A friend of mine recently asked me to explain in one sentence why I'm a Hare Krsna devotee.

"To me," I replied, "the description of reality contained in the teachings of Krsna consciousness makes more sense than any other I've heard."

Although I can't claim to have studied in detail every philosophy in the world, I can see how they all fall within certain categories, and that narrows the competition. One way to divide philosophies is between the theistic and the atheistic, and I find the theistic arguments more persuasive.

Just before I came to Krsna consciousness, I was more or less an agnostic. Although I had been raised in a religious family, I had become swayed by atheistic arguments not far enough to become an atheist myself, but enough to fill me with doubts. When I began reading Srila Prabhupada's books, those doubts started to disappear. For example, I quickly discovered the holes in the theory of evolution, the only widely accepted alternative to the theistic explanation of creation.

Srila Prabhupada spoke of God with deep conviction. He used arguments I was familiar with from the Christian tradition, but expanded and strengthened them with Vedic wisdom, especially from his own Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, or Krsna consciousness.

Early in my study of Srila Prabhupada's books, I became convinced that Gaudiya Vaisnavism founded on the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu provides the deepest and most comprehensive theology available anywhere. So among philosophies, I was drawn to the theistic ones, and among those, I saw the Gaudiya Vaisnava presentation rising above all others.

Although elements of Gaudiya Vaisnava theology are found elsewhere, nowhere else is God presented in such detail, and nowhere else is our relationship with Him explained so clearly.

Krsna consciousness teaches that the goal of life is to awaken our original, pure love for God. While we may find that same goal presented elsewhere, here it's the focus. Other traditions may contain strains of bhakti, or pure devotion to God, but Gaudiya Vaisnavism puts it forward as the only desirable goal of life.

And Gaudiya Vaisnavism clearly explains what pure devotion is. It means, to begin with, not asking God for anything. It rejects the notion of God as an order-supplier, ready to fulfill our requests for things to make our lives here a little easier. Beyond that, it rejects even requests for liberation or elevation to heavenly worlds. A person in Krsna consciousness knows that prayers should be for one thing only: Krsna's service.

Despite my natural bias in favor of the tradition I'm following, I feel safe to say that the best relationship with God is selfless devotion to Him the essential message of Krsna consciousness.

To develop that devotion, it helps to know as much about God as possible. And the quantity and quality of information on God found in Gaudiya Vaisnava literature is unequalled.

Of course, a well-rounded tradition must include more than just knowledge; there must be practice as well. There, too, the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition excels. We need only inspect the lives of any of the saints of the tradition to find the deepest levels of ecstatic love for God.

Srila Prabhupada would sometimes summarize Krsna consciousness in this way: God exists, we're subordinate to Him, and our perfection lies in serving Him in pure love. I can't argue with that.

Nagaraja Dasa