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Different Religions, Same Message
Veda Vyasa, Jesus Christ and Mohammed were all divinely empowered and inspired. Yet with divine discretion they revealed only as much as their audience could digest. The essence of all the major religious scriptures is the same as listed below. Compare the following statements :
1.All scriptures recommend the chanting of the holy names of God.
The Bible states: O Lord, Thou art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Islam teaches the regular chanting of the 99 names of Allah.
The Mahabharata recommends the chanting of 1000 names of Vishnu (Vishnu-sahasra-nama).
2.All religions teach that love of God is the ultimate perfection.
The Bible states: Love Thy God with all Thy soul and all Thy heart.
The very word 'Islam' means 'complete surrender1.
The Bhagavad-gita (18.66) states: sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja- "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me."
3.One can easily observe the amazing similarity of descriptions given in different scriptures about various subjects, for instance, regarding 'Returning to the Kingdom of God', as shown below :
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign forever and ever. [Rev.:22.5]
Hinduism (as known to people) or Sanatana Dharma
That abode of mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world. [BG15.6] There the sun does not shine, neither do the moon and the stars; nor do these flashes of lightning shine. What to speak of fire? He (Lord) shining, all these shine; through His luster ail these are variously illumined. [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:14]
I worship that transcendental seat, known as Svetadvipa where, as loving consorts, the Laksmis in their unalloyed spiritual essence practice the service of the All-Attractive Lord Krishna as their only lover - where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the space of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world. [Brahma Samhita 5.56]
Every soul will have taste of death. The life of this world is but comfort of illusion. But those who keep their duty to their Lord, for them are Gardens underneath which rivers flow, wherein they will be safe forever.
By one-pointed love and devotion to God, one attains to that place which is eternal, changeless and where there is pure happiness. There one enjoys the qualities and pastimes of the Lord. There exists an eternal kingdom of the Lord. In that place there is no fear, no illusion nor bewilderment, no miseries. And there, there is no birth and death. There is only pure eternal spiritual bliss in that abode. The devotees of the Lord in that abode subsist on the glories of the Supreme Soul, God.
[GGS RagGaud Guarerei Mahala 5 Asatapadiaa 4]
Vohuman says to that soul, "From the mortal world (you have come). You are welcome here in this blissful eternal world". Vohuman tells the soul, "Oh Holy one! You are welcome in this world full of happiness having come from the world of misery". [A.G.Z.R., Ch.2 p. 85]
An analysis of the various religious scriptures reveals the following common essential principles:
1.There is only one God and He is the supreme object of our love.
2.Obedience to God is the ultimate religious principle.
3.Service to God is the nature of all living entities.
4.The Kingdom of God is the ultimate shelter for everyone.
5.To approach God, sinful activities must be given up.
6.Chanting the Holy Names of God is the easiest way of reviving God consciousness.
7.One should renounce flickering material pleasure to experience everlasting spiritual happiness.
8.One needs the guidance and the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master to achieve God.
It is very interesting to note the commanality in all religions. This gives us assurance that all religions are certainly aiming at the Supreme Truth.Let us now try to understand the seeming differences in the various religious scriptures. For example, consider what different religions say about meat-eating. In every religion there are restrictions against meat eating. In Islam, all animals may be eaten after ritual sacrifice except the pig and the dog. The Roman Catholics used to take meat every day except Friday. Today, because people are unwilling to follow even this minimal restriction, it no longer exists. In Shrimad Bhagavatam, on the other hand, it is clearly stated that meat-eating is a pillar of sinful life, and that true spiritual life cannot begin until we show mercy towards all the children of God.
How does one explain these differences? It is very simple. Although all empowered messengers of God have the same message, they restrict their teachings to what their audience can digest. For the little that Mohammed taught, he had to flee from Mecca due to threat to his life. For the three years that Jesus preached, he was crucified. Little wonder therefore that in the Bible, He says: "There is much that I have to tell you but you cannot bear it now." But on the other hand, Lord Shri Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita that He is giving him complete knowledge: "I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know. " (BG 7.2)
Thus all religions are ultimately meant to gradually elevate the follower to the highest platform of love of God. This higher understanding of the common purpose of all religions - love of God - resolves the superficial contradictions among them.Consider two dictionaries - a small pocket dictionary and a big bulky Chamber's dictionary. Just as small words like 'come', 'go', 'eat', etc. can be found in both the pocket and the Chamber's dictionaries, similarly basic instructions in the mode of goodness like 'Do not steal', 'Love everyone', 'Forgive your enemy', Always do good to others', may be found in all religious scriptures. And just as big words like 'cataclysm', 'corroborate' will not be found in the pocket dictionary, but can be found only in the Chamber's dictionary, similarly instructions in the mode of pure goodness, like 'Surrender to the will of the Lord out of unmotivated, uninterrupted love', 'Think of God and serve Him twenty-four hours a day', and 'Renounce all worldly pleasures and have a desire to serve God birth after birth without desiring even liberation' can be found only in the most advanced scriptures. Therefore authorized religions like Christianity, Islam, etc. are like pocket dictionaries (where there is a partial revelation of the Truth according to the level of the audience), and the scriptures like Bhagavad-gita and the Shrimad Bhagavatam are like the Chamber's dictionary (which give complete knowledge after knowing which nothing further remains to be known).