Regarding the picture you have sent, I am so pleased to see it, because our little Sarasvati is also taking part in our transcendental movement. That is the practical proof how great is this movement. In any other movement, one has to learn something, one has to be trained to do something, but here is a movement where there is no necessity of any previous qualifications. That is the proof this movement is based on the spiritual platform. The Bhagavata says that system of religion is the first class wherein love of Godhead is aroused spontaneously without any material impediment. So our movement gives practical proof that there is no impediment of body or mind. That is the proof it is enacted from the spiritual platform wherein there is no distinction of material higher or lower gradation. So we have to push our philosophy very nicely. This means we shall simply become sincere to Krishna and the teachings of the disciplic succession. Then everything will be all right. There is no doubt about it. So please keep yourself in your present standard, and I am sure you will come out successfully. I have learnt that in San Francisco there was an article published with the title, "Krishna Chant Startles London." You may ask Aniruddha to send you a copy of this.
Religious system (Letters)
Whatever we possess, including our body and our self, everything, belongs to Him. When one is completely in sense of this fact—he is God Conscious. And unless a living entity becomes God Conscious, he cannot be happy. So this is our propaganda. There is no question of sectarianism. Every religion should have this aim in view. But that system of religion which teaches development of God Consciousness is first class. We have to estimate by the result, and not by the formalities. So this movement, Krishna Consciousness, very quickly develops this God Consciousness, and it is very easy to adopt it.
Whatever we possess, including our body and our self, everything, belongs to Him. When one is completely in sense of this fact—he is God Conscious. And unless a living entity becomes God Conscious, which is his constitutional position, he cannot be happy. So this is our propaganda. There is no question of sectarianism. Every religion should have this aim in view. But that system of religion which teaches development of God Consciousness is first class. We have to estimate by the result, and not by the formalities. So this Movement, Krishna Consciousness, very quickly develops this God Consciousness, and it is very easy to adopt it.
So except Krsna Consciousness or Bhagavata Dharma or religion of the Bhagavata, any other system of religion is only pretension, that is the fact. It is not therefore surprising that your impression of the meeting of the Jews and Christians, where you had opportunity to speak, was that they were lacking so much in God-consciousness. So far we are concerned, our principle is to live with God as actual fact, and not to make God a supplying agent. Our process is different because we want to supply God everything—whatever we have got and whatever we have not got.
The next point is philosophy without religion is mental speculation. No one can manufacture a system of religion. Religion is the Law of God and no one but God or empowered representatives of God can put forward religious formulas. Therefore, because every living entity is the eternal fragmental part and parcel of God, it is practical that by simply accepting the authorized statements of bona fide scripture without mental speculation or fashionable interpretation one fulfills the mission of human life very easily and goes back to home, back to Godhead. "There is another eternal nature which is transcendental to this manifest and nonmanifest matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is." (B.G. 8.20) "It is the highest destination, going, no one ever returns from that, My Supreme Abode." (B.G. 8.21) So although the Russians may be very much advanced by throwing sputniks into the outer space, they are missing the real point—Krsna Consciousness, the science of God.
In the verse that you refer to, Krishna says to Arjuna, "Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear." This verse is actually the essence of the whole Bhagavad Gita. Throughout the Gita, Krishna describes the different processes of spiritual realization to Arjuna - karma yoga, jnana yoga, samkhya yoga - but at the end He says to give up all the different religious systems and just surrender to Him. This is the topmost yoga system, and is the goal of all the others. So this is our process. We don't perform any ritualistic ceremonies for some material gain or economic development, nor do we waste our time in mental speculation to try to find out the Lord with our tiny brain, nor do we perform so many difficult penances and austerities or gymnastic exercises for becoming one with God. We simply surrender to Krishna and His representative, and serve Him with the consciousness that "My Lod, I am Yours. Please always keep me engaged in Your service and protect me from maya." This is real religion, and is the natural position of the living being.
Actually, the whole world requires to understand the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Although the Bhagavad-gita is a very popular book, widely read all over the world, unfortunately unscrupulous sannyasis and yogis presented the gospel in a perverted way so that people could not come to become a devotee of Krishna, instead they have become impersonalists. This infectious disease is spread in India, especially by the Mayavadis sannyasis and philosophers, therefore we have got greater task in India then in the western countries. In the western countries they have lost practically any religious system, and Christianity is declining. I was in London and practically I saw hundreds and thousands of churches are for sale because nobody is going there. The same position is in America also, but still a section of persons there are interested in church. But in Europe especially I see they have lost all respect for religious life. The same thing is there in India also. I therefore suggest that when you return to India next time, that you take sannyasa in your ripe old age without any family responsibility, and let us together do something tangible in India. In 1970 I went to Amritsar, invited by Swami Nirmalananda, and I saw the people of Amritsar are greatly devoted. We were invited by many temples and private persons, and we were made very much welcome, and somebody wanted to give me some land also. Anyway land is not very difficult to gain, but we require some men to work for this great mission. The educated younger sections are required to join this great movement.
According to Vedic understanding, a human being without understanding of God is no better than an animal, and that is a practical proposition, that is the only difference between an animal and a man. For man there is a religious system—scriptures, it may be Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-gita, Or Srimad-Bhagavatam, it doesn't matter everywhere there is a system, religious system, philosophical system to try to understand the supreme power. In your research institute you are also trying to explain that supreme power. Your research institution is the latest institution to study that supreme power. Therefore the right conclusion is, the problem of the human society at the present moment is to understand God, or as you say, the supreme power.
Now so far as ideology of religion is concerned: Religion means to abide by the orders of God, that's all. God is great, we are his sons, he is supplying all our necessities these are the right understandings. Why should there be any difference in religious practices. If you come to God consciousness then we can understand the birds the beasts the plants everyone is son of God, we have no right to kill. But the so called man made religious systems say the animals are our food and another religion says, "No, no, there should be no animal killing," this difference in practice of religious systems is due to want of God consciousness. If we actually come to the point of God consciousness then all these differences will be perfectly resolved, but unless there is actual God consciousness you will not be able to change the Ideologies. I have asked many Christian Gentle men "Why are you killing when in the Bible it is clearly said, Thou shalt not kill?" they cannot give me any satisfactory reply. In a round about way they try to avoid this question. So all these are due to a lack of God consciousness.
Regarding religious sentiment, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam there is no question of religious sentiment but religion. Religion is described as codes given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.* Dharmah saksad bhagavata. Anything not given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not accepted by the Bhagavat school as religion. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, Dharmah projita kaitavo. This kaitavo religion means cheating religion. Sriman Sridhara Swami the original commentator of Srimad-Bhagavatam says religious systems up to the idea of liberation are cheating. So to preach Bhagavat religion sometimes we have to quote from the sastras what is not palatable to unscrupulous so called religious persons. But in preaching we cannot do without quoting the proper verses. Sometime they take it adversely and we become subject to unwanted criticism. Actually there is no religion in the world accept Bhagavat religion, namely surrendering to the lotus feet of the Lord.
Your report that a Christian gentleman became a life member being attracted to our books is also our experience. Just today we spoke at a seminary in Melbourne, Australia, and the young Franciscan monks listened very respectfully. When speaking to Christians we never say our religious system is better than theirs but we speak on the principles of love of God, Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo (SB 1.2.6). They become convinced and pleased to hear our explanations of God consciousness based on the Vedic conclusion—if they are at all sincere. So whenever you come upon such gentlemen or institutions try to place our books there and make them life members also.
I am in due receipt of your telegram reading as follows (dated Jan. 25th, 1975): NEED SANCTION LETTER FROM PRABHUPADA FOR MANAGING OTHER EUROPEAN TEMPLES FORWARD TO PARIS GERMANY—BHAGAVANDAS. So far our movement is concerned, actually it is not a so-called religion movement. People throughout the whole world are more or less disgusted with the man-made religious systems. Therefore the government of different states is gradually banning the preaching of religion. People in general also think that this is also another type of so-called religion. So, gradually, they will take steps for banning our propaganda also, unless we present our system very scientifically based on philosophy. Of course, by Krishna's grace, the higher learned section is appreciating our books. That is the only hope for pushing on. But, I am very much depressed by the recent incidences in Germany. It is now evident that some of our top men are very much ambitious and there has been so many fall-downs.
I am in due receipt of your letter dated September 12, 1975 and have noted the contents. I cannot quote immediately from sastra, but psychologically we can understand that there is no such things as Hindu religion, but according to the Vedic sastra there is varna-asrama, the religion of varna and asrama. The whole varna-asrama system discourages sex life. Circumcision is a facility for sex life. So in other systems of religion or throughout the whole universe the tendency is to enjoy sex life, whereas the varna-asrama system discourages sex life. Sex life is the cause of bondage of the conditioned soul to remain in the material world. If one can conquer over the sex impulses voluntarily, he conquers over the influence of material nature. So the ideals being different, I think in the Vedic system such circumcision is prohibited.
Question #4: why all the present religions and spiritual systems came into existence, contradicting each other when humanity is meant to follow only one religion?
Answer: Religious system means the law given by God. In every system of religion the order is to follow the instruction given by God or His representative. Unfortunately, the so-called followers deviate from the orders of the master and sometimes create their own concocted religious system. Otherwise, there can't be different religions. We therefore accept only one religion which teaches one how to love God. Any religious system which doesn't teach this, how to love God is not religion, but is cheating system. The conditioned souls who have come to this world on account of forgetfulness of his eternal relationship with God is prone to be cheated, but a person who is sincere is not cheated, but he takes up the path which leads one to the perfection of life, how to love God. The present religious and spiritual systems in varieties come into existence on account of imperfect leaders who defied the authority of God. My suggestion is therefore that the leaders who actually agree as eternal servant of God may sit together and find out the ways and means of one religious system in this world. God is one. There cannot be many gods, otherwise there is no meaning of God. In the English dictionary, you find that God means the "Supreme Being." There are unlimited number of living beings, but God is one Supreme Being. Supreme Being must be one. Nobody can be equal to Him, and nobody can be greater than Him, otherwise there is no meaning of God. At the present moment it has become a fashion to become God very cheaply, therefore, such system being very cheap and not authorized, there are so many religious systems. Otherwise, God is one, all living entities are His eternal servants, and therefore, the real religious system is to learn how to serve God.
I can give you all guidance and direction for there are millions of Christians in the world today. We are not concerned with how, so much as the fact that one must develop his dormant love for God. This is alright that you will chant the names of Christ for after all he was the representative of God. People are lost due to not following a bona fide religious system. If you can revive their God consciousness that will be very good service.