Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jesus and Religious Observances

If the God of Judeo-Christianity and the God of Hinduism are the same entity (which I believe they are, especially when I see them use the same terminology to describe Krishna that is used to describe the Judeo-Christian God ツ), then the religious observances that Krishna's devotees feel obligated to follow may no longer be required; Jesus, Krishna's Son, fulfilled all that at the cross.

What prompts me to say this is that I follow a good handful of Krishna-related Facebook Pages, and according to one of them, today is evidently something called "Ekadasi", a holy day in which Hindus fast from certain foods. According to Stephen-Knapp.com, Ekadasi is as follows:

"Ekadasi generally falls on the 11th day after the new moon, and the 11th day after the full moon. Eka means one and dasi is the feminine form of dasa, which means ten. Together it means eleven. Only occasionally may it fall on a different day. So it is on these days that devotees and devout Hindus will follow the vow of Ekadasi and not eat any beans or grains, or products with such substances in them. Thus, the diet is expected to be simple and plain as part of the mood of renunciation, and preferably only once in the day if possible. Other recommendations include that the food should be made of vegetables, fruit, water, milk products, nuts, sugar, and roots that are grown underground (except beet roots). Restrictions include spinach, eggplant, asafetida, and sea salt, but rock salt is alright."

Elsewhere, it states:

"If one doesn’t follow Ekadasi because of illusion, he is still considered the utmost sinner. For every mouthful of grain that is eaten by a resident of the earthly region (on Ekadasi), one receives the effect of killing millions of brahmanas. It is definitely necessary that one give up eating grains on Ekadasi. I very strongly say again and again, ‘On Ekadasi, do not eat grains, do not eat grains, do not eat grains!’"

The repeated admonition against grain-eating reminded me of Colossians 2:20-23:

"Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

Maybe that's why so much controversy rocked the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) -- they have their fair share of religious observances and restrictions, but at the end of the day none of that did squat to prevent the horrors that are said to have taken place after their founder passed away! So much of this reminds me of the Roman Catholic church, with all their emphasis on religious observances, and then stumbling in major-league headline-making ways.

I think it's a personal decision as to whether one wants to fast, however to state that a person is outright sinning if they don't observe holy days and/or fast from certain foods at certain times is negating what Jesus took care of through His sacrifice on the cross.

Colossians 2:16-19 says,

"Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. "

Romans 14:1-4 states,

"Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. "

Romans 14:5-8 says,

"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. "

I seriously think that Hindus (in fact, adherents of any form of legalistic religious system) could benefit from applying what Jesus has done for them just as those still living under Old Testament religious laws could. Jesus is the Son of God (whatever name one gives God matters not), so one would think that devotees of God in any religion would be concerned with what God's own Son did for all mankind! Because of Jesus, we are all liberated souls (2 Corinthians 3:17)! In the context of Hinduism, because of Christ our relationship with Krishna can be just that: a relationship, rather than a series of religious rites and rituals and do's and don'ts, the latter which even Krishna Himself discouraged people from indulging in.