Sanatana Dharma as an open
tradition does not exclude any useful way of approaching the truth
of the vast universe in which we live. It does not define itself
against something else but includes all that is useful to the
spiritual life. Yet this does not mean that a universal tradition
accepts other religions as they see themselves. This is not be
possible, as exclusive views which insist that their point of view
alone is correct are mutually contradictory.
In accepting the value of
all sincere approaches to the Divine, Sanatana Dharma cannot
sanction the exclusivism of any particular group. That Sanatana
Dharma accepts Christ as a great saint, for example, does not mean
that it accepts the Christian claim that Christ is the only Son of
Sanatana Dharma accepts
faith and devotion but not the limited form with which it is
identified. Sanatana Dharma accepts all sincere efforts to find
truth or to help other human beings. In this regard Hinduism can
honor atheists, if they are doing good or searching for the truth.
Hinduism values doing good more than the mere belief in God, which
can be used as a mask for doing harm.
It holds that a person who
does good, be he an atheist or agnostic, is better than a person who
does harm, be he a firm believer in God. Yet beyond valuing what is
good, Hinduism values spiritual knowledge. It says that a single
person of real spiritual perception is more significant than any
number of mere believers or good people. All the good and bad
actions of people are ultimately illusory as the Divine is the only
true reality. One who knows that is the real teacher.