Saturday, July 26, 2014

God is too vast to be contained in just one religion!

Each of us, individuals and communities, has our own understanding of God. And, we strongly believe that our own perceptions of, or beliefs about, God are true - we may not be entirely wrong there, but at the same time not correct either! It is something like if we look up in the sky, we see in clouds in myriad shapes and sizes - some resembling like monkeys and lions, others like peacocks and whales or even a grandfather with a giant nose! While another person looking at the clouds, say sitting at a different country far away may find clouds forming different shapes like buildings or cars!

God is vast, very vast! While we are limited beings with, at best, only very partial understandings of God, our perceptions of God are naturally limited and partial. What often happens is that we imagine that our particular understanding of God, as represented by the particular religion we claim to follow, reflects His totality - just like the little child who thinks that the bit of sky and clouds that he can see is what the whole sky and its contents are all about. Also, because of this (our limited understanding, partial truth), we go about disparaging, denouncing, combating and even waging war against people who see God in ways other than ours, like children fighting with other children who see bits of sky and clouds other than those that we do.

Our respective perceptions of God may not be wrong, but at the same time they do not represent the whole story of the sky or the whole truth about or reality of God. "When we begin to understand where and how we have erred, we are led to realize that how such a terrible cost in terms of human lives are lost in the name of wars over and about religion," writes Roshan Shah in

When, like the two boys who learn that the sky is much bigger than they had imagined, we are suitably humbled to realize that our understandings of God are just a limited and partial reflection of the Absolute Truth and that others also may possess equally valid (and equally partial and limited) understandings of the same, we might be inspired to reach out to each other in friendship, to learn more about God and goodness from each other and to enrich ourselves spiritually in the process!

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