Founder & Honorary Convener
Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership Foundation (India)
Integrating Spirituality and Organizational Leadership Global Foundation (USA)
Sri Ramakrishna is a perfect incarnation of Hindu genius and his greatest contribution to the world of thought is his declaration of the harmony of all religions after actual realization of their highest truths. In one life of 50 years and odd, Sri Ramakrishna lived ‘the five thousand years of national spiritual life, and so raised himself to be an object-lesson for future generations.’ Out of his direct perception of the truths of all the religions, he declared the existence of the one and only supreme Being, and not more than one, who is worshipped as Brahman by the Hindus, Buddha by the Buddhists, Christ by the Christians and Allah by the Muslims just as the same water is named differently in different languages (1986, p. 248).
Sri Aurobindo says:
The world moves through a new synthesis of religious thought life – free from intolerance, yet full of faith and fervor, accepting all forms of religion, because it was an unshakable faith in One. The religion which embraces science and faith, Theism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Buddhism and yet is none of these, is that to which the world spirit moves. It is such a synthesis embracing all life and action in its scope that the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna have been preparing (1986, p. 248).
The story of Ramakrishna Paramhamsa’s life is a story of religion in practice. His life enables us to see God face-to-face. No one can read the story of his life without being convinced that God alone is real and that all else is an illusion. Ramakrishna was a living embodiment of godliness. His sayings are not those of a mere learned man but they are pages from the Book of Life. They are the revelations of his own experiences. They therefore leave on the reader an impression which he cannot resist. In this age of skepticism Ramakrishna presents an example of a bright and living faith which gives solace to thousands of men and women who would otherwise have remained without spiritual light. Ramakrishna’s life was an object-lesson in Ahimsa (non-injury). His love knew no limits, geographical or otherwise. May His divine love be an inspiration to all…
Tolerance, reconciliation, cooperation and fellowship of faiths are the graduated steps to be achieved for establishing the harmony of religion. Sri Ramakrishna lived this harmony of religion. Swami Vivekananda proclaimed at the Parliament of Religions at Chicago – ‘Do I wish that the Christian should become a Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist should become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian; but each must assimilate the spirit of others and yet to preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth (Swami Vivekananda, Chicago Address).
It is only through the friendly contact amongst religions that we can pave the way for fellowships amongst cultures and civilizations. Swami Ghanananda writes, “…The unity of purpose and the affinity of aspirations underlying the acceptance of the harmony of religions will diffuse from the plane of religion to the plane of cultural thought, and pave the way for the concord of cultures and symphony of civilizations. Communal and national as well as regional and racial cultures and civilizations will be benefitted by contact between themselves. They will lose the spirit of narrowness and exclusiveness and contribute their share to world culture and world civilization” (2005, p.139).
Sri Ramakrishna’s idea of a Universal Religion was based on the synthesis of sectarian beliefs. He, after practising Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam boldly, declared the oneness of different religions – based on his profound realization of the ultimate reality. He recognized the differences among religions but held the view that in spite of these differences every religion has an essential core of spirituality which constitutes the common ground of all religions.
Dasgupta, R.K. (2001). Sri Ramakrishna’s Religion. Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.