Q. In that case, why do people praise certain religious texts and condemn others?
A. It is natural for an unhealthy mind to be attached to something. Praise of one’s own religion and condemnation of others’ are the two sides of the same coin. The greater one’s belief in one’s own religion the stronger will be his hatred towards the others. Vedanta is not concerned with belief or hatred. It aims at Self-awareness. It does not instruct you to believe or condemn. It only exhorts you to know your own inner profundity. One who has known the depth of his Self knows that that everything is a part of himself. He will have a vivid understanding that the entire Universe is the variegated manifestations of the One undivided Self. So Vedanta is the final pronouncement of Self-experience. Those who have had no such experience continue to argue and dispute. Leave them alone.
Q. What does Sri Narayana Guru say about these things?
A. This is a relevant question .No one is interested in finding out the meaning of Guru‘s words. Guru is the perfection of Self-Awareness. Every word he spoke is for the spiritual welfare of humanity. It is clear and certain that every creature seeks happiness in life. There have been constant attempts to make that happiness everlasting. All religions are pointers towards them. That is why Guru emphasized that the essence of all religions is the same.
Q. Does Vedanta accept or reject God?
A. Vedanta answers this question in the following manner—each person has his own opinion about God. So what we must know is the meaning a person attaches to the word. Vedanta comprehends God as Truth, experiences God as Knowledge and enjoys God as perfect Bliss. God is neither a symbol nor a sign; neither an image nor a concept. He is indeed the Supreme Self. Sri Narayana Guru addresses this Essence as Knowledge, Atma, or the Self. Whatever be the term applied, the essence is of supreme importance. When the name is devoid of essence the religion begins to decay. It is in such a context that Nietsze lamented that ‘God is dead.’ Before the God of Vedanta is born in us, the God of small faiths should die in us.
Q. The answer is really soothing. How did Vedanta achieve such clarity of vision?
A. Vedanta exists not only in India. It is a true universal experience undergone by Masters like Socrates, Prophet Mohammed, Jalaluddeen Rumi, St.Teresa of Avila ,St.John of the Cross and St.Francis of Assisi. Later Sri Sankara, Madhwacharya and Sri Ramanuja made attempts to re-evaluate its meaning. In the modern age, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri NarayanaGuru and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa remain as the true witnesses of this Experience. Their teachings are not parades of erudition. When their inner Selves were illuminated, their words spontaneously acquired clarity of vision. It is not an artificial vividness achieved with the help of the intellect. It is the lucidity of innocence born of profound Self-experience. Those who do not have this would never be able to grasp Vedanta.
Q. Will the ordinary people get any benefit through meditation or listening to Vedanta?
A. Listening to Vedanta will not make a common man wise overnight. At first listening to Vedanta fills him with doubts, which in turn make him a seeker. The seeker passes through different paths and finally reaches the Wise Master. He then realizes his own status as a disciple and that of the Master as the Guru. Both the Guru and the Master is within the seeker himself. Then the Vedantic enlightenment naturally takes place within him. Vedanta does not distinguish among men. It only teaches you to live with full and perfect awareness. It destroys the mechanical way of life.