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DHARMA SAMABHAVA : UNITY OR CONFUSION OF RELIGIONS
A further point is made by certain thinkers that, though
religions have differences that can be major, they also contain an
inner dimension of mystical teachings which is the same. This view
is a closer to the truth but not as close as its votaries may like
to believe. Certainly mystics of different religions have more in
common in their experiences and practices than ordinary believers.
However, if we look deeply, we do not find any simple unanimity
among mystics either. There are different views of Moksha and
Nirvana within Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
There are disputes between dualistic and non-dualistic Vedanta (dvaita
and advaita) within Hinduism. Christian and Islamic mystics seldom
accept the law of karma and usually insist upon their particular
heaven or paradise as the highest, even if they hold that there is
only one God.
There are many
levels and stages of mystical experience between ordinary human
consciousness and the highest Self-realization that can be quite
varied and not free of illusion. Hence while the mystics of
different religions may have more in common than the orthodox, they
hardly all teach the same thing.
In fact some mystics have been
missionaries or taken militant roles in crusades and jihads because
their personal experiences made them more zealous in their beliefs.
A mystic who does not have the proper purity of body, mind and
intention can end up in an exaggerated state of mind that can lead
to extreme actions. There is also a dark or Asuric mysticism. Not
all mysticism is of a sattvic or selfless nature. Hence the Vedas
say that even demons practice Yoga to gain occult powers in order to
control the world. We will examine this issue in depth in the
chapter on Devic and Asuric Forms of Mysticism.