Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: But many people claim to have the best religion, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: But we have to look at the result.how will we decide what is real religion? Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmaḥ yato bhaktir adhokṣaje: by seeing whether the followers have learned how to love God. If one has no love of God, then what is the use of claiming that one’s religion is the best? Where is the sign of love of Godhead? That is to be seen. Everyone will say, “My understanding is the best.” But there must be practical proof.
If someone claims to have the best religion, we ask, “Tell us how to love God. What is your process of loving God? If you do not know your relationship with God and others’ relationship with God, then how can you love God?” That process of loving God is lacking. Nobody can give a clear conception of God. If you have no understanding of what God is, where is the question of love? Love is not mere fantasy or imagination. You cannot love air. You love a person, a beautiful person. If you merely say, “I love the air, I love the sky,” what question is there of love? There must be a person. So who is that person we want to love?
Unfortunately, most people have no personal conception of God. Nor can they describe the Lord’s personal beauty, knowledge, strength – His fullness in the six personal opulences. There is no such description. They have some conception of God, but actually they do not know what God is. But religion means you must know God and love Him. Love is something tangible. It is not merely fantasy or imagination. So we Kṛṣṇa conscious people accept Kṛṣṇa as God, and we are worshiping Kṛṣṇa, and we are making progress.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Recently a priest visited us and admitted that he didn’t know what God looks like. He couldn’t say anything about God, but he said he loved God.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Then? What kind of love is it?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Nor did he say his people were very enthusiastic about coming to church. He said, “At best they come once a week.” He said that’s all that is necessary.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Well, love does not mean that you come once a week to my house. Love means you come to my house every day, give me some present, and take something from me. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes the symptoms of love in his Upadeṣāmṛta ;
guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva
If you love somebody, you must give him something and you must accept something from him. You must disclose your mind to him and he should disclose his mind to you. And you should give him some eatable and whatever eatable thing he offers, you accept. These six kinds of exchange develop love.
But if you do not even know the person, then where is the question of love? Suppose you love some boy or some girl, then you will give some present, and he or she gives you some present – that develops love. You give something to eat, and whatever he or she gives you to eat, you eat. You disclose your mind: “My dear such-and-such, I love you. This is my ambition.” And he or she makes some disclosure. These are the exchanges of love.
But if there is no person-to-person meeting, where is the question of love? If I claim to love somebody, but I visit his house only once a week and ask,“Please give me such-and-such,” where is the exchange of love? Love means there is some exchange. If you love somebody but you have not given anything to that person or taken anything from him, where is the love?
The conclusion is, religion means to love God, and that means you must know who God is. There is no alternative. You must know the person who is God. Then you can have loving exchanges with Him. That we are teaching. We are asking our disciples to rise early in the morning and offer maṅgala-ārati, then bhoga-ārati, to the Lord in His form as the Deity in the temple. Are we such fools and rascals that we are wasting time worshiping a “doll”? Sometimes people think like that. But that is not a fact. When you enter the temple, you know definitely, “Here is Kṛṣṇa. He is God, and we must love Him like this.” That is the superexcellence of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We do everything definitely, on the positive platform. Is that clear? Does anyone have any further question?
Pradyumna: Śrīla Prabhupāda, you’re saying we must know God before we can love Him. So that means…
Episode 269 – Signs of Love of God Are to Be Seen