Bengaluru: All religions are the same. They are all different pathways to the same destination called God. 

However, ills like zealotry, fanaticism among others divide people based on religions, castes and creed, demolishing the harmony in the society. 

But as every cloud has a silver lining, history is testimony to the fact that several spiritual colossuses, take birth frequently to iron out the flaws of schisms and chasms and unite the people, asserting that the soul in everyone is the same, and that, it is beyond the framework of superiority and inferiority. 
Santa Shishunala Sharif, born in Karnataka’s Shigganvi taluk, is one such spiritual gem. 


He was born as a Muslim, but never did he pigeonhole himself to the religion. Right throughout his life, he strove hard to disseminate the sanctity of the soul and demolish and deracinate all forms of narrowmindedness. 

It is important to note that Hajaresha Qadri, the guru of Sharif’s father Imam Saheb, was an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. It is further interesting and inspiring to note that he (the guru) would give Linga Diksha to his disciples! 

As a young child, Sharif’s father read out the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata to him. So it was very evident that the seeds of tolerance were sown in Sharif from a young age. 

Sharif’s guru:

 His guru was Govinda Bhatta, a brahmin. He was known for his iconoclastic views and mannerisms and mingled freely with everyone. When Sharif’s father invited him to his house and begged him to accept his son as his disciple, Bhatta agreed and praised the boy for his spiritual acumen. 

The boy exhibited phenomenal interest in spiritual affairs and Bhatta guided him with utmost care. 

Some interesting incidents from Sharif’s life: 

The thread ceremony: 

Once Bhatta and Sharif sat in close proximity with each other. This was a sight that enraged and vexed several others. Some of them even questioned Bhatta for sitting close to him. But Bhatta shot back saying, “There is no greater brahmin boy than him”. 

Later he even took off his sacred thread and put it around Sharif! 

Such was the love the guru and his disciple shared. 

How Sharif taught a lesson to a Muslim maulvi: 

In an interesting anecdote, when a maulvi questioned Sharif as to why he had not visited the mosque, pat came the reply: “I dwell in this mosque, so why go and come? I am in constant worship of “I AM”, so what can be greater Namaz?”

Sharif sang a lot of poems with profound meanings. Through them, he preached the oneness of mankind and the divinity of the soul. 

When he passed away, people of both the religions participated in his funeral and read out both the holy Quran and Hindu scriptures.