Once my friends used to tell me that there is a key which can unlock the Bible, and they hinted that some priests here or there might have that secret key. But actions speak louder than words. How could I believe either my friends or their teachers when their behavior told me that they do not pursue the teachings of the Holy Book they claim to follow? Nobody can understand the Bible unless his life is absorbed in sattvic qualities. The activities of my friends were closer to tama guna. I would pray in my heart that if there is a key to the Bible I must find it. And lo and behold, soon afterwards Shrila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita As It Is came into my hands.
Simple religious truths that are quite obvious to any devotee of Shri Krishna quickly turn into topics of innumerable speculations and widely-branched interpretations for the Christians, at least the ones I have known. That is because devotees are blessed with the unbreakable system of disciplic succession to support their realizations. Usually the followers of the Bible tend to focus on a particular paragraph or section of their scripture. Seldom do they have an overview of the verses they quote and the richness of their meanings. Because the Christian tradition has no disciplic succession, the connotation of the book seems to be lost in an archaic language that withholds the undisclosed meanings from the human race. For most, the Bible is a book with many great secrets locked within, while the key has been misplaced.
This misunderstood book called the Bible begins with the same letter “B” as Bhagavad-Gita, Bhagavan, bhajan and bhakti. Thus this book has the sole idea of convening devotion to God. The Old Testament is a compilation of local versions of older Puranic stories intertwined with historical accounts. The Old Testament serves as the foundational book for all three of the most wide-spread religions of today: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The New Testament is the story of Lord Jesus Christ. Judaism accepts the Old Testament but does not accept Jesus Christ as a messiah. The followers of Mohammed also accept Abraham from the Old Testament as their forefather but the book of Islam is the Koran. Christianity places more weight upon the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ; hence the name of the religion, Christianity. It is the religion of today’s major economic powers like the USA and the European Union. Many of today’s more humane economic principles are derived the Bible. The Bible is most widely accepted as the book which presents the law of God but few really understand how it came about and why it exists. Moreover, who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus is accepted by many as the son of God, but for others he is God Himself. From the Bible itself we see that Jesus was not accepted amongst the religionists of his day, nor was his advent celebrated by the temple priests. The name of Jesus is derived from the Sanskrit word “isha,” and he is still referred to by this name in some of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. Isha, meaning ruler, can also be translated as prabhu (one who deserves respect.) Further, the surname of Jesus is Christ. In ancient traditions the first name of the father is usually taken and given to the son as his surname. We can see that the Father of Jesus was Christ, and this name is non-different from Krishna. Christ is just a local or colloquial pronunciation of Krishna. In parts of the world the name Christ is variously pronounced as Hristos, Krist or even Krisn which is very close to the Bengali pronunciation of Krishna. In an indirect way Jesus, the son of God, has introduced the name of Krishna in the Bible. Unfortunately, the barbaric populace at the time of his advent urgently needed to be taught the simple and basic moral principles of the Ten Commandments.
Jesus can be viewed as a spiritual genius who could not fit into his contemporary time frame and locality. He was a bigger personality than the culture of the day would allow, and he continues to be misunderstood even today. Many have used his name for many selfish ends. Some pose as religionists to hide their bad reputation. There are politicians who will wave a Bible in the air to extract votes from an innocent public, while others hide behind the Bible as an excuse for declaring war on innocent civilians.
The Bible does not directly mention the facts surrounding the missing years of Jesus Christ. Where did he spend the years between his twelfth and thirtieth birthdays? Nonetheless, there are some hints in the scripture that he went East. The eastern direction leads towards India but it is also symbolized as heaven. Only by studying in India could Jesus have become so enlightened and self-realized when he reappeared in Jerusalem at the age of thrity to preach sanatana dharma. It was only after his return from India that Jesus began actively preaching. At that time he revealed the name of Krishna by calling himself Isus Hristos. We can clearly see that the suffix of the original Biblical texts bears the Roman pronunciation, but when we remove the Romanization of the names they come out simply as Isha Krishna. After only three years of preaching the message of self-realization and God consciousness, Jesus the Romans crucified him. Evidentially, his ideas stood in the way of the local culture and politics.
Although Jesus suffered crucifixion, he did not die on the cross. He was helped by few of his followers and was taken down before he expired. He underwent a tremendous amount of pain in return for his preaching the doctrine of pure love of God to low-born mlecchas. Shortly after his recovery he returned to the East (India.)
We can read the passage from Acts (Jesus taken up to Heaven):
“So when they met together, they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” [His students seem to have been more interested in materialistic goals.]
“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the time or dates the Father has set by His own authority…you will be my witness in Jerusalem…” [We see that the religion called Christianity was initially limited to local representation due to the nature of Jesus’ students but it spread widely due to the influence of the Roman Empire.]
“After he said this, he was taken up before their eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky (the horizon) as he was doing, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.” (Those people were very likely brahmanas judging by their cloth and their knowledge. They revealed to the students of Jesus that he was going to heaven. As stated, heaven in ancient times was indicated by the eastern direction).
Today in Kashmir, in the town of Shrinagar one can visit a tomb called Rozabol upon Shankaracharya Hill. This is the place where Jesus, who lived to the age of 120, lies buried. It was the preference of Lord Jesus Christ to live in India rather than preach in the West. From this example in the life of Jesus, we can understand how great was the sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada who invested 12 years of preaching in the west, paschatya-desh. Jesus was forced to give up after only three years. But his lot was not an easy one. We can see how he was met by the priests of the Judaic church. The following passage is from John 8:59 (The Claims of Jesus about Himself):
“The Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are Samarian (barbarian) and demon-possessed?”
“I am not possessed by a demon,’ said Jesus, ‘but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself…I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
After these words the priests challenged Jesus saying that all the prophets are dead. Yet Jesus responded that if someone keeps his word he will never die. Yet the priests found that this was one more reason to call him demon-possessed. Jesus replied that he knows the Father and the Father glorifies him. He was proud to be a servant of God and he challenged the priests telling them that he was born before the first prophet Abraham. With these words, Jesus explained that he was unborn and therefore should be understood as eternal spirit soul. Upon hearing his reasoning, the priests threw stones upon him and Jesus swiftly slipped away from the temple grounds.
Although the Bible is a compilation of many authors, the story of Jesus Christ remains the inspiration behind every sincere Christian seeking Godliness. Yet it seems that very few can see the grand purpose behind the Bible. For example, in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, it is stated that all creatures were created together at the beginning of the universe. There is no hint of evolution even in the Bible, yet Darwin thought of himself as having been born a Christian. There is another interesting fact in Genesis. When God created man he said:
“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds in it. They will be yours for food.”
We can see that according to the Bible and from the very beginning of creation that man is meant to be vegetarian. God does not change his mind. In Dwapara Yuga the principle means of worship was through sacrifice. Over time this method of worshipping God naturally deteriorated. Priests could no longer elevate the sacrificed animal although they still pretended to do so. The priests started offering the meat of the sacrificial animals as a sacrament. In this way, many became addicted to eating the flesh of animals. The cancellation of unwanted old habits is one of the main debates and prohibitions in the Bible:
“Now about food sacrifices to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.”
“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that idols [demigods] are nothing at all in this world and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”) from whom all things come and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ [Isha Krishna], through whom all things come and through whom we live.” (Corinthians 7:35)
This message is strikingly similar to the instruction in Bhagavad Gita wherein Shri Krishna personally declares that those who worship demigods are of short intelligence. (BG 7.23).
We find many key points in the Bible which are aimed at elevating the soul to devotional realization. There are many places in the Bible which stress the repetition of the name of God. Examples can be found in the injunction continuously mentioned in the Psalms:
“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.” (Psalm 103)
The link to the Vedic literature and lifestyle does not end there. We can find a place where the ancient Sanskrit is mentioned although it was not understood by the Israelites. In the Writing on the Wall King Belshazzar (azzar comes from ishwara and means “king”) there is mention that the king was indulging in forbidden activities. Someone wrote the following words on the wall which caught the attention of King Belshazzar: mene mene tekel parsin. The king became curious to know their interpretation.
We can recognize the Sanskrit meter and grammar in the words. The word “mene” in Sanskrit means “that what is understood” or “intelligence.” The word is repeated for emphasis. Tekel is the designated name for the local coins used at that era. They simply mean that time has come for the riches of the kingdom to go in the hands of Persians because the king has become inattentive and degraded.
The Bible connects to a more ancient tradition in many other ways. Yet it is also responsible for creating many of the customs of the modern day. The people who run the treasuries of numerous economically advanced countries were so Bible conscious that at one point they all applied the Debt Cancellation Act where if the debt was not repaid in seven years time it was cancelled. This rule is found in Deuteronomy 15:9:
“At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done. Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite.”
We can see how whimsically following a select injunction of the Bible without keeping the others (ex. the commandment against stealing) has lead many countries into a situation where it is impossible to get out of debt through fair means.
The Bible is a rich material of historical and cultural study and many hidden pieces of gold can be found by experienced treasure hunters. Innumerable facts point to the Vedic literature as the source of the Bible. We easily find statements which remind us of Chankya Pandit:
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Corinthians 16:3
Another trace is the story of Noah (Genesis 6-9) which is very similar to the narration of Satyavrata Muni in Shrimad Bhagavatam (2.7.12) who is our present Manu. The history of the Bible points to different yugas. Abraham lived for 900 years which coincides with the longevity of the previous age. It is also interesting to note that Abraham was married to Sarah and those names bear similarity to the names of Brahma and Saraswati. The Bible traces Abraham as the forefather of many nations. In much the same way, but in a much broader sense, Lord Brahma is the first born living entity within our universe. We even find a prediction about Lord Kalki, who will bring about the end of the present Kali Yuga, in the Bible. He is depicted in the section called Revelations which deals with the unfolding of future events. In the Rider of the White Horse it is said:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but himself. He is dressed in a rope dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in white linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth came a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his rope and on his thigh has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
The name Kalki has been interpreted to mean mud, dirt, filth, or foulness and hence denotes the “destroyer of foulness,” “destroyer of confusion,” “destroyer of darkness,” or “annihilator of ignorance.” Despite the many meanings there is no exact explanation of the meaning of Kalki. The name is very difficult to define and for this reason, as the Bible says, it will be known only to the One who will bear it.
These brief examples and studies from the Bible point to one thing. Christianity is basically a cult for Shri Krishna, or at least the intention of its founder was such. There is no need for separatism or for misunderstanding that Christianity has any other intention but the worship of Shri Krishna. From the beginning, the teachings of the Bible are essentially intended to be non-different from the bhakti cult. Nonetheless, there is one very fundamental difference between Bhagavad-Gita and the Bible. The Bible has been twisted through the imperfect perceptions of its followers because there is no disciplic succession from Jesus. Christianity as it is presented nowadays is a limb that has broken from the original and is no longer a direct link to the Supreme Lord. The Christian disciplic succession stops with the 12 original disciples of Jesus Christ.
One estimate says that due to the severing of its roots there are over 30,000 different Christian sects, each one in disagreement with the other. As a result the original Biblical teachings are no longer intact. They are therefore unable to take anyone back to home back to Godhead. Over time Christianity and its present-day interpretations of the Bible have been transformed into a religion which emphasizes one of the four main goals of material life, dharma, artha, kama and moksha. But bhakti is even higher, and for this the words of Shri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (18.66) are final:
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shucah
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”
The direct words of Sri Krishna provide the key which unlocks the Bible and at the same time make the book obsolete.
Amen or OM TAT SAT