“By remembering Shri Rama’s holy name, even those who are born into a low caste become worthy of fame, just as the wild trees that line the streets in the heavenly realm are famous throughout the three worlds.” (Dohavali, 16)
राम नाम सुमिरत सुजस भाजन भए कुजाति |
कुतरूक सुरपुर राजमग लहत भुवन बिख्याति ||
rāma nāma sumirata sujasa bhājana bhae kujāti |
kutarūka surapura rājamaga lahata bhuvana bikhyāti ||
1. Universal religion
“Wouldn’t it be great if everyone could unite? They could keep their traditions. I am not asking everyone to speak the same language here. Just that when you go to visit someone’s home, when you see objects referencing their specific tradition of spirituality, you won’t feel offended. You won’t feel the need to mention your own traditions as a way to level the playing field, to ensure equal representation.
“I guess you could call it universal religion. People believing in God, but not fighting over the differences in level of appreciation or degree of understanding. No more of this ‘My God’ against ‘Your God’ conflict. The threat level brought down. People reaching out and respecting one another.”
2. Cultural harmony
“Belief is the starting point. Let people have their own religion and practice in the proper way. There is still living to account for. Everyday life. Wouldn’t it be great if people got along? The culture kind of melded into one.
“Not that people would abandon their way of life dating back thousands of years. Not that they renounce their ancestors and concoct a better style of living, through trial and error. Let there be differences within the union. Unity within diversity. Respect for a lifestyle different from mine, knowing that each person is on the same path.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that these two lofty goals, which would be cherished by those desiring world peace, are already accomplished through Vaishnava literature. These are sacred texts descending in a tradition of succession, starting from before anyone can remember.
The original language is Sanskrit, but the presentation is not restricted to a certain standard of sound. That is to say someone can glorify the Almighty in their preferred manner of speaking and still be perfect in their offering.
The literature is called Vaishnava to signal a specific understanding of the Almighty; namely that He is a person. Vaishnava literature glorifies God the person, but not through dogmatic insistence, blind faith, or warnings of future punishment should one neglect.
Indeed, that punishment is baked into the current living situation. We already enjoy and suffer, as if on schedule. Shri Krishna makes the comparison to the summer and winter seasons.
मात्रा-स्पर्शास् तु कौन्तेय
तांस् तितिक्षस्व भारत
mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)
Worship is not required in order to experience pleasure. I don’t have to do much to welcome pain. Thus God’s involvement is for something higher. His true standing is as our ever well-wisher, our best friend, the one companion that we require under all circumstances.
Vaishnava literature glorifies under this model. While there are many Sanskrit names used, such as Krishna, Rama and Vishnu, there is no exclusivity clause. Any person can worship in the same way. The God that is Vishnu is not a separate identity from the God worshiped in other spiritual traditions.
There is cultural harmony through the universal eligibility of the worship. From high to low, rich to poor, man to woman, king to pauper – anyone can connect with the personal God and be benefitted. This means that they can remain in their current position. A drastic change is not necessary.
Everyone can stay together, worship in their preferred way, but at least understand God and our relationship to Him. Know my standing as individual spirit soul, who is currently suffering through the cycle of birth and death. Learn of the countless features, gunas, in the Supreme Lord, who is attractive in every way. Stay connected through chanting sacred mantras, and remain forever above the illusion otherwise permeating this temporary world: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Even if living as stone,
In one spot all alone.
Chance for God to meet,
And touch His lotus feet.
Opportunity from high to low,
Through Vedas Divine to know.
In variety but everyone God believing,
Cultural harmony this way achieving.
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