Mayapura, West Bengal
While chanting of the maha mantra is beautifully present in the atmosphere even in the pre-dawn, the gnarly mosque also projects its early calling and penetrating the ether. The presence of Islam is definitely established in the area. Even in the time of Sri Chaitanya, five centuries back, there was a strong Muslim dominance. Islam ruled here then even in the midst of a strong Hindu population.
Our guru, Srila Prabhupada, once explained that there had been a relatively peaceful co-existence for a long time between the two groups. Differences have surfaced with conflict from time to time. There is one history of aggression by invaders and no one can readily say that when Hinduism was of prime dominance even before Buddha that there was not intrigue.
Somehow co-existence should be the thrust regardless of varying approaches to God.
I received in my hand of copy of the author’s book, “Islam and the Vedas”. Rasamandala, the person who penned the book writes, “It may appear that the Koran and Vedic literature are conflicting in their precepts. Though the Koran and Vedic literature may seem different there are so many points of similarities that may not be easily detected. Differences arise not because of different scriptures; rather, they are caused by different levels of understanding. There is a need to realize that the goal is one; submission to the Supreme. God is One.”
When I fly back to Canada I will relish reading this text to explore more the common denominator between distinct (or what appears to be extinct) traditions. It’s a very healthy approach to life.