8 Mar 2013 - QA 4

Gurudev, why do Muslims refer to God as Allah and the Hindus call Him as ‘Bhagwaan’?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

See, different people in different languages use different names for the same one God. In different religions they understand Him differently. Did you understand this?
There is only one God that is what we always say.
There is a saying that goes, ‘Ekam vipra bahuda vadanti’ (meaning, that which is One is called by many names by the learned and the wise). This is what our understanding has always been. This is why whichever race came to India was welcomed, for we knew that whatever be the name, it is the same One God.
We never discriminated amongst people. We never said that only our God is true, and those whom others worship are false. Those who say this and convert other people into their religion are doing the wrong thing. Such people mislead others by saying that, ‘Only my God is the real true God, all other Gods are false and you should remove their pictures from your homes.’ This is very wrong.