The doctrine of universalism in religion or theology is understood to be of belief in universal (applying to all) salvation i.e. the theological doctrine that all people will eventually be saved.

The way the different religions claim universality is different as would be seen from the following examples culled from some web sites:

In Christianity, Universalism refers to the belief that all can be saved through Jesus Christ and eventually come to harmony in God’s kingdom. They also have a doctrine, apokatastasis, that all mortals will be reconciled to God.

Hindus base Universalism on veneration for all other religions articulated by Gandhi and example of Ananda Marga where Universalism refers to the idea that energy and matter are evolved from cosmic consciousness and thus, all created beings are of one universal family.

Even though Judaism teaches that God chose the Jewish people to be in a unique covenant with God, and that Jewish people were charged by the Torah to be a light unto the nations, they claim that it does not preclude a belief that Jews and non-Jews alike have a relationship with God.

Muslims believe that Islam, as the final form of religion God revealed, offers the best system by which salvation can be attained, and its worldwide spread is seen as a development toward final unity of humankind within this religion. The Muslim ideal of universal brotherhood is the Hajj because every man is dressed in ihram clothing.

The reason for my using these examples is to bring us to recognize that Sikh universalism is possibly the most universal. There is enough that can be quoted from gurbani to reinforce the sense of hope for all mankind that Guru and Prabh are near, close, not far – only we have to try and reach, grasp. The concept of Har, Guru, sangat, gurmukh is non sectarian. Yes, the path shown by the Gurus is acclaimed to be efficacious but the path as a theology remains universal.

I sense what Kulbir ji is trying to convey because the lay understanding is based on the way the one liners sound rather than their deeper meaning, more clear to the believers and those who may study the theology. Yet I would say that in our case one liners could be quoted to say that we could be more universal, it seems the others can only quote one liners to claim universality. I say this not to deprecate any faith but only to convey my feeling that we should be objective but do not have reasons to be defensive.


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