As the following reads, Swami Bhaktivedanta (the founder of ISKCON)  treats ISLAM and CHIRTANITY as essentially one with Vaishavism.

Again and again God has sent His messengers to this material world to re-establish religious principles. Different messengers have revealed different scriptures in different languages accord-ing to time, place, circumstances and the intellectual capacity of the people. In this way the Vedas, Avesta, Torah, Bible and Qur'an were made available for the benefit of mankind, to bring them closer to God. Despite the different languages and different ages in which these scriptures were presented, the knowl-edge and guidance is essentially the same. .As far as the process of each scripture is concerned, some details and rituals differ, but in essence it is all the same.

Srila Prabhupada: Islam is also Vaishnavism.

Dr. Patel: Mohammedanism is not Vaishnavism.

Srila Prabhupada: No, no. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talked with the Pathanas (Muslims). He proved that "Yourreligion is Vaishnavism." (Moraing walk. Bombay, 17/02/74)

Prabupada :We Adore Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ was such a great personality—the son of God, the representative of God. He had no fault..Jesus is our Guru. (https://back2godhead.com/srila-prabhupada-speaks-out-on-christ-christians-and-krishna/)

It is really intersting to note that while he thinks that Sri Adi Sankar's philosophy is dangerous, as in

The Mayavada is a very dangerous philosophy. It has made the whole world atheistic. (https://krishna.org/mayavada-a-very-dangerous-philosophy-morning-walk-mp3-audio/)

Reference : http://www.harekrsna.de/artikel/islam.htm#1.

Mohammad's and Christ's are venerable according to him.

On the other hand, the very well known 'pranam mantra of Swami Bhaktivedanta reads

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracharine nirvishesha-shunyavadi-pashchatya-desha-tarine (Reference many sites like : https://www.iskconbangalore.org/blog/srila-prabhupada-pranama-mantra/ and https://iskcondesiretree.com/page/pranam-mantras)

•Meaning : Our respectful obeisances are unto you, O spiritual master, servant of Sarasvati Gosvami. You are kindly preaching the message of Lord Chaitanya deva and delivering the Western countries, which are filled with impersonalism and voidism.

My Question is : If ISLAM and Christanity and one with Vaishnavism in essence, how can the Western Coutries be referred to as 'filled with impersonalism (Nirviseshavaada) and Voidism(Sunyavaada) whom he delivers ?

By the way, 'Nirvishesha-Vaada' is sanskrit terms that refer generally to Advaita-vaada (as the Nirguna Brahman is Nirvishesha or devoid of any quality) and 'Sunnya-vaada' is a sanskrit term that refers to Buddhism and very often Advaitavaada is criticised as Buddhism in disguise by the Vaishnana sects. So its also very surprising how the religions of the foreign countries are referred to by these two terms.

  • 1
    Your question is hard to read and confusing.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 7:59
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    @Wikash_hindu which part is difficult?
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 8:03
  • Christianity and Islam being similar to Vaishnavism is because of one god and also for preaching purpose. Otherwise you can pick 100s of differences b/w both. I think nirvisesha and voidism refer to the influence west had before Vaishnavism entered which is advaita and Buddhism. Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 10:17
  • @KrishnaVarna pl write an answer
    – user17294
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 10:58
  • Christianity and Islam are completely incompatible with Vaishnavism. There are huge differences. I personally think Prabhupada said this only to attract Muslims and Christians to his movement. But this has been rather counterproductive.
    – user9969
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:52

2 Answers 2


This is one thing I felt Sri Prabhupada was wrong in thinking. Unfortunately neither Christianity nor Islam is compatible/ or very similar in essence with Vaishnavism.

  1. In Vaishnavism you are not supposed to eat any flesh, but in Islam and Christianity there is no problem (even with cow)

"We have subjected the [animals] unto you, so that you may give thanks."
(Qur'an 22:36)

"Therefore eat of that on which Allah's name has been mentioned if you are believers in His verses." (Qur'an 6:118)

"Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know?” 1 Samuel 28:21

  1. We believe in temple/ “statue” worship, both Christianity and Islam reject this idea completely. In fact, Islam has been murdering polytheists since its very conception.

"So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them." Quran 9:5

  1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.“ Exodus 20:2

The quote above are the first two of the ten commandments.

There are more reasons I can go into but the whole judgement made that Vaishnavism and Islam/ Christianity are similar in essence is not scripturally evident.

Sorry if I didn’t answer the question, it was a long read

  • "even with cow" hinduism forbids eating all flesh.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 11:39
  • @Wikash_hindu Yes, but what I meant was that a lot of Hindus are Hindus and eat meat, but strictly no cow meat. If Christianity was in any way the same, they would at least have banned cow meat.
    – iiicecream
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 11:41
  • Christians aren't allowed to eat shellfish.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 12:52
  • @Wikash_hindu I understand and that is because of Jewish beliefs which are in the Old Testament, my point still stands
    – iiicecream
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 12:55
  • The old testament is still part of the bible andhas not been contradicted by the new statement.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 16:17

The letters and personal conversations are more very contextual and you may just see contrary statements depending on the person and context elsewhere. Books are more authoritative than the personal conversations and letters. Though in some places even in books, he wrote some things as per some modern surveys he heard if that helps it. And that survey result may not be valid now.

In this purport

The śāstras of the yavanas, or meat-eaters, are not eternal scriptures. They have been fashioned recently, and sometimes they contradict one another. The scriptures of the yavanas are three: the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Koran. Their compilation has a history; they are not eternal like the Vedic knowledge. Therefore although they have their arguments and reasonings, they are not very sound and transcendental. As such, modern people advanced in science and philosophy deem these scriptures unacceptable.

Because the soul is within the body, the body changes through so many forms. There is a soul within the body of every living creature, whether animal, tree, bird or human being, and the soul is transmigrating from one type of body to another. When the scriptures of the yavanas — namely the Old Testament, New Testament and Koran — cannot properly answer inquisitive followers, naturally those advanced in scientific knowledge and philosophy lose faith in such scriptures.


We have all respect for these great preachers, but we do not require to study books save and accept for some reference. We must push on our philosophy how to love God. Our process is simple. These scriptures of the Buddhists and the Christians may be the words of God, but still the are not always applicable to us. It is just like a king may give some rules and regulations for some criminals in prison; but for the good citizens out of the prison these rules are not necessarily applicable. So these Christian and Buddhist scriptures were delivered for a different class of men, and we needn't spend our time in studying their doctrines. You should read our own books over and over again and as far as possible do not try to enter into controversy. We do not concern ourselves with any other religion. Our religion is to become the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna.


Regarding Aquarian Gospel of Lord Jesus The Christ, I have taken some stray extracts just to support our views, but we don't give any importance to that book. The best thing is that we accept Lord Jesus Christ as a great devotee of the Lord and the son of God. It is better not to discuss in any detail about the Christian religion or any other religion.

Some such statements are made equating them to Vaishnavism are more context based than complete truth. It could be just appreciating some common good points that's all.

And also it is result of Bhaktivinoda Thakur's vision to give space for other religions. He wrote books so as to encourage even the followers of other religions. He mixed in his books both badralok bengal renaissance mood and traditional gaudiya vaishnavism. One Krishna Samhita book written by him for example, agrees to all modern indologist theories though in his second publication of the same book, he says that "I have presented the modern conclusions for the benefit of the concerned people"

He writes elsewhere

"The religious principles taught by Mohammed and Jesus Christ are similar to the religious principles taught by Vaisnava sects. Buddhism and Jainism are similar to Saiva-dharma. This is scientific consideration of truths regarding religious principles. Those who consider their own religious principles as real dharma and others religious principles as irreligion or sub-religion are unable to ascertain the truth due to being influenced by prejudice. Actually religious principles followed by people in general are different only due to the different qualifications of the practitioners, but the constitutional religious principles of all living entities are one."

Bhakivinoda is speaking in such a way as to encourage the followers of sectarian doctrines such as Christianity and Islam to give up their limited concepts and recognize real dharma [Vaisnavism]. Bhaktivinoda is not condemning the followers of Vaisnava dharma as sectarian for recognizing that Vaisnava dharma is the eternal function of the soul.

Elsewhere, Bhaktivinoda's opinion is [as stated in Tattva-viveka] that no intelligent person will accept the ideas of salvation thru the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus as Christianity suggests.

He writes there

They said that God created the first jiva and had him stay in a pleasurable garden with his wife. He was forbidden to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Following the evil advice of an impious person, the first beings ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying God’s instructions. They then fell from that place into the world filled with misery. Due to their offense, all living entities are also offenders from the time of their birth. Not seeing any other way to eliminate this offense, God Himself took birth amongst human beings, accepted all the sins of those jivas who took shelter of Him, and then He died. Those that do not follow Him fall into hell eternally. Thus God punishes Himself in order to liberate the jivas. An intelligent person cannot make sense of any of this, ei matati sahaja-buddhite ayatva kora jay na. To have faith in this mixed-up religion one must first believe these rather illogical ideas – the living entity’s life begins at birth and ends at death. Before birth the jiva did not exist, and after death the jiva will no longer reside in the realm of material activities. Also only humans have consciousness and other creatures do not. Only those with minute intelligence can identify with this (ei visvasati nitanta sankirna prajnar paricaya).

Regarding Islam,

Sometimes mixed logic thinks there are two Gods. Then it thinks there is a God of spirit and a separate God of matter. The God of spirit brings auspiciousness, and the God of matter brings troubles. A philosopher named Zarathustra taught this idea: That there is a God of spirit and a God of matter. In his book Zendavesta he taught that these two Gods are eternal. The devotees of God have only contempt for these old speculations. Zarathustra is a very ancient philosopher. When his philosophy found no honor in India, Zarathustra preached it in Iran. It was by the influence of Zarathustra's ideas that Satan, an equally-powerful rival to God, made his imaginary appearance first in the religion of the Jews and then in the religion based on the Koran.

He also employed Christian terminology in his one book:

The religion preached by Mahaprabhu is universal and not exclusive. The most learned and the most ignorant are both entitled to embrace it. The learned people will accept it with a knowledge of sambandha tattva as explained in the categories. The ignorant have the same privilege by simply uttering the Name of the Deity and mixing in the company of pure vaishnavas. The principle of kirtana invites as the future church of the world, all classes of men without distinction of caste or clan to the highest cultivation of the Spirit. This church; it appears, will extend all over the world and take the place of all sectarian churches, which exclude outsiders from the precincts of the mosque, church or the temple.

Noble readers! pardon us for intruding on you with these pages. As servants of Sri Chaitanya it was our duty to propagate His Supreme Teachings, and in doing a duty, we are entitled to pardon for any trouble we have given you. We are natives of Bengal, and in couching our words in a foreign language, we might have been liable to mistakes for which you will please forgive us.

You will see another place where he correlates religions in terms of rasas: From Moses to Mahaprabhu

In his Chaitanya Shiksamrita he writes,

Concerning different expressions of reverence, in India, the worshipper sits on an asana, and after performing nyasa and pranayama he begins his worship. The Muslim faces towards Mecca and worships five times a day by bowing down. The Christian kneels down with folded hands and with humility praises the Lord in either church or house. Each country has its particular rules concerning, proper dress, food, purity and impurity. If one examines the different religions, one will see different rituals. One will also different conceptions concerning the object of worship. Some people, overcome with devotion in their hearts, establish the form of the Lord in their soul, in their mind and finally in the external world. Understanding that the form is nondifferent from the Lord within, they worship that form. In some religions, because the greater emphasis on logic, the worshipper simply forms a conception of God in the mind, and worships it. They do not accept an external form of God. In reality, however, all these conceptions are forms of the Lord. According to language differences, different religions call God by different names. The religions have different names, and the languages used during worship are also different.

Because of these five differences, it is only natural that various religions will appear quite different. However it is improper and detrimental to argue over these differences. If one goes to someone else's place of worship one should think, "The people are worshipping my Lord, but in a different way. Because of my different training, I cannot quite comprehend this system of worship. However, through this experience, I can deepen my appreciation for my own system of worship. The Lord is only one, not two. I offer respect to the form I see here, and pray to the Lord in this new form that he increase my love for the Lord in His accustomed form." Those who do not follow this procedure, but instead criticize other systems of worship and show hatred, violence and envy, are worthless and foolish. The more they indulge in useless quarreling, the more they betray the very goal of their religion. However, one should consider the following point. Though it is worthless to criticize a difference in religious system, if one sees a fault, one should not tolerate it. It is beneficial for the living entities if one attempts to correct the fault in the proper way. Thus Mahabprabhu, in discussing with Buddhists and impersonalists, led them to the proper path. The devotees of Lord Caitanya should always take the Lord's behavior as the proper example to follow.

When Kali worship in Bengal was attacked by Dayanand Sarasvati, Bhaktivinoda wrote articles to defend Kali worship.

In one lecture Srila Prabhupada says:

Why one should, Christian, become Hindu, Hindu become Christian? They should know what is God, what He is, what is his relationship with God. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that. It is not a movement for making Hindus to Muslim or Muslim to Hindus or Christian to Hin... This is not that movement. They clearly understand this. Therefore they are following. They are accepting. If I would have preached that Hindu religion is better than Christian religion, they would have kicked me out long ago. It is a science; it is a philosophy.

In the introduction to his magnum opus, Systematic Theology, Paul Tillich writes:

Theology moves back and forth between two poles, the eternal truth of its foundation and the temporal situation in which the eternal truth must be received. Not many theological systems have been able to balance these two demands perfectly. Most of them either sacrifice elements of the truth or are not able to speak to the situation. Some of them combine both shortcomings.

Regarding pranama mantra of Prabhupada, I think it is referring to Buddhism and Advaita which entered western countries before Vaishnavism.

  • 1
    @commonman that's in one or two places by mistake demigod is used. Otherwise Supreme Personality of Godhead is used in all other places for Vishnu. Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:41
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    @commonman unfortunately all sects think their dharma is the only real dharma though they might not speak out. You can dismiss it as sectarian, I don't mind Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:46
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    @commonman I see no exception all most all sects treat their gurus as savior. Not really unheard of... And others are free to dismiss as exaggation or atisayokti or compete baseless lies. Commented May 3, 2019 at 8:49
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    @ShashwatAsthana Yes, that attitude is really respectable.But its also true that NO real devotee can have slighest hatred to anyone, as Sri Krishna has mentioned in the Gita:)
    – user17294
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 12:09
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    @ShashwatAsthana I also appreciate ISKCON and respect their founder because of the enormous good work they have done btw.
    – user17294
    Commented May 3, 2019 at 12:10

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