All human societies, from indigenous to the most advanced, are based on belief systems. In our post modern world, layers of secular and sectarian belief systems exist simultaneously, usually at odds with each other, sometimes fatally. Like brothers who fight or sisters who hate each other, these competing belief systems polarize our society and alienate our psyche.
In the noisy confusion of our times, belief systems support local interests, not the universal interest of the complete whole. They reward loyalty and conformity and foster prejudiced thinking, which prevail over transparency and truth. Divisive local interests produce conflict, misunderstanding, murder and war. Just read the headlines of any newspaper. No wonder many people feel burdened and crippled by belief systems, just as they are often disillusioned by relationships.
Krishna consciousness can be seen as a belief system. It can be presented and practiced as one. But in reality, awareness of Krishna, the all attractive person, and his all accomodating forms, qualities and pastimes transcends belief. jivera swarup haya. the jiva (soul) has an inner form, an inner reality. Real saints live and breathe this reality. Sadhikas (practitioners) try to practice it, study it and finally, realize it.
Beneath the surface of rituals and beliefs is a place where the absolute ideal meets our innermost emotions, where pure reason meets the heart. Here progress is made towards realizing the sweetened condensed truths of eternal reality. In this hidden space, far beneath the show of public discourse, we take our first steps in the dance of divine love. When charm, beauty and affection finally embrace and capture the jiva, all pretense, duplicity and belief systems vanish forever in the ocean of devotion. And real freedom begins.