A few days back, prominent Hindu rights activist,Shefali Vaidya shared a post on her facebook feed. It had a message from Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya. Here it is-
As I travel the nation delivering lectures on Hindu philosophy and spirituality, I frequently encounter a repeated scenario. Hindu parents will approach me after I’ve finished my lecture and timidly ask for advice. The often-repeated story goes somewhat like this: “We raised our daughter (or son) to be a good Hindu. We took her to the temple for important holidays. We even sent her to a Hindu camp for a weekend when she was 13. Now at the age of 23, our child has left Hinduism and converted to the (fill in the blank) religion. When we ask how she could have left the religion of her family, the answer she throws back in our face is: ‘Mama/dada, you always taught me that all religions are the same, and that it doesn’t really matter how a person worships God. So what does it matter if I have followed your advice and switched to another religion?’ “
Historically, pre-colonial, classical Hinduism never taught that all religions are the same. This is not to say, however, that Hinduism has not believed in tolerance or freedom of religious thought and expression. It has always been a religion that has taught tolerance of other valid religious traditions. However, the assertion that a) we should have tolerance for the beliefs of other religions is a radically different claim from the overreaching declaration that b) all religions are the same. This confusion between two thoroughly separate assertions may be one reason why so many modern Hindus believe that Hindu tolerance is synonymous with Radical Universalism. To maintain a healthy tolerance of another person’s religion does not mean that we have to then adopt that person’s religion!
If we want to ensure that our youth remain committed to Hinduism as a meaningful path, that our leaders teach Hinduism in a manner that represents the tradition faithfully and with dignity, and that the greater Hindu community can feel that they have a religion that they can truly take pride in, then we must abandon Radical Universalism. If we want Hinduism to survive so that it may continue to bring hope, meaning and enlightenment to untold future generations, then the next time our son or daughter asks us what Hinduism is really all about, let us not slavishly repeat to them that all religions are the same. Let us instead look into their eyes, and teach them the uniquely precious, beautifully endearing, and philosophically profound truths of our tradition–truths that have been responsible for keeping Hinduism a vibrantly living religious force for over 5,000 years. Let us teach them Sanatana Dharma, the eternal way of Truth
~ Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya
So is it true that pre colonial Hinduism had different attitude for other religions than compared to today's Hinduism which is sort of diluted with radical universalism promoted by some Hindu saints.