Sri Ramakrishna, the 19th century mystic monk, devotee of Goddess Kali and regarded as an incarnation of Shriman Narayana by His followers; was a well-known harmoniser of all paths and religions. He is said to have practiced Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Christianity and Sufism. One of His favourite quotes include:

I had to practise each religion for a time — Hinduism, Islām, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Śāktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedāntists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different.

However, my question is did Sri Ramakrishna ever indicate that one can practice multiple religions/paths at the same time? I'm aware that during Sri Ramakrishna's Sufi practice, He stopped visiting the Dakshineswar Kali temple room. Also, in the above quote, Sri Ramakrishna categorically states that He practiced multiple paths "for a time". Does this indicate multiple religions/paths cannot be followed at the same time. Does Swami Vivekananda say anything about this?

  • When will we understand there are no multiple "religions"in the world
    – user13262
    May 11, 2019 at 4:47

1 Answer 1


First, when he practiced each path, he dropped the prior one. But it is important to note that he did this only after having realized God and attaining Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Second, he said to practice only your own path, not multiple. He says (Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 32 (available here under Vol 2, Chapter 5 - http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/gospel/gospel.htm):

(To the Brahmo devotees) "Be firm in one ideal — either in God with form or in the formless God. Then alone will you realize God; otherwise not. With firm and unwavering belief the followers of God with form will realize Him, as will those who speak of Him as formless. You may eat a cake with icing either straight or sidewise; it will taste sweet either way.

[later in same Chapter] He continued: "When you mix with people outside your Samaj, love them all. When in their company be one of them. Don't harbour malice toward them. Don't turn up your nose in hatred and say: 'Oh, this man believes in God with form and not in the formless God. That man believes in the formless God and not in God with form. This man is a Christian. This man is a Hindu. And this man is a Mussalman.' It is God alone who makes people see things in different ways. Know that people have different natures. Realize this and mix with them as much as you can. And love all. But enter your own inner chamber to enjoy peace and bliss.

Lighting the lamp of Knowledge in the chamber of your heart, Behold the face of the Mother, Brahman's Embodiment.

You can see your true Self only within your own chamber. The cowherds take the cows to graze in the pasture. There the cattle mix. They all form one herd. But on returning to their sheds in the evening they are separated. Then each stays by itself in its own stall. Therefore I say, dwell by yourself in your own chamber."

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