David: Hi. Where do you come from?
Gopal Das: Hare Krishna. I come from Italy.
David: I am David Raja. What is you name?
Gopal Das: Gopal Das.
David: Oh, you have changed your name. What is your original name?
Gopal Das: Spiritual name is the original name.
David: No, I mean the name that your parents gave you.
Gopal Das: I had so many names, so many parents, so many lives. All these things I have changed, but the spiritual name refers to the spirit soul, and the soul is not going to change. So the spiritual name is the real name.
David: Oh, I see. I think that Italy is a Christian country. What is your original religion? You were Christian isn’t it? And now you have been converted to Hinduism.
Gopal Das: Well, you do not look to me as someone who just came out of Jerusalem, so it must be that you are also converted Mr. David Raja.
David: No, no, I am a born Christian. My grandfather got converted.
Gopal Das: Dear Raja, actually no one gets converted. God is one, there cannot be two Gods. Just like the Sun is one. Is it a Christian’s sun, Muslim’s sun or Hindu sun?
David: The Sun is the sun, it does not belong to anyone.
Gopal Das: The Sun is the same for all, so God is also one for everyone and we all belong to Him. Every soul is an
eternal servant of God. Every one of us is created by the same God, so all of us are brothers and sisters. There is one God and one religion only – service to God. You may call yourself Christian, Muslim or Hindu, or even change your belief, but the real point is whether you follow what God says or not.
David: So if God is one why then did you change from Christianity to Hinduism?
Gopal Das: I did not change from Christianity to Hinduism. After reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, I have changed from not serving God to serving Him. That is real change. So it does not matter which religion you follow. What matters is whether you have develop love for God or not. Just like your college degree. You may get it from this university or that university, but the real point is whether you have degree or not when you apply for a job.
David: But the Gita is written by man, and the Bible is the word of God, how it can be the same?
Gopal Das: No, in the Bhagavad-gita God speaks Himself, and the Bible is written by so many people like Paul, Mark, Luke etc.
David: But Jesus says that he is the only way and the only truth.
Gopal Das: Krishna says there is no truth superior to Him, and that one should surrender to Him only. So what to do now?
Gopal Das: There is no contradiction. The Vedas say that the only way to come to God is through a guru. We accept Jesus as a guru.
David: No, he is our God.
Gopal Das: He said that he is the son of God, and Krishna says: aham bija pradah pitah I am the seed giving father.
David: But in Hinduism you have so many Gods, whereasin the Bible it says that there is only one God.
Gopal Das: Which one, Jesus or Jahve?
David: Well, there are three things. The father, son and the holy spirit.
Gopal Das: So there are three Gods?
David: No, they are all one.
Gopal Das: It seems like a big confusion.
David: But in the Hinduism there is even more confusion, there are so many Gods.
Gopal Das: The ones who are confused are only the ignorant people who do not read the scriptures. The Vedas say God is one, there are no two Gods. The Sastras describe 33 crores of demigods (God empowered beings), who are all engaged in management of universal affairs under the guidance of one Supreme Lord; Krishna. It is just like in the government where you have many ministers but ultimately one prime minister above them all. There are not two Gods. Ekale iswara Krsna.
David: All those devatas with elephant heads and many arms look to me like imagination.
Gopal Das: Those are beings superior to us and they have different powers, abilities and different bodies. The same thing you will find in the Bible, the angels – humans with the wings.
David: No, it is not the same. Jesus died for our sins. Krishna did not die for us.
Gopal Das: How can God die? Why should He die for your sins? Does He have no power to free you from your sins without suffering Himself? Krishna says in Gita; aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. I will deliver you from all the sins, do not fear. And He does not have to suffer or die for that, thats why He is God.
David: But I have strong faith that Jesus will save me from the sins.
Gopal Das: Faith is not enough, you have to stop sinning. How many times does he have to die for you before you stop sinning.
David: No one can claim that he is sinless.
Gopal Das: Yes, that is true. But we shouldl do our best to avoid sin. Do you agree?
David: Yes, I agree.
Gopal Das: We should be truthful, merciful to other living beings, keep our minds and deeds pure,practice austerity. All religions should teach these basic principles. These are the four pillars of religion.
David: That is a fact.
Gopal Das: The Vedas says that there are four sins which we shall always avoid, otherwise they will destroy those four pillars of religion.
David: Which sins?
Gopal Das: Meat eating, illicit sex, gambling, intoxication.
David: Why meat eating?
Gopal Das: Why is it sinful?
David: Yeah, what is wrong with eating meat?
Gopal Das: It is wrong to kill innocent animals just for the sake of our tongue. Why should we cause unnecessary suffering to other living beings. Better to stop it by avoiding meat eating. The commandment is there in Bible “Thou shalt not kill”.
David: But that refers to the killing of a man.
Gopal Das: Thou shalt not kill means thou shalt not kill anyone. Meat eating is the direct disobedience of the Lord’s instructions. If you love Him, you cannot be disobedient to His orders. And if you are disobedient, your love is not true.
David: But many Hindus are eating meat.
Gopal Das: Again you are speaking about Hindus. Muslims, Christians, Hindus – these are all designations, but here we are discussing how to follow the laws of God. He says we should not kill, so we shouldn’t kill. All of us. Otherwise we are sinners, and we are not going to develop mercifulness towards other living beings, and what to speak of loving God.
David: Still I think that the main point is to have faith. If I believe in Jesus – that is enough.
Gopal Das: But it seems that you do not believe him when he says thou shalt not kill. I believe him, and simply by following Lord Krishna’s teachings I am automatically following all the 10 commandments and much more. So the true followers of Jesus or Krishna, must avoid sinful life, follow the laws of God, and glorify Him by chanting His name.
David: Yes, we shall praise the Lord.
Gopal Das: We praise Lord by chanting His holy name; Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. You can chant with us.
David: I will try.