Worship of Christ and Krishna need not be mutually exclusive
(Hindu), Cornwall Faith Forum, March 1, 2013 (VNN) via This is Cornwall
“Jesus is the only way”, goes a not uncommon cry, many Christians believing Christ proclaimed himself to be “The Way, the Truth and the Life”, and that “no one shall come to the Father but through me”.
They can find it difficult to accept the validity of other faiths.
Many evangelical Christians still seek to convert others to their beliefs, saving them from the eternal damnation to ensue from following anything else.
Some would argue that Jesus never took such an exclusive position, that his words have been misrepresented or perhaps mistranslated.
But even if we do accept he made the statements about being the “only way”, does it have to mean he was condemning everything else? Is Christianity incompatible with other religions? Krishna followers do not think so.
Followers of the Hare Krishna movement have respect and admiration for Jesus. The movement’s founder, Srila Prabhupada, considered him a great spiritual teacher. Prabhupada would say to Christians that he was not seeking to convert them to another faith, merely encouraging them to become “better Christians”.
If Jesus is seen as an authorised spiritual master, we can make sense of the statements attributed to him. He was making it clear to the people who came to him that, without his guidance, they would not be able to reach God.
But is this always the case for all people? Is that what Jesus meant? Would the unlimited and all-powerful God he was describing have only one representative in one place on the Earth?
Essentially, there is no difference between the Vedic teachings delivered by many spiritual masters through the ages, and those of Jesus.
As Prabhupada put it: “This life is not the all-in-all, we are God’s eternal loving servants, prepare now for your eternal life with the Lord.”
And, in the words of Jesus: “Do not build your house on sand, prepare to meet your God, love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might.”
Prabhupada also suggested the names Christ and Krishna have a close affinity. The Greek root of the word Christ, meaning “anointed”, is Christos, and another form of the name Krishna is the similar Krista.
Prabhupada suggested Christos was the “Greek version of Krishna”. “Therefore,” he argued, “if you chant either the name of Krishna or of Christ you will get the same benefit of approaching God.”
One might ask why Prabhupada brought Krishna consciousness to the West if it is basically the same as Christianity.
In a conversation with a Christian monk, he said few Christians today follow Christ’s instructions. The monk agreed, and Prabhupada went on to say: “What, then, is the meaning of the Christians’ love for God? If you do not follow God’s orders, then where is your love?
“Therefore, we have come to teach what it means to love God: if you love him, you cannot be disobedient to his orders. And if you’re disobedient, your love is not true.
“All over the world, people love not God but their dogs. The Krishna consciousness movement is therefore teaching people how to revive their forgotten love for God.”
The Hare Krishna movement has attracted thousands of Christians who have discovered that the spiritual practices taught have simply enhanced their love for Jesus.