No one owns the truth table except God – and he has many invitees
“My way is the only way.” This is the exclusivist credo of some religionists. In disarming contrast, Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gita (04.11): “All people are on my way.”
To understand this inclusivist spirit, consider the metaphor of a dining table that serves not physical food, but spiritual truth – truth about God and his glories. Religious exclusivists claim that they own the truth table.
However, God does not belong to any religion – all religions belong to him. It is he who infuses religion with the truths that they convey. So, God alone owns the truth table.
As God loves all living beings, he reveals himself in different ways according to what will best attract different people to him. Thus, God has many invitees at the truth table, with different people relishing different helpings of the truth. In fact, whatever truth anyone has perceived is the helping God has served that person. In that sense, everyone is on his way.
How can one get a greater helping of the truth?
By increasing one’s devotion to God, for the same Gita verse states that Krishna rewards revelation in proportion to surrender.
The Gita’s non-exclusivist, non-competitive spirit is elaborated by the philosopher-saint Bhaktivinoda Thakura: “When we have occasion to be present at the place of worship of other religionists at the time of their worship, we should stay there in a respectful mood, contemplating thus: 'Here is being worshiped my adorable highest entity God, in a different form than that of mine … I bow down before His emblem as I see here and offer my prayer to my Lord who has adopted this different emblem so that He may increase my love toward Him in the form that is acceptable for me.”
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