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Infinite Paths to Infinite RealitySri Ramakrishna and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion$
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Ayon Maharaj

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190868239

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190868239.001.0001

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“All Faiths Are Paths”

“All Faiths Are Paths”

A Reconstruction and Defense of Sri Ramakrishna’s Vijñāna-Based Model of Religious Pluralism

(p.84) (p.85) 3 “All Faiths Are Paths”
Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality

Ayon Maharaj

Oxford University Press

This chapter reconstructs from Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings a unique and philosophically sophisticated model of religious pluralism. For Sri Ramakrishna, God is infinite, so there are correspondingly infinite ways of approaching and realizing God. Therefore, all religions and spiritual philosophies—both theistic and nontheistic—are salvifically effective paths to one common goal: God-realization, or the direct spiritual experience of God in any of His innumerable aspects or forms. Maharaj then examines Sri Ramakrishna’s response to the thorny problem of conflicting religious truth-claims. Sri Ramakrishna reconciles religious claims about the nature of the ultimate reality by claiming that every religion captures a uniquely real aspect of the impersonal-personal Infinite Reality. Regarding other types of religious truth-claims, Sri Ramakrishna maintains that while every religion errs on some points of doctrine, these errors do not substantially diminish the salvific efficacy of religions. Finally, Maharaj defends Sri Ramakrishna’s doctrine of religious pluralism against numerous objections.

Keywords:   Sri Ramakrishna, religious pluralism, harmony of religions, vijñāna, Alan Race, Perry Schmidt-Leukel, John Hick, conflicting truth-claims

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