(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 36
Religion has its place in the world, whatever be the condition. From the beginning of civilization there has been some religion or other followed by people. Of course, whenever a new religion came the old religion was routed out. But what was routed out? Was it the religion or the corruption that was routed out? The truth is the truth, religion is religion. That religion can never be routed out. That religion which is the need of human soul; that religion has always been and will always be.
It is only the outer form, its outer dogmas, which have perhaps been corrupted at times, which did not answer the purpose of humanity at that stage of evolution. And not understanding that, man has very often revolted against religion, not knowing that it was the revolt against corruption, not against religion. Now the world as we find it today, it seems that it is again in a revolt against religion. And revolt is like an intoxication. People do not know, when they are in revolt, whether they do right or wrong. When a person is cross with his friend, by seeing the defects or the faults of the friend he forgets his merits.
Therefore man today, intoxicated in a revolt against religion, – which means against corruption – revolts also, ignorantly, against God, or form, or prayer, or anything which appears to him religious. But if you ask his soul, if you asked the deepest of his being you will find that there is some place for religion. And what has this revolt brought about in the Western world just now? It has brought about a condition where it has become the fashion to be an atheist. There are people who wish to mention the name of God, and yet they are afraid whether it will be against there fashion, the custom of the day.
It is just as in the past, – an atheist in the past would not dare to say that he did not believe; he had to respect the custom. The outcome of this condition is that man is absorbed in material gain, and the spiritual gain and heavenly inspirations are away out of his sight.
The Sufi movement is intended to play its part at the present moment in this condition of the world. And, however small and infantile it has a wide horizon and a vast field of work before it. Its work is to bring to the world that religion which has always been the religion of humanity. That nature's religion: to respect one another's belief, one another's scripture, and one another's teacher. It is not, therefore, only a church, it is a school where we learn to respect the religions of all the people in the world and their scriptures, and to pay our homage to the teachers that they have esteemed the most. This was the object of all the great prophets, and it is at the present moment that this object, held by all prophets, is being fulfilled. And in this way with us is the blessing, inspiration and the power of all souls who have for ages come in this world and wakened humanity towards that goal which is the longing of every soul.