Is Krishna Consciousness A Conquering Ideology

[Krishna consciousness]“All of them – as they surrender unto Me – I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.11)

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ये यथा मां प्रपद्यन्ते
तांस् तथैव भजाम्य् अहम्
मम वर्त्मानुवर्तन्ते
मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ

“We see this with other religions, both in how they are practiced today and notable incidents from history. This idea of spreading the word, by force, if necessary. Great wars to proclaim dominance of a particular religion. The heretics burned at the stake. Dissident rebellions met with violent suppression tactics.

“Where does bhakti-yoga fall into this? What is the ultimate goal for people who are pushing Krishna consciousness to the world? Is the surrender to Krishna a conquering ideology? Is there a promise that others will bend the knee to the deity? Do people have to confess that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead?”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that within an argument, the first display of anger is a tacit admission of defeat. It is tantamount to throwing a tantrum as a child in order to have your way against the orders of the parents.

Worse than anger is force and submission. This is the way of tyrants. The corrupt leaders rise to power on stolen elections, stuffing ballot boxes and intimidating witnesses. When there are any opposing members left, they get put in jail. They are silenced. Censorship is one of the means deemed necessary for achieving the supposedly righteous end of one-party rule.

It is within this scene that a person can even ask the question of sanatana-dharma, which is not analogous with any sort of religious system; at least in how they are implemented today. The two Sanskrit terms relate to scientific facts. They apply across the spectrum of time and space.

That is to say, sanatana-dharma is the way no matter what a person says or does. The dharma of the individual is what defines them. There is dharma when there is existence. To deny dharma is to say that something does not exist.

The sanatana designation refers to the period of applicability. The dharma of the individual is without beginning. It is also without end. Sanatana-dharma is for every person, whether a human or in some other species, for every period of time.

As Shri Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita, every person follows Him in all respects. The atheist is actually following Krishna. They are worshiping the shadow portion, the material energy. All energies belong to God. This means that no one can be truly separated from Him.

When we think we are separate, when we think there is no God, when we act in ignorance, we are following the material energy. By following that energy we fall into material life. This kind of life is not limited by the barriers of birth and death. Again and again, for as long as the choice tied to ignorance remains, the same kind of existence continues.

भूत-ग्रामः स एवायं
भूत्वा भूत्वा प्रलीयते
रात्र्य्-आगमे ऽवशः पार्थ
प्रभवत्य् अहर्-आगमे

bhūta-grāmaḥ sa evāyaṁ
bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate
rātry-āgame ‘vaśaḥ pārtha
prabhavaty ahar-āgame

“Again and again the day comes, and this host of beings is active; and again the night falls, O Partha, and they are helplessly dissolved.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.19)

Sanatana-dharma as a practice is acting upon the realization of the different energies. It is choosing in favor of the internal energy. It is worshiping God directly instead of indirectly. We refer to this as acknowledgment, worship, or even surrender.

सर्व-धर्मान् परित्यज्य
माम् एकं शरणं व्रज
अहं त्वां सर्व-पापेभ्यो
मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

“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)

The saints of the sanatana-dharma tradition try to help others look towards God the person. They ask others to follow what is naturally inside of them, this dharma of serving. They are not asking for anyone to change religious affiliation or to cancel membership in an established institution.

Of course the followers in this line would hope that the entire world looks in the right direction, that they no longer suffer in ignorance, that they live blissfully in full consciousness of the Supreme. You could say that is a kind of conquering mentality, but with the individual making the choice to surrender to God, in a mood of love.

Otherwise, everyone is already conquered. They are defeated by the three sources of misery. They are tossed around by the desires rooted in illusion. They suffer from beginning to end, from birth until death. They head towards inauspicious destinations due to their flawed desires.

दैवी ह्य् एषा गुण-मयी
मम माया दुरत्यया
माम् एव ये प्रपद्यन्ते
मायाम् एतां तरन्ति ते

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)

[Krishna consciousness]Everyone is conquered in the material world, but the task of reversing the situation is not impossible. The ocean of suffering is difficult to cross over, but those who have God’s favor are able to reach the final destination of liberation, free from birth and death.

In Closing:

From timeless principles to teach,
Proper destination to reach.

From practice in due course,
Not imposed by force.

Conquered by nature already,
Through sight on illusion steady.

Better when sober decision to make,
To work only for Krishna’s sake.

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