by Swami B.G. Narasingha
In the third and final installment of ‘The Burning Cross’, Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja, under the alias of Pradeep Sharma, answers various questions that he received after posting ‘The Burning Cross’ parts 1 and 2. The questions concern quotes from Prabhupāda about Jesus, the Aquarian Gospel, the Bhaviṣya Purāṇa, Christian saints and Jesus as Brahmā.
The article “The Burning Cross 1&2” has drawn numerous questions and remarks from my readers, some favourable and some not so favourable. In this final essay of the series I shall attempt to answer some of the more important questions on this topic and also to give some quotes from pure devotees, as I have been disparaged for not doing so previously.
QUESTION: Prabhupada said, “Jesus is our guru”. What is your explanation to that?
ANSWER: Sri Prabhupada may have said that “Jesus is our guru,” but this statement requires some qualification, otherwise Prabhupada would have listed Jesus in the parampara in his introduction to Bhagavad-Gita As It Is.
In the quote below, Sri Prabhupada calls Jesus our spiritual master, but it does not appear that Prabhupada intended his statement to be an instruction to his disciples to actually accept Jesus as their guru.
“Once, in Melbourne, a group of Christian ministers came to visit me. They asked, “What is your idea of Jesus Christ?” I told them, ‘He is our guru. He is preaching God consciousness, so he is our spiritual master.’ The ministers very much appreciated that.” (Science of Self Realization Ch. 4)
The question arises, how is Jesus our guru? Does he come in a Vaishnava disciplic succession or does he simply represent an ideal of guru-tattva? Based on the study of Prabhupada’s statements we conclude that Prabhupada is referring to the ideal found in Jesus and not to the person of Jesus, ‘per se’.
Sri Prabhupada says that because Jesus is preaching God consciousness he is our guru. By this token then every person to have ever preached God consciousness in this world is our guru. But we should consider, in which way is Jesus our guru?
The idea of living and sacrificing for the benefit of others, as Jesus has supposedly done, is indeed admirable but we do not accept the teachings of Jesus/Christianity as very advanced or as a bona fide theology. This is confirmed by Sri Bhaktivinoda in Tatttva-viveka who rejects the theology of the Trinity found in Christianity as “delirious mixed reasoning”.
jada-bhranta-pralapini dvaitam traitam bahutvam va ropayaty eva yatnatah
“Bewildered by matter, and talking wildly, material logic sometimes declares that there are two, three, or many Gods.” (Tattva Viveka 21)
“That delirious mixed-reasoning even after accepting the divinity becomes unable to establish the unity of God. Sometimes it imagines two principles as divinity and decides that the sentient principle is a divinity and also the materialistic principle is another one. The sentient divinity is the source of all auspiciousness whereas the divinity of material principle is the source of inauspiciousness. A certain philosopher called Zarathustra has accepted the eternity of two gods viz. holy and unholy by advocating duality in his book named Zend Avesta. Followers of the devotional cult have shown their contempt for this theory and also for the doctrines of karma-kanda and jnana-kanda as atheistic thoughts. Zarathustra was a very old philosopher. Since his philosophy could not find any followers in India, he preached it successfully in the country of Iran. His philosophy became so contagious that in the religion of the Jews and finally the followers of Koran it created an entity called ‘Satan’ as a rival to God. When Zarathustra was preaching his philosophy of duality, there arose a necessity of three divine principles among the Jews, as a result of which the theory of ‘Trinity’ was developed. At first, three different gods were imagined in the theory of Trinity and later on when scholars could not get pleased with it, it was reasonably settled by accepting the three principles of God, Holy Ghost and Christ. …The Supreme Lord is a principle without a second… Any sane person will agree that this manifested universe has been created by the will of a single Supreme Personality.” (Tattva Viveka 21, commentary.)
Some aspects of the noble ideal found in Jesus may be accepted by a Vaishnava acharya but this does not give credibility to Christianity on the whole as a bona fide religion. Nor does this suggest that Jesus was actually a member of the guru-tattva. Jesus may have portrayed an aspect of what it means to be guru and therefore this is praiseworthy, but this does not mean that Jesus is equal to a Vaishnava or a Vaishnava guru.
Quoting Bhaktisiddhanta, Sri Prabhupada has said about the comparison between Vasudeva Datta and Jesus Christ, that Vasudeva Datta was millions of times more advanced than Jesus Christ. Prabhupada makes the distinction between Jesus and a Vaishnava in terms of their generosity and self-sacrifice by saying that a Vaishnava is prepared to risk everything to save the conditioned souls whereas Jesus was not.
“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura gives the following commentary on this verse. In the Western countries, Christians believe that Lord Jesus Christ, their spiritual master, appeared in order to eradicate all the sins of his disciples. To this end, Lord Jesus Christ appeared and disappeared. Here, however, we find Sri Vasudeva Datta Ṭhakura and Sri Haridas Ṭhakura to be many millions of times more advanced even when compared with Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ relieved only his followers from all sinful reactions, but Vasudeva Datta is here prepared to accept the sins of everyone in the universe. So the comparative position of Vasudeva Datta is millions of times better than that of Lord Jesus Christ. A Vaishnava is so liberal that he is prepared to risk everything to rescue the conditioned souls from material existence. Sri Vasudeva Datta Ṭhakura is universal love itself, for he was willing to sacrifice everything and fully engage in the service of the Supreme Lord.
“Srila Vasudeva Datta knew very well that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the original Personality of Godhead, Transcendence itself, above the material conception of illusion and maya. Lord Jesus Christ certainly finished the sinful reactions of his followers by his mercy, but that does not mean he completely delivered them from the pangs of material existence. A person may be relieved from sins once, but it is a practice among Christians to confess sins and yet commit them again. By getting freed from sins and again engaging in them, one cannot attain freedom from the pangs of material existence. A diseased person may go to a physician for relief, but after he leaves the hospital he may again be infected due to his unclean habits. Thus material existence continues. Srila Vasudeva Datta wanted to completely relieve the conditioned souls from material existence so that they would no longer have an opportunity to commit sinful acts. This is the significant difference between Srila Vasudeva Datta and Lord Jesus Christ. It is a great offense to receive pardon for sins and then commit the same sins again. Such an offense is more dangerous than the sinful activity itself. Vasudeva Datta was so liberal that he requested Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to transfer all offensive activity upon him so the conditioned souls would be purified and go back home, back to Godhead. This prayer was certainly without duplicity.” (Cc, Madhya 15.163 purport)
On occasion Prabhupada may have referred to “Jesus as our guru” but I think it is obvious he did not think that Jesus or Christianity were on an equal footing with Vaishnavism. Also I get the impression that devotees assume that because Prabhupada was a pure devotee of Krishna that he was automatically a Biblical scholar, when in fact he was not. My research in the Bhaktivedanta Database showed that Prabhupada had not actually studied Christianity and he stated this when asked, “What’s your view of Judaism and Christianity?” Prabhupada replied:
“I have not studied, but any “ism,” if it is meant for making the soul free from this bodily condition, that is first class “ism.” Otherwise, it is simply waste of time.” (1976 July 16 New York)
Whenever we did find Prabhupada quoting something favourable about Jesus or Christianity, it was usually in a situation wherein he preferred to encourage his audience. But the facts indicate that Prabhupada did not want his followers wasting time with Christian theology. This is clear in the following statement. Prabhupada writes:
“Regarding your questions on Christianity, we are not very much keen to engage them in argument because for the most part they are sentimentalists and have no philosophy, therefore they become fanatics or dogmatists, and this type of person we cannot change. (Letter to Dasarha 1977 March 4 Bombay)
In a conversation Sri Prabhupada makes further accusations that the Christian theologians are rascals.
Candanacarya: “Yesterday I made the acquaintance of a theologist, a professor from the University of Montreal. He said that the Roman Catholic presentation of Christianity is that God came to share the suffering of man.”
Prabhupada: “That is another rascaldom. Why God should share the sufferings of man?”
Candanacarya: “I asked him this, and he said, ‘So that man would accept more as reality, suffering.'”
Prabhupada: Very good theologian — a rascal number one.” (Los Angeles, Dec. 15, 1973)
I am really surprised how the devotees quote Prabhupada having said, “Jesus is our guru” as if Prabhupada himself had observed Christmas or Easter celebrations, but I think not. I have also observed that devotees do not hesitate to condemn Shankaracharya or the worship of Lord Shiva but when it comes to making any statement questioning Jesus they get very emotional and agitated as do Hindus when questioned about demigod worship or as Christians do when asked to prove the historical Jesus. This is an obvious symptom of attachment to their previous roots.
What I think is that a more insightful understanding of the actual message of the acharya, and not simply setting up a canon of dogmatic statements in its place, is what is required if the Krishna consciousness movement is to become a vital tradition in the West.
QUESTION: In some conversations, Prabhupada has mentioned the Aquarian Gospel which states that Jesus was in Jagannath Puri. Do you accept this evidence?
ANSWER: No, I do not accept the Aquarian Gospel as admissible evidence. The Aquarian Gospel is not a Gospel recognized by religious scholars. This pretence of a “Gospel” is the work of a 20th century American named Levi H. Dowling that he supposedly channelled from the Akashic records in 1908. Of course receiving knowledge via revelation (the Akashic records) is certainly possible, but the Aquarian Gospel fails to pass the test of spirituality. Unfortunately, many people confuse the Aquarian Gospel for a Gospel from antiquity when truthfully it is not.
Our research has revealed that Prabhupada sometimes discussed the Aquarian Gospel, but we have not found that he actually recommended it to his disciples. In fact, we have found evidence showing that Prabhupada ultimately rejected the Aquarian Gospel. Prabhupada writes:
“Regarding Aquarian Gospel of Lord Jesus The Christ, I have taken some stray extracts just to support our views, but we don’t give any importance to that book. (Letter to Tamala-Krishna, 14 Sept. 1969)
Also Prabhupada has written:
“Regarding your question about Lord Jesus Christ, we accept him as saktyavesa avatara. Lord Buddha is in the same category also. Lord Buddha is mentioned specifically in Srimad–Bhagavatam as incarnation of Godhead, and yet Vaishnavas do not accept his philosophy, which is classified as atheism. Similarly, even if we accept Lord Jesus Christ as saktyavesa–avatara, it doesn’t mean that we have to accept his philosophy. But we have all respects for him without fail. Regarding books like Aquarian Gospel or even the Testaments, we cannot accept them as authorities because sometimes it is learnt that the words are not actually spoken by Christ, but they are so set up by the devotees.” (Letter to Hamsaduta, Nov.2, 1969)
Additionally, it should be mentioned that in the Aquarian Gospel where it is mentioned that Jesus went to Puri it also says that he (Jesus) criticized Lord Jagannath. We have noted that the style of the Aquarian Gospel takes the same platform against Jagannath and Vedic Culture as did the bulk of missionaries in India during the 18th and 19th centuries. Possibly Dowling’s intent was to gain acceptability for his literary creation among the Christian critics of Jagannath. In any case the Aquarian Gospel casts Jesus in the role of an offender to Sri Jagannath.
Chapter 24 of the Aquarian Gospel states:
“In Puri, Jesus asks the Brahmins about caste. The Brahmins explain that according to the shastra, the Brahmins came from the mouth of Parabrahma, the kshatriyas from the arms, the vaishyas from the thighs and the shudras from His feet.
“Jesus exclaims that Parabrahma is not a God of justice and of right; for with his own strong hand he has exulted one and brought another low. The Brahmins become angry at his blasphemy and with threats of violence, drove him from Puri.”
Chapter 26 of the “Aquarian Gospel” states:
“During the Ratha-yatra festival, Jesus witnesses the cart of Jagannath being pulled and says –”Behold, a form without a spirit passes by; a body with no soul; a temple with no altar fires. This car of Krishna is an empty thing, for Krishna is not there. This car is but an idol of a people drunk on wine of carnal things. God lives not in the noise of tongues; there is no way to him from any idol shrine. God’s meeting place with man is in the heart, and in a still small voice he speaks; and he who hears is still.”
“The people ask Jesus, “To whom shall we bring gifts? Where shall we offer sacrifice? Jesus replies – “Our Father-God asks not for needless waste of plant, of grain, of dove, of lamb. That which you burn on any shrine you throw away. No blessings can attend the one who takes the food from hungry mouths to be destroyed by fire. When you would offer sacrifice unto our God, just take your gift of grain, or meat and lay it on the table of the poor. From it an incense will arise to heaven, which will return to you with blessedness. Tear down your idols; they can hear you not; turn all your sacrificial altars into fuel for the flames. Make human hearts your altars, and burn your sacrifices with the fire of love.”
This reference above certainly contains a mixture of both pleasing and disturbing words. Such is the work of rascals. Throw in a few words at the end like “human hearts”, “love” and “sacrifice” to make it sound like something acceptable, but the gist of the above quote, if indeed true, certainly makes Jesus out to be offensive to Sri Jagannath.
Some devotees wrote to me saying that Jesus was a pure devotee and according to the “Aquarian Gospel,” Jesus came to India not to receive anything but only to give — to give pagan idolaters something they knew nothing about, God. This idea is unacceptable that a pure devotee comes to India, but only finds fault and learns nothing.
In conclusion, Sri Prabhupada says that he does not accept the “Aquarian Gospel” as bona fide nor does it appear that he accepted the Bible and other non-Vedic scriptures. Prabhupada says:
“The shastras of the yavanas, or meat-eaters, are not eternal scriptures. They have been fashioned recently, and sometimes they contradict one another. The scriptures of the yavanas are three: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Their compilation has a history; they are not eternal like the Vedic knowledge. Therefore, although they have their arguments and reasoning, they are not very sound and transcendental. As such, modern people advanced in science and philosophy, deem these scriptures unacceptable. (Cc Adi. 17,169 purport)
However, if we choose to accept the yavana scriptures as a bona fide truth, in this case the Aquarian Gospel, then Jesus is made out to be an offender. So either the Aquarian Gospel is a fraud or Jesus is a fraud or both are frauds. In any case we do not find these books useful for attaining transcendental knowledge.
QUESTION: Bhaktisiddhanta and Prabhupada have referred to Jesus as a shaktyavesha-avatar. What is your response to that?
ANSWER: Shaktyavesha means one who is empowered and if indeed the personality of Jesus actually existed and he did everything they say he did then I would agree that he was a shaktyavesha-avatar.
But as Prabhupada has said, Lord Buddha who is mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam was also a shaktyavesha-avatar, yet Vaishnavas do not accept his philosophy. What then to speak of Jesus, whose religion is for the yavanas and mlecchas. There is no necessity of stressing that Jesus was a shaktyavesha-avatar because there is no need to accept his philosophy. Indeed, there isn’t any philosophy in Christianity except the doctrine of salvation through Jesus. That is not philosophy, that is fanaticism.
QUESTION: I have heard that some scholars consider the personality Jesus to be an amalgamation of the lives of several other pre-Christian saviours. Do you agree with this idea?
ANSWER: The most credit I can give to the existence of Jesus is that of an amalgamation of more than one personality. This is a solution to the problem that many scholars accept.
It so happens that eighty percent of the sayings of Jesus have been confirmed by Biblical scholars to have come from pre-Christian traditions such as Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Jewish, thus alluding to the amalgamation theory. To go into details in this article on how much of Christianity is borrowed from someone or somewhere would simply become too voluminous.
It has also been confirmed that, during the time of Paul, the Jewish people were divided over whether the Messiah had already come or was yet to come. A point of contention was that the Messiah was to lead the people of Israel as a conquering King, something that in any case has not yet happened. For this reason, the Jews to this day do not accept Jesus of the Gospel as the Messiah.
However, there were a couple of popular Jewish cult leaders by the name of Jesus that lived before and after the Jesus of the Gospels who are mentioned in the Talmud and other Jewish records such as Jesus Ben Pandera, 70 BC and Jesus Ben Stada, 2nd century AD circa.
Both these men of the name Jesus were stoned to death for being sorcerers and hung on trees during the Passover. These men were executed by the order of the priest of the Jewish temple. Historical accounts say that these two men were political agitators and miracle workers who had some following among the common Jews, but were not in good graces with the priests.
Roman records also mention many so-called Jewish Messiahs being crucified for speaking out against the authority of the Roman government, but none of them were named Jesus. The Jews executed people they thought to be heretics by stoning whereas the Romans executed political agitators by crucifixion.
During the alleged time of Jesus, it is confirmed that Rome practiced religious tolerance. All types of religion were not only tolerated but also were practiced throughout the Roman Empire. But political agitators were never tolerated and were put to death by the most gruesome means, crucifixion. If indeed “Jesus” was crucified, then this would indicate that he was being punished as a political offender and not as a religious reformer.
Paul seems to have been of the opinion that the people needed one God and one saviour to believe in — thus the amalgamation of many Jewish martyrs, pagan gods, and moral traditions into one super star, Jesus Christ Superstar, to lead the world to salvation.
QUESTION: Some devotees told me they thought that Jesus was Lord Brahma. This is based on the Bible, where it is said that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Do you think this is possible?
ANSWER: This is the first time I have ever heard that theory, but two devotees did write me recently to say that they thought that Jesus was Balarama or Nityananda.
Whether Jesus is Brahma, Balarama, or Nityananda cannot established by any creditable Vedic source. It is simply interpolation.
To say that Jesus is Brahma is to say that Sri Brahmaji decided to make an appearance in this world independent of any disciplic succession and to just go off on his own and do his own thing. Not a very intelligent proposal. Brahmaji, being the father of the oldest sampradaya in this universe, would hardly set an example of going out to preach God consciousness without any parampara authority. And then getting himself nailed to a cross as a result of it. This is not a good theory.
But assuming, as you say, that Jesus was Brahmaji, then we are faced with the problem of why Sri Chaitanya completely ignored Christianity during His lila. Lord Chaitanya dealt with mayavadis, Buddhist, materialists, and even Muslims but we have no record that He acknowledged the existence of Christianity. This is indeed a problem when we consider that the Syrian Christians had been in South India for several centuries by the time Sri Chaitanya visited the people and temples there.
If Jesus had been Sri Brahmaji then why would Sri Chaitanya choose to neglect his spiritual descendants, especially when it turns out that the Syrian Church of India was one of the purest forms of Christianity on the planet at the time, not yet polluted by the politics of the European church and state?
To consider Jesus to be Brahma or any other personality of the Vedic scripture is an unnecessary interpolation. Too much brain work in the wrong direction is not good. We should use our brain to understand shrota-siddhanta, that which is given by acharyas and not waste time in speculation trying to make a clay doll into a marble statue.
QUESTION: The prophecy of Jesus is mentioned in the Bhavishya Purana, written 5000 years ago. Do you accept this evidence?
ANSWER: Bhavishya Purana is perhaps the most interpolated book in the Vedic canon. Because this books deals with future events and personalities, over time many devious persons have added their interpolations. This is a commonly known fact and therefore the Bhavisya Purana has lost its validity as an acceptable evidence amongst scholars.
However, owing to the fact that the Bhavishya Purana was originally a bona fide text it therefore should still contain some valuable information. Generally speaking, a reference from the Bhavishya Purana about any event or personality must have a cross reference from another bona fide Vedic literature before it will be accepted by scholars.
To the best of my knowledge the statements about Jesus in the Bhavishya Purana do not have a cross reference in any other Vedic literature and are therefore considered an interpolation.
QUESTION: Some Christian mystics, who lived long before Sri Chaitanya, have mentioned madhurya-rasa in their books. Do you accept this fact?
ANSWER: No. But if you stretch the meaning of madhurya-rasa to fit any sentiment of mundane love then possibly some Christian mystics have made such expressions. When we think of madhurya-rasa as the topmost transcendental emotion between the rasa-murti, Sri Krishna and maha–bhava, Sri Radharaṇi then the so-called madhurya-rasa of the Christian mystics falls into the shadows.
Common examples to establish madhurya-rasa in Christianity are the Brides of Christ (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Catherine of Sienna) and St. John of the Cross. Having looked at these examples we find no substantial reason to believe that these actually demonstrate madhurya-rasa. We do recognize that these Christian saints may have considered themselves Brides of Christ, but it does not go beyond that, certainly not to madhurya-rasa. Being a Bride of Christ is not madhurya-rasa nor does it indicate madhurya-rasa.
Madhurya-rasa necessitates developed information about the form and qualities of the Personality of Godhead, something that is totally absent in Christianity. The Brides of Christ conception is a relationship with Jesus, the Son of God and not with God Himself. So for that reason also it cannot be accepted as madhurya-rasa.
In the Gospels of Matthew 9:15, Mark 2:19-20, Luke 5:34-35, and John 3:29 Jesus uses the parable of a wedding between God and the people of Israel. Over time this parable was adopted literally amongst the Catholic monastic orders by considering themselves the Brides of Christ. This however does not qualify as madhurya-rasa.
The Brides of Christ is also not an original Christian idea for this was borrowed from the tradition of the Roman Vestal Virgins who were considered chaste and married to the eternal fire. Dr. Susanna Roxman, Department of Comparative Literature, Gothenburg University, Sweden says that the Brides of Christ (Nuns) were the successors of the Vestal Virgins and that a Nuns’ headdress originates from the bridal headdress of the Vestal Virgins of Rome.
If we accept that the Brides of Christ are in madhurya-rasa, then we will eventually have to admit that the Vestal Virgins of Rome were also in madhurya-rasa. After all what makes the God of the Christians (who was not Krishna) any more righteous than the God of the Romans (who was at least a demigod)? In any case neither manifested the symptoms of madhurya-rasa.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, a Salesian nun, and St Catherine of Sienna are considered by the Catholic Church to be outstanding personalities in the order of the Brides of Christ. Prof. Herbert Thurston, in his book “The Physical Accompaniments of the Mystics” writes, “St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (feast day: October 17) was a Salesian nun who cut the monogram of Jesus into her breast, and when it was healing too fast, burned it in again with a candle. At times she drank only water used to wash the sick, ate rotten bread and fruit, and once licked up the sputum of a patient with her tongue. In her autobiography she described the joy she felt when she had eaten the faeces (stool) of a patient suffering diarrhoea (!). For this ordeal she was allowed to kiss the heart of Jesus, who apparently held her in his arms the subsequent night.”
Are we to conclude that by the act of eating human faeces that St. Margaret got admission to madhurya-rasa with Jesus? Certainly an absurd idea. Dr. Onya Moutray McArthur of the University of Connecticut writes:
“Catherine of Sienna, wrote in her book “The Dialogue” concerning her mystical marriage to Jesus. According to Catherine, Jesus actually cut off, at the time of His circumcision, his foreskin and fashioned it into a ring with which she was married and united to Him.”
Now we are told that Catherine received a wedding ring made from the skin of Jesus’ circumcision when he was a child and we are supposed to accept this as madhurya-rasa? What has any of this got to do with madhurya-rasa? Nothing. It simply sounds like tamo-guna (the mode of ignorance) or even something ghostly.
Who is the God of the Christians anyway? Is it Jesus? If it is Jesus then Christians are mayavadis, guru is God. Actually the Christians have no God, no Deity, and thus no salvation. The Romans on the other hand worshipped demigods including Surya (Mithras) the Sun God. Better worshipping some manifestation of the Supreme (a demigod) than worshipping no God at all.
The poem of St. John of the Cross “The Ascent of Mount Carmel,” although speaking about the “Lover and his beloved” lacks the essential element of ashraya or the shelter of the internal potency. Without the shelter of the internal potency a living entity cannot come to madhurya–rasa. It is not possible for the living entity to enter into rasa without the shelter of the internal potency.
When even Hindu spiritualists like Mirabai, who wrote many songs and poems directly expressing her love affair with Krishna, are not accepted in madhurya-rasa by Gauḍiya Vaishnavas, then what to speak of others whose expressions of madhurya-rasa are only mundane mundane sentiments toward an unknown God.
It should also be mentioned that St. John of the Cross and the Brides of Christ cannot go beyond the teaching of their master Jesus Christ, who only taught about the ‘Fatherhood” of Godhead and nothing about amorous love, madhurya-rasa. From all points of view madhurya-rasa is not a part of Christianity, past or present.
Sri Bhaktivinoda says that until his time madhurya-rasa had not yet gone outside of India and we think that his statement was fully correct.
“Till now, this rasa (madhurya-rasa) has not crossed beyond India. Recently a scholar from England named Newman realized something about this rasa and wrote a book about it. The people of Europe and America have not been satisfied with vatsalya-rasa mixed with opulence as preached by Jesus Christ. I hope, by the grace of the Lord, in a very short time they will become attached to drinking the intoxicating nectar of madhurya-rasa.” (Bhaktivinoda, Intro to Krishna Samhita)
QUESTION: You have said that St. Xavier brought the Inquisition to India and that he was responsible for the thousands of innocent people who were burned at the stake. This terrible atrocity was performed by Xavier and other men, but not by Jesus. Therefore, it is not fair to say that the Inquisition represented the teachings of Jesus.
ANSWER: We would like to think that burning innocent people at the stake did not represent Jesus but the fact is that the Inquisition was indeed established by the Christian Church on the authority of the Bible. References in the Bible for burning the non-believers are found in Matthew, John, and Luke. According to the Bible, Jesus himself says that non-believers are to be burned. Jesus says:
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6)
“The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matthew 13.41,43)
John the Baptist also encouraged burning non-believers as follows:
“Every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Luke 3.12)
Whether or not Jesus actually intended his followers to burn non-believers at the stake we will never know for sure but the Church used his words to condemn non-believers to death by fire and this is a historical fact.
I mentioned in a previous article that Xavier brought the Inquisition to India and that Brahminism was targeted in general but I should also mention that the Inquisition in India first focused on the Jews of Malabar and then turned against the Syrian Christians in Goa and Kerala who were reluctant to accept the Pope and then turned on the Brahmins and Hindus. No one escaped the wrathful eye of the Inquisition who did not acquiesce to Portuguese Christian dominance or flee for their lives.
More Articles by Swami B.G. Narasingha
Heresy, Inquisition, Jihad, Fatwa and the Hare Kṛṣṇas
‘Heresy, Inquisition, Jihad, Fatwa and the Hare Kṛṣṇas’ was written by Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja in July 2010 was a follow-up article to his essay, ‘Śriya Śuka.’ After receiving a barrage of complaints, insults (and a few death threats) from members of a certain Vaiṣṇava mission, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja asks if there is any difference between Christian and Muslim fanatics and the Hare Kṛṣṇas?
The Dawn of the Age of Love?
“Dawn of the Age of Love” was written in 2009 by Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja in response to the erroneous idea that Kalki-avatāra does not appear at the end of this Kali-yuga. Quoting previous ācāryas, he shows that this is not the case.
This Saṅkīrtana Movement Is the Līlā of Mahāprabhu
‘This Saṅkīrtana Movement Is the Līlā of Mahāprabhu’ by Swami Narasingha was first published on March 30th 2002. This article was based on class by Narasingha Maharaja given in 2001 wherein Maharaja discusses gaura-līlā in relation to kṛṣṇa-līlā and how by engaging in Mahāprabhu’s saṅkīrtana movement, one attains Vṛndāvana.