Friday, 12 April 2013

Ramakrishna on finding God

Ramakrishna's deep wisdom and insights resonate and embody the Interfaith approach, so today I am re-blogging this wonderful post because when it was first published, late last year, it didn't quite get the attention I think it deserves.  Enjoy.

"God has made different religions to suit different aspirations, times, and countries.  All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no mean God Himself.  Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion.  One may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise. It will taste sweet either way.

As one and the same material, water is called by different names by different peoples, one calling it water, another eau, a third aqua,and another pani, so the one Everlasting-Intelligent-Bliss is invoked by some as God, by some as Allah, by some as Jehovah, and by some as Brahman.

As one can ascend to the top of a house by means of a ladder or a bamboo or a staircase or a rope, so diverse are ways and means to approach God, and every religion in the world shows one of these ways.

Bow down and worship where others kneel, for where so many have been paying the tribute of adoration, the kind Lord must manifest himself, for he is all mercy.

The saviour is the messenger of God.  He is like the viceroy of a mighty monarch.  As when there is is some disturbance in a far off province, the king sends his viceroy to quell it, so wherever there is a decline in religion in any part of the world, God sends his Saviour there.  It is one and the same Saviour that, having plunged into the ocean of life, rises up in one place and is known as Krishna, and diving down again rises up in another place and is known as Christ.

Everyone should follow ones own religion.  A Christian should follow Christianity, a Muslim should follow Islam and so on.  For the Hindus the ancient path, the path of the Aryan sages, is best.  People partition of their lands by means of boundaries, but no-one can partition of the all-embracing sky overhead.  The indivisible sky surrounds all and includes all.

So people in ignorance say, "My religion is the only one, my religion is the best."  But when a heart is illumed by true knowledge, it knows that above all these wars of sects and sectarians presides the one indivisible, eternal, all-knowing bliss.

As a mother, in nursing her sick children, gives rice and curry to one, and sago arrowroot to another, and bread and butter to a third, so the Lord has laid out different paths for different people suitable for their natures."

- Ramakrishna