'Wisdom which is the worker of all things taught
me, for in her is an understanding spirit.'
I first studied comparative religions with an open mind;
not in a critical spirit but as an admirer and a lover of
truth in all its guises. I read the lives of the founders,
prophets, and seers with as much reverence as their most
devout adherents. This brought me the bliss of realization
of one truth, which all religions contain, as different
vessels may yet hold the same wine. It was the conception
of truth in all its manifold forms and expressions, ever
borne by different messengers, who most wondrously, by their
very diversity of garb, civilization, nationality, and age,
revealed the one Source of the inspiration. To me their
sole difference was caused by the laws of space and time.
It was therefore natural for the messengers of truth
to convey their message in the language of the land wherein
they were born, and in the style suited to the life of their
period. For each one was needed in his place and adapted
to his era, and the difference between them existed only
in those principles and rituals which were given to the
people of that time and harmonized with their standard of
intelligence and evolution: even as a physician has to change
his prescriptions according to the patient's state of improvement
before he can bring about the cure; or as in school, at
each term and in every year, a new course of study is taught
through different grades.
Man, not generally understanding this fact and its motive,
and owing to the blind dogmatic faith which obsesses him,
has always clung to the originator and ignored the new prophet.
Such was the common lot of Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, and
of all the Masters and Shining Ones who have revealed in
the sorrows they had to bear during their own lives the
struggle between the cross and the truth, which is expressed
by the symbol of the cross. The hurt from which the prophets
have ever suffered lay in the rebellion of the ignorant,
who were unable to realize the truth hidden in their teachings,
and thus mocked and scoffed at them. But all the true messengers
justly asserted the truth in a way to suit the period wherein
they brought their message.
'Whosoever in Love's city enters finds but room for
One, and but in Oneness union.'
The masters of the Hindus, such as Shiva, Vishnu, Rama,
and Krishna, claimed each in his turn to be a reincarnation
of one another, or in other words an incarnation of Brahma,
the supreme God, because the people would not have listened
to them without this proclamation. In this way the materialists
who never move an inch without definite reason and logic
were trained by the Buddha Gautama, who explained the great
truth to them in the simple words of their own language.
Zoroaster imparted the law of action and nature-worship,
the mystical import of burnt offerings and fire, the symbol
of love, light, and purity, and adapted these to the intellectual
standard of his followers. King Solomon revealed the truth
from his throne when his simple subjects adored him as God,
and Abraham preached when devotion was idolized, and was
willing even to sacrifice his own son to the divine Will.
When the world was awakened to the loveliness of music,
David sang forth the same truth in his most melodious voice,
and when beauty reigned in her fair dominance, Joseph appeared
in all his youth and charm. Moses came when men where athirst
for miracles. And in the age of hereditary power, Christ,
as the Son of God, stayed the world from ignorance and error,
and sowed the seed of spiritual freedom; this in time grew
and brought forth the epoch of democracy, wherein Muhammad
carried the last message of the religious republic, Islam,
and claimed to be Abda, the servant, and the Rasul of God.
This implies that each one of these, though still the
bearer of the mission, the herald of God's decree, was also
a new step in human evolution, at those times when the world
was ripe enough and ready to receive the message, not from
a superior claimant but from one among the Shining Hosts.
Muhammad's saying, 'None but God exists', explained the
essence of all previous messages most clearly. The lesson
of Muhammad, once learned, left no need for continuance
of prophetic teaching, because it proved that each being
bears the divine source thereof within himself, and that
the evolution of man has now prepared him for the Kingdom
which is within.
Indeed, all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad, who was
the fulfillment of God's tidings, have revealed to us the
numerous aspects which the same truth can bear, or, in other
words, truth has manifested itself in various names and
different forms to attain its glorious end. But the manifold
aspects of truth have not been recognized in man's ignorance,
and thus all the racial and religious prejudices among creeds
and castes, as well as the wars and differences between
nations, have arisen from his narrowness and slowness of
perception. Each one called the other heathen or pagan,
Kafir or Mlench, upholding his Master as the only true initiate,
as though the Master were his own personal property. Yet
the Masters were born not for one family or one nation or
race, but verily for all mankind. Truly only followers and
zealots of different religions fall away from the truth,
for they are blinded by patriotism and have raised pedantic
prejudices against the teachings and spirits of those pure
Masters, who had neither any concern for their religion
nor their own name and personal appearance but lived only
in the cause of truth.
This error is due entirely to those disciples who swear
by the mortal names of the Masters and recognize their personalities
alone, instead of accepting them all as one boundless embodiment
of truth. The Masters have never desired their human bodies
to be adored as saviors; this is merely an exaggeration
and the mistaken conception of their followers. Their bodies
were but as the vessels of truth and the truth they brought
to us is the only savior, then, now, and forever. As the
Bible declares, 'Ye shall know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.' Truth, the real savior and messiah,
is untouched by death and disease; it is everlasting, omnipresent,
and omnipotent. Truth, indeed, was Adam, Moses, and Christ,
and the very truth was Muhammad.
Yet, although every religion comprises a large number
of followers, each person has his own religion peculiar
to himself. He is sometimes unaware of this fact and attaches
himself most enthusiastically to the religion of his race
If he only knew the true religion, which God has intended
for him, all his struggles would be at an end. Those who
judge a religion by its principles are mistaken, for good
or bad as well as right and wrong depend on one's own point
of view, and are therefore sometimes liable to mental inversion.
Those who fight for their religion on the authority of history
are fanatics, for they must know that history is man-and
not God-made, and that many truths are lost in the lapse
of time, while many exaggerations attain favor or disfavor
through the biased personal opinions of the historians.
He who adheres to his beliefs and disbeliefs without reason
is blinded with bigotry.
Still, were a Buddhist to come to me saying, 'Our Lord
Buddha was the only true teacher', I would answer, 'Verily!'
And if a Hindu cried to me that Krishna is the ideal master,
I would say, 'You speak rightly.' And if a Christian should
declare that Christ is the highest of all, I would reply,
'Undoubtedly.' For it is the nature of man to consider as
best that which he can idealize best. But if anyone came
to me saying, 'I cannot believe in all this talk for I can
only recognize the same truth within each one of these',
I would say, 'You, my friend, are the one who really knows,
for you have understood and unveiled the real secret of
Rumi says, 'The Sufis take the meat, leaving the bones
for others to fight over.'