GREAT EXPERIENCES WITH JAGADGURU BHAGHAWAN SRI SRI SRI ABHINAVA VIDHYA THEERTHA MAHASANNIDHANAM :
A priest propagating Christianity once came to see Sri Mahasannidhanam. He was working towards converting everyone in southern India to Christianity and the reason for this, he claimed, was to lead everyone to heaven. He spoke to Mahasannidhanam and expressed his desire to start a church near the mutt.
Mahasannidhanam: Why do you think you want to start a church here?
Priest: I want to preach to people here.
Mahasannidhanam: What are you going to preach about?
Priest: I want to explain to people the greatness of Christian faith and attract them to Christianity.
Mahasannidhanam: Before preaching others, why don't you tell me about your religion? Let me understand about your religion.
Priest: I am fine with it. Please ask me any question you want and I will answer it.
Mahasannidhanam: When did your religion start?
Priest: our religion is 1973 years old.
Mahasannidhanam: Wonderful to know that. So it becomes clear that there is a known beginning for your religion. Were there people living before the existence of your religion?
Priest: If there were no people, how would we have preached our religion? So there were people even before the start of our religion.
Mahasannidhanam: You claim that only those following your religion will go to the heaven and the rest to hell. So, what about all those billions of people who lived before the start of your religion? Did all they all go to hell?
Priest: I am sure all went to hell because of not following our religion.
Mahasannidhanam: Is this view logically correct? Even the current day government doesn't impose such a rule. Today I frame a law and penalize people who existed before the framing of the law for not following it! Is that not ridiculous? How would a community of people know some rules or religion which would be framed in future, ahead of time and follow them? And just because they didn't of this, would the all kind lord push them to hell?
Priest (confused): Probably you are correct. They might have
gone to heaven.
Mahasannidhanam: Now your second statement is also not logically correct. Now that you have agreed that people who existed before the framing of your religion went to heaven, how true is the claim that only those who currently follow your religion will reach the God? Now you also claim that those who don't follow your religion go to hell. As you yourself agreed earlier, all people before the existence of your religion went to heaven. Now after your religion came into existence, some are going to hell because of not following your religion. So by framing your religion, have you not done injustice to those who are now going to hell!
Priest: Please don't ask me such questions. Spare me.
Mahasannidhanam: OK. Let's leave that topic. Now there are various miseries and pleasures in this universe. What is the reason for these?
Mahasannidhanam: God has made one person a beggar and the other a millionaire. So does God like one person and dislike the other?
Priest: How can we know all that? It is all his wish.
Mahasannidhanam: If everything was his wish, then why didn't he give happiness to all? Why did he make some people miserable?
Priest (confused): I can't answer this question.
Mahasannidhanam: There seems to be no logic in your reasoning. Ok let's forget this topic too. Some people die as infants. Some die after aging. When infants die, do they go to hell or heaven?
Priest: How can infants commit sins? They will certainly go to
Mahasannidhanam: Oh! Our parents have then committed a great mistake then. They didn't let us die as infants and brought us up. If the children were killed after birth, they would directly reach heaven. We would not have grown up, committed mistakes and gone to hell.
Priest (confused even more): I cannot answer questions as these. You are confusing me.
Mahasannidhanam: Ok let's leave this topic also aside. Now, every person who dies either goes to hell or heaven according to you. Can you tell me when?
Priest: Whenever God decides their fate.
Mahasannidhanam: Oh Lord! God must be crazy! He decides their fate whenever he wants!
Priest: No, no, there is a certain way things happen.
Mahasannidhanam: Can you explain that 'certain' way?
Priest (stammering): w w..well.
Mahasannidhanam: Ok. I will tell you what your religion says. Correct me if I am wrong.
Priest: Fine sir.
Mahasannidhanam: In this world, if a man commits a mistake, he will be arrested and placed in a jail initially. However, if he has to be retained in the jail, it is only by the orders of the judge. If the judgment is in his favor, he will be released from prison. If the judge asks him to wait for years and years till everyone commits a crime before passing his judgment, is there a way out for the prisoner?
Mahasannidhanam (consoling him): Your religion is the greatest for you and so is mine for me. Everyone should sincerely practice his own religion. It is incorrect to claim one's own religion as the only way for liberation and accuse other religions as doorways to hell. You like your mother and others like their mothers. According to our Sanatana dharma, lord is beginning-less and so is this universe. Our Sanatana Vaidika dharma is also eternal. Every creature earns merit based on his action. The actions themselves are insentient. It is the Lord who grants merits for the actions committed. It is also true that the Lord is compassionate. If the criminal accepts his crime in front of the judge, the judge certainly reduces the severity of punishment. But if the criminal commits the crime every now and then and asks for forgiveness each time, will the judge forgive him? Our Shastras not only teach us faith or shraddhA but also viveka and vichAra - sense of discrimination. The other religions rely only on faith. It is very important for religions to have both the aspects - faith and rationality. We have prophets or Avatars like Sri Rama and Sri Krishna but they have not defined or started our dharma. Instead, our Sanatana dharma actually gifted these great men to the world. Having the privilege of being the followers of such a meritorious path, we should all be thankful to the lord.