The origin of western religion

What is it with those who claim to have the one and only true eternal religion? And why do they spew hatred? Would you like to understand the origin of the western religious traditions?

Many Western Religions, that is religious traditions that originated in the Middle East, such as Islam and Christianity, claim to be the “One and Only Original True Religion”. I have had people tell me I’m going to hell because I’m not following their particular denomination.

You know, it is really sad to see one type of Muslim denouncing another type of Muslim (for example Shias and Sunnis), or one type of Christian denouncing another type of Christian… Is that not the fundamental anti-thesis of the life of Lord Jesus Christ? Did Prophet Mohammad teach hatred?

But when I converse with them about their own religious tradition, they descend into unreasonable hatred towards others very quickly without actually expressing any understanding about God Himself. I cannot accept that such a soul has any proper understanding of religion which means to re-connect.

So, when I do meet such a person, I follow this advice, and try to get away as soon as possible. What is the use of discussing politics when I want to discuss God?

Of course, there are the pious souls who follow a religious tradition just so they can use God as an order-supplier. For such souls, I strive to encourage them to go deeper into their own understanding of their own faith, so they can reach the essence of their tradition, at minimum, in this lifetime.

God is One without a second, and has absolutely no competition. I would accept your acceptance of your tradition as genuine if you actually know something about God and you actually love God, and by corollary, every single living entity. I could accept your acceptanc of your faith if you know yourself and if you are yourself, meaning, without external material designation.

Every genuine religion tradition has come into being because the great teacher, messenger of God, had something of value to share, and they had to share it in the particular time, place, and circumstances that they were in. Giving undue importance to the details originating from the specific time, place, and circumstance and losing the essence of the teaching is the pastime of fools.

So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement is, the starting point is, the spirit soul. And automatically, unless… In the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord said the sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “You give up the so-called man-made duties or occupation or dharma. You just surrender unto Me.” So actually this is dharma, or religion, to surrender to God. God is one. He is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. God is one. If there is another God, then there is competition. God cannot be two. God is one. Eko brahma dvitīya nasti. That is the Vedic injunction. So God is one. So either you become Hindu or Muslim, the God is one. This is to be understood. So the science of God, that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You try to understand scientifically what is meant by God, what is meant by religion. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s preaching. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109]. He begins His teaching on this principle, that every living being is eternal servant of God. That’s all. And this is religion. Religion does not mean stamping in different way. Religion means to know God the great and we are subordinate, maintained by God. This is religion. If anyone knows these two things only—God is great, and we are subordinate; our duty is to abide by the orders of God—that is religion. So unity can be established on the spiritual platform.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Recently, I came across this interesting article on the website of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami on the Origin of Western Religion – it is worth a read!

https://www.bhakticharuswami.com/2014/01/the-origin-of-western-religions/

I won’t repeat what’s in this insightful article, but I encourage you to go and take a read yourself!

As always, if I may assist you on your spiritual journey please let me know!

Pursuing the Highest Instruction of your Scripture

Every scripture has higher and lower instruction. Pursue the highest instruction always. The lower instructions are for animal-like humans… we should strive to go deeper, higher.

I was out a couple of days ago, looking to meet people interested in spiritual life. I do this often, and especially in December every year, I’m in marathon mode.

It was in Kensington market in Toronto, I was out with my son.

We met a gentleman who introduced himself as Altaf. Altaf Bhai is from Pakistan and also has some Agra connections. He told me he is a yogi, even though he is a Muslim. I thought why not, yoga means to reconnect to God, so why can a Muslim not be a yogi. He started speaking some intricate philosophy. But I could see that there were many gaps in his knowledge. He was secretly trying to convince me to become a Muslim. I’m OK with that, but I’m not OK with ignorance.

As the conversation progressed, however, he began to say things that were insulting to another very very great personality, Lord Shiva. He said that Lord Shiva was actually satan. I had to stop him there. It is one thing to not know something, but for someone like me who knows better, it is a crime to stand there and listen to such things. According to the Vedic texts, the personality known as Satan in the Koran and Bible is actually the personality named Kalipurusha. Not to be confused with the goddess Kali devi, this personality is in charge of the current age of quarrel and hypocrisy. But I couldn’t get in a word edgewise with Altaf – he just didn’t want to hear anything.

He then mentioned sacrificing cows. He said that the Quran does permit sacrificing cows. He said that Allah gave us all the animals for our enjoyment.

A yogi who recommends cow slaughter? A yogi who does not know the basics of yoga? Hmmm… this was very fishy.

Every scripture has higher instructions and lower instructions. The lower instructions are meant so that humans who are on the level of animals may find something to adhere to, and rise higher, and when they do rise higher, then there are higher instructions to follow.

For example, there is also an instruction in the Quran that one should not have sexual relationships with one’s mother, or with the father’s wife. Why was this instruction present? Because at that time and in that place, there were men who did not hesitate to do so. So the Prophet had to include that instructions, just to civilize those animal-like men.

The highest instruction, of course, is to see every woman who is not your wife as your own mother. It does not matter if she is younger or older or what – if she is not your wife, she is as good as your own mother. Treat her with respect. That will resolve a lot of problems at one stroke, but that is another topic for another day.

Similarly, the instruction about ritual sacrifice of animals was in a place where food was hardly available – it was the barren desert after all. The instruction of ritual sacrifice and to cause the least amount of pain to the animal was there because there were people who took sadistic pleasure in torturing animals. This does not mean that the Quran encourages opening of slaughter-houses and killing of animals on a large scale. I couldn’t convince him, but this message is for him and other Altaf’s of the world.

It is not necessary to be a bloody thirsty animal killer to follow Islam, to be a Muslim. Meat is not for spiritualists, unless it is a question of absolute necessity.

I did not have the heart to tell Altaf about the hellish punishments given in the Vedic scripture for killing a cow. And I don’t want to shock my dear readers too. But it is not good, not in this world, nor in the next.

One of the greatest Muslims in the history of the world was Haridas Thakur. Born in Bengal, he is recognized as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the world. He chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra constantly, and was able to convince Muslims with arguments from the Koran that he was doing the highest thing. If you want to read about Haridas Thakur, this book is highly recommended. http://torchlightinternational.com/shop/namacarya/.

Haridas Thakur was disliked by both the Muslims and the Hindus, because he knew both scriptures better than most and he personally followed both scriptures perfectly. Indeed, a Qazi had him whipped in 22 marketplaces, and while most people would die after 1-2 such beatings, Haridas Thakur felt no pain. He was praying for his assailants to be forgiven all the while!

In every scripture, including the Bhagavad Gita, there are higher and lower instructions, for example in the twelfth chapter of the Gita, Krishna says the following:

But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā – for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.

If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.

If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.

 If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12/ texts 6-12

Do you see how the highest goal may be unattainable for most? So Krishna gives alternatives. But those alternatives are not the highest thing. The highest thing is what Krishna mentioned first.

Similarly, in the Quran also there are lower and higher instructions, meant for people of different kinds.

I have many Muslim friends who are both Muslim and Vegetarian. In fact, many are vegan. See https://veganmuslims.com/ for a more background on that.

As I told Altaf, I was neither rejecting him, nor was I rejecting Prophet Muhammad, and I certainly am not rejecting Allah. What I am emphatically rejecting is his ignorance, and I am even more strongly rejecting words that are supposedly sacred but are actually meant to spread ignorance around. This applies to anyone from any tradition. I could not give him anything else except a vibration of the Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. May Altaf find peace in this life and the next.

My plea to all my Muslim brothers and sisters is this – please dear souls, please go higher in your knowledge and adherence of your own scripture. Follow the highest instruction of your scripture. Continuously chant the names of Allah with pure love and devotion, and you will find you will lose all taste for blood and flesh.

This is my prayer to everyone else, to Buddhists, to Christians, and to Jews. Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Importance of Ramayan in the Hare Krishna movement

What is the Importance of the Ramayana to the Hare Krishnas? To the Christians? To the Muslims? To the Sikhs? The Jains? The Buddhists? The Atheists?

Chandrika, 27 June 2018

Hare Krishna

I have not been able to receive an answer to my question. It’s been constantly deferred.

My question is what is the relevance and importance of the Ramayan in the Hare Krishna organization?

I know that in orthodox Hindu teachings it is treated with great reverence

Regards
Chandrika

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 7 September 2018

Dear Mother Chandrika,

Hare Krishna!

I am hoping that the community of volunteers here has served you to your satisfaction in answering this question comprehensively.
We are here to serve you unlimitedly within the bounds of our own personal limitations. Since we are volunteers, we do ask for your kind patience and understanding.

First of all, the Ramayana is of great importance to everyone, no matter whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist. Whether they recognize the importance of the Ramayana is dependent on their own fortune or misfortune. This is because the principles in the Ramayana are Universal.

This eternal religion is understood as an example of water – its wetness and its ability to quench thirst. Anything that does not have these two basic principles is not water, therefore the religion of water can be said to be wetness and its power to quench thirst of living entities. Similarly, the religion of fire is said to be heat and light. Anything that claims to be fire must exhibit these two qualities, and even when a red hot iron exhibits these two qualities, it is of the nature of fire – anyone touching it will get burned even though there are no flames etc. There is no Hindu water or Christian fire. Fire is fire and water is water. Similarly, the eternal religion of the jiva, the spirit soul, is loving devotional service to the Supreme, in His unlimitedly variegated names and forms as He manifests, Krishna, Govinda, Allah, Rama, Jehovah, Buddha… They are ONE.

Next, we don’t give too much importance to sectarianism – we don’t recognize so-called Hinduism, so-called Buddhism, so-called Christianity, and so-called Islam as bona fide religion. The real principled essence of all these great religious traditions is Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion of the living entity. To the extent that followers of different traditions do not deviate from the original universal principles of Sanatan Dharma, we recognize them as genuine, and to the extent they do deviate, we recognize them as “politics”. Srila Gurudeva once said “Religion is one, “religions” means politics”. In other words, there is only one God, and to rekindle our lost love for that One God is the essence of religion. Like Srila Gurudeva said, as Jesus Christ prayed “God, let thine will be done, not mine”.

In that mood, we accept and revere Prophet Mohammad, Lord Jesus Christ, Guru Nanak, and all other great teachers as having taught the same principles of Sanatan Dharma according to the time, place and circumstance, especially the ability of their followers to understand. Some of their followers do understand, and we do accept them as genuine, and some of their followers are caught up in externalities, and we understand them to be immature as yet.

Now, as far as the Ramayana is concerned, there are many versions, and Srila Prabhupada gave us two versions as bona fide – the 2-chapter summary in the 9th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, and also the original Ramayana by the great pure devotee sage Valmiki. There may be value in the other versions, but for us these two are sufficient.

I pray that this is useful.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rasika Krishna Das, 7 September 2018

Hare Krishna Prabhuji,

Where exactly mentioned in the 2 chapter summary of Canto 9? I couldn’t find it.

Your servant,
Rasika Krishna Das

Mahabhagavat Das, 7 September 2018

See these two chapters:

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/9/10/

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/9/11/

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Rasika Krishna Das, 7 October 2018

Thank you Prabhuji, Hare Krishna 🙂

Rasika Krishna Das

Ikshvaku Das, 7 October 2018

Hare Krishna Mahabhgavat prabhu – great answer – thanks.

Ikshvaku das

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