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Preliminary understanding should be that God is one. There cannot be Christian God. There cannot be Hindu God. There cannot be Muslim God. That is not complete idea of God. That is imperfect

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"preliminary understanding should be that God is one. There cannot be Christian God. There cannot be Hindu God. There cannot be Muslim God. That is not complete idea of God. That is imperfect"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1975 Conversations and Morning Walks

That, that is also beginning of understanding. But first, preliminary understanding should be that God is one. There cannot be Christian God. There cannot be Hindu God. There cannot be Muslim God. That is not complete idea of God. That is imperfect. Just like in Vedic literature, brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti: (SB 1.2.11) three phases of understanding of the Absolute. First, beginning, is Brahman, then, further advanced, Paramātmā, then, final advancement, Bhagavān. Similarly, the final realization of God is the Supreme Person. And then we should seek (see?) who is that person. That is real theology.
Conversation with Devotees on Theology -- April 1, 1975, Mayapur:

Acyutānanda: So we'll ask them, "We have a most scientific and detailed description of the self and God and the means to join to Him. That cannot be avoided in your study. And we claim the highest standard of renunciation, and worship and godly society."

Prajāpati: And their answer...

Acyutānanda: "You can't avoid us."

Prajāpati: Their answer to such a challenge will be: "You please go across the street to the study of Hinduism."

Acyutānanda: "No, you said theology. God is not a Christian God."

Prajāpati: But they're not interested. They only want to hear the Christian point of view. And for them, "Christian" doesn't mean Bible; it means their own...

Acyutānanda: That's Prabhupāda's first thing—what is God? Is it the Christian God? What is God? What is your definition of God? Is He a Christian God or pure?

Prabhupāda: No, the... The... First of all, this should be established, whether God can be Christian God or Hindu God or Muslim God? Is God to be designated like that? God is one, so how there is one God? If Christian has got separate God, a Hindu has got separate god, Muslim has got separate God, then how God is one?

Prajāpati: Their answer would be: "We cannot talk about God. We can simply talk about the Christian tradition of God, or the..."

Prabhupāda: Now, again you come to the Christian God.

Acyutānanda: Then your knowledge is limited.

Prabhupāda: Then... Either Christian tradition... Then it becomes bound up by the Christian ideas.

Prajāpati: And that is exactly the situation today.

Prabhupāda: But that is not God. Just like gold. Gold is everywhere gold. Because it is in Christian country, you cannot say, "It is Christian gold." And because it is in Muslim country, you cannot say, "It is Muslim gold." Gold is the world standard of money. The same gold, dispatched from America, can be accepted in India. Dispatched from India, it can be accepted in Palestine because it is gold. Everyone who knows what is gold, he'll accept it. So God should be like that. And therefore the name Kṛṣṇa, "all-attractive"... When there is gold, either you be Christian, Muslim, Hindu—"Oh, here is a lump of gold. Can I possess it?" That is attraction. So as gold is all-attractive, similarly, God must be all-attractive. And that word is used as Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. One who knows gold, he'll be attracted. Doesn't matter whether he's Hindu or Muslim, Christian, poor, rich man, black, white. It doesn't matter. Here is gold, and everyone... Just like in your country there was gold rush. Eh? In California? From all different parts of the world they came. So gold is gold for everyone. So now one should try to understand or check what is gold. That is required.

Prajāpati: These men, Śrīla Prabhupāda, are very, very puffed up. They think that even such discussions of who God is and what God is, that... They feel they're way past that, and that's for lower class men to discuss.

Acyutānanda: Why do we give anything to them? (?)

Pañcadraviḍa: But when you came to France, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you spoke at the Theology Club. About four years ago you came for a conference. They arranged a big meeting at the Theology Society in France, a world-wide society. And one thing I was... One thing I was considering. They must be interested because the Christians say that there is soul, and they say that there is God, so then wouldn't our question be: "What is the relationship of the soul to God?" They admit there is a soul. Every human being, they say, has a soul.

Prabhupāda: No. That, that is also beginning of understanding. But first, preliminary understanding should be that God is one. There cannot be Christian God. There cannot be Hindu God. There cannot be Muslim God. That is not complete idea of God. That is imperfect. Just like in Vedic literature, brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti: (SB 1.2.11) three phases of understanding of the Absolute. First, beginning, is Brahman, then, further advanced, Paramātmā, then, final advancement, Bhagavān. Similarly, the final realization of God is the Supreme Person. And then we should seek (see?) who is that person. That is real theology.

Pañcadraviḍa: What if they say, "We agree there's one God, but we do not agree that His name is Kṛṣṇa" or "We do not agree..."

Prabhupāda: Then you suggest what is His name. My next challenge will be... You suggest.

Pañcadraviḍa: Well, they...

Ravīndra-svarūpa: In the Bible they give twelve names for God.

Prabhupāda: No, let me finish this. If you do not accept Kṛṣṇa is the name of God,... I have explained what is the idea of Kṛṣṇa. The Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. The example is given: Just like gold. Gold is attractive to everyone—to the educated, the uneducated, to the black, to the white, man, woman, everyone. One who knows God, er, one who knows gold-gold is attractive. Similarly, God is all-attractive. There cannot be that "It is black gold," "It is white gold," "It is Christian gold," "It is Hindu gold." No. Gold is gold. So we present Kṛṣṇa that "Here is God, all-attractive." Now you say, "No, He's not God." Then you present your God.

Pañcadraviḍa: Well, I know just the...

Prabhupāda: You cannot say, reject. They cannot reject Kṛṣṇa unless you present an alternative.

Pañcadraviḍa: Well, here's the argument. Part of the thing I remember in the Judeo tradition, Judeo-Christian tradition, in the... Whenever we used to go to service and all that, they used to have in the prayer books... They would never write out the name of God because they say...

Prabhupāda: Oh, that means you do not know.

Pañcadraviḍa: No, they say God's name should never be spoken out loud.

Prabhupāda: Why?

Pañcadraviḍa: I don't know.

Prabhupāda: This is nonsense. If you know somebody, why should you say, "His name should not be explained"?

Brahmānanda: They say that God's name is so pure and we are so impure that to utter His name is to make it impure.

Ravīndra-svarūpa: Is blasphemy.

Acyutānanda: No, I heard the explanation that a nonbeliever should not know it.

Prabhupāda: That is all right.

Acyutānanda: So they don't say it out loud.

Prabhupāda: No, when we come to argument that... We are supposed to be all believers in God. We are not nonbelievers. We simply want to ascertain who is that God. We are not nonbelievers. Then some persons who believe in God come together so to ascertain who is God. So just like when we come to a meeting to elect a president, so they are not nonbelievers. They are not nonbelievers. As there are so many personalities, candidate for president, now who is the right person to become the president? That is wanted. To the nonbelievers, he has no access. About discussion in God he has no access. When we discuss about God, it is supposed they are all believers. So if you say... Just like we are holding meeting to ascertain... There are so many names of God. Now we ascertain who is real God. God means there should be no more above Him. Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat (BG 7.7). That is God.