Star - 29 May 2006 - German
Pope asks where God was in Auschwitz horror By
Pullella and Natalia Reiter, OSWIECIM, Poland
(Reuters) - Calling himself "a son of
Benedict prayed at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz on Sunday
and asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, mostly Jews,
died in this "valley of darkness". ...
"In a place like this, words fail. In the end, there can only
dread silence, a silence which is a heartfelt cry to God -- Why, Lord,
did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?
"Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he
permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?"
Humans could not "peer into God's mysterious plan" to
only "cry out humbly yet insistently to God -- Rouse yourself! Do not
forget mankind, your creature!"
XVI doesn't know where God was at the time of the holocaust. Does he
where he himself and the rest of us are?
Hello, this is planet Earth, home not just to 6 billion human
beings but to an uncountable number of other living entities as
well—all God's creatures—and if it's justice and mercy that interests
the Pope, then he might consider whether God finds it pleasing that
countless numbers of cows, goats, sheep, pigs, chickens and fish and
other of God's creatures are needlessly and mercilessly slaughtered
daily just to satisfy the
perverse appetites of human beings. "An eye for an eye, tooth for a
tooth," sayeth the Old Testament. It is a law of nature: every action
begets an equal and opposite reaction. Karma. So whenever there
outbreak of war or pestilence or disease or natural disaster such as
earthquake, hurricane, drought, flood, fire, etc., it behooves us to
reflect on whether our own misconduct has brought misfortune upon us,
and resolve to work in a way that is pleasing to God, Krishna for the
benefit of the whole planet, rather than complain that God is not doing
The Pope wants to know where God was. Everyone would like to know where
God was and is. But Krishna is present everywhere at all times in the
form of His laws and law enforcers, just as we experience the presence
of the President and Congress by virtue of their authority manifest as
the law of the land and enforced by officers of the law. A law-abiding
citizen may get a chance to meet the President of the United States in
person and shake his hand, but a criminal can only expect to meet the
judge and jury and the staff at a correctional facility. Should a
criminal blame the executive head of the government for punishment
meted out to him as a consequence of his unlawful actions—"Where was
President Bush when I was locked away into a cell and so cruelly
deprived of my freedom? How can President Bush tolerate this
infringement on my liberty and right to enjoy life? Why does the
President remain silent?" Ridiculous, right? But that's us—"Where was
God? How can God tolerate our misery? Why does He remain silent?"
Krishna is here now, but human civilization ignores Him wholesale. Why
should Krishna make Himself personally visible to persons who totally
disregard and neglect His laws, His nature, His creatures? Why should
Krishna interrupt the natural order of the universe to save us from our
suffering as long as we assert our independence from Him?
We need spiritual direction, not confusion. It's the prison
superintendent's job to lay it on the line to the inmates: "Abide by
the rules, and your good behavior will be rewarded." It would be
ridiculous if he were to commiserate with them and say, "Oh you poor
thing. Where was the President when you got locked up? How can he keep
silent?" The spiritual master is always truthful. He never forgets that
he is servant of Krishna first, and so is everyone else. He is anxious
only to facilitate our spiritual rehabilitation and release, so that we
will one day qualify to see God in person. There is no use to follow
professional religionists who profess faith in God from one side of the
mouth and question His whereabouts and motives from the other,
meanwhile indulging their senses and allowing for everyone else to also
pursue a life of sense gratification. Such persons are merely cheaters.
Bhagavan: Today the priests are afraid to speak too
else they'll be fired and get no salary. And the politicians—they're
also afraid to say what they really believe. They're afraid that
they'll be voted out or get no more money to support themselves.
The priests are after money. They are not first class; they are
low-class men. This is the reason that Christianity has fallen down.
The priests cannot speak straightforwardly. There is a straightforward
commandment—"Thou shalt not kill." But because people are already
killing, the priests are afraid to present the commandment
straightforwardly. Now they are even granting man-to-man marriage, what
to speak of other things. The priests are sermonizing on this idea of
man-to-man marriage. Just see how degraded they have become! Previously
was there any conception like this, at least outside America? Nobody
thought that a man could be married to another man. What is this? And
the priests are supporting it. Do you know that? So what is their
priest who visited was telling you that he
was asking all his parishioners to follow God's law. So you asked him
if he was going to get them to follow the fifth commandment, the law
against killing—including animal—killing and especially cow-killing.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes, this
is our proposal: Why should you kill the
cow? Let the cow be protected. You can take the cow's milk and use
this milk for making so many nutritious, delicious preparations. Aside
from that, as far as meat-eating is concerned, every cow will die—so
you just wait a while, and there will be so many dead cows. Then you
can take all the dead cows and eat. So how is this a bad proposal? If
you say, "You are restraining us from meat-eating"—no, we don't
restrain you. We simply ask you, Don't kill. When the cow is dead, you
can eat it.
...We don't want to stop trade or the production of grains and
vegetables and fruit. But we want to stop these killing houses. It is
very, very sinful. That is why all over the world they have so many
wars. Every ten or fifteen years there is a big war—a wholesale
slaughterhouse for humankind. But these rascals—they do not see it,
that by the law of karma, every action must have its reaction.
You are killing innocent cows and other animals—nature will take
revenge. Just wait. As soon as the time is right, nature will gather
all these rascals and slaughter them. Finished. They'll fight amongst
themselves—Protestants and Catholics, Russia and America, this one and
that one. It is going on. Why? That is nature's law. Tit for tat. "You
have killed. Now you kill yourselves."
They are sending animals to the slaughterhouse, and now they'll create
their own slaughterhouse. [Imitating gunfire:] Tung! Tung!
You see? Just take Belfast, for example. The Roman Catholics are
killing the Protestants, and the Protestants are killing the Catholics.
This is nature's law. It's not necessary that you be sent to the
ordinary slaughterhouse. You'll make a slaughterhouse at home. You'll
kill your own child-abortion. This is nature's law. Who are these
children being killed? They are these meat-eaters. They enjoyed
themselves when so many animals were killed, and now they're being
killed by their mothers. People do not know how nature is working. If
you kill, you must be killed. If you kill the cow, who is your mother,
then in some future lifetime your mother will kill you. Yes. The mother
becomes the child, and the child becomes the mother.
[Taken from Journey
of Self Discovery,
"Slaughterhouse Civilization", by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta
In 1966, His
Divine Grace A.C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Prabhupada" by his disciples and followers) founded the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly called the
Hare Krishna movement, comprised of students from every walk of life,
of different races, nationalities and creeds, with the aim of creating
a worldwide, nonsectarian association for reviving human
society's awareness or consciousness of Krishna, or God.
Prabhupada is respected as not only the Founder of the Society, but as
its Acharya. The word acharya, meaning spiritual master, is
somewhat different from the word preceptor insofar as it means one who
teaches not by words only, but also by example.
Srila Prabhupada met
with theologians, religious leaders, dignitaries, writers, scholars,
members of the press—many famous people. He was very keen to convey the
message of his
mission to the thinking persons, the heads of human society. At one
time he asked for an
audience with Pope Paul VI [see also An open
letter to Pope Paul VI], but declined when he was told that
time permitted only a
courtesy call: —
14 July, 1976, 76-07-14
My dear Bhagavan das,
Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your letter dated
July 8, 1976, and I have noted the contents with care.
Concerning the proposed meeting with the Pope, I have no objection
cancelling or delaying the journey to Tehran if the meeting with the
Pope is assured. That is important. But if it is simply a courtesy
visit, then what is the use? If he is prepared to discuss seriously how
religion is becoming degraded all over the world, then it is
worthwhile. Religion is now being taken as a formality. People
generally have no real conception of God. Ours is a tangible connection
with God. We know who is God and how to serve Him. Everything is fact.
I hope that this meets you in good health.
Your ever well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
cc: Atreya Rsi
Prabhupada passed away from
this world in 1977, but left behind a phenomenal legacy in the shape of
his books: more than 160 titles published, including Bhagavad-gita
It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya-charitamrita,
Ishopanishad, Krishna: the Supreme
Personality of Godhead
(published by George
Harrison), Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Nectar of
Devotion, and many
smaller, equally noteworthy publications, as well as many volumes of
delivered for his students, volumes of conversations with guests and
students, volumes of letters. [Back to