Conversation between SWAMI and a Christian Father
[ Following is the divine experience of Shri Phani Kumar, a devotee of Swamiji as narrated by him. ]
Recently, I had the fortune to accompany Swami in a train journey from Narasaraopet to Vijayawada . A Christian father was our co-passenger. The conversation between Swami and the Christian father took place as given below.
Father: Those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ are destined to be consigned to the flames of liquid fire in Hell. This is the declaration of our faith.
Swami: Does that mean that there is no salvation to all the devotees on this earth prior to the incarnation of Jesus Christ? If so, all those devotees were subjects of prejudice of God, as they were deprived of that revelation, their successors had?
Father: God is impartial in that subject. He gave Jehovah to mankind for their salvation before the incarnation of Jesus.
Swami: Fine! If that be so, devotees of this land have no knowledge of either Jehovah or Jesus Christ prior to the arrival of Vasco da Gama. Vasco da Gama discovered India and only later on, the Christian literature that speaks of Jehovah or Jesus came to India . All those innocents, who lived before the arrival of Vasco da Gama deprived of the revelations of either Jehovah or Jesus Christ, were consigned to the flames of the ‘liquid fire’ for no fault of theirs. They were not to regenerate by taking human births again and reclaim the salvation since the doctrine of the faith you follow has no place for the rebirth of the soul.
Does this mean that God intended to provide the revelation only to a handful in a small country and deny the opportunity to all those living in rest of the world? Why did God reveal Himself at a particular point of time, in a particular land, to a particular section alone? Does that not inflict the God with prejudice?
Father: No faith is free from such blame. Does not the faith you belong to, charge the non-believers of your faith to the same danger of hell? All mortals in other land, not aware of the virtues of the faith you follow, are subjects of the same punishment in hell! Does this also not inflict God with Prejudice?
Swami: There are enthusiasts who are fans in every faith. Christian enthusiasts maintain that non-believers in Jehovah or Jesus Christ shall be subjects for the flames of the liquid fire. Hindu enthusiasts maintain that non-believers of Lord Vishnu or Lord Shiva shall be subjects for affliction in hell. They further introduce and adopt sectarian salvation, which limits itself to certain sections only. Followers of different sects castigate each other by such warnings.
All these partisans fail to appreciate the unity in thought of all the world religions. All these ‘approaches’ to God, afflict Him with Prejudice. The only way to keep God unblemished is to perceive His generosity correctly.
The same single God revealed Himself distinctly in different places, in different times, to different people in different forms. He granted the same enlightenment to all in different tongues. All those faithful attain salvation upon receiving the enlightenment. Those who fail to receive are subjected to the liquid fire in hell. This approach towards God makes him unblemished. The God of all religions is one and the same. He may appear to be different due to differences in His approach to different people, in different times, in different forms and in different tongues. He nurtures all with same compassion.
The sea receives all the rivers in the same way, whether they are straight or curved. The devotion is important and not the religion or path. If the straight river becomes proud and mocks at the curved river, God will see that the straight river will never reach Him. By His will, people will build a dam on that river to divert all the water!
Every one needs to follow the path assigned in his faith to attain salvation. Every religion has different levels of spiritual enlightenment. One should move up to the higher level for comprehension of the total enlightenment. Such enlightenment alone is the means of salvation.
These levels of enlightenment in each religion are similar to the levels of education. Different religions are similar to different language mediums. The content of the curriculum is same in all the language mediums. A pupil of a certain language should strive to reach higher levels of knowledge in the same medium of his choice. He is a pilgrim in pursuit of divinity. His medium is his opportunity. It is neither superior nor inferior to any other medium. He need not move on to another language medium to uplift himself. All the language mediums are different religions at different levels of knowledge. A school student studying science in a particular medium (language) need not change his medium, because even if he changes, the syllabus will not be changed. He should strive to change his syllabus by raising his standard of knowledge and reach to college level in the same medium. The school and college levels exist in every medium. A school student does not become a college student just by changing the medium of his class. He becomes a college student only, when the level of his knowledge rises up. Similarly, a devotee of any religion should try to reach the higher spiritual level in his own religion. His spiritual level is not raised by changing his religion. Every religion has the lower and higher levels of spiritualism meant for devotees of corresponding stages. Religion is the medium and spiritualism is the curriculum or syllabus with different levels (school level, college level etc.,) present in the same religion.
One shall strive to reach the higher levels of knowledge that are carved out in his own faith. No one needs to move on to another faith for higher level of knowledge for the will of final salvation. All faiths lead to the same destination. In any path, you will have to proceed vertically to reach the goal. At any point of your path, if you travel horizontally, you will reach the same point of level in another path, which is a waste. The realization of this truth alone ensures harmony among different faiths of the world. Failure to perceive the truth will not make anyone enlightened.
When Swami concluded like this, the Christian Father stood and touched his heart in the model of a cross and said, "We believe that Jesus will be born again. Yes. Jesus is again born now. Nobody else can explain like this. I am fully convinced''.
His Holiness Shri Datta Swami