This section of the FAQ covers questions that did not fit into any of the other categories.
Q: Krishna tells Arjuna that it is his duty as a warrior to kill his relatives. Yet, we are instructed by Sri Krishna that killing is wrong. I'm confused...
A: One should not kill. But if one is a warrior, a ksatriya, and responsible to protect the innocent people, then he must fight for their sake. This is known in all societies where there is the police and army. Arjuna was an army man. He had to fight to defend righteousness. Krishna wanted the battle to take place to free the Earth from the unnecessary defense forces which were exploiting the planet. Furthermore, Arjuna had to fight because the enemy, although relatives, were attacking him and a ksatriya should never back away from a fight. But the main point was that Arjuna was fighting for the right cause and the enemy were fighting for the wrong cause. So Krishna was telling Arjuna to fight for the right cause and gain victory and free the world from the materialistic management of the opposite side.
Q: How can we get rid of the karma of killing?
A: When we breathe we kill so many living entities willfully. And there is still some karma for it (unless we are fully engaged in Krishna's service). But when we willfully kill animals, say for food, there is tremendous bad karma involved. And naturally of all killing the killing of humans is most sinful. So is the killing of the unborn by abortion.
So we may have committed so many sinful activities. In this situation Sri Krishna advises:
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami mm sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." (Bhagavad-gita 18.54)
So we have to engage ourselves in Krishna's service, beginning with chanting His name, eating Krishna prasadam, reading Krishna literature, going to the temple. That is the only way to get free from karma.
Q: What about these statues drinking milk?
A: The "statues" (we call them Deities) in our ISKCON center in Delhi were also drinking milk on that famous day, September 21. It was observed by two senior leaders of our society, plus many other devotees. So there is little doubt in my mind that there is something to these extraordinary reports. However, I wouldn't call it a miracle (in the sense of it being something utterly unexplainable). The philosophy tells us that God makes Himself approachable for worship in the form of the Deity. And in that form, he accepts offerings of foodstuffs, which become sanctified after the offering. While normally the Deity's acceptance of the foodstuffs happens as a spiritual event (not visible to the eye, but understandable in a higher sense), we do read in the scriptures that sometimes the Deity accepts the offering in a way that can be seen by all.
Q: What kind of "sacrifice" is proper for today's society?
A: The Vedic literature recommends that in this age (Kali-yuga) the process for sacrifice is to simply chant hare krishna, hare krishna, krishna krishna, hare hare / hare rama hare rama, rama rama, hare hare.
By chanting this maha-mantra, one's consciousness will gradually become purified and one will realize one's relationship with God. The chanting is most effective when it is combined with the study of Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam, the offering of vegetarian dishes to the Lord, and the avoidance of intoxication, illicit sexual connections, and gambling.
Q: Where does Lord Shiva fit into my relationship with Krishna?
A: Lord Shiva is an incarnation of Krishna, but in a special category. He does not exhibit the complete qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But he is very powerful because he is the destroyer of the universe. Another name of Lord Shiva is Mahadeva, the greatest of the demigods. There is a sentence, vaisnavanam yatha sambhu: "Lord Shiva is the greatest Vaishnava." Devotees of Krishna respect Lord Shiva as the foremost among the devotees. The Srimad-Bhagavatam holds many stories that show the glories of Lord Shiva as a devotee of the Lord.
Q: What could you tell me about Ganesh and Narayana?
A: Concerning Ganesh, I suggest you get in touch with the folks at Hinduism Today, a magazine published in Hawaii. The publisher is Swami Subramaniya, who follows the Tamil Shaivite path. The chief deities of that path are Shiva, Durga, Ganesh and Kartikkeya. I believe Swami Subramaniya has written a book on Ganesh. I'm sorry, but I am not able to give a mailing or internet address for Hinduism Today, as I simply don't have such info at hand. It is highly likely HT has a web site. But you'll have to find it yourself.
Regarding Narayana, the best source book is the Srimad-Bhagavatam, published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Los Angeles, California. Fax +1 (310) 8371056. Best to get the entire set (it's about twenty hardbound volumes), featuring the original Sanskrit with Roman transliteration and English translation, and an authorized commentary by Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If the full set is beyond your means, then at least get Canto 12, which comes as a single hardbound volume. Therein you'll find such useful chapters as "The Puranic Literatures" (Chapter 7), containing an explanation of the various incarnations of Vishnu, "Markandeya's Prayers to Nara-Narayana Rsi" (Chapter 8), "Summary Description of the Mahapurusa" (Chapter 11), containing a description of the cosmic features of Narayana, and "The Topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam Summarized" (Chapter 12), a condensation of all 12 Cantos of the Bhagavatam in 69 verses.
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