INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF
Devotees of this movement revere their God, Krishna. They believe he literally came to earth in human shape (though not truly human), and walked the earth 5,000 years ago. He is pictured dancing with 100 women at one time, and his allure was so powerful that each of them believed he was dancing with her alone, and each one experienced orgiastic bliss. Krishna is a very sexy god, but that privilege is withheld from his devotees.
LIFE IN THE KRISHNA COMMUNE
The freedom to marry within the commune is not always granted, and if it is, couples must live as brother and sister, except for physical relations once a month, on a night designated for fertility, and then only after chanting for five or six hours. Fay Levine, a writer who lived in the New York center sums it up this way, "The Hare Krishna ideology both denies sexuality to its adherents and tantalizes them with tales and images of a sexy God."
Those in the communes are discouraged from reading any outside literature, including newspapers and magazines. Followers are berated and called "mudhas" (asses) when they cannot achieve a high enough level of "spirituality".
Being spiritual means getting to services at 4:30 a.m., chanting and meditating on their beads for two hours, and then attending classes. Strict rules are enforced--no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling. Love Feasts are a feature of Krishna communal life. Followers chant, sing, and dance in their extravagantly decorated temple room, while Indian delicacies are prepared in the kitchen. Much of this produces sensual feelings which must be denied.
DOCTRINES OF ISKCON
Usually in Hinduism, we find the doctrine of an impersonal god, yet in this brand of Hinduism, a personal god, Krishna, is worshipped. The "Back to the Godhead" magazine is widely distributed by the devotees. This magazine lists the eight principles that are the basis of KRSNA (krishna) Consciousness.
1. "By sincerely cultivating a bona- fide spiritual science, we can be free from anxiety and come to a state of pure, unending, blissful consciousness in this lifetime."
COMMENT This promise has powerful appeal to persons dissatisfied with their present circumstances, particularly the young, idealistic ones turned off by the establishment. The only pure peace is through the person of Jesus Christ. John 14:27 says,
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
You see, a measure of peace can be found by "tuning out" and entering a commune, but that peace is lost the moment the person returns to the real world. The peace of Christ, on the other hand, stays with you, no matter what the circumstances.
2. "We are not our bodies, but eternal spirit souls, parts and parcels of God (KRSNA). As such we are all brothers, and KRSNA is ultimately our common father."
COMMENT We as Christians know we are created in the "image of God". This does not mean we are part of God's essence. Rather, God is the Creator, and we are the creatures. This distinction is evident throughout the Bible. We are also very aware that we are Spirit, Soul, AND BODY, and remain in our fleshly bodies until we go to be home with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
3. "KRSNA is the eternal, all-knowing, omnipresent, all-powerful, and all-attractive personality of Godhead. He is the seed-giving father to all living beings, and He is the sustaining energy of the eternal cosmic creation."
COMMENT The first sentence of the above statement could be applied to the God of the Bible. The second sentence, however, shows great differences between Krishna and the God of the Bible. Krishna is a god who is both personal and impersonal, and can also manifest as an invisible form of energy, (spirit, soul, etc.), as well as in the physical through idols, animals, and humans. The God of the Bible, on the other hand, is always distinct from His creation. The God of the Bible is One God, manifested three ways (triune), while Krishna is the supreme personality behind the Hindu Triad of Brahma, Visnu, and Shiva, a triad of gods, and Shiva is evil!
4. "The absolute Truth is contained in all the great scriptures of the world. However, the oldest known revealed scriptures in existence are the Vedic literatures, most notably the Bhagavad-gita, which is the literal record of God's actual words."
COMMENT The dating of the Bhagavad-gita is uncertain, but we do know that the Bible record goes back to the time of man's creation, and the divine inspiration of the Bible is proved by its many fulfilled prophecies and accurate history. The Vedic literature, on the other hand, is not supported by modern historians and archeologists.
5. "We should learn the Vedic knowledge from a genuine spiritual master--one who has no selfish motives and whose mind is firmly fixed on KRSNA."
COMMENT Christians, in contrast, take in knowledge two ways, privately, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit while studying the Bible (John 16:13-15), and publicly, through the office of God-annointed teachers. (Ephesians 4:11-15).
6. "Before we eat, we should offer to the Lord the food that sustains us. Then KRSNA becomes the offering that purifies us."
COMMENT While it is proper to thank God for our daily food (Matt. 1536), we do not perform a sacrificial offering to the Lord, nor do we believe that the food offers purification.
7. "We should perform all our actions as offering to KRSNA and do nothing for our own sense gratification."
COMMENT While the Bible does condemn excesses we are not denied gratification of our desires to eat, have physical activities, and normal sexual relationships within marriage.
8. "The recommended means for achieving the mature stage of love of God in this age of Kali, or quarrel, is to chant the Hare KRSNA mantra Hare KRSNA, Hare KRSNA, KRSNA KRSNA, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."
COMMENT The Krishna devotee is taught that he can escape the age of Kali (present age) by transcending with his chanting, and thinking only of Krishna. The Christian, in contrast, communicates with God through meaningful prayer and heeds the words of Jesus,
"And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition..." (Matthew 6:7)
DOCTRINES OF KRISHNA
Not only does this group have "another Jesus", regarding Krishna as their personal savior, but we find the false doctrines of reincarnation and idolatry. Devotees practice "deception" while recruiting and selling in public places. Even stealing is justified, since all money is really Krishna's.
False prophecies have been uttered which failed to come to pass. Marriage breakdown and suicide are in evidence within the communes, as well as "prisoner techniques" for those expressing a desire to leave.
WITNESSING TO THE KRISHNA GROUP
The Christian should first pray with authority, binding the spirit of Krishna deception, and loosing the devotee to hear the gospel of Christ. (See Matthew 18:18-20). Seek to establish "common ground". Do not openly attack Krishna beliefs.
Remember that Krishna devotees believe there is value in the Bible. They usually have respect for Jesus. They do believe in a personal savior (Krishna) so this is good common ground.
Gently share what Jesus means to you as your personal savior, and go over the claims of Jesus in the Bible. Show that there can be only one Savior. Stress how Jesus claimed He would rise from the dead, and then did, whereas Krishna is still in his tomb. Display the love of Christ.