Is Jesus the only way to God and Hinduism the lie of the Devil?
From Geeta Mataji:
Transcription by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Edited by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Question from gita mataji: I have a Christian friend who says that Lord jesus is the only way to heaven and Hinduism is the lie of the devil. So how to respond to this ?
Answer: this is such propaganda as a misconception created by the influence of tamo guna, by the influence of ignorance. In general every religion has certain statements which are exclusivist. Broadly if you look at the religions they can be said to be exclusivists, pluralist and inclusivist. Exclusivist means my way is the only way. And these sort of statements are given primarily to kindle frail in the followers. Yes Jesus said that I am the light and the way and one shall go to the father through me. So now this statement if there are some scholars who admitted that if we go to the origin of the statement then there is a significant word which means presently. What Jesus has said is that I am presently the only way. As for his audience he was the teacher and the Guru and the Guru is the way to God. So what Jesus is saying is right. The word presently has been removed from almost all translations of the bible and he has been eternally into the only way to God. But such an idea limits God’s mercy to only one way. If God is unlimited why should his mercy be limited to one way? And actually that is not mercy that is autocracy. It is the autocratic form of religion where all power is monopolized in one particular figure and it is expanded to those that power shed in a self-congratulatory way with those who accept that narrow dogma. So this idea that my religion is the only true religion and my way is the only way to God this is a very primitive and childish idea and people whose faith is very insecure and people who can’t see the authentic spirituality and profound saintliness, the great love of God that people in other traditions are having. It is only those who close their eyes can’t see the spirituality, the saintliness and the devotion that is there in other traditions, only such people can somehow hold on to this belief that my way is the only way. And that’s why I said “my way is the only way is the product of deliberate ignorance”. The intention of such a statement is benevolent but its consequences are said to be malevolent. The intention is that suppose a patient goes to a doctor and that patient says that I went to this doctor and he said it like that, take this pill and I went to another doctor and he said take this injection or do this surgery. And this person is just caught up in all those ideas. The doctor might say forget everything everyone might have said to you and just do what I am telling you to do and you will be cured. When a doctor makes such a statement it is not meant to reject all other doctors’ faults. It is simply meant to create focus in the patient so that the patient takes this particular treatment and becomes cured. Similarly statements like I am the only way are there to inspire a one pointed faith. To extrapolate from there and claim that all other ways are false- this is an unwarranted and undesirable extrapolation. We don’t have to feel insecure by such narrow mindedness that some people might exhibit. We understand that God is unlimited and his grace is also unlimited and that’s why he manifests his grace in many ways. Now traditionally Christians have had this approach towards all other religions or whatever they call it as other Gods. So whenever they see anybody worshipping any other God other than what they consider as true God then they consider him as false God and that false God they want to destroy. And Islam carries that false God bashing tendency further of a more violent way and that’s why they destroyed deities and Gods of other religions because they consider them as false Gods. But the point is if one objectively considers the qualities of God described in the scriptures e.g. the Bhagavad Gita, now in the 10th chapter if you look at the attributes that are described aksharanam akaroshmi… bhutani adim cha ardham cha – Krishna says I am the beginning and the end of all things, in bible God says that I am the alpha and omega of all things. Essentially if we see the attributes of the one God described in the bible are strikingly similar with the attributes of the one God that is described in Bhagavad gita. Actually it is the same one God that is being worshipped. And the point is if only by closing one’s eyes to the spiritual truths that are there in other traditions like the Christians hold on to the idea that their way is the only way to God. That same one God has manifested in many forms and has provided many ways so that people can become elevated. God is so eager to come back to people that he manifests again and again- sambhavami yuge yuge. So historically although Christians have had this idea of demonizing other Gods and try to destroy them there has been a tempering of that brand of propaganda because of contact with people of other religion and because of perceiving deep spirituality that is there in other religions. So historically Christians have adopted three broad ways 1) demonization, 2) irrelevance and 3) fulfilment. Demonization means that – ohhh these are the path of demons and the Gods of Hinduism are actually the forms of devil. And if you follow them you will go to hell. So this is the misleading propaganda and we should see that those people who make this propaganda they are influenced by ignorance. We don’t have to be disturbed by such propaganda at all. Especially when Christians came to India, missionaries came to cerampur in Bengal and from there they started spreading in India during the rule of the east India Company. Initially they used the strategy of demonization and they found that there was no effect. Very few Hindus actually got converted to Christianity. Although Christians viciously and vigorously criticized Hinduism the Hindus tried to reform their religion rather than rejecting it. so then they went from that strategy of demonization to irrelevance. They said that ohhh we Christians – our religion is a scientific religion and our religion is there for the progress of humanity like science and technology and your religion is like the same old fashioned and unscientific things. So it may have been true at one time but it has not true or relevant right now. So Christianity is a more relevant religion. So this is how they tried to attract people from Hinduism to Christianity. Currently many missionaries use the idea of fulfilment. Fulfilment theology is that other religions may help people develop some good qualities so that their spiritual growth can be fulfilled when they come to Christianity. For example in pune there is a gyan deep school of theology which is a place for teaching young Christians to become priests. So what is their slogan? Gyana dipena bhaswatah – their slogan is that they have the symbol of various Hindu Gods and they have Jesus at the back drop of all the Gods and all this is like the deepa, a lantern or a light out of which the flame is coming out. So their idea is by worshipping all the other Gods you will ultimately come to the level of worshipping jesus. So rather than demonizing Hindu God they say that the worship of Hindu Gods is the progressive way to go to the worship of Jesus. So these are all different strategies that different Christian missionaries use when they encounter other religions. If they completely close their eyes to other religions then they continue to believe that there is no spiritual worth in other religions and this was the dogmatic believe that the Catholic Church held on to till it came onto john poltu. During his time and before slightly before him the Catholic Church had seen a significant change and now they say that we accept all that is true and good in other religions as having spiritual worth and there are Christians who also appreciate the spirituality in other religions. There are Hare Krishna devotees who had done interfaith conversations with Christians. Anuttama prabhu is the pioneer who has worked on Christian vaishnavism dialogues. As there have been interactions there have been many Christians who had grown up with their belief that our religion is the only way to God. When they see in the bhakti expressions of the great saints within the vaishnava tradition they have acknowledged that it is very similar and in fact it is deeper than what is there in Christianity. They may not say it in public, sometimes they do say it but the point is that this idea that Hinduism is a lie of the devil, yes there is much present in Hinduism which is undesirable which can be said to be the lie of the devil for example the idea of worshipping some human beings as God himself are wrong ideas. So like that there are many things in Christianity also. In catholic churches there are so many abuses, monks have done terrible child abuses and in the protestant church also there are scandals that tare there. So in every religion there will be scandals because there are human beings who aren’t perfect and they sometimes fall into imperfections and there are other human beings who exploit the power of religion to pursue their own acts. So by using the worst example of certain religions to demonize the whole religion if that is the strategy to be used then that can be turned around and that can be applied to Christians also with equal tone. So rather than looking at that, rather than comparing the best in one religion to the worst in another religion which is worth some of these sort of missionaries do that is unfair comparison. You can compare the best saints in Hinduism to the child abusing monks in the Catholic Church then that is not a fair comparison. You have to look into the spiritual ideals of Christianity, you have to look into the spiritual ideals that are there in bhakti tradition and then one can see that it is the same one true God who is being worshipped. I have written an article that “there is much that I have to tell you” and it is available in the spiritual scientist. The similarities and significant differences between Christianity and the vaishnava path or bhakti are discussed over there. Essentially we should turn a blind ear towards them who claim that Hinduism is the lie of the devil and jesus is the only way. We have to understand that they are covered over by tamo guna and it is their tamo guna which is being reflected by such narrow minded fanatic statements. Thank you.