Many believe Hinduism and harre Krishna to be the same religion but there are many differences that set them apart. The first and the foremost is that Harre Krishna followers do not identify themselves as Hindus and emphasize that harre Krishna is a consciousness unlike Hinduism which is a “religion”. This consciousness they say is the consciousness of God. Who is one, and it does not matter what you call this God , he is the same for everyone. The Harre Krishna share a few books with Hindus but argue that “Hinduism” is a foreign word given to the people who lived across the river Indus by the Muslims therefore no one is essentially “Hindu”, It is not a Vedic term. Nonetheless Harre Krishna share some of their books with Hindus but then they argue that if that makes them Hindus then Buddha was also initially Hindu himself so all Buddhists should be called Hindus too.
Unlike Hindus, who believe in demigods and carry out ritual practices for material gains, Harre Krishna believe in only one god i.e. god Krishna. They also believe in devoting their lives to loving god and uniting with the source when they die. It is very similar to the Sufi concept of Fana and Baka.
They identify themselves as the eternal servants of god Krishna, while Hindus although do believe in god Krishna but they also believe in a range of other gods whom they associate with different elements of nature. Harre Krishna disregard the notion of labeling themselves as a certain religion and instead they believe in having a relationship with the One God who is the supreme being and beyond all religious confines.
In a broader sense we can think of Hindusim to be an umbrella which consists of many Gods and serves as an overarching, loosely defined term while Harre Krishna is a specific philosophical concept that is based on spirituality. Also Hindus think of Dharma as faith but Harre Krishna believe that faith is not dharma because faith can be changed while Dharma is only one. Moreover, Harre Krishna think that religion is something that is part of a man’s consciousness and its not not something that one can convert to or revert from.
- Harre Krishna is a consciousness, Hinduism is religion.
- Harre Krishna has its etymological origins in Vedas while Hinduism is a modern day term.
- Hinduism has demigods and they are for material reasons
- Hare Krishna is about love of Krishna the god. There are no demigods.
- Hinduism is a territorial term, hare Krishna is a philosophy to understand god
- Harre Krishna are eternal servants of lord Krishna . Hindu worships Krishna but also worships others.
- Hare Krishna believe in uniting with the absolute truth (very similar to fana and baka of Sufi Islam). They don’t believe in labeling their relationship with supreme God as a religion
- Dharma is not faith. Because faith can be changed but dharma cant be changed.