Today is a very special day because it is the celebration of Janmastami, Lord Krishna’s appearance in this world some 5000 years ago.
On this day, I am especially grateful to be reminded that whether we are aware of God or not, and regardless of what name we know Him by, God is our Best Friend. He is present in the heart of all of us, patiently waiting for us to turn to Him, and always willing to give us guidance, shelter, and unconditional love.
Krishna tells us that the essence of real spirituality is our personal loving relationship with Him.
In Krishna’s Bhagavad-Gita, the Supreme Lord says,
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”
This is true spirituality. True spirituality means love for God. It means one’s personal loving relationship with the Supreme Soul. It does not mean belonging to a particular group or organization.
In the past, I have described how I was raised in a “multi-faith” family, but perhaps a better way to describe it would be a “faith-inclusive” family. It was not as if my Catholic father was on one spiritual team and my Hindu mother was on the “opposing” team. It really wasn’t until my late teens that I became aware of the concept of sectarianism—the false notion that there are many distinct and opposing religions, each with their own god, and each the enemy or competitor of the other.
The true Vaishnava/Hindu perspective is not like this. Rather, it is very inclusive. We focus on the essence of real religion which is spiritual love.
According to Vaishnava Hinduism, there’s one Supreme Being who is called many names by different people around the world at different times. It’s not that there is a Christian god, a Buddhist god, a Hindu god, or a Muslim god, all competing with each other. There is only one God although we may call Him by different names. It is the loving exchange one has with God that is true spirituality. And one who is experiencing such love for God is able to see beyond our external differences and designations, and recognize that we are all relatives in the deepest sense. We are all children of the same Supreme Lord. This is the message of Bhagavad-gita, the message of love, of how we can achieve real harmony with others, no matter the different backgrounds we come from.
Jaya Sri Krishna!
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