Words of Our Acaryas, Our Guiding Spirit

by Bhakta Abdul

[A reply to Satyaraja's latest attempt to equate Islam and Christianity with pure Vaisnavism.]

In his response "Final Reply" to my earlier essay, "It's not all One", Satyaraja dasa is again unable to answer the content of the said essay but simply exhibits again his lack of intellectual focus. He does not address the statements of Srila Prabhupada wherein the scriptures of the yavana Jews, Christians and Mohammedans are described as "man-made" and "unacceptable by those advanced in science and philosophy" but again acts as an apologist for the said mundane "skin-disease" religions, oddly attempting to make them one with Vaisnavism.

However this time in his efforts at political correctness he has stooped to misrepresent the great Vaisnava Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In his reply he states that Bhaktivinoda Thakura "places Islam 'on a par' with Christianity and Vaishnavism" and provides a section of a lecture by the Thakura to back up his claim. However upon examining the lecture we find no such statement by Srila Bhaktivinoda. Rather we find the statement "Christianity and Islam are 'similar' to Vaisnavism'.

So Srila Bhaktivinoda's usage of 'similar' has been converted to "on a par" by Satyaraja dasa.

In the Collins English Dictionary we find the following definitions:

On a par: a state of equality

Similar: showing resemblance in qualities, characteristics, or appearance; alike but not identical.

One possessing an honest and functioning intellect will find a distinction of meaning. We hope that Satyaraja will also instead of attempting to fudge the matter under discussion by twisting the statement of such an elevated Vaisnava.

In our earlier posting we have accepted the basic and preparatory functions described in the lecture by Srila Bhaktivinoda of these conditioned religions. There is no doubt about it. However our intention all along has been to distinguish Vaisnava-dharma from mundane religiosity, particularly that of the violent animal-killers. Certainly the conditioned religions may help to discipline the materially engrossed souls somewhat but they markedly lack potency to deliver those same souls to pure transcendence. In the aforesaid lecture Srila Bhaktivinoda distinguishes very clearly between the "relative religions" and the "natural eternal religion" of pure Vaisnavism. However Satyaraja by falsely asserting that Christianity and Mohammedism are "on a par" with Vaisnavism seems determined to stress oneness instead of this all-important distinction.

The fearless path of the preacher is to skillfully and tactfully emphasize such distinctions, ultimately without compromise. This is the shining lamp of knowledge he shines mercifully in the darkness of the material world. Protest may be the reaction of those deluded souls who are at first stunned by the brilliance of Vedic knowledge, but the preacher never snuffs out the light with the condensed ignorance of "oneness", misguiding the ignorant back to their all-enveloping darkness.

Inconceivable oneness and distinction is the ultimate understanding of Vedic siddhanta. Certainly there are similarities between salt and sugar; they are both white powders. But those that take them as 'one' will perhaps find their next cup of tea tasting rather bad. Thus intelligence in religio/philosophical matters demands that the preacher uphold the vital distinction of the transcendental teaching of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu from all mundane pretence to spirituality. That is his great service to humanity, that is his mercy, and that is the cross he must dutifully bear.

Shaking hands with people bound by karmic ropes dragging them to the hell of birth, death, old age and disease is not the path of the Vaisnava. Rather one should raise the sword of knowledge, not violence, and practice the "chopping technique" of Srila Prabhupada, cutting those suffering souls free of the misconceptions within which they are so entwined. The ultimate acarya of this path is the Supreme Godhead Himself, Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who spent six years traveling the length and breath of Bharata, keenly debating all the teachers of the time. Thus He established the sublime and distinct nature of His transcendental tenets.

For the learned devotee community I would like to offer the following extracts of a lecture given by Srila Prabhupada in New York, Nov 4, 1966. In these quotes we see the brilliant preaching strategy of the glorious founder-acarya with regard to the yavana religions presented in a nutshell. In these times when the less enlightened are recommending that the Hare Krsna's should become 'nice' and only say 'nice things' to these mundane religionists, these quotes come as a reminder of the fearless path chalked out by the great preachers. Our success will be to follow in their footsteps with faith and surrender:

Strategic Point One: Stop Meat-eating, particularly the cow as mother:

"Now, there was some compromising talk with the magistrate, and in that talk the Caitanya Mahaprabhu first questioned. Because he was Mohammedan, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that "In your religion there is killing of father and mother. What sort of religion this is?" The Kazi replied, "How do you say that we are killing our father and...?" "Yes. You are killing your mother. Cow gives you milk, delivers milk. You drink the milk, and you kill the cow. Therefore you are killing your mother."

[Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of SB 1.3.24: "Maharaja Pariksit said that only the animal-killer cannot relish the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if people are to be educated to the path of Godhead, they must taught first and foremost to stop the process of animal-killing."]

Strategic Point Two: Unnecessary Killing, a pillar of sinful life, the destroyer of peace:

"Suna means unnecessarily killing the animals. Just like slaughterhouse. You cannot maintain slaughterhouse in the human society and at the same time you want peace. It is not possible. Every living entity is son of God. You cannot kill even an ant, then you dissatisfy God. Take for example just like a gentleman has got five sons, one of them is useless, doing nothing. But if the expert son says, "My dear father, your this son is useless. Let us kill him and eat," cannibal. Will the father agree, "Oh, yes, yes, this son is useless. You can kill and eat"? Time will come in this Kali-yuga when actually people will become what is called man-eater. Still there are existing man-eaters in Africa. So the human society is coming to that position. Like animal, they will eat their own sons and daughters. So therefore this practice, unnecessarily killing animal, is one of the pillars of sinful life."

Strategic Point Three: Rise above External Ritualism to transcendence by chanting Hare Krsna:

"So Krsna did not recommend that you should do something under superstition. No. You must do it for practical result. This dogmatism, fanaticism-"Oh, why I shall chant Hare Krsna? I am Christian. I am Jew"-this is fanaticism. If you find actually ecstasy by chanting Hare Krsna, why should you not? Why should you not? "No. I am Jew." "I am Christian." "I am Muhammadan." Well, it is transcendental vibration from the spiritual platform. Your Muhammadism, Christianism, Hinduisim, Buddhism, this is skin disease. This is... Because you have got some particular body at particular circumstances, therefore you claim like that. But actually we are all spirit soul, and this sound vibration is from the spirit soul. It will appeal to everyone. See the effect. Then don't be fanaticist. Don't be, I mean to say, sectarian. So Krsna wants that, that simply by custom, one should not follow the rituals [of organized religion]. One should see the effect [of chanting Hare Krsna]."

Thus the devotional path has been chalked out by the great devotees following the example of the Supreme Lord Himself. We hope that this path will not be fudged by the less-enlightened who consider that by pleasing, rather than by exposing, materialists and false religionists the teachings of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu will be accepted.

Recently there has been a spate of articles decrying what is defined as 'cricticism' of other religions or persons. Interestingly these persons have all exhibited the proclivity of quoting mundane personalities, sometimes at great length, as if such mundane mental speculators were authorities in the matter of spiritual behavior and practice. Well for such misguided devotees here are the actual directions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada from 'The Great Favour', a Harmonist article:

"A chanter of the Kirtan of Hari is necessarily the uncompromising enemy of worldliness and hypocrisy. As chanter of the Kirtan of Hari, it is the constant function to dispel all misconceptions by the preaching of the truth in the most unambiguous form without any respect of person, place or time. That form is to be adopted which is least likely to be misunderstood. It is his bounden duty to oppose clearly and frankly any person who tries to deceive and harm himself and other people by misrepresenting the Truth due to malice or bona fide misunderstanding."

Let the words of the Acaryas be our guiding spirit. I hope the devotee community finds this helpful,

Your servant,
Bhakta Abdula

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