Question: What is the true position of the scriptures on Islam and Christianity?
Answer: Our supreme pramāṇa are the Vedas and the Smṛtis, ie., Itihāsas and Purāṇas. This is what is scriptures for us. Our position is therefore that we accept anything that is in harmony with śāstra. Anything against the Vedic scriptures is not accepted. Only those parts of the Bible and Koran are acceptable that do not contradict Vedic scriptures. As Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa is the supreme authority for us. Anything that is not aligned with the Bhāgavata is not accepted as authoritative. Even those statements among the Purāṇas that seem to contradict the Bhāgavata are interpreted to remove the contradiction. For example, in some Purāṇas, Kṛṣṇa is seemingly described as an avatāra of Viṣṇu. This does not match with the categorical statement of the Bhāgavata, which states that Kṛṣṇa is Svayaṁ Bhagavān. Therefore, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī interprets these contradictory statements using grammatical rules to prove that such statements are actually not contradictory to the statements of Bhāgavata Purāṇa.
Question: In his meeting with the Pāṭhāna soldiers, Caitanya Mahāprabhu quotes from the Koran and establishes that the Koran’s conclusion is of a personal god, and not impersonalism. He concludes that devotion to that personal god and love of God is the goal of the Koran. He even says that the Koran talks about a god who has a blackish complexion, in reference to Kṛṣṇa (CC Madhya 18. 189-197). But in his meeting with Chand Kazi, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu condemns Muslim religion as a religion that promotes killing of cows and bulls. He clearly states that the scriptures of the yavanas (Muslims) are full of mistakes and illusion. Even Chand Kazi accepts that his scriptures are not logical and philosophical. (CC Adi 17. 160-171)
Also, Caitanya Mahāprabhu clearly mentions (CC Madhya 6.168) that anybody who does not accept Vedas is a nāstika. Since both Christianity and Islam don’t accept the Vedic authority, they are nāstika.
How do we reconcile the contradictions from the above instances? In one instance Mahāprabhu quotes from Koran and establishes Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa, bhakti and prema, and in another conversation Mahāprabhu very clearly states that the scriptures of yavanas are full of mistakes and illusion.
Answer: There is no contradiction in these two instances. Mahāprabhu shows that the Koran also speaks of bhakti and hints at a personal God who is of blackish color, but that does not mean that He validated the whole Koran. What He meant to say is that the real essence of Koran lies in bhakti, and that if the Pāṭhānas, or Muslims, really want to follow the Koran, they should take to Kṛṣṇa-bhakti. But this is not very obvious from Koran, otherwise some Muslims would have come to that conclusion. Therefore, Mahāprabhu is also referring to that indirectly in His dialogue with the Chand Kazi.
It should be understood that an expert preacher speaks according to the qualification of his audience. It is not that he goes on repeating the same thing like a machine, regardless of the standard of the audience.
The Koran also has many contradictory statements. The Muslim scholars may have responded to these contradictions. But I have not investigated that.
If you want to know more on this subject, there is a lot of material available on the web. One is the famous book “Satanic Verses” by Salman Rushdie. This book is banned, but you may refer to the following:
“The Deception of Allah” – Usama Dakdoc Publishing and “The Trouble with Islam Today by Irshad Manji”.
You can also check out Dharmaveer Arya. If you want to read an honest biography about Mohammed, then read “The first Muslim.”
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