It’s one of the legitimate and even required exchanges between devotees, authorized in Upadeshamrita, Nectar of Instruction, by Srila Rupa Goswami. In the next verse there’s a description of how exactly one should honor other devotees according to their relative situation.
And then there’s “interfaith”. I wrote about it a couple of months ago and I’m still skeptical of its value. If this movement gives us government sponsored access to millions of people it’s great and justifies participating in it but the goal of the movement itself is interaction between members of different faiths.
There’s nothing about interfaith in Upadeshamrita and for a good reason – they’ve got nothing to share. At best we can mentally honor people of other faiths but they don’t even chant the name of Krishna.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati was once invited to a sahajiya convention and he posted a list of questions which needed satisfactory answers before he’d agreed to attend. They were mostly rhetorical and demonstrated all the faults of sahajiism so there were no answers. He was very adamant about avoiding association of people who remain attached to their material bodies and who justify their illusion by misappropriating Lord Chaitanya’s philosophy. And those are ostensible gaudiya vaishnavas who chant the Holy Name as much as we do and maybe even more. Why should we be eager to mingle with non-vaishnavas then? What is it that we can share with them? Only the basic things about value of faith and mundane morality.
We assume that there are sincere Christians and Muslims out there but there’s a easy test of their sincerity – have they ever heard of Hare Krishna and Lord Chaitanya? Those who attend interfaith events must have heard about us. If they didn’t accept Lord Chaitanya’s message to their hearts there’s no place for sincerity there. According to Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami even devotees in legitimate vaishanva sampradayas have their progress stunted forever if they don’t accept Lord Chaitanya, what to speak of Christians.
What is there to learn from them that we can’t find in our own tradition? I’m sure we can learn something from even inanimate objects but here we are talking about interactions and exchange of ideas. Total waste of time, if you ask me.
There’s also a question of flavor. Mixing with non-Gaudiya devotees is about tasting their different attitudes and mixing with Christians is even more so. Those flavors might be attractive to some but, equally, they might be also repulsive, depending on one’s material background. Being attracted to God in one way or another is a plus but indulging in those inferior tastes is offensive to Srila Rupa Goswami. He might not take an offense himself but you can’t hope to become a rupanuga and keep hanging out with Christians at the same time.
Actually, all I wanted to do today is to share this hilarious video.
Once it’s over, ask yourself – do you really want to share intimate thoughts with these holy rollers or whatever their particular affiliation is? I mean they seriously believe in God but, come on, that’s Christian sahajiya at its finest and you’d probably get real hadoken in your face if you question their authenticity.
It’s better to leave them alone and offer mental respects from a distance.