Sincere Devotion is the Key
Sri Ramakrishna (to the goswami): When one develops sincere devotion to Him, one can realize the Lord by any religion. The Vaishnavas will attain Him, so will the devotees, the Vedantists and also the Brahmajnanis. And the Muslims and the Christians shall also attain Him. Everybody will attain God if they develop sincere devotion to Him. But some people pick a quarrel. They say, ‘Unless you repeat the name of Lord Krishna, you will not succeed.’ Others say, ‘If you don’t repeat the name of Mother Kali, you will achieve nothing.’ Yet others say, ‘Except through Christianity, you will reach nowhere.’
“Such intelligence is known as ‘dogmatic intellect’. Thinking that only my religion is true and all others are false is not right. You can attain the Lord by many paths.
“Besides, some say that the Lord has a form, that He is not formless, and they quarrel with the others. The Vaishnavas quarrel with the Vedantists. Unless you see the Lord face to face, you cannot talk of Him correctly. He who has seen Him, knows that the Lord has forms and He is also formless. What else He is cannot be talked about.
An Example of Elephant and Blind Men
“A number of blind men came to an elephant. Somebody told them that it was an elephant. The blind men asked, ‘What is the elephant like?’ and they began to touch its body. One of them said, ‘It is like a pillar.’ This blind man had only touched its leg. Another man said, ‘The elephant is like a husking basket.’ This person had only touched its ears. Similarly, he who touched its trunk or its belly talked of it differently. In the same way, he who has seen the Lord in a particular way limits the Lord to that alone and thinks that He is nothing else.
An Example of Chameleon
“A person, having defecated in a jungle, said when he returned, ‘I have seen a beautiful red chameleon under a tree.’ Another person said, ‘I went before you under that tree. Why, it is not red, it is green. I saw it with my own eyes.’ And another person said, ‘I know it well. I went earlier than both of you. I have also seen that chameleon. It is blue.’ Two other people reported that it was yellow or brown, as well as of various colours. This led to a big quarrel. Everybody thought that what he had seen is true. Finding them quarreling, a person said, ‘What is the matter, brothers?’ When he heard their accounts, he said, ‘I live under this very tree. I know very well what this animal is like. Each one of you is right in describing it. It is a chameleon – sometimes green, at other times blue, then again other colours. And at times I find it has no colour at all – it is attributeless.’ ”