Sunday, November 6, 2011


AS HAJJ PILGRIMS BEGIN THEIR JOURNEY - Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating the annual Eid al-Adha holiday, which coincides with the second day of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the birthplace of Islam.  Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of the Sacrifice”, is one of the biggest events in the Muslim calendar, marking Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his own son as an act of obedience to God. At the last minute, God intervened, and gave Abraham a ram to sacrifice instead.  Traditionally, Muslims sacrifice an animal at Eid and share the meat with their families, neighbours, and people less fortunate than themselves.  On Saturday, vast crowds of pilgrims dressed in white to symbolise purity and equality under God - marked the beginning of the annual Hajj pilgrimage by climbing Mount Arafat, just outside the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca.

The ascent of Arafat is the first event associated with the five-day Hajj, a time to seek forgiveness for one’s sins and for individual meditation on the faith.  Hajj consists of a series of detailed rituals in Mina, Muzdalifa, Arafat and Mecca.  Saudi authorities say that an estimated 2.5 million pilgrims are expected to participate.  After the stoning ceremony - when Muslim pilgrims stones Satan by hurling stones at huge pillars symbolising the devil - the pilgrims go to Mecca’s Great Mosque for a “farewell visit” to the Kaaba, a cube-shaped structure into which is set the Black Stone, Islam’s most sacred relic.  The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, it is a religious duty and must be performed at least once in a lifetime by all those who are able to make the journey.

Millions of Muslims have arrived in the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca to mark the first day of Hajj, the largest religious pilgrimage in the world to the holiest site in Islam.  Muslims from across the world descended on this holy city - where Islam’s Prophet Muhammad is said to have delivered his farewell sermon - ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage, many of them with prayers for a peaceful resolution to the wave of uprisings roiling the Arab world.  We should follow the rituals and ceremonies of different religions to purify our life and develop love for Godhead.

The test of any scripture is how one is developing love of God.  Phalena paricīyate. If you find that following some religious principles you are developing your love of God, then it is perfect.  It doesn’t matter whether it is Bible or Koran or Bhagavad-gītā. It doesn’t matter. We have to see what the fruit is. If the fruit is that people are developing love of Godhead, then it is perfect. Don’t try to understand whether this is good, this is good, this is bad, this is... No. Try to understand by the result.  Just like the same way: if you see the fruit, then it is first class. So it doesn’t matter whether it is Bible or Gītā.  If you can develop love of Godhead by reading Bible, it is first class, and if you can develop love of Godhead by Bhagavad-gītā, it is first class. And if you do not, then either it is Bible or the Koran or Bhagavad-gītā, it has no effect for you. So it is up to you. Not by comparison, but by your own activities. ... Just see how much you are developing love of Godhead, that’s all. Phalena paricīyate.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
“Lecture at Seattle, October 18, 1968”
“Complete Works of Srila Prabhupada”
Copyright © 1972-2006
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International

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