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Reflections on Harmony of Religions

by Swami Ranganathananda

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Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture


9789381325353 - Year: 2014 - Pages: 296



Swami Ranganathananda

Author: Swami Ranganathananda
Swami Atmarupananda/Several Contributors
Publisher: Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture
Year: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 296
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9789381325353


The idea of harmony of religions is, of course, quite ancient as the same is found in various Vedic texts and subsequently in the Gita. In the modern age, harmony of religions was truly realized by Sri Ramakrishna and he declared, “as many faiths so many paths.” Swami Vivekananda took up this message all over the world and pronounced the death of all fanaticism and fundamentalism.

Human personality is the most complex entity, being an intricate medley of opposite characteristics such as good and evil, love and hate, happiness and misery. The ordinary man being the victim of, and swayed by these opposite characteristics, many times behaves erratically and unpredictably, creating a vicious atmosphere in the family and society. Some thinkers are of the opinion that friction between opposites is the one that sustains society and the individual.

The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, declared, ‘War is the father of all, and king of all.’ According to him, but for strife or opposition the world would pass away-stagnate, and die. The theory of evolution contending that competition is the basis of evolution seems to espouse this view of Heraclitus. However, recent researches in ecology and evolution do not concur with this view.

Fritjof Capra says, ‘This new view has forced biologists to recognize the vital importance of cooperation in the evolutionary process. While social Darwinists of the nineteenth century saw only competitions in nature… We are now beginning to see continual cooperation and mutual dependence among all life-forms as central aspect of evolution. In the world of Margulies and Sagan, “Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.”

In a recent article in Scientific American we read, ‘Millions of years of evolutions transformed a slow, defenseless ape into the most influential creature on the planet, a species capable of inventing a mind-boggling array of technologies that have allowed our kind to plumb the depth of the ocean, explore outer space and broadcast our achievements to the world in an instant.


I have practiced all religions — Hinduism, Islam, Christianity - and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, through along different paths. You must try all beliefs and traverse all the different ways once. Wherever l look, l see men quarrelling in the name of religion - Hindus, Mohammedans, Brahmos, Vaishnavas, and the rest. But they never re?ect that He who is called Krishna is also called Siva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus, and Allah as well — the same Rama with a thousand names. A lake has several ghats. At one the Hindus take water in pitchers and call it 'jal'; at another the Mussalmans take water in leather bags and call it 'pani'. At a third the Christians call it ‘water’. Can we imagine that it is not 'jal', but only 'pani' or ‘water’? How ridiculous! The substance is One under different names, and everyone is seeking the same substance; only climate, temperament, and name create differences. Let each man follow his own path. If he sincerely and ardently wishes to know God, peace be unto him! He will surely realize Him.
= Swami Ramakrishna



Publisher’ Note

Samavaya Eva Sadhuh by Swami Ranganathananda

Deriving Spiritual Inspiration from Different Religions by Swami Atmarupananda

The Common Characteristics of All Religions by Swami Atmajnananda

Positive Function of Religion: A Philosophical Analysis by Md Sirajul Islam

Harmony of Religions and Fundamentalism by Indra Nath Choudhuri

Religious Harmony and Disharmony by Swami Brahmeshananda

Approaches to Harmony of Religions by Swami Ishadhyanananda

Unity of Humankind Trough Harmony of Religions: Some Christisn Faith Reflections by K.P. Aleaz

Pope John Paul II and Methods and Forms of Inter-religious Dialogue by Shubhada Joshi

Sri Ramakrishna’s Harmony of Religions by Swami Narasimhananda

Reflections on ‘Harmony of Religions’: Vision of Rigveda and Mission of Swami Vivekananda by Anindita N. Balslev

Contributions of Judaism to Religions Harmony by Rabbi Asher Block

India’s Message of Peace and Harmony Swami Ghanananda

Harmony of Religions from the Standpoint of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda by Swami Bhajanananda

Noble Thoughts on Harmony of Religions

The Contributors

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