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Darshan with Swami Krishnananda during 1996
by Swami Krishnananda

42. Judaism and Hinduism

(Darshan given on August 18th, 1996.)

Swamiji: An ashram is not a set of buildings. It is an atmosphere created by a person who is having company with Sat. That person may sit under a tree; even then, it is an ashram only. An ashram doesn't require buildings. You may sit on the bank of the Ganga or on the roadside; it doesn't matter. It becomes an ashram the moment the person who sits there is in communion with Sat.

There was a great saint called Nimkaroli Baba. He had no ashram. Wherever he sat, it was an ashram only. He may sit on the culvert, he may sit on the road, he may sit anywhere. People will run after him. There is no ashram. He himself is the ashram.

A visitor: Can you tell me your idea about connection, relations, attitude between Judaism and Hinduism?

Swamiji: Hindus are friends of Jews, but I do not know if Jews are friends of Hindus. This is what I want to know. Hindus have no objection to anything concerning Jews. They are welcome to India, and they are staying in India also. What is it the other way round? Do Jews like Hindus or not? Now, this answer that will come from you will also be an answer to the question that you raised. If both people like each other, there is no problem.

Visitor: I don't speak about the people. I speak about the religions.

Swamiji: Without people, where is the religion? Can you have only religion without people? You see, every religion is different from every other religion on the surface manifestation of it. The basic ideals are the same. Rituals may be different, language may be different, ceremonies and celebrations may be different, but everybody loves God Almighty. Even Jews love God Almighty. Is it so? Or do they not love? You have got a doubt? Are you a Jew?

Visitor: Yes.

Swamiji: You don't love God? You're hesitating. Do you love God?

Visitor: I try to.

Swamiji: Oh, what a difficulty you have got! Is there a doctrine in Judaism that everybody should love God, or you may do it or not do it according to your convenience? Hinduism emphasises the supreme duty of love of God. Every other thing that the Hindus do is only a manifestation of the love of God. Religion is a meaningless, empty ritual minus love of God. The performances, worships, rituals, are like the outer form or the body of religion, whereas love of God is its soul. Nobody can be religious if one has no love for God. Hindus love God, Christians love God, Muslims love God, and I believe Jews also love God. Am I right?

Visitor: 100%.

Swamiji: Then your question is answered. There is a great similarity among these people, and they are friends and collaborators in a common purpose which is the achievement of the ultimate purpose of life, namely, the attainment of God. This is what I believe is the purpose of religion: freedom ultimate, eternal blessedness, immortality. This is what we are aiming at, every human being is aiming at, of this religion or that religion. What else you want to ask me?

Visitor: Jewish tradition has big problem with worship of idols and statues ­– in the Jewish tradition and even in Christianity and Islam.

Swamiji: Okay, they need not worship idols. Nobody is going to compel them. But they do not understand what the idol is. You must first of all define what an idol is. Any symbol that you are carrying with you is an idol. An idol is a representation of something which is hidden behind it. Do you take photographs of any person? Is it not an idol that you are carrying? The photograph is not the person, it is an idol. Do you carry currency notes in your pocket? It is an idol of money. Anyone who worships a photograph and a currency note is an idol worshiper, and if Jews are also doing that, Jews are also idol worshipers. So there is no use of simply talking meaningless things. What do you say? Let the Jew come, I will talk to him. And here is a Jew.

People have no understanding of the method of reaching God. The whole world is an idol because it represents something which is other than what it is. The whole universe is a symbol of God. In that sense, we may say the world is a symbol, an idol. If you love the world, then you are loving a symbol, an idol, a large idol. If the world is an idol, then everything inside the world also is an idol. We have to be very scientific, impartial and profound in our judgment of anything. We should not go by tradition.

There is no use of saying Hindus don't like the Koran, Muslims don't like the Vedas. These are all useless talk, and will lead nowhere. If you want to set up a quarrel, there are one hundred ways of setting up a quarrel, but if you want to make friendship, also there are a hundred ways I can make friendship with you. In a hundred ways you can quarrel, and in a hundred ways you can become friends also. If you think friendship is better than quarrelling, then you do that; otherwise, you go on quarrelling and achieve nothing finally.

You are a child of God, okay? Why do you want to call yourself a Jew? When you reach God one day, you tell God, “I am a Jew that has come.” God may not recognise you. He will say, “I have not created any Jew, I have not created any Hindu. I have created human beings.” But if you say 'Jew', He will debar entry into the kingdom of heaven. He will say, “I don't know Jews. You go outside.” But if you say, “I am a human being,” He will say, “Yes, I have created you.”

This is all you want to ask me, nothing more? Why have you come to India? What do you want from this country?

Visitor: I wasn't satisfied with everyone.

Swamiji: You are not satisfied? What will satisfy you?

Visitor: If I would know the answer, I wouldn't come.

Swamiji: If something cannot satisfy you, you also know what will satisfy you. It is not possible to have only a negative feeling. If you don't like something, you like the opposite of it. You find out what it is that you don't like. The opposite of it is what you like. There is no difficulty. If you don't like the hot sun, it means you like the cold wind.