People belonging to different faiths would come to Sri Ramakrishna who was an embodiment of peace and harmony. They would ask him how one can be steadfast in one’s own faith and yet, at the same time, understand and respect other faiths. Sri Ramakrishna would answer them using a beautiful analogy. The cowherds take the cattle to graze in the fields. The cattle would mix freely with each other. They seem to forget their differences and enjoy each other’s company. But on returning to their barn in the evening, they are segregated. Then each stays by itself in its own stall. Similarly, Sri Ramakrishna would say, “When you mix with people outside your Samaj (society of your faith), love them all. When in their company, be one of them. Don’t harbour malice toward them. Don’t turn up your nose in hatred and say: ‘Oh, this man believes in God with form and not in the formless God. That man believes in the formless God and not in God with form. This man is a Christian. This man is a Hindu. And this man is a Muslim.’ It is God alone who makes people see things in different ways. Know that people have different natures. Realise this and mix with them as much as you can. And love all. But enter your own inner chamber to enjoy peace and bliss. You can see your true Self only within your own chamber.”
If one looks deeply at the analogy, the idea would become clear. The cattle of different breeds seemingly forget their differences when they graze together. Only then are they able to enjoy the company of the other. In the same way, there is so much of disharmony and disturbance in this world because people seem only to highlight the differences. The followers of different religions can live in harmony and peace with one another only if they forget the differences and harp on the common ideas.