Religion 101: Thoughts from Sri Ramakrishna

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna  
Translated into English with an introduction by Swami Nikhilananda

God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole. 111

Every religion has errors. Everyone thinks this his watch alone gives the correct time. It is enough to have yearning for God. It is enough to love Him and feel attracted to Him.  112

The devotees call on God alone, though by different names. They call on one Person only. God is one, but His names are many. 112

I had to practice each religion for a time—Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Śāktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedāntists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are traveling; but the paths are different. 129

It is like water, called in different languages by different names, such as ‘jal,’ ‘pani,’ and so forth. There are three or four ghats on a lake. The Hindus, who drink water at one place, called it ‘jal.’ The Mussalmans at another place call it ‘pani.’ And the English at a third call it ‘water.’ All three denote one and the same thing, the difference being in the name only. In the same way…. Some address the Reality as ‘Allah,” some as ‘God,’ some as ‘Brahman,’ some as ‘Kali,’ and others by such names as ‘Rāma,’ ‘Jesus,’ ‘Durgā,’ ‘Hari.’

The devotion of the wife to her husband is also an instance of unswerving love. She feeds her brothers-in-law as well, and looks after their comforts, but she has a special relationship with her husband. Likewise, one may have that single-minded devotion to one’s own religion; but one should not on that account hate other faiths. On the contrary, one should have a friendly attitude toward them. 223

Opinions are but paths. Each religion is only a path leading to God, as rivers come from different directions and ultimately become one in the one ocean. 265

Do you know what the truth is? God has made the different religions to suit different aspirants, times, and countries. All doctrines are only so many paths; but a path is by no means God Himself. Indeed, one can reach God if one follows any of the paths with whole-hearted devotion. 559

The bees can make good honey only if they gather nectar from different flowers. 877


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