Question: What if someone is God conscious, but doesn’t call God as Krishna or worship Him as the Indian-looking God? What if they think of Him differently in their mind looks-wise, they have never heard of Vrindavan, tilak, etc. But what if they seriously devote their entire life to God consciousness? Let’s say a Christian monk? What happens to them when they leave their bodies? An elevated life next time around, perhaps a more elevated planet? But no Godhead right? But how could that be?
How could God say that only this one way is it and that all of the other people in the world who still believe in Him and some even dedicating their lives to Him, (preacher, rabbi, Mormon bicycle boys, etc.) aren’t doing it the exact right way? What about the people that have no access to Krishna Consciousness? What about the people that lived on the planet not too long ago that didn’t live in India, before Krishna Consciousness was so readily accessible all over the world and the internet? Was it just because of their karmic pasts that they were sent here to live a life with no access to Krishna Consciousness through some life cycles?
Answer by Romapada Swami: There is no question of not having access to Krishna at any time or place, because Krishna is present in everyone’s heart as the constant companion and nearest friend, giving us opportunity every moment to come closer to Him. Furthermore, Krishna’s Form, Name etc are all transcendental and original. It is a misconception to think of His form as “Indian-looking”, which springs from an anthropomorphic idea of God’s form, a form merely imagined and imposed upon, perhaps by some Indian sage. In fact, however, we receive descriptions of Krishna’s form, His name, paraphernalia etc from revealed scriptures, which are transcendental to geographical or cultural boundaries. The Vedic scriptures and culture are not “Indian”. (It may interest you to know that there is mounting evidence and increasing number of supporters to the idea that the Vedic culture, or some form of it, was prevelant across all continents at certain point in history — which is what is indicated in the texts of Bhagavatam itself.)
Krishna consciousness is innate to the soul — it is not dependent on external factors such as information technology (of course, when these are available, devotees use them in service to Krishna), nor is it dependent on external designations. As we mentioned before, names such as Christian or Hindu, rabbi or brahmana etc are all based on the body. The Supreme Lord reciprocates according to the disposition of heart of each individual. As one approaches Him, He reciprocates accordingly. When one is sufficiently spiritually evolved to understand the personal nature and feature of God, the Lord reveals His Name, Form, Paraphernalia etc, to such a devotee. It may be that the Lord will give them their next birth in a favorable situation for acquaintance with such knowledge, or it may happen even in their present life. There are instances where so-called Christian or Muslim saints, in remote parts of the world, have had revelation of Krishna.
There are specific references in the Caitanya Caritamrita where Lord Caitanya revealed His Form and Pastimes to a Muslim Kazi and a Muslim tailor. Thus it is a question of spiritual evolution, as you have correctly surmised within your question. When a spirit soul has come to the point of understanding the personal feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, regardless of their material situation, the Lord will guide them to come closer to the association of His devotees, and in scuh association one can gain access to the Lord’s most intimate feature as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, or any one of His innumerable plenary expansions.