Who Loves God?
A conversation with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Srila Prabhupada: We are preaching God consciousness. God is God. God is neither Christian, nor Hindu, nor Muslim. In our movement we are preaching love of Godhead. So it doesn’t matter what type of religion one is following. We simply want to see that he has love for God.
Our bhagavata-dharma gives this definition: sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokshaje. The first- class religion is that which by following one becomes a lover of God. It doesn’t matter which religion one follows, but the test will be whether one has become a lover of God.
Guest: So you don’t try to convert people from other religions?
Srila Prabhupada: No. We are teaching how to love God. That’s all.
Guest: So we’re doing the same thing.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. But the test is there—whether one has become a lover of God or a lover of dog. If you find that one has become a lover of dog, then his religion is useless.
Guest: How does one know?
Srila Prabhupada: You can see whether he’s loving God or dog. That’s all. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says:
shunyayitam jagat sarvam
Yugayitam nimeshena: “Every moment is just like twelve years or more.” Cakshusha pravrishayitam: “I am crying torrents of rain.” Shunyayitam jagat sarvam: “Oh, I find everything vacant.” Govinda-virahena me: “Without God.” This is an ideal picture.
Another test: bhaktih pareshanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca. 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.
And if one is serious about loving God, it doesn’t matter which way he’ll develop that dormant love. If a person wants to be a very nice student of mathematics, it doesn’t matter from which university he takes the degree. Students sometimes go to other countries for education.
So if one is serious about loving God, then it doesn’t matter in which way he learns that art. He won’t discriminate, “Oh, I must learn this art from this university.” No. Any university. It doesn’t matter.
So our principle is that we are teaching love of God. Those who are after God are coming to us. It does not matter whether they are in America, in Russia, in Africa, or Canada. They are coming. And the method is simple. Chant the holy name of God. If you have a name for God, chant it. We preach this. We don’t say that you must chant “Krishna.” If you know any name for God, then chant that. If you haven’t got any name of God, then chant our conception of the name of God—“Krishna.”
Lord Caitanya says that there are many names of God and in each name the full potency of God is there. And there are no hard and fast rules for chanting the holy name of God. Anyone can chant anywhere, at anytime, in any circumstances.
Lord Caitanya says, “My Lord, You are so merciful that I can associate with You simply by chanting Your holy name. But I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for that.”
We are teaching our students to chant. They always carry a bead bag, and they chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Now, where is the loss? Where is the want of time? While walking in the street they are chanting. I am sitting here talking with you. As soon as I finish I shall chant Hare Krishna. Where is the difficulty?
But ask people to chant the holy name of God, and they won’t accept. That is unfortunate. Chanting is such a simple thing. You don’t have to go to the church or the temple or hell or heaven—in any condition you can chant the holy name of God. But people are so unfortunate they won’t accept this theory. There is no charge, there is no loss. If there is some gain, why not try for it?