Christians Haven’t Made the First Step in God Consciousness in 2000 Years (09/10/06)
Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you for your thoughtful email.
Prabhu, is it not that there was perhaps sincerity in some of these religions at the time when they emerged? God is omnipresent and after all, a man in the desert who had some desire to know truth would experience an aspect of God’s beauty, power, love etc, feel that to be God, and not yet know about Śrī Kṛṣṇa, due to his unfortunate karma of not being near a pure devotee. Does it mean he has no realization just because he knows not yet about Kṛṣṇa?
Yes, he may have ‘realization’ about Kṛṣṇa’s external energy and he may even develop a vague understanding of the impersonal aspect of God, but who God is and what His personality and characteristics are will remain unknown to such a soul until he comes in contact with a bona-fide religious process – one given by God Himself and not created from the flickering mind of men.
Is not that kind of like the Christians saying you are a sinner, even if you have not heard about Christ?
No, that is not the same, but it is true that everyone in this material world is a sinner. Sin in the Vedic context is classified as three types – karma (activity with a reaction), akarma (activity with no reaction, like acting in Kṛṣṇa consciousness), and vikarma (actions that are against the Vedic injunctions and cause great suffering).
Can’t God manifest, at least incompletely, to some sincere souls, leading them ever closer to the most complete realization and comprehension of him?
The external energy of God sometimes works in that way and as a result, one may adopt a more pious way of life. This in turn may lead to better association and a better quality of life. Then after many such lifetimes, one may come in contact with real religion. In this way, it is said in the Upaniṣads that after wondering throughout the universe for millions of lifetime one, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, meets a bona-fide guru. And from the bona-fide guru, one gets the seed of devotion.
For example, i used to be a practitioner of the Yogānanda path (SRF). In those days I meditated 2-4 hours daily sometimes, praying with all my heart at times, to know God, to love God. Sometimes I felt great bliss. I felt it was God answering my prayers. When I met devotees and heard about Kṛṣṇa, I felt God had answered my prayers to know Him more completely.
Yes, I was a follower of Yogānanda also, and I prayed to God to please guide me. Supersoul (Paramātmā) guides the wanderings of all living beings; some are guided to the night club and some are guided to the lotus feet of a pure devotee. It deeply depends on one’s desire. I know many followers of Yogānanda in California and they haven’t even adopted a purely vegetarian diet. So how much they have gained from their meditations is certainly a question – at least as far as I am concerned.
Before that, I saw God in the sunset, the nature, rocks, etc, i knew nothing more, but I knew there was more, but I did feel an aspect of God’s presence I believe, that led me further on. I did not know Kṛṣṇa, but I was praying to Him and He answered even when I knew him not. Is this not the position of some origins of religions too, at least some practitiioners in them?
Some people say they saw God in LSD or in the sacred mushrooms, but all that is vague and incomplete. Kṛṣṇa also says that He is the shark, but no amount of association with a shark will make you Kṛṣṇa conscious. In fact, the shark will (sooner or later) kill and eat you! God is everywhere, but to know Him we have to serve the pure devotees.
The so-called realizations of God in the environment are usually a product of the mind and are not actually realizations of God. The mind is one of the senses and one of the eight material elements. The mind actually has no power to realize God. God is realized in consciousness and not in the mind. Mind and even intelligence are material. Consciousness however is not material and can therefore perceive God when He chooses to reveal Himself. Self-realization is a subjective experience and all that you have referred to above falls into the category of objective endeavors to know the truth. From the objective endeavors, a vague understanding of impersonal Brahman and a hazy understanding of the Paramātmā may be reached, but not Kṛṣṇa.
Although it is a hard lump to swallow for many of us with Judeo-Christian backgrounds, the fact is that Christianity is not a transcendental religion. As I mentioned in my article, for all the 2000 years of Christianity, the Christians still do not know what the soul is. Understanding the soul is the first step in God realization. Christians haven’t even made the first step in 2000 years. They still think they are the body. Why? Because Christianity is a man made religion. It is not bona-fide.
Thank you again for your email.
Hoping this meets you well.
Swami B.G. Narasingha