Gita on sameness of god

I am writing this to supplement the post ‘Is the truth one? So what if the wise call it by different names?’ In that article Rig Veda 1.164 and Advaita Vedanta have been used to show that all religions talk of the same God, The argument is all right as it stands but is not complete. Advaita Vedanta is only a school of thought and is a minority tradition. Advaita Vedanta is not scripture. What does Hindu scriptures in addition to the Rig Veda say on the sameness of God?

The answer to this question is to be found in Swami Tapasyananda’s insightful explanation of Gita which says

O Partha! Whosoever worships Me through whatsoever path, I verily accept and bless them in that way. Men everywhere follow My path.

         Gita 4.11
Swami Tapasyananda in his Commentary on the Gita says the following on this verse:

‘This verse is the fundamental tenet of the universal religion. Wherever
worship is done, only the one Supreme Being is worshipped. No one, except the perfected sage, can worship Him in His fullness, since the human mind can grasp only limited aspects of Him. The more an individual or a community is evolved, the more noble and comprehensive will be their conception of the Deity. But the less evolved man too is adoring the same Deity, grasping such aspects of His as his undeveloped mind would allow. It is just like various forms being chipped from a huge block of marble. The more skilled the workman, the more artistic will be the forms chipped out of the block. Even if it is crude, it is of the same block. Such are the various conceptions of the Deity; none can claim that his conception embraces the whole of Him, because He cannot be contained within the limitation of a mind, as a bottle cannot contain the whole of the sea. He reveals only what one is fit to receive. So according to the stages of human evolution, there will be different conceptions of the Deity, and the followers of one, even if they think theirs is more refined, need not look down upon others as heathens or Kaffirs worshipping false Deities, and consider themselves alone as the followers of the true Deity. For whatever the path, God approaches man through that path, and if the faith of the votary is genuine, he will be led to higher and higher forms of worship. So the followers of every religion must have respect for, and have acceptance of, the faith and form of worship of other religions in spite of the differences that are sure to prevail in their ideologies and practices. For it is the same God that is worshipped by them all. Just as all rivers, in spite of their divergent courses, lead to the same ocean, so do all faiths lead to Him, i.e., take one to the same God who inspires them all. This Gita teaching has been proclaimed to the modern world by Sri Ramakrishna in his saying: “As many faiths, so many paths”.’

Srimad Bhagavad Gita translated by Swami Tapasyananda

Gita seems to say that all religions are paths to the same souirce, if you believe this interpretation.

People who don’t like the ‘sameness’ position are afraid of Hindus converting to other religions. In fact there is substance to this fear. Many years ago I was told by some one that he is converting to Christianity. I asked him the reason for doing that. He told me that he is converting because I told him that Hindus accept all religions as paths. What is the harm then of following a different path? I was not able to give him a satisfactory reply. Today I can.

Vyasa’s view on leaving Hinduism 

Vyasa says in Mahabharata, ‘..The rejection of one’s own creed, the practice of other people’s creed, ……- these all have been pronounced by persons conversant with duties to be acts that no one should do.’

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section XXXIV-XXXV

From the point of view of scripture the correct position is that all religions are paths to the same Supreme. However, this position needs to be supplemented by another scriptural advice to Hindus of not converting to another religion 

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