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World’s Major Religions

Hinduism

Ekam Sad Vipraha Bahuda Vadanti, (Rig Veda). Truth is one; the wise call it by different names.Sangach dhvam Samvad dhvam Savomansi jantam.Let us work together with a common goal. Let us converse with a common purpose. Let our minds meet together in the quest for true knowledge. A sage is one who is comfortable in all quarters. Let all sides be my friend. (Yugar Veda). All paths lead unto Me. (Bhagwad Gita). The Vedas emphasized Tap, Jap and prayers. Later, all religious scriptures also emphasized on Tap, Jap and prayers.

The Vedas said: prayers are not empty words. It can’t be offered with an impure heart. It has been accepted in all religions. The Vedas gave us Rita, the law of nature, the moral law, the of truthful living, the law of harmony. Don’t eat alone. A man who eats alone is a sinner. One of the principle tenets of Guru Nanak’s teaching is “Kirt ki kamai and wand chhako”. (Truthful living- earning through legitimate means, and sharing with others).

Tolerance was emphasized in the Vedas. Make all sides your friends. A saint is one who is at home both in the East as well as West. The message of tolerance and peace was first given by the Vedas. Peaceful inter-state relations were also advocated by the Vedas. The Vedas advised; Gather information from all sides. A sinner is one who does not do his duty towards others. This tenet is the crux of all moral philosophies advocated all over the world. The Supreme Spirit is present in everything. He is the Soul of Souls (Vedas). The ancient Indian philosophy gave the concept of Vasudevam Kutambakum.

Islam

There is but one God (Holy Quran). The Holy Quran emphasizes on purity of heart in sura 9:52. Tolerance towards all religions and Prophets is ordained in the Holy Quran. Tolerance and reconciliation constitute the quintessence of Guru Granth  Sahib also. Go, propagate Islam (i.e., religion of peace), but there is no compulsion in religion. Kafir is one who does not believe in Allah and does not carry out His commands. The Holy Quran says: No help to the evildoers. Islam’s message of humanity, soft-speaking and social equality was well-received later in Sikhism.

Do not differtiate among the messengers of Allah (Quran 3:64). Say, I believe in all scriptures that Allah has revealed. All differences will cease (Quran 42:17). Charity means to extend the hands of friendship to him you know, and to him you know not, said Mohammad. Ethnic diversity that characterizes human societies across the world is divinely ordained. (Quran 11:18, 30:22, 25:54). The Quran explicitly maintains that there is no place in Islam for compulsion (Quran 2:56:109:6). Go and unite with all in Truth.

Do not differtiate among the messengers (Quran 2:285). All of you are together one (Quran 109:6). The believers should call upon the followers of other religions to unite for the sake of truth, seek mutual help and friendship and stand firm in constancy and patient perseverance (Quran 3:64). Say, I believe in all scriptures that Allah has revealed. Allah is our Lord and your Lord …. Recite what has been revealed to you in the book of your Lord.

All differences will cease (Quran 42:17). Charity means to extend the hands of friendship to him whom one knows and to him one knows not said Mohammad. Islam takes cognizance of racial and ethnic diversities that characterize human societies across the world and holds that these diversities are divinely ordained (Quran 11:18, 30:22, 25:54). The Quran explicity maintains that there is no place in Islam for compulsion (Quran 2:56; 109:6).

Buddhism

Beware of the mind since it is forerunner of all activities. Pure mind does not suffer. This idea comes from  the Gita and later it was emphasized by all Holy Scriptures. Buddha said: do action as a sacrifice, Bhagwad Gita named it Nishkam Karma. Rise above the bodily desires such as greed, lust, happiness, sorrow, enmity, friendship, hot and cold. This idea was highlighted in the Upanishads and the Gita. You need masterly control over the mind. Free thy soul. The idea to rescue the soul goes back to the Upanishads.

Buddha, the apostle of peace, says: Truth can’t live where passions and attachments live. He rejects wrong notions – false presumptions, vanity, ignorance, lust, worldly profits and loses. Leave the bodily desires. Expunge “I from your life”. The Vedas and Upanishads emphasized “soul and its eternity”. All else is farce. Buddha beautifully says: you can give sermons only after you have delivered your soul from physical bondage. This thought was earlier highlighted in the Gita. Buddha said: do only good deeds, both in mind and outside. The wheel follows the foot of the ox. A good deed implies nishkam karma, as taught in the Gita.

Rescue thy soul. All religions accept it. Free thy soul, not merely by leaving home your home and retiring to  the jungles. Renounce attachments. Truth can’t live where attachments and passions live. Wrong notions, false presumption, vanity, ignorance, bodily relations and bodily desires are a hindrance. Method: First, have virtuous conduct; rise above hatred. You can give reasons only after you have delivered your soul from the physical bondage. Do only good deeds both in mind and outside. Have celibacy in thoughts. Cover your head with the helmet of right thoughts. Body defies authority of the soul.

Establish authority of the soul over the body. Calm your mind. The self should take delight in the destruction of your bodily cravings. Tide of lust is dangerous to wisdom, like an uncharted boat, it will carry you anywhere, destinyless.  Ride the boat of jnana. A word spoken in wrath is the sharpest sword. Man’s own deeds like fire lust will consume him. Plato and advocated: merge thyself in the society for the happiness of all. Knowledge and Truth has no body, no category, no identification. Our physical eyes drag us into the world of illusions. Enlightenment is for all, said Buddha.

Christianity

Jesus said: Hear, O’ Israel, your Lord, our Lord, said Jesus pray with a clean heart. Evil mind can’t speak well. Evil eye pushes you into darkness. The idea of prayers with purity of heart goes back to the Vedas and the Gita. It was later well received in Islam and Sikhism. Jesus said: if you follow your soul, you are not in darkness. The philosophy of soul goes back to Upanishads and Gita. Jesus emphasizes on reconciliation. Later, it was emphasized in Islam and Sikhism.

Sikhism

Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhism instructed the followers of Sikhism to accept Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy ‘Poothe’ as the last Guru of Sikhism. The Guru Granth Sahib comprises the teachings of six Gurus and 30 bhakts and bhaktas, drawn from diverse faiths, castes and stratas of the society such as the Muslims, Jat, Harijans and other backward strata of the Indian society broadly representing the Bhakti movement and Sufism.

Sikhism, basically, is founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak, the I Sikh Guru. He had the unique distinction of 25 years long and arduous journeys in the East, the South, the North and the West, interacting with religious leaders of different point of view. Guru Nanak gave India a revolutionary religious philosophy, to create a God fearing and intensely humanist society. Sikhism is a religion of ecumenism. Its fundamental tenets are: God is one. Mankind is one. Castes are man made. Guru Nanak said: There is no Hindu. There is no Muslim.

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism emphasized on love. It says make others feel happy. Don’t miss an opportunity for happiness. Better serve the needy than construct a temple. This emphasis on charity and service of the needy was later emphasized in Christianity. Islam and Sikhism. All wisdom lies in temperance and tolerance. It was earlier emphasized in the Vedas and later in Christianity, Islam and Sikhism. Give up deadly emotions, anger and fear etc. Purity of mind is essential. It started with the Vedas, goes over to the Gita and passed on to all Holly Scriptures. Serving the needy is better than building temples.

Commonalities in all Religions

There are four fundamental doctrines which find expression partially or wholly in one form or the other, again and again in all the major world religions. These doctrines are: First, the phenomenal world of matter or of individualized consciousness i.e., the world of things, animals, men or even gods. And the manifestation of the Divine Reality in everything, without which nothing could exist. Secondly, human beings are capable of knowing something about the Divine Spirit by way of inferences. They can realize its existence by interaction which is far superior to discursive reasoning. This knowledge can unite the knower with that which is known. Thirdly, man has a double nature, (i) phenomenal ego, and eternal self i.e., the inner man – the spirit - the divine spark. Man can identify himself with the Supreme Spirit. Fourthly, man’s life on Earth has only one purpose i.e. to identify his eternal self (the inner man - the spirit - the soul) and thus have the knowledge of the Supreme Reality. By knowing one’s inner self-the eternal self, one can have the knowledge and direct contact with the Supreme Reality. This is the commonality seen in the world’s major religions, in a nutshell.

 
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