Love is the answer

There is a difference between following rules and regulations and ethical, civilized behavior. Of course one must act in a way which respects all living entities and the whole of God’s creation.

I admit to a Christian influence in this regard. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he answered that one should love God with all of one’s body, mind and soul and love one’s neighbor as one’s self. This is the essence of the law. Judaism and Hinduism both place a strong emphasis on purity codes. I believe both Jesus and Krishna Chaitanya came to show the way of devotion to God and to free persons from the oppressive purity codes.

Bhaktivinode Thakur said that many of the rules and regulations were interpolated into the scriptures in order to keep people in line and that one should not believe everything one reads in old books. Love must be given freely and spontaneously or it is not love. If one does not have love, then one may practice being loving by following the regulative principles. Of course hearing and chanting the glories of God is appropriate at any stage of spiritual development, and when one has love this will be done spontaneously, not because someone says we should.

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