Do I have to give anything up?
Use Everything for Krishna
You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty. (Bhagavad-gita 2.47)
We are entitled to work, but the result of our work belongs to Krishna. Everything belongs to Krishna, because everything originates from Him.
I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts. (Bhagavad-gita 10.8)
Don’t Waste Your Time and Energy
Anything unnecessary should be renounced for the sake of conserving our energy and applying it in Krishna consciousness. Advancement of material civilization means indulging in unrestricted sense gratification and manufacturing paraphernalia or commodities for sense enjoyment. Human energy is wasted in factories and war fields just for creating paraphernalia for sense gratification, such as automobiles, airplanes, tape recorders and telephones. All such paraphernalia are anarthas (unwanted, unnecessary)—they are not necessary for maintaining the body and soul. Smoking and drinking will not improve our life physically, mentally, intellectually or spiritually. Anarthas are stumbling blocks on the path of spiritual advancement.
The prerequisite of spiritual life is to become peaceful and happy. That is achieved by regulating our bodily activities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Bhagavad-gita (6.16) says:
There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.
Everyone has to maintain his body, but he should not endeavor for more than is necessary. When we eat, we use salt and pepper. If we put in too much salt, the meal will be spoiled. If we use too little, then the meal will not be palatable.
Eating, sleeping, defending and mating are jut a small part of daily life. The bulk of our energy should be applied in devotional service, and a minimum amount of energy should be spent for bodily maintenance. Advancement of material science, technology, medicine, politics and economics is a fever in the body of human society.
Renunciation Means Accepting Responsibility in Service
GUEST: Are you asking people to renounce the material values of the Western world and become God conscious through a system of renunciation?
HANSADUTTA: People misunderstand religious monks, because they think God consciousness means to renounce everything and become a beggar. In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna never taught Arjuna to renounce his responsibilities. Arjuna was a warrior, statesman, politician and family man. He wanted to renounce everything, but Krishna said, “Perform your prescribed duty. At the same time, however, you should think of Me.”
To think that Krishna consciousness means to renounce everything is a misconception. Everything should be utilized for the Lord’s service. That is genuine renunciation. Krishna says, “You are entitled to perform your work, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your work.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.47) We must learn how to work for the satisfaction of Krishna. That is practical renunciation.
Varnashram dharma is a society that is organized and divided into four occupational divisions and four spiritual divisions. It is a co-operative society in which everyone contributes his particular intelligence or talent for work. We are not creating a society of loafers who sit in a monastery and live at the expense of others. Devotees are active in every field of endeavor, whether it is business, architecture, publishing, music, art or education. Devotees are not bums.
Can anyone practice Hare Krishna?
We have to accept the process of purification with faith and determination. Then only shall we rise above the influence of maya (illusion) and become happy. We have not invented this process of Krishna consciousness. It is a standard practice. Anyone can practice Krishna consciousness. It does not cost anything, and one can practice anywhere. The practice of bhakti-yoga requires one to renounce materialistic endeavors or activities, especially animal killing, illicit sex, gambling and intoxication.
GUEST: Can anyone chant at home?
HANSADUTTA: Anyone can chant anywhere. Chanting consists of three words: Hare, Krishna and Rama, repeated in a sixteen-word mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Although there are no hard and fast rules for chanting, if possible, one should try to chant sixteen rounds daily and also give up the four habits of materialistic life: (1) eating meat, fish and eggs, (2) taking intoxicants such as alcohol, coffee, tea and cigarettes, (3) indulging in illicit sex (sex outside of marriage or with contraceptives) and (4) gambling. To gain the greatest benefit from chanting, one should also read a portion of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is every day.