September, 1934

It is probably the most hopeful trait of the Western mentality, that it has been capable even now of expecting to be enlightened by “Men from the East". There is a spiritual tradition behind this attitude, but the exploitation of the Scriptures of India by the well-meaning Savants of the West has not so far resulted in giving any really new angle to the thought and activity of the Western world. On the contrary it is India which has been palpably influenced not only by the material civilisation on the West but also, in no small measure, by the speculations of European scholars in the domain of Indian philosophical and religious thought.

Apparently, therefore, the welcome extended to our preachers there indicates that Europe is not satisfied with the fashionable interpretations of Indian religion. They want to learn from those who possess living faith in what they profess to teach to others. Many scientific men in Europe suppose that the transcendental claims of religion are nothing more serious than the survivals of obsolete cultures. The so-called higher criticism of the Bible accordingly seeks to understand the teaching of Christ by reference to purely mundane affairs. Despite the teaching of Christ to the contrary his present-day followers seem to possess very little practical interest for aught that implies any subordination of the concerns of this life to any higher purpose. But the Bible abounds in passages that declare attachment to the possessions of this world to be not only of no value but as positive hindrances in the quest after Truth. There are hints in the Bible that Christ did not want to establish an order of things which would tend to make men love the possessions of this world.

These are the deeper questions presented by the teachings of Christ. Mere material prosperity does not contain even the guarantee of its undesirable permanence. It is full of unwholesome conditions that are essential for its maintenance. Nothing is clearer than this to those very nations who have progressed most in material civilisation. The evil is found to have an irrepressible tendency to increase in the face of every effort to get rid of it. It has also the quality of quickly assuming the very form of the remedy that is devised for its cure. Much of the current forms of evil are in the forms of its old remedies. This irony overtakes all attempts devised by the brain of man for securing unmixed good in this world. It is perfectly keeping with the whole trend of our experience to hold the view that the new remedies that are being proposed, at the present moment, with so much confidence, will before long share the fate of the old remedies which they are intended to supplant.

This deluding negative back-ground of the positive reality is quite familiar to everyone. But there must be somewhere a positive plane which offers the real anchor-ground that is denied by these negative conditions. It should also be practicable for every person to attempt their attainment.

The different religions advocate apparently different methods for the achievement of this, and they are held in the greatest reverence by their respective followers. But the miseries of the world show no apparent signs of any diminution. May it not be possible that the evil has assumed the very forms of the religions which were originally intended to lift humanity to the positive plane of the higher life?

We have been talking plainly and systematically on the plight of the religions in the hands of their pseudo-followers, in the pages of this Journal, for the last 30 years. We deprecate no religion, our remarks only apply to the principle of evil which is masquerading in the garb of religion. The pseudo-religionists have always attempted to prevent plain speaking specially on the subject of religion. They are the greatest enemies of religion. Intolerance of evil in the garb of religion must not be confounded with the intolerance of religion itself.

We must seek the concrete Reality. We are not satisfied with methods which are not concrete and definite. To chase the shadow by the shadow was fatal indeed. We have no place for impersonalism and idealism in this matter-of-fact-world. The impersonalist and idealist avoid the real facts of life. We must not carry their attitude into the quest of the Absolute. For instance, we must not be startled when we are told that Krishna is the actual Name of the Absolute. But at the same time we must by no means avoid to try to understand the Personal Absolute.

To study the Absolute it is not, however proposed to do away with the activities of this world. The activities of this world are the products of the convictions and capacities of man. The destiny of man, temporal as well as spiritual, is the result of his own Karma subject to the Divine dispensation Krishna does not interfere with the fullest freedom of choice of any person. There is always the possibility in every person of such a thing as causeless repugnance to the Truth. Such repugnance can only be deplored. This is also the only evil. It is perversity and offence against Krishna as well as against one's own proper self. But every person is none the less entirely free to go against himself. Obviously, however, such a course will entail unpleasant consequences. The perverse person finds himself out of his element in every position, for which he himself is to blame.

Sree Krishna Chaitanya says that the things of this world are neither false nor evil in themselves. They are very real and very good to one who cares to understand their proper nature, and to deal with them accordingly. One cannot know the real nature of anything unless he cares to know about Krishna.

One cannot know even himself without seeking to know Krishna. The Truth can be known only on His terms. This is His Nature. It is our proper function to submit to be regulated by Him. Krishna is the Name of Godhead, and is one and the same with Him. We shall know this when we are fully disposed to seek the Absolute Truth.

The Truth is only negatively present to our present faculties in this world. It cannot be approached by the faculties in the positive way by the faculties we now possess. Therefore, it is necessary to seek for His special Grace for knowing Him as He really is. The Name Krishna is the positive Absolute. He must not be confounded with any negative entity. For example, we must not bother about the etymological of historical associations of the word Krishna. Neither should we needlessly suppose that the Name of the Absolute is any mundane entity.

There is also corresponding danger of an opposite kind. We must not admit that we know Krishna till He is actually pleased to show Himself to us. We must avoid all hypocrisy. The first thing necessary for us will be to associate with those persons who profess to be servants of Krishna by word and deed. If we cultivate close association with such persons with a view to learn about the Truth in the spirit of unchallenging humility towards the Truth, we would surely be blessed with His sight in a very short time.

Krishna can be revealed to us only by His Name. We should, therefore, approach the Name by listening to Him from those who are fit to repeat Him. This sums up the teachings of Sree Krishna Chaitanya. This is the Gaudiya Creed.