Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IV: 11

Chapter 4, Verse 11

"However people try to reach me,
I return their love with my love.
Whatever paths they may travel,
Those paths lead to me in the end."

Swami Chidbhavananda:

"Different kinds of food suit different beings. What is food to one may be poison to another. But each being receives nourishment from the food it takes. Religions are also diverse to suit the varying temperaments and cultural backgrounds of their practitioners. Worship with the aid of an image, for example, is a help to one and a hindrance to another. An act held as adoration of the Almighty by one path is abhorred as blasphemy by another. The same Reality presents Itself as Nature when contacted through the senses. Sense-bound pleasure seekers are adoring the same Reality in accordance with their understanding. The same Lord recognizes the existence of all these diverse paths, discerning the urge in the hearts of the various types, while graciously helping all to achieve wholeness. Let us always remember this universalism of the Lord."

Sri Eknath Easwaran:

"Tragically enough, in the history of religious institutions, there sometimes has been a gradual forgetfulness of the central teaching of the founder, and an increase in emphasis upon doctrine and ritual. This preoccupation with superficial matters makes us forget that all religions are founded upon the same experience of the indivisible unity that is the divine ground of existence.

Follow faithfully what the Lord reveals through your favored scripture with all your heart and all your mind and all your spirit. This verse is a superb exposition of the reality of all religions and the reality of all divine incarnations. Here, once and for all, the equality of all religions is emphasized."

Mahatma Gandhi:

"My Hinduism is not sectarian. It includes all the best that I know in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism. Religions are different roads converging on the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads, so long as we reach the same goal? The need of the moment is not one religion, but respect and acceptance for the practitioners of the different religions. We want to reach unity in diversity. The soul of religions is one, encased in a multitude of forms. Those forms will persist until the end of time."

Swami Satchidananda:

"God is the peace and joy within us. We are born with peace and joy [albeit with the temporary shock of transitioning from amniotic fluid into air and light]. We are peace and joy personified. Unfortunately, we have forgotten and continue to run after things to make us happy and to find peace. Behind all our efforts, our basic motive is to find peace. All our actions are for that good. Even all these wars, fights, and competitions are ways people look for that inner completeness. Even when people steal things, they think it's going to bring them fulfillment. The ultimate motive behind all action is to find that peace and joy. That's what Krishna means when he says in so many words, 'Whatever people do, ultimately their interest is in me.' He doesn't mean Krishna the physical body. When he says 'me,' he means that peace.

Sometimes people put on a pair of earrings and then forget about them. Then they spend hours pulling out all their drawers until somebody comes, pinches their ears, and says, 'Silly, you've been wearing them all the time.'

Krishna is saying in so many words, 'Whatever your effort is, it's always to seek me, to enjoy me, to feel my presence.' Each religion has a different approach with a different label. In one prayer hall, a person kneels and prays. In another, a person falls and prays. In a third, a person stands and prays. Maybe you've come across people who roll and pray. All are praying; we have that in common. Too often we miss what we have in common. That's why we disagree. In fact, all religions have the same goal.

In a way, everybody has his or her own religion. Your way of approach is your religion, and it is unique."

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