(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 58
4. There is one Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction toward the ideal, which fulfills the life's purpose of every soul.
Religion, in the Sanskrit language, is termed Dharma, which means duty. The duty of every individual is his religion.
'Every soul is born for a certain purpose, and the light of that purpose is kindled in his soul.'
This explains why the Sufi allows with tolerance everyone to have his own path; and does not compare the principles of others with his own, but allows freedom of thought to everyone, since he himself is a free thinker. Religion, in the conception of a Sufi is the path that leads man toward the attainment of his ideal, worldly as well as heavenly. Sin and virtue, right and wrong, good and bad are not the same in the case of every individual, they are according to his grade of evolution and state of life.
Therefore to a Sufi the name of the religion, or the place of worship is unimportant. All places are sacred enough for his worship, and all religions convey to him the religion of his soul. 'I saw Thee in the Sacred Kaba, and in the temple of the idol also Thee I saw.'
5. There is one Law, the Law of Reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice.
Man spends his life in the pursuit of all that seems to him profitable for himself, and when so absorbed in self-interest, he loses in time even track of his own interest. Man makes laws to suit himself, so that he can take the best of another, and this he calls justice. He only recognizes injustice when it is done to him by another. He, therefore, can never lead a peaceful and harmonious life with his fellow men until the sense of justice is awakened in him by a selfless conscience.
As the judicial authorities of the world intervene between two persons who are at variance, knowing that they have a right to intervene when the two parties in dispute are blinded by personal interest, so the Almighty Power intervenes in all disputes however small or great. It is the law of reciprocity that saves man from being exposed to the Higher Powers, as a considerate man has less chance of being brought before the court. The sense of justice is awakened in a perfectly sober mind that is free from the intoxication of youth, strength, power, possession, command, birth, or rank.
It seems a net profit when one does not give but takes, or when one gives less and takes more, but in either case there is a greater loss than profit in reality; for every such profit spreads a cover over the sense of justice within, and when many such covers have veiled the sight, man becomes blind even to his own profit. It is like standing in one' own light. 'Blind here remains blind in the hereafter.'
There are different laws taught by different religions, teaching how to act harmoniously and peacefully with one's fellow men, but they all meet in this one truth: 'Do unto others as thou wouldst they should do unto thee.' The Sufi, in taking a favor from another, enhances its value, and in taking adverse treatment from another, he makes allowance. In taking measures against someone he leaves a margin, knowing that selfishness plays a part in it, and in doing a favor he adds to the degree to which he should do so.
For those who have renounced, a life in the forest is suitable; for the beneficent a life of seclusion is needed; but those who live in the worldly struggles a right sense of reciprocity is necessary.
6. There is one Brotherhood, the Human Brotherhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the Fatherhood of God.
The Sufi understands that the One Life emanating from the Inner Being is manifested on the surface as the life of variety, and in this world of variety man is the finest manifestation, who can realize, in his evolution, the Oneness of the Inner Being even in the external existence of variety. But he evolves to his ideal, which is the only purpose of his coming on earth, by uniting himself with another. Man unites with others in the family tie, which is the first step in his evolution.
And yet families, in the past, have fought with each other, and have shown vengeance to one another for generations, each considering at the time its own to be the only true and righteous cause. Man, today shows his evolution by uniting with his neighbors and fellow citizens, and even developing within himself the spirit of patriotism for his nation. He is greater in this respect than those in the past. And yet man so united nationally have caused the recent catastrophe, which has no parallel in history; and this will be regarded by the coming generations in the same light in which the family feuds of the past are viewed by us today.
There are racial bonds which widen the circle of unity still more; but it has always happened that one race has looked down on the other. The religious bond shows a still higher ideal in man; but it has caused diverse sects which have opposed and despised each other for thousands of years, and have caused so many splits and divisions among men. Even in such a wide scope of brotherhood the germ of separation exists. And however widespread the brotherhood may be, as long as it separates man from man, it cannot be a perfect brotherhood.
The Sufi, realizing this, frees himself from national, racial, and religious boundaries, uniting in the human brotherhood, which is void of the differences and distinctions of class, caste, creed, race, nation, or religion, and unites mankind in the universal Brotherhood.