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GOD/TRUTH/RELIGION > RELIGION > Religion of Mahatma Gandhi

 

Religion

All Are God Given And True

I believe in the fundamental Truth of all great religions of the world. And I believe that if only we could, all of us, read the scriptures of the different Faiths from the stand-point of the followers of those faiths, we should find that they were at the bottom, all one and were all helpful to one another.


Belief in one God is the cornerstone of all religions. But I do not foresee a time when there would be only one religion on earth in practice. In theory, since there is one God, there can be only one religion.


The one religion is beyond all speech. Imperfect men put it into such language as they can command, and their words are interpreted by other men equally imperfect. Hence the necessity for tolerance, which does not mean indifference towards one's own Faith, but a more intelligent and pure love for it.

What Is Hinduism?

If were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after Truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe even in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after Truth and if today it has become moribund, inactive, irresponsive to growth, it is because we are fatigued and as soon as the fatigue is over Hinduism will burst forth upon the world with a brilliance perhaps unknown before. Hinduism is the most tolerant of all religions. Its creed is all embracing.


Hinduism tells every one to worship God according to his own Faith or Dharma and so it lives at peace with all the religions.

The Buddha's Contribution To Humanity

God's Laws are eternal and unalterable and not separable from God Himself. The Buddha disbelieved in God and simply believed in Moral Law. Great as Buddha's contribution to humanity was, in restoring God to His Eternal place, in my humble opinion, greater still was his contribution to humanity in his exacting regard of all life, be it ever so low.

The Message Of Jesus

What does Jesus mean to me ? To me, He was one of the greatest teachers, humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God's only begotten Son.


There is one thing which came to me in my early studies of the Bible. It seized me immediately. I read the passage: 'Make this world the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness and everything will be added unto you'.


I tell you that if you will understand, appreciate and act up to the spirit of this passage, you would not even need to know what place Jesus or any other teacher occupies in your heart. If you will.., clean and purify your hearts and get them ready, you will find that all these mighty Teachers will take their places without invitation from us. That, to my mind, is the basis of all sound education. Culture of mind must be subservient to the culture of the heart. May God help you to become pure.

The Distinctive Contribution Of Islam

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 Brotherhood of Man for those who are nominally within its fold.

Real Religion Transcends All These Religions

Religion should pervade every one of our actions. Here religion does not mean sectarianism. It means a belief in ordered moral government of the universe. It is not less real because it is unseen. This religion transcends Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc. It does not supersede them. It harmonises them and gives them reality.

Religion Should Be Based On Humanity

Religion is to morality what water is to the seed that is sown in the soil. Just as the seed is choked under the earth when it is not duly watered, so too the morality which is devoid of the fertilising influence of religion gets thin and dry and is ultimately destroyed. In other words, morality divorced from religion would be an empty thing.


There is no religion higher than Truth and Righteousness. If we commit sins with the name of God on our lips, can we hope to win the grace of God ? Suppose one man admits the existence of God, but lives a life of falsehood and immorality, while another knows not the name of God but lives a life of truth and virtue, can there be any doubt as to which should be regarded truly religious as well as moral?

All Worship The Same Spirit

The Allah of Islam is the same as the God of Christians and the Ishwara of Hindus. Even as there are numerous names of God in Hinduism, there are many names of God in Islam. The names do not indicate individuality but attributes, and little man has tried in his humble way to describe mighty God by giving Him attributes, though He is above all attributes, Indescribable, Immeasurable.


Living faith in his God means acceptance of the brotherhood of mankind. It also means equal respect for all religions. It would be height of intolerance...to believe that your religion is superior to other religions and that you would be justified in wanting others to change over to your faith.


All worship the same Spirit but as all forms do not agree with all, all names do not appeal to all. Each chooses the name according to his associations and He being the Indweller, All-powerful and Omniscient, knows: our innermost feelings and responds to us according to our hearts.

Man's Conception Of God Is Limited By His Mind

Man can only conceive God within the limitations of his own mind. What matters then whether one man worships God as Person and another as Force? Both do right according to their lights. None knows and perhaps never will know what is the absolutely proper way to pray. One need only remember that God is the Force among all the Forces. All other Forces are material. But God is the Vital Force or Spirit which is all-pervading, all-embracing and therefore beyond human ken.

One Spirit, Many Forms

The need of the moment is not One Religion, but mutual respect and tolerance of the devotees of the different religions. We want to reach not the dead level, but unity in diversity. The Soul of religion is One but it is encased a multitude of forms. Truth is the exclusive property of no single scriptures.


The forms are many, but the informing Spirit is one. How can there be room for distinctions of high and low where there is this all embracing, fundamental unity underlying the outward diversity? For that is a fact meeting you at every step in daily life. The final goal of all religions is to realise this essential oneness.


Hindu Dharma is like a boundless ocean teeming with priceless gems. The deeper you dive the more absolutely proper way to pray. One need only remember that God is the Force among all the Forces. All other Forces are material. But God is the Vital Force or Spirit which treasures you find. In Hindu religion God is known various names. I have accepted all the names and forms attributed to God, as symbols connoting one Formless Omnipresent Rama. To me, therefore, Rama described as the Lord of Sita, son of Dasharatha, is the All-powerful Essence whose name, inscribed in the heart, removes all suffering, mental, moral and physical.

The Spirit Behind Image-Worship

I value the spirit behind idol-worship. It plays a most important part in the uplift of the human race. I break down the subtle form of idolatry in the shape of fanaticism that refuses to see any virtue in any other form of worshipping the Deity save one's own.


Proper worship is not image-worship; it is the worship of God in the image.

A Mantra Of Universal Significance

If only the first verse in the Ishopanishad were left intact in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live for ever ....


The verse means that all that there is in this universe great or smal1 , including the tiniest atom, is pervaded by God, known as Creator or Lord. Isha means the ruler, and He who is the Creator naturally by very fight becomes the Ruler too. (Enjoy that which He gives. Do not covet the riches of anybody.)...

The truth that is embedded in this very short Mantra is calculated to satisfy the highest cravings of every human being whether they have reference to this world or to the next.


If it is Universal Brotherhood, not only brotherhood of all human beings, but of all living beings, I find it in this Mantra. This Mantra tells me that I cannot hold as mine, anything that belongs to God and if my life and that of all who believe in this Mantra has to be a life of perfect dedication, it follows that it will have to be all who believe in this Mantra, has to be a life of continual service of our fellow creatures.


The Gita and forgot all its contents, but had a copy of the Sermon, I should derive the same joy from it as I do from the Gita.

The Gita Has Ever Been My Light And Hope

I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me m the face, and when I see no one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagawad-Gita and find a verse to comfort me and immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teaching of the Bhagawad-Gita.


Let the Gita be to you a mine of diamonds, as it has been to me. Let it be your constant guide and friend on life's way. Let it light your path and dignify your labour.

Broad Religious Toleration will Break The Barriers And Lead To Peace

Tolerance gives us spiritual insight, which is as far from fanaticism as the North Pole from the South.


True knowledge of religion breaks down the barriers between Faith and Faith. Cultivation of tolerance for other Faiths will impart to us a true understanding of our own. Tolerance obviously does not disturb the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil.


The golden rule of conduct ... is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and we shall always see Truth in fragment and from different angles of vision. Even amongst the most conscientious persons, there will be room enough for honest differences of opinion. The only possible rule of conduct in any civilised society is, therefore, mutual toleration.

Source: Light of India or Message of Mahatmaji by M. S. Deshpande