By Purushottam Kumar
While being crucified, Jesus cried. But he did not cry for himself, instead he cried for those who were committing the gravest sin. Jesus was continuously praying to God to forgive those who were menacingly torturing and trying to kill him. Jesus, the son of God, had come to this world to spread the message of peace and love and to effect this change he was ready to sacrifice everything. This is the foremost quality of a holy man, for spreading God consciousness he is ready to brook any kinds of sufferings. History books take us through the lives of many such great personalities who endured great difficulties but never compromised with their principles.
Prahlad was a little boy of 5 years when his own father mercilessly tried to kill him, Haridas Thakura was flogged at public places by the miscreants because he was asking people to lead a God centered life, Mirabai was poisoned because she longed to attain the love of God. Demoniac rulers like Hiranyakashipu, Ravana, Kamsa, Aurangzeb and many others always dealt brutally with men of virtuous qualities. What differentiates a holy man from a common man is the way one responds during a provoking and dangerous situation. These saintly men and women remained composed during trying circumstances and fearlessly preached the message of God. Their impeccable integrity, unquestionable honesty, unflinching determination and above all deep love for God attracted the hearts of millions of people all over the world. Without their supreme sacrifice this world would have been bereft of love and warmth. They come as a ray of hope and demonstrates that virtue always prevails over vice.
The venerable sages are sent by God in this world at regular intervals to salvage humanity. They are direct representatives of God and they use all means to instill love of God in the hearts of all. God deputes them at different places as per time, place and circumstances. Jesus Christ was one such messenger of God. Jesus, through his exemplary life was able to transform the hearts of millions of people. He preached to the masses boldly and asked them to lead a virtuous life. All the noble souls have been advocating the same message since the dawn of creation. Vedic literatures, the sacred book of humanity, have also been vociferously asking all to lead a God conscious life.
Let us try to study the divine message of God as present in Vedas and the commandments of Jesus as recorded in Bible.
Vedas and Bible – Similarities or Dissimilarities?
If we closely examine the teachings of Jesus Christ and the wisdom championed by Vedas then we will be pleasantly surprised to find many similarities. Few of them are highlighted below:
Vedic literatures advocate chanting the names of God like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on tulasi beads. Christians also chant the name of Christ on their rosary beads.
Jesus preached, “Thou shalt not kill”. Vedic books also lay great emphasis on nonviolence, in Gita, at several places, Krishna has advocated the path of nonviolence (Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5, 13.8, 16.1-3).
Jesus sermonized, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. Similarly Krishna says that the characteristics of a pure devotee is that he loves all and hates none: “The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]”. (Bhagavad Gita 5.18).
One of the important commandments of Bible is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind”. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Bhagavad Gita also asks the seeker to constantly be engaged in devotion to Him: “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail.” (Bhagavad Gita 18.65).
Above example underlines that both Vedic literatures and Bible espouses the message of peace and love. But sadly many have misinterpreted the pristine message of these holy books and so we see communal violence and evil in this world. For e.g. Jesus said, “Thou shalt not kill”. But many misinterpreted this message and said that Jesus meant that violence should not be committed only against human beings but animals can be killed and their flesh can be eaten. And they opened several abattoirs where thousands of animals are slaughtered daily. Such incorrect explanation of holy texts negates the true purpose of these sacred books.
However if we honestly endeavour to comprehend the profound message of the holy books and start following it in toto then this world would become a better place as the writ of God will then prevail. These scriptures are guiding light for human civilization and so should not be subjected to wrong interpretation and it should be followed “as it is”.
Krishna and Christ: Are they same or different?
God is one and he is supreme. Although he is one, he is addressed by several names like Krishna, Govinda, Gopinath, Vasudeva, Madan Mohan and so on. Lord Chaitanya has said: namnam akari bahu-dha nija-sarva-shaktis. “God has millions and millions of names, and because there is no difference between God’s name and Himself, each one of these names has the same potency as God.”Christ is another name of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada, an authority on Vedic literatures, explains that “Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, and Christos is the Greek version of the word Krsta. When an Indian person calls on Krishna, he often says “Krsta.” Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning “the object of attraction.” So when we address God as “Christ,” “Krsta,” or “Krishna,” we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, “Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” that name of God was Krsta or Krishna. “Christ” is simply another way of saying “Krsta,” and “Krsta” is another way of pronouncing Krishna.”
If without any bias and motive we try to understand God and his sublime message then we would find that the Supreme Person, Our Father, is one. And every other persons of this world are our brothers and sisters. We would then shun violence, divorce hatred and live together as obedient children of God. Jesus Chirst wanted to spread this message of brotherhood for which he voluntarily suffered, and now it is upon us to fulfill his desire.
(Purushottam Kumar is a member of congregation at Iskcon Kolkata. He works in Tech Mahindra, Kolkata as “Associate Solution Designer”)