By Pusta Krishna das
The Glorification of the Holy Names is the Great Benediction for all the World’s Theistic People
Lord Chaitanya is not merely a prophet or messenger. We accept that He is the Supreme Lord appearing to give His great benediction upon the human society. By observation, we can understand that those of the Christian religion, those of the Islamic faith, those of the Jewish faith, and other theistic religions are rarely likely to give up their passionate faith in God according to their traditions. Neither is it the mission of Lord Chaitanya to effect such a change. When our Godbrother, Atreya Rsi, was in Tehran in the 1970s, he wrote to Srila Prabhupad to inform him that he had gotten some of the Muslims to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra. Srila Prabhupad’s reply was very interesting and enlightening. He said, ‘why are you trying to make Lord Chaitanya’s Movement a sectarian thing. The Muslims have their name for God, Allah, so let them glorify God through the expression of their name for God.’
I want to add what a loving and kind-hearted person Atreya Rsi Prabhu was. Still, we can be more or less convinced that the deep faith in God expressed by followers of other theistic religions need not, and should not be challenged. Rather, the Holy Names are the unifying principle of purification and love of God.
For a book that I am writing, I wanted to understand more about Islam. While the expression of religion in the world does not always correlate with the teachings of a religion, Islam itself means surrender to the Will of God. Islam, Allah, promotes that God is Himself sufficient to take care of the material and spiritual needs of individuals. It promotes a direct relationship with God, no intermediaries necessary or desirable. Krishna also in the Bhagavad Gita promotes surrender unto Him only, abandoning all varieties of religion or duties. Christ also promotes that one should aspire to love God the Father with all one’s heart and soul and mind.
While the religious practices will differ from each other, all confirm that one can associate with the Lord through remembrance and glorification of the Holy Names of the Lord. The Supreme Lord is the Supreme Pure, and when we associate with His Holy Names, considered to be spiritually non-different from God Himself, then we can become purified by contact with Him, by His grace. Indeed, this is the mission of Lord Chaitanya for the people of the Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel. Thus, we must not think that we can save the world, but the Supreme Lord, through His Holy Names, can easily effect the individual and society for the best possible spiritual outcomes. If we give all credit to the Holy Names, to the Personality of Godhead, we may come closer to appreciating the wonder of Lord Chaitanya’s appearance and significance.