Richard (now Radhanath Swami) was surprised that Narayan Prasad had close friendship with a Muslim, Mohammad. Richard too met him and they spoke for many hours daily on the parallels of Gita, Bible and Koran. Richard asked how come Narayana Prasad had such close friendship with a Muslim, in a country where there is so much conflict between the two religions, Hinduism and Islam. Narayana Prasad gave a wonderful reply that Radhanath Swami hasn’t forgotten till now. Narayana Prasad said, “A dog will recognize his master in whatever way he dresses. The master may dress in robes, suit and tie, or stand naked, but the dog will always recognize his master. If we cannot recognize God, our beloved master, when he comes in a different dress from another religion, then we are less than that dog.”
Radhanath Swami implores all seekers of Truth to not get bogged down by the superficial externals of religion; rather he begs all to see the underlying principles uniting all religions. Some common principles of all religions that Radhanath Swami emphasizes are ‘Love thy neighbor’ and ‘live for Truth’. Radhanath Swami says that there may be differences in religions but they are superficial. On the other hand similarities between religions are deeper. When we only focus on the rituals, institutions and mindsets of religions that differ according to the time, place and circumstances we are breeding fanaticism. The fallible human mistakes, misinterpretations and misconceptions have over the centuries obscured the meaning of real religions and caused many to go astray from the fundamental that is to unconditionally love God and all His children. Radhanath Swami has tirelessly sought to remove these misconceptions and help people seek unity on the basis of our eternal relationship with God.
Growing up with devout Christian friends, while I was myself from a Hindu family, I observed some common principles in both these religions. I observed Christians baptizing infants as well as elders either by total immersion in water or by sprinkling some water on head and chanting some prayers. Even amongst Hindus, sprinkling of sacred water and immersion in water body is a sacred ritual. Most Hindu temples have a pond of water attached and traditionally devout pilgrims would take a bath in the pond before going in to see the deity. Also rivers like Ganga and Yamuna are sacred to the Hindus and all caste distinctions and external differences are said to be dissolved when we dip in these holy bodies of water. Besides it is interesting to note that all bonafide religions consider their sacred texts to be word of God. Also materialistic lives have been condemned and I found the phrase ‘blind leading the blind’ in both Christian gospels as well as Hindu literatures. Both religions talk of repentance for sin, a past war in heaven between good and bad angel, and the need to have faith in the savior or guru. Rebirth is also mentioned in both these religions.