This year August 11 is Janmashtami, the celebration of the birth of Bhagavan Krishna in India, about 5000 years ago, in 3,228 BCE. I am sure my Christian friends wonder, ”Why be interested in this?”
I hope most Christians have gotten over the thought “We are right and everyone else is wrong.” God is everywhere, even in places you don’t like, and in people you don’t agree with. I think Christ’s teachings are universally true and beneficial, not limited to people that belong to a particular religion.
Religions look different on the outside. Externally, there are different ways to approach God. But I think when people want to know God, spirit, and make the effort to love God with all his heart, soul, mind, strength, and love their neighbor truly as their selves, I think they will be following the same path, and making similar efforts, no matter what religion they are a part of: Calm the body and mind, go inside, contact the soul, tune in to God’s presence, love, and peace. Then go take that peace and serve your neighbor. Jesus taught this and so did Krishna and many others.
The Bhagavad-Gita is sort of the Hindu Bible. But, unlike the Bible, it is not a collection of letters and writings.it is a single story, or rather a special part of the Mahabharata, the longest epic in India. In the small part of this epic is that is called the Bhagavad Gita, the song of God, or the song of the spirit, the prophet Krishna is advising Arjuna, the good ruler, on the battlefield against the bad guys. The whole thing is an analogy to our daily, inner life. We have thoughts and habits that can lead us in destructive directions. These are the bad guys. If we give into them they can take over our whole lives. So we need to fight against them even though they may seem comfortable, and perhaps appear to be not all that bad. Giving into harmful habits is literally slavery. Habits enslave us. Freedom is the ability to live consciously and make your own good choices. These are the kinds of lessons that are discussed here.
Fight the bad habits. Replace them with good choices so that you are not a slave to habit, but a good ruler over your life. This is the battle of Kurukshetra in the Bhagavad-Gita in the Mahabharata.
I think evangelism today misses the mark. The point is not to change a person’s external religion, but direct their internal focus to spirit. Don’t be greedy for power, position, membership, likes, or ratings; these externals are temporary. Seek the permanent Kingdom of God within yourself and life will be able to work out in its good proper way. This is what I have learned are the messages of Christ and Krishna.
Below is a link to the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India’s article on the Bhagavad Gita and the inner truths that are often missed, especially by Western readers. The goal is not to move people away from Christianity, but to move Christianity toward the inner communion with God that Christ taught, and the value in making the effort, doing the spiritual work to come closer to God.
Happy Janmashtami! Happy Birthday baby Krishna.