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College or Not: 
Both Are All Right

By Geeta Gamya Radhika Devi Dasi (JPS)
Hare Krishna 
Hare Krishna 
Krishna Krishna 
Hare Hare 
Hare Rama 
Hare Rama 
Rama Rama 
Hare Hare

Dear Mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Srila Prabhupada's ISKCON.

All glories to you, for trying to follow Srila Prabhupada. A lot more details are required from your side to really assess your case and make any suggestions. Details of your family, your current status of engagement (attending school or college), which country, town, and yatra you belong to, your current guides in devotional service (that is the devotees with whom you are associating now), your level of spiritual commitments (level of sadhana, like number of rounds, regulative principles, initiated or aspiring initiation if so, from whom)— all these details and much more are required to give you any valuable advice. However, with the little bit of information you have provided, I would like to make a comment that may be useful. If you think I can be of some further help, please write to me with all the above details, and we can discuss this further.

Any education, material and/or spiritual, is always useful and is never a waste of time. All education and skills that we may have can be dovetailed and used in Krishna's service. At this point of time in your life, it looks like your parents are your guides and are providing you shelter, education etc. Please be submissive to them, give them all respect, try to take their guidance for the time being, concentrate on your studies, and give it your best shot. At the same time, simultaneously, try to train yourself in following Srila Prabhupada's instructions on sadhana and service and pray to him to guide you further in your spiritual life.

Now to share my own experience: I am a qualified computer-engineering graduate from an Indian university. I came in touch with Srila Prabhupada and ISKCON in the centennial year, 1996, for the first time in my life. And I surrendered my life to him.

I was working in a reputed company as a computer hardware engineer, training fresh engineering graduates. I was a woman, and all of my 30-odd trainees were men. Later, after I had my second son, I moved to Singapore, in 1997 when my husband found a job there. And then immediately I settled down as a 100 percent housewife. Otherwise it would not be possible for me and my husband (HG Bhadra Govinda Prabhu) and two sons Anurag (9) and Caitanya (7) to really follow the basic sadhana and honor only prasadam daily. My sons were then 3 years and 1 year old. Back home in India, the grandparents used to take care of children, and it was not a problem if I went to work.

Case to case it is different. There is nothing wrong in joining the movement and simultaneously doing university education, and there is nothing wrong if someone leaves college and joins the movement. Both are glorious. There is nothing wrong if women go to work and practice bhakti, and there is nothing wrong if women give up their jobs and settle down as housewives (as in my case) to practice bhakti. Whichever situation helps them in serving Guru and Krishna better, that situation one must choose. And for that, one needs the guidance of senior devotees as to what is good for us, as we ourselves cannot assess our own situation.

I don't regret going to college, I don't regret going to a job, I don't regret giving up my career for the spiritual life of my family and me, and I will not mind joining a job or joining a temple if the situation calls for it in the future. Case to case and time to time, we need to take some decisions and act accordingly to safeguard our material and spiritual lives.

jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva
jivanti san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam
sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir
ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyam

(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.3)

"One may remain situated in his own place or in his own occupational duty and still lend his ear to receive the message of the Lord from realized souls. The Krsna conscious movement is based on this principle, and we are opening centers all over the world to give everyone a chance to hear the message of Lord Krsna in order to go back home, back to Godhead." — Srila Prabhupada.

I thank our founder acarya, who has mercifully given this understanding to me and who is protecting me always.

Seeking the blessings of all Vaisnavas, Guru, and Krishna.

Your servant,
Geeta Gamya Radhika Devi Dasi (JPS)

© CHAKRA 13 November 2002

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