Attitude of Advaitins towards other faiths

Raghavendra Hebbalalu hs_raghavendra at YAHOO.COM
Fri May 12 17:54:13 CDT 2000

namaste all,

After this fierce exchange of mails, I just wanted to
share some anecdotes displaying the attitude shown
towards other religions/traditions by our Gurus.

shrii chandrasekhara bhaaratii of the shringeri maTha
is one of the greatest lights to adorn the piiTha. In
the following analogy, shrii chandrashekhara bhAratii
has compared the task of 'attaining' to the absolute
to the lighting of an oil lamp. There are various
steps in this job and people can do the same thing in
different combinations of steps. One can put the wick
in the lamp first or one can put the oil first.
Imagine a child trying to light a lamp. The child is
ignorant, like most of us, in how to proceed.There are
a few people in the room who already know how to light
the lamp. Each one gives a different step, which is
actually right as a small step in lighting the lamp.
The child is totally confused. Then one person
instructs the child not to listen to the others and
listen only to him, lest he be unable to light the
lamp. The child listens to him and proceeds to light
the lamp. This analogy has helped me understand the
origin of the zeal with which other religions try to
spread their own faiths.

shrii chandrashekhara always felt that one should
strive to be a better follower of one's own religion
without trying to harm others' faith.

The second of these anecdotes shows how he viewed the
harming of other religions. Once an Advaitic scholar
wrote a polemical treatise as a retort to one of the
dvaita works. The scholar wished to seek the blessings
of His Holiness for the work. Once shrii
chandrashekhara bhaaratii knew what the scholar was up
to, he did not approve of it. He asked the scholar if
shrii shankara had stated in any of his works that one
could attain mukti by condemning other faiths. He also
commented to the scholar that by endeavouring to write
such a work, he was causing pain to an entire
community. The scholar understood and left.

At another time, a disciple of the maTha commented in
a complaining tune that a shrii vaishNava he knew had
an Advaitic experience. svaamiijii immediately
retorted 'Moksha is not the property of shrii
shankaraachaarya's disciples'. The disciple fell

What greatness !


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bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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