Shri Datta Swami

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UNITY OF RELIGIONS IN THE UNIVERSE

Posted on: 09 Jan 2003
O Learned and Devoted Servants of God,

(Conversation between Swami and a Christian Father)

[Following is the divine experience of Shri Phani Kumar, a devotee of Swami as narrated by him.] Recently, I had the fortune to accompany Swami in a train journey from Narasaraopet to Vijayawada. A Christian father was our co-passenger. The conversation between Swami and the Christian father took place as given below.]

Father: Those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ will be sent to the flames of liquid fire in hell. This is the declaration of our faith.

Swami: Does that mean that there is no salvation to all the generations of devotees who lived on this earth before the incarnation of Jesus Christ? If so, all those devotees were subjects of the partiality of God since they were deprived of the revelation that their successors had!

Father: God is impartial in this matter. He gave Jehovah to mankind for their salvation before the incarnation of Jesus.

Swami: Fine! That may be true, but devotees of this land (India) had no knowledge of either Jehovah or Jesus Christ prior to the arrival of Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama discovered India and only later on, did the Christian literature that speaks of Jehovah or Jesus come to India. All those innocents, who lived before the arrival of Vasco da Gama were deprived of the revelations of either Jehovah or Jesus Christ and were sent to the flames of the ‘liquid fire’ for no fault of theirs. Moreover, they did not even have the opportunity to take human rebirth birth later and reclaim salvation since the doctrine of the faith that you follow, has no place for the rebirth of the soul.

Does this mean that God intended to provide the revelation only to a handful of people in a small country and deny the opportunity to all those living in rest of the world? Why did God reveal Himself at a particular point of time, in a particular land and to a particular section alone? Does that not accuse God of partiality?

Father: No faith is free from such blame. Does your faith also not warn those who do not believe in your faith, of the same danger of hell? All mortals in other lands, who are not aware of the virtues of your faith, are also subjected to the same punishment in hell! Does this also not accuse God of partiality?

Swami: There are fanatic enthusiasts in every faith. Christian enthusiasts claim that non-believers in Jehovah or Jesus Christ shall be subjected to the flames of the liquid fire. Hindu enthusiasts claim that non-believers in Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva shall be subjected to punishment in hell. These enthusiasts further introduce ideas that salvation is possible only for devotees who follow that particular path, while others will go to hell. Followers of different sects criticize each other by such warnings.

All these enthusiasts fail to recognize the unity in all the world religions. All these ‘approaches’ to God, accuse Him of partiality. The only way to keep God free from blame is to understand His generosity correctly.

The same single God revealed Himself in different forms, in different places, in different times, to different people. He granted the same enlightenment [knowledge] to all in different languages. All those who are faithful to Him attain salvation upon receiving the enlightenment. Those who fail to accept it, are subjected to the liquid fire in hell. This approach towards God makes Him free from any blame of partiality. The God of all religions is one and the same. He may appear to be different due to differences in His approach to different people, in different times, in different forms and in different languages. He uplifts all with the same compassion.

The sea receives all the rivers in the same way, whether they are straight or curved. Devotion is important; not the religion or the path. If the straight river becomes proud and mocks at the curved river, God will see to it that the straight river will never reach Him. By His will, people will build a dam on that river to divert all the water!

Everyone needs to follow the path assigned in his faith to attain salvation. Every religion has different levels of spiritual enlightenment. One should move up to the higher level for achieving total enlightenment. Such enlightenment alone is the means of salvation. These levels of enlightenment in each religion are similar to the different levels in education such as school and college. Different religions are similar to different language mediums. The curriculum is same in all the language mediums. A pupil of a certain language medium should strive to reach higher levels of knowledge in the same medium of his choice. He is a pilgrim in pursuit of divinity. His medium is his opportunity. It is neither superior nor inferior to any other medium. He need not move on to another language medium to uplift himself. All the language mediums are different religions with different levels of knowledge.

A school student studying science in a particular medium (language) need not change his medium, because even if he changes, the syllabus will not be changed. He should strive to change his syllabus by raising his standard of knowledge i.e. he should graduate from the school level and reach the college level while remaining in the same language medium. The school and college levels exist in every medium. A school student does not become a college student just by changing the medium of his class. He becomes a college student only when the level of his knowledge rises. Similarly, a devotee of any religion should try to reach the higher spiritual level in his own religion. His spiritual level is not raised by changing his religion. Every religion has the lower and higher levels of spirituality meant for devotees of corresponding stages. Religion is the medium and spirituality is the curriculum or syllabus. This syllabus (spirituality) has different levels, such as school level, college level etc., present in the same medium (religion).

One should strive to reach the higher levels of knowledge that are present in his own faith. No one needs to move to another faith for getting a higher level of knowledge or for final salvation. All faiths lead to the same destination. In any path, you will have to proceed vertically to reach the goal. At any point, if you travel horizontally to another path, you will still remain at the same level, which is a waste. The realization of this truth alone ensures harmony among different faiths in the world. Failure to recognize the truth will not make anyone enlightened.

[When Swami concluded in this way, the Christian father stood up, touched his heart, traced a cross over it and said the following words.]

Father: We believe that Jesus will be born again. Yes. Jesus is born again now. Nobody else can explain like this. I am fully convinced”.

[When we returned to our house, Swami said the following to me.]

Swami: See, the Christian father did not rigidly limit his mind with conservatism. Every religion contains good and broadminded devotees. My effort in the propagation of this knowledge is for such devotees, who are present in every religion in this world.

   

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