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1. What is the essence of Hinduism? What does tolerance mean?

      The essence of Hinduism is its pluralism, in which tolerance is a by-product. This pluralism is expressed in a shloka made famous by Swami Vivekanand during his tour of the West at the time of the World Parliament of Religions in 1893. The shloka goes as follows: ekam sad viprah bahudda vadanti. It is translated by him in English as follows: "That which exists is One, sages call It by various names".
     In short it means that each person has a unique way towards salvation, which is best suited for him/her. To be able to do this, each person has to generate his own spiritual experience. One may take advice from gurus, friends, books, etc. But, one has to apply one's own mind and come to a conclusion of suitability of a path for one's ownself, and one takes the responsibility for the decision.
     Tolerance means that while one has chosen a path for oneself, one accepts that another may chose a different path, and that eventually both will meet at the same place in salvation. This tolerance is the reason why there have been infinitesimally small religious strife in India throughout the ages.

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Opp. Siddhivinayak Mandir, Prabhadevi, Mumbai - 400 025
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