'Religion has not divided us'

Published: 08th July 2013 08:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2013 08:46 AM   |  A+A-


Adi-Shankeracharya described all the Jivas to be his Advait (non-duality) that took in its fold the entire universe and its inhabitants. The universal outlook of Indian society made it progressive and helped it maintain high standards of public behaviour and social justice. Democratic norms have their roots in India since ancient times.

The central pillar of Indian culture is its unity and respect for other’s point of view. Religions have not divided us. This is because Vedas and Qur’ans sing the lore of that almighty, one who lords over the whole universe. Christianity infused the spirit of service to mankind and love of God in this culture. Lord Buddha built his sangha on the same principle. Bhagwan Mahavir gave the eternal message of Non-violence to our society.

Akbar, the great Moghul (1555-1605) consolidated his empire in India by tolerance and compassion. His advisors and and courtiers included Muslims and Hindus who were treated equally. The debates were free from prejudice of religion. Epics of all religions got translated for the Royal library which were read to the emperor when in conference with his advisors. He introduced the ‘Din-e-Ilahi’, a secular concept, much against the wishes of Mullahas of that time. Hindu epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas, and several other religious books attracted the attention of the emperor. Abdul Rahim Khankana wrote a commentary on Ramcharit Manas’and later, Dara Shikoh translated Upanishads in Persian which helped the philosophy of vedanta to travel to West.

I became acquainted with Sufism through reading works of Arthur Schopenhauer. From the beginning I was convinced that all thought is really concerned with the great problem of how men can attain to spiritual union with infinite being. Indian ethics are concerned with the behaviour of man to all living beings and not merely with his attitude to his fellowmen.

Swami Vivekananda speaking to the historic Parliament of World Religions in Chicago said,“To the Hindu, then, the whole world of religion is only travelling, a coming up of different men and womenthrough various conditions and circumstances to the same goal. Every religion is only evolving a God out of the material man, and the same God is the inspirer of all of them. Why are there as many contradictions? They are only apparent, says the Hindu.The contradictions come from the same truth adapting itself to the varying circumstances.  The Lord declared to the Hindu in his incarnation as Krishna, “I am in every religion as the thread through string of pearls. Wherever thou sees extraordinary holiness and extraordinary power raising and unifying humanity, know thou that I am there” He exhorted the Parliament of Religions of the World and said, “That holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possession of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.

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