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Theological Differences between Hare Krishna and other religions that began in India


Manwon Lender
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Below I have listed a break down of Hare Krishna Philosophies and teachings, I am certainly not an expert on this subject. However, I thought it may make an interesting discussion, if anyone would like to discuss this please add anything I may have left out do to my limited knowledge. Thank you are your consideration in adavance!

"ISKCON is the abbreviation for the INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS"

Their religion is commonly known as Hare Krishna, because of the first two words of their principle mantra: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare."

Krishna means "The All-Attractive," Hare addresses the energy of God, and Rama means "The Greatest Pleasure." These are the names of God and the Hare Krishna Mantra are derived from ancient Indian texts of knowledge called Vedas.

ISKCON and Hinduism both trace their beginnings to the Vedas and to the Bhagavad-gita text. Whereas mainstream Hinduism regards Krishna to be the 8th incarnation of Vishnu (the Preserver and one of the Hindu trinity of deities), ISKCON regards Krishna to be the supreme Lord over all deities, including Vishnu. They are therefore a monotheistic faith group, one that stresses bhakti, the way of devotion. Hare Krishna & Iskcon International Society for Krishna Consciousness (religioustolerance.org)

Education: The goal of life according to the Vaishnava, or Krishna conscious, teaching is to awaken within each soul knowledge of their original spiritual nature, thus bringing the individual to the platform of God consciousness, or devotional service to God.

Beliefs: Bhakti Yoga - The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root Yuj which means to link up with, or combine. Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means – loving service. Bhakti-yoga means to connect to the Supreme by means of loving devotional service. Hare Krishna & Iskcon International Society for Krishna Consciousness (religioustolerance.org)

   The Bhagavad Gita, the core spiritual text for ISKCON, describes variety of yoga practices. Among them are karma-yoga (the practice of conscious action), jnana-yoga (philosophical study and contemplation), and hatha-yoga (the practice of yoga-asanas and breathing exercises).

Cosmic Consciousness: Is fully explained as Kundalini Engery which is described by Dr. R. M. Bucke:

From a brief personal experience of illumination, Dr. Bucke was inspired to spend thirty years of his life writing a book which is a study of all those people Bucke felt had reached a state of Cosmic Consciousness (either permanently or temporarily) at some point in their lives. Among these people he included such individuals as Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Roger Bacon, Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Bucke considered cosmic consciousness to have both a spiritual and physical source and that it was an evolutionary trait just beginning to appear in the race (i. e. during the last few thousand years). To a large extent Bucke’s ideas about evolution and cosmic consciousness, as he expressed them in his book, parallel those of modern researchers and writers in this area, such as Pandit Gopi Krishna. Gopi Krishna speaks of Kundalini as the evolutionary energy that is taking man towards the goal of higher (cosmic) consciousness. Although Bucke was not familiar with the knowledge of Kundalini, he spoke of the very same energy in his works and how it was responsible for certain characteristics such as genius, a highly moral nature, and concepts of world unity in highly evolved people, especially those that he considered had attained cosmic consciousness.  Kundalini: The Source of Genius - Dr. R. M. Bucke | Institute for Consciousness Research (icrcanada.org)

 

 

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Not going to add to this discussion, but I'll never forget my first guests in my then new appartment.

Decades ago I had just finished putting a carpet on the floor of my new appartment when the doorbel rang. I opened the door, and there they were: two guys from the Hare Krishna people. Bald, two stripes from above their noses to over their bare skulls, and dressed in a .. uhm ... dress.

I had not put chairs nor couches in my appartment, so the three of us just sat down, half-lotus posture, on the floor.

Well, they were collecting money for orphaned child projects in India, and they showed me many photos. They offered me some sort of yellow vegetarian meatballs which tasted ok.

We talked and talked, and then they asked if I was willing to buy one of their paintings on silk. Ok, I did, and bought one with a decorated elephant. It would bring me good luck, they said. That, btw, explains a lot: I never did hang it on a wall...

We continued talking, and at some point the oldest of the two started about Gawd. Then I made the great remark, "How would you recognize Gawd? Maybe it's me, and you would never know just by my looks!"

That did it: the oldest of the two got angry, no, furious even, and almost yelled about 'blasphemy', and all that scheise.

The two of them stood up, said goodbye, and left.

I whispered something like "that's no way to treat your Gawd." Heh, the angry one turned around to say/yell something in reply, but as soon as he saw me grin, he turned back again and entered the elevator.

Idiots.

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16 hours ago, Abramelin said:

Not going to add to this discussion, but I'll never forget my first guests in my then new appartment.

Decades ago I had just finished putting a carpet on the floor of my new appartment when the doorbel rang. I opened the door, and there they were: two guys from the Hare Krishna people. Bald, two stripes from above their noses to over their bare skulls, and dressed in a .. uhm ... dress.

I had not put chairs nor couches in my appartment, so the three of us just sat down, half-lotus posture, on the floor.

Well, they were collecting money for orphaned child projects in India, and they showed me many photos. They offered me some sort of yellow vegetarian meatballs which tasted ok.

We talked and talked, and then they asked if I was willing to buy one of their paintings on silk. Ok, I did, and bought one with a decorated elephant. It would bring me good luck, they said. That, btw, explains a lot: I never did hang it on a wall...

We continued talking, and at some point the oldest of the two started about Gawd. Then I made the great remark, "How would you recognize Gawd? Maybe it's me, and you would never know just by my looks!"

That did it: the oldest of the two got angry, no, furious even, and almost yelled about 'blasphemy', and all that scheise.

The two of them stood up, said goodbye, and left.

I whispered something like "that's no way to treat your Gawd." Heh, the angry one turned around to say/yell something in reply, but as soon as he saw me grin, he turned back again and entered the elevator.

Idiots.

My only personal experience with them occurred in the 1970s at Lambert, International Ariport in St. Louis. I was waiting for flight to go to Basic Training, and two of them approached me, theymust run in pacts of two!:D Anyway, they said they would like to give me a free book and I said I was not interested, but they insisted so I took the book and then the saeting for my flight was called so I started to walk away. Immediately they said I had to give them a donationn to keep the book which they never asked for in the beginning. So I told them to get away form me, and they started trying to take the book from hands, so I called security and they ran away, it was hilarous!:lol: As soon as I got situated at my seat, I took the book and went to the bathroom and trough it in the trash can. It really p***ed me off that they never asked for a donation and then forcible tried to get one or to get the book back. All I could think of is what if they did this to an elderly man or women, so I felt justified then and even now for dealing with them that way!:yes:

 

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Brisbane used to be full of them, all chugging* along. Now, not a peep. 
we never had them banging on doors though, that seems to only be Jehvoah’s Witnesses and the odd Mormon. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

*charity mugging.

Edited by Sir Wearer of Hats
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17 hours ago, Manwon Lender said:

My only personal experience with them occurred in the 1970s at Lambert, International Ariport in St. Louis. I was waiting for flight to go to Basic Training, and two of them approached me, theymust run in pacts of two!:D Anyway, they said they would like to give me a free book and I said I was not interested, but they insisted so I took the book and then the saeting for my flight was called so I started to walk away. Immediately they said I had to give them a donationn to keep the book which they never asked for in the beginning. So I told them to get away form me, and they started trying to take the book from hands, so I called security and they ran away, it was hilarous!:lol: As soon as I got situated at my seat, I took the book and went to the bathroom and trough it in the trash can. It really p***ed me off that they never asked for a donation and then forcible tried to get one or to get the book back. All I could think of is what if they did this to an elderly man or women, so I felt justified then and even now for dealing with them that way!:yes:

 

I had a school field trip in the 70s to a Hare Krishna sect in Los Angeles. It was a weird experience to say the least and we would see the HK at LAX pan handling. 
 

I always thought of them as a cult. 

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44 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

I had a school field trip in the 70s to a Hare Krishna sect in Los Angeles. It was a weird experience to say the least and we would see the HK at LAX pan handling. 
 

I always thought of them as a cult. 

They certainly are according to what I discovered while researching the information in the OP. But it’s even much worst than just that, while doing that research I also discovered that the organization was charged with Child abuse, it really sick and nothing makes me more angry than anyone harming children!:angry:

Hare Krishna finds itself in a holy mess after students file $400-million sexual abuse suit: https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/religion/story/20000626-iskcon-finds-itself-in-a-holy-mess-after-students-file-400-million-sexual-abuse-suit-777767-2000-06-26

Take care Sheri, this is really disgusting and it confirms they are a cult!:(

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32 minutes ago, Manwon Lender said:

They certainly are according to what I discovered while researching the information in the OP. But it’s even much worst than just that, while doing that research I also discovered that the organization was charged with Child abuse, it really sick and nothing makes me more angry than anyone harming children!:angry:

Hare Krishna finds itself in a holy mess after students file $400-million sexual abuse suit: https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/religion/story/20000626-iskcon-finds-itself-in-a-holy-mess-after-students-file-400-million-sexual-abuse-suit-777767-2000-06-26

Take care Sheri, this is really disgusting and it confirms they are a cult!:(

This is horrible. 

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3 hours ago, Sherapy said:

This is horrible. 

Yes it truly is, I think that organization should be completely banned Nationwide because there is nothing worst than what they have done!:cry:

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Actually, I don't know that there are any 'theological' differences. It fits well into the spectrun of Indian religions I believe.

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 The Hare Krishna's emphasize the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu bible where the Avatar Krishna teaches Arjuna in the midst of the battlefield on matters of duty , virtuous conduct, various forms of yoga and enlightenment.

There are various forms of yoga in Hinduism like Bhakti yoga ( Yoga of loving devotion ), Jnana Yoga ( yoga of the intellect) , Karma Yoga  ( yoga of action) and Raja yoga ( yoga of mysticism and prana). This is because human beings have a diversity of temperamental differences , and each yoga is designed taking into account behavioral inclinations.

The Hare Krishna's emphasize the Gita from the reference point of bhakti. Hence there is some verbal conflict between them and the intellectual Jnana Yogi's who interpret the Gita in terms of philosophical understanding.

Similarly those who are oriented to Karma Yoga emphasize the Gita from the reference point of Karma or action.

Example is Bal Gangadhar Tilak who was an action-oriented social and political activist .

The most practical teaching of the Gita, and one for which it is of abiding interest and value to the men of the world with whom life is a series of struggles, is not to give away to any morbid sentimentality when duty demands sternness and the boldness to face terrible things. ~ Bal Gangadhar Tilak
 
Another example is Albert Schweitzer who was influenced by the Gita ...
 
“The Bhagavad-Gita has a profound influence on the spirit of mankind by its devotion to God which is manifested by action. "

Ralph waldo emerson, Henry David Thoreau were also influenced the Gita's emphasis on duty and action, and had spoken of the same.

Some like Lahiri Mahasaya who was a master of  prana related spiritual exercises, interpreted the Gita from the viewpoint of Raja yoga.

As I stated earlier, the Hare Krishna's interpret Gita from the bhakti or emotional devotion viewpoint. Their leader Prabhupada only lived a few years more after the founding of the organisation, so there was not much of proper guidance or navigation of the organization during its evolution throughout the years, resulting in issues and scandals described.

However they succeeded in bringing the wisdom and philosophy of the Gita to all corners of the world in various languages.

Edited by Ajay0
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