Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, these words are said in almost all scriptures. Lord Krishna also says-
‘Maam ekam sharanam vraja.’ you take refuge in me and nobody else. So Lord Krishna’s words are exactly the same what Jesus said- ‘I am only the way.’
There is only one God and not many. One God is worshipped in different languages, in different ways, in different forms, that’s all. When people see others worshipping another form of God, they say that there is another God but there is no another God, there is just only one God! And whether it is said in Gurumukhi (Panjabi), or in Pali or in Latin- it is the same thing. You may see even some of the names are the same. There may be difference of languages, expressions but the essence is the same. It should not be misinterpreted to believe that only if you are a Christian then you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell or that only if you are a Muslim you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell. This sort of fundamentalism comes when you don’t have understanding of others’ ways of religion and wisdom.
All the fanatics and terrorists, they quote from the scriptures that theirs is the only way. One gentle man, whom I met in USA, said that heaven is like where only one religion followers go and rest all go to hell, then heaven must be a very lonely place and not so colorful! And that too they say – if you follow our denomination then you will go to heaven and not by following the other denominations of the same religion. This is true for almost all the religions - the concepts are wrongly understood and misinterpreted. In Vaishnava sect also they say- only worship Krishna and not Shiva, for if you worship Shiva you will not find ‘mukti’ or liberation.
Krishna has very clearly said- ‘sarva dharmaan parityaja maam ekam sharanam vraja’, “you drop every thing and take refuge in me alone. I will relieve you of all the sins. You can’t relieve yourself from your sins. I will relieve you. Don’t worry, don’t be upset and don’t be sad, I will relieve you of all the sins”.
Same way Lord Buddha also said- all the devas are coming and protecting you, similar things are said in Jain religion also.
So you need to have a proper understanding otherwise misinterpretation happens. Know that there is only one God, one consciousness though spoken in different words, and wisdom given by different people in many different ways. Jesus said, “People who came before me were robbers and thieves and I am here and now you look at me only.’ This was said because when Jesus was there, people were not listening and attending to him. They were thinking about the past only. That’s why he said- “Your mind has been robbed off by the people of past, now you listen only to what I am saying.”
Lord Krishna also said the same thing- “you are stuck in the past, you are crying and worrying for what is not worth doing. Be in the present moment!”
This wisdom has to be understood and grasped properly. Otherwise fanaticism will grow.
One sect of Christianity will say- this is the only way to go to heaven, and talk to some sect of Islam, they will say- there is no other way, our is the only way! So why different people were saying- ‘this is the only way’- was with the purpose of bringing the focus in the students at that time.