February 6, 1955
Published in Sant Bani Magazine, February 1982
February 6, 1955
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am speaking to you from Sawan Ashram, Delhi.
I had the good fortune to sit at the Holy Feet of my Master for about twenty-four years and imbibed the Truth of Life. To have a living Master is really a great blessing. What I learnt at His feet is being given unto you. My best wishes go to you all. The celebration of a birth anniversary is worth it, if one comes closer to God day by day. The message that I can give you on the occasion of my physical birth anniversary is of love, love, and love alone.
Man is older than all philosophies and religions, which were only made for his salvation. Despite these and his vast acquisition of knowledge, he is not really satisfied with his life. His belonging to a certain creed or faith has in no way helped him because he is not able to realize the fundamental Truth underlying all religions — i.e., of Love.
God made man, and man made religions. The various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Mohammedanism, Sikhism, etc., were all intended to be means to an end — a way leading to God, or a link between man and God. In actual practice we find that none of them has provided any degree of satisfaction. The fault lies not with religions but with those who administer them. Having forgotten the basic truth of love at the root of all religions, we, one and all, are cut off from the sheet anchor and are afloat on the sea of life. Each one of us tries to catch at a straw to save himself, and the natural result is that after a brief struggle with chance winds and waters, we sink into the great oblivion, without solving the riddle of life — from whence and where to, or the why and wherefore of human life.
Love, then, is the only true religion. Saint Paul, addressing the Galatians, said: “By love serve one another.”
“One who serves his fellow-men loves God and is the true beloved of God,” declared Leigh Hunt.
Similarly, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a great poet, in his famous poem, “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” tells us:
He prayeth best who loveth best,
All things both great and small,
For the dear God who loveth us
He made and loveth all.
St. John in his Epistles wrote: “He that loveth not, knoweth not God.”
Christ, the great apostle of peace, emphatically laid down a cardinal principle of life in his memorable words: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” and again, he laid emphasis on that and gave out: “Love and all things shall be added unto thee.”
Sheikh Saadi, a Muslim Divine, taught the same thing: “Like the limbs are knit together the children of God. They are born of the same essence. Should any one of them suffer from ague, the others too become restless.”
Sheikh Farid, and other Saints, also repeat in the same strain: “If thou wishest to meet thy beloved (God), injure not a human mind.”
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, says: “Verily Verily I say unto thee that God manifests Himself to one loves. God is love. Our soul is of the same essence as God, so it is also love; and the way back to God is also love.”
Bhai Nandlal, another lover of God, speaks the same thing: “The Creator and His creation are one. Do no injury to His creation, O Nandlal, and incur not the wrath of God.”
The human heart is the seat of God. It has been given to Man in trust. It must therefore be kept neat and clean, for then alone it can reflect His light and make life truly blessed. Body is the temple of God. We keep outside temples so clean and neat, which are made by man; how clean and neat we should keep the very temple in which we reside, as well as God.
There is just one Creative principle for the entire creation. All are born of the light of God and the same light shines forth in all; and as such, none of His creatures can be dubbed as evil. Thomas a Kempis, in “The Imitation of Christ,” writes: “From ONE WORD proceeds all things and all things tell of Him.”
The Hindus call this Creative principle NAD,the Muslims call it KALMA, and the Sikhs NAAM.Truth is one and only one, though sages describe it variously, is the memorable Upanishadic Text.
Sheikh Saadi tells us: “No religion is higher than the service of the people. The rosary, the altar, and the apparel give not any merit.”
Again: “My beloved is in all hearts and no heart is without Him. Blessed indeed is the heart that manifests Him.” “Know for certain that God resides in all hearts and hence every heart need be respected.”
No better than quarry stone is the Kaaba of Khalil,
Kaaba of human heart provides God a seat,
Of all pilgrimages, that to the human heart is true,
Make more merit there than countless Meccas do.
This is what the great Saint, Maulana Rumi, uttered: “O man, circumambulate the secret Kaaba of the mind, Unlike the Kaaba of Khalil, God made the Kaaba of mind.”
“The performance of countless austerities and penances, each followed by acts of charity; the observance of innumerable fasts, each attended with thousands of prayers; and keeping of sleepless vigils for myriads of nights, will not be of any avail to thee if thou injurest the feelings of a single individual.” This was given out by a great Saint named Maghribi Sahib.
Again Hafiz says: “Drink wine to your heart’s content, burn down the holy Koran (which everybody considers a sin) and consign to the flames even the sacred Kaaba if you will, but injure not the feelings of any man.”
The things described are considered grave sins, but Hafiz says even committing these sins is far better than injuring the feelings of a man.
Again Sheikh Saadi proclaims: “Unless you love God’s creation, you cannot have God’s grace; for those who serve His creation, serve Him the most.”
MAN IS THE SAME ALL OVER
All persons, irrespective of sex, color, caste or creed, rich or poor, high or low, come into the world alike. Born as they are in the mother’s womb by the union of sperms and ova, each one sees the light of the day after a period of gestation from nine to ten months. Kabir Sahib, a great Indian Saint, addressing a high-caste Brahmin priest, told him:
“O Brahmin, should you claim high birth and on that account special privileges, you ought to have been born in a way different from that of the rest.”
Again, there is a marked likeness in the physical lineaments of all men, whether in the East or in the West. Each one is gifted with equal number of organs and senses. All are moved and actuated by similar impulses and instincts. The weather conditions affect them all alike. All enjoy freely the gifts of Dame Nature and participate in her countless bounties: light, air, water, food, etc.
In every way similarity runs through the entire creation. Disease, decay, and death come to all in just the same way. No one escapes the ravages of time. So also do the remedies work in each case. God has made no distinction between man and man. Man alone is responsible for all kinds of distinctions and differences of caste, color and creed, splitting up humanity into narrow grooves of classes, groups and nationalities, etc.
The religious differences, as they appear to be, are man-made and are the result of narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Saints and seers, whenever they come or did come, have only one common message for the entire world. Their message is one of “Universal love.” No one indeed can love God unless he knows how to love his fellow beings. Just as physical maladies wreck the human body, so do mental perversities. The latter so poison the circulatory system in the body that one is badly affected by greed, selfishness, hatred, ill-will and animosity, which in turn lead to perverted outlook on life, and man is dragged down to the level of beasts, nay at times even lower than that, and very often the result is social and economic disintegration. Whenever Master souls come into the world, they tell us that all religious differences are the outcome of religious vanity and spiritual egotism. The so-called leaders in every religion suffer from misguided fervor and narrow prejudices, so that they cannot possibly take a detached view of anything around them. On the contrary, they see the world through the smoke-colored glasses they have provided for themselves. They have no toleration for things and conditions that are not in accord with the rigid formularies of the organized sectarian or religious orders. While there is only one Word embracing universal religion of love, based on the great fundamental truth — the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man — we have in self-interest, petty prejudices and befogged understanding, carved out narrow sectarian principalities and have raised around hedges and walls of hatred and antagonism, thus dividing man from man,class from class, nation from nation, and country from country. In this connection, Hafiz, a great Mohammedan Saint, saith:
“One Reality shines both in Islam and Kufar (the man of faith and the heretic) and all the seeming differences in the various religious orders are in fact vapory nothing.
“It is through sheer prejudices that the Brahmins and the Sheikhs (religious heads of Hinduism and Islam respectively) have now got different drinking bowls, though in the wine-bar there is only one butler (Godman) dispensing the same wine (of Divine Love) from the same flagon to the various tipplers at the table.”
Saints tell us that there is only one God of the entire universe. Upanishads say the say thing: “Truth is one, though sages call it variously.” He is the God of the whole creation and not of one religion or the other. There is, in fact, no difference between Karta of the Hindus and Karim (or Merciful) of the Muslims (Karta means “the Creator”), Razak (sustainer) of the Hindus and Rahim (Compassionate) of the Muslims. All these names are descriptive of the various attributes of God and were coined by sages, saints, Rishis and Munis of different denominations in their own respective languages. The nameless reality is one, but responds to the calls of all by any name by which any individual may invoke that Power. The Nameless One has many names. He doth attend by whatsoever name He is addressed.
One must carefully avoid the dangers of doubt and skepticism. God alone need be worshiped and adored. He is the God of all, and each one is His manifestation. The same life impulse works in all and each is lighted by the same light. The entire humanity constitutes a single class by itself. Guru Gobind Singh sayeth in this respect: “Some keep shaven crowns, while others robe themselves in flame-colored apparel, and still others call themselves Jogies (‘Yogis’) (a sect that wear wooden earrings in their ears and are ever on the march from stage to stage). Again some are engaged in the quest of Brahma (the Creator) while others perform penances and strict austerities. Some are Hindus and some are Turks, while others follow either Imam Rafzi or any other saint. With all these differences in nomenclature, they, at the root, are all one — to wit, men born of and embedded in God; call Him the Creator, or the Merciful, the Donor or Rahim, for that makes no difference at all — take it as a settled Truth and be not therefore bewildered by diversity in names. They all serve and worship the same God, the same Lord and Master of the Universe. All of them manifest the image of the same God and exist simply by His love and light alone.”
Many a name, has the Nameless One,
Addressed by any, He doth attend.
Remembrance of God is the main thing before us to find our way back to God. The purpose of all devotional exercises and pilgrimages is the same. Human body is the veritable temple of God.
There is one, and only one, common objective of the various forms of devotion as prescribed in different scriptures — how to love the Lord and how to realize Him. The various writers in different times and in different climes have in their own way pointed out the path leading to God. It may be likened to a game of Archery in which so many Archers participate and discharge their arrows at the common target. An Indian saint says:
“Each one in his own way talks to us of his own beloved. O Rajab! target is one but the archers are countless.”
In the holy Koran — the sacred scripture of the Mohammedans — it is mentioned that from time to time different forms of worship were designed by Master Souls according to the needs of the age in which they lived. Omar Khayyam, a great Persian Sufi poet, saith:
“The temples and the mosques or the churches and synagogues are alike for the worship of God. The Gong and Conch perpetually produce therein life-giving strains of music. The Arch in the mosques, the Cross in the churches, the Altar in the temples, and the Rosary in the synagogues, are just different symbols for the worship of the Divine Beloved.”
Even in these places of worship, whatsoever their denominations may be, one has to enter into the laboratory of the human body, which in the truest sense of the word is the temple of God. Real worship and devotion is purely an internal and mental process unconnected with and independent of any and every thing outside the human frame. All that is required is purity of mind. With an ethical background one can worship anywhere under the sky, for the whole world then is a vast temple of God; for there is no place without Him, including the specific places of worship described above. In fact, wherever devotion kneels in humility, that becomes sanctified. In the holy Koran it is mentioned that the Universe is His, turn wherever one may, the East or West, the North or the South — one would face God, for He is both Omnipresent and Omniscient. For the ignorant, God lives only in man-made temples, mosques or churches, but the really awakened find Him only within themselves — the God-made temple of the human body. Maghrabi tells us:
“Thy beloved is within thee and thou art ignorant of it and goeth to find Him without from place to place. To go to a mosque in search of one who is the very soul of thy soul is nothing short of a tragic waste of time. The ignorant bow down before a mosque, while the wise are engaged in purifying the mind, which is the throne of God Himself. The former is sham tinsel and the latter is the actual reality.”
The true Kaaba or the Altar of worship is therefore the Satguru, as Tulsi Sahib saith (a personality in whom light of God shines):
“Woe be to thee, O indweller of the God-made mosque, for thou goest for worship to the man-made temple.”
Kabir Sahib also speaks thus: “As Kabir proceeded on a pilgrimage to Mecca, God met him on the way. He quarreled with him and enquired as to who bade him do this.”
Again, he said: “This body is the veritable temple of God. In it alone shines the light of God.”
Christ did also say: “Body is the temple of God.”
Hafiz of Shiraz speaks in the same terms: “The object of going to the temple or the mosque is to meet Thee, O Lord. Except this there is no other idea in it.”
Again, he saith: “Say not that Kaaba is better than a temple. In fact that place alone is the best where one may witness the glory of his beloved.”
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, beautifully describes it in this wise: “There is no difference between the Dera and a mosque as both serve the same purpose. All mankind is just one, and the idea of diversity is but a myth. The same God has created the angels and the spirits, as also the Turks and the Hindus — in fact men of all denominations. Each of them in his own way manifests the one Creator. All of them have similar eyes, ears, bodies, and their apparel is made out of the five elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Allah of the Muslims and Alakh of the Hindus are the names of the same Entity. The Puranas and the Koran speak of Him alone. In fact, all religious scriptures existing on earth point to the same one reality.”
Scriptures tell us that there is no need for any quest without. Through the grace of a Master (the Guru) the Lord is made manifest within. All places of worship are made up of water and clay. When God is omnipresent, why need one seek Him in temples and mosques? He is right within us, nay is the very soul of our soul. But this Truth dawns only when a Sant Satguru helps in bringing it home to us through actual experience. Guru Arjan speaks:
“Some address Him as Ram and some as Khudda. Some call Him Gosain and others Allah. He is the Karan and Karim or the Kirpal Dhar Rahim. He is the creator and merciful giving out his merciful glances all the world over.
“Some go for a bath to the sacred rivers, while others go for a Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Some worship Him and some bow their heads in silent adoration.
“Some engage in the study of the Vedas and some read the Koran and the Bible. Some put on white raiment and some wear blue apparel.
“Some call Him a Hindu and others a Turk. Some smear their bodies with ashes and some with a sandal paste.
“But, O Nanak, one who has known His will (by becoming a conscious co-worker with Him), he alone has solved the mystery of God.”
Again the sacred lore of the Hindus is in Sanskrit or in Hindi, and that of the Mohammedans in Arabic or in Persian, while the Bible of the Christians is in Latin and English. The various expositions, the commentaries and annotations of these are in the different languages in common vogue from time to time. All these scriptures, whatever their languages (for languages count not with God), simply serve the purpose of creating in us a desire, a yearning, a craving and love for God. These are the means and not the end; for God is unwritten Law and unspoken language. He defies all tongues, for none can reach Him. No particular tongue has any special merit, for it is just a vehicle of expression and nothing else, so that one may narrate and listen to the stories of God. Hafiz therefore beautifully saith:
“O Hafiz, in the matter of Love there is no difference between the Turkish and the Arabic or other languages. The tales of love may be narrated in either of the languages as may be known to thee.”
The various lands and the various peoples are just like various flowers of the same garden, though gifted with different colors and shades of fragrance. Living in the lap of the same mother earth and under the same blue canopy, we have, through petty prejudices and short-sighted vision, narrowed ourselves into various religious sects and orders. Religion, as the word literally implies, is a way back or re-linking with the source, and instead of vouchsafing liberation, has, like the proverbial “blanket-bear,” taken hold of us in its iron tentacles, from which it is not possible to escape. (To understand the proverbial saying “blanket-bear”: A bear was just going down the stream. A man outside saw and took it to be a black blanket flowing away. He jumped into the stream and, considering it to be a blanket, caught hold of it and found it was a bear. The bear took him in his claws and would not let him go. Those standing on the side of the stream asked him to come back, and he stated he would like to come back but the bear would not let him go.) Such is the condition in which people are adrift nowadays. The awakened men revolt at this state of affairs.
When both the mosque and the temple (or other religious places) constitute the house of God and are lighted by the light of God, why and what for should there be so much pother about them?
The object of worship in a temple or mosque or any other religious place is to find the same beloved. When, in spite of apparent differences in form, shape and color, two stones, if struck together, produce the same spark, it is strange that the different (two) types of worshipers fail to produce the same results. It is simply because neither of them has understood real worship.
All religions have as their ideals self-knowledge and God-realization. But in the very name of these respective religions, the Brahmans and Sheikhs (the religious heads of the Hindus and the Mohammedans) and the followers and heads of the other sects preach hatred and ill-will against each other.
The institution of paid preachers has in these days converted religious centers into commercialized markets, with stock-in-trade of falsehood, hypocrisy, and deceit. The true lovers of God therefore disassociate themselves from such a horrible state of things and keep aloof from them. Bulleh Shah graphically describes this sad state of affairs of his time as:
“Dharamshalas (places of worship) serve as entrepots for the swindlers, and Thakar Dwaras (houses of God) as the houses of the thugs (cheats). Mosques shelter merciless butchers, while the true lovers of God step aside and rest.”
The seeds of animosity and hatred between man and man are sown by the very people who themselves are the victims of stark ignorance and, pandora-like, know not what mischief they unleash into the world by their thoughtless utterances. Such persons are styled in the scriptures as manmukhs or the mouthpieces of mind, for they do things thoughtlessly and their actions are all steeped in and saturated with selfish greed. Their tongues wag, cutting deep chasms right and left into the very vitals of the people and injecting poison into the well-heads of their minds, and whosoever comes and contacts them and drinks of their words not only catches the infection of discord and disharmony but, like hounds, become bloodthirsty of their own kith and kin. As opposed to them, there is another class of persons called Gurmukhs (or the mouthpiece of the Guru). They are the reservoirs of love, and lovingly shed the beneficent light of love around their fellow beings. They recognize the essential unity of all humanity, embedded as it is in the root cause of God. Islam calls such people “Momen” and they have regard and respect not only for prophets of Islam but even for the prophets of all other religions, for they seethe essential unifying link that runs through all and do not look to the differences in non-essentials.
The fundamental truths are common in all religions and point to the same way. Religious truths, whether ethical or spiritual, have a common ideal and a common objective, viz. that man should first know himself and then develop God-knowledge and God-consciousness leading ultimately to God-head. The word “religion,” as the term indicates, is a great, binding force that links man back to his creator, whom he, by his entire absorption in the mundane affairs of life, has entirely forgotten and has become identified with the world. Faith in God and a living contact with “God-in-action” or “Holy Ghost” is the universal religion that has been given to the world by various Saints from age to age. It is eternal and unchangeable for all times. Guru Arjan says that the noblest and the highest Truth in all religions enjoins a contact with the eternal and unchangeable permanence. It is because of this that Guru Arjan, while compiling the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs — the Granth Sahib — has collected therein the sayings of the various Master-souls, whether Hindus, Mohammedans, or Sikhs, without caring for their vocations in life, high or low. In it we find the sayings of Sant Kabir (a weaver by profession), Namdev (a calico printer), Ravidas (a cobbler), Dhanna Jat and Sadna (a butcher). Such Godly souls come into the world untrammeled and free, with a specific mission, to wit, dispensation of the Saving Grace of the Lord for those who listen to them and follow their teachings. They look after and take charge of their souls and not of the raiment of the body with its various denominational hallmarks. They tell us of the way out of the body, by the process of soul-withdrawal, and the way into the spiritual world beyond, by means of a contact with the Holy Ghost or Naam. They come to unite individual souls with God and not disrupt this relationship wherever it is already in existence. The religious barriers do not stand in their way. In fact, they have love for all religions and actually give life and light to them all, without which they would be dull, drab, and lifeless indeed, a corpse without a soul. Guru Nanak, for instance, went on a pilgrimage to far-off Mecca and gave to the Muslims over there as much of his teachings as to Hindus in Benares and Hardwar, the sacred places of Hindus, etc. Again there existed fraternal relationship between Guru Arjan, Hazrat Mian Mir and Bhagat Chajju. Guru Gobind Singh had equal love for Hindus and Muslims and men of all the denominations. When he was hemmed in by the Turks on the plain of Machiwara, it was the Muslims who helped him out and saved his life. One Bhai Kanhaya Singh, one of his followers, supplied water alike to wounded Muslims and Hindu soldiers in the field of battle. When complained against by the ignorant Sikhs for his allegedly treacherous conduct, he told the Master that as he flitted about on the field with his water-skin to quench the thirst of the dying, he witnessed in one and all the same light as was in the Master.
“When ignorance is once dispelled, all distinctions between Hindus and Muslims, and in fact all other sectarian people, drop off and vanish like airy nothings.”
God is the substratum and life principle for the entire creation — even of the heretics and the agnostics. As He loves all, so do saints who are dyed in His own color. Once Moses sat for a dinner with one who offered no grace before taking the meal. In his heart of hearts, Moses felt a rude shock; but God reprimanded him for he had no business to be dissatisfied with one whom He (God) in his unbounded mercy had provided with food. Such Master-souls have great love for one and all, no matter if any of them be the worst of sinners, the most despised and hated by society. No person has a right to address God as “Father” unless he is prepared to love his fellow beings as his brethren, for all life springs from Him, and as such there should be no discrimination between high and low, the faithful and the heretic. One may not know the Father — that is a different thing — yet he is born of the Father and that is all one need know and act upon.
Dear ladies and gentlemen, the subject is long. I cannot dwell on this any more for want of time. I am simply sending this message to you which has given you the Truth as a naked Truth. Those who are awakened people, they will surely appreciate it. This is the real state of affairs which is before us. The only solution to help us out of this state of affairs is to love, love, and love God. Love for humanity is love of God. If you put in some love in your affairs at home, there is peace. You put in the same love in your outward relations, there is peace also. For want of this, man is against man, country is against country. The only solution for all this state of affairs is to realize that God is love; our souls are of the same essence as that of God and are also Love. We have to develop this blessed beatitude, which is already innate in ourselves. By developing this, you will concentrate and know the Truth — underlying principles working throughout the creation.
On this birth anniversary day I have to give YOU only ONE MESSAGE, i.e., OF LOVE. LOVE. AND LOVE ALONE My best wishes go out to you all, brothers and sisters over in USA, and in all other countries alike. More when we meet again. Again, with love to you all, I close.
Just at this time I am reminded of my program for coming to America. I quite appreciate your loving attitude and incessant demand for my coming over there. Heart goes out to heart. I have love for you, and as a reaction of that, you feel attraction and feel an anguish for my coming over there.
I had some private affairs in connection with Satsang affairs. These are practically solved and it will take about a month or so to set them altogether right. I hope to see you in the near future and will let you know the exact program beforehand when I have settled and fixed up the program finally. I would be glad to see you all over there in person.