Dharma is that which is coming from God – do the Abrahamic religions also come from Krishna
Transcribed by: Argha Maji
Question: Dharma is that which is coming from God – do the Abrahamic religions also come from Krishna?
Answer: Yes, we have to understand that dharma is not just one. Dharma is multi level, that means there is brahmana dharma, there is kshatriya dharma, they are not the same. So just as there are different dharma for different people, similarly God has different programs for elevating people according to their level whatever they are.
mām ekam śaranam vraja (BG 18.66)
Krishna says, “Give up all varieties of religion and surrender unto me.” That means he is talking about giving up lower dharma and accepting the supreme dharma. So how does one give up lower dharma and accept the supreme dharma. By understanding the conclusions of dharma from a guru and then surrendering to the practice of supreme dharma. So now this is not specifically always accessible to everyone, it is a special mercy. And when it is not available people may practice other levels of dharma. So now if we look at Quran and Bible, they point towards the principle of surrendering to God and developing pure love for God but they don’t give a clear understanding of who God is and they don’t give a systematic process for developing pure love for God. So they are not considered as systematic or exhaustive revelations as the Vedic revelations. But in general, they are means by which people can get elevated in their own way, according to their own levels. So we focus on whatever elevation people are doing according to their levels without getting caught up too much in controversial issues.
Now, Prabhupada talks very respectively about Jesus or Mohammad and he says that they did elevate people, but the end result of it is that, as the religions exist right now, how much they are following the original tradition, how much they are not following the original tradition or original revelation which was given that is a debatable issue. And that’s why what we understand is God has given pure message in vedic tradition and God has also given message for elevation outside the Vedic tradition and that elevation how much will it reveal and how much the revelation is for that elevation that will vary according to time, place, circumstance.
So we don’t entirely accept everything of Abrahamic tradition nor we entirely reject everything. We have to understand in light of Bhagavat dharma. So even within the Vedic tradition, it is said that if there is a contradiction between two puranas, then there is sastric taratamya. Taratamya means a hierarchy of scriptures. So there is nirnayak sastra and there is nirnaitara sastra. Nirnayak means that which decides, nirnaitara means that which is to be decided. So what we do is we consider the Bhagavatam in the highest pramana and we see all the scriptures, Vedic as well as Non-vedic from light of Bhagavat. And to the extent whatever is talked about revelation, Bhagavatam will accept.
To the extent it does not agree, we understand that it is according to time, place, circumstance and it is not necessarily conveying precise absolute truth.