(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 19
The Fourth aspect of the religion is the idea of God. There will always be fights and discussions that, 'The God of our family is one and the God of your family is another.' There have always been fights. In the old times, there was a dispute between the people saying that the God of Beni Israel was a special God; and so every community and every church made its God a special God. If there is a special God it is not only a special God of a community, but a God of every individual. For man has to make this one God before he realizes the real God. But that God which man makes within himself becomes in the end the door by which he enters that shrine of his innermost being, the real God, which is in the heart of man. And then one begins to realize that God is not a God of a certain community or people, but God is the God of the whole being.
And then we come to another aspect of religion, which is not necessarily the law or the ceremony or the divine ideal or God, which is apart from all these four. That is something living in the soul, in the mind, and in the heart of man, the absence of which keeps man as dead, and the presence of which gives him life. If there is any religion it is that particular sense. And what is that sense? The Hindus have called it in the Sanskrit language, 'Dharma', which in the ordinary meaning of the word is 'duty'. But it is something much greater than what we know in our everyday life as duty. I do not call it duty. I call it life itself.
When a person is thoughtful, when a person is considerate, when a person feels the obligations that he has towards his fellow man, towards his friend, towards his father or mother, or in whatever relation he stands to man; it is something living, it is something like water which gives the sense of the living soul; the soul is not dead. It is this living soul which really makes a person alive. And the person who is not conscious of this, this tenderness, this sacredness of life, he lives, but the soul is in the grave. You do not need to ask that man what is his religion, what is his belief, for he is living it, life itself is his religion and this is the true religion. The man conscious of honor, the man who has the sense of shame, who has the feeling of sincerity, whose sympathy, whose devotion is alive, that man is living, that man is religious.
And it is this religion which has been the religion of the past and which will be the religion of the future. And religion, if ever it was taught by Christ or any other great ones, was to awaken in man that sense which is awakened when this religion is living.
It does not matter in which house you go and pray, for every moment of your life then is religion. Then it is not a religion in which you believe, but it is a religion which you live.
What is the Message of Sufism? Sufism is the Message of digging out that water like life which has been buried by the impressions of this material life. There is an English phrase: 'A lost soul' . The soul is not lost, the soul is buried, when it is dug then the divine life springs out like a spring of water. And the question is': 'What is digging? What does one dig in oneself?' Is it not true, is it not said in the scriptures that God is love? Then where is God to be found? Is He to be found in the seventh heaven, or is He to be found in the heart of man? He is to be found in the heart of man which is his shrine.
But if this heart is buried, – the heart which has lost that light, that life, that warmth, what does this heart become? It becomes as a grave. There is in a popular song in English, a beautiful line which says: 'The light of life dies when love is done.' That living thing in the heart is love. It may come as kindness, as friendship, as sympathy, as tolerance, as forgiveness, in whatever form this living water rises from the heart, it proves the heart to be a divine spring. And when once this spring is open and is rising, all that man does as an action, as a word, as a feeling, it is all religion, that man becomes religious.
If there is any coming religion, a new religion to come, it will be this religion, the religion of the heart. After all the suffering that has been caused to humanity by the recent war, man is beginning to open his eyes. And as the time will pass he will open his eyes to know and understand that the true religion is in opening the heart, in widening the outlook and in living the religion which is one religion.