Ram Navami 2005

God is addressed differently by different groups of people and also personally by individuals through various names. God, the unseen, is thus addressed differently as He does not have a single form. His manifested forms are millions and millions. These forms maybe visible to the human eye or may not be. He has gross forms, subtle forms, energy forms, thought forms, feeling forms. But the ultimate form of God is an unseen form, which no one has seen. All Saints, paths and religions, at their best, have called it a vast, timeless, spaceless, causeless, attributeless ocean of emptiness or a primordial void.

Whatever God reveals about Himself through the sense and beyond perceptions to the human beings, is what they understand Him to be. Species other than human beings are not mentally evolved to conceptualize that the movements in the universe and also in them are created by God as their soul-force. The excellence and superiority of the homo-sapiens lies here. Not only do they have the capacity to conceptualise God in myriads of forms but they have also worked through the methods to experience God at different stages of consciousness. Whereas other religions have conceptualized a limited number of these forms of God, Hinduism, being one of the oldest religions on this earth has created thousands of symbols for millions of aspects of the unlimited God. This has not happened in a day or year. It has evolved through the passage of time of thousands of years through the experience of practitioners who have devoted their full lives to the realm of spiritualism.

The universally accepted principle of experiencing God can be explained through the parallelism of a river meeting an ocean or sea. All rivers emanating from different places (locations), meandering through different lands and paths ultimately merge in sea. Thereafter, forever the river is a part of the sea. It merges its total identity in it. When we think of the Bay of Bengal, we do not picturise is it as a combination of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and other similar rivers and thousands of other water channels merging in it. Herein comes the concept of multiplism and dualism leading to Monism (Advaita). Since each of these rivers flows on different soils, through different hills and forests, takes different curves and falls, the attributes of the water it carries cannot be the same – i.e., in content, speed, density, quality and quantity. However, once merged in the sea, all its qualities merge and become one with the attributes of the seawater.

Different religions and paths that people follow are like these different rivers. It is wrong to criticize any of these religions and paths. One is free to practice any path he chooses, but is socially and morally not free to slander other religions or paths.

This is what Shri Sai Nath Maharaj taught his disciples through His own conduct and precepts. Shri Sai Satcharitra amply elaborates on this universalism of Baba in the backdrop of some day-to-day happenings at Shirdi. Following the Master, Sai devotees should, therefore, develop the highest quality of religious tolerance. As Baba used to say all are the children of God and He is the only and ultimate Lord.

Shri C B Satpathy


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