Interfaith and Religious Tolerance

Sri Chinmoy's view of religious unity is not just an intellectual belief, but is based on an inner life of prayer and meditation experiences the common source at the heart of different religions. Sri Chinmoy's life-work also included partipating in and initiating interfaith activities to promote religious tolerance and understanding.

Video: Sri Chinmoy conducts the opening meditation at the World Parliament of Religions, Barcelona, 2004. From: Sri Chinmoy TV

Quotes on Religious Tolerance

by: Sri Chinmoy

"I fully agree that all religions lead to one truth, the Absolute truth. There is One truth. There is only one Goal, but there are various paths. Each religion is right in its own way."

- Sri Chinmoy 1

"No religion is absolutely perfect. Yet not only do we fight for religion, but also are we often willing to sacrifice our lives for it. And what we hopelessly fail to do is to live it. A true religion is that which has no caste, no creed, no colour. It is but an all-uniting and all-pervading embrace."

- Sri Chinmoy 2 

"Man-made religions find fault with one another, whereas God-made religion is eternally a oneness-song — God-manifestation through human aspiration on earth."

- Sri Chinmoy 3 

"If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion."

- Sri Chinmoy 4 

World Parliament of Religions

In 1893, the first World Parliament of Religions was held in Chicago, USA. This was a unique event which invited people from the main different religious traditions. The Parliament was a resounding success; in particular,  Swami Vivekananda, touched the hearts and minds of the participants through his clarion call for religious unity and religious tolerance.

"As different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."
 

- Swami Vivekenanda  5

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In 1993, the World Parliament of Religions reconvened in Chicago to revive this spirit of religious tolerance and religious oneness. Sri Chinmoy was chosen to lead the opening meditation. Sri Chinmoy feels that through silent meditation and prayer, we can most effectively feel the underlying unity of different religious teachings. He said of the event:

“During my Opening Meditation I am praying for the oneness of all religions.”

- Sri Chinmoy 6

Sri Chinmoy, also led the opening meditation at the Parliament of world Religions in Barcelona, 2004. There is a video of the opening meditation here at Sri Chinmoy TV.

Interfaith at the United Nations

 

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Sri Chinmoy at United Nations interfaith event at St. Bartholomew's Church.

Sri Chinmoy meditated at the United Nations twice weekly for 37 years - offering prayers and meditations for peace.

Religious beliefs of Sri Chinmoy

Question: If you were comparing your religion to Islam, Christianity or Buddhism, which one is nearest to your belief?

Sri Chinmoy: Being a spiritual man, I must say that there is only one religion. You call it Christianity, I call it Hinduism, somebody calls it Judaism and somebody else calls it Islam. But there is only one religion. So when there is one religion, there cannot be nearness or distance. There are many branches of the religion-tree, but there is only one religion, and that religion is God-realisation. The ultimate Goal of all religion is God-realisation.

Religions may fight on the way to the goal, but at the end of the journey they become most intimate friends, and then they feel that they were all the time together on the same journey, only following different paths. True, sincere followers of any religion, either Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism or Judaism, will never find fault in the truths of other religions. They know that the ultimate Truth exists in each religion.

- Sri Chinmoy 7

Further Reading

 

Sri Chinmoy Centre and interfaith

Members of the Sri Chinmoy Centre continue Sri Chinmoy's legacy of interfaith oneness. Through initiatives such as the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run

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View: Experiences of interfaith from within the Sri Chinmoy Centre

References