(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 28 September 2014, Durban, South Africa, Sunday Feast Lecture)
Question: Can we have Krsna katha with Muslims and Christians? Will that change their hearts and make them take to devotional service?
Srila Prabhupada said that there is a spark of Krsna consciousness in everyone; you have to find it and fan it. So, you cannot just immediately tell a Christian that Krsna is the only way! That is too much for most Christians to swallow and with Muslims too. There are differences so be sensitive to the differences. Look for common ground and then look where their devotion is.
A good Muslim is daily studying the Koran and daily bowing down five times. I mean, that is quite something. He does Ramadan and he does so many other things. So we can appreciate some piety there.
I was on a plane and I had a look at the magazine in the seat pocket. It showed a story about Muslim girls. I was sort of reading it and it said that Muslim girls always had to be covered, except with their own father and brothers. If their Aunty had breast fed them as children then also with those cousins, they may be uncovered. Very complicated and very strict rules. So, I was reading that and then a movie started on the screen in front of me. In this American movie, a young girl went into a chemist and she bought something over the counter and later on, we found out it was a pregnancy test; and she tested positive. So we have these two stories.
So we saw on the one end of the description, a very rigid society with its limits that seem to be too tight. And then, we saw in another culture, young girls of thirteen are sent out on a Saturday night… So it was interesting to see the two scenarios. I normally have time to tell the whole story but you get the idea, the rest you can fill in. Now what would you choose for? What is better? Sending a thirteen year old daughter into the streets on a Saturday night… or keep her covered?
My point is that we can see the merit of some traditions, and although we ourselves are not coming from those traditions, we can have some appreciation for the dedication that people have and for the values that they have. That is something to be appreciated. I think if we look for the common ground and then bring Krsna in, then it will be very good. Of course, that does not mean that we have to go to the Mosque and bow down five times a day and all the men have to grow beards, in the name of preaching. But still, common ground is what we look for with people who are fixed in some faith.