Basically he was a Hindu and he remained a Hindu all his life, to the very end. He calls Bhagavadgita his mother, but he never calls Koran his father – not even an uncle. Although he talks about that the teaching is the same, but the way he manages is absolutely political – clever, cunning, but not authentic. It is a mind effort, it cannot be authentic. He does it well. What he does is: whatsoever he finds in Koran, in Bible, in Dhammapada, which is in agreement with Gita, he immediately picks it up, and he says, “Look! All the religions teach the same thing.”
But there are many things which go against Gita in the Bible, which go against Gita in the Koran, in the Dhammapada. He does not take any note of them, he ignores them; he knows he will not be able to manage, to cope with them, so his synthesis is bogus. In fact, he reads Gita everywhere; wherever he can find Gita echoed, he immediately says, “Look! They are talking the same thing.”
But what about the differences? What about the totally opposite standpoints? For example, Koran does not believe in nonviolence. Mohammed never believed in non-violence; he himself carried a sword always, he fought many wars. And Gandhi believes in nonviolence But Koran is a big book; you can find few pieces from here, from there which can support love, compassion, kindness, sympathy, and you can use them as if Mohammed is supporting nonviolence.
Mahavira supports nonviolence, Buddha supports nonviolence; even Krishna in Gita does not support non-violence. Then Gandhi does a political trick again. He says the war in which Gita was spoken for the first time, the great war called Mahabharata, in which Arjuna became aware of the fact that millions of people will die and the whole thing seems to be useless – just for the power, for treasures, for kingdom, to kill so many people…A great desire to renounce the world arose in him. And he wanted to renounce, and he said, “It is better I should go to the mountains, become a sannyasin,” and Krishna persuades him to fight because “That is your duty. God wants you to fight. Surrender to God’s will; don’t bring your own will in, don’t bring your mind in. You be in a let-go and let God function through you.”
Arjuna argues in many ways, but finally Krishna wins him over, convinces him of the necessity of war, because, he says, “This is the war of right against wrong, of religion against irreligion, of light against darkness, of divine forces against evil forces.”
Now Gandhi played a trick. He said that this war is only a metaphor, it never happened in reality, it is not historical. It is really the inner war in man between the forces of evil and the forces of God, it is the inner war between darkness and light. And Krishna is saying to Arjuna, “Don’t escape from the inner war – fight it and win over the darkness.”
Now this is a very cunning strategy. Nobody before Gandhi has ever said that the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas was just a metaphor. For five thousand years, thousands of commentaries have been written on Gita; nobody has said that it is a metaphor, it has always been known as a reality. But Gandhi has to call it a metaphor, otherwise he will not be able to synthesize religions. And Jainism and Buddhism are two of the most important religions – they have to be incorporated.