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ISKCON in Relation to People of Faith in God

Tuesday, 26 November 2019 / Published in Articles / 3,637 views

By Saunaka Rsi Dasa

ISKCON belongs to the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya (denomination or tradition), a monotheistic tradition within Vedic or Hindu culture. Hindu culture is vast, and the term encompasses numerous theologies, philosophies religious traditions and spiritual cultures. Thus, dialogue with Hindu traditions has been difficult for many seeking such dialogue. There are no official representatives of Hinduism, as the term Hinduism does not imply a single spiritual tradition. This statement therefore is representative of Hindu culture and religion as ISKCON, as a Vedantic, monotheistic Vaisnava tradition.

In this statement and in the elaboration of this statement, we present our response to the current global need for relationships among world faiths. ISKCON is the first global Vaisnava movement and as such accepts the responsibility to interact with host communities with respect and sensitivity. Consequently this document serves as a statement of purpose to other faith communities and to ISKCON’s members.

Part 1
ISKCON’s Statement on Relating with People of Faith in God
  1. In ISKCON we view all communities and philosophies advocating and practising love for God and founded on revealed scripture as representative of the ultimate religious expression. We also respect the spiritual worth of paths of genuine self-realisation and search for the Absolute Truth in which the concept of a personal Deity is not explicit.

    Other communities and organisations advocating humanitarian, ethical and moral standards are also valued as being beneficial to society.

  2. ISKCON views dialogue between its members and people of other faiths as an opportunity to listen to others and to understand what others believe and value, to develop mutual understanding and mutual trust, and to share our commitment and faith with others, while respecting their commitment to their own faith.
  3. ISKCON recognises that no one religion can hold a monopoly on the truth, the revelation of God, or our relationship with God. We assert that the Lord in His individual relationships with His devotees governs these things.
  4. ISKCON’s members are encouraged to be respectful and supportive of people of faith from other traditions and to see the need for people of different faiths to work together for the benefit of society as a whole and for the glorification of God.
  5. ISKCON affirms the responsibility of each individual to develop his or her relationship with the Supreme Lord.

Part 2
ISKCON in Dialogue and Mission
ISKCON’s mission

When A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (1896-1977), the founder and acarya of ISKCON, first registered ISKCON as a legal entity in New York in 1966, he stated that his primary aim for the movement was: ‘To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.’[1]

In pursuance of this aim, members of the Hare Krsna movement value charity, non-violence, spiritual education, moral thought and action, devotion and service to God.

We further value qualities such as humility, tolerance, compassion, cleanliness, self-control, simplicity, steadiness, knowledge, honesty and personal integrity.

We value and respect the right to life of all other living things, be they human, animal, aquatic or plant life. We value the environment and our natural resources as being the God’s property, which we have a responsibility to respect and protect.

We recognise the institution of the family to be an essential element in maintaining social stability. We consider respect for parents, teachers and government representatives important for maintaining a stable society. Respect and protection for elders, women, children, weak and dependent living beings, and persons dedicated to the welfare of others and to the service of God are also important elements in the development of a healthy and secure society.

We understand that many spiritual, altruistic and humanely inspired people share these principles and values. We respect and value any tradition or culture trying to practice, maintain and develop such qualities and behaviour.

Srila Prabhupada’s mission is further elaborated in his pranama mantra[2], in which it is stated that he came to deliver the Western countries from godlessness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura (1836-1914), a revered Vaisnava acarya, explained that the enemy is not other religions, but atheism.[3] The mission of Srila Prabhupada and the sampradaya (or religious tradition) he represented, promotes both morality and practices that support the development of individual and social spirituality, but it raises a challenge to atheistic and materialistic principles and values.

ISKCON: Dialogue and mission

For a missionary movement a dialogue with those who may not share the same spiritual or religious views may seem a contradiction in purpose. Gaudiya Vaisnava teachings support dialogue and co-operation with other religious traditions. Conversion in Vaisnava tradition depends on the assumption that Krsna, not the missionary devotee, is Isvara, the controller.

Gaudiya Vaisnavism recognises religious diversity as a normal and healthy symptom of social expression. Historically members of our tradition have been in contact with members of other faith communities since the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu (14861534), although systematic attempts at dialogue with other faiths began only with Bhaktivinode Thakura (18381914).

Relationships of trust can develop from sincere dialogue among people of faith. These relationships can inspire religious people from all traditions to work together to establish theistic conclusions that will lead to a God-conscious ethos in our modern world. Thus, dialogue and respectful working relationships with other faith communities are consistent with ISKCON’s mission and important for social harmony.

In the 1950s Srila Prabhupada confirmed this approach in an appeal to the leaders of the world’s religions: ‘Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and the members of the other sects that have convincing faith in the authority of God must not sit idly now and silently watch the rapid growth of a Godless civilisation. There is the supreme will of God, and no nation or society can live in peace and prosperity without acceptance of this vital truth.’[4]

While cherishing our own spiritual culture and working to proclaim our faith in Krsna in Vrindavana, we consider it inappropriate and unbecoming for a Vaisnava to try and attract people to the worship of the Supreme by denigrating, misrepresenting, or humiliating members of other faith communities. In relation to this, Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written: ‘But it is not proper to constantly propagate the controversial superiority of the teachers of one’s own country over those of another country although one may, nay one should, cherish such a belief in order to acquire steadiness in a faith of your own. But no good can be affected to the world by such quarrels.’[5] Srila Prabhupada also discusses this in his purports in Srimad-Bhagavatam: ‘Another important point mentioned in this connection is anindaya[avoiding blasphemy]-we should not criticise others’ methods of religion. A devotee, instead of criticising such systems, will encourage the followers to stick to their principles .’[6]

Vaisnavas strive to inspire and enhance the relationship between the Lord and His devotees. In this attempt, devotees meet others whose approach to the Supreme is different in their flavour of worship, variegatedness in service and expression of love. During a public lecture in 1969, Srila Prabhupada stated, ‘Everyone should follow the particular traditions or sampradaya, the regulative principles of your own religion. This is required as much as there are many different political parties, although everyone is meant to serve one country’. Thus, diversity is accepted, but not to the exclusion of unity. Religions do not have to become homogeneous or merge together, but they can develop respectful and practical relationships with one another. With this understanding, ISKCON does not have a mission to proselytise members of other faiths.

ISKCON does see it as its mission to accept with open arms any sincere soul who declares a need for spiritual shelter and guidance. There is a definite missionary spirit in Vaisnavism and Hinduism, but its practice is not governed by an exclusivist conversion model. From a Gaudiya Vaisnava perspective, we work not at ‘conversion’ but spiritual development. Therefore ‘conversion’ is an individual experience, a personal spiritual journey, a journey that transcends religious institution and sectarian affiliation. Conversion models that depend on exclusivist demands of affiliation may often do so without considering the Lord’s supremacy, independent in truth.

Through dialogue, people of different faiths and traditions can work together to share principles and areas of concern. Together they can then engage their individual spirituality in addressing such problems as war, violence, moral decline, crime, intoxication, poverty and hunger, social instability and environmental degradation.

Through dialogue, theistic people and those engaged in the pursuit of the Absolute Truth can encourage one another to be more true to their own practice. Many traditions prescribe the disciplines of self-control, sacrifice, austerity and charity for developing spiritual enlightenment but we all need encouragement and inspiration in our endeavours. To fulfil the requests of our spiritual teachers and to provide good example to society, we need to encourage one another to be faithful to the principles of our own traditions.[7]

Dialogue offers a challenge of faith to devotees of every tradition. This challenge is a necessary and welcome part of spiritual life in a multi-faith world. Such dialogue can help strengthen the faith and character of individuals, the integrity and vision of institutions and the support and appreciation of those who expect enlightened spiritual leadership. Thus dialogue can lead to a profound realisation of mission, in the broadest sense of the term.

 

Part 3
ISKCON: A Theological Basis for Dialogue
Vaisnava theology and the concept of religion

In common with many followers of Vedantic tradition, devotees of Krsna distinguish between Krsna consciousness, or pure love of God, and what is commonly understood as religion. In his introduction to Bhagavad-gita, Srila Prabhupada explains:

Sanatana-dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord.The English word religion is a little different from sanatanadharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but sanatanadharmarefers to that activity which cannot be changed.[8]

Vaisnavas regard Krsna consciousness or sanatana-dharma as non-sectarian, although those practising sanatana-dharma may individually attach themselves to specific religious traditions. Love of God is defined for Vaisnava devotees in Srimad-Bhagavatam (Bhagavat Purana) 1.2.6 [9] and Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.1.11.[10] Srila Prabhupada also writes, ‘We do not advocate any sectarian religion. We are concerned to invoke our dormant love for God. Any method that helps us in reaching such a platform is welcome.’[11] In his commentary on Rupa Goswami’s Upadesamrta, Srila Prabhupada further elaborates:

In all parts of the world, however downtrodden human society may be, there is some system of religion.When a religious system develops and turns into love of God, it is successful. (p. 44) [12]

Vaisnavism therefore recognises the inherent spirituality of all living beings and their individual relationship with the Supreme Lord, known by many names. Vaisnavism maintains that each individual’s satisfaction is to be found in service to the Supreme, and ‘such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self’ (Bhag.1.2.6). Without such service, we seek enjoyment elsewhere and worship demigods, great persons, natural phenomena or idols, according to taste and circumstance.

The Lord consistently recognises and maintains His relationship with the individual soul and recognises our attempts to know and understand Him, even though imperfectly or improperly performed. Krsna asks the individual soul, ‘Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear’ ( Bg. 18.66). Therefore, He emphasises that a personal exchange between Himself and the individual soul is superior to any institutional or sectarian claim to His favour.

Vaisnava theology and a basis for dialogue

Caitanya Mahaprabhu left only eight written verses, called the Sikastakam. The fourth of these verses reads:

One should be more tolerant than a tree, more humble than a blade of grass and one should be ready to offer all respect to everyone and yet expect no respect for oneself. In such a humble state of mind one can glorify and serve the Lord with pure devotion.[13]

This verse leaves no doubt about the standard of humility, respect, and devotion expected from a Vaisnava who is surrendering to Lord Krsna with a pure heart. The term, ‘offering all respect to everyone’ can of course apply directly to people of other faiths. It is incumbent on devotees of the Lord to offer all respect especially to people sincerely trying to love and serve God. Such respect, tolerance and humility form the basis of proper Vaisnava relationships.

The eleventh canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam describes three progressive stages in the development of spiritual relationships: neophyte (kanistha), mature(madhyama) and advanced (uttama). The Bhagavatam presents these developments as a universal phenomenon to be seen among devotees of every religious tradition. The neophyte usually expresses the sentiments of fanaticism and exclusivism. The neophyte does not know how to behave when in the assembly of devotees. He or she cannot correctly distinguish between a devotee and a non-devotee[14] and cannot be effective in dialogue regardless of the tradition to which he or she belongs. Srila Prabhupada warns, ‘but if someone is a dogmatic and a blind follower then avoid to discuss [sic] with him.’[15]

The mature devotee, very much concerned with proper relationships,[16] can recognise devotees of God by their qualities and sentiment, and does not judge them by religious affiliation.[17] Where devotion is manifest, he or she recognises a devotee. The mature devotee will recognise devotion to God by the presence of any of the nine devotional processes outlined by the Vaisnava authority Prahlada Maharaja.[18] Srila Prabhupada has stated that although two of these nine processes, namely hearing spiritual sound (sravanam) and chanting the name of God(kirtanam), are specifically recommended as the most effective methods of spiritual practice for this age, each of the nine remains effective in every age. When mature, a devotee develops the mature vision necessary for sincere and trusting relationships with members of other faith communities.

The advanced stage of faith, the uttama platform, brings transcendental realisation. The advanced devotee sees all living beings as eternal servants of Krsna and treats them as such. He or she will have no interest in sectarian designations of race, caste, sex or religion and will renounce all worldly and materialistic association, in favour of associating with those dedicated to pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Vaisnavism recognises that spiritual or religious life essentially pertains to a personal and individual relationship between an eternal individual soul and the eternal Supreme Soul. Though a devotee performs various services that may please the Lord, the Supreme Lord grants spiritual realisation and pure devotional love by His own sweet will. Thus, adherents of Vaisnavism reject the idea that any one religion or organisation can hold a monopoly on the truth or a relationship that is governed solely by the Lord. Vaisnavas accept that Krsna, or God, is free to enter into loving exchanges with whomsoever He wishes, without considering colour, caste or creed.

Part 4
Principles and Guidelines for Approaching People with Faith in God
Principles

The following principles will help members of ISKCON in approaching members of other faith communities. The principles are given here in a condensed form and require careful consideration.

  1. Humility.Our tradition establishes that this is the key to building spiritual relationships. It is also the principle quality of a Vaisnava.
  2. The unlimited nature of Krsna. The Absolute truth is universal. No individual or organisation has a monopoly on the Lord. He reveals himself wherever, whenever, however and to whoever he pleases.
  3. Honesty.Always be honest and truthful. This is the basis for trust in successful relationships.
  4. Respect. Always remain respectful, even if you do not receive the same respect in return. Lord Caitanya has said, ‘amanina manadena‘: one should be ready to offer all respects to others, without expecting any respect for oneself.
  5. Tolerance.When you interact with people disrespectful or insensitive toward our tradition and culture, perhaps because they have made uninformed assumptions about us, you will have to be tolerant, explain yourself politely, and forgive their misunderstandings.
  6. Consideration of time, place and circumstance. Use your common sense and discretion to develop relationships. Be sensitive to your partner in dialogue or your audience.
  7. Mutual understanding. Be prepared to listen to others, to understand their language, assumptions, culture and values. Therefore, do not judge others’ practice by our ideals.
  8. Personal realisation. We must sincerely cultivate our own spiritual realisations in Krsna consciousness if we are to effectively represent the sankirtanamovement.[19] Try to speak from personal example and realisation. Sharing will be more effective if it comes from personal realisation.
  9. Personal relationships. The Vaisnava tradition rests on sincere personal relationships. We can live without the philosophy, the ritual and the institution, but we cannot live without our loving and serving relationship with Krsna and His devotees.
  10. Good behaviour. Srila Prabhupada writes, ‘A devotee’s behaviour establishes the true purpose of religious principles’.[20]
Guidelines for approaching members of other faiths
  • The main aim is to form genuine friendly relationships that promote understanding between ourselves and members of other religions.
  • Listen to and value presentations by members of other faiths with respect.
  • Give members of other faiths the opportunity to freely express their sincerely held beliefs and convictions.
  • Allow members of other faiths to define themselves in their own language and ownculture without imposing definitions upon them, thus avoiding comparing their practice with our ideals.
  • Respect the diet, dress, rituals and etiquette of others.
  • Recognise that we all can fall short of the ideals of our respective traditions.
  • Do not misrepresent or disparage the beliefs or religious practices of others. If you want to understand their beliefs, enquire politely and humbly.
  • Respect that others have a commitment to their chosen faith as we do to ours.
  • Be honest and straightforward about your intentions. This will be appreciated by those you meet.
  • Be sensitive and courteous to all you meet, even if you do not get a chance to interact on a deeper level.
  • Respect the right of others to disagree and their desire to be left alone.
  • There is never a need to compromise our philosophy or values.
  • When in dialogue with religious people, you do not have to feel the need to convert them.
  • You will meet fundamentalist religionists and atheistic scholars. Offer them due respect and move on. Sincere dialogue on spiritual matters will not be possible with them.
  • Do not be afraid to answer a question with ‘I don’t know’. Honesty is better than speculation.

Part 5
Resources

Various articles from the ISKCON Communications Journal:

Contemporary Theological trends in the Hare Krishna Movement: A Theology of Religions
Dr. K. Knott. Vol. 1, No. 1

Religion and Religions
Ravindra Svarupa Dasa Vol. 1, No. 1

Christian and Jewish Responses to ISKCON: Dialogue or Diatribe?
John A. Saliba SJ Vol. 3, No. 2

Hinduism Vaishnavism and ISKCON: Authentic traditions or Scholarly Constructions?
Gavin Flood Vol. 3, No. 2

The Four Principles of Interfaith Dialogue and the Future of Religions
Kenneth Cracknell Vol.4, No.1

Hinduism and Interreligious Dialogue
Daniel Acharuparambil OCD Vol. 4, No.2

Dialogue with ISKCON: A Roman Catholic Perspective
John A. Saliba S. J Vol. 4, No.2

A Response to Daniel Acharuparambil’s Article
Ravindra Svarupa Dasa Vol. 4, No.2

Conference Reports in the ISKCON Communications Journal :

The Destiny of the Soul: A Vaishnava-Christian Conference
Vol.4, No.2

The Everlasting Soul: A Vaishnava-Christian Conference
Judsome Trapnell Vol. 6, No.1

Religion, Community and Conflict
Maurice Ryan Vol. 6, No.1

Other useful publications:

Krishna Consciousness and Other Faiths
Shubhananda Dasa in the ISCKON Review Vol. 4, 1986

Krishna and Christ: ISKCON’s Encounter with Christianity in North America
By Steven J. Gelberg (Subhananda Das) in Hindu-Christian Dialogue: Perspectives and Encounters, edited by Harold Coward, Orbis Books: Maryknoll, NY, 1989

Encountering God: From Bozeman to Banares
Diane L. Eck, Beacon Press: Boston, 1993

Justice Courtesy and Love: Theologians and Missionaries Encountering World Religions 1846-1914
Kenneth Cracknell, Epworth Press, 1995

Hindu and Christian in Vrindavan
Klaus Klostermaier, SCM press: London, 1969

Global Ethic for Global Politics and Economics
Hans Kung and Karl-Joseph (eds.) Kuschel SCM press: London

Guidelines on Dialogue with People of Living Faiths and Ideologies
Geneva, WCC, 1979 – Seminal document, in use in World Council of Churches (WCC) member churches since the WCC Central Committee, Kingston, Jamaica, 1979.

Towards a New Relationship: Christians and People of Other Faith
Kenneth Cracknell, London Epworth Press

God Has Many Names
John Hick, London and Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1980
Many Personal Experiences are recounted in this book.

Faith in the Midst of Faiths: Reflections on Dialogue in Community
Samantha J. Stanley, Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1977

The Faith of Other Men
Wilfred Cantwell Smith, New York and San Francisco, Harper and Rowe, 1963 and 1972

Images of Eternity: Concepts of God in Five Religious Traditions
Keith Ward, London, Darton, Longman Todd, 1987

Christianity and World Religions: Paths of Dialogue with Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism
Hans Kung et al., London, Collins, 1987

The Trinity and the Religious Experiences of Man
Raimundo Panikkar, London, Darton, Longman and Todd; Maryknoll, New York, Orbis Books, 1972

Towards a World Theology: Faith and the Comparative History of Religion
Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Philadelphia, The Westminster Press, and London and Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1981

Christian Theology and World Religions: a Global Approach
Frank Whaling, Basingstoke, Marshall Pickering, 1986

Preparation for Dialogue
Paul D. Devanandan, Bangalore, CISRS, 1964

The Unknown Christ of Hinduism: Towards an Ecumenical Chistophany
Raimundo Panikkar, London, Darton, Longman and Todd, 1981

Truth is Two-Eyed
J. A. T. Robinson, SCM Press, 1979
Robinson spent six months in 1976 travelling in India, Hong Kong and Japan undertaking Hindu-Christian dialogue, and his reflections are valuable.

Jesus and the Other Names
Paul F. Knitter, Oneworld Publications, Oxford, England, 1997
A review of this book appeared in ICJ 5.2

Appendix 1
The Seven Purposes of ISKCON

  1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
  2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna (God), as it is revealed in the great scriptures of India, Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavatam-Bhagavatam.
  3. To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, thus developing the idea within the members, and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).
  4. To teach and encourage the sankirtan movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
  5. To erect for the members and for society at large a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the personality of Krishna.
  6. To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler, more natural way of life.
  7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

Appendix 2

At Home with People of Other Faiths
(Co-operatively developed by the Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum and the ISKCON Interfatih Commission)

A programme for meeting with people and faiths

At Home with People of Other Faiths is an initiative to encourage practical opportunities for interfaith dialogue between religious denominations. The idea is to facilitate anyone who wishes to arrange a gathering of members of their own faith and members of a denomination of another faith in the secure and comfortable environment of their own home. The objectives of such gatherings are:

  • To meet with people of other faiths and talk together.
  • To develop mutual understanding and mutual trust
  • To learn to understand what others believe and value
  • To learn to share our commitment and faith with others, while respecting their commitment to their own faith.

These meetings are not services of worship or opportunities to proselytise

Guidelines for Home Interfaith Meetings 

The following are suggested guidelines for participants of home interfaith meetings. These guidelines aim to make your meeting a friendly, enjoyable and enriching learning experience.

  • respectfully listen to and value the presentation of all another members.
  • give all the members equal opportunity to freely express their sincerely held beliefs and convictions.
  • allow members of other faiths to define themselves in their own language and through their own culture without imposing definition upon them.
  • respect the rituals, diet, dress and etiquette of others.
  • recognise that we can all fall short of the ideals of our respective traditions.
  • avoid comparing another’s practice with our ideals.

And remember, you don’t need to know anything about another’s faith to sit with them and listen.

Suggestions for how to host successful meetings
  • Select your group sensitively and keep your numbers small
  • Serve some food or beverage as a warm-up for your members
  • Get to know each other first.
  • Give yourself enough time
  • To inspire discussion it is useful to select a theme for the session
  • Be aware of the need for facilitation and direction, even if it is unstated
  • Make yourself aware of your guests
  • special religious, social or dietary needs
  • Keep it simple

Note: The Northern Ireland Interfaith Forum was formed in 1993 and aims to promote friendship and mutual understanding across the spectrum of religious and ethnic life in Northern Ireland, and to encourage charitable purposes for the community as a whole.

The ISKCON Interfaith Commission was formed in 1995 to offer members of the Vaishnava community direction and guidance in developing relationships with people of other faiths.

At Home with Other Faiths has developed as the result of co-operation between the NIIF and the IIC.

Footnotes

[1] The seven purposes of ISKCON, as penned by Srila Prabhupada, are reproduced in full in Appendix 1.

[2] A pranama mantra is a mantra (or prayer) of respect and glorification. It is traditional for disciples of a spiritual teacher or holy person to chant a pranama mantra specifically composed for their glorification. The second of Srila Prabhupada’s pranama mantras offers the following praises:

‘I offer respectful obeisances to you, the servant of Sarasvati Goswami [the spiritual master of Srila Prabhupada], who are preaching the message of Lord Caitanya and who are delivering the Western countries of voidism and impersonalism.’

[3] Thakur, Bhaktivinode, Sri-Caitanya-Siksamritam, Madras, India: Sri Gaudiya Math, 1983, p. 9.

[4] Thakur, Bhaktivinode, Light of the Bhagavat, Madras, India: Sri Gaudiya Math, 1983, p. 20

[5] Thakur, Bhaktivinode, Sri-Caitanya-Sikshamritam, p. 7

[6] Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 4.22.24, purp.

[7] In this connection Srila Prabhupada has written, ‘It doesn’t matter which set of religious principles one follows: the only injunction is that one must follow them strictly . Whether one is a Hindu, a Mohammedan or a Christian, one should follow one’s own religious principles.’ Bhag. 5.26.15, purp.

[8] Bhaktivedanta Swami, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1987, p.18, also see pp. 19symbol 150 \f “Sanskrit-Garamond” \s 10-20

[9] ‘The supreme and eternal occupation [ para dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.’

[10]When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Krsna favorably, as Krsna desires.

[11] Letter to Rupanuga Dasa, 3 June 1968.

[12] To understand this development of religion, both individually and collectively, one may study Vaisnava philosophy in terms of the Karma, Jnana and Bhakti paradigm. The fundamentals of this perspective are well presented by Ravindra Svarupa Dasa, in his article ‘Religion and Religions’, ISKCON Communications Journal, 1993.

[13] Sri Siksastaka, verse 3. These verses are reproduced in Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas, Juhu, Bombay: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1991, pp.22-25

[14] Bhag. 11.2.47 purp.

[15] Letter to Toshana Krsna Dasa, 23, June 1970

[16] Bhag 11.2.46

[17] To illustrate this point Srila Prabhupada has observed that, ‘There is no difference between a pure Christian and a sincere devotee of Krsna.’ Room Conversation, Bombay, 5, April 1977.

[18] Bhag. 7.5.23-24

[19] Srila Prabupada has explained what is meant by realisation. ‘Personal realisation does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one’s own learning by trying to surpass the previous acarya. He must have full confidence in the previous acaryas and at the same time he must realise the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstance in a suitable manner.’ Bhag. 1.4.1 purp.

Srila Prabhupada has also outlined the basic knowledge a preacher must have to convey his message. One must understand that the Lord is ‘. the Supreme enjoyer, that He is the proprietor of everything, and that He is the best well-wisher and friend to everyone.’ Bhag. 7. 6. 24 purp.

[20] Bhaktivedanta Swami, Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya Lila, Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1990, 17. 195

ISKCON UK
The History of the Balaram Mridangas

One Response to “ISKCON in Relation to People of Faith in God”

  1. Pusta Krishna das says :

    Krishna in His Bhagavad Gita recommends that one give encouragement to act in the spirit of devotion. It is a simple and non-confrontational prescription. When we do so with an eye to please Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, we can recommend to them that the best method for approaching God in this age is the chanting and glorification of His Holy Names. It is natural for every theistic person to be convinced that their way is the best way. Few are seekers of the Truth, but rather will take shelter of a religions. Mostly, if one practices a different tradition, they will be more impressed by one’s personal example and character. That is what an acharya is, teaches by example. Pusta Krishna das

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