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Religious Unity

Source: http://www.mkgandhi.org/momgandhi/chap85.htm

Mahatma Gandhi: "My Anekāntavāda is the result of the twin doctrine of Satyagraha and ahiṃsā." #WorldPeace #Kalachakra

On Theosophic Unity: "In trying to explore the hidden treasures of ancient culture, I have come upon this inestimable boon that all that is permanent in ancient Hindu culture is also to be found in the teaching of Jesus, the Buddha, Mohamed and Zoroaster."

'THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD continues to be troubled by large scale violence and terrorism, often in the name of religion. The underlying discords in some way reflect our attitude to religion which often colours our approach to culture, though the two are not synonymous terms at all.1 This struggle is sometimes described as 'civilisational conflict'. if it is so then what is the way out? M. K. Gandhi's perspective on religion and peace through inter-faith dialogue and cooperation? Gandhi was a believer in the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism which advocates the essential spiritual unity of all mankind. His Hinduism, in his own words, was "all-inclusive. It is not anti-Musalman, anti-Christian or anti-any other religion. But it is pro-Muslim, pro-Christian and pro-every other living faith in the world." More revealing is Gandhi's conviction about the relative truth of all religions.

"After long study and experience, I have come to the conclusion that (1) all religions are true; (2) all religions have some error in them; (3) all religions are almost as dear to me as my own Hinduism. My own veneration for other faiths is the same as that for my own faith; therefore no thought of conversion is possible. The aim of the Fellowship should be to help a Hindu to become a better Hindu, a Mussalman to become a better Mussalman, and a Christian a better Christian."

Underpinning Gandhi's eclectic view of religion was his faith in anekantavada (the Jain doctrine of relative pluralism) according to which any reality can be evaluated from many different points of view, each estimate true in itself but not expressing the whole truth. This principle, he says, taught him to judge a Muslim from his own standpoint and a Christian from his. Perhaps these beliefs made him generally disfavour religious conversion and assert that if one found fault in one's religion, it should be corrected, not abandoned.6 The theory of religious pluralism, which upholds the de jure legitimacy of all institutional religions, was the keystone of Gandhi's philosophy.

[T]he principal faiths of the world constitute a revelation of Truth, but as they have all been outlined by imperfect man they have been affected by imperfections and alloyed with untruth. One must therefore entertain the same respect for the religious faiths of others as one accord to one's own. Where such tolerance becomes a law of life, conflict between different faiths becomes impossible, and so does all effort to convert other people to one's own faith. One can only pray that the defects in the various faiths may be overcome, and that they may advance, side by side, towards perfection.

In his Constructive Programme Gandhi made equal respect for all religions the first step towards national reconstruction, exhorting every member of the Congress party to cultivate "personal friendship with persons representing faiths other than his own." The holding of dialogue between different religious groups was a significant dimension of the practice of religious pluralism that people of different faiths lived harmoniously as regular inmates of his ashrams in South Africa and India affirms the value of Gandhi's experience in conducting inter-faith dialogue. Another crucial element of his philosophy was the renunciation of violence in any form as a legitimate means of religious expression.'

+ "Gandhi on Religion and Social Harmony" - Malabika Pande (2012):
+ http://www.mkgandhi.org/articles/religion-and-social-harmony.html

"I am an Advaitist and yet I can support Dvaitism (dualism). The world is changing every moment, and is therefore unreal, it has no permanent existence. But though it is constantly changing, it has a something about it which persists and it is therefore to that extent real. I have therefore no objection to calling it real and unreal, and thus being called an Anekāntavadi or a Syādvadi. But my Syādvāda is not the Syādvāda of the learned, it is peculiarly my own. I cannot engage in a debate with them. It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. And this knowledge saves me from attributing motives to my opponents or critics. (...) My Anekāntavāda is the result of the twin doctrine of Satyagraha and ahiṃsā."

'Anekāntavāda (Sanskrit: अनेकान्तवाद, "many-sidedness") refers to the Jain doctrine about metaphysical truths that emerged in ancient India. It states that the ultimate truth and reality is complex, has multiple aspects. Anekantavada has also been interpreted to mean non-absolutism, "intellectual Ahimsa", religious pluralism, as well as a rejection of fanaticism that leads to terror attacks and mass violence. According to Jainism, no single, specific statement can describe the nature of existence and the absolute truth... The Jain doctrine of Anekantavada, also known as Anekantatva, states that truth and reality is complex and always has multiple aspects. Reality can be experienced, but it is not possible to totally express it with language. Human attempts to communicate is Naya, or "partial expression of the truth". Language is not Truth, but a means and attempt to express Truth. From Truth, according to Mahavira, language returns and not the other way around. One can experience the truth of a taste, but cannot fully express that taste through language. Any attempts to express the experience is syāt, or valid "in some respect" but it still remains a "perhaps, just one perspective, incomplete". In the same way, spiritual truths are complex, they have multiple aspects, language cannot express their plurality, yet through effort and appropriate karma they can be experienced.'

+ Anekantavada: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekantavada

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