, another devotee from our Brisbane Yatra had passed away in Vrndavan one week ago. Her Grace Braja Vallabhi, 23, was a disciple of HH Indradyumna Swami. She was the youth administrator for the Brisbane youth and she always organised the bus tours around Australia. She was actually planning one for China mid-next year. Around two months ago, she planned a trip with us to New Govardhan for 3 days - it was very fun and inspiring. Her passing came as a shock to everyone, as did it our father's. Srimati Radharani seems quite interested in our Brisbane community.. It simply goes to show how real everything in Prabhupada's books is, despite the constant doubts that it recieves.
I may shamefully admit that even I sometimes am not 100% certain in my faith. But I do indeed feel that nothing is pleasurable in the material world other than engaging in Krsna Consciousness - there is simply too much sufferring. Ironically, for many suffering seems to be the deterrent of faith, while for others, it seems to be the inspiration. I guess then that's why I am here and not up there, due to my lack of faith. Thus, I am trying to consolidate my faith as much as possible, which is why I am thinking of taking initiation soon, for it will serve as good spiritual guidance that I lack.
I try to engage myself as much as possible, even trying to preach at school, despite my absence of knowledge and realisation to do so. But when we have a friendly debate, sometimes they would raise some concerns that I don't know the right responses to. They may argue, if there is a God, then why do good people suffer?
HpS - Al Capone thought he was a good guy. When they sent him to prison he said, "Look what the are doing to me! All I ever want to do was just make some clubs where a guy could come for a good meal, meet friends, have some pretty girls around, and look what they are doing to me!
-Well you killed a lot of guys, Al.
Yeah, well they deserved it!"
So, if we look at the "good" people then why are they killing helpless animals when there is enough cheese pizza, minestroni soup and fresh gree salad? Why are they drinking and smokng unless their life is making them unhappy.
Or Why is there so much evil in the World? I would unconvincingly give them an answer, something along the lines of karma - that everyone reaps the benefits/detriements of their actions. And then they may argue further by saying that they have not gotten any good, just bad.
HpS - Take a look at what people go through in Africa or these genocides in Europe and you will cry. You have it pretty good, Mama, Brother, then the point why is it that you are so greedy. Take what the good Lord has given you and use it and then see what results. Of course, if people DON'T want to hear then they have to see. Took the whole Maha-bharata to convice Duryodhana he had a few faults in his character.
Anyway, I may go on forever :) Please shower your mercy upon me so that I may take everything more seriously and progress in my spiritual life.
I hope that your health is in good condition and I hope to recieve your response soon.
Lakshmi Devi Dasi (Raktak's daughter :))
HpS - ASA -- Who are some of the kids in your school? Any of them nice? Is there somebody you envy? Why? Teachers are all turkeys or are the all swans?