If someone is following an Abrahamic religion, should we encourage them to follow that religion or to take up Krishna consciousness?
Transcribed by: Ashwini Kamath Mataji
Question: If somebody is following an Abrahamic religion, should we encourage the person follow that particular religion or encourage them to practice Krishna Consciousness?
Answer: First and foremost our goal should be to elevate the consciousness of that person and whatever is best for that that’s what we can do.Prabhupad had brought two broad approaches, most when he went to America and preached, most of the people who came to him were belonging to Christianity, some of them to Judaism.so now,but, they were mostly nominal christian virtue none of them were seriously practising, so when they were not practising anything at all themselves and had just some faith beliefs and some residual practices.Then, he encouraged them that Chaitanya mahaprabhu’s mercy is available and Krishna consciousness .It is a very potent way of receiving one’s consciousness and encouraged them to take to Krishna Consciousness. But, whenever he met some people whoever some committed Christians or some committed Jews or somebody was a monk or somebody was a preacher committed,then he would not try to convert them but encourage them to practice their own faiths more purely.For example, he may encourage Christians father’s to move towards vegetarians. So,Prabhupad also said that my goal is not to convert people from this religion to that religion, but my goal is to elevate people the conversion is from materialistic to spiritualism, lovers of god, magical lovers of god.
- So now when we are in our outreach, what approach we will adopt depend on the specific person.For example if a person , if somebody is preaching in America that person is in Christianity then it may not not be required or it may not be possible for that person to convert he is dedicated to it , suppose the person is new and just started exploring Christianity, or Islam or Buddhism and also exploring Krishna Consciousness. So at that time we can give a comparision not as judgemental,critical only, but objectively,informative way to help that person arrive at a wise decision. So, I give a series of lectures on Krishna consciousness on world religions,which talks about how we can present krishna consciousness in the contexts of world religions and that helps.And in india, for example, somebody is following a vedic tradition, is born Hindu, but has converted to Christianity for some reason or converted to Islam and what we do is jealousy or rebt that will again depends.That person is now become a aggressive convert whose goal is to proselytize and get other people to become converted , then mostly it will be confrontation list more where we may have to check that person’s misconceptions and counter them, but that person even after some conversion needs some soulsearching still man mad he is having some second thoughts of what else can be done, sometimes often the conversions are done because of some allure of material pleasures or because of some sophistry or some false logic or some pseudo and intellectual word generally and things like that.Then if that person has some second thoughts we can help that person to recognize the depth of vedic informations and address them the question that may have unanswered because of this person’s spiritual quest or mental stress so overall what we should see is what helps the person to go closer to god.it may well be possible that for some people following the faith in which they were born that can help them to go closer to God. now we don’t have to in a world where people are suffering and struggling even to have faith in God or on soul . Now to differentiate will this person goes to vaikunta or will this person go here or there, and that’s much later.our focus should be primarily on helping the person to elevate the person and doing that if the person starts building relationship with us, starts coming towards Krishna, then that is wonderful , but overall if we focus on that principle that you want to help people rise in their consciousness, become better devotees,become closer to God and then facilitating whatever we can , help them actually .As a Institution,Iskcon will focus on certain things, iskcon is expressions of gaudiya vaishnavism, we will focus on that cultural processes, and in our outreach we share those things and in our experiences also we will practice and share this because we have found it potent in purifying ourselves, and we have made intellectual sound in making some sense of life and we will present that to people of what we are practising, this is what we believe.this is what our life is.if people want to get attracted will get attracted but the whole presentation should not be on confrontation list.basically in interfaith there are three types of communication there is appologetic, there is ironic and polinic. appologetic means I m focused on that, it has nothing to do with apology, appologetic simply means that I am focused on explaining what i do, then ironic means both of us try to find commonalities and then pholonic means i try to proof you are wrong. So, in general pholonic is inanity and of course if the other person comes with pholonic curves itself then atleast make sure that his aggressive intention is not much and we may also have to anwer that but overall either to be ironic or appologetic and to see that we are over all good enough and they gets attracted to us, that itself will be auspicious for the spiritual life and eventually he may come towards Krishna through somebody else or through the path which they are following that may take some time but overall should be helping people onwards spiritual journey and helping them to get good impression of krishna. Irrespective of whether they decide to krishna consciousness path or not.Thank you