All Religions Are True, All Lead to Same God | Teachings of Sri Ramakrishna

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All Religions Are True; All Religions Lead
to the Same God. Hello everyone, I’m Pulkit Mathur and this is a new series in which we
shall go through short excerpts from the Advaita Vedanta teachings of Sri Ramakrishna. Now
although Sri Ramakrishna himself did not write any books, his day-to-day teachings have been
preserved by his direct disciples in a couple of wonderful books. One of these books is
the Ramakrishna Kathamrita written by Swami Abhedananda. Swami Abhedananda for those who
are not familiar was a God-realized disciple of Sri Ramakrishna who in his early days of
discipleship spent many an hour, immersed in deep discussions on Vedanta with his brother
monk Swami Vivekananda. In the enclosed excerpt from the Ramakrishna Kathamrita, Sri Ramakrishna
explains that the different religions of the world are simply different paths leading to
one and the same ocean of God. However on account of the spiritual immaturity of the
followers, who have never experienced God themselves, who have never seen God Pratyaksha
that is face to face, who therefore indulge in narrow-minded interpretations of religious
texts; it is because of the spiritual ignorance of such followers, that the fires of bigotry,
casteism, racism and fanaticism have succeeded in deluging the world. In sharp contrast to
this, the knowledge that Sri Ramakrishna shared with his disciples was not obtained from any
intellectual interpretations of texts, or regurgitations of bookish wisdom, rather it
came from the plane of super-conscious Anubhava – from directly experiencing the Ultimate
Reality first hand. As Swami Abhedananda has explained: “Everything that is known in that
state of super-conscious Samadhi is beyond the reach of intellectual reasoning. Ordinary
philosophers attain to certain truths by reasoning i.e. through an intellectual process, and,
therefore, their conclusions are not perfect.” But the conclusions of the Rishis of the Upanishads,
as well as of Avatars like Sri Ramakrishna, “will remain the same always, and cannot be
changed, because they are Absolute truths.” These sages “did not reach these truths by
following the rules of logic, or the rules of reasoning, but they realized them first,
and then, synthetically, applied the rules of logic to explain and make them understood
to the ordinary mind. That is the difference.” Furthermore, these Absolute and Universal
truths can be verified by us too, provided we put in the effort to ascend to the same
state of super-conscious Samadhi. Now as way of taking a small step towards rising to a
state of higher awareness, let us gather at the feet of Sri Ramakrishna, the embodiment
of the Eternal Truth, the Incarnation of the Supreme, and learn from him directly, how
all religions are true, and how all religions lead to the same God. Let us listen to what
he had to say. When there is true devotion and love, one can reach God by any of the
sectarian religions. The Vaishnavas, the worshippers of Krishna, will attain God in the same way
as the Saktas, the worshippers of the Divine Mother, or the followers of Vedanta. Those
who belong to the Brahmo-Samaj, the Mohammedans and the Christians, will also realize God
through their respective religions. If you follow any of these paths with intense devotion,
you will reach Him. If there be any mistake in the path chosen, He will correct the mistake
in the long run. The man who wishes to see (Lord) Jagannath (at the temple of Puri) may
go towards the South instead of towards the North, but someone will sooner or later, direct
him in the right way and he will surely visit Jagannath in the end. The one thing necessary
for realization is whole-hearted and whole-souled devotion to God. Vaishnavas, Mohammedans,
Christians and Hindus are all longing for the same God but they do not know that He
who is Krishna, is also Shiva, Divine Mother, Christ and Allah. God is one, but He has many
names. The Substance (meaning the Sat-Chit-Ananda Divine Consciousness) is one, but it is worshipped
under different names according to the time, place and nationality of His worshippers.
All the different Scriptures of the world speak of the same God. He, who is described
in the Vedas as Absolute Existence-Intelligence-Bliss or the Brahman, is also described in the Tantras
as Shiva, in the Puranas as Krishna, in the Koran as Allah, and in the Bible as Christ.
Yet the various sects quarrel with one another. The worshippers of Krishna, for instance,
say that nothing can be achieved without worshipping Krishna; those who are devoted to the Divine
Mother think that the worship of the Divine Mother is the only way to salvation; similarly
the Christians say that no one can reach heaven except through Christ; He is the only way
and Christianity is the only religion, all other religions are false. This is narrow-mindedness.
“My religion is true while that of others is false,” – this kind of belief is not right.
It is not our business to correct the errors of other religions. He who has created the
world will correct them in time. Our duty is in some way or the other to realize Him.
God can be reached through many paths; each of these sectarian religions points out a
path which ultimately leads to Divinity. Yes, all religions are paths, but the paths are
not God. I have seen all sects and all paths. I do not care for them anymore. People belonging
to these sects quarrel so much against one another! After trying all religions, I have
realized that God is the Whole and I am His part; that He is the Lord and I am His servant.
Again I realize He is I; I am He (meaning that at the level of the Atman, the soul,
I am one with God – the infinite ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda Divine consciousness). People
dispute amongst themselves saying; “God is personal, with form. He cannot be impersonal
and formless,” – like the Vaishnavas who find fault with those who worship the Impersonal
Brahman. When realization comes, then all these questions are settled. He who has seen
God can tell exactly what He is like. As the great saint Kabira said: “God with form is
my Mother, God without form is my Father. Whom shall I blame, whom shall I praise? The
balance is even.” He is with form, yet He is formless. He is personal, yet He is impersonal,
and who can say what other aspects He may have! And with this we reach the end of this
short narration from the Ramakrishna Kathamrita. Listening to it one is reminded of the wise
saying that all those teachings of religion which benefit mankind, have come directly
from God, from the plane of super-conscious realization; whereas all religious ideas which
create dissension and hatred amongst people, have come only from the deviant mind of man
himself. I leave you with a powerful thought of Swami Vivekananda, who has said that: “In
all religions everything degenerates upon being practiced by the ignorant. The camphor
(of spirituality) has evaporated (from the bottle of religion), and the followers are
fighting over the bottle.” Whose bottle is the best this is the quarrel, but no one wants
to find the camphor, that is “no one wants to find God Himself and know what He is. We
have to go to God Himself to know (what he is like).” Until we do that all outer pretences
of religiosity are in vain. It like fighting over what the Taj Mahal is like, without actually
undertaking the journey and seeing it Pratyaksha that is first hand, ourselves.

 

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