I have heard that the spirit soul and the Supersoul reside within the heart of the living entity. This spirit spark is the source of energy to the heart and the body. Recently I read a news article about people undergoing successful heart transplant surgery. Can you please explain a change of the physical heart does not cause the soul to leave the body? Or is it that the soul leaves the old physical heart into the new one?
– Prathik Mohan, by email
Our reply: (by Nanda Dulal Dasa): Lord Krishna mentions in the Bhagavad-gita (13.18, 15.15, 18.61) that He is situated as the Supersoul in the heart of every living entity. Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.1.31) mentions that the spirit soul resides in the heart. The Supersoul and the soul, both being spirit, are beyond matter. Thus they cannot be affected by material conditions of any kind.
In a heart transplant procedure, the heart that is considered inefficient in its purpose due to various medical reasons is replaced by a better heart from another donor body. Srila Prabhupada would often compare the spirit soul residing in a body to a passenger seated in a car. Using this comparison, we can give an example of a person (spirit soul) driving a car (body) and the car engine (heart) developing some serious problems rendering it unfit for further use. The passenger stops using the car, gets the engine replaced and resumes using the car with a replaced engine without replacing the entire car. A similar comparison can be drawn with a person staying in an old, dilapidated home that is termed unfit for human habitation, and then waits while his home is re-constructed only to resume his stay in the refurbished home after completion of the repair work. Similarly, when the heart transplant procedure is carried out, the spirit soul temporarily vacates the heart that is being replaced. As soon as the new heart is in place, the spirit soul reoccupies his position in the new heart meant for his temporary residence in the material body.
Help from the Demigods
If we are in Krishna consciousness, can we worship the demigods for material boons?
– Modim Verma Guwahati, Assam
Our reply: The goal of Krishna consciousness is pure devotion to Krishna . Even in the beginning of our practices, we do not pray for material boons from Krishna or anyone else. Our conviction is that because we are serving Krishna , He will supply all our needs. This is called Sraddha, or faith, as defined by Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Sri Caitanya-caritamrta: “Sraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service.”
Srila Prabhupada comments: “Firm faith and confidence are called Sraddha. When one engages in the Lord’s devotional service, he is to be understood to have performed all his responsibilities in the material world. He has satisfied his forefathers, ordinary living entities, and demigods and is free from all responsibility. Such a person does not need to meet his responsibilities separately. It is automatically done. Fruitive activity (karma) is meant to satisfy the senses of the conditioned soul. However, when one awakens to Krishna consciousness, he does not have to work separately for pious activity. The best achievement of all fruitive activity is detachment from material life, and this detachment is spontaneously enjoyed by the devotee firmly engaged in the Lord’s service.”
According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10): “A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” There is no need to worship the demigods for material boons. If you have traditionally worshiped demigods and feel uncomfortable giving that up, you can pray to them to help you develop pure love for Krishna . After all, the demigods are Krishna ’s servants, and that’s why they have attained their elevated positions. But they have not reached perfection, which is to return to Krishna in the spiritual world. It is essential to understand that they are subordinate to Krishna , but they can help us move closer to Him.
Chanting and Regulative Principles
Should one still chant on japa beads after having broken one of the four regulative principles?
Our reply: One should continue to chant japa on beads whatever the circumstance. An occasional falldown because of past bad habit does not destroy one’s progressive spiritual life. But one should not purposefully engage in sinful activity and think that chanting will be sufficient atonement. If one does so, the falldown is elevated to nama-aparadha., an offense against the holy name of the Lord, specifically the offense of “committing sinful activity on the strength of chanting.” This becomes a serious impediment that stalls one’s progress.
Krishna Is Never Bad Luck
I just purchased a beautiful Krishna marble statue to worship Him. But I’m set back a little from what I read on the Internet – that it is bad luck to have a deity at home, especially of Krishna holding the flute.
I personally feel that these things I heard on the Internet are myths, but I would really appreciate some clarification.
Our reply: We’re sorry that you have heard such bad advice, which is completely wrong. Inviting the Lord into your home is most auspicious. Krishna will enter that form by your sincere desire to serve Him and will accept your love and devotion. It is the best engagement for a householder; it is purifying and will help your family focus on the ultimate goal of life. Please make nice arrangements for His pleasure and enjoy being in your eternal relationship as His humble servant. The Vedic scriptures, previous spiritual masters, and the Lord Himself, as you mention, all encourage us to take up this worship of His form, especially sweet when He is playing the flute. Continue on in your worship, and Krishna will bless your home and your life.
Other replies were written by Krishna.com’s Live Help volunteers.