To some, the Bhagavad Gita is a violent book depicting war.
Of course, those who understand the text know that the war is not a typical, man against man war, but a war between the spiritual and the material.
I am told about the violence of Islam and the Quran. I know little about Islam and am not sure where to find a knowledgeable, objective source.
Is the Quran, like the Bhagavad Gita, a beautiful text that is misunderstood by ignorant interpreters, or is it literally a call to violence?
—Ken McEntee, USA
Those of us raised in the West have seen how the Bible is all too frequently misinterpreted, abused, and twisted to support almost any argument.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Even the devil can quote scriptures.” Paramhansa Yogananda once said that, “Jesus Christ was crucified once, but his teachings have been crucified daily since then by millions who claimed to be Christians.”
The same undoubtedly holds true for the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran. Paramhansa Yogananda didn’t discuss the Koran at length, as he did with the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita, so we don’t have any Ananda Koran ‘experts’.
Yogananda recommended looking to the true saints of any religion to better understand the religion — rather than listening to those who shout the loudest, or to those religious leaders who have a vested interest in promoting what he called ‘churchianity’.
Yogananda interpreted the mystic poems of Omar Khayyam, who was variously seen in his time as a non-practicing Muslim, an unorthodox one, or a Muslim who understood the true and inward meaning of his religion.
So I would suggest the best way to get an understanding of Islam, perhaps indirectly, is to read the commentaries of one saint (Yogananda) on the mystical writings of a Muslim saint (Omar Khayyam):
The Rubayiat of Omar Khayyam Explained by Paramhansa Yogananda