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Dandavats! All Glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga!

Krishna and Christ: Are they same or different?

Friday, 08 December 2017 / Published in Articles / 10,892 views

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.

Supreme Sacrifice

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”)

ISKCON Leadership Sanga 2018 (Early Registration Discount extended to Dec. 24th)
Bhagavata-Bhakta Christ

21 Responses to “Krishna and Christ: Are they same or different?”

  1. Puskaraksa das says :

    To try and bring an (additional) answer to the question: “Krishna and Christ, are they same or different…?”, I would like to state that Jesus never claimed to be the Father; he only claimed to be the Son of God.

    Hence, when Krishna says “Aham bija prada Pita”, “I am the seed giving Father of all living entities”, Jesus states “My Father is much greater than me”.

    He also calls out to His Father, at the time of need and says ” Father, don’t abandon me…”. So, clearly Jesus the son and devotee of God and God Himself, are two different Persons.

    Nevertheless, Jesus promises, “If you follow me, I will take you to our Father”.

    So, Jesus is acting both as a devotee and as guru, in the same way that Srila Prabhupada did… As a matter of fact, Srila Prabhupada acknowledged Jesus’ position, stating “He is our guru”.

    When Jesus went to India, he is said to have had some disagreement with some smarta-brahmins, who were promoting the cast system and the idea that God consciousness was reserved to the twice born (by birth), whereas Jesus, as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did later on, promoted that love of God was for one and all, without establishing any discrimination…!

    Similarly, during his pilgrimage to Bharat-varsa (India), Jesus also became known as Isa-putra, the son of God.

    This is how Jesus of Nazareth became known as Jesus Christ, that is to say Jesus, the son of Krista or Krishna.

    As a matter of fact, this is how persons were designated in the past, before family names came into use. People were designated after their father… So-and-so, the son of so-and-so. This tradition translated into some languages, such as in Russian where, if someone is for instance called “Ivan Denisovitch” (as in the edifying book “A day in the life of Ivan Denisovitch” by Soljenitsyne), it means that he is Ivan – the son of Denis. Similarly, Petrovitch means the son of Peter, etc.

    In this way, Jesus went by the name of Jesus the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Isa putra…

    So, even if they are different Persons, altogether by nature They are one. This is the meaning of the Holy Trinity. They are Three – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – but in essence They are one… This is acintya-bheda bhedha tattva… simultaneously and inconcevably one and different.

    Here, the Son is understood to be a pure devotee, a Sat Guru. So, he is one with God, yet different, and we worship him as saksad-Hari…

    All glories to Jesus Christ
    Merry Christ-mas…!

  2. Rajsuyadas Adhikari says :

    The relation with Jesus gets over as soon as Christians enter the path of pure bhagavata-dharma from their old mleccha-dharma. They should continue to respect Jesus Christ, but their relationship with him gets terminated. He cannot be any sort of Guru for Vaisnavas with occidental backgrounds. Not even Vartma Pradarshaka Guru! So few of the occidentals making attempts to bring Jesus in ISKCON should stop dreaming and start living the reality.

    When CM talks about the extremely special fortune of the conditioned jiva in CC as follows: “brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavana jiva / guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija//” – CM only indicates the guru who allots sastriya paramarathiki sraddha (refer to Bhakti Sandarbha of Jiva Gosvami) to the jiva. Sastriya sraddha is defined as faith in the meaning of the Vedic literature and not mleccha literature like Bible and Koran etc. So, Jesus Christ is not the real guru for Vaishnavas. Real guru is the one who follows Vedic Bhagavata Dharma and can bestow the paramarthiki sraddha on to his disciple.

    In the beginning of the 1st chapter of Siddhanta Darpanah, Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana defines atheism (nastika-vada) as unbelief in the Vedic scriptures and not as mere unbelief in the existence of God. So, all other heterodox religious traditions not following Vedic Dharma are strictly and technically speaking various forms of atheism only. Why? Because, only Vedas are the eternal scriptures guiding the religion revealed by Lord Narayana.

    Vyasadeva also refutes the idea of the nirisvara sankhyavadis (Samkhya Darsana of Atheistic Kapila) and their concept of the nature of Pradhana or the material nature in his Vedanta Sutra : “iksateh na asabdam”. Which means: “the concept of pradhana or material nature as described by the Samkhya-sutras is not Vedic conception of pradhana and hence it is ‘asabda’ or ‘non-Vedic'”. Similarly, any conception of God or religion not based on Vedas is also ‘asabda’ or non-Vedic and thus to be rejected.

    Bhavisya Purana’s (one among 18 mahapuranas) Prati-sarga Parva clearly explains that Jesus was the propounder of the mleccha-dharma and not the arya-dharma. According to the strict definition of atheism (nastika-vada) as promulgated by our acaryas like Baladeva in his treatise i.e. Siddhanta Darapana – a non-Vedic god is not a god. A non-Vedic scripture is not a scripture. A non-Vedic guru is not a guru and a non-Vedic dharma is not actual dharma.

  3. Rajsuyadas Adhikari says :

    These are also different types of atheism. Atheism is defined as unbelief in the Vedic scriptures and their conclusions. Is the God which Jesus talks about ever mentioned in the Vedic scriptures? That is why it is mleccha-dharma.

    The Sage Patanjali (one of the six founders of philosophical systems or darsanas) – the founder of Yoga Darsanam, has accepted and described the existence of Isvara or God in his Patanjal Yoga Sutras. So, also, Sage Gautama accepts existence of Isvara or God in his Nyaya-sutras. But, Lord Vyasa clearly says in Vedanta Sutras that the acceptance of God’s existence as believed by Naiyayikas and Yogis is not to be considered orthodox because their concept of Isvara or God is not supported by Vedas. So, if the concept of God in Nyaya and Patanjal Darsanas is considered heterodox, what to speak of the mleccha-dharmas.

    Now one may say that Prabhupada has said that Jesus is guru as any person who spreads God consciousness is guru. But, Prabhupada first of all here refers to the Vartma Pradarshaka Guru. Secondly, Jejus is Vartma Pradarshaka guru for the people interested in hardcore christianity, not Vaishnavism. So, his being guru does not make him worthy of being worshiped by the Vaishnavas. Just like Lord Buddha cannot be worshiped despite being His being incarnation of Lord due to his wrong teachings, Jesus also cannot be worshiped for his being a promulgator if mleccha-dharma.

    Lord Buddha is Lord Narayana’s bhagavad-saktyavesa incarnation and counted among the ten main avataras. (check the dasavatara sotratam of Jayadeva Goswami.) Lord Buddha is counted in the principal 22 incarnations mentioned in the 3rd chapter of the 1st canto of SB. Jesus has no place in Vedic Dharma. Jesus is not any authorized saktyavesa avatara mentioned in our shastras. (SP did so just as a preaching tactic to attract christians.) He is only mentioned as the gurus of mlecchas in the pratisarga parva of Bhavisya purana.

    Jesus is inferior to all acaryas of all sampradayas of Vedic Dharma (Even Buddhism and Jainism). He was some svargiya purusha (heavenly being) and was chosen by Vishnu to act as mleccha-guru. If we are ready to accept that Lord Buddha is not supposed to be followed then what to talk about Jejus! Attachment of some of the occidental devotees to Jesus is sentimental, not sastric. They should immediately give it up.

  4. Rajsuyadas Adhikari says :

    Just like Muslims call all non-Muslims as “Kaafirs” or non-believers and just as Christianity and Judaism label non-Christians and non-Jews as “infidels”, in the same way, it is not surprising to see the non-Aryans being called as atheists.

  5. SKD says :

    Respected Purushottam Kumar,

    The lotus feet of His Holiness Jesus Christ is our worshipable in the category of our spiritual masters such as Srila Prabhupada. All glories to His Holiness Jesus Christ. All glories to Jagat Guru Srila Parabhupada.

    The meaning of your writeup is not clear; specially the portion “Krishna and Christ: Are they same or different”. Nonetheless, attempting to say Krishna and Christ are same is not only a great offense at the Lotus Feet of the Lord Krishna but also irresponsible, misleading and unauthorized. This not what Srila Prabhupada taught us. Probably this not a way to properly glorify and pay due respect to son of God His Holiness Jesus Christ. Please clarify your position.

  6. Puskaraksa das says :

    Christian, Muhammadan, Hindu-it doesn’t matter. If he is simply speaking on behalf of God, he is a guru. Lord Jesus Christ, for instance. He canvassed people, saying, “Just try to love God.” Anyone-it doesn’t matter who-be he Hindu, Muslim, or Christian, is a guru if he convinces people to love God. That is the test. The guru never says, “I am God,” or “I will make you God.” The real guru says, “I am a servant of God, and I will make you a servant of God also.” It doesn’t matter how the guru is dressed. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Whoever can impart knowledge about Krsna is a spiritual master.” A genuine spiritual master simply tries to get people to become devotees of Krsna, or God. He has no other business.
    (Science of Self Realization Chapter 2: Choosing a Spiritual Master)

    So Lord Jesus Christ said, “My Lord, hallowed be Thy name.” He wants to glorify the name of the Lord. And some people says that there is no name of God. How? If Lord Jesus Christ says “Hallowed by Thy name,” there must be name. The name is there, but he did not pronounce it because the people at that time will not be able to understand or maybe some reason, but he says there is name. So we are making this propaganda, Krsna consciousness movement, the “Hallowed by Thy name. My Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, let Your holy name be glorified.” This is our movement. It is not a sectarian…
    (Lecture: Bhagavad Gita 3.27 Melbourne June 27, 1974)

    Sometimes Sri Krsna descends Himself, and sometimes He sends His representative. The major religions of the world-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem-believe in some supreme authority or personality coming down from the kingdom of God. In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ claimed to be the son of God and to be coming from the kingdom of God to reclaim conditioned souls. As followers of Bhagavad-gita, we admit this claim to be true. So basically there is no difference of opinion. In details there may be differences due to differences in culture, climate and people, but the basic principle remains the same-that is, God or His representatives come to reclaim conditioned souls.
    (Raja Vidya Chapter 6 :Knowledge of Krsna’s Appearance and Activities)

  7. Puskaraksa das says :

    Prabhupada: “Jesus Christ was such a great personality-the son of God, the representative of God. He had no fault. Still, he was crucified. He wanted to deliver God consciousness, but in return they crucified him-they were so thankless. They could not appreciate his preaching. But we appreciate him and give him all honor as the representative of God.

    Of course, the message that Christ preached was just according to his particular time, place, and country, and just suited for a particular group of people. But certainly he is the representative of God. Therefore we adore Lord Jesus Christ and offer our obeisances to him.

    Once, in Melbourne, a group of Christian ministers came to visit me. They asked, “What is your idea of Jesus Christ?” I told them, “He is our guru. He is preaching God consciousness, so he is our spiritual master.” The ministers very much appreciated that.

    Actually, anyone who is preaching God’s glories must be accepted as a guru. Jesus Christ is one such great personality. We should not think of him as an ordinary human being. The scriptures say that anyone who considers the spiritual master to be an ordinary man has a hellish mentality. If Jesus Christ were an ordinary man, then he could not have delivered God consciousness.”

  8. Pusta Krishna das says :

    While in Krishna consciousness we view the world through the Vedic shastra, still we can observe valuable truths in other scriptures and teachers. Spiritual life forces one to be ecclectic, to find the truth in many places. Humility can be observed by the simple street-sweepers in the villages, just a Lord Chaitanya refers us to trnadapi sunicena…we can learn from the straw in the street, the tree, and the like. All devotees of every persuasion can be inspired by the “Sermon on the Mount”. The examples abound. The parables in the Bible are inspiring. In every way, the Krishna-bhaktas are searching for Krishna everywhere.

    There is no need to follow the Bible or any other scripture if one is Krishna conscious. However, when there are inspiring examples they do not need to be overlooked. We are teaching that the Holy Names of the Lord, in all real spiritual traditions, have the potency to awaken our loving service to the Lord. It is not a sectarian issue. Srila Prabhupad never asked anyone to give up their spiritual inclinations, but to add the chanting of the Holy Names. If someone was dedicated to Islam, Christianity, or Vaishnavism, that was dependent upon their disposition. We say and we believe that our version of Sanatan-dharma is superior to all other approaches, and we may be able to prove that based upon scripture. That is not the mission of Lord Chaitanya, however. His mission is to awaken love of God through the Sankirtan of the Holy Names of the Lord. If you are scripturally “right” but you do not awaken love of God, then you fall short of the mark. And, if you awaken love of God by another tradition, you are best of all.

    The question is answered in the Srimad Bhagavatam: sa vai pumsam paro-dharma….if spiritual love of God is awakened, that is best of all. Pusta Krishna das

  9. Puskaraksa das says :

    Srila Bhaktisiddhnata Sarasvati Thakur – From the book Brahmana & Vaishnava:

    “One who can ascertain the forefathers of his family beginning from Lord Brahma without any break, who can confirm that they have all properly undergone the ten purificatory processes, who can prove that there was never any intercaste marriages in his family, and who can establish that before each pregnancy the appropriate samskaras have been performed—he is a seminal brahmana. The Vedic statement asta-varsam brahmanasm upanayeta—“a brahmanas boy should be brought to an acarya for sacred thread ceremony at the age of eight” and the smrti statement garbhastame ‘bde kurvita brahmanasyopanayanam—“a brahmana should be awarded the sacred thread at the age of eight” refer only to the above-mentioned brahmanas, not to the sons of brahmanas who have been accepted as brahmanas only from a few generations.

    In other words, it does not refer to those in whose family an intercaste marriage took place, to those who have undergone garbhadhana-samskara only once, or to those who have improperly or imperfectly undergone samskaras. “Brahmanas from a few generations” means either the descendants of those who have taken birth in other varnas yet qualified themselves as brahmanas or those who were qualified brahmanas according to the process mentioned in the Vedic literatures. Just as the Gargya brahmanas were descendants of Shini, the son of Garga; the Maudgalya brahmanas were descendants of Mudgala; the Vasistha brahmanas were descendants of sage Vasistha, the son of Mitra from the womb of Urvasi; and so on—inumerable such brahmanas families, though not shaukra brahmanas, will remain glorified as brahmanas as long as they continue to remain qualified, which is the root foundation of brahmanism.”

  10. Raja Gopala das says :

    To equate God, Sri Krsna, with its messenger, Srila Prabhupada or Jesus Christ, is indeed offensive.

    I would not put Jesus Christ on equal footing with Srila Prabhupada. There are many unknowns regarding the teachings of Jesus Christ apart from the fact that he stated “I will not tell you everything since you’re not ready for it”.

    Srila Prabhupada gave us everything and it is readily available.

    btw Violence is to put others in distress. It may have got nothing to do with physical violence. That’s up to Vishnu to decide. Ksatryias are supposed to be violent when needed, housholders also.

    Pseudo pascifism leads society to hell and it’s very popular these days. It’s a very degraded, animalistic and violent ideology.

  11. Pusta Krishna das says :

    Krishna is the “Summum Bonum”. He is EVERYTHING, and His variegatedness represents all of the material and spiritual manifestations. Here on our small human-centric planet, we are like frogs in a well. Theistic prejudice will always lead one to think that their own religious tradition is the best or only way. We have seen it said in the Bible (New Testament) that Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the light, and no one comes before the Father except through me.” Even from a literary point of view, this places the messenger beneath the superior Father, God. Islam is very protective of the concept that Allah does not need any second power to intercede on His behalf, ie no other savior is necessary. Messengers in Islam are just that…providers of the higher Truth.
    In Krishna consciousness, we have Krishna’s personal declaration (BG 18:66), to abandon all religion or obligations and simply surrender to Him only. These are all consistent views, and we might add that Krishna has advised us to learn more about Him through His devotees, and even to serve His devotees in Krishna consciousness.
    We must try to understand Lord Chaitanya, and what He wants for us to do. He does not intend for us to try to smash other religions. Rather, He wants for us to encourage the chanting of the Holy Names, for the benefit of the fallen souls of the Kali Yuga. It is not a political process, but rather issues of the heart and mind. We must not be insecure in this task, ie we must be fully versed in this and surrendered souls. You will find that Krishna is indeed everywhere and within everyone. Try your best, and trust that Krishna will indeed protect you. There is no compromise for the Vaishnava who follows in the dust of the Lotus Feet of Sri Sri Gaura Nitai. Pusta Krishna das

  12. sarathyt says :

    Vague representation.

    One should first understand the vEdhic system – there is vaidhika sampradhAyam and then there is avaidhika sampradhAyam. vaidhika sampradhAyam means that which accepts vEdhas as authority – anything other than that (all avaidhika sampradhAyam) is just speculation. As previously explained by one devotee – our pUrvAchAryas have clearly shunned avaidhika sampradhAyams.

    Just because one was associated with a particular religion before accepting krishna consciousness, one should not keep on trying to glorify and give special status to their previous leaders, etc. One should know to accept vaidhika dharmam as it is and follow that. This kind of bringing in their own religion in to krishna consciousness explains few issues :
    * we are not able to accept krishna consciousness (vaishnava sampradhAyam) as it is
    * We still have attachment towards celebrating the festivals, etc of our ex-religion into the vaishnava sampradhAyam (due to our own desires, personal/family situations, etc)
    * these two above points ultimately polluting/corrupting the vision of Krishna consciousness.
    * moreover we are trying to attract other religion people by saying what they will like to hear (please the audience so we can increase our headcount). This is why we are seeing celebrations of christmas, sivarAthri and what not in some of these people/places.

    sarathy ramanuja dasan

  13. Puskaraksa das says :

    “If one examines the different religions, one will see different rituals. One will also see different conceptions concerning the object of worship. Some people, overcome with devotion in their hearts, establish the form of the Lord in their soul, in their mind and finally in the external world. Understanding that the form is non-different from the Lord within, they worship that form. In some religions, because the greater emphasis on logic, the worshipper simply forms a conception of God in the mind, and worships it. They do not accept an external form of God. In reality, however, all these conceptions are forms of the Lord.

    According to language differences, different religions call God by different names. The religions have different names, and the languages used during worship are also different.

    Because of these differences, it is only natural that various religions will appear quite different. However it is improper and detrimental to argue over these differences. If one goes to someone else’s place of worship one should think, “The people are worshipping my Lord, but in a different way. Because of my different training, I cannot quite comprehend this system of worship. However, through this experience, I can deepen my appreciation for my own system of worship. The Lord is only one, not two. I offer respect to the form I see here, and pray to the Lord in this new form that he increase my love for the Lord in His accustomed form.” Those who do not follow this procedure, but instead criticize other systems of worship and show hatred, violence and envy, are worthless and foolish. The more they indulge in useless quarreling, the more they betray the very goal of their religion.”
    ~~Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

  14. Pusta Krishna das says :

    One always has to be relatively non-judgemental when reading many of Puskaraksa’s comments on Dandavats. They very often are literally quotes from an acharya in our line! I think that when we approach Krishna consciousness through the mood of Lord Chaitanya, and when we observe how He honored the Deities of various temples during His travels throughout India, especially South India, then we can better appreciate the universal vision of Lord Chaitanya. We can appreciate that Lord Chaitanya’s vision is perfect!
    Interestingly, in the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna describes that different religious traditions are influenced by the three modes of nature, with some religion in the mode of goodness, some in the mode of passion, and some in the modes of ignorance. We can justly view the various religious practices in this way. It is not necessary to criticize them, but you can understand them more readily and accurately in this manner. The destinations of those affected by the modes of nature are different and such souls remain within the material realm upon leaving the body (chapter 14).
    In analyzing the quality of the activities of sacrifice, charity, or penance, Krishna explains that if these are done without faith in the Supreme, the activities and the outcomes are impermanent. They are ‘asat’ and useless both in this life and the next. Bhagavad Gita 17:28. Thus, Krishna’s vision, being the Creator and essence of all of reality, is clearly focused on returning to the platform of pure devotional service for the jiva souls. Lord Chaitanya, realizing, of course, the impious foundation of the Kali Yuga, has given the greatest boon to the most fallen souls. Srila Rupa Goswami therefore says: namo mahavadanaya krishna premapradaya te…Lord Chaitanya is the most magnanimous of the Lord’s appearance for having made deliverance for the souls of the Kali Yuga so simple…through the chanting of the Holy Names.
    This vision is very good and pleasing to Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda. Hence, you can best help others who may be seeking God by encouraging them to take up the chanting of the Holy Names, either their own Names scripturally, or better the Mahamantra.
    Were it not for Srila Prabhupad, we would have had no basis to discriminate about all of this. Vivekananda said: yato mat, tato path…meaning any way you worship is ok. Srila Prabhupad never accepted this foolishness, and neither should we. Pusta Krishna das

  15. Puskaraksa das says :

    Thank you, Pusta Krishna Prabhu, for your introductury note, to the kind attention of the readers. Indeed, it is a fact that I often prefer to quote our Acaryas, who are Spiritual Authorities accepted by all the devotees, rather than add my own purport, when they have already stated authoritatively what needs to be understood in a given context.

    Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation, June 28, 1974, Melbourne:

    “Who will not respect Jesus Christ? He sacrificed everything for God, even his life. So who is that rascal that he’ll not respect to Jesus Christ. What did he do wrong to the human society? He did everything for the good of the human society. Oh, I have got very, very, great respect for Lord Jesus Christ.”

    Srila Prabhupada Letter to Sivananda, April 19, 1968:

    “Regarding the Christian’s Trinity, I believe it is called God, the Holy Ghost, and the son. Person in Krishna Consciousness accepts this by the name Visnu, Paramatma, and Jiva. God is a Person, the holy spirit or the supersoul is a person, and the living entity is also a person. Also, Mary is the representation of the energy of God. Either as internal energy Radharani or as external energy Durga, the energy of Godhead can be considered the mother of the living entities. But there is no clash between the Bible and the Vedas, simply some people formulate their personal ideas and cause quarrelings. Nobody can say the Bible was meant for the same class of men as the Bhagavad-gita. And Bhagavad-gita is the ABC’s of Spiritual knowledge. Beyond that is Srimad-Bhagavatam. How great Srimad-Bhagavatam is nobody can imagine. And beyond that is Caitanya Caritamrta. But beginning from the Bible or Koran, on up the principle remains the same. Just like beginning from the pocket dictionary”

    Srimad Bhagavatam 6.5.20:

    “In the Bible, which is also sastra, one will find the same advice: one should cease materialistic life and return to the kingdom of God.”

  16. Puskaraksa das says :

    Simply Repeat

    Prabhupada says, “Speak what I have said. This is preaching. You are not the preacher. I am the preacher. You simply repeat my words”.

  17. Akruranatha says :

    Interesting discussion.

    On the one hand, if Bhaktivinode Thakur and Srila Prabhupada have said favorable things about Jesus and Mohammed as a “preaching strategy” to attract the broad-minded, saintly classes of Christians and Muslims, why should we adopt a different strategy? We are their followers and we should follow their strategy.

    If we think the strategy is “insincere”, I fear we may be imputing our own limited conception on these great souls. They are saragrahi Vaisnavas who can see and appreciate the essence of Christianity and Islam, two very popular and influential religious traditions which do accept a personal God whom one should obey, and with whom one can develop a loving relationship as the highest goal.

    On the other hand, there is something in what Rajsuyadas has to say about examining philosophy very closely. Many who consider themselves “Hindu” by birth or culture or religious beliefs and practices are actually considered “pasandis” and “nastikas” by the standards of our acaryas. And if so, might we not find that many so-called Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Jains may also be considered atheists by the same analysis or considerations?

    I remember reading in the Lilamrta a long time ago (forgive me if I do not get the quote exactly right), but Srila Prabhupada was in India with some of his disciples early on, and I think it was Acyutananda who asked him whether demigod worship or Christianity was superior, and Srila Prabhupada said demigod worship was superior because it was authorized by Vedic scriptures, or something like that. I was surprised when I read it.

    But on the other hand, we should try to adopt our acaryas’ great, broad-minded viewpoint that whatever counts as knowledge is actually “Vedic” in that sense (Veda means knowledge), and whatever religious system leads to bhaktir-adhoksaje or pure devotional service unto the transcendent Lord is actually the supreme dharma for all humanity.

    Lord Caitanya taught that one should chant whatever name of God one accepts from one’s own tradition, and therefore when Srila Prabhupada was in Tehran he said they “must” chant Allah.

    If there are aspects of Islamic or Christian ideas of God that are inconsistent with Vyasadeva’s teachings, we might discuss that in the advanced theology class. But publicly classifying religions as “inferior” is apt lead to misunderstandings and “skin disease” unless done with great care. These are subtle nuances.

  18. Akruranatha says :

    The tendency of the neophytes in all spiritual groups is to think, “I am part of the superior community or party; our group is better than others.’

    The promise of Lord Caitanya’s movement is to offer a genuine basis by which to say, as a practical matter, “If your religious practice is giving you actual love of God, it is perfect.”

    Lord Caitanya has explained and demonstrated the real face of love, and has shown how Vedic scriptures — especially Srimad-Bhagavatam — illustrate not only the genuine character of the Absolute Truth in His most complete, personal feature (and how He is related with the world around us and with all living beings), but also how He sweetly interacts with His special devotees who have spotless, pure love of Him, without any other motive, (and how the devotees act and feel, moved by their peerless love).

    Real love is love of God, and Lord Caitanya shows what such love looks like. It is not the exclusive domain of any caste or creed or race or nation, but is the essential occupational duty (dharma) of all living entities.

    It may well be true that, as the world wakes up to these universal truths — which ought to be understood by the most intelligent people of every religion and of every country and culture — the people of the world will also have a firm basis upon which to recognize that the Sanskrt, Vedic literature of ancient India (of which Srimad-Bhagavatam is the ripened fruit) is the most sophisticated and godly of all.

    It may even be true that as the chanting of God’s names brings the world’s population to a higher, more spiritual vibration, people everywhere will eventually begin to recognize that the Aryan civilization of ancient India is the most civilized, the natural leader of world civilizations, just as Maharaja Yudhisthir, the great Aryan Rajarsi was once recognized as world emperor. (Or maybe not…)

    But Srila Prabhupada did note that if he had come to New York and said, “I have come to convert the Christians into Hindus”, no one would have listened. His would be seen as another egotistical, external message of “my group is best” (and not all Hindus are really best)

    He is genuinely teaching something much more profound and universal than any such external conversion. He is teaching everyone, in whatever nation, culture, and religious tradition, how to truly love God. (When we are in love, we always chant the name of our beloved, and if we wish to love God we must chant His names.)

  19. Pusta Krishna das says :

    We may be more comfortable in our conditioned states to think of the path of Truth to be in a file in our pockets. In reality, we are infinitesimal and trying to conceive of the Infinite, and then to cage the Infinite for our own mundane benefit. It is not possible, of course. The infinitesimal must surrender utterly to the Infinite. Krishna “blows the mind” of Arjuna when He reveals His universal form on the battlefield. The soldiers on the field are entering the mouth of this form and are being gnashed up…before the battle seems to have occurred to Arjuna. The outcome of the battle was determined before it ever took place. Arjuna could see this in wonder. He could not digest this incredible occurrence. He requested Krishna to re-assume His original form, and Krishna complied, first showing His 4-handed form and then His 2 handed form. Arjuna realized his own follie. He could not “pocket” the higher Truth. God’s plan is all in all. He declared Lord Krishna to be Param Brahma, etc. The option was to take part in Krishna’s plan willingly or to retreat. Retreating was no longer an option. The example shows that it may not be quite so easy to surrender to Krishna. Does the Infinite need to overwhelm the infinitesimal jiva soul in order to induce surrender of the jiva soul? There is no such example of God’s greatness displayed to a jiva soul in any other religious literature of the world. We may be trying to humanize God so that we can capture Him in our pocket or file…but it is necessary actually to surrender to the Lord.
    The vaishnavas are presenting God as the most charming and sweet and all attractive eternally youthful Person. We may think that we can take Him or leave Him, but He is the most charming Person (carrying the sandles of Nanda Maharaj upon His head) while simultaneously being the Summum Bonum, the Complete Whole. That is truly the wonder of Krishna. He is infinitely great, yet He is so accessible to His creation, to His parts and parcels.
    The various religious traditions envision some aspect of the Truth. It is Truth. And, therefore it is respectable and worshipable. There is no higher Truth than Krishna. The vaishnava tradition presents the most complete conception of the Truth, and invites one and all to surrender to Krishna. We do not need to be shy or reserved about this, even if we invite people to glorify the Holy Names in all traditions. Pusta Krishna das

  20. krsnaLH says :

    For whatever reason, the discussion did not capture my full attention, but Akruranatha Prabhu’s paragraph: “Lord C taught that one should chant whatever name of god one accepts…” was a note of music plucked, and it vibrated in the air of my mind, if you’ll forgive the metaphor. And my mind responds with this:

    Right now, say out loud the name of God you accept. The one YOU accept is the only one YOU can say sincerely, and sincerity is the key. Again and again, say it. Say it in bed as you go to sleep, say it first thing in the morning when you wake up, say it while your driving, say it while you walking, say it while your cooking, and eating, and showering, say it all the time—even when you’re speaking, let it silently murmur in the background of your mind (what a feat!). Kali yuga’s din is a forceful degrader. Any name that God accepts as His own has the potency to keep your mind on Him and off of material energy; so whatever name it is you believe in at this moment, see how often you can say it. And the more you focus on God in this way, the more He will reciprocate by awakening you to His reality. And the more He awakens you to His reality, the more eager you will become to know Him. And the more eager you are to know Him the more chance you have of finding krsna: His words, His pastimes, His devotees….His name. And there you go.

  21. SNGD says :

    I appreciate Purushottama Kumar's attempt to glorify the person and teachings of Jesus Christ. This is an essential means of engagement for ISKCON, as a religious society, in today's religiously pluralistic world.

    There are, however, a great deal of misinformed, ill-reasoned, and blatantly incorrect pieces of information and views floating about in the comments section, most notably the false notion that Jesus Christ ever went to, or had anything to do with the country, culture or yogic practices of India, and the terrible notion that Jesus Christ is somehow a lesser person/lower level devotee of the Lord than spiritual personalities in other religious traditions. These grievous misinterpretations require immediate correction because, left in the public space, they are only damaging to ISKCON's reputation. Institutionally, as ISKCON continues to engage on the religiously pluralistic world stage, it is vital that its general mass of ISKCON's members are correctly educated in matters of inter-religious engagement.

    This said, I am an initiated ISKCON Gaudiya Vaisnava who is also trained as a scholar of Christian texts and traditions. I am not claiming to be a spiritually advanced leader or guide in this regard, only an individual who wishes to serve the devotees by inviting them into a conversation which is based on well-researched sociological, historical and theological facts, not on speculation. I thus invite the devotees to correspond with me directly about these matters at: <>