Path to Siva: A Catechism for Youth

68 How Do We View Other Faiths?§


Here the Earth is encircled by symbols of nine major religions. There are hundreds more. Hindus are unique in our understanding and acceptance of humanity’s many expressions of belief and non-belief.§


Devout Hindus, secure in their sadhana, hold their faith in highest esteem. Gurudeva boldly called it the greatest religion in the world. Its refined culture, deep philosophy, grand temples and yoga practices offer more than we could explore and enjoy in a hundred lifetimes. Yet, there is no sense whatsoever in Hinduism of an “only path.” Rather, the Eternal Path is seen reflected in all religions. We hold a profound tolerance and affection for those of all other religions. At the same time, we know that all religions are not the same. Each has its unique beliefs, practices and scriptures, and the doctrines of one often conflict with others. Even such difference should never be cause for religious tension or intolerance. Saivites seek to be faithful to their own path, following it without getting sidetracked into practices of other faiths or movements. We defend our faith and avoid the enchantment of other ways. Being content in our path, we encourage others to follow and defend their religion. There is a great strength in loyalty to a religion and undistracted focus on its beliefs, teachings and cultural gifts. Hindus never seek to convert others to our faith, though we do accept sincere seekers into the fold. We stand strong against unethical efforts by those of any faith who try to draw Hindus away from their religion in times of distress or weakness. Gurudeva summarized, “We respect all religious traditions and the people within them. Good citizens and stable societies are created from groups of religious people. Still, Saivites defend their faith, proceed contentedly with their practices and avoid the enchantment of other ways, be they ancient or modern.”§


GURUDEVA: The people who are Hinduism share a mind structure. They can understand, acknowledge, accept and love the peoples of all religions, encompass them within their mind as being fine religious people.§