This post looks at how we can reconcile extremist destructive religions with the instruction to respect all people who believe in God. Interestingly a fellow Saivite has just published a post looking at the issues at the other end of the spectrum, In “Devas on the head of a pin?” he asks how can we give enough credit to the beliefs of other religions where the teachings appear to be different but the truth behind must be the same.
I have been prompted to think about this by an interesting comment by Kodanda, where he talks about sattvic and non-sattvic religions. He asserted that the Hindu proclamation “Ekam sat, viprah bahudhaa vadanti” or “There is one truth (God), but sages describe it differently” could only be applied to sattvic religions. Religions that promote violence, conversion by force, threats, bribes or deceit, that subjugate unbelievers should not be included in this. It is certainly possible that the sages who first wrote this had only come across Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism and not the exclusive religions who would like to see an end to all other beliefs.
At first I was worried that this would contradict the teachings of my sampradaya (Hindu schdenominationool) as Gurudeva says:
How Do Saivites Regard Other Faiths?
Religious beliefs are manifold and different. Saivites, understanding the strength of this diversity, wholeheartedly respect and encourage all who believe in God. They honor the fact that Truth is one, paths are many. Aum.
His Nandinatha Sutras also say:
SUTRA 231: INTERACTING WITH OTHER FAITHS
Siva’s devotees properly respect and address virtuous persons of all religious traditions. They may support and participate in interfaith gatherings from time to time with leaders and members of all religions. Aum.
SUTRA 232: NOT DEMEANING OTHER SECTS OR RELIGIONS
Siva’s devotees do not speak disrespectfully about other Hindu lineages, their beliefs, Gods, sacred sites, scriptures, or holy men and women. Nor do they disparage other religions. They refuse to listen to such talk. Aum. Continue reading