How Can We Help?

Table of Contents

Question: I am new to Krsna consciousness. My father and I have a distant, toxic relationship, What can I do from where I am, to help him find peace in his life, while still protecting my spiritual development?

You are here:
< All Topics

Jayapataka Swami: It is a difficult question because I don’t know your father, I don’t know you. I thought, that if I tell my father and mother when I came to Krsna consciousness, they would be very happy. I gave up all my bad habits and you know, I felt they would be very happy! I was completely wrong!! My father said, if you don’t immediately come here, I will disown you as my son, and I will take your name over to the American draft! You can die in Vietnam! That was a very heavy reaction! And at that time I was visiting Srila Prabhupada in Canada. And I was a draft at that time and then I asked Srila Prabhupada, what should I do? He wants to send me to the Army! And I was a college student, but I left college to join Krsna consciousness. So then Srila Prabhupada said, it is better to join Krsna’s Army, that was it, I am an Army man ever since! I don’t kill people, I try to save people! Ha! Ha! Later on my father, after eight years, he wrote, I am sorry, father is father and son is son. All that! But it took him eight years! By that time, I was already a sannyasi, second initiated! But I went to see him. At the time of his death, he was telling the priest, he was just talking about me, because he was a training priest, he had some birth marks. They told him, he would not be successful as a priest, because of the birth marks. And seemed to be quite crazy. And actually I fulfilled his aspiration, but he took a long time to realize it. Anyway, so I don’t know how to help your father because I don’t know how he will take it. Sometimes we have people, in India, who are Christians who join us, or Muslims. But Srila Prabhupada, so to speak, never converted anyone, he convinced them, why, we worship Jesus, He is the Son, who is the Father? You can call Him Jehovah, Allah, or Krsna. So it is really a universal path. But for people to understand that, for you to express that, to purify him, good luck! Ha! I don’t know how obedient he is? How close minded? I may come from a different generation! But you can try to, sometimes fathers don’t like to listen to their sons, they have some ego trip. They think that the seniors have nothing to learn from their children. Some people don’t think that way. Sometimes we see if there is any devotee in the vicinity, of similar age like your father, we can ask that devotee to visit the father and talk to him. My mother was with (inaudible) prabhu and different parents. She was in a society of parents of Hare Krsna devotees. She would visit different people and tell them how it is not so bad. Ha! Whatever! And convince them that they should tolerate. Now we have a different congregation, with the IT influx, of many Indians. But previously we had many western devotees and their parents didn’t understand at all! I think even Indian parents, they are a bit, they don’t like if their son becomes a brahmacari or sannyasi or something. So most of our present devotees are married people. So how you can present the matter to your father, it is hard for me to say without knowing. It is a personal relationship; I don’t know what your father is like. But if somehow or another, like in Russia or India, it is very common to see, if a son becomes a devotee or a daughter becomes a devotee, the parents become devotees, everybody. It is like the families are very tight, and if one becomes and they see that person is happy, they all become! Or many become. In one case, the mother, the sons, the daughters, everybody came, except the father – he was against! But then he was diagnosed with cancer, fourth stage, and he was in his bed. And he was still against. But then some hairy, black type of very violent looking people walked through the wall, with leather ropes and fangs. And he said, no, no, no, no, NOT ME! NOT ME! NO, NO, NO, NO, NOT ME! YOU HAVE THE WRONG GUY! And then they disappeared! He called his wife and said, I want the Bhagavad-gita, I want beads! Ha! Ha! He changed overnight! So what we couldn’t do for twenty years, the Yamadutas they did in ten seconds, Ha! Ha! you know! So anyway, that just shows us that you never know what will change someone’s viewpoint.