(Recently some ardent devotees of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba approached Swami expressing their pain about the criticism of Baba from Shri Swamiji, the head of Dvaarakaapiith. Swami gave the following message to them).Swami replied:
I shall answer all the criticism of Shri Sai Baba that came from Shri Swamiji, the head of Shankara Peetha of Dvaaraka. I can’t tolerate this attack and this is the issue of prestige of My ancestral dynasty, the precious chain starting from Lord Dattatreya, whose human incarnations like Shri Padavallabha, Shri Narasimha Saraswati, Shri Maanikya Prabhu, Shri Akkalkot Maharaj, Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, Shri Satya Sai Baba etc., who are the diamonds.1. Union of Religions:
Shri Swamiji differentiates Hinduism and Islam opposing the trials of Shri Sai Baba for the correlation of the two religions, which is totally unfair. Religion means the path of efforts to please the God having a specific name and form particularly concerned to a specific religion. The philosophy of any religion is the analysis of the details of its specific path and details of its specific form of God. There are several religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc.
If you take Islam religion, the specific representation of God is Allah and its philosophy is about the formless aspect of God, opposes the concept of human incarnation etc. Its language is called Urdu and Muslim habits about dress, food etc., are called as Islam culture. Religion is concerned to the spiritual aspect whereas culture is concerned about external aspect. The cultures can’t be one, but the religions are always one because God in all the forms is one only and the essence of the paths of the religions is only the effort to please God. We mistake culture for religion and get divided within us.
Just like you have different religions in this world, you had different sub-religions (Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shakteyism etc.,) in the religion called as Hinduism. Thus, Hinduism is a micro world or a reflection of the macro world (Universe) in small scale. Adi Shankara proved that all the sub-religions in Hinduism are one and the same. He broke the walls between the rooms (sub-religions) and made the house (Hinduism) as one hall. The same work was done by Prophet Mohammad in Islam by uniting hundreds of sub-religions existing before Islam and made Islam as one single hall. Shri Sai Baba broke the wall between these two halls and made a big hall. What is the difference between Shri Shankara, Prophet Mohammad and Shri Sai Baba? Shri Swamiji is a follower of Adi Shankara! This is the greatest tragedy!!
Shri Satya Sai Baba united Hinduism and Christianity in similar way. The dress of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba is Islamic whereas the dress of Shri Satya Sai Baba (long gown) is of Christianity. Shri Swami Vivekananda united all world religions as one biggest hall. His preacher, Shri Ramakrishna Parama Hamsa became the follower of each religion for some time and finally declared that He experienced oneness in all the religions.
If Shri Swamiji criticized Shri Shirdi Sai Baba, he simultaneously criticized Adi Shankara, his founder preacher also. Shri Shankara brought union between Shaivism (having horizontal marks on forehead using Rudraaksha garlands) and Vaishnavism (having vertical marks on forehead using Tulasi garlands) with different cultures. Here the difference in the external cultures couldn’t stop the union of the two sub-religions. Applying the same, how the difference in the external cultures of Hinduism and Islam can stop the union of Hinduism and Islam religions?
The union of Shaivism with Vaishnavism is called as Smaarta-sub-religion, the founder of which is Shankara and Shri Swamiji naturally belongs to this unified religious path (Smaarta)! The follower of Smaarta worships all festivals of Shiva and Vishnu, worshipping both Shiva and Vishnu as one God. Following the same logic followed by Shankara in uniting all sub-religions in Hinduism, we can extend it to all religions of the world and unite Jehovah of Christianity and Allah of Islam to the united single God of Shiva and Vishnu. If you oppose one type of logic in one place, you must not support that same logic in another place. If you do so, it is your self-contradiction.
Shri Swamiji criticizes Shri Shirdi Sai Baba as a Muslim. He was in the dress of Muslim and stayed in an old masjid (since He was not allowed into temple), but, proved Himself as the greatest Hindu. He was prepared to sit on the lower step in rain refusing to move to the upper step on which the statue of God Hanuman existed! In such situation, any one of our Hindus will certainly jump to the higher step to sit along with the statue!!
Once, a Muslim blessed by Baba with a child came to Baba with sweets. Baba told him to go to the temple of Hanuman and distribute sweets there saying “once Hanuman and Allah were boxing with each other and Allah was defeated”. He was constantly chanting that Allah is the master (Allah Malik) and such saying is only to remove ignorant-conservative view of one’s own religion!
All religions appear to be different due to their externally observed cultures. But, God and path to please God (both these together are called as religion) are one and the same in all religions. The different paths ending in the same centre are taken as the simile for different religions. Here, this simile is applied since religion is mistaken as external culture. If the religion is taken as the path and goal together, there can’t be any difference between religions since goals or paths of all religions are one and the same. God Shiva is said to be the deity of knowledge (Jnaanam Maheshwaraat...), and both Shankara and Shri Sai Baba are the two incarnations of Lord Shiva came for scholars (as Shankara) and for common people (as Shri Sai Baba).
Actually, the original God is unimaginable, but, the three divine preachers took God as awareness. Actually, God is said to be unimaginable mediated in awareness. Whether God is unimaginable or the awareness, the factors of external culture like name, form, language of scripture, external living habits etc., can’t touch the actual unimaginable God even as per the philosophy of Shankara (name and form are myth— Shankara).[For the full discourse, please visit http://www.universal-spirituality.org/msg24082016.html]