Many Ways to Reach One Truth

“Yoga is the Devil’s work. You think you are doing it for stretching your mind and body but it leads to Hinduism.”

So declares Vatican’s  Father Gabriel Amorth.  

Well, I guess he must know all about the Devil, having conducted 70,000 exorcisms in his 25 years career as Chief Exorcist at the Vatican!

But nothing about Yoga, apparently.  Pardon me, Yoga does not lead to Hinduism, It is a part of Hinduism.

Though it is a mystery why anyone would think that Yoga or Hinduism is the Devil’s work.

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It is stated in the Rig-Veda that “Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti.”  Truth is One, sages call it by various names.

There are many ways- not just one single way- to reach this Truth.

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There is a lovely story about Samarth Ramdas Swami. Samarth Ramdas was a devout bhakt (devotee) of Shri Ram.

The story goes thus  that once Lord Pandurang (in the guise of a Brahmin) appeared before Samarth Ramdas and asked if he had any objection to seeing Lord Vitthal.

When Samarth Ramdas replied that he had not, he took Ramdas Swami to Pandharpur to the temple of Vitthal.

Samarth Ramdas entered the temple and to his amazement, found his beloved Shri Ram standing there alone. Ramdas Swami asked him-

येथे उभा का श्रीरामा | मनमोहन मेघश्यामा ||१||
काय केली सीताबाई | येथे राही रखुमाई  ||२||
काय केली अयोध्यापुरी | येथे वसवली पंढरी ||३||
काय केली शरयू गंगा | येथे आणिली चन्द्रभागा||४||   
धनुष्य बाण काय केले | कर कटावरि ठेविले ||५|| 
काय केले वानरदळ | येथे मिळविले   गोपाळ ||६||
 
[Oh Lord, what are you doing here, alone. Where is Sita? Here there is Rakhumai. Where is Ayodhya? Here this is Pandharpur City…….]
 
Finally Samarth Ramdas realized that Shri Ram and Vitthal were one and the same!
 
रामीरामदासी भाव | तैसा होय पंढरिराव ||७||  
 
[ The various incarnations are but several forms of the same Lord, and He takes the form which his Bhakt worships. ]
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Some years ago, a group of us friends used to conduct a Sanskarvarga in one of the poorer areas in Mumbai. I have written about it earlier here.

Once I went to the home of one of the children to meet her mother. As we entered I saw that there were pictures of several Hindu deities on the wall. There was also a picture of Jesus Christ.

I asked the mother whether she was a Christian. She answered that she was.  I asked her why she had kept the pictures of Hindu Gods too, alongside that of Jesus.

She replied that the people in her Church did not like it that she did so. But just because she was now a Christian and worshipped Jesus, did not mean that she should stop praying to the Gods she used to pray to, did it?

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Something to think about, isn’t it?

Could it be that this simple, uneducated woman is more enlightened than the Man of God at the Vatican?

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23 thoughts on “Many Ways to Reach One Truth”

  1. after a long time, you wrote something.so happy to see it.

    Even the maid at my mother’s place is same, she is a converted chrishtian, but she distributes prasad, goes to the temple.etc etc…

    here also there are many who are christian by name but celebrate all festivals of hindus only and follow hindu way..

    God is one and same whichevr form, but these people are like that because they have converted for some convenience, but their mind is not there.

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    1. Nice to read your post, Manju!

      I loved the last story, Manju! We are not teaching yoga to convert people here like they do in so many ways. We never call other gods, whether it is Allah or Jesus, Devils. We don’t mind sending our children to Christian schools, even if the prayer over there is about Jesus…my children said ‘Amen’ there. But we never bothered. For us, all gods are gods. We don’t abuse any god like the father in such a high institution said.

      Our driver of 16 years, is a christian. He takes prasad from our house after pooja or from our office pooja. He prays for my sons during some christian festival and brings home the letter he had written there to Jesus for my sons’ sake. I take it with reverence, like I take our prasad. People like him are worth praising than these fathers, I feel.

      My mother had told me the story of Panduranga, when I was small. Thank you, Manju for a nice post!

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      1. Such a lovely coment, Sandhya! Yes, for us, Gods are just Gods, whether they are connected with Hinduism or not.

        I guess that is why it is difficult for us to understand when some people say that their’s is the only true God and our faith is the Devil’s work.

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    2. Renu, yes, I also know some people as you have described.

      I think that people should be free to pray to Jesus Christ or Hindu Gods as they please. This cannot be something that is forced.

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    1. This picture is of a path in a resort that we stayed in, in West Bengal. The geese that are in the middle of the pic used to run along the path in the early morning. 🙂

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  2. I agree with the sentiments of the post and especially those of Sandhya. We have assimilated the best in all religions which is why Hinduism is still thriving. It is about love and acceptance, notwithstanding the efforts to give it a militant hue by some. Hate mongering is not one of the virtues of Sanatan dharma.

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    1. As you say, we have assimilated the best in all religions. Hinduism is traditionally an inclusive religion. There are so many different ways of worshipping all accepted by Hinduism. One is free to worship whichever God/Gods one likes in any manner.

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  3. The problem with the world is we classify everything to relate to religion. Does it mean that if we appreciate sufi music, it makes us a muslim, or a choir song – a christian? And so why this noise about yoga? Even if it is connected to Hinduism, it does not make you a Hindu, unless you want to be one. And Hinduism is a religion that does not enforce any rules for even those born a Hindu, let alone someone who is not!!! So how can it be evil?

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    1. Actually, I think Hinduism is more a way of life than an organised religion. Perhaps that is why there are no set rigid rules that Hindus have to follow.

      As you say anyone can follow practices connected with Hinduism without becoming a Hindu. And any Hindu can follow practices associated with other religions. In fact many do.

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  4. LOL! This priest better take care of the sexual scandals that is rocking his church than comment on Yoga.

    But then Yoga is now selling like gold in the west. The frustration of the priest is evident.

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    1. Sorry to be so late in replying to your comment, HK.

      Yes, yoga is very popular in the west nowadays. Perhaps it is difficult for him to understand that Hindus are not trying to propagate their religion through teaching yoga.

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  5. Why do religious leaders take the line taht the route to salvation is through not just loving a God ( by whatever name ) but hating Gods by other names ??
    They are the true Devils Advocates.The slum dweller is clearly more spiritually evolved.

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  6. Nothing in Hinduism says that there is only one God. Hinduism does not have organized religious practices. More so Indian being a secular country helps us to appreciate other religions and cultures without questions. That is something we all can take a lot of pride in. And people appreciating things linked to other religions is actually a sign of evolution and culture, something to be encouraged.

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Rachna!

      You’re right, Hinduism does not insist on one specific God. It is a very inclusive faith.

      I agree, people appreciating practices linked to other religions is something to be encouraged.

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  7. May be the vatican is not aware that yoga is self massage of the body. Spa’s will be out of business if people do yoga the way it is supossed to -, not pulling , and pushing and over stretching beyond limits ! LOL

    The bible says our body is the temple of the living god , If that is so, it means take care of the body diligently, so that the mind remains serene and not aggravated !

    – Breathe – circulation of oxygen – it is definitely anti-devil

    May be the The vatican needs to read the bible thoroughly. Now which one ?? he would ask??

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