KC and World Religions (6)

by Chaitanya Charan dasSeptember 3, 2013

The study of several religions

Today’s Topics:

  • Why to study various religions?
  • Different kinds of religions

 

Lecture Topic:

 

    1. Studying religion can be done in different levels.

 

      1. True spiritual seeking –> For finding which path to follow.

 

      1. Intellectual sense gratification –> Study of various paths after knowing and choosing one path.
  • Study of KC devotees

 

        1. Personal application –> Deepen our appreciation of what we have got.

 

      1. Preaching application –> to be sensitive when we are interacting with people of different audience.

 

    1. AIM: To see all the religions from a KC perspective.
  • Three subdivisions of the study of a religion:

 

      1. History –> How it originated and developed

 

      1. Primary beliefs
  • Interactions with Gaudiya Vaishnavism, if any.

 

    1. Primary way of knowing –> Guru, sadhu and shasthra

 

    1. Bonafied ways of gaining knowledge: (Krsna says to Uddhava in Uddhava Gita in 11th Canto)

 

      1. Shruthi –> what we hear from the spiritual tradition

 

      1. Pratyaksha praman
      2. Itiha –> Historical record

 

    1. Anuman –> Inference (term used in positive sense)
    2. Primary way of knowing –> shruthi
  1. Before Bhakthi Vinoda Thakhura (BVT) no acharya commented on religion.
  2. Oral and written traditions were the only way by which the knowledge was passed down at the time of Vishwanath Chakravarthy Thakhura (VCT).
  3. Books were written is only for scholars. Therefore when VCT, wrote a book he wrote for scholars only.
  4. Sambandha Jnana given by books and Abhideya by oral tradition.
  5. VCT’s commentaries on SMBG and BG contain primarily 3 things:
    1. He goes into the heart of the seeker and gives the conversations. (Krsna’s feelings given priority)
    2. Grammatical Analysis
    3. Philosophical clarification
  6. When the living tradition is there, there is no need for practical methods to be given in the books.
  7. The main religion that confronted to Sanathan was Islam and it was never seen as an intellectual competitor to the sanathan path.
  • The Two World Religions:

 

    1. Dharmic Religions –> Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism. (All have some concept like Dharma, an underlying order to the universe exists (order may vary in religion))
    2. Abrahamic Religions –> Judaism, Christianity, Islam. (Accept Abraham as their first Prophet)
    1. Geographically the Dharmic religions evolved from India.
    2. KC has Achintya Beda – Abeda relation with Hinduism.
    3. Abrahamic religions are founded (started) and Propounded (spread) primarily by prophets.
  • Fundamental Difference Between Prophets and Rishis:

 

Prophets

Rishis

Messengers who convey the instructions of god

Individuals who consciously sort the spiritual

Not a life based on “conscious search for spirituality”

Life style focused on attaining transcendental truths and hence had strict sadhana

Hence no stress on systematic study of philosophy

Philosophy has good significance

Judaism

 

  • Starts with Adam and Eve.
  • Satan –> Snake
  • The Garden Of Eden story.
  • Similarities of Satan and Maya:
  • Both tempt the soul away from God.
  • Differences:
Satan Maya
Satan is independent entity independent from god She is one of expansions of Radha Rani
Satan is seen as enemy to god Maya is servant of god
  • Adam and Eve seen as the only living entities when they fell, and everyone else have descended from them.
  • They had done the “Original Sin”. Their sin is passed down through all the generations.
  • Their idea is that sin is a genetic defect passed from generation to generation.
  • Jesus thought of as the son of god, so he can’t be sinful. But if he was born of a union, then he should have the sins of Adam and Eve. This lead to the concept that Mary gave birth to a child, but as a Virgin (But this is not mentioned in bible ).
  • Fails to explain why some people suffer less and some suffer more.
  • Historically the Jews become active at the time of Moses (Founder of the religion)
  • They were held captive in Egypt when Moses, through a series of events escapes the prison and gets a calling from God that he has to be the Prophet.
  • God -“You will take the people out and I’ll take you to the promised land (Today’s area of Israel)”
  • God considered as remote and inaccessible
  • He interacts in two ways:
  • Instructions to the prophet
  • Supernatural events (Example of ‘Trapped between the devil and the sea’)
  • This continued through the chain of prophets (none of them are serious spiritual seekers)
  • All came towards Jerusalem, but before reaching the city Moses died.
  • So from the hope that they will attain the full glory (as promised by god) lead to the idea that “In future a Prophet will come and will fully deliver us to the promised land”. (A Messiah will come in future)
  • LOOKING FROM KC PERSPECTIVE:
  • No direct interaction with god anywhere
  • No systematic philosophy. (They felt, philosophy is ‘Abstract, Otherworldly, Uncertain and Debatable’)
  • All the Prophets in the line got some messages from god and there are some supernatural events which are recorded, all formed the basis for ‘The Old Testament
  • The Old Testament (TOT) has very few words of god. Primarily has the actions of god (that too god is not a person)
  • God is a supernatural force about to burst into reality but never bursted out
  • TOT is neither Shruthi nor Smrithi (since it is a record of god’s incarnations)
  • When Jesus arrived, some of them thought that Jesus is the Messiah that was promised, but when crucified then some of them begun to question because Jesus was crucified
Jews Christians
Jesus is not the Messiah Jesus is the Messiah
REASON: “He couldn’t deliver himself” REASON: “He delivered us by sacrificing himself”
  • Jesus lived and died like a Jew, his teachings being Jewish. But after his death, his followers started a new religion.
  • HISTORICAL SENSE: ‘Christianity is subset of Judaism’
  • PRACTICAL SENSE: Number of Christians are far more than Jews
  • Christians made the teachings of Jesus as the ‘The New Testament’
  • SP mainly talks about Jesus, not so much mention of Moses
  • BVT wrote a book ‘From Moses to Mahaprabhu(MP)’
Jews Gaudiya Vaishnavas
Jesus is the western savior MP is the eastern savior
Rasa revelation is less Rasa revelation is more
  • BVT says that the rasa evolved to Madhurya rasa.
  • Jews had tremendous influence on world history.
  • They are seen as intelligent people at the same time they kept themselves isolated from others.
  • They had the idea that ‘God has chosen us to be his messengers, so we have to be protected’. So they stayed away and never married out of religion
  • Christians feel that it was Jews who killed Jesus, hence both the religions don’t have sweet relations.
  • When Hitler wanted to kill the Jews, the catholic church gave their full support.
  • Jews though small had a great influence as they are very active in the places of influence.
  • The point at which the Dharmic and Abrahamic religions evolve is the relationship between God and us.
  • Their idea is that God is sacred and this world is profane, hence god never comes in contact with this world.
  • This duality is maximum seen in Islam consequence being that they thought ‘God can’t manifest in any material (impure) form’.
  • Moses went to the top of a mound and got the ten commandments from God as instructions. In the meantime, his followers at the bottom melted all the ornaments they had, molded it into a calf and started worshipping it. When Moses came down with the ten commandments on a stone tablet, he was outraged. He dropped it down which broke and information was lost. This enraged him further. He destroyed the calf and gave punishment to the people. This lead to the concept to ‘destroy’ any idol found.
  • God can’t be represented by any form as he is from other world. If some idol represents God then it is a false god. False god is a competitor for the true god. Our devotion to the true god is proven by destruction of false god.
  • So whenever a Jewish king conquered a new kingdom, then the first thing that he would do is to destroy all the idols of that kingdom (which is an act of great virtue)
  • Their idea of false gods is that:
  • They are ordinary human beings who are made god
  • They are manifestations of imaginations of people
  • The Abrahamic religions are highly ‘History Centric’ and their insights are ‘not necessarily universal’.
  • They lack the philosophy of Deity worship.
  • SP says “Both spirit and matter are energy of God and God can switch between them”.
  • They essentially say that “The world is so filthy and impure that even God can’t manifest in here” which is an insult to god.
  • Their realizations are OK with their religion (as there is lack of philosophy), but they can’t generalize it, as there are religions with far deeper understanding of philosophy.
  • How should we view the Abrahamic religion followers?

We shouldn’t see them as ‘agents of hatred’ but as ‘victims of misconception’

  • We have to educate them. We have to show them that by following our religion we can develop greater love of god. Then these sectarian boundaries are vanquished.

SUMMARY:

  • Judaism and its history
  • How we see other religions
  • What our Acharyas have said about these
  • Divisions of religion
  • Difference between Rishi and Prophet
  • Rise of Judaism
  • Foundational difference in understanding of God

Questions and Answers:

  • What is the difference between ‘Torah’ and ‘Old Testament’?
  • Torah is like our Vedas.
  • Vedas can represent to either 4 Vedas or the ‘body of vedic literature’
  • Similarly Torah can represent ‘first 5 books of OT’ or ‘OT along with writings of great saints and prophets’
  • Why is that Vedic religion couldn’t transform them, if earlier they were connected to Vedic society?
  • These religions history doesn’t go very far behind.
  • According to literalist Christians (who interpret bible), earth is 6000 years old. Moses was 3000 years
  • Therefore these rulers came up when the influence of Vedic civilization started coming down.
  • The Greek philosophy is very similar to Vedic insights.
  • Even in Vedic tradition, Lord never gave realizations completely. He gave different versions according to TPC. So it is quite possible that outside its realm people developed new ideology.

Christianity – Part 01

  • Religion is characterized by looking backwards.
  • Also they have some prophecy for the future. We live primarily on our memories and hopes.
  • But life in material world is never joyful.
  • Religion ‘Expands’ and ‘Spiritualizes’ our memories (by sacred events) and hopes (by promises).
  • Christianity –> ” In future a Messiah will come and save us from ‘political’ and ‘cultural’ oppression.
  • However with Jesus advent and departure the political situation of followers didn’t change much.
  • Hence hope was formed that Jesus will come again and reward those who followed his principles, and would make earth the ‘Kingdom of God’.
  • SP attitude towards Christians is divided into two categories:

 

    1. If someone is a nominal Christian (not so serious), SP would encourage him to practice KC
    2. If someone is proper follower of Christian, SP would recommend them to follow Jesus properly. (main emphasis on ‘Thou shall not kill’)
    1. SP approach was ‘Universality’ and ‘confidentiality’.

 

      1. UNIVERSALITY: There is order to the world with God in center, and we have to harmonize our love by loving devotion.

 

    1. CONFIDENTIALITY: The detailed description of God, his spiritual dealings etc.
  1. Jesus lived for about 33 years and was crucified after that.
  2. From the age of 12 to the age of 29 there is nothing that is known about him.
  • DIFFERENT THEORIES:

 

    1. Some claim that Jesus came to India. (SP said in one lecture that Jesus is a worshipper of Jagannath. There is a book that SP had read namely ‘Aquarian Gospel’)
    2. SP never quoted anything from Bible because he knew that Christians would never accept him as an authority for bible.
    3. The ‘Pratisarghaparva’ of ‘Bhavishya Purana(BP)’ is said to have predicted Jesus, but its authenticity is doubtful as the book is said to have been interpolated.
    4. In BP it is said that King Salyavahan went to the North India where he met a tall, bearded and fair looking who said that :
      1. I am considered prophet by the ‘Malechas’.
      2. I have taught them the religion of the worship of ‘Fire and the Sun’.
      3. I was born of a Virgin.
      4. My name is ‘Ishah Messiah’. (Ishah is Vedic name of Jesus).
    5. Among the four points, first and third are acceptable. But Jesus as we know never taught the worship of Sun and Fire.
    6. Also Historically whether Maharaj Salyavahan existed at the time of Jesus is not clear.
  1. By accepting the fact that Jesus visited India, we might be trying to:
    1. Prove the universality of the Vedic literature.
    2. Expansiveness of our Hindu Ego.
  2. Our Acharyas never commented on the part when Jesus visited India.
  3. After the end of his 18 years, he started preaching. At that time the land was under Roman rule.
  4. When he said that he was ‘Son of God’ some of the Jews told to the king, that he was conspiring a plot politically against the king and for the same reason he was crucified.
  5. Gospels can refer to ‘Truth revealed by God’ or in narrower sense, they are the four books that talk about the activities of Jesus.
  6. The four books are:
    1. Mathew
    2. Mark
    3. Luke
    4. John
  7. But there some contradictions within the books on the account of life of Jesus Christ.
  8. Also the acts of The Twelve Apostles are also mentioned. The letters written by Paul (as he was in charge of vast area of preaching) are given.
  9. The last book describes the final battle between God and the Satan in which God will kill the Satan and Kingdom of God will be manifested on Earth. But this revelation became the source of embarrassment to many Christians as many religions show the fear of Dooms day to install religion to people.
  10. Their belief is that whoever is surrendered to Jesus by the Judgment Day will ‘Eternally’ go to heaven and for those who don’t will eternally go to hell.
  • THE TEN COMMANDMENTS: (Old Testament)

 

    1. You shall have no other God before me.
    2. You shall not make for yourself an idol.
    3. If your Parents deride me, I shall punish them and also the further generations. (Not the exact statement) –> Shows that God is vengeful and leading further ‘Intellectual Alienation of God’ and hence in the future science was felt more appealing than religion to people.
    4. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord. (Some Christians use this to say that you shouldn’t chant the names of the Lord, and some shouldn’t write the name of the Lord)
    5. You should honor your mother and father.
    6. You shall not murder. (Kill)
    7. You shouldn’t commit Adultery.
    8. You shouldn’t steal
    9. You shouldn’t false witness against your neighbor.
    10. You shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s house. You shouldn’t covet your neighbor’s wife.
    1. Most of it is Mundane morality. No direct instruction for doing sadhana. So even the followers are nominally religious, they stay at the material level.
    2. SP quotes from the gospel Luke “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. SP says that the Bhakthi can be in modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Even though Jesus taught worship in love, most of the religions are in the modes of passion and ignorance.
    3. Moral instructions without god consciousness are impossible to follow.
  • Textual Integrity:

 

    1. There is a book named ‘The Paradox of Jesus in the Gospels’, where the author Prof. Charles Smith says that not all the words in the bible are quoted by Jesus Christ.
    2. ‘I am the way, the truth and the light. No man comes to the father, but by me’ which is often used by the Christians to show their exclusivism. Most of the Abrahamic religion followers are exclusivists. So the professor says that this is not spoken by Jesus but interpolated later.
    3. These kind of contradictions are not found in BG, all the Acharyas have accepted without controversies. (This topic is not be done as a general discussion but for personal understanding)
  1. Seven weeks after the passing away of Jesus, all his followers broke down, not understanding how the son of God couldn’t protect himself. But then some of his followers got the sight of Jesus getting resurrected again and blessed them.
  2. This made a paradigm shift of ‘We are lost’ to ‘We are blessed as Jesus died for our sins’. ‘So now it is up to us to die for his cause.’ This became critical for the survival of Christianity.
  3. One of the Twelve Apostles Paul, had taught reformation of the Jew religion conflicting with others, as they thought Jesus to be a Jew. He shifted the focus from ‘Die for the cause of God’ to ‘Jesus died for our sins’, which is unfortunate.
  4. Later Peter and Paul were burnt by the king Nero.
  5. Till 4th century Christians were persecuted. But after that the roman king Constantine found that his population were largely immoral. Hence material administration became difficult. He made Christianity the state religion and it shot up overnight. Then another misfortunate movement took place. Christians who were earlier ‘persecuted’ became the ‘persecutors’.
  6. Till 18th century Pope was considered king of the kings.
  7. In 10th century the Churches split into two. ‘The Catholic Church’ and ‘The Orthodox Church’.
  8. Orthodox Church had capital as Constantinople and Catholic Church had capital Rome.
  9. 15th Century another split between Catholic Church (CC) and Protestant Church
  10. CC wanted to build big churches which required money. So the pope at that time got the concept of ‘selling indulgences’ which included that God would forgive the sin if Pope was given some money.
  11. There were some people who revolted against Pope and for 100 years there was a bloody war in Christianity.
  12. Then CC people moved towards west primarily to NA and SA and Protestants moved to the east to India etc.
  13. The CC destroyed the culture of NA & SA.
  14. Later CC came to India also and spread rapidly
  • Encounter with Indians:

 

    1. The English initially felt that our culture was very abominable culture.
    2. They had three main criticisms
      1. Idol worship
      2. Cast system and the discrimination it caused.
      3. Polytheism (too many gods)
    3. They did try for 100 years to change but of little results, because whenever English pointed out the mistakes of Indians, the Indians reformed their philosophy. (Swami Vivekananda, Raja Ram Mohan Roy etc.)
    4. Christians got their higher taste primarily in converting other religions into their own, but no higher taste with God.
    5. So instead of criticizing Hindus, they got up with two new strategies
      1. Education
      2. Social service
    6. They told that Social service the highest form of devotional service evoking the mundane sentiments of the people and confusing them that they were devotional sentiments.
    7. The Christians have made an impact by showing nice material care.
    8. So along with philosophy, if we can show the ‘devotee care’ then people accept KC.

Christianity – Part 02

  • In Christian church the central ritual is called the Eukarist
  • The night before his crucifying, he had a supper which is called ‘The last supper’, wherein he ate a loaf of bread partially, distributing the remaining to his disciples saying ‘this is my body’ and gives them a cup saying ‘Drink it, this is my blood.’
  • What Jesus offered in the cup was unfermented grape juice while now people started offering wine. This is the closest form of prasad. The idea is that bread changes from material to spiritual (Transubstantiation).
  • Christianity doesn’t have deities. Since we have the concept of deity, we say we are going for dharshan.
  • Distinctive feature of devotion is that we use our senses in Krsna’s service. If deity worship is not there is not so much rising from material level.
  • There is a ‘Call for Humility’ in their religion. In Mathew it is given:

 

  1. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are those who mourn, for there shall be comforted
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
  4. These are close to ‘Trnad api sunicena’
  • They have the idea that we have to be humble before god. But if we see their attitude towards other religion, this humility is rarely mentioned.
  • A religious thought can be in three categories:

 

    1. Exclusivist –> This is the only way

 

    1. Pluralist –> There are many ways to god and you can chose anyone

 

  1. Inclusivity –> There is one way and there are many levels on that.
  • Exclusivist and pluralist are two extremes and inclusivism is like a balance.
  • If we take religion as a university

 

Exclusivist

“My college is the only college. If you didn’t get degree in my college, you aren’t engineer.”

Pluralism

Every building is an engineering college

Inclusivism

“There different means by which we can grade the engineering colleges.”

  • We have the classifications based on fear, desire, duty and love.
  • Greatest scholar in the Christian tradition was St. Augustine and he talks about making the top most priority in life. He was among the first prominent intellectuals in Christian history.
  • Bible is mainly stories with some morals. It is a collection of ‘moral instructions from god’. They say that God is unknowable and hence we should struggle to follow the will of the lord rather than knowing him. But if we want to follow the will of the lord, we need to love god and for that reason we need to know him.
  • They preach by showing how a bible can make us a better person.
  • Greeks beliefs are very similar to Vedic beliefs. Christians emerged from Arabia and came to Europe. But by that time the Europeans already had the scholarly beliefs influenced by the Greeks. Many of the Christian followers thus took the Greek philosophy and blended it with the Gospels. From that emerged “Christian Theology”
  • They later developed the idea of ‘Pre-Christian Christian saints’ where they depicted Plato and other Greek thinkers as Christian saints
  • Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are like parampara. A prominent Christian scholar Thomas Acquenus studied Aristotle.
  • Socrates never wrote anything down and what we know of him is through Plato. Aristotle though was Plato’s student practically never wrote anything down.
  • Plato and Socrates mainly underlined the spiritual underlying the material. But Aristotle’s focus was mainly o particular because he never saw Universal and it is useless time in thinking about it (Focus on material).
  • Augustine adopted the “Plato Socrates” tradition while Aquenus adapted “Aristotle” tradition.
  • It was further propagated that “God is glorious, but let us concentrate on what we can see”
  • This lead to the development of science and beating back of the religion.
  • He said “By observing the nature we can say that God is the designer, but we can’t say anything further just by observing the nature.”
  • Slowly this lead to rejection of spiritual. There are several stages

 

  1. In 15th century, the Protestants came up saying everyone has direct relation with God and there is no need for a priest to interfere. But this unfortunately lead to individual interpretations of Bible. Since everyone has a direct relation with God no interpretation is superior to another. Hence endless interpretations came up. And the Protestant church split further to 50000 sects. Then some protestants said that there should be no interpretations of God and hence everything should be taken as it is.
  2. When a religion doesn’t accept an authority for gaining knowledge then the people either endlessly interpret or take up a route with no interpretations which is impractical and illogical.
  3. Jesuit schools for Christianity developed. Oxford, Cambridge, Yale etc. were originally started by Christians which later developed into secular schools. These Jesuits study for 14 years out which 80% they study Hinduism remaining Christianity. They study to refute Hinduism. They know much more about Hinduism more than Hindus do.
  4. America is primarily a protestant country. They strongly oppose celibacy. When renounced order is not there in a tradition, then that religion has no living examples for scriptures.
  5. “Everyone thought that science is a gift by god to elevate people materially. Just like Jesus came to us to elevate us spiritually, science came to elevate us materially.”
  6. The major argument the Christians use to defeat Hinduism is “If your religion is the true religion, then why are you poverty stricken? Why doesn’t your God help you?”
  7. Without Guru, Sadhu and Shasthra no one can reach Krsna. Similar reason lead to the fall of Christianity. People started telling there is no need for priest. We can have direct relation with Jesus directly.
  8. When we reject the representatives of God then we ourselves become authority for studying the books. This lead to the fall of Christianity. People found out many discrepancies in Bible.
  9. There is not much description of Structure of Universe in the Bible. The idea that earth is at the centre of universe was borrowed from Greek mathematician called Tollemy and Catholic Church adapted it. So when Galleleo had told otherwise, it was seen as an attack on Christianity. The church tried to persecute him and this lead to the fall of the Church.
  10. Slowly science further said that “We do believe in god, but we don’t believe in his word” and they rejected many statements saying “It is not scientific”
  11. Then Darwin’s theory developed and people rejected god also. So in western history it moved

 

“Reject priests –> Reject words of God –> Reject God”

 

  1. Many Christians are now on the defense. So the faith in religion depends on the representative’s life.
  2. One of the major causes of Atheism is the irresponsible behavior of the Christian priests.
  • ISCKON’S CASE:

 

    1. Our leaders generally face tremendous opposition in the areas where Church has high influence.
    2. John paul -II in the second Vatican council meeting declared “We accept good in all other religions also”
    3. So initially at the beginning stage of ISCKON most of the Christians wanted to inquire the intellectual aspects of other religions and appreciated them also.
  1. Christians have three approaches to Sanathan Dharma.
    1. Condemnation –> If you follow this religion, you go to hell (Attitude of early Christians who came to India)
    2. Irrelevance –> These books are so old and none of them are real or relevant. It is also not practically. Max muller was the pioneer of Vedic scriptures in English. He respected scriptures but said that the Vedic scriptures start with flashes of brilliance, but end in total darkness.
    3. Fulfillment –> Hinduism is good. Practice it so that you become good human being and you become qualified to receive the mercy of Jesus and then you will be saved.
  2. John Paul – II said that “If we offer more souls to Jesus the process of his coming back to earth will be accelerated! So maintain Christianity in essence, but externally follow rituals as the hindus”
  3. So, in many places Deity worship to Jesus started. In fact Jesusashtakam, Jesus-sahasranam etc.!! They have adapted the method of Jesus – Diksha. They slowly became successful. They are converting in underground way.
  4. The devotees have some interesting quotes regarding the rapid growth of Christianity in India.
    1. SP disciples are not allowed to stay in India as they don’t have Visas. So many times SP said that “If Christian missionaries are allowed to come and spread their religion, why aren’t the Hare Krishna devotees allowed?”
    2. SP met many Christians who had criticized Sanathan Dharma very badly. But SP said that “These Christian followers are men of integrity and devotion.” He was overall positive toward them.
    3. SP said many times that we should know BG like the Christians know bible. We should have such missionary spirit.
    4. None of these missionaries are bad intended. We can learn the preaching vigor from these Christians.

Islam

  • In the world almost one out of every four men are Muslims
  • It is the second largest religion in the country.
  • It is the fastest growing religion in the world.
  • It is not growing fast because of conversion but mainly because of reproduction. Average birth rate of world is 2.5, the average birth rate of Muslims is 8
  • Several places in Europe have already become Muslims.
  • Two main divisions in Muslims

 

  1. Sunis –> majority of the Muslims
  2. Sheyas –> mostly in Iran.
  • Spain was mostly under Muslim rule in its history.
  • Prophet full name is Mohammed Ibna Abdah Allah. He lived for around 62 years.
  • At his birth his father died and at age of 6 mother died. He was taken care of by his grandfather.
  • He was poor stricken. Khadijah was a very rich woman in her place. He served her as an assistant. She was 15 years older to him. Later they got married which was a turning point for him materially.
  • Until 40 years nothing great happened. Most of the people around him were Jews. All this happened in Mecca.
  • The three most important places for Muslims are Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

 

  1. Mecca –> Most of his life Mohammed lived here. He had a habit of going to the caves for a retreat where he heard the voice of Gabriel who is an angel (In Abrahamic religions, the Angels are intermediates between People and God). He was revealed the message of God. He told that God is one and he should be worshipped.
  2. Nearby Mecca was the holy place of Khabha. Allah is the name of God and it wasn’t coined by Mohammed. There were many idols there because of which it was a tourist spot. When Mohammed propagated his teachings, people considered him as an economic threat. He had to face many dangers.
  3. When he was in Mecca, some people who were in Medina, which is another important city got attracted to him.
  4. They were first followers and they started preaching in Medina. In Mecca, people decided that Mohammed should be assassinated. At that time his followers sent him an invitation to Medina.
  5. He fled from Mecca to Medina. Abu was his follower who later became his successor. People from Mecca were mainly traders and those from Medina are farmers. So Mohammed didn’t have a physical body which was fit for farming. So the only option left was raiding through the trade routes. Mohammed’s followers would raid and plunder their wealth. So they were seen as financial threat to the people of Mecca.
  6. So there were two battles one at Badraver (Won), the next was at Uhud (lost). At that time Mohammed got a revelation that this defeat is a test from Allah. He conquered tribes nearby. He slaughtered the men and made women and children slaves, thus gaining power. Later he was attacked by Mecca and he lost. But instead of advancing, they thought he was no threat and retreated back.
  7. When he came back, he killed everyone. This is taken as an example that whoever opposed Muslims should be killed. Later the king of Mecca realized he couldn’t fight with Muslims and he voluntarily came and surrendered. This is taken as a great victory in Islam.
  8. He then destroyed all the idols personally. He had become too powerful, though he lived for two years after that. He sent his generals and they started conquering several regions.
  9. The major development of Christianity isn’t during the time of Jesus. He was primarily a teacher. Paul took the role of an administrator and spread the religion. But Mohammed combined the roles of a Brahman and a Kshatriya to spread the religions.
  10. Their learned people are called Ullamah.
  11. To associate anything material to God is to violate the sanctity to God. So they opposed idol worship.
  12. Law book is called shariyah. Prayer is called Salath and the activity of praying is called Namaz.
  13. Quran has 114 chapters called Suras and verses are called Aiahs.
  14. Suras are of different lengths.
  • When Mohammed led his life, then suddenly Gabriel would enter into his body and give revelations. His followers wrote it down. Once he had gone to a desert into a camel when Quran entered into him. His weight became so heavy that the camel couldn’t bear him.
  • The revelation was done in Arabic. So they believed that only in Arabic language the teachings are most effective. Therefore they felt that translations are not of much use. All recitations are done only in Arabic.
  • Revelations happened at different times and at that time his followers had written it down. The compilation etc. happened later. “In religion there should be no force” was one of the revelation.
  • “Kill the Khafirs (people who are not religious) wherever you see them” was a later revelation. So they said that the later revelation cancels the first.
  • They also believe that to the extent Jews and Christians believed in Quran, to that extent they will be delivered.
  • They said that Jesus will come again, but this time they will be followers of Mohammed and he will chastise all the Christians.
  • Apart from Quran the life of Mohammed is given in Hadis. One of the incidences is that he said, this is a revelation. But after some time he would say No it was devil, cancel what you have written.
  • Third Khalif was Utman. Most of the Khalifs died very violent deaths. He was murdered when he was praying. This had sent shock waves all over.
  • Ali was one of the closest followers of Mohammed. He was the husband of Fathima who was the daughter of Mohammed. Later Mohammed married 9 wives. Some of his followers felt that Mohammed wanted Ali to be his successor. When the first three Khalifs had died then Ali came to power.
  • Ummayiad dynasty was the first dynasty in Islam. Mughal is also another dynasty which came to India. The king of Ummayiad, was felt that he opposed Islam initially. So war broke between Ali (Who was the ruler of Islam) and ruler of Ummayiad and Ali was killed. The followers of Ali are called as Sheyas and others are Sunis. Sheyas made Ali’s son Hussain as the king and they marched to Ummayiad. Hussain was killed. Sheyas felt that they couldn’t save grandson of Mohammed. Even today Sheyas torture themselves for this reason.
  • From 12th century onwards Muslims came to India tangibly. They came from different directions. Hence one Muslims fought with others.
  • Every time Muslims were less in number. But they felt that anything done for Allah is fair. So they declared treaty and when treaty was declared they attacked and conquered.
  • Most of the interpretation of Hindu literature was done by Marxists who interpreted them as struggle of lower class over the upper. So they said that when Islam came to India, it freed India from the caste system.
  • Muslims considered Mohammed as the perfect person. So as he bashed the idols in a place, they also bashed the idols. At the time the temples were very wealthy. They looted them all. They said that temples are the stepping stones for building Mosques.
  • Our Acharyas comments on Islam:

 

      1. Not so many interactions in with Muslims with most of our Acharyas.
  • SP:

 

      1. His statements regarding Islam are overwhelmingly positive.
      2. “Just like Muslim children learned Quran in their childhood, so should our Hindu children learn scriptures.” He said.
      3. “Muslims as soon as they get some money they build Mosques. So we should also build temples.”
      4. SP listened to salat once and went into trans.
      5. We get a complete different story when we study Islam under historical record and when we study from Guru, Sadhu and Shasthra. We give priority to the teachings of our own Acharyas.
      6. Mohammed played both Brahman role and Kshatriya role, but most of his successors focused on Kshatriya role.
      7. Khalifs were also not so philosophically advanced. The Ullamahs who were scholars, didn’t have much power. The main power was with the Kings.
      8. This religion was transformed from “Search for God” to “Search for Political power” and political achievements were felt as the proof for development of religion.
      9. Muslim understanding is that God is a person but he doesn’t have a form. ‘Sufis’ were those who glorified Allah in an intimate way. This was considered as blasphemy and hence they were persecuted by both ‘Sheyas’ and ‘Sunis’.
      10. According to their belief there are 7 Jannaths and above it is the throne of Allah. All the believers would stay in the jannath and will enjoy materialistic life. In fact the Jihadis belief is that when they die for the cause they would get 73 Virgins to enjoy with them for eternity and the beauty of them is also given.
  1. Their conception of happiness itself is different and also dangerous.
  2. There is more talk about Allah’s love in their books, but they say that Allah’s love is only for Muslims.
  3. They have five pillars
    1. Their prayers
    2. Statement of Faith
    3. Ritual fast
    4. Giving Charity
    5. Going to the pilgrimage
  4. In CC, Chapter 16 and 17 of Adilila, we have the meeting with Quazi where Caitanya Maha Prabhu says “Since you can’t bring the cows back to life, you can’t kill them and as you are killing them, you are going to hell.”
  5. Another place Caitanya Mahaprabhu says “There are many mistakes and illusions in your scriptures. Their compilers not knowing the essence of knowledge gave orders that are against reason and argument.” Even Quazi accepted that their scriptures are recent and sometimes they contradict each other. Scriptures are eternal.
  6. Islam is a way to god. Because of many interpolations their scriptures are not reliable. We accept their religion until the point they match with our scriptures. Also we do take all necessary measures to protect our temples from the Jihadis. They presence is a threat to the temples.
  7. The death of Gandhi made Hinduism a violent religion in front of other countries, though if we go its history there are little evidences of its violence. So SP clearly made sure that no devotee would get caught up in the Hindu Muslim conflict.
  8. Right now in ISKCON there is no Kshatriya wing. So we don’t get into quarrels with anyone, but our preaching must be vigorous because other religions are converting people and once the people are converted they become hostile. So we have to reach them before other religions do!!

Buddhism

  • Buddhism is one of the growing religions of the world.
  • Most of the Hawaii islands are now inhabited by Buddhists.
  • Buddhism was started with Buddha who was from 6th century BC. (563 AD to 483 BC)
  • His life was recorded much after he departed.
  • He was in a princely family and it was predicted that he will either become a king or a renunciate.
  • His father in order to protect him grew him up in luxury.
  • At the age of 20 he married and at 21 he gave birth to a son named Rahula.
  • Rahula means bond
  • His charioteer Chenna once took him to a ride where he saw the three great scenes:

 

  1. Old person
  2. Diseased person
  3. Corpse
  • He then contemplated on how illusory is the material happiness.
  • His charioteer took him to another ride, where he met for the first time in his life a renunciate.
  • He was shaven headed and holding the staff. When inquired about the details, he told that he had renounced the world as he was scared of the cycle of Birth and Death.
  • That night he renounced the world and performed great austerities. Five people saw him and joined him.
  • Later when he was at the verge of death, he understood that tormenting the body is of no use. As he got the realization, a celestial maiden appeared before him and gave him a glass of milk. When he took it, the other five thought that he had given up his renunciation and they left him and went away.
  • He continued and later got realizations. After he was enlightened he went around teaching. At that time he met his five followers again, they saw that he was very transformed and effulgent.
  • He taught 8 fold path which is near to Satva guna. His main principle was that Desire is the cause of suffering. Giving up desire is the source of happiness. For the procedure to give up desire he gave the 8 principles.

 

  1. Right thoughts
  2. Right intentions
  3. Right speech
  4. Right conduct
  5. Right effort
  6. Right livelihood
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration
  • In order to cultivate these he said “Don’t take any life.”
  • He then transformed Angulima who was a bandit and said that if we can’t create any life then we can’t take lives.
  • He thought ‘Astheya’ saying

 

  1. one shouldn’t steal.
  2. One should avoid sex misconduct.
  3. one shouldn’t take intoxicants.
  4. One should avoid false speech.
  • On positive side they have:

 

  1. Buddha –> Doctor
  2. Dharma –> Medicine
  3. Sangha –> Association (Foundation to any spiritual path)
  • Every fortnight they come together and recite the ‘Vow of monkhood’
  • If anyone had not followed the vow, he is told to publicly confess it at that time. If he tells it, then Buddha says he will be forgiven. Their association concept is similar to that of Vedic literature.
  • The concept of Dharma is more of giving up the negative (ignorance and passion) and coming into goodness. (Very little about transcendent)
  • When Buddha was asked what are you then he gave the answer that “I am awake” nothing more
  • When he was asked once whether the body and soul are one and the same, then Buddha didn’t reply anything.
  • Buddha taught something called “Agnosticism”
  • There is Theism, Atheism and Agnosticism (We can’t know about God)
  • He rejected Vedic literature. He said that whether god exists or not nobody can know. By looking at the world the only thing we can know is that desires cause suffering.
  • He spoke very little philosophy. But he looked very charismatic. That is how Buddhism spread very rapidly.
  • There is a code of conduct (vinaya patra) in which many jarring things are present.

 

  1. It is better to enter your penis into poisonous snake’s mouth than a woman’s vagina.
  2. It is better to enter your penis into a charcoal pit blazing with fire than a woman’s vagina etc.
  • Initially Buddha never accepted women as monks. But his disciple ‘Ananda‘ who was one of his leading follower, told him that if he hadn’t accepted women, then half of the world would be his followers. Buddha replied “If I accepted women, then half of my followers will go away”
  • Buddha lived for a century almost and then departed. Later his disciples took the preaching ahead. The conversion of Ashoka is the most vital turning point for the preaching of Buddhism.
  • Ashoka’s grandfather Chandhra Guptha Mourya had a prime minister Chanakya. He had written that the one thing that a King shouldn’t do is associate with Buddhists or Jains, reason being that the philosophies are world denying that the king will lose the impetus to rule the world.
  • Ashoka sent his son to Sri Lanka. His followers travelled east and west spreading Buddhism rapidly.
  • SP says that “Buddhism spread by top down approach (Brahman –> Kshatriya –> Vaishya –> Sudra)” (Bottom down is that a large group of people follow a religion and elect their leader)
  • Buddhism had adapted mostly Hinduism.
  • SP says that Buddha had taught people “Common sense religious principles”.
  • List of incarnations of Krsna comes twice. First is in third chapter of first canto and again in seventh chapter of the second canto. In second canto Buddha is described that he comes and shoots weapons and kill people.
  • Even in the Buddhist concept there are three Buddha.

 

  1. Adi Buddha (The original person)
  2. Bodi satva Buddha (One who has attained enlightenment and comes back to preach)
  3. Manava Buddha (One who does Sadhana and attains enlightenment)
  • Buddha had a series of events called “The Jathaka Tales” where Buddha tells of his previous incarnations.
  • From his own narration he told that he was Adi Satva Buddha.
  • In the Bhagavatam verse first canto it is given that in Kaliyuga, Lord will come as Buddha the son of Anjana in the province of Gaya just for deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist. Three significant points in this verse.
  • Siddhartha was never born in Gaya. His mother’s name was not Anjana, but Maya.
  • SP talks about the quote of BSST that Buddha is another name for vaishnava.
  • But in Bhakthi Rasamritha Sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami says that Buddhists are not the followers of Vedas.
  • They are talking in different perspectives. BSST was speaking in the context of ultimate aim of Buddha. Lord sometimes comes to give the ultimate revelation and sometimes transcendental elevation.
  • The present day Buddhists consider themselves as Atheists. But there is no explicit statement that Buddha didn’t believe in God. He never spoke of god (Non Theistic, more precisely Pre Theistic, in the sense of foundation for spirituality).
  • Anjana was the name of Buddha’s Grandmother. After Buddha was born, within seven days his mother passed away and for all practical purposes she was his mother.
  • As far as Gaya is concerned, Buddha took birth in Gaya, as he reached his enlightenment. BGM here speaks about Buddha not Siddhartha. Or perhaps it could refer to Adi Buddha.
  • Buddhism has two divisions. Later several divisions broke out. It is a classic example of a religion that almost entirely goes away from its roots when it spreads widely.

 

  1. Mahayan –> The great path
  2. Heenayan –> The lower path
  • According to Buddha one has to get enlightenment (Arhath hood) to escape from this world and later attain Nirvana.
  • Buddhism tells us that this world is false and brings us to nothingness. KC shows us the reality.
  • Candle light exists –> it will consume the candle (existence –> suffering) and if the candle light ceases then there is no melting (no suffering). End your existence and end your suffering.
  • It is quite popular as there is no need to surrender to God. According to Buddha if one is serious, he can attain Nirvana in three lives.
  • In their idea Bodi Satva could attain Nirvana but desires to come back again and again to deliver others.
  • Mahayan said that they were more compassionate and Heenayan were selfish.
  • But people started innovating newer things as the days passed by. They said that Bodhi Satva are so enlighten that they can forget all the rules for the sake of compassion and they became relaxed.
  • A new sect called Vajrayan emerged in 7th century. They discovered new life of Buddha. This Buddha consorts with Woman and enjoys all kinds of Luxuries. According to them, by giving up sense gratification, one can slowly achieve Nirvana, but if one engages in it one can quickly attain Nirvana.
  • Tantra has two parts (Vajrayan Buddhism teachings)

 

  1. Right hand Tantra –> Deity worship
  2. Left hand Tantra –> The sexual energy when released can lead to enlightenment.
  • This came later in Hindus also. The sahajiyas have mixed Vaishnav teachings with this Vajrayan. ‘Unrestricted Sexual indulgence leads to enlightenment’
  • This concept in the modern world is called Zen Buddhism. There is no need for philosophy, only need is experience. “Listen to the sound of silence” (All kinds of unthinkable nonsense).
  • It is very popular because it is “Live in the experience”. Consistently popular spiritual leader in the world is Da Lei Lama. He portrayed religion as religion as compassion and nonviolence.
  • In South Indian tour Caitanya Maha Prabhu meets Mayavadi, Buddhists and Jains. BSST gives critic of Buddhism in Gaudiya Bhasha. He says that because the Buddhists don’t read scriptures, they stay in the zone of speculation.
  • Buddha’s silence when asked about the next successor, tells us about the Emergency solution that Buddha wanted to offer.
  • Shankarachaya later drove Buddhism from India. All the Vaishnav acharyas like Ramanuja Acharya, Madhva Acharya and Shankhara Acharya took birth in South India. When Islam attacked India, most of the North Indians were Buddhists. Because of their advent and Shankar’s philosophy the Buddhists were practically driven out of India.
  • Till 1950’s we had a few Buddhists in India until the time of Ambhedkhar.
  • Buddhists resent the idea that, Buddha is a reincarnate of Vishnu. They say that Hindus have appropriated Buddha into their teachings.
  • During his death Ambhedkhar and Lakhs of his followers accepted Buddhism. Ambhedkhar had written a book why he had accepted it. But he had accepted what he thought as Buddhism. In fact there is a famous saying that he had accepted Ambhedhkharism.
  • Many of the Buddhists in India are now ‘Anti Hindus’. In order to prove themselves separate from Hindus they say that “Reincarnation is correct but there is no soul!!” When asked what is it that reincarnates their reply is that “There is nothing that reincarnates. But there is something which is an illusion. We have to come out of the illusion by negating that something.”
  • Our sense of I hood is an illusion. It is created by our memories and imaginations. It is the illusion that reincarnates.
  • However some followers have accepted that Buddha never said soul doesn’t exist. He never spoke about soul.
  • Satva Guna culture, Reincarnation and Karma are the similarities between Buddhism and Vaishnavism.
  • It is better not emphasize that Buddha is a reincarnate of Krsna to Buddhists.
  • Buddhists feel that Hindus have appropriated their religion head into their own religion. Jainism also rapidly spread throughout India. But they did more than declaring their Autonomy. They appropriated Hindus into their religion. There is whole Jain Ramayan and Jain Mahabharat. There is a series of Puranas. They believe in following God to become greater than him. They think God is a guide for us to attain enlightenment.

Sikhism

  • Three levels of telling about all religions:

 

  1. All religions are telling the same thing, everything is the same. (Simply Harmonious)
  2. Everybody has their own rituals and believes and they are all different and the reasons for conflict.
  3. See what are the essential similarities and differences.
  • About the first level SP says that if we are in darkness, we see that everything is the same, that is dark. (Ignorance, sentimental level) –> We see what provides us sense gratification.
  • When we say that all are different then it is in passion. –> We only see the external things.
  • In goodness, we can see in an enlightened perspective that goes beyond externals. –>We can see the externals but also beyond it, the internals.
  • In transcendence we can see the underlying spirit.
  • We are primarily trying to see in mode of Goodness.
  • SP says that “Buddha is the emblem of theism for the Atheists.” for those who don’t accept God they accept Buddhism and they are later elevated. Acharyas have the transcendental perspectives as they are transcendental.

 

Sikhism:

 

  1. It came up when India was torn apart in between Islam and Hinduism.
  2. Sikhism is a blend of Islam and Hinduism.
  3. 1486 CM appeared. In those centuries there was a devotional revival in Hinduism.
  4. CM never told any of his disciples to build deities. Also there is no record of any temple Sankirtans. Most of the Sankirtans happened in Srivas Thakhur’s house and they used Shaligrams which never were considered as a threat by the Muslim rulers.
  5. There two representations of god.
    1. Iconic –> You have a particular shape, and you assume that shape represents the shape of God.
    2. Non Iconic –> Shaligram is a stone and there is no form of Krishna with Shaligram in the spiritual world. Shiva Linga is another iconic representation. Not the targets of Muslim rulers.
  1. Sikhism rejects deity worship. Focus was on religion being easily practiced.
  2. CM also gave priority to chanting in this age of kali. He was the most prominent propagator and said how the holy names of Krishna is actually Krsna himself.
  3. In this period, Hinduism was defensive and Islam was offensive.
  4. Guru Nanak took birth in 1469, born in a Kshatriya family and was married by the age of 20 and had two children.
  5. One day he went to bathe in the river and disappeared for three days. It is said that actually through the river he had been taken to God.
  6. Sikhism also has the idea that God is a person but has no form.
  7. He went somewhere where he had the experience of God. He was given a pot which he drank (Amrith) and he was told “Let the holy name be your refuge and share the glories of the holy name with everyone”
  8. From the Amrith he had got, the place became Amrithsar.
  9. He said that Sikhism is a way of life devoted to God. No focus on philosophy.
  10. When Guru Nanak was in his last days he called one of his followers and gave him the name Angadha, which meant I give myself to you. So they considered that power of Guru Nanak was transferred to him.
  11. Guru Arjun was the first one who started systematizing the teachings of Sikh.
  12. During the time of Guru Tej Bahadhur (GTB), Aurangzeb was the ruler. Kashmir Pandits were being persecuted by Muslims forcing them to convert into Islam. At that time GTB was the leader and a Kshatriya. The Kashmir Pandits took shelter of GTB. He fought with Aurangzeb, but he was defeated, tortured and killed.
  13. The word Sikh literally meant disciple.
  14. Guru Arjun was also killed and thus many of the Sikhs were persecuted.
  15. When GTB was killed, his son Guru Gobind Singh was his son and was 11 years old. He became the inheritor and later formed something called Kalsa (Sikh army).
  16. He came with two swords.
    1. Spiritual sword (Piri) –> Spiritually powerful
    2. Material sword (Miri) –> Materially powerful.
  17. He then took out his sword saying that his sword wants a head and asked who would offer him the head.
  18. One disciple came to him. He took him to his tent and after he came out the sword was red. Then he said he wanted one more head and took him inside and came out after some time. Then he kept on doing it for five times. The fifth time he said he wanted more heads. People were horrified and some started walking away.
  19. He smiled and went in and brought the five disciples out and said that all those five were ready to lay their lives for Sikhism.
  20. Sikhs have distinctive identity wearing shorts, having long hair and a dagger etc.
  21. He militarized the entire Sikh. Later Guru Gobindh Singh was killed. But before his death, he said that further there won’t be any Guru and Granth Sahib would be their Guru.
  • Guru Granth Sahib:

 

      1. Therefore Guru Grant Sahib was the Guru for everyone. It is a huge book full of rhymes.
      2. It is a longest book of Rhyme poetry.
      3. Specific script called Guru Mukhi was devised.
      4. These thousand verses come from various sources.
        1. 974 verses from Guru Nanak
        2. 62 couplets from Guru Angadh.
        3. Some verses from Hindus like Ramdev, Kabir etc.
        4. Some from Islamic sufis
      5. There is one God and ultimately God is Truth.
      6. There are three principles:

 

        1. Langar –> Sikh version of Food For Life (SP appreciated how efficiently people cooked and served). Free food to anyone who comes to Gurudwara.

 

        1. Seva–> They take shoes of people who visit Gurudwara and polish them. The people who are polishing could be big businessmen. (But inside the Gurudwara there is no deity, but only the book. But the tendency to worship, decorate is there and hence they decorate the book as we decorate Deity.)

 

      1. Sangadh –> Association (Which is principle to all religions)
  1. Guru Nanak had written this book to include both Hindus and Muslims, which is good for that particular time, but needn’t necessarily mean that it is true religion. No critical statements by SP anywhere.
  2. They accept Karma, Reincarnation, Chanting, the goal of liberation.
  3. They reject caste system, idol worship, authority of Vedas and the idea of renunciation.
  4. The relaxation on renunciation is a concession for the people of Islam.
  5. Regarding, the rejection of the authority of Vedas, they don’t exactly reject it, but they transcend it. They say that just study of Vedas won’t reveal God to us. Guru Granth Sahib is the revealed word of God.
  6. Their idea is that all the saints who gave verses were inspired by god. Also they select which statements by the saints are revealed and which are not. They integrate what they thought as revealed statements.
  7. It had much more similarity with Hinduism than Islam.
  8. Punjab is the area with maximum Sikhs and at the time of partition, it got divided. So the Sikhs had to flee from Pakistan, as they had more similarities with Hindus. Though they didn’t worship the deities they had the concept of chanting names of Ram and in fact, they accepted Krishna as the supreme God.
  9. During the partition many of the Sikhs who resided in the temple of Amritsar, battled against external forces. At that time Indira Gandhi with her military forces did the operation blue star and killed the forces within, enraging the Sikhs. This lead to the assassination of Indira Gandhi which further lead to more violence. These scars are still there in them. But they are the closest to the Hindus, both culturally and devotionally.
  10. We look at the similarities and encourage the people to practice God consciousness.
  11. Not many Acharyas interacted with Sikhs.
  12. There are three kinds of Preaching:
    1. Polemic –> You are wrong. Criticize and find faults
    2. Ironic –> Both of us have so many similarities.
    3. Apologetic –> To explain how I am right.
  13. We use different strategies according to TPC.
  14. SP preaching with other religions was generally ironic.
  15. SP was rarely Apologetic. He said Varnashram is not caste system, it is not with birth to decide caste. (Proving ours correct –> Apologetic)
  16. Whenever we interact with people of other religions, then we mostly be ironic. At least we start with similarities.
  17. It is possible that Sikhs convert into Vaishnavas. Don’t agitate anyone. Generally most of the people don’t know completely about their religion.
  18. We can encourage them to chant.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:

  1. When we focus on the similarities between KC and other religion when preaching, what if the person becomes more interested in his religion than ours?

 

KC is not the only way to approach God. Different religions are like the pathways to go up to the top of the same mountain. But some pathways might start well, but they might turn out to be dead ends after some distance.(Like Buddhism). But still they are climbing up the mountain. There are two kinds of conversions.

 

    1. Horizontal conversion –> A person converts from a Hindu materialist to Christian materialist. (not really conversion)
    2. Vertical conversion –> becoming from materialist to spiritualist. (From lovers of mater to lovers of god).

 

We want to vertical conversion. We have to make people aware of the path to go back home. We don’t say that our path is the only path, but our path is the easiest path. We can see that also. Our KC devotees potency can be tested by seeing the regulative principles we follow. Our path is ‘Smooth’ and ‘Swift’. We let the people make their own choices after informing about the choices.

 

  • It is very much necessary to tell about the differences also. How long can we hold the similarity?

 

Everybody will have to make a choice at some time or the other. Our preaching to people of other religion is like building a bridge. So when they start appreciating what we do and start adapting, it is like they crossing over the bridge. By Krsna’s arrangement some day when they have crossed Krsna will break the bridge. Our responsibility is we don’t break the bridge before they cross over. So the critical choice that they have to make shouldn’t come prematurely by circumstances created by us. The differences have to be told when a person is matured spiritually.

HINDUISM – I

26 December 2014

17:55

  • Kharma khanda, Jnana Khanda and Bhakthi not only help person to elevate from one level to other, but they also manifested historically progressively.
  • At the start of Kali Yuga first 2000 years Kharma Khanda became prominent. As reaction to that Buddhism, Jainism came.
  • On response to this Shankhar acharya brought Jnana Khanda. It brought back people to Vedic fold from Buddhism and Jainism. But it made spiritual matter intellectualized.
  • From 14th century onwards, Bhakthi started taking its roots and spread all over the country. The Sri Sampradaya and Madhva Sampradhaya didn’t talk about Bhakthi at their time as the time wasn’t appropriate.
  • As the people were fully on the impersonalist Brahman, Madhva and Ramanuja acharyas spoke only of Vishnu.
  • Later CM revealed the highest truth.
  • According to the western terminology there are two things in a religion:
  1. Belief
  2. Behavior
  • All our beliefs and behavior are permeated with spiritual understanding.
  • So the very idea that religion and rest of life are separated is a western concept.
  • Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life.
  • Modern day Hinduism forms from the Bengali renaissance. (1750’s to 1890)
  • Historically Bhakthi spread all throughout the country mainly because of Charismatic saints.
  • CM revived it in the east. In the western side we have Tukharam maharaj and western saints.
  • We have Narsimha Mehta, and Mira Bhai in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Similarly Tulsi Das in north India.
  • Devotional and spiritual emotions can be mistaken for each other if there is no proper philosophical understanding.
  • By the time British had come to India most of the Brahmanas focused more on protecting their Karma Khanda philosophies than educating people about Bhakthi.
  • Thus Bhakthi lost its intellect and was misunderstood.
  • The Brahmanas spoke only Sanskrit. When the British started their educational system, they primarily taught their versions of translated Hindu scriptures. The translators were motivated and biased.
  • Thus a void was created. To protect India, Mayavad was thought of us the best school of thought. The thought of impersonal Brahman unified India. Thus it was propagated by many Indian scholars.
  • This was new kind of Mayavad and was mostly nationalist type.
  • Our KC unifies the Abrahamic religions and the Mayavads with a universal underlying principle.
  • The Abrahamic Religions:

 

      1. They believe that there is one God.
      2. By loving that God we can become supremely happy.
      3. But they are highly exclusivists.
  • The Mayavad:

 

    1. It is Universal. (They are nonspecific).
    2. Sometimes they are pluralists also. (One mayavad teacher told that there are as many religions as there are people in the world. Don’t accept religion from anyone and you find your perception of God for yourself)
    3. But this reduces God to a mere conception. It sounds open minded. Yes we should be open minded, but not so much that our brains fall out.
  • Krishna says that we have to submit both our rational and emotional faculty to him.
  • Abrahamic religions are highly emotional but intellectually alienated. (How if God is unlimited, there can be only one way to God? And that too your way only)
  • In other way round, Mayavad is intellectually appealing, but emotionally alienating. (Nothing for the heart there).
  • There are three parts to a normal western debate:
  1. Thesis –> Someone proses an argument.
  2. Anti-Thesis –> Other person proposes opposite argument.
  3. Synthesis –> Find good from both sides add them and remove the bad.
  • KC is the synthesis as it is appealing both intellectually and emotionally.
  • One main obstacle to KC is that people often see it as a sectarian religion.
  • SP in principle pointed out the Universal aspects of the religion, but in practice he followed the Sectarian aspects quite strongly.
  • SP taught his devotees to cook Indian Cuisine, chant Hare Krishna Maha mantra only, because these are the most conducive to practice KC.
  • Some people tell that Krishna is one of the Hindu gods, making KC look like sub-sectarian conception. (We are subset of Hinduism).
  • We can look Krishna in two ways:
  1. Historical or Mythological figure.
  2. Understanding Krishna after understanding the philosophy. (Correct understanding. Supreme person who manifested through History to save us)
  • There is no other religion which systematically and scientifically explains how the relationship between God and Soul develops.
  • KC has to be presented in this way. We can then combine the two schools of thought into one shelter of Krishna.
  • SP told the basic philosophy and gave his disciples higher taste through chanting.
  • SP told that we could spread KC in two ways:
  1. Make an influential person devotee and he brings KC to the world. (He didn’t spend much time on it)
  2. Make large number of people devotees and they elect a proper head of state.
  • Person, a book and an event remark beginning of a religion. But nothing of this works for Hinduism.
  • Our BG got a lot of popularity, because all the political people at the time of freedom used it as a handbook to interpret nationality.
  • But it isn’t The book because before it also Hinduism existed. So people may accept it as one of the authority but they don’t accept it as the highest.
  • There is no organizational structure for Hinduism. There is no one voice which can represent Hinduism.
  • So the only way that we can say about Hindus is by saying about Vedas.
  • The English mixed up Hindus in a very politicalized geographical way. (Durga devi holding an Indian flag is depicted as Barath Mata. But the Indian flag was designed by Bhankhim Chatarjee in 1905. How is Durga devi holding it?).
  • The authority of Vedic literatures got substantially reduced and Hinduism was equated with nationalism.
  • Hinduism got divided into two broad authorities:
  1. Traditional centers of authority –> Date back to hundreds and thousands of years. (Well connected to tradition, but less connected to modern people)
  2. Charismatic Hindu leaders –> Well connected with people but less connected to tradition (Satya sai baba etc.)
  • Responsible preaching would include Faith and Sensitivity. A preacher is a junction between tradition and audience. What connects him to the tradition is his faith and what connects him to the audience is sensitivity.
  • ISKCON is the only or one of the very few of this type. This gets ISKCON get a wide range of Preaching scope.

Questions and Answers:

  1. Is it necessary to unite the two schools of thought?

 

SP didn’t try much for inter faith sort of preaching, nor did he encourage. But there might be some situations where it might be necessary. But in west, sometimes in danger we say we are Hindus. We can say that Vrindavan is not in material world, but if we have to place it somewhere, then we place it in India. Similarly KC isn’t subset to any religion. But if we have to place it in the religious categorization of the world, then we say we are Hindu.

Just like using material constructs like computers etc. for the purpose of KC, Hinduism is a subtle construct. Ours is Yuktha Vairagya. So some of our leaders have good bonds with other organization.

 

  • BG comes under smriti, and is not a Hindu book then how can we present the person conception of God (in a debate)?

 

This is a categorization that we have to be aware of. A tradition is not a fossil that is preserved in a museum. A tradition is a living experience practiced in reality. Shankara Acharya is considered as one of the most prominent Hindu teachers. Upanishads are Shruthi. But Shankara Acharya says that among all the Upanishads, BG is the essence.

BG is to be understood from the teachers of the tradition. Primary teachings of a tradition are to be understood from the authorities of tradition, not that we artificially look at it from outside and judge its teachings.

 

Refuting Western Science & Religion

  • Two misconceptions:
  1. Only material exists. No spirit.
  2. Mater has nothing to with spirit.
  • MATTER exists and SPIRIT does not:
  • Matter in itself doesn’t grow, but it grows in the presence of spirit.
  • Physics is the study of structures of matter.
  • Scientists have achieved full success in study of matter (Physics) and interactions of matter (Chemistry).
  • The study of matter by the man will help the man to apparently control and transform the matter for the better.
  • So the scientists used the approach of physics and chemistry to study even biology.
  • Biology = Study of life.
  • So even the doctor of allopathic type thinks if there is any problem with the body then the default is either the structure of the body or its chemical composition, which is only partially correct. Because we may have a erfect body but it may be dead.
  • Matter undergoes only three transformations
  1. Creation
  2. Deterioration
  3. Destruction.
  • Living matter (matter through which life is manifesting) undergoes 6 changes.
  1. Creation
  2. Growth
  3. Maintains itself
  4. Reproduces–> Sex is a very dangerous activity. Because when a living entity is participating in it, it is totally blinded and in that time a predator can come and eat it. So why did the species keep sex life at all? (A big challenge to the theory of evolution). But scriptures give a clear explanation. The soul as it is envious of Krsna wants to control another soul and to satisfy his desire, the sex is created.
  5. Deterioration
  6. Destruction
  • These three can’t be explained by physics and chemistry only. They can be explained but only to certain extent.
  • Hitler thought that all the physically handicapped and deficient people are weak and nature will eliminate them in their struggle for existence and he shall help the nature.
  • The value of Human life is lost when we think we can apply the laws of physics and chemistry to explain biology.
  • Soul and Consciousness have an ‘Achintya – Beda abeda’ relation with each other.
  • Certain matter behaves differently than other matter which can’t be explained on a material basis.
  • SPIRIT exists but has no connection with MATTER:
  • This is the Idea of western religions.
  • The western religions use the things like Vishwaroop etc. to say that the Hindu followers are Pantheists (Everything is God, like stone, rock car etc.).
  • Western religions say that there are only two things:
  1. There is one God (Monotheist)
  2. There are many Gods (Polytheists)
  • We Muslims, Christians are monotheists and Greeks, Hindus etc. are polytheists.
  • Vedic explanation is much more higher. There is one God but he comes in many forms. Ours is ‘Polymorphic Monotheism’. Still there is further understanding in Bhakthi. We don’t worship one God, but worship couple. So Bhakthi is ‘Polymorphic bi monotheism’
  • People with preliminary understanding of God come and deride more sophisticated religions.
  • We don’t worship everything as God. But we understand everything as sacred. Everything is the Abode of God.
  • In the Vedic philosophy, God’s mercy is manifested as the fullest in two ways:
  1. The spiritual world is described to the fullest in our tradition.
  2. How God manifests himself through matter in various ways by which we can connect with him is also explained.
  • If God is completely spiritual and we can think only of matter, then how can we possibly connect to God at all?
  • God remains only an intellectual concept. We can’t think of him spiritually. Krishna out of his mercy manifests himself through matter.
  • Supreme lord has five manifestations:
  1. Para –> form of Narayana in spiritual world.
  2. Vyuha –> Aniruddha, Sankharshan etc. (Who are in connection with material world)
  3. Antaryami –> Super soul present in the heart of all living entities.
  4. Avatar –> To come in the world to exhibit his past times.
  5. Archa avatar –> The deity
  • So for us matter is sacred, because Krishna manifests through it. But that doesn’t imply we have to worship matter.
  • Generally Vedas say that, whatever we can see as God’s grace we can worship God through that. Cows and the bulls are the source of prosperity to all the villagers. So they worship God through that. It doesn’t mean that they are worshipping the cow!!
  • Pandavas used to respect their weapons. So that which is the most important to us, we see God’s grace through that.
  • Universal form is an important understanding but not the highest. But for those who can’t understand anything beyond matter, they can pray Krishna through it.
  • SP says that God can’t have a material form. But the principle is, whatever way we can think of God, we think of God. So for a person if physical form is important then he can think of Virat form. (Sun and moon are the eyes, mountains are the bones, heavenly planets are his forehead etc.)
  • The important point is we think of God. Krishna manifests in so many ways to reach the people.
  • Krishna’s great mercy is that he manifests in the form of a deity. How can we make relation with God, if he isn’t a person? In Rig Veda, Sam Veda etc. the deity worship is not mentioned, because there the purpose is not to make a relation with God but to use higher power to satisfy our own material desires.
  • For karma Kanda worship, the deity isn’t necessary because the people don’t bother whom they are praying to as long as their desires are fulfilled.
  • But in the Puranas there is extensive mention of the Deity worship. But unfortunately Mayavadis say that God can’t be conceived so we create a symbol to show God in whatever form we like.
  • BSST quotes from Phushkhar Samhitha that the five Gods Shiva, Shakthi, Vishnu, Surya and Ganesh are not equal but are progressive.
  1. Surya –> If somebody wants Dharma
  2. Ganesh –> for Artha
  3. Shakthi –> for Kama
  4. Shiva –> for Moksha
  5. Vishnu –> To go further beyond.
  • It’s a progression.
  • In modern times Surya lost his popularity and Shiva, Ganesh and Durga are worshipped extensively.
  • The impersonalists say that symbol is for the less intelligent person to help him go beyond the person. Muslim preachers taking advantage of this statement say that we don’t have a symbol and hence we are more intelligent.
  • It’s a cheap argumentation. Sometimes people are so ignorant that they don’t understand they are in ignorance.
  • SP says “KC has enough ammunition that it can blow away all the illusion of the world. But unfortunately the Ammunition is in the Go down.”
  • Hate the Adharma, but we don’t hate it’s preachers. We should feel how the Atheism and other illusory energies are spreading and develop the preaching spirit within ourselves.

Questions And Answers:

  1. Is Vishwaroop a conception or is it really existing or is it a conception?

 

There are many meanings for Vishwaroop. The understanding of Vishwaroop as Virat form is not exactly factual. Vishwa is a roop of the God because God manifests through it. The form of Maha Vishnu or Garbodhakshay Vishnu etc. then we can see that matter and spirit are the body of God. Just like the body doesn’t grow if the soul is not there, similarly the universe doesn’t grow if the super soul is not there. God is a soul and Vishwa is his body, if we see it like that then it is correct. Material reality is a reality which creates illusion. The idea that things are disconnected from Krishna is the illusion. The things are real. If for a long time people worship a particular form of the lord, then even if the prana prathishta isn’t done, then the lord in reciprocation to the sincerity manifests through it also.

 

    1. Vishwaroop isn’t God –> no
    2. Vishwaroop is God –> no !!

 

It isn’t that there is a 1 or 0 answer. It is in between. God’s eternal form isn’t Vishwaroop. So Vishwaroop isn’t God. God out of his mercy manifests himself as Vishwaroop. It depends on one’s Bhakthi. Also we say that, It is God but it is a lower level manifestation of God.

 

  • How can we understand the creation of the universal form?

 

Vishwaroop isn’t manifested always. When a body dies, the soul leaves it. But when the soul re-enters the body is alive again. Similarly when the super soul enters the universe, then the Universe is alive. But when it leaves the universe dies.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das

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