Is It Necessary To Study All Religions

[Bhagavad-gita]“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.2)

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राज-विद्या राज-गुह्यं
पवित्रम् इदम् उत्तमम्
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं
सु-सुखं कर्तुम् अव्ययम्

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

Friend1: Let’s take this situation. Pretend that I like Vedic culture. Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Ramayana – awesome books. Really mean that. I get more satisfaction from reading a single verse than I do from adjusting my material condition times ten.

Friend2: What do you mean by adjusting?

Friend1: Solving problems. Fixing the car that is not working. Finding a higher paying job. Moving to a bigger apartment. Changing the light bulb in the ceiling. Completing that difficult coding project at the office.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: Immersion in the Vedic culture is certainly a higher experience. It is a superior taste, as described by Shri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते
निराहारस्य देहिनः
रस-वर्जं रसो ऽप्य् अस्य
परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते

viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ‘py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)

Friend2: Well, that is the whole point. This is not merely another attraction in the tourist exhibit known as the material world.

Friend1: For a person in this situation, is it necessary to try other faiths? Should I make an experiment of other religions and see if the experience is similar?

Friend2: The first point of contention is this notion of “religion.” Dharma means something a little different, but I won’t go into an extended lecture. I understand what you are trying to say.

Friend1: Another religion, as it is defined in general conversation.

Friend2: Right.

Friend1: You hear people make this argument.

“I want to understand everything before I make a firm decision. Let me see what others have to say.”

Friend2: A wise person does understand every point of view. A truly cultured individual, a gentleman, if you will, makes a decision after applying rational thought, which automatically includes a willingness to have their mind changed.

Friend1: To be persuaded in a different direction. Open-mindedness.

Friend2: What I would ask you to consider is the case of an ill patient visiting a doctor.

Friend1: Okay.

[doctor-patient]Friend2: Say there are many physicians within a particular community. Is it necessary for the patient to visit every single one of them?

Friend1: You mean to get an assessment on the illness?

Friend2: Yes.

Friend1: Okay, that would be silly.

Friend2: Why?

Friend1: Because who has the time or the money to do that?

Friend2: Pretend that there are sufficient resources. Is it still a bad idea?

Friend1: Yes, because it could only take one doctor. Find the cure. Become healed. If I call a repairman to fix my broken dishwasher, once the task is done I no longer need to call other people.

Friend2: Precisely.

Friend1: Are you saying that once I find true satisfaction in a spiritual culture, there is no need to venture elsewhere?

Friend2: A hungry man knows when he has eaten to satisfaction. He does not need another slice of pizza to be truly certain.

Friend1: Okay, but what if I am curious about the other experiences? Maybe I am not really happy. Perhaps there is a higher level to reach?

Friend2: That is a valid argument, but one book like the Shrimad Bhagavatam saves you so much time. Every single philosophy ever invented or put forward is presented. It is not like the Vedas insist on blind faith. Apply your intellect. Bring every doubt to the table. If the books don’t answer your questions after a thorough reading or two, the representative is there to settle doubts. The genuine saintly person will not toss your questions aside as too difficult to answer.

Friend1: I see.

[Bhagavad-gita]Friend2: Go ahead and see for yourself, if you want, but you will only find incompleteness. Anything not rooted in the Vedas will be deficient to a certain degree. Better to know God in full, through the king of education presented to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

In Closing:

On final place settling before,

Thorough review understanding for.

Idea that from every religion take,

And then wise decision make.

But by Vedic literature already done,

Included all philosophies and those to come.

King of education to Arjuna gave,

Words of Krishna this world to save.

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