At Rome Richard (now Radhanath Swami) had a candid talk with a monk from the Franciscan order. Richard questioned him about the apparent religious differences amongst people who claim to love the same God. The monk explained that God is one and people who fight over religion are those with a shallow faith, or overcome by egoistic politics. He also allayed Richard’s doubts over his own Jewish background where he saw some Christians hate the Jews. The monk replied that he personally accepts Jesus as his saviour but also understands that the same God has inspired devoted Jews with a different faith than his own. He emphatically declared to Richard that it’s the same kingdom of God that they all aspired to go, and only men of small minds create differences. The essential teaching of all prophets is to love God with all our mind, heart and soul.
Radhanath Swami has often presented an analysis of the various religious scriptures, revealing how all of them essentially have common principles:
1. There is only one God and He is the supreme object of our love.
2. Obedience to God is the ultimate religious principle.
3. Service to God is the nature of all living entities.
4. The Kingdom of God is the ultimate shelter for everyone.
5. To approach God, sinful activities must be given up.
6. Chanting the Holy Names of God is the easiest way of reviving God consciousness.
7. One should renounce flickering material pleasure to experience everlasting spiritual happiness.
8. One needs the guidance and the mercy of a bona fide spiritual master to achieve God.
Radhanath Swami’s presentation on the common features of all religions gives us the assurance that all religions are certainly aiming at the same Absolute, Supreme Truth. Radhanath Swami also reveals how different religions motivate people to worship God differently. Some religious leaders use fear as a tool to call upon people to accept God’s authority. Others present God as a merciful benefactor and thus offer ‘reward’ as the motivation to surrender to God. Some take it to a higher level and present the need to practise religion and spirituality out of a sense of duty and gratitude to God for all the gifts he has bestowed us with. Radhanath Swami however calls upon all religionists to take devotional service to God to the highest level of ‘Love’ as the motivation for serving God and humanity. Any preacher of religion who calls upon his followers to love God will invariably see the unity amidst religious differences. Radhanath Swami always inspires his students to worship God out of a sense of love, and not impelled by any material motivation.
Radhanath Swami once asked his audience the different ways of addressing ‘sun’ and different synonyms for ‘water’. In the cosmopolitan city of Mumbai, people gave different names of the same sun and water, according to their language and culture. Radhanath Swami pointed out that it’s the same sun and water they are referring to; similarly it’s the same God, all religions are referring to.