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The Message of Harmony
&
Sri Ramakrishna and the Spiritual Ferment of the Time

Book  stop.gif (845 bytes)  Weekly Message Archive

WEEKLY MESSAGES

In this new feature of our website, we present every week a new selection of the teachings of Vedanta, taken from a variety of sources – lectures and writings of Swami Adiswarananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature, and other spiritual texts.

 

 

 

 

The Message of Harmony

by

SWAMI ADISWARANANDA

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center

New York

 

Sri Ramakrishna’s message of harmony emphasizes the common ground of all religions—the oneness of the Ultimate Reality, unity of the goal, unanimity with regard to the divine nature of the soul, and the common virtues that are practiced by all—and considers doctrines and dogmas secondary details. Sri Ramakrishna not only practiced the different paths of Hinduism, he became the first spiritual sage in history to follow the paths of other religions, such as Christianity and Islam, in faithful compliance with their respective creeds and disciplines. Following different religious paths, Sri Ramakrishna again and again reached the same goal, and so he declared: “As many faiths, so many paths.” To Sri Ramakrishna, the spiritual goal is like the summit of a mountain, and different religions are like different paths to reach that summit. All religions, to Sri Ramakrishna, are the denominations of the one universal religion—the religion of God-consciousness. The harmony of religions is an eternal fact that is only to be discovered. True interfaith harmony calls for rising above dogmatism, looking back to the original teachings of the prophets, and discovering the inherent spiritual unity of all religions. Interfaith dialogue in the spirit of true harmony is never an encounter or a conversation, but a coming together of members of the same spiritual family—a grand reunion and a joyous celebration. The world will not change if all people are converted to Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or Islam; but it would certainly make a difference if some of them rise above dogmatism and bigotry and make the message of unity and harmony a living reality.

 

 


Sri Ramakrishna

and the Spiritual Ferment of the Time

 

by

 

SWAMI ADISWARANANDA

 

Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center

New York

 

Sri Ramakrishna was born in 1836 and passed away in 1886. Although he spent the major part of his life just seven miles from Calcutta, then the capital of British India, few came to know about him during his lifetime. Still fewer truly realized his message. A new sectarianism— agnostic materialism—had been sweeping over India’s intellectual class when Sri Ramakrishna was making his way through the lanes and bylanes of Calcutta with his non-sectarian message of unity and harmony. Many orthodox scholars were unaware of the Godman of the century even though he lived so near them. But the process of history follows its own natural course. “Facts are stubborn things,” said Agassiz, “until they are connected by a general law.” Even a known fact must often wait hundreds of years before its true significance is understood. The Pharisees and Saducees failed to comprehend Christ’s message, although they knew him well. Buddha’s message met with the bitterest of denouncements from the so-called orthodox schools of thought. Sri Ramakrishna’s message, too, remained undiscovered in his own time.

A message that is destined to change history takes time to strike root in the minds of people. Galileo’s conclusion that the earth moves around the sun had to wait for a new generation of astronomers for it to be accepted. Einstein’s theories revolutionized the study of physics, but the ushering in of that revolution required years until an inspired new generation of scientists came forward. The message of Sri Ramakrishna had to wait for a new generation of spiritual inquirers, dedicated to the great adventure of God realization, to receive that message and boldly offer the world a sense of hope and way to truth.

[Copyright Swami Adiswarananda]

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