Are the revelations in other religious traditions as for example they do not accept the law of karma?
Edited By: Shyam P
Question: Are the revelations in other religious traditions, as for example, they do not accept the law of karma? We have been told that Lord Krishna gives different knowledge in different parts of the world. Now even Islam or Christianity, which believes in Christ / Christos/ Krishna, is Lord. Does it mean that Krishna gives partial knowledge to them as you have said that there is no law of Karma, that is, they don’t believe in it?
Answer: Yes, first of all, Krishna did give partial knowledge according to time, place and circumstance to those specific teachers of those traditions. It is not that those teachers, themselves, had partial knowledge,but they gave partial knowledge. So it’s Krishna through those teachers who gave partial knowledge to the people depending on the level of the recipients for that knowledge. Now, it’s not that they don’t entirely disbelieve in the law of Karma.
They have the principle of accountability – ‘as you sow so shall you reap’ is a well-known statement from the Bible which has become a part of the literary heritage of the world. It is seen as a general saying, not just as a Biblical saying. But this principle of accountability is not extended beyond this life and how we are accountable is not exactly understood. So is the revelation partial? Yes, it is partial and actually for that statement, to that effect, even in those scriptures.
In the Bible, Jesus says that much I have to tell you but you do not have ears to hear. In the Quran, it is said that there are three kinds of knowledge that Allah gave to Mohammed – one which he was told to reveal to others, the other he was told you can reveal or conceal and the third, which was told, you should conceal. So like that, there are 100 confidential names of Allah out of which the 100th name is most confidential, that is not known.
There are not just these explicit statements, but along with that, if we look at the level of the people, the followers of the Jesus were not at all philosophically inclined. They were dedicated, no doubt, and many of them became advanced spiritualists but still the point was that they were not philosophically inclined, they were not intellectual, they were not seriously searching for truth, and that’s why if we look at the content of the Bible there are not many serious philosophical questions in it – primarily small stories, allegories sometimes, and the description of the events.
The same applies actually to the Quran also. Mohammed’s original audience to whom he spoke, they were tribal. Many of them were raiders who plundered the travelling caravans so that they could have their own living and they got the revelation accordingly. So from explicit statements within those scriptures, from the level of the audience and from the actual content, which is non-philosophical, we can understand that that revelation is partial.
Now, that idea of giving the partial revelation is not there only for non-Vedic traditions, but it isalso there within the Vedic tradition in many places. The Vedas have the progressive scheme of Karma Kanda, Jnana Kanda, and Bhakti, and the scriptures which focus on Karma Kanda hint towards Bhakti but they don’t emphasize Bhakti. So Karma Kanda is a generic category in which people practice religion primarily for material gains, and actually most of Islam & Christianity is at the Karma Kanda level. So this is not a sectarian idea that because we belong to a particular tradition we say that our tradition has full knowledge and other traditions have partial knowledge.
The point is that there isan objective criteria for deciding this and that objective idea is to the extent to which the knowledge of God is given, the extent tothe philosophical understanding that is given. I give the seminar on TESTS to evaluate the authenticity of spiritual paths. T is time honored, E is Explanatory, S is Scripture-based, T is Transformational and S is Successful.
There we discuss about various paths and we talk about how the Vedic revelation, which has manifested in the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, offers us the smoothest and the fastest path back to Krishna, back to God. And there are different paths; they are also helping people to climb up the mountain to the peak of the absolute truth.
But not all of these paths have the same level of support system in terms of clear philosophical understanding and that’s why we recommend following the Gaudiya Vaisnava path, although others who are committed to other paths will also make the spiritual advancement and eventually attain love of God if that is what they aspire for.