(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 32
Man has a respect for his mother or father or husband or wife or for his superiors, but they have limited personalities; where then shall he give most respect? Only to one being; to God. Man can love another human being, but by the very fact of his loving another human being, he has no scope; to express all the love that is there, you must love the unlimited God. One admires all that is beautiful, beautiful in color, tone or form, but all that is beautiful has its limitations; but when one rises above limitations, there is that perfection which is God alone.
But many people say, 'Yes, the perfection of all things, of love, harmony and beauty is God; but where is the personality of God? And it is this difficulty which some feel, when at loss to find something to adore or worship, different from all they see. In all ages men have, perhaps, worshipped idols, or the sun, or fire, or some other form as God, because they were not able to see further than their eyes could see. Of course it is easy to criticize anyone or to look at anyone with contempt, but really that shows that every soul has a desire for someone to admire, to adore, and to worship.
There is a story of a peasant boy, that a peasant boy had heard the name of God preached, and he came home the first time after he heard it and felt such love, gushing from his heart for God, but could not imagine how God could be. And he began to say, 'O God, if you would come to me, I would love you so much; I feel so full of love for you and that I would bathe you in this river and keep you warm in my blankets, and I would protect you from harm, and I would sing to you and dance before you.' Moses happened to pass by in these parts, and heard what the boy said. He said to him, 'Beware, O boy, what are you saying? God is beyond the conception of man. You make him limited by saying such things.'
But no sooner had Moses said this, than a voice came from within, saying: 'Moses, thou hast given us great pain. Here was one who loved us and did not know what we are or what we are like, and now you have broken his heart; for he could not understand us otherwise. And this teaches us how gentle we ought to be with the faith of another; as long as he has the spark of the love of God this spark should be slowly blown upon that the flame may rise; if not that spark will be extinguished. How much the spiritual development of mankind in general depends upon a religious man; he can either spread the light, or diminish it by forcing his belief on others.
Although there can be no trace of the personality of God to be found on the surface, yet one can see that there is a source from which all personality comes, and a goal to which all must return. And if there is one source, what a great personality that one Source must be! It cannot be learnt by great intellect, or even not by the study of metaphysics, or comparative religion, but only understood by a pure and innocent heart full of love.
The great personalities who have descended on earth, from time to time, to awaken in man that Love which is his divine inheritance, found echo in innocent souls rather than in great intellects. Man often confuses wisdom with cleverness and cleverness with wisdom. But these two are different; man can be wise and can be clever and man can be clever and not wise; and by cleverness a person will strive and strive, and will not reach there. It is a stream, the stream of love, which leads towards God.
There is a story that a king was traveling and hunting in the woods, and the king was hungry, and stopped at the house of a peasant who treated him very kindly. When the king was leaving this peasant he was so touched with his kindness that, without telling him he was a king, he said to him. 'Take this ring and if ever you are in trouble, come to me in the city and I will see what I can do for you.' After a time there was a famine and the peasant was in great trouble, and his wife and child were dying, and he set out to come and see this man. Of course, when he showed the ring, he was brought to the king and when he entered the room, he saw the king busy in prayer, and when the king came near to him, he said, 'What were you doing?' 'Praying for peace and love and happiness among my subjects.' 'So there is a greater than you, to whom you must go for what you seek? Then I will go to him, who is greater, and on whom even your destiny depends.' He would accept no help, and at last the king had to send what was needed quietly to his home, first saying that no one must tell him that it came from the king. The idea is that it is not only belief but faith which is necessary. Belief is a thing, but faith is a living being.
And the warners and teachers of humanity and great preachers who have come from time to time when darkness prevailed, what message did they bring? Did they bring new religions, or new theories, to the world? No, when Jesus Christ said,' I have not brought a new law but I have come to fulfill the law;' then who else at any time could bring a new theory? The scientist perhaps, but not the spiritual messenger. Then what did the spiritual message bring? It brought to the world a living God, a light hidden beyond words. With the spiritual message God has sent His Life and Light upon the world.
The work the Sufi movement is destined to do in the present epoch is to bring about a better understanding among the followers of the different religions. The Sufi message is not a new message although it strikes the note of the day. It is the re-echo of the same voice, the voice that we heard in all ages. At the present time when races and nations and the followers of different religions are all one against the other, this is a time when a word of unity and peace alone can unite all together in God.
The Sufi Order is not a community and not a religion; it is a nucleus of the human brotherhood which is the inner call of every soul. The Sufi message is given to all nations, it is a call to all races, to the followers of all religions. It teaches people to follow whatever religion they may profess, but to follow it truly, and understanding it better; not only to believe in God and the words of Christ, but to have faith in Him and His Divine word. We must think of the tolerance of the Master and of His forgiveness, and what the world would be today if we had it too. If we follow the natural religion, that divine impulse that is in every heart, then we shall be living the true religion.