SSR 4 Understanding Krsna and Christ In 1974, near Prabhupada's center in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, Srila Prabhupada and several of his disciples took a morning walk with father Emmanuel Jungclaussen, a Benedictine monk from Niederalteich Monastery. Noticing that Srila Prabhupada was carrying meditation beads similar to the rosary, Father Emmanuel explained that he also chanted a constant prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, be merciful unto us." The following conversation ensued.
Srila Prabhupada: What is the meaning of the word Christ? Father Emmanuel: Christ comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning "the anointed one." Srila Prabhupada: Christos is the Greek version of the word Krsna. Father Emmanuel: This is very interesting. Srila Prabhupada: When an Indian person calls on Krsna, he often says, "Krsta." Krsta is a Sanskrit word meaning "attraction." So when we address God as "Christ," "Krsta," or "Krsna," we indicate the same all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Jesus said, "Our Father, who an in heaven, sanctified be Thy name," that name of God was "Krsta" or "Krsna." Do you agree?
Father Emmanuel: I think Jesus, as the son of God, has revealed to us the actual name of God: Christ. We can call God "Father," but if we want to address Him by His actual name, we have to say "Christ." Srila Prabhupada: Yes. "Christ" is another way of saying Krsta, and "Krsta" is another way of pronouncing Krsna, the name of God. Jesus said that one should glorify the name of God, but yesterday I heard one theologian say that God has no name--that we can call Him only "Father." A son may call his father "Father," but the father also has a specific name. Similarly, "God" is the general name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose specific name is Krsna. Therefore whether you call God "Christ," "Krsta," or "Krsna," ultimately you are addressing the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. Father Emmanuel: Yes, if we speak of God's actual name, then we must say, "Christos." In our religion, we have the Trinity: the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe we can know the name of God only by revelation from the Son of God. Jesus Christ revealed the name of the father, and therefore we take the name Christ as the revealed name of God.
Srila Prabhupada: Actually, it doesn't matter--Krsna or Christ--the name is the same. The main point is to follow the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures that recommend chanting the name of God in this age. The easiest way is to chant the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Rama and Krsna are names of God, and Hare is the energy of God. So when we chant the maha-mantra, we address God together with His energy. This energy is of two kinds, the spiritual and the material. At present we are in the clutches of the material energy. Therefore we pray to Krsna that He may kindly deliver us from the service of the material energy and accept us into the service of the spiritual energy. That is our whole philosophy. Hare Krsna means, "O energy of God, O God [Krsna], please engage me in Your service." It is our nature to render service. Somehow or other we have come to the service of material things, but when this service is transformed into the service of the spiritual energy, then our life is perfect. To practice bhakti-yoga [loving service to God] means to become free from designations like "Hindu," "Muslim," "Christian," this or that, and simply to serve God. We have created Christian, Hindu, and Muhammadan religions, but when we come to a religion without designations, in which we don't think we are Hindus or Christians or Muhammadans, then we can speak of pure religion, or bhakti. When Lord Jesus Christ presented himself, for instance, he was greatly afflicted by the miserable conditions of the people. Regardless of which country or sect they belong to, all Vaisnavas, or devotees--any people who are God conscious, or Krsna conscious--are thus compassionate. Therefore to blaspheme a Vaisnava, a preacher of God's glories, is a great offense.