A religion is universal if its appeal is not restricted to any particular segment of humanity, religious group, nation, race, class, country or age. All religions have some universal aspects, but all aspects of Hindu Dharma are universal. The reason for this difference is that Hindu Dharma does not derive its authority from the teachings of a single person or a book. The spiritual experiences of numerous sages and saints of yore form the basic foundation of Hindu Dharma. A true spiritual experience is always rooted in the universal vision of mankind. The mystics of all religions have invariably held that beyond the apparent diversity of the physical phenomena, there is a perfect unity.
Thousands of years ago, the rishis discovered two basic universal principles: the spiritual oneness of all things and beings in the world and the divine nature of the human being. The scholars tell us that Hindu sages were the first to conceive of a true Infinite, from which nothing is excluded. Thus, from its very inception, the foundation of Hindu Dharma was cast into the bedrock of universalism. The following major doctrines, which are central to Hindu beliefs and practices, depict the universal vision of Hindus:
World Brotherhood : The most daring universal hypothesis man has ever conceived is the great Upanishadic doctrine "Aham Brahmasmi," meaning "I am the Infinite, the very Infinite from which the universe proceeds." This doctrine identifies every human being-regardless of race, religion, color, sex, or geogra-phic location-with divinity and lays foundation for world brotherhood. Hindu sages have declared that no one is superior or inferior to others. Our individual past karmas have created us as unique individuals. But our differences are temporary and exist only at the physical level. All differences vanish when one attains self-knowledge through a spiritual experience.
Harmony of Religions : One of Hindu religion's greatest gifts to mankind is the attitude of religious harmony. Hindus declare that "holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any particular religion in the world and that every system has produced men and women of the most illustrious character." The Hindu scriptures declare, "As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their waters in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through their tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee."
Author : Shri Bansi Pandit