is Hare Krishna?
Events: Kirtan Festival
2004 - Hansadutta das
|[Posted November 21, 2006]
More to Religion Than Stop-Gap
News, November 20, 2006 - by OLIVER "BUZZ" THOMAS
- When religion loses its credibility
of a stop-gap measure
are so many church leaders (not to mention Orthodox
Jewish and Muslim leaders) persisting in their view that homosexuality
is wrong despite a growing stream of scientific evidence that is likely
to become a torrent in the coming years? The answer is found in
Leviticus 18. "You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an
The truth is that mainstream religion has moved beyond animal
sacrifice, slavery and the host of primitive rituals described in
Leviticus centuries ago. Selectively hanging onto these ancient
proscriptions for gays and lesbians exclusively is unfair according to
anybody's standard of ethics. We lawyers call it "selective
enforcement," and in civil affairs it's illegal.
A better reading of Scripture starts with the book of Genesis and the
grand pronouncement about the world God created and all those who
dwelled in it. "And, the Lord saw that it was good." If God created us
and if everything he created is good, how can a gay person be guilty of
being anything more than what God created him or her to be? go to story
on religious sectarianism v. Krishna consciousness,
Believe it or not
Everything is Stripped Away by
translated into English, dharma is almost always interpreted as
religion. But religion means a kind of belief or faith, whereas the
actual Sanskrit meaning of the word dharma is not to believe
as in to be a Hindu, to be a Buddhist, to be a Muslim, a Christian, a
Jew, etc. That is a religious belief, and it may be correct or it may
be incorrect, but this is not the real meaning of dharma. Dharma
means characteristic, the characteristic of the living being. more
People think they are suffering due to unemployment, inflation, the
energy crisis, and so many other apparent reasons. The real cause is
that they have given up the service of Krishna and are trying instead
to satisfy their senses; thus they have been trapped in this material
body, which is itself the breeding ground for all kinds of miseries—adhyatmika,
adhi-bhautika, adhi-daivika, birth, death, old age, disease, the
struggle to eat, sleep, defend and have sex. In this way, one's life is
nothing but a series of miseries in our attempt to struggle for
existence, and it always ends in failure at the time of death.
Everything depends on knowledge. We get knowledge from the shastras,
sadhus and guru. Even Napoleon said, "Men are controlled by
words." That is also explained in the shastras: "As animals are
controlled with a stick, men are controlled by the words of the Vedas."
Or just as a bull is controlled by a ring in the nose, human beings are
controlled by the words of the shastras. What are these words?
They are the words of God. We must hear the words of the shastras,
sadhus and guru. Then we shall be guided from darkness to
light, and we shall be free from suffering. That is the whole purpose
of human civilization: to get out of darkness, to get out of miserable
existence and come to joyful, eternal life, the life of knowledge.
Guest: The Christians also
say they are attaining God.
knowledge, how can they achieve their goal? If we want to go to New
York, we have to know how to go there. If we go in the wrong direction,
although we may have the best intentions of going to New York, we won't
reach it. Unless we know the way and follow it, we can't expect to
reach our destination. If we haven't been trained in reading
A-B-C-D-E-F-G, we may try to read, but we won't understand. There
must be authorized, perfect knowledge from the shastras and guru.
Then we can reach the goal. If there is no scientific, philosophical
understanding, then just the sentiment of being saved and going to
heaven will not bring us to the goal. That is common sense. For
example, if we dig just anywhere for gold, we won't get any result. We
have to know where the gold actually is, and then we have to uncover
it. Wishful thinking won't be successful.
Guest: What is that happiness
the Christians feel?
Hansadutta: Wishful thinking.
Is the happiness one feels while dreaming real happiness? Or is it
imagination? It is dreaming, and that happiness doesn't last. Real
happiness is not based on wishful dreaming; it is based on real
knowledge. When one has knowledge of things as they are, then he's
happy. When one has no knowledge, he's simply dreaming, imagining
happiness—"It must be like this"—without any real happines, just as the
drunken man in the gutter thinks he is happy, but is really unhappy and
only in illusion. The sun going up and the sun going down...it looks
the same, but there is a big difference. When the sun is going down, it
brings darkness. When it comes up, it brings light. At a certain moment
it looks the same. Similarly, when a man is sleeping, he thinks that
he's awake and enjoying life, but he's actually wasting time.
imagine salvation, or to simply wish for it without any real
understanding is useless. In the desert we are thirsty and need water.
The appearance of water in the form of a mirage attracts the thirsty
animals, who pursue that mirage and die of thirst. Similarly, in
sometimes imagine something like salvation, some pseudo-spiritual
ideas, but these ideas are a mirage. They are nothing real. Such pesons
never accept any austerity, penance or renunciation. How, then, can
expect spiritual emancipation? They cannot have any spiritual life
without renunciation, without knowledge, without penance and without
austerity. It is not possible.
Spiritual life is not imaginary. It is substantial reality. As long as
one is dreaming, he thinks he's awake, but when he's awake, he knows
the difference between dreaming and wakefulness. One who is awake knows
what sleeping means. Those who have real spiritual life can understand
material life, but those who are in material life cannot understand
what spiritual life is.
Guest: You said that all the
different religions are stop-gap measures.
Hansadutta: At best. Now they
are just gaps.
Guest: Does that mean they
don't really have anything to do with
realizing the supreme Absolute Truth?
Hansadutta: No, they are just
stop gaps, trying to keep humanity from backsliding. Somehow or other,
trying to keep humanity from falling backwards. In Kali-yuga everything
is deteriorating. For example, Buddhism doesn't mention the soul or the
Absolute Truth. Buddha was just giving the people some strictures on
how to behave so that at least they would not become overly implicated
in sinful activities such as animal killing and intoxication. Buddhism
doesn't offer any program for spiritual advancement. No devotional
service, no knowledge of the soul, no knowledge of God. And Christ
"Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal"... just don'ts.
Always "Don't ... don't ... don't. Don't do this, don't
do that." His
teachings were like taking a child—"Don't touch this, don't touch that.
Sit down here and don't say anything, don't move." There was no
positive program; only avoidance of sinful things. Christ
also taught, "You shall love God," but how can one love God by only
"Don't kill, don't steal, don't commit adultery"? Only don't, don't,
however, have so many DOs: "Do chant 16 rounds, do
go out on sankirtan, do worship the Deity, do
eat prasadam. Our religion is a DO religion; theirs is a DON'T
There's a difference. Our day begins several hours before their day
begins. We begin at three; they begin at eight. They begin with coffee
and cigarettes; we begin with chanting, dancing and prasadam.
Right now there is no religion, but when there was some religion it was
mostly "Don't do this, don't do that." Mohammed taught, "Don't sleep
with your mother." Buddha taught ahimsa, "Don't kill animals."
Christ taught, "Don't kill, don't steal, don't commit adultery."
Guest: If one is following in
his religion, could he come to the path of liberation? Or due to lack
of knowledge does he fall back?
Hansadutta: Well, today is
Christmas. What's everyone doing? Sleeping, right? Everyone is
sleeping, then waking in time for Christmas turkey, which he washes
down with liquor. There is nothing—simply ignorance. Christmas trees,
Christmas lights... it's all ignorance. There is no knowledge. There
has to be knowledge. Without knowledge, sentiment is useless.
Guest: If one has faith in
Hansadutta: "Faith without
works is dead." We have to do something in faith. What do such persons
do in faith? Everything is sinful. There's no stricture that they
should eat a turkey, drink liquor, cut the Christmas tree, pretend
Santa Claus. That's all nonsense, bogus. What do they do on Easter?
What is the Easter Bunny? What does this have to do with knowledge,
renunciation, penance and austerity? It is all nonsense. It is like
children playing with Teddy bears. It's nonsense. There's no value in
The followers of the Vedas still have to come ultimately
to Krishna. We cannot fit the Vedic religion into the stop-gap measure,
just as Webster's International Dictionary won't fit into the Pocket
Dictionary. There is some similarity, but if we want to advance, we
have to accept the International Dictionary, which has the complete
knowledge. It's nice to have some austerity and penance and to see the
similarity or underlying principles, but ultimately nothing can compare
to the Vedic religion, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita.
Geometry, trigonometry and physics cannot be found in general math.
There's some relationship, some basic principle, but if we want to
advance, we have to go to the higher platform and not try
to bring geometry into simple math. It doesn't fit there. It's an
expansion. Similarly, we cannot fit Srimad-Bhagavatam
into basic, stop-gap religion.
Guest: What does it mean that
Christ said to follow him and go back to the Father?
Hansadutta: To follow the
Vedic religion doesn't mean to abandon Christ. Christ was pointing the
way. He said, "No one cometh unto the Father except by me." The Father
is Krishna, and we're all Christians. Most of us were brought up in the
Christian teachings, and we are all here in this Krishna consciousness
movement. Spiritual life is alwasy expanding. It's not limited. It's
always expanding. When we expand our business
from a small shop to a big factory, the small shop is included in the
expansion. Similarly, when we become Krishna conscious, all these other
things are included. However, if we dogmatically stick to the Christian
misconception that "Jesus is the only way," we won't succeed. That's
not very progressive, nor desirable. Go on expanding. Everything is
included. Whatever was taught by Christ, Buddha or Mohammed we also
accept, but there is much more that they did not teach, which we
understand from the Vedic literatures.
Guest: If one follows Christ,
Buddha or Mohammed, can't he attain liberation?
Hansadutta: He can attain it,
but he has to take in the true spirit. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy
God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul." That's
the basic idea, but that is not limited to Christ. That is not limited
to some group or cultural, geographical or historical thing. That is
the seed of understanding: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul." That includes Krishna.
Guest: Is it their karma
they have to go through these religions and then go to Krishna?
Hansadutta: In the West, the
only knowledge of God comes through Jesus Christ. Therefore we are
coming to Krishna through Christ. Christ, kristos, Krishna. In othe
words, we should not become sectarian, saying, "I am Catholic", "I am
Protestant", "I am Jewish". It doesn't matter if we go through Christ
or some bonafide transcendentalist. We can come to the absolute plane
either through Christ, Mohammed or whomever, but if we remain stuck in
the sectarian concept of Christian, Muslim or Jew, that won't help us.
Sri Guru and Gauranga
Zen, Christian Teachings and
Showbottle Spiritualists Exposed
One Sun, One Religion: There is Only One
After Everything is Stripped Away
Who Follows the Principles of
An Open Letter to Pope
Paul VI from A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Knowledge - Enlightenment
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