Religious Tolerance in India
I have found it to be that most tolerant of all religious known to me. Its freedom from dogma makes a forcible appeal to me inasmuch as it gives the votary the largest scope for self-expression. Not being an exclusive religion, it enables the followers of that faith not merely to respect all the other religions, but it also enables them to admire and assimilate whatever may be good in the other faiths. Non-violence is common to all religious, but it has found the highest expression and application in Hinduism (I do not regard Jainism or Buddhism as separate from Hinduism). Hinduism believes in the oneness not of merely all human life but in the oneness of all that lives. It is a practical application of the belief in the oneness and transmigration is a direct consequence of that belief in transmigration is a direct consequence of that belief. Finally the discovery of the law of Varnashrama is a magnificent result of the ceaseless search for truth.
Young India, 20-10-‘27
It is fixed opinion that Buddhism or rather the teaching of Buddha found its full fruition in India and it could not be otherwise, for Gautama was himself a Hindu of Hindus. He was saturated with the best that was in Hindus, and he gave life to some of the teachings that were buried in the Vedas and which were overgrown with weeds…. Buddha never rejected Hinduism, but broadened its base. He gave it a new life and a new interpretation.
Young India, 24-11-27
He undoubtedly rejected the notion that a being called God was actuated by malice, could repent of his action, and like the kings of the earth could possibly have favorites. His whole soul rose in mighty indignation against the belief that a being called God required for his satisfaction the living blood of animals in order that he might be pleased- animals who were His own creation. He, therefore, reinstated God in the right place and dethroned the usurper who for the time being seemed to occupy that While Throne. He emphasized and redeclared the eternal and unalterable existence of the moral government of this universe. He unhesitatingly said that the law was God himself.
Young India, 24-11-27
I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus. He is as divine as Krishna or Rama or Muhammad or Zoroaster. Similarly I do not regard every world of the Bible as the inspired world of god even as I do not regard every world of the Vedas or the Koran as inspired. The sum total of each of these books is certainly inspired, but I miss that inspiration in many of the things taken individually. The Bible is as much a book of religion with me as the Gita and the Koran.
It is my firm opinion that Europe today represents not the spirit of god or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of god on his lips. Europe is today only nominally Christian. It is really worshipping Mammon. ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom.’ Thus really spoke Jesus Christ. His so called followers measure their moral progress by their material possessions.
Young India, 8-9-‘20
I do regard Islam to be a religion of peace in the same sense as Christianity, Buddhism and Hinduism are. No doubt there are differences in degrees, but the object of these religions is peace.
Young India, 20-1-‘27
Islam’s distinctive contribution to India’s National culture is its unadulterated belief in the oneness of god and a practical application of the truth of the brother hood of man for those who are nominally within its fold. I call these two distinctive contributions. For in Hinduism the spirit of brotherhood has become too much philosophizes. Similarly through philosophical Hinduism has no other god but God, it cannot be denied that practical Hinduism is not so emphatically uncompromising as Islam.
Young India, 21-3-‘29
I do not expect India of my dream to develop one religion, i.e., to be wholly Hindu, or wholly Christian, or wholly Musalman, but I want it to be wholly tolerant, with its religious working side by side with one another.
Young India, 22-12-‘27
We are all idolaters. We all want temples, churches, mosques and synagogues for our spiritual development, and to strengthen our faith in God. Some want images of stone or metal, others an altar or a book or even a picture, to inspire feelings of devotion towards God.
Young India, 28-8-‘24
Temple or mosques or churches… I make no distinction between these different abodes of God. They are what faith has made them. They are an answer to man’s craving somehow to reach the unseen.
I am both an idolater and an iconoclast in what I conceive to be the true sense of the terms. I value the spirit behind idol-worship. It plays almost important part in the uplift of the human race. And I would like to possess the ability to defend with my life the thousands of holy temples which sanctify this land of ours………. I am iconoclast in the sense that I break down the subtle form of idolatry in the shape of worshipping the Deity save one’s own .This form of idolatry is more deadly for being more fine and evasive than the tangible and gross form of worship that identifies the deity with a little bit of a stone or a golden image.
Young India, 28-8-’24
We worship an image when we visit a temple or A mosque with a feeling of sanctity or sanctity or reverence. Nor do I see any harm in all this. On the contrary, endowed as man is with a finite, limited understanding, he can hardly do otherwise. Eve so far so far from seeing anything inherently evil or harmful in tree-worship, I find in it a thing instinct with a deep pathos and poetic beauty. It symbolizes true reverence for the entire vegetable kingdom, which with its endless panorama of beautiful shapes and forms, declares to us as it were with a million tongues the greatness and glory of God. Without vegetation our planet would not be able to support life even for a moment. In such a country especially, therefore, in which there is a scarcity of trees, tree-worship assumes a profound economic significance.
Young India, 26-9-‘29