Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Q&As #10 Faith and Religion
15 April 2009

April 15 2009

Here’s #10 from Ananga Manjari dd in the CIS:

“Can you please explain the difference between religion and faith?”


 How many essays do you want? 🙂

 Your question is rather vague also. You have not defined either religion nor faith, as you understand them, or as others generally take them.

 Briefly, religion nowadays is taken as a social protocol, with certain rites and rituals. Most people only skate on the surface without ever penetrating the deeper aspects. Thus their practice of religion is superficial. Many people also list a particular religion as their religion just because they were born in a particular family and country etc. They have no particular affinity to it, it is just another label attached to this body.

 Some people however want to penetrate a little deeper and gain a personal experience and realization of their religion, and deepen their faith.

There are many people who have rejected the standard religions such as Catholicism or various types of Christianity. There are many faith-based expressions such as Pentecostal, various forms of Protestants etc. These are people who wanted to get away from the shallow ritualistic show of formulated religion and actually experience God. However, they themselves have become religions and their so-called spontaneous expressions have become shows only.

 Take for example the so-called ‘charismatic’ Christian religions practiced by the ‘born-again’ Christians. A great show is made of being touched by some preacher


and then fainting in ‘ecstasy’ or spiritual delerium.


But it is an emotional show only. Ask such persons if they can tell you anything about God, and they cannot.

 Unfortunately due to a lack of knowledge, any kind of sentimental experience beyond the ordinary scope of daily life is taken as a ‘spiritual experience’ when in fact it has nothing to do with real spiritual life. Simply some adjustment of the mind or intellect is taken as spiritual but these types of experiences are within the three modes of nature and are products of bewildered persons’ minds and senses.

Its not just the Christians either, most people of the world have only a superficial understanding based on their identification with their temporary bodies. The real spiritual plaform can only be experienced when we understand we are not this body. When we rise above the demands and gratification of the body, mind, and intellect, and we connect with Brahman in His three features, then we can experience the divine. This also requires the guidance of a self-realized soul, someone who has actually seen the absolute truth and can accurately convey it to others. It is a science, not a sentiment.

 Therefore Srila Prabhupada says that Krsna consciousness is neither religion nor faith, both of which can be changed. Krsna consciousness is the actual experience of God in his different features, under guidance of shastra and guru. He often said that the Krsna consciousness movement is an educational movement meant for the upliftment of all mankind.

In this interview in New York on July 14 1976 with a reporter from Newsweek Srila Prabhupada stressed this educational aspect of his ISKCON: 


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