(Questions asked by congregation and devotees and answered by Swami A.C Bhaktivedanta, New York, Sept-Dec.1966)
Q: What is the relationship between Christ and Krishna?
A: Don't you know? What does it say in the Bible? Christ is the Son of God.
Q: He is also God.
A: Yes, the Father and the Son are One. The Son serves the Father and They are qualitatively One.
Q: Then they are the same?
A: Where do you get "the same?" The Father is the Father and the Son is the Son. If you are the son, then you and your father are one. But if you say, "I am not only the Son but the Father also," then you are speaking nonsense. How can you be the son and the father?
Q: No, but according to the Catholic position they are One. It's inexplicable.
A: If it's inexplicable then why did you ask? But there is an explanation, and I'm giving it to you. Christ is the Son of God and He is One in the Father. But he is the Son and continues to be the Son, and the Father continues to be the Father. You can't say the Son and Father are equal.
Q: You say Arjuna was a soldier and he didn't want to fight, but Krishna was there and He told him to fight. Arjuna had Krishna to tell him to fight, but who can we listen to today?
A: Arjuna belonged to one of the four social castes into which civilization was divided: Brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. The Ksatriyas class is meant to fight. In fact, the word means "to hurt." They are there to protect the weak from being hurt. If I go out onto the street and someone attacks me and you do not come to my aid, then you are not in the Ksatriya spirit. There is always weak and there is always strong and there is always fighting. The Ksatriya class is meant to fight. Krishna asked Arjuna to fight against those who had been harassing the weaker Pandavas, and Arjuna's objection was on family grounds. In the two World Wars, Germany attacked the weaker countries and you went over to help the weaker countries fight. That was Ksatriya spirit. There will always be fighting and Ksatriyas.
Q: But who do we have for authorities today?
A: By what authority is a man hanged? You have the law books. You have the authority of the Scripture. But the real point is to become engaged in Krishna Consciousness; then He will dictate from within you what is Absolute beyond question. Also, there is in the Srimad Bhagavatam a list of offenses for which it is no sin to kill. If a man tries to set fire to your house kill him! Don't stand by and say, "Oh, I'm a non-violent man," while he burns down your house. That is nonsense. If a man comes to kidnap your wife kill him. There are similar injunctions. You should fight in these cases. Why not?
Q: What is the difference between karma yoga and bhakti yoga?
A: Karma yoga is for those who are too much addicted to their activities. With karma, you do something, there is a result and you enjoy or suffer. Those who are too much addicted to their activities are advised to link these activities with the Supreme. Then that is yoga. Karma yoga is a transition stage; bhakti yoga is direct and is for those who are not addicted to karma but who are engaged directly in the service of the Lord. Sometimes ordinary karma and bhakti appear the same. We (in bhakti) have nothing to hate in the material world. Everything has its Source in God. For the bhakti, there is no materialism. The materialist is one who doesn't realize the Source. For the advanced devotee there is nothing material.
Q: Is Lord Jesus Christ mentioned as an avatar in Vedic literatures?
A: Yes. There it is mentioned that there are innumerable avatars who can be identified by their symptoms. Jesus Christ displayed these symptoms. He spoke of the Absolute Truth. He didn't bother with temporary things.
Q: Can a man believe Krishna is dead?
A: Yes. Why do you say "a man?" Many men believe that way.
Q: Can they say it and actually believe it?
A: Yes, if they have no knowledge of God science. If they do not see the signs. But one in Krishna Consciousness knows, "Yes, He is here."
Q: Nietzche can say, "God is dead" but yet "Krishna lives." Is this because Krishna is consciousness?
A: God isn't dead. God and Krishna are the same.
Q: But some men call God wrong things.
A: Neither God is dead nor Krishna is dead. They are the same thing.
Q: A person can say God is dead, but can he act that way in fact?
A: There is no question of disbelief. I'll give you a crude example. Everyone is under Government's laws, do you agree?
A: Someone may say, "I don't care for law," or someone may say, "God is dead," but the law and God will nonetheless act upon him. If someone says, "I don't care for law," he will be placed in prison and forced to obey laws. Those who refuse to believe God are put into the material world to suffer reactions of sins under the laws of Nature. Those who obey Him live peacefully and are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual kingdom of bliss, eternity and Knowledge. A person can accept or not accept it doesn't matter. Either in the spiritual or material energy, God will act upon him. A man trying to enjoy the material world is treated to the "drowning man" punishment by Nature. By this process a man is plunged into the river until he is almost drowned, then he is pulled out by the hair. His gasping for breaths of fresh air is his enjoyment….then at once he is again plunged into the water, and so on and on in an endless cycle.
Q: You mentioned the two different worlds. What relationship the two different worlds?
A: Let's take a circle to represent the entirety of the two worlds. I say a "circle," but it is limitless. The circle is the Brahmajyoti effulgence. Within this great circle, down in one section, is a little circle. This little circle represents the material world. The remainder of the large circle is filled with spiritual planets of which the topmost is Krishnaloka. Dwelling in bliss in the numberless Vaikuntha planets are the devotees of adoration. Those of pure love who forget that Krishna is greater than them get transferred to Krishnaloka. In Vaikunthaloka they wear diamond necklaces and worship the Lord as Narayana in full opulence and adoration. In Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrindavan, they wear simple cowerd dress. There they do not know who is Krishna and who is an ordinary boy. Although all function in equal freedom from contamination in these spiritual planets, there is differentiation.
Q: If the reflection of the Original is valueless, isn't revelation valueless since it is maya?
A: Yes….if it doesn't lead one back to the Original. People are engaged in the reflection and they don't return to the Source, and that is due to ignorance. We are in the reflection and are being baffled, but we don't question why we are being baffled. There is a song, "I thought I was building my cottage safely, but it was burnt to ashes." Anything we do here is patchwork. How long can you have happiness? It will soon vanish. This sense of the transitory nature of material existence should come to one. One's life is a failure unless he develops spiritual knowledge. Fight with maya and go to do real tree that should be the aim of knowledge.
Q: You say the reflection itself has no value but its value is in the spiritual world?
A: Yes. Because it is reflection, you can't touch it or use its fruit. Similarly, the material world is a reflection of spiritual happiness. But when we go to enjoy the material world, we are frustrated. We are struggling in the reflection with no knowledge of the spiritual world. People are also falsely thinking that this reflection is all. Their lives are failures because they have no spiritual knowledge of the true source. The aim of knowledge is the Source.
Q: Is the attainment of love of Krishna without knowing Him possible?
A: Yes. In the Bhagavad Gita, it is stated that if you love, He will dictate within you. One who is so engaged in love of Krishna, Krishna shows him special favor. He becomes compassionate and dissipates and destroys the darkness due to ignorance. Because Krishna is situated in everyone's heart, He dictates information. He who loves Krishna does not remain in ignorance and engage himself in nonsense. He becomes perfect in knowledge.
Q: Can you reach love through understanding?
A: If you love, understanding will come. Both ways. Some of us here understand nicely no one understands perfectly but even a person who does not understand Krishna due to strong material attachments is given intelligence in order to understand Him.