“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Friend1: Krishna consciousness is for everyone, right?
Friend2: Of course.
Friend1: It’s not limited to people of a certain region. It’s not one of many kinds of religion.
Friend2: I wouldn’t call it a religion. It’s dharma, which is the essence of the individual, who is spirit. Religion is more like faith, something to be accepted, given up, not looked at in depth, what have you.
Friend1: Real religion should be beyond faith.
Friend2: I’ll give you an example. The 1986 Mets.
Friend1: The baseball team?
Friend2: Yes. That was the first year I followed any kind of professional sports. I was very young. In that year I learned what a season is, a playoff series, elimination, waiting until the next season, the championship and everything.
Friend1: That was some exciting playoffs, maybe the most drama ever, in both leagues. You picked some year to get into it.
Friend2: I know. I remember the games to this day. Anyway, I was a huge Mets fan. I knew the entire lineup, even how they stood in the batter’s box. I remember the games, the situations, where I was during that amazing comeback in game 6 of the World Series.
Friend2: Anyway, a few years later I became a Yankee fan. I mean that’s like being a traitor, right?
Friend1: Yeah, you’re supposed to stick with your team.
Friend2: I have no explanation for you. I was a kid, so there is little recollection as to what happened. Biggest fan in 86, all the way to the end, then I kind of went over to another team. That is sort of how religion can go. You accept it for whatever reason, most likely inheriting from your parents. You can stay loyal to it, but you can always switch allegiance. You might refer to it as “my religion,” which is a flawed concept when discussing God.
Friend1: Because God, if He does exist, is for everyone. He can’t be the exclusive property of one kind of people.
Friend2: Bingo. That’s how you know Krishna consciousness is legitimate. It is for everyone. There is a philosophy behind it. Don’t just accept blindly. Sure, there is faith required in the beginning, but also bring every doubt to the table. Don’t leave any question unanswered.
Friend1: Speaking of questions, you know there are debates sometimes with people of opposing viewpoints. One of them says that such and such died for “their” sins. He is the anointed savior. How does that concept hold up?
Friend2: What concept? That someone can be the savior? There are many such people. They come and go through the ages. They are agents of the Almighty, ready to deliver people, teaching in a manner suited to the time and circumstance.
Friend1: No, I want to know about dying for my sins. Is it possible for someone to do that?
Friend2: Well, think of it this way. Let’s say that you did something really bad. It’s a crime that will put you behind bars for a few years. When the police come to arrest you, suddenly I step in. I confess. “I did it, officer. Please arrest me.” You don’t protest. I’m the one who ends up going to jail. Not you.
Friend1: That’s an awfully nice thing to do for me.
Friend2: It’s an example of accepting someone else’s sins, which are nothing more than negative consequences to actions. There is something called debt forgiveness. It is removing the negative reaction to the action of borrowing money that can’t be paid back. Sin and someone else taking the reactions are not very difficult concepts to understand.
Friend1: So then it is possible?
Friend2: Of course. But let me ask you this. Once I’ve served my time, does this mean that you can commit crimes again?
Friend1: I have the freedom to, but there is no guarantee that you or someone else will take the fall for me again.
Friend2: Exactly! Someone can die for your sins, even, but that doesn’t wipe the slate clean forever into the future.
Friend1: Okay, but what if I believe in this savior? Doesn’t that solve the problem?
Friend2: What does “believe” mean? You sign a piece of paper? You show allegiance to an institution? That’s why it’s called Krishna consciousness. Change the mentality. In the Bhagavad-gita there is a similar promise made. Not that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will do all the work and sacrifice for Arjuna. The idea is that the devotee will carry forward, and any negative consequences will be handled by Krishna. There is no reason to fear. It is not that Krishna does everything and we can continue behaving however we want, killing innocent animals, stealing, getting intoxicated, and the like. The idea is absolutely ridiculous, and it’s only accepted by people who have given little to no thought on the matter.
For my sins the savior came,
Died so fate not for us the same.
Do whatever but just accept,
From some thought idea reject.
Perhaps once getting reprieve.
But repeat then punishment receive.
Similar promise in Gita Krishna making,
For consciousness, still with proper action taking.