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Krishna Consciousness and the Judeo-Christian Tradition
A Guide to Interfaith Discussion

"He’s Our Guru"
(Srila Prabhupada Accepted Jesus Christ)

In his July 1995 Rievaulx Meditation Centre newsletter, Brother Aelred (Chaitanya dasa), a Roman Catholic monk and Krishna disciple residing in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, discusses a recent visit to Poland.

Brother Aelred writes that the Catholic Bishops in Poland do not yet recognize the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) as a valid denomination of Hinduism, but rather as "an ‘Americanized’ ersatz distortion of genuine Hinduism. On this logic, they see no reason for entering into dialogue with ISKCON...Catholic-Jewish dialogue is, by contrast, ‘practical’ and necessary."

Brother Aelred writes that when he asked Father Bereza, a Benedictine monk in Lubin, why Buddhism was more easily accepted in Poland, Fr. Bereza replied that Buddhism—when compared with Roman Catholicism—was different. The Vaishnava tradition, on the other hand, is "uncomfortably close" to Christianity...and "brothers will fight each other."

According to Brother Aelred, Srila Prabhupada (the Hindu spiritual master and founder of ISKCON), who brought the 2,200 year old Vaishnavaite bhakti tradition to the West, could very much be considered an ‘orthodox Christian,’ because he accepted nearly all of Christianity’s fundamental tenets as set down in texts such as the Apostles’ Creed:

"Jesus Christ was born without contact of any material father. He was divinely placed in the womb of Mary."

---Morning Walk, Los Angeles
June 8, 1976

"Fools thought that Lord Jesus Christ was dead by crucifixion, but he resurrected..."

---Letter to Mr. Dambergs
April 12, 1967

"Lord Jesus Christ, he is shaktyavesha-avatara, God’s son..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1976

"Jesus Christ is accepted as the son of God. He presented himself as the son of God. And here Krishna says that ‘I am the Father.’"

---Chaitanya Charitamrita lecture, 1968

" no difference between God and His servant. Yes. That we say...Because a devotee, like Lord Jesus Christ, means confidential servant of God, there is no difference..."

---Room conversation, London
July 12, 1973

"Yes. A real Vaishnava, a real devotee, is even more merciful than Krishna. Take Lord Jesus Christ, for example. It is said that Lord Jesus took everyone’s sins upon himself, yet..."

---Morning Walk, December 12, 1973

"...He (the guru or spiritual master) takes responsibility for all the fallen souls. That idea is also in the Bible. Jesus Christ took all the sinful reactions of the people and sacrificed his life..."

---Perfect Questions Perfect Answers

"...In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ claimed to be the son of God and to be coming from the kingdom of God to reclaim conditioned souls. As followers of Bhagavad-gita, we admit this claim to be true. So basically there is no difference of opinion. In details there may be differences due to differences in culture..."

---Raja Vidya, Chapter Six

Devotee: "Prabhupada? Does Lord Jesus Christ appear in the
spiritual sky with the body he manifested on earth?"

Prabhupada: "Yes. Otherwise how there can be resurrection? Ordinary body cannot be resurrected. He appeared in his spiritual body, certainly..."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1969

"...the Lord also, He is so compassionate, He sends His son, His most confidential son, Jesus Christ..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1970

"...and you can develop so simply. You just hallow the name of the Lord. Jesus says, ‘hallowed be Thy name, my Father.’ And we are also hallowing the name of the Lord. We don’t even demand you say ‘Krishna.’ You can say ‘Jehovah.’ You can say ‘Yahweh.’ You can chant the names of God..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

"...Just like in Christian philosophy, they say, ‘The Father and the son, the same.’ Is it not? Yes. So similarly, here the Father and the son, or the spiritual master and God, they are the same, but at the same time not same. It is simultaneous...simultaneously one and different. I think Christian philosophy is like that. Christ, son, and God, Holy Ghost they are simultaneously one and different? Is that? So that is the position..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

"...As soon as you become God conscious, the demons will create disturbance. Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was crucified by the demons. The only fault was that he was God conscious. Just see; such (an) innocent person..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

"Simultaneously one and different. Just like in the Bible also, Jesus Christ is claimed as one with God, but at the same time different. As son, he is different. As representative of God, he is one. That is the philosophy, perfect philosophy..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

"...They know that Christ is son of God. They have heard it. Now convince them that ‘Yes, there is no fighting between Christian or Krishnaite. One is worshipping the Father; one is worshipping the son. So there is no difference..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1975

"He is the Father. That’s all right. He identifies Himself as being the Father, and Christ identifying himself as the son, then were is the difference? There is no difference. Either you learn from the son or from the Father, the teaching will be the same...God and God’s son, they are one and different simultaneously...The son is born out of the body of the Father. So if the Father is spirit, the son is also spirit because the son is born out of the body of the Father...So Christ is God and not God simultaneously."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1975

"Krishna Consciousness movement on the basis of the Vedic literature, Vedic scriptures. Amongst these Vedic scriptures, we consider the Bible to be one. Lord Jesus Christ is teaching in the Bible, that ‘You love first God with your whole heart and soul, and then you love your neighbor as yourself...’"

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1971

"Just like Lord Jesus Christ. So what was his fault? But the sura dvisam, the envious persons, killed him. And if we find, if we analyze, what is the fault of Jesus Christ. There is no fault. The only fault he was preaching about God. And still he’d find so many enemies. He was cruelly crucified."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1972

"They questioned, ‘What is your opinion of Lord Jesus Christ?’ and I said, ‘He preached God consciousness. He’s our guru."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1974

"But Jesus never said that he is God. He said ‘son of God.’ We have no objection to chant the name, holy name of Jesus Christ. We have no objection. But we are preaching that ‘Chant the Holy Name of God.’"

---Room Conversation, London
August 14, 1971

"Who will not respect Jesus Christ? He sacrificed everything for God, even his life. So who is that rascal that he’ll not respect to Jesus Christ? What did he do wrong to the human society? He did everything for the good of the human society. Oh, I have got very, very great respect for Lord Jesus Christ. Not only...Every, I mean to say, God conscious man, he must have respect for Jesus Christ. There is no doubt about it..."

---Room Conversation, Melbourne
June 28, 1974

"Karunaya. This is Vaishnava’s qualification. He is very kind. Titiksava karunika. Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was being crucified. Still, he was saying, ‘My Father, they do not know what they are doing.’"

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1974

"Perhaps you have marked it in my preaching work that I love Lord Jesus Christ as God, as Krishna; because he rendered the greatest service to Krishna according to time, circumstances and society in which he appeared."

---Letter to Kirtananda
April 7, 1967

"You have asked to know what is the difference between Jesus Christ and Krishna. That we have several times explained in many meetings, that Krishna is God and Jesus Christ is the son of God. And as there is no difference between Father and son, so there is no difference between Krishna and Lord Jesus Christ, but still the son is never equal to the Father."

---letter to Suchandra
August 12, 1969

"So where do you find the difference? If Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘Through me,’ that means he’s the representative of God. So either through the representative of God or God...representative. Similarly, God has to be approached through God or through His representative. The same thing. Only the difference may be of understanding. Because Lord Jesus Christ spoke to a society that was not very much advanced. You can understand that such a great personality, God conscious person, was crucified. Just...

"Had they been intelligent, they would not have crucified such a great personality like Jesus Christ. So we have to understand what is the condition of the society..."

---lecture, 1968

"This is not to say that the Bible is nonsense. The Bible is the absolute truth. It is absolute truth that Lord Jesus Christ taught, but look at the people to whom he taught. They crucified him for teaching about God. He could not teach as great a depth."

---lecture, 1968

"Lord Jesus Christ preaches love of God, we are also preaching the same thing, love of God. But our process is little different.

---lecture, 1969

"...there is no contradiction between Jesus Christ’s description and our Vedic description. God is Supreme Father. That’s a fact."

---lecture, 1972

"We are presenting Krishna before you, and you take it. Most of the Western country, they are Christian. So the Christians believe in Lord Jesus Christ as son of God. But we are presenting the Father, God Himself. So there is no contradiction. If there is son, there must be..."

---lecture, 1972

"...we can chant combinedly. Where is the difficulty? So those who are professing Christianity, never mind. You have god the name of God. Otherwise, why Jesus recommended that ‘You glorify the name of God’? That is chanting. So let us combinedly glorify the name of God. This is common platform."

---lecture, 1974

"...when Lord Jesus Christ appeared, he was greatly aggrieved by the miserable conditions of the people. Regardless of the country or sect to which they belong, all Vaishnavas or devotees—any people who are God conscious or Krishna conscious—are thus compassionate."

---Matchless Gifts, Chapter Two

"A devotee displays great compassion towards conditioned souls...A devotee is an ocean of mercy, and he naturally wants to distribute this mercy. Lord Jesus Christ, for instance, was God conscious, Krishna conscious, but he was not satisfied in keeping this knowledge within himself. Had he continued to live alone in God consciousness, he would not have met crucifixion. But no. Being a devotee and naturally compassionate, he also wanted to take care of others by making them God conscious. Although he was forbidden to preach God consciousness, he continued to do so at the risk of his own life. This is the nature of a devotee."

---The Path of Perfection, Chapter 5

"Actually, one who is guided by Jesus Christ will certainly get liberation. But it is very hard to find a man who is actually being guided by Jesus Christ...violence is against the Bible’s injunctions. How can they kill if they are following the Bible?"

---Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers

According to Brother Aelred, "It is conceivable that some Christians will ask whether Srila Prabhupada’s teachings about Jesus Christ are, at certain points, Docetist in character. Docetism was a heresy which disturbed the early Christian church. Docetists asserted that Christ’s human body was a phantasm, and that his sufferings and death were mere appearance."

"But that means Jesus Christ is transcendental, not of this material world...Jesus Christ is not part of material world...these rascals, they thought that ‘Jesus has a material body. Let us kill him.’ So Jesus Christ bewildered them more, to remain rascal, that they will continue to think that Jesus had a material body.

"That is their punishment. They remain always in darkness that Jesus had a material body...If Jesus Christ is son of God, he has...That means he has got spiritual body...So he could not be crucified."

---Room Conversation, Paris
June 15, 1974

"Now the principle religions of the world—Hindu religion, Muslim religion, Christian religion, and Buddha religion—most of them believe some supreme authority or personality coming down from the kingdom of God. Just like in your Christian religion Lord Jesus Christ, he claimed to be the son of God and coming from the kingdom of God to reclaim you. So this claim of Lord Jesus Christ, we admit."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1966

"...accept the authorized bona fide spiritual master, acharya...You have to follow the footprints of acharya...Just like in your country, you are following the footprints of Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, that is the way. Or any acharya. Because the acharya, they come here to teach us about Krishna consciousness or God consciousness..."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1966

"So never be disappointed that because people are not responding. You see? There are many good examples. When Lord Jesus Christ also preached God consciousness, only a few followers were there, and still, he had to sacrifice his life. But he was never disappointed. That should be the attitude of a preacher. People may accept it or not accept it, we should go on. Because if Krishna is satisfied, if Krishna sees...’They are trying their best to preach,’ that is your reward. That’s all. People may accept or not accept, it doesn’t matter."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1968

"...But devotees are so kind that taking all risk. Just like...Lord Jesus Christ took all risks. Therefore a devotee is more kind than God. A devotee is more merciful than God Himself. We should always remember this...devotees take the risks, even at the cost of life. Therefore, devotee is so dear to Krishna..."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1968

"...The process is very simple and easy because you can remain in your occupation, in whatever position you are. Simply you chant the holy name of God. Not only Hare Krishna. You can chant the holy name of God, Christ. Christ is also the same as Krishna. So do it. There is no expenditure, but the profit is very, very, great..."

---Bhagavad-gita lecture, 1969

"...the Christian religion is very nice—if simply people have spiritual guides who help them to follow it perfectly. So many people have asked me, ‘Do you value Christianity?’ ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘If you faithfully follow your Christian religion, you will become perfect."

---Morning Talk, Geneva
June 6, 1974

Mr. O’Grady: "...when you say ‘Krishna consciousness’ is there any difference between that and Christ consciousness?."

Prabhupada: "No, there is no difference. Christ came to preach the message of God. If you actually become Christ conscious, you become Krishna conscious."

---The Science of Self Realization

Ms. Nixon: "What is the difference between Krishna consciousness and Christ consciousness?"

Prabhupada: "Christ consciousness is also Krishna consciousness, but because at present people do not follow...the commandments of Jesus Christ—they do not come to the standard of God consciousness."

---The Science of Self Realization

Mr. Robinson: "Can you tell me what you believe to be the meaning of life?
Why do we exist in the first place?"

Prabhupada: "The meaning of life is to enjoy. But now you are on a false platform of life, and therefore you are suffering instead of enjoying...But if you come to the real, , spiritual platform of life, then you’ll enjoy."

---The Science of Self Realization

"...And similarly, in your Christian also, you worship Bible. So it is a fact that Lord Jesus Christ is present by his words, Bible. Similarly, Krishna is present by His words. These personalities, either God or son of God, who come from the transcendental world, they keep their transcendental identity without being contaminated by this material world..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1967

Tamal Krishna: "What is the relationship between Lord Krishna and Lord Jesus Christ?"

Prabhupada: "Oh, that you know...relationship if Father and son. But there is no difference between Father and son. Both of them are authorized. Just like your father and if you are a trustworthy son of your father, then the work done by your father and by you is the same..."

"We have no quarrel with Hindus and Muslims or Christians or Buddhists. But our objective is that religion means there is connection, relationship with God. Take, for example, Christian religion. They accept God...So the God consciousness is there. God is great, the God consciousness is there. Now these Christmas holidays you have began in your country...Why? Where it began? God consciousness. Lord Christ he came to give you God consciousness, and in his relationship these festivities are going on..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1968

"...That is the ultimate standard of knowledge, when one has fully surrendered unto Krishna, or Lord Jesus Christ. He was fully surrendered unto God...he’s worshipped as good as God because he dedicated everything to God..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1969

"...Krishna and Krishna’s sons, or God or God’s sons. Now in the Bible, Lord Jesus Christ is described as the son of God. Now so far I have heard that, it is claimed that he is the only one son of God. Now how to adjust? If the Bible says that Lord Jesus Christ is the only one son, then how these, so many innumerable sons can be adjusted?

"There is adjustment. There is very nice adjustment. One should know it. He is the only one son means one who can sacrifice his life for God, he is real son. And one who is simply taking from Father, ‘Oh, God, give us our daily bread,’ and He is supplying (and the son) is eating and enjoying sense enjoyment, he is not real son. The real son is he who sacrifices his life for glorifying his Father."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1970

"...A Vaishnava, a devotee of the Lord, he always thinks of the fallen condition of general people. Just like in Christian philosophy they believe that Lord Jesus Christ suffered to be crucified by assimilating all the sinful activities of the people. Yes. A devotee of the Lord thinks like that...Lord Jesus Christ, that he agreed to suffer himself for the sins of all the people..."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1971

"If you love your neighbor as yourself, then why this ‘civilization’ which claims to be Christian, is slaughtering so many animals, and why they are constantly slaughtering each other in wars, in the streets? Jesus says you will not kill...and my spiritual master is giving love of God, he is giving love of God to the world."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1971

"...So they are manufacturing their own ways of understanding Bible and ethical principles. Therefore it is becoming valueless. It is becoming valueless. No value. One cannot change the words of the authority. If you believe in Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot make any change to your convenience. That is rascaldom. You cannot be a Christian if you violate the orders of Lord Jesus Christ. But they are doing so...Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ and you are killing, expert in killing. And you are still Christian? So you cannot understand what you have done? You have always misguided people."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1973

"...So the human law is imperfect always...There is partiality always, but in God’s law there is no such thing, partiality. Therefore, Christ says, that you shall love your neighbor."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1974

"...If you speculate to understand God, that is not possible. Then you go on and many, many years speculating. You will never understand God. Either you take the shelter of lord Jesus Christ or Krishna, if you follow his instruction—this is the way of understanding—then you will understand. But if you don’t care—for his instruction, then you will never understand. This is the process."

---Srimad Bhagavatam lecture, 1975

"Yes, he is the only way. We also admit. Because he is the representative of God, so if you want to approach God, you must approach through His representative. That is His version. ‘I am the only representative of God,’ then you have to reach God through him, that is fact."

---lecture, 1974

Professor Regamay: "But I am struck, that, for instance for the West the idea of a personal God is strongly rooted in our consciousness.

Prabhupada: "Yes. Lord Jesus Christ, he was Vaishnava. He directly gave you the idea of personal God. The personal God is the origin..."

Tamal Krishna: "What is the difference between a pure Christian, or at least a sincere one, and a sincere devotee of Krishna?"

Prabhupada: "No difference...There is no difference between a pure Christian and a sincere devotee of Krishna."

"...So if you follow the footsteps of Lord Jesus Christ to preach God consciousness against godlessness and dedicate your life in that way, that will be the real purpose of following Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus Christ revealed that he was the son of God, and Krishna revealed that He is God Himself, the Supreme Father of all living entities. So if you dedicate your life to the service of Krishna, the Supreme Father, don’t you think that Lord Jesus Christ will be pleased with this?"

---letter to Suchandra
August 12, 1969

"I sometimes remember that when I spoke in Portland there were many Christian people there, and they were very much favorable whenever we mentioned that we were also lovers of Christ. So you may preach in that way, that we are not canvassing for people to convert or criticize, we are canvassing people that they should simply utilize their time for loving God by engaging in His devotional service, either they are Christian, Catholic, Jew, whatever. We are after God, that’s all, we are servants of God. So preach like this, very simply, and hold sankirtan widely all over the city, and distribute prasadam profusely...."

---letter to Danavir
February 8, 1972

"I think the Christian priests should cooperate with the Krishna consciousness movement. They should chant the name Christ...and should stop condoning the slaughter of animals. This program follows the teachings of the Bible, it is not my philosophy...

"Lord Jesus Christ exemplified this by teaching ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ But the Christians like to misinterpret this instruction. They think the animals have no soul, and therefore they think they can freely kill billions of innocent animals in the slaughterhouses. So although there are many persons who profess to be Christians, it would be very difficult to find one who strictly follows the instructions of Lord Jesus Christ."

---The Science of Self Realization

"If one has become a lover of God, naturally he will be detached from material enjoyment. Love of God and love of the material world cannot go together. Lord Jesus Christ never advised going for economic development, for industrial development. He sacrificed everything for God. That is one test—‘Here is a lover of God.’ Lord Jesus Christ was punished. He was ordered, ‘Stop this preaching.’ But he did not. So that is love of God. He sacrificed everything. "The idea is that Lord Jesus Christ and his followers must both be, at least to some extent, at that point. That is the test. So we say that you follow any religious path. Which one doesn’t matter. We want to see whether you are a lover of God. That is our propaganda."

"But Jesus Christ never said that he is God. He said ‘son of God.’ We have no objection to chanting the holy name of Jesus Christ. We are preaching, ‘Chant the holy name of God.’ If you haven’t got any name of God, then you can chant our conception of the name of God, Krishna. But we don’t say only Krishna...

"And it is such a simple thing. They don’t have to go to a church or temple. It doesn’t matter if they are in hell or heaven. In any condition they can chant the holy name of God...There is no charge, there is no fee, there is no loss. If there is some gain, why not try for it?...

"So what more do you want? Therefore let us cooperate. Don’t think that it is against Christianity or that it is sectarian. Let us cooperate fully. Jointly let us preach all over the world, ‘Chant the holy names of God.’ Let us join together. That should be the real purpose of devotees of God. My students are preaching love of God. Why should others be envious of them? We don’t say that you must chant Hare Krishna. If you have a name of God, chant it."

---Room conversation, London
August 14, 1971

"...servant of Krishna. So if anyone loves Krishna, then he must love Lord Jesus Christ also. And if one perfectly loves Jesus Christ, he must love Krishna. If he says, ‘Why shall I love Krishna/ I shall love Jesus Christ,’ then he has no knowledge. And if one says, ‘Why shall I love Jesus Christ? I shall love...’, then he has also no knowledge. If one understands Krishna, then he will understand Jesus Christ. If one understands Jesus Christ, you’ll understand Krishna."

---Room conversation, Columbus
May 12, 1969

"...Lord Jesus preached the message of God and I have taken up the same mission, and it would be good luck for me if I can follow the footprints of Lord Jesus who preached the message of God in spite of all persecution. Lord Jesus Christ is a living example how one has to suffer in this material world simply for the matter of preaching the message of God."

---letter to Sally
November 19, 1965


Go on to:  18 - We Adore Lord Jesus Christ

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