I read about Krishna consciousness and I think that it is admirable. I have always respected all religions and believe that all lead to God, but I do believe and I identify with Islam. My question is if a person follows his or her religion or spiritual path, be it Christian or Jew, Muslim, Jain, Baha’i, etc, can that person achieve salvation by properly following the footsteps of Muhammad, Jesus or Moses?
First, let us put this issue in a historical context. As we know, throughout history some traditions originating from the Middle East, such as Christianity and Islam, tended to preach that followers of other religions were going to hell. For many followers of these religions, of course not all, there were only these two options. Even the Christian purgatory, a third option, existed only for Christians who were not quite ready for heaven, and not to members of other religions which would invariably go to hell.
Naturally, most intelligent people understand that all followers of “other religions” are not going to hell. But that does not mean they will automatically enter eternal heaven. There must be a reasonable and objective criteria to enter eternal heaven.
Within our conceptual system, the following factors are relevant to this topic:
- There is a material heaven within this universe for the pious souls who are not fully illuminated.
- There is an eternal, spiritual heaven for those spiritual souls who understand and love God completely. Of course, in one sense only God understands Himself “completely,” but you can still see the eternal form and activities of God and, thus, achieve a complete understanding. This thorough understanding is needed to develop complete love because it is difficult to love what you do not know or love more than you understand.
- In many religious traditions there is deep, pure and valid knowledge of God, though it is incomplete. These traditions certainly help their followers in their spiritual progress- a benefit and progress that undoubtedly will be completed in the near future by more knowledge from more complete sources.