(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 38
The feeling of sacredness comes from that profound depth of the heart which may be called the divine chamber; and therefore it is the religious feeling which is to be valued rather than the outward form. People have called, in all ages, those who did not worship in the same form as themselves heathen or pagan, and this hatred has caused all the wars and disagreements between the religions of the world. However high, beautiful or wonderful the religious form may be, if there is no sincerity of the heart it is nothing. Therefore the true religion is that sentiment which is to be found in the deepest depth of our being. And when once that sentiment has become real one naturally begins to respect of the same sentiment in another person.
I have very often seen the sign of the true religious person. A person who is truly religious, if he see another person, to whatever religion he belongs, occupied in his way of worship, he respects him, because he feels the same feeling in his heart. It is just like the language of the mother, – that the sentiment that a mother has for her child, she may go to the North pole and see a mother from quite a different part of the land, but she will know her feelings, – she may not know the language. Therefore religion is the religious sentiment, sacred sentiment, religion is not a form. And if this sentiment is there, then one respects that sentiment in every form it may be.
There is a story that Moses was passing through a countryside, and he saw there a young farmer, a young boy who had perhaps for the first time heard a religious sermon, and had heard the Name of God. This farmer, sitting there, leaning against a tree in Nature, was called to the God Whose Name he had heard in the sermon. He said: 'O God, if I ever saw you, if you came here, you cannot imagine what I would not do for you. I would take you him and give you all the nice food I can make for you, and my best clothes I would give you, and I would take such great care of you. If the wolf came I would first give my life to the wolf before if could touch you. If you only knew how I love you, you would certainly come to me.
Moses happened to pass that way and heard this discourse of the young man. Moses said to the lad, 'What are you saying? God Who is the Protector of all you cannot protect. No danger can touch Him, He is above all danger. Wolf and tiger and lion, all are His, He has made them; He does not depend upon our earthly food.' The boy felt such a feeling of despair that he did not know where to go and what to say and what to think.
And as Moses went further he perceived, as he used to perceive, the Voice, the Message of God. The Voice said, 'What have you done Moses? We sent you to the earth to bring closer those who love Us; you have separated them. Every lover of Ours pictures Us according to his mentality. We do not concern Ourselves in what way he approaches Us, for We know his deepest feeling towards Us.'
It is to learn this, to understand this idea that the Sufi Movement has this Universal Worship; that in this Universal Worship, whatever form a person has, it does not matter; as long as he believes in God, he may come together with other human beings, without thinking his belief in this or that. This worship does not take away anyone from his own way; it only presents before everyone his own scripture. In this service one begins to train oneself to love one's own religion and tolerate the religions of the other.
At this time when the world is divided into so many sections, one working against another, it is most necessary that humanity must at least unite in God. For whatever difference there may be among human beings, before God there is no difference. He is the father of all humanity, and we all go before Him as His children. This Universal Worship reminds us of this, and this Universal Worship prepares us to sympathize with one another and to be blessed by all forms of wisdom which have come to us by different great Teachers of humanity. There is one God and there is one truth, so in reality there cannot be many religions, there is only one religion. And it is by the realization of this truth that we shall be truly benefited by what is called religion.