Why should a devotee study when it is only materialistic and is called dogism by Srila Prabhupada?

by March 31, 2012

From: Abhishek Khandelwal

I am a student and alongside i m trying to practice Krishna Conciousness. But now a days, i m in a fix that if Material Education is “Dogism”(acc. to Srila Prabhupada Maharaja) then why should i accept this “Dogism”? Even if, i study then what should be my objective behind this activity?

From: Gautam Saha

How do i look at my Studies from a Krishna Consciousness angle? I currently see my Studies as a burden. Kindly help this confused soul!

To hear the answer, please click here

(Transcription by Rupak Panigrahy)

There are two similar questions here. One is by Gautam Saha. How do I looKrishna at my studies from a Krishna conscious angle. I currently see my study as a burden. Kindly help .. (unclear)

Another question by Abhishek Khandelwal — I am a student and alongside I am trying to practice my Krishna consciousness but nowadays I am in a fix that if material education is dogism according to  shrila prabhupad then why should I accept this dogism. Even if I study what should be my objective behind this activity.



The important point recognizes that Krishna consciousness does not mean rejecting the world and the activities within it but connecting the world and the activities within it to Krishna. So now there are some activities which are antithetical to Krishna consciousness. Like the four principles of material activities meat eating, gambling, intoxication illicit sex, which we have to completely disconnect. And there are other activities which directly connect us with Krishna — by chanting his holy names, taking darshan of deities, studying scriptures, associating with devotees, Now in between these two the purely spiritual activity and the totally sinful activities there is a broad range of activities that is dovetailable. And for most of us it can and should be connected with Krishna. In the Vedic culture there was varnashram where people who serve god according to their material nature and material station in life. According to their material nature means if they had intellectual propensities they would be brahmanas and serve by studying and teaching scripture and by doing worship and practicing worship. So just as in the varnashram system say the activities of a kshyatriya to administrate a kingdom are not necessarily entirely spiritual. Or the activities according to one’s ashram say of a grihasta to care of the family are not entirely spiritual. But they can be spiritualized if one cultivates a spiritual purpose of life by doing the exclusively spiritual activities. By avoiding sinful activities and offering these dovetailable activities to Krishna. So in the same way in the student phase of our life our occupational duty is studies. And in the Bhagavat Gita 18 chapter lord Krishna describes sva-karmana tam abhyarchya siddhim vindati mänavah . so this is one of the verses that is incorrectly translated sometimes as work is worship. But Krishna’s wording is very specific. sva-karmana tam abhyarchya. So it is not that the work is automatically worship but by your work if you offer it to him then that becomes worship and  if you do in this way siddhim vindati manavah. The human being can attain perfection. So therefore we actually following our shastra, when we are offering our studies to Krishna. So how do you offer our studies to Krishna. We need to chant our regular rounds. Do the basic devotional activities, have some regular association of devotees , follow the four regulative principles and avoid sinful activities. And think of our studies as our service to Krishna. Now thinking is not just abstract ethereal. If we study the philosophy in association of devotees and chant Hare Krishna then we understand the ultimate goal of our life is spiritual. We want to develop our love for Krishna and return back to him in the spiritual world to be eternally happy with him. So once that the goal of our life then everything that we do becomes assistance and aid in achieving that goal. So as long as we are living in the material world we have to earn a livelihood. And for earning a livelihood we need have an occupation. Generally in our modern society our occupation grows from our education. So if we don’t study well we will not have a proper study career and it will unnecessarily create greater problems in our spiritual life. This is from the practical and to some extent negative perspective that if we don’t do our duty our spiritual life will be destabilized. On the other hand if we do our duties, studies actually that can enhance our spiritual life because if we are good students and we are exemplary in our studies, we do our studies diligently and we also get good grades good marks then that sets an example for others. People see this person is disciplined, this person is productive academically. I want to be like him. So that’s how we can improve in our Krishna consciousness. Because we are attracting others to his lotus feet by our studies. So in material life when people their motive is either to get just a good job in future so that they can enjoy or to get very good marks so that they can show the world how clever I am. So in the material level of consciousness the purpose of studies is to gratify and glorify one’s own ego. But in devotional service the purpose of our studies is to glorify the path of dharma. To glorify Krishna and to glorify Krishna bhakti. So anyway that we can bring the laurels to Krishna why should be avoid that. In fact if we avoid that Krishna in the 18 chapter talks about ignorance in the three modes. So many times we want to avoid studies not because we have such a great taste for devotional service but because we find that our studies are burdensome. It requires us to do a lot of hard work. Krishna says kaya klesha bhaya tyajet. If we give our particular duty because it involves austerities and it creates trouble for us then that is renunciation in the mode of passion. And naiva tyaga phalam labhet. One will not make any spiritual advancement. One will not get any fruit by that sort of renunciation. So Krishna very categorically condemns irresponsibility masquerading as renunciation. Now as far as the modern education system is considered dogish by srila prabhupad we have to understand the context of this. The modern education system largely relies on pratyakshya and anuman. So observation and inference. And largely deals with enhancing and increasing the bodily necessities and bodily wants, how to provide for them that is the primary focus. So these are animal necessities or animal drives. And modern education caters to fulfil them. So if we rely entirely on modern education for getting knowledge and we aspouse and adopt the values that are taught to us by modern education to live materialistically to live animalistically, to not consider anything beyond pratyakshya and anumana to be valid then we are descending to a dogish level of consciousness. But if we dont become exclusively fanatical about material knowledge in the sense that we blind ourselves to spiritual knowledge by thinking material knowledge is the only way. If that does not happen to us, if we understand that material knowledge has its utilities for bodily purposes but it does not have any relevance or utility for spiritual purposes. So for spiritual purposes I need to acquire spiritual knowledge and I should not let the misconceptions within my material knowledge detract my faith in spirituality. If we understand this and then practice Krishna consciousness then there is no problem at all. Then this knowledge is not dogish. It is actually seva. Srila prabhupad called material knowledge as dogish in the purport of 1.5.22 in Bhagavatam which verse says that


idam hi pumsas tapasah shrutasya va

svistasya suktasya ca buddhi-dattayoh

avicyuto ‘rthah kavibhir nirupito



So here Narada muni is telling vyasadev that all forms of material knowledge all forms of material life should be used to Uttamashloka gunanuvarnanam. To glorify lord Vishnu, lord Krishna. So there in the purport srila prabhupad writes that advanced people are eager to know about god through philosopy, through sceince, through these intellectual, analytical branches of material knowledge. Therefore prabhupad says an advanced devotee should prove science the existence of god. Prove his existence; establish his glories to the world. If somebody rejects material education as dogish so how can we glorify god through science. Sceince we have to study we did not espouse the values and goals of modern education but we keep our values and goals sacred in our heart and derive them, and refine them and revive them for our scriptural understanding. So to fulfill the values and goals if we study modern knowledge then far from being dogish it becomes divine, it becomes glorious. Thank you very much.


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  • prashanth
    December 15, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    hare krishna…!
    well answered….!!and every student should know and practice it….
    and thank u very much,,,, for great answer,,,,,, for a great question..!!
    hari bollllll!!

    • vaibhav parakh
      February 21, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Prabhu Hare Krishna!! Please accept my obeisance at your feet! Thank you for clearing my doubts. As a student I feel that your explanation has cleared my doubts about materialistic studies. Dhanyavaad and pranaam to you and all the exalted devotees!

  • Aastha
    February 22, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    hare krishna !
    thanku for the answer of the most important ques which arise in the mind of every devotee who is studing. At times i also feel like leaving study ( same as ajuna did thinking that he should not fight). but i got to know dat its in the mode of passion.

    thankyou so much!
    hari bol.
    All glories to Srila prabhupad!

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