suicide_2439218fQuestion from the website..

My cousin brother committed suicide yesterday night. It is very unfortunate that we couldn’t preach him or save him. Somehow the incident happened on ekadasi night.
My question is – will he be given any exempt as it was ekadasi? Does suicide also come under Krishna’s will? Can we do anything so he gets a higher birth where he can practice Krishna Consciousness ?

Please forgive me for any inappropriate questions
Your servant

Hare Krishna . All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am sorry to hear of the untimely departure of your cousin. It is often after persons leave that we start thinking how much more we could have done to reach out to them, especially if they were close and dear ones.

Every living entity has a free will, to be in the light of Krishna consciousness or in the shade of Maya. “Krishna surya sama, Maya haya andhakara”… which means that Krishna is just like the sun while Maya is like darkness or ignorance. It is never Krishna’s desire that a living entity remain aloof and separated from Him, but he does not interfere with the living entity’s minute independence. So it is not that Krishna willed it, your cousin misused his independence to end his life prematurally.

Ekadasi is auspicious for those who follow the rules of Ekadasi by avoiding grains and increasing their spiritual activities. For a devotee, leaving on any day is auspicious if he or she remembers the Lord. Some days are more easily helping us to remember the Lord, such as Ekadasi days, but it all depends on the consciousness of an individual. Your cousin is fortunate in that he has you as a practicing devotee. So shastra explains that if someone in the family becomes a devotee, several generations before and after reap the benefits of that one person practicing Krishna consciousness. So benefit is already there for your cousin.

Our Vedic system is that for the departed souls, under whatever condition they may have left, one should perform the sraddha ceremony. This is done after approximately 12 days of someone leaving and thereafter once a year. During that ceremony one offers prayers to the departed soul, chants the holy names of the Lord and then offers prasadam to a photo of the departed soul. That is also called “pinda” or offering of oblations to the departed soul and it is done once a year. You can get more details about this through those who perform various samskaras or purificatory ceremonies in our ISKCON temples, those engaged in performing brahminical sacrifices of which there are many, especially for householders.

All of the above will help your cousin in reducing whatever sufferings he will get for having committed suicide and thus help him get a better chance to take up to Krishna consciousness in his next birth. When one committs suicide, by the laws of nature one cannot get another birth immediately and must live in a ghostly or subtle body for the period of time he was actually destined to live. This can be many years and will of course vary from one person to another.

Your cousin is fortunate to have you as a family member who is concerned about his well-being. Prayers are also very potent, so you may pray for him whenever time allows. And of course, as devotees, we should know that whether one is my cousin or not, we all have an obligation to reach out to as many conditioned souls as possible, as taught to us by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu through His Sankirtan Movement. That is the best way to help relatives and all other living entities since on a higher plane, we are all related, being children of God and thus belonging to the same spiritual family.

I hope this can help you and other family members to take up more seriously this precious life we are given by practicing Krishna consciousness. No one can be happy until and unless one comes to regain one’s lost relationship with Krishna through the simple process of pure devotional service. Once attaining such devotional service, the happiness derived will impell one to remain serious in practicing Krishna consciousness in one’s personal life and in reaching out to as many souls who are all suffering in this material world due to not having this knowledge and thus not having revived such a relationship.

First we become more serious in our personal practice of spiritual life and then we also take up the “para upakara”, highest welfare activity of bringing Krishna consciousness to as many living entities as possible
through the various processes and activities recommended by Srila Prabhupada and the previous Acharyas.

I hope this will be of help to you and possibly other family members.

Trusting this finds you well and always happy in devotional service. Krsne
matir astu.

Yours in service to Srila Prabhupada,

RP Bhakti Raghava Swami

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