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Is Sri Ramakrishna’s belief that ‘all religions are same’ relevant in India today?

25 February, 2020 20:58:40
Is Sri Ramakrishna’s belief that ‘all religions are same’ relevant in India today?

He was a man who practised all world religions and acted as a confluence of thoughts and beliefs that he knew are but different paths leading to the same goal. In today’s India and the world at large when religious wars like centuries old Crusades are returning to the forefront, almost tearing apart human race, Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings and unique life turns all the more relevant. He was probably the only religious teacher who through his intense spiritual space and real-life practices concluded logically that all religions are true and ultimately lead to the same ocean of consciousness that we call ‘God,’ or Param Brahma or Sat-Chit-Ananda in Sanskrit. Then why fight?

Sri Ramakrishna had said: Joto Mot Toto Poth (many beliefs, many ways, but goal is one). He practised all religions --- Hinduism (all sects), Islam, Christianity. But he found ‘it is the same God towards whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths.’ (Source: Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna). Swami Saradananda and Mahendranath Gupta had written that Sri Ramakrishna once revealed that he in an incarnation of Jesus Christ. (Source: Sri Ramakrisha, the Great Master). For him God was an ‘Absolute Ocean of Consciousness,’ in the form of the Divine Mother Kali, who represents the Shakti, a consciousness that creates the Universe.
In 1874 Sri Ramakrishna felt a great urge to learn the teachings of Christianity. He started listening to readings from the Bible, by Sambhu Charan Mallick, a devotee of his from Calcutta. Becoming intensely fascinated by the life and teachings of Jesus, Sri Ramakrishna longed to gain a vision of God through the Christian path. Scarcely had this desire arisen in his mind, when it was fulfilled in a most marvelous way. The event happened at the garden house of Jadunath Mallick, south of the Kali temple at Dakshineswar. Sri Ramakrishna used to go there now and then for a walk. As Swami Saradananda narrates in his book, Sri Ramkrishna the Great Master:

“Jadunath and his mother had great devotion to the Master (Sri Ramakrishna) from the time they first had seen him. Therefore, even if they were not present in the garden at the time of the Master’s walk there, the officers would open the door of the parlour and ask him to sit and rest there for some time. There were some good pictures hanging on the walls of that room. One of those pictures was that of the child Jesus in his mother’s lap. The Master used to say that he sat one day in that parlour and was looking intently at that picture and thinking of the extraordinary life of Jesus, when he felt that the picture came to life, and effulgent rays of light, coming out from the bodies of the Mother and the Child, entered into his heart and changed radically all the ideas of his mind!”

Realising his inborn Hindu impressions disappearing, he tried in various ways to control himself and prayed earnestly to the divine Mother. But his love and devotion to the Devas (Gods) and Devis (Goddesses) vanished, and instead, a great faith and reverence for Jesus and his religion occupied his mind, and began to show him Christian padrees (priests) offering incense and light before the image of Jesus in the Church and to reveal to him the eagerness of their hearts as is seen in their earnest prayers. Ramkrishna Dev returned to Dakshineswar temple and remained constantly absorbed in the meditation of those inner happenings. He forgot altogether to go to the temple of the divine Mother and pay obeisance to Her. At last, when the third day was about to close, the Master saw, while walking under the Panchavati (grove of 5 sacred trees), that a marvellous god-man of very fair complexion was coming towards him, looking steadfastly at him.

As soon as the Master saw that person, he knew that he was a foreigner. He saw that his long eyes had produced a wonderful beauty in his face, and the tip of his nose, though a little flat, did not at all impair that beauty. The Master was charmed to see the extraordinary divine expression of that handsome face, and wondered who he was. Very soon the person approached him and from the bottom of the Master’s pure heart came out with a ringing sound, the words, “Jesus! Jesus the Christ, the great Yogi, the loving Son of God, one with the Father, who gave his heart’s blood and put up with endless torture in order to deliver men from sorrow and misery!”

In this way Sri Ramakrishna realized his identity with Christ, as he had already realized his identity with Kali (Divine Mother), Rama, Hanuman, Radha, Krishna, Brahman (Absolute Ocean of Consciousness), and Mohammed.

The vision of Jesus disappearing into the body of Sri Ramakrishna, is represents a tremendous spiritual high. Ramakrishna never thought Religion is opium, rather he preached it is needed to bring hearts, minds, souls together at a common point where all will co-exist in harmony. 

Else why would he say: “I see people who talk about religion constantly quarrelling with one another. Hindus, Mussalmans (Muslims), Brahmos, Shaktas, Vaishnavas, Saivas, all quarrel with one another. They haven’t the intelligence to understand that He who is called Krishna is also Shiva and the Primal Sakti (Kali), and that it is He, again, who is called Jesus and Allah. There is only one Rama and He has a thousand names.” Hope present day India would understand the vision of this great man on his birth anniversary.

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