I think that by now everyone has had a good laugh at the expense of
television evangelists like Jim and Tammy Bakker and Oral Roberts. They may
have made a lucrative business out of selling the kingdom of God, but both
evangelists have committed errors in their efforts to serve God.
Oral Roberts had never seen Jesus as he had claimed, rather he is simply
bluffing the innocent public.
Suppose you tell me that you had just met President Reagan and you had
lunch together. Who would believe that? Rather people would think that
you're crazy. But when someone says that they just talked with God, who is
far superior that millions of Reagans, somehow everyone believes that.
The Lord is in everybody's heart. He is accompanying you everywhere in
His feature called the paramatma or supersoul. In ancient times, in an age
called satya-yuga, when people lived for thousands of years, yogis and
saints of India knew this and they went off into the forest, into seclusion,
and meditated on God within the heart by the meditational process. When,
after many years of purifying the heart by meditating on the lotus feet of
Krishna, then it may have been possible for such yogis to become blessed by
the Lord. The Supreme Personality of Godhead would reveal Himself to such a
devoted yogi and thus the yogi's life would become perfect.
But today, that meditational process is not at all practical. If one
tried to sit in one place in quiet meditation, he'll simply think about sex-
life or fall asleep, that's all. The easiest method and the recommended
method in this age of constant disturbance and quarrel is to always remember
the Lord by chanting His holy names. The Hare Krishna movement practices
this by always chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare
Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. It is not brainwashing or
mesmerizing as charged by critics, but it is the practical process of
remembering and serving Lord Krishna always.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the father of the Krishna movement, recommended
this process for cleansing the heart of all dirty things and removing the
barrier that keeps us from remembering our relationship with Krishna. Only
when becomes pure by serving Krishna always, Krishna gradually reveals
Himself to such a sincere devotee.
But there is a tendency for everyone who takes birth in this material
world to exploit others. This tendency is also displayed by so-called
religious men when they become very proud of their knowledge about God. As
with little boys who brag about who they can beat up, or with women who brag
by wearing the latest fashions, or with neighbors who brag by owning the
newest cars; religious men brag by saying they just finished talking to God.
On the contrary, in our Hare Krishna tradition, one devotee whose name was
Sanatana Goswami, set the example by saying that he didn't have the least
bit of knowledge about Krishna and that he was in great depths of spiritual
ignorance. He was actually a perfect example of a truly religious
personality. Although he had full knowledge about Krishna consciousness, he
displayed himself as ignorant and most fallen.
All that is necessary for religious preaching to go on is to repeat the
words which are given in the bona fide scriptures like Bhagavad-gita and
many other authorized religious books. Our Krishna movement follows that
process. There is no necessity to place ones faith in the subjective
experiences anyone and everyone. Because Oral Roberts has said that he
talked to God, he is actually encouraging everyone to create their own form
of religion based on their own mental concocted ideas. Now it has become
quite the fashion to talk with God, but this happens to be the fantasy of
so-called religious men.
Another popular variation of the talking-to-God syndrome is the God-has
forgiven-all-my-sins syndrome. This was displayed by Jim Bakker when he
appeared on ABC's "Nightline". Mr. Bakker had admitted quite frankly that
God has already forgiven him for his sins. This encourages everyone to do
anything sinful and abominable and at the same time, because God is
unlimitedly merciful they think, God will always forgive them.
The Krishna philosophy teaches that although God is merciful undoubtedly,
but the devotee strictly avoids all sinful behavior like meat eating,
illicit sex, gambling and intoxication so that God may one day forgive him.
He never feels that he already has the mercy of the Lord, but he avoids all
types of sin in order to serve the Lord in hopes that someday, he may get
the mercy of the Lord. That is the difference between the teachings of the
Krishna consciousness science and the actions of televangelists like Jim and
Tammy Bakker and Oral Roberts.--Vaishnava Dasa