Following is the continuation of the conversation between His Divine Grace AC. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada and a Christian priest that took place on June 9, 1974 in Paris.
Bhagavan: How does one get the experience of personal existence of God?
Priest: No. I went through that experience, and I would like … May I say something upon what he said? When you say is it possible for a young Christian to also follow the Hare Krsna, I said I would like much more to do so. (Has brief conversation in French with Mr. Chenique)
Jyotirmayj: He is explaining that what he would like, that all these young Christian that he knows, it's not that he wants them to stop Christianity but to take in Krsna consciousness what is missing in Christianity to help them in their own development.
Prabhupada: Nothing is missing. Only, if I be frank enough, they are not following Christianity.
Jyotirmayj: (French) They said that then if Christianity is complete, then what is the need of coming here? What is missing there that we would find here?
Prabhupada: To tell you that you are not following. (laughter)
Devotee: They say, "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name."
Devotee: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
Prabhupada: That's nice. Devotee: They're praising the name of the Lord.
Prabhupada: Yes. No, we have got very regard, good regard, for
Christianity. We take it as Vaisnavism. It is explained according to country, time. And the commandments are very nice. The first commandment is "Thou shall not kill," but that is not stopped in the Christian world. Therefore we say that the Christians are not following. Christianity is all right. Those who are professing Christianity, they are not following.
We don't say that this is bad and this is good. No. Both of them are bhakti. To worship the Deity or to offer prayer, the effect is the same. Effect is not different. Either of these nine processes,
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
Either you follow all the nine principles or eight or six or seven, at least one, then you become perfect. That is our preaching. Just like Akrura, the example is given. Akrura got perfection simply by offering prayers. So I see when the Christian go to the church, in India I have seen, in Bombay especially, they kneel down and offer prayer. That's very good. We do not say that this is not approved. This is also approved. What is this Hare Krsna? This is also prayer. Hare Krsna, "0 Krsna, 0 the energy of Krsna, kindly engage me in Your service." This is the meaning of Hare Krsna. This is prayer. Repeatedly praying, "My Lord, the energy of Lord, kindly engage me in Your service." This is the meaning of Hare Krsna mantra. Just like you go to a mercantile firm with application, "Please give me some service," the same thing, appealing to God and His energy. So that is vandanam. And Christian also pray, "0 God, give us our daily bread." So this is also good, but it is material, asking something for material satisfaction. And here, Hare Krsna, asking something for satisfaction of Krsna, "Engage me is Your service," is little advanced because God is supplying bread to everyone, even to the cats and dogs.
So that is also good, and it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, arta artharthi jnani ca catur-vidha bhajante mam. Artah means distress, artah, one who is distressed. "I have no food, sir, my dear Lord. Kindly give me some food." So he is distressed, so he is praying to God because he is pious. The Communists say, "Why you are praying to God? You pray to us, the government. We shall give you enough bread." The Communist propaganda is like that. They send the people to the church, "So you pray." So they pray. "Have you got bread?" They say, "No, sir." "Now pray to us." "Give us, sir," and he gives hundreds of breads. In this way, they are making atheist. Because common man cannot argue, neither they know so much logic. But if there is some intelligent man, he will ask immediately that "Where from you have got this bread? Who has given you the wheat? That you have not manufactured; that is given by God." So actually God gives, but the Communists take the credit that "I give." This is the misconception . If God does not supply you … Eko bahunam vidadhati kaman, He is supplying for everyone. So if He does not supply, then what your bakery machine will do? It is useless. So people have lost the intelligence in the Communist countries. They think that these government men, they have brought the bread, not God. In this way, they are gradually becoming atheist. But the central point is God. We are preaching the central point is God. You call Him by any name, it doesn't matter, either you call Jehovah or Krsna or something, Allah, that doesn't matter. But you accept the authority of God and try to love God. This is our mission.
In the March issue …… .
Srlla Prabhupada concludes by explaining to the priest the significance of chanting the holy names of God.