On Founders of World Religions
Extolling the Gurus/Founders of other religions, Swami says: “God sends sages, saints and prophets to unveil the Truth, and Himself appears as an Avathaar (Divine incarnation) to awaken and liberate man. The founders of religions experienced these truths and propagated them as ideals for mankind. They were all enlightened souls filled with love and wisdom. Their goal and purpose was the same; none had the design to divide, disturb, or destroy. They attempted to do good, see good, be good and teach good.”
“People professing different faiths worship God under different names: Vishnu, Buddha, Nanak, Allah, Christ, and others. The Truth is that there is only one God. People today try to find God in religions. But God is to be found not in mathamu (religions) but in the mathi (mind). It is only when the mind is controlled and purified that God will be recognized. The whole Universe is the mansion of the Lord. Once you recognize this Truth, how can any differences arise? All the diverse communities in the nation should be united. Mankind should become one family. The world will then become a paradise.”
In this sacred month of Guru Poornima, let us explore the messages that each Guru/Prophet propagated while always being aware that all religions should be revered equally, because God is one and the same for all.
1. Extolling Hinduism, Swami has revealed to us: “The word "Hindu" is composed of the two syllables "Him," meaning Himsa (violence) and "Du" meaning, "distant." Hinduism is the faith that makes “violence distant”. It is the most ancient in origin. Having regard to its Vedic basis, it has been described as Hinduism. The essence of this faith is its universality as expressed in the saying: "Lokaas samasthaas sukhino bhavanthu" (May all the peoples everywhere be happy).
The basis of Hinduism is the belief in the unity of everything. The basic Hindu faith is not for Indians alone but is for all mankind; hence it is called Sanaathana Dharma. Sanaathana means “Eternal”. Only a Dharma (code of righteousness) which can win Universal acceptance can be named Sanaathana.
All the religions that we know of are derived from a person or prophet who is adored as the ideal. Islam has Muhammad, Christianity has Jesus, Buddhism has the Buddha, etc…”
According to Swami, then, from which Guru/Prophet is Sanaathana Dharma derived?
A. It is not derived from or through a person.
B. It is a combination of the contribution of many saints.
D. Certain Aryan prophets.
2. We all know that Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad. In Swami’s Divine 1983 Discourse, He said, “All founders of religions have heard this impersonal Voice of God revealing the Aathma that activates the entire Creation. Just as the Vedas (revealed sacred scriptures) were 'heard' and propagated as 'heard' (Shruthi), the Quran too was 'heard' by Hazrath Muhammad.
Hazrath Muhammad announced the message of God that he had heard to the townsmen of Mecca. At that time, people did not give heed to the Divine Declarations. They forced him to leave the place. But, Hazrath Muhammad knew that Truth will win and God will prevail. He knew that the insult and injury were only for the body; the Aathma can never be hurt.”
According to Swami, “Islam is a word which denotes not a particular religion but a state of mind, the state of _______.”
A. Total Devotion to God.
B. Total Compassion for All.
C. Total Surrender to God.
D. Total Love for All.
3. Buddhism developed out of the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who reached enlightenment and assumed the title Buddha which means ‘The Enlightened One’. In His Divine 1998 Discourse, Swami tells us about Buddha: “Buddha approached many Gurus and listened to their teachings. He studied sacred texts. He realized that this was only a wasteful exercise. He also found that there are people who devote their entire time to reading all kinds of books, without trying to put into practice what they learn from such reading. What is the use of such reading? Buddha spoke out against scholarship unrelated to the good life. He carried out a great deal of study and met many great men. He listened to many discourses. He realized that true knowledge could not be got by these means.”
According to Swami, in order to attain nirvana, what conclusion did Buddha come to?
A. By severing all relationship attachments.
B. By dedicating life to the service of mankind.
C. Through proper use of the senses.
D. By helping the spread of Buddhism.
4. In His Divine 1976 Discourse, Swami tells us: “Jainism, the religion that was rendered an all-India movement by Mahaaveera, extols jina (the heroic conqueror of the senses), the emotions and the stratagems of the intellect. He called upon all to carry out the duties commensurate to their status and professions, with steady faith and enthusiasm. He declared that all things and beings are holy in their own right, and are but pilgrims on the road to Realization. Any injury inflicted on any of them is an intervention in that sacred journey and so has to be scrupulously avoided.”
One of the five manthras that the Jains adore is: ‘Namo arihanthaanaam’ which means – ‘Salutations to the great heroes (Mahavira) who have conquered desire’. According to Swami, what does the adoration through manthras do for Jains?
A. Brings a sincere seeker closer to God.
B. Helps remove the evil effects of all sinful acts.
C. Promotes Unity.
D. Infuses a charitable disposition.
5. Zoroastrianism was founded by Zarathushtra (Zoroaster) who taught his followers that there was only one single Supreme God, Ahura Mazda – God of Wisdom, whose symbol is Fire. In His 1976 Divine Discourse, Swami talks about this noble founder: “Zoroastrianism, the Paarsi religion, was founded by Zoroaster, who wanted that man should ever have the Fire of Wisdom blazing in his consciousness…”
According to Swami, what is the significance of this Fire worship?
A. To keep the flame of God Consciousness glowing.
B. So that evil thoughts and tendencies might be reduced to ashes.
C. To burn desires.
D. To promote warmth and love amongst all.
6. Extolling Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, Swami says: “Christ's basic teachings were related to promotion of compassion, sympathy, love, sacrifice and fellowship among human beings. Jesus was named the Christ as he was regarded as the "chosen" messenger of God. Christianity proclaimed that all are children of God and should have fraternal feelings towards each other. Jesus declared: ‘All are one, be alike to everyone."
In His Divine 1992 Discourse, Swami reminds us: “Jesus performed many miraculous deeds, relieved the sufferings of many in distress, preached sublime truths to the people, and ultimately sacrificed his life. For over a hundred years after His martyrdom, Christ's message did not have any impact. Four centuries later, Christianity was accepted by Roman emperors. Jesus Christ worked for the prosperity of the entire mankind and gave happiness to the people. He sacrificed His very life and that is the reason why the name of Jesus Christ has remained permanently.”
According to Swami, the significance behind the Christians making the cross sign is unity of head, heart and _______.
7. The Sikh faith was founded by Shri Guru Nanak. After his death a series of nine Gurus led the movement until these functions passed to the holy text. This text, the Shri Guru Granth Sahib, was compiled by the tenth Guru, Gobind Singh. It consists of hymns and writings of the first 10 Gurus, along with texts from different Muslim and Hindu saints. The holy text is considered the 11th and final Guru.
Enlightening us more on Sikhism, Swami says: “The Preceptor (Guru) who reveals the Atma and makes one conscious of its existence as one’s reality has the highest place in this system of worship. The collection of the teachings of the Gurus - referred to as Granth Sahib - is extolled and revered by the Sikhs.”
According to Swami, to make everyone experience their Divinity within, what was the noblest path that Guru Nanak started?
A. Community Singing.
B. Community Feeding.
C. Community Reading of the Holy Book.
D. Community Service Projects.
8. The Bahá'í Faith is based on the teachings of Baha'u'llah. Members of the Bahá'í faith the world over mark July 9 as a holy day. On this day Bahá'ís remember the death of one of the founding figures of their faith - Mírzá Alí Muhammad, who assumed the title of the ‘Bab’ that means "Gate" or "Door" in Arabic. However, his teachings did not die, and they laid the basis for the present-day worldwide Bahá'í faith.
What was the Mission of the Bab?
A. To inscribe Commandments for future followers.
B. To be an exemplar of service to the downtrodden.
C. To found a new religion.
D. To herald the arrival of his successor.
9. Sharing His revelations on Judaism to us, Swami has mentioned in His Divine 1991 Discourse: “Two thousand years ago, in Palestine, a province of the Roman Empire, there were Jews professing Judaism. The Jews believed in one God called Yehovah. They believed that God would send a Messiah for the people of Israel. Jerusalem was the sacred city of the Jews and continued to be so even under the Romans.”
While Jews see Abraham as a symbol of trusting and obeying God, Moses is also an important figure, as the leader who freed them from slavery in Egypt and most importantly, revealed the Torah – The Jewish Bible.
Extolling Prophet Moses, Swami says: “In the Bible, God is described as Omnipotent and All-Encompassing. Moses was always meditating on God and dedicated his entire life to God. Because of this, Moses acquired ______________”
A. The rulership of Israel.
B. Knowledge of his past lives.
C. The Effulgence of the Divine.
D. 1008 Horses and Elephants.
10. In His Divine 1976 Discourse, Swami proclaims: "The Sai religion, if the name of religion in its literal sense of binding man to God is accepted, is the essence of all faiths and religions. Above all, recognize this truth: Sai is in all. When you hate another, you are hating Sai; when you hate Sai, you are hating yourself. When you inflict pain on another name, remember that the other is yourself, in another form, with another name.
Sai wants that the votaries of each religion must cultivate faith in its own excellence and realize their validity by their own intense practice. That is the Sai religion, the religion that feeds and fosters all religions and emphasizes their common Greatness.
Take up this religion, boldly and joyfully. For, this Sai has come in order to achieve the supreme task of uniting the entire mankind, as one family through the bond of brotherhood, of affirming and illumining the Aathmic Reality of each being in order to reveal the Divine which is the basis on which the entire Cosmos rests, and of instructing all to recognize the common Divine Heritage that binds man to man, so that man can rid himself of the animal, and rise into the Divine which is his goal.
My task is to grant solace, courage, and Peace (Shanthi). That is to say, My characteristics are the ancient, authentic ones. Only the manifested form is new. The life of Sai, the Message of Sai, the ideals Sai holds forth, the lesson that Sai teaches the world, is all enshrined in one word _________."
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