Sri Ramakrishna was famous for his concept of religious harmony. He would say Yato Mat Tato Path, i.e. as many faiths, so many paths.
His view was that there were numerous approaches to the Ultimate Goal of life and that there were deficiencies and inconsistencies in every path or religious approach. He advised the followers to adhere to the principles enunciated under different paths and exhorted the seekers to follow the religious traditions of the world meticulously. He would say that every path was rough and uneven and had many obstacles. Yet, they would lead the followers to the ultimate destination of life.
Each religion has produced extraordinarily illuminated souls, but quite often the practitioners are not fortunate enough to meet a spiritually advanced soul when they commence their spiritual journey. But nevertheless, steadfast faith in a particular tradition would help the aspirant find the necessary assistance on the way. In this connection, he used to quote the following example.
“A man sets out to visit Jagannath and asks someone about the way. Although the correct path lay south, the person wrongly points out to the enquirer the opposite direction. The latter thus goes to north instead of south. Searching for the location he asks someone where it is and he is told to go south. Eventually, he reaches Jagannath and communes with the Lord of the Universe.”
Thus, if an aspirant is sincere and has deep and abiding faith in his religious tradition, he might commit mistakes in the initial stages of his sadhana. He may deviate from the actual path, but because of his sincerity God or the Supreme Personality will Himself render assistance and correct the aspirant’s mistakes. Thus every sincere seeker after an intense struggle is sure to reach the Ultimate Goal even if he commits mistakes on the way. What is necessary is steadfast adherence to one’s faith.
-by Swami Shantatmananda, Sunday Guardian,1st Nov 2014