Question:What should I do when my family duty conflict with my spiritual duty?
Answer by Romapada Swami: This is a very broad topic!
There is a lot to share on this important challenge you are facing!
For starters, I will focus only on the OUTLOOK or the PERSPECTIVE with which your regard ‘duty’.
I will later send additional thoughts, because I want to help you, and support you, to get beyond this intense personal struggle.
Best is to see family duty as a core part of your devotional service, or your spiritual duty — not as something that is in conflict with your spiritual duty.
A pertinent verse given by Rupa Goswami addresses this –
“When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Krsna, one is rightly situated above possessiveness. On the other hand, one who rejects something without knowledge of its relationship to Krsna is not as complete in his renunciation.” (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255-256)[This is a very famous verse! You will find it quoted in many places. BG 6.10 is one such place.]
One of the keys factors that enhance ones ability to act according to this verse’s instruction is the requirement of not being ATTACHED to the circumstances of service – or to the outcome of the service, or to the doer-ship sense of ‘creating the results of your service’ — action performed without attachment, simply as service to Krsna!
BG 2.47 teaches this explicitly!
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”
This is a very important verse! It is like a sandwich: the two bread pieces are “Perform your duty” and “never be attached to not doing your duty”.
Inside, the sandwich elements are two prohibitions:
- Krishna *ONLY* is to be the enjoyer of the outcome or fruit of your duty [not you]
- Krishna *ONLY*, thru the agency of His material energy, creates the outcome or fruit [not you] — and thus He is the entitled enjoyer of the fruit!
Message: GIVE UP THE MENTALITY OF BEING THE ENJOYER OF THE FRUITS OF YOUR MATERIAL DUTIES. INSTEAD, ACCEPT THE POSITION OF BEING THE INSTRUMENT OF KRISHNA, WHEN CARRYING OUT YOUR FAMILY DUTIES. HE IS THE ONE TO BE PLEASED [not you]! THIS IS LOVE, WHERE THE HAPPINESS OF THE BELOVED *IS* OUR TRUE HAPPINESS!
Also, one very important and related instruction from our Founder-acarya is –
* “One of the primary duties of a spiritual master is to thoroughly instruct his disciple about the abject total futility of seeking happiness through fruitive activity.”