|In the history of
the world attempts have been not infrequently made for political and social purposes to
combine the various religions of a land into one common religion, but they have all
failed. In this country we are all familiar with the attempts of Akbar to found a new
religion for his empire. The instinct of Asoka was surer in this matter. For in one of his
pillar edicts he says: -
"I devote my attention to all communities, because all sects are reverenced by me
with various forms of reverence. Nevertheless personal adherence to one's own creed is
the chief thing in my opinion."
But Asoka was
only echoing the opinions expressed by the divine author of the Gita:- "Howsoever men
approach me, even so do I respect them; for, on all sides, whatever path they may choose
is mine, O Arjuna."
"Better one's own Dharma, though imperfect, than the
Dharma of another which is perfectly carried out. Better death in going by one's own
Dharma; the Dharma of another is fraught with fear."
A syntheses of religions is possible only when there is agreement on their essentials,
just as a standard language is possible only among the related dialects and not among
languages that differ totally from one another.