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Interfaith Dialogue ( 30 Jan 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Reflections on Religious Pluralism: Nature Itself Has No Way of Distinguishing Between the Different Frames

By Swami Tapasyananda

31 January 2017

“In the language of relativity, the Hindu, sitting in his frame of reference, thinks that the vision of the Reality from his frame is the right one. As the Christian imagines that the view of the Reality as seen from his frame of reference is the right one. And so with the Mohammedan and the Buddhist and all others. Einstein’s principle asserts that Reality or Nature itself has no way of distinguishing between the different frames. Nature doesn’t envisage any ‘preferential frame. ‘Rightness’ as applied to a frame of reference cannot be found, because it doesn’t exist. It is a myth.

In a similar fashion, the Hindu and the Christian and the Mohammedan, and within the Hindu fold, the Advaita-vadin, the Sakta, the Vaisnava and a host of people of this sort, are anxious to fix the label in their hands on that one frame which according to them is the ‘right’ one. They little realize that they are standing in front of frames which are all on equal footing, with no known criterion to decide on which of the fames their label is to be attached. And after all, they haven’t looked at what they have in hand. A blank label! What an amount of bloodshed and hatred and animosity and quarrels and crusades over such an exercise!

All frames of reference—all points of view—being on equal footing means, therefore, that none of them represents the absolute truth. All of them are but partial views of the Reality, relative views of the Absolute, with respect to and, therefore, as conditioned by the particular frame of reference. Compare Sri Ramakrishna’s enunciation of this principle in his own inimitable and transparent fashion: Someone reported having seen a red animal on a tree, while another asserted he saw the same animal green. Someone else denied it was either; it was yellow. A row followed. An old man sitting under the tree laughed and said: ‘My boys, all of you are right. Only you are not right when you say that others are not right. I live under this tree, and know the animal very well. It is called a chameleon. It is red and green and yellow and much besides.’”


(Extracted from Swami Tapasyananda's Raison d’etre of Bhakti Schools of Vedanta)

Swami Tapasyananda (1904-1991) was a disciple of Swami Shivanandaji Maharaj, one of the eminent disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. He was a Vice-President of the Ramakrishna Order during 1985-1991.