His Dialogue with Muslims
Swami Rama happened to be in Lucknow in 1905 when some Muslim Maulanas came to him to get enlightened on Hinduism and their own religion. What follows is a segment of Swami Rama’s dialogue with them.
On their arrival they did Adabarz to which God-intoxicated Rama replied by Om. They wanted to know the meaning of Om. The truth was (he said) that a person can give to others only what he possesses and that Rama himself only possessed OM and that alone. That OM, which was Rama’s sole possession, represented the non-duality of Vedanta. By pronouncing it properly the heart and mind are filled with peace, tranquility and bliss. You can feel the limitless ocean of power and energy within you. Rama then invited the Muslims to join him in chanting â€˜om’ three times, which they did and felt instant peace. Swami Rama went on to expound the special place of OM as a universal name of God, but the Muslims objected that they had never seen any mention of OM in their own holy scriptures and asked him (if what he said was true) whether he could quote any reference to OM in their Koran.
Rama replied gently:â€˜Please listen to what is now being said. In the very beginning of your Koran,at the top, are three letters, alif (A), lam (L) and mim(M). Can any of you or any learned Mulawi of Islam explain what these three letters mean?’ The Moslems replied that this was a secret which Allah had kept to himself. Swami Rama laughed heartily at this remark and said: â€˜When God has revealed the entire Koran for the benefit of mankind, as the Muslims claim, it is very strange that he has kept its very heading a secret. No. It is not so.If you, the Muslims who put full faith in the Koran do not know the secret of the letters A, L, M, Rama will tell you what they signify. Alif, lam andmim are nothing but alif (A), wao (O) and mim (M),that is, AOM or OM.’
The Muslims objected that the letter L is not the same as the letter O, but Swami Rama pointed out to them that in Arabic grammar L is pronounced O when it falls between a vowel anda consonant, as in the names Shamsuddin, which is written Shamsaldin, or Nizamuddin, which is written Nizamaldin. The letter lam (L) becomessilent and gives the sound of the Arabic letter pesh (O or U). Therefore ALM is no secret; it is clearly and unambiguously OM and nothing but OM. It is Kufra, heretical or a sin, to blame God for keeping it a secret.
Swami Rama went on to point out to them with great love that Islam literally means â€˜religion of peace’, but that instead of preaching love for God seated in the heart of each man and the brotherhood of all men, the so-called leaders of Islam, on account of their superficial knowledge or ignorance, had injected a spirit of hatred and alienation into the hearts of the ignorant Muslims. As a result, the history of the Muslims testified to the fact that thousands of non-Muslims had been butchered in wholesale massacres in the name of Islam. Instead of teaching mankind how to live in peace with others, Islam had earned a bad name for itself in world history by spreading its religion by tyranny, oppression and despotism. This was because of the selfishness, love of personal gain and narrow outlook of the Muslim autocrats, intoxicated with their own domination and conquest in the name of Islam. It was all due to the wrong interpretation of the words â€˜Kufra’ and â€˜Kafir’.
Dear friends, [he said], the meaning of Kufra [sin or heresy] is to hide. What? To hide the truth or reality is Kufra, and he who hides the truth is Kafir [infidel]. But how does a Kafir hide the truth? He hides it behind the curtain of his Khudi or ego, which has its roots in selfishness. In other words the person who asserts his ego or selfishness as against truth is a Kafir. And what is this truth? Truth is that which remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. But truth or reality is only one. It is only God who is immortal, eternal and imperishable. Therefore the person who does not implement this truth in daily life and who instead lays stress on his ego or selfishness in his worldly dealings is as if hiding God,the truth, behind the curtain of his egoism. In other words, he remains unconcerned with God, as if there is no God for him. By such an attitude he commits Kufra and deserves to be called a Kafir.
(Pathmaraja’s email to firstname.lastname@example.org)