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“A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION”
Krishna Consciousness and the Judeo-Christian Tradition
A Guide to Interfaith Discussion
Reverend Norman Moorhouse
"My stay with the Hare Krishna people
was the greatest spiritual happening of
Reverend Norman Moorhouse, a priest of the Church of England and a member of the College of Chaplains of Norwich Cathedral, lived with devotees at Hare Krishna temples for a week, in February 1977. His report to his superior, the Very Reverend Alan Webster, Dean of Norwich, reads as follows:
"These people have complete trust in Lord Krishna for all things needed for the welfare of the soul (within its body-dress), a wonderful satisfaction with the simple things of life. They have a full life in the only and best way; i.e., serving God by accepting His providence.
"An obvious dedication to, and love of, God shining through the eyes of the devotees (not only during the long and various acts of worship, but at all times when doing the ordinary jobs of the day.
"A most vivid expression of the worship in Psalm 150, with strong emphasis on song, dance, and cymbals—a giving of every ounce of youthful vitality, even at 4:30 a.m.!
"The utter giving up of things that most people (including most Christians) find necessary: meat, fish, eggs, smoking, tea, coffee, wine, etc., and any sex activity outside marriage. A gracious care for ‘the stranger within their gates,’ everyone striving to see that all comfort and help is given.
"These young men and women accept the principles of devotional service to God, and He is their one desire (indeed this is the whole purpose of being born in this world), so they carefully study the Vedic scriptures, written 5,000 years ago.
"My impression is that these devotees, like the early Christians, could ‘turn the world upside down’ today!"
In 1979, Reverend Moorhouse wrote in further detail:
"My first impression of the Hare Krishna temple was, ‘Here is something very beautiful and lovely.’ As far as the worshipping was concerned, it was the happiness of it, the joy of it, that I noticed...
"And, of course, there was the dancing, which in the Christian church you don’t have at all. I also was very impressed with the way the children were enjoying themselves in worship and really taking part in it. So it was an experience of great joy, an experience that made me think, ‘This is what religion is all about.’
"I have read several of Srila Prabhupada’s books and commentaries and find them a tremendous help. I’ve also found the chanting of Hare Krishna has helped me a great deal in my general time given to prayer and meditation. Some Christians do use this kind of prayer.
"The rosary is chiefly associated with Roman Catholics, but many members of the Church of England also use it. And there are many Russian orthodox Christians who chant the name of Jesus several hundred or thousand times every day...
"In the Book of Psalms there are biddings to praise the name of the Lord and to sing...I remember that during the Second World War, I was in Greece for Easter, and it was a wonderful thing to hear all the people chanting and singing ‘Christos anesethe’—Christ is risen.
"I have read most of the writings of Thomas Merton. He felt that there was much in India’s tradition that could help Christians understand the purpose of religion. For many people today, the teachings of their Bible do not, for some reason or another, seem to fulfill the deepest needs.
"There is an ancient tradition that Jesus was a vegetarian. Whether this is actually true I do not know. But I would go as far as to say that St. John the Baptist was a vegetarian, and those who belonged to the same sect as he.
"And, of course, in the Old Testament we have the example of Daniel, who lived as a vegetarian and refused to eat the meat (or drink the wine) that King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his stewards to give him while he was imprisoned...So the Christians are many times bidden to be vegetarian.
"Adam and Eve, before they fell, lived a simple life by eating those things that God provided for them. They didn’t kill animals for food. We should all try to get back to that way of life by eating grains and vegetables and drinking milk.
"I’ve thought of Jesus Christ as a guru. He said that he was the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but through him. In this way, he was speaking as a guru to his disciples...
"We must get beyond the external rituals, forms, and terminologies. The Vedas (Hindu scriptures) teach that there is a sense in which all religions are the same: we should all be living our lives in love and service to God. I'm quite sure that Christian people can accept this as a principle to live by."
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03 - Dr. A. L.
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