The historical perspective

We must not allow ourselves, this Krishna consciousness movement, to be equated with or drawn into the same arena with Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc. as if all are on the same playing field. People look at us as if we belong to “just another religion”—”What religion are you? I’m Christian. Oh, you’re Hare Krishna. That’s nice.” Ordinary people see many different religions. But that is not at all correct. There is only one religion, and the original religious codes known to mankind are the Vedas. The standard for human thought and action in every field, whether government, military and politics, health, mathematics, agriculture, astronomy, poetry, music, art, philosophy—practically every branch of knowledge and human endeavor—is the Vedas. Vedic culture, Vedic knowledge and Vedic religion are the foundation of human civilization, just looking at it from a historical perception. Every other religion is really only a fractional derivative of the original, pure religion. Like Buddha. He was a Vedic prince, and derived His outlook of the world from the Vedic perspective preserved and taught by brahmanas and brought up in a culture permeated with Vedic tradition, although he later rejected the authority of the Vedas. Buddhism is therefore a derivative of some sort from the Vedas. Like opium, morphine and heroine are all derivatives from poppy seeds. So the closer we get to the source, the more pure and potent. Vedic religon, culture and knowledge is the origin of all that has trickled down through the millennia in the form of art, music, poetry, politics, religion, etc. Actually, the origin exists still. Thus we can consider that these variant cultures and religions are aftermarket products. Whatever exists in the world under the heading of religion is nothing but an adulterated derivative of the original thing. So it’s not that we’re going to be another religion alongside others, content to be tolerated. We should understand that just as Lord Chaitanya amalgamated all existing sampradayas into one, this Krishna consciousness movement is meant to similarly amalgamate all religions into one, bring everyone back to the original, pure religion, the Vedic religion. Lord Chaitanya took all conflicting religious communities and amalgamated them into one. [see Amalgamation of Four Sampradayas.] We have to do this in the West. We have to neutralize or disarm the Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and bring them all into the community of Krishna. Christianity, Buddhism—all are not bonafide to begin with. They are pseudo religion, bogus, adharma, stopgap measures, or like aftermarket parts, remanufactured, reconditioned. In the auto parts industry, you can get the original part—which always costs more—or you can get the aftermarket product, which is cheaper and supposed to be just as good. So for human civilization, there is only one genuine religion, one genuine book of knowledge to guide the human society. Everything else is stopgap or aftermarket. But the so-called religions of the world cannot be equated with Krishna consciousness, as if on the same footing. The actual, original lawbooks for human society are the Vedas. The Vedas are the original standard body of religion, knowledge and culture that addresses all human needs. What is our primary need? Everything in human life is meant to come to the point of releasing us from the cycle of birth and death. But everything outside the standard cannot uplift us. When adulterated, it cannot help us. So no, we shall not be satisfied to be accepted or accredited by the government as a religion on par with whatever else masquerades for religion. We have to go back to the original, genuine thing, the original authority: Krishna consciousness.

It will be easier for people to accept Krishna consciousness as a spiritual practice when they see themselves in a historical perspective. What has happened is the British and others have eclipsed it. The whole Vedic culture has been eclipsed and belittled. The world today is a remnant or vestige of the Vedic culture long forgotten. Although Srila Prabhupada’s teachings are exclusively focused on devotional service to Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he has also set into motion a renaissance of Vedic culture, pursuit of Vedic knowledge, Vedic art, and opened up the West to Vedic music, Vedic astrology, Vedic cooking, Vedic medicine, and so on, tying it all in a auxiliary to the ultimate Vedic science: Krishna consciousness, or devotional service.

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