‘Other Scriptures’ and devotees

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

śraddhāṁ bhāgavate śāstre
’nindām anyatra cāpi hi
mano-vāk-karma-daṇḍaṁ ca
satyaṁ śama-damāv api

One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. At the same time, one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures. One should rigidly control his mind, speech and bodily activities, always speak the truth, and bring the mind and senses under full control.

(SB 11.3.26)

Many a times in our enthusiasm to show supremacy of one scripture we may unconsciously end up criticising another vedic scripture. Devotees, especially preachers, should be very careful about making, even an unintentional, offence against any vedic scripture.

In the above verse Srimad Bhagavatam is saying that ‘One should have firm faith that he will achieve all success in life by following those scriptures that describe the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān’ but in the same verse it is also cautioning us very clearly that “one should avoid blaspheming other scriptures”

Of course, devotees understand that Srimad Bhagavatam is the amala purana, spotless purana, which best describes the glories of Krishna, without any material tinge whatsoever, but at the same time we should not blaspheme other scriptures. The purport of the above verse gives us a very good understanding as to what should be our consciousness in relation to all the other vedic scriptures.

Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted the following statement from the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa: “One should have complete faith in transcendental literature such as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other literature that directly glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should also have faith in Vaiṣṇava tantras, the original Vedas, and Mahābhārata,which includes Bhagavad-gītā and which is considered the fifth Veda. The Vedic knowledge originally emanated from the breathing of Viṣṇu, and Vedic literature has been compiled in literary form by Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the incarnation of Viṣṇu. Therefore, Lord Viṣṇu should be understood to be the personal speaker of all this Vedic literature.

Some scriptures may seem mundane, be wary of any criticism

“There are other Vedic literatures, called kalā-vidyā, which give instructions in material arts and sciences. Since all such Vedic arts and sciences are ultimately intended to be used to render devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Keśava, saintly persons in the renounced order of life should never blaspheme such apparently mundane literatures; because such literatures are indirectly connected with the Supreme Lord, one may go to hell for blaspheming these secondary literatures.

So what should be our approach?

Śraddhā indicates a faithful mentality, which can be analyzed in two sections. The first type of faith is a firm conviction that all the statements of the multifarious Vedic literatures are true. In other words, the understanding that Vedic knowledge in general is infallible is called śraddhā, or faith. A second type of faith is the belief that one must personally carry out a particular injunction of Vedic literature in order to achieve his goal in life. A devotee of the Supreme Lord should thus apply the first type of faith to the various kalā-vidyās, or Vedic material arts and sciences, but he should not accept such scriptures as pointing out his personal goal in life. Nor should he carry out any Vedic injunction that is contradictory to the injunctions of Vaiṣṇava scriptures such as the Pañcarātra.

Thus one should faithfully accept all Vedic literature as directly or indirectly describing the Supreme Personality of Godhead and should not blaspheme any portion of it. Even for Lord Brahmā, as well as for other creatures, down to the insignificant unmoving species such as trees and stones, blasphemy of any Vedic literature causes one to merge into the darkness of ignorance. Thus the suras — the demigods, great sages and devotees of the Lord — should understand that the Pañcarātric literatures, as well as the four Vedas, the original Rāmāyaṇa, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇas, and the Mahābhārata, are Vedic literatures that establish the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the unique transcendental position of the Lord’s devotees according to their status of spiritual advancement. Any other vision of Vedic literatures is to be considered an illusion. In all authorized religious scriptures the ultimate goal is to understand that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of everything and everyone, and that the Lord’s devotees are not different from Him, although such devotees are to be understood in terms of their level of spiritual advancement.” Lord Kṛṣṇa has stated in Bhagavad-gītā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo/ vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham: “By all the Vedas, I am to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”

(SB 11.3.26p)

I hope the above verse and its purport gives us a clear direction as what should be our consciousness while speaking with various scriptures.

‘Other scriptures’ also include non-vedic bonafide scriptures!

We may also include scriptures of other bonafide religions also in the definition of ‘other scriptures’ whom we should not criticise.

When we read Srila Prabhupada’s purports we will notice that he quotes from various scriptures, including Bible. Prabhupada wrote how there are different scriptures for people in different modes of nature but he did not criticise any scripture.

God’s service is dharma. This dharma may be described differently in different countries according to different cultural and climatic conditions or situations, but in every religious scripture obedience to God is instructed. No scripture says that there is no God or that we as living entities are independent—not the Bible, the Koran, the Vedas or even the Buddhist literatures.

(Elevation to Krishna Consciousness, chapter 6)

Prabhupada considered other religious scriptures also as shastra!

All the çästras, however, advise nivåtti-märga, or release from the materialistic way of life. Apart from the çästras of the Vedic civilization, which is the oldest of the world, other çästras agree on this point. For example, in the Buddhist çästras Lord Buddha advises that one achieve nirväëa by giving up the materialistic way of life. In the Bible, which is also çästra, one will find the same advice: one should cease materialistic life and return to the kingdom of God.

(SB 6.5.20p)

Similarly Srila Prabhupada translates the word ‘Svadhyayah’ in a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam not as study of only vedic scriptures but also qualifies reading non vedic, bonafide, scriptures.

svädhyäyaùreading of transcendental literatures like Bhagavad-gétä, Çrémad-Bhägavatam, Rämäyaëa and Mahäbhärata (or, for those not in Vedic culture, reading of the Bible or Koran)

(SB 7.11.8-12)

The purity of Srimad Bhagavatam and the vision of a Vaishnava are simply unmatched, and so are their teachings.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

your servant,

Giriraj dasa

5 thoughts on “‘Other Scriptures’ and devotees

  1. Really beautiful description of shraddha — faith — faith in the scriptures and doing actions to reach the ultimate goal of life. My prayers at the Lotus Feet of the Lord of the Universe to bless us with pure hearts and undiluted faith. Jai Sri Krishna! 🙂

    • Hare Krishna mataji, Dandavat Pranams

      Thank you for reading the blog and leaving encouraging words. I read this verse today and was amazed with vision of the verse and it’s purport. The two kind of faith was simply a gem. The best way to remember all this is by sharing with with everyone else, which I did, for my own selfish reasons!

      Your servant,

      Giriraj dasa

  2. HariBol,
    pamho AGTSP

    How can we accept bible, which was changed and manipulated.
    Saying for example Jesus made water into wine, while a Guru would never encourage intoxication.
    So this might have been introduced by the Romans(who were drunkards) during the council of nicea, to introduce alcohol in the name of Jesus.

    Somebody gave my coworker a Jehova witness book and my co worker threw it in the trash.
    Is this an offense to shastra?
    If this would have been a Bhagavad-Gita and Koran, I would have picked it up because it is bonafide.
    But the Jehowas witness eat meat, while Jesus said: Though shall not kill

    I think your article would only apply to the original bible.

  3. Pingback: "Different religions' and devotees - For the Pleasure of Lord Krishna

  4. Hare Krishna Robin Prabhu,
    Dandavat Pranams.

    I am a very junior aspiring devotee to answer such questions. However some questions come to my heart which I am sharing with you-

    1. There are vedic scriptures which speak about killing animals, offering meat, will we even think of throwing them in the trash?

    2. Some vedic scriptures may have been modified by certain vested interests, what would be our response to such scriptures.

    Krishna gives different scriptures (or instructions) to different people based upon time , place and circumstances to help those souls take next step in in their spiritual journey.

    Now if our founder Acharya, Srila Prabhupada, is writing in Srimad Bhagavatam that Bible is a shatra so we should faith in his words and gladly accept it.

    I am sharing something I read today morning in Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta –

    Illinois state assemblyman John Porter, who came with his wife, also asked about the solution to crime, but he had a more direct, personal interest in spiritual life. Was it possible, he asked, to make spiritual advancement without living in the temple? Śrīla Prabhupāda told him yes, if he chanted Hare Kṛṣṇa, which he could do anywhere. And he should read the standard books of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
    Mr. Porter also inquired about the Kṛṣṇa conscious understanding of certain Christian theological points, such as original sin and salvation. Śrīla Prabhupāda, however, did not indulge in discussing theoretical or comparative religion but emphasized the necessity of strictly following the instructions given by God or His representative. “The main business,” Prabhupāda said, “is to understand God.”
    ( Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, chapter 46)

    So as long as followers follow the instructions given by God or his representative , they will make progress, and not be copying Them.

    You may also read like to read yesterdays blog ” Different Religions’ and devotees’ and may appreciate the vision of a lover of God – a first class Vaishnava.

    Your servant,

    Giriraj dasa

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