August 14, 1955
Published in Sant Bani Magazine, October 1997
The One Concern Before Us
A talk given by the Master in San Jose, California, August 14, 1955. Reprinted from Sat Sandesh, July 1976
Ladies and Gentlemen: All men love their religions and hate others. They do love some people, no doubt, but there is a clash between religions.
I told you once that when my Master left the body, I went into a lonely place in the Himalayas. I met each and every one of the sects over there. Well, I had a talk with them and I told them: “These sects over here are supposed to reach God. Whether they reach God or not, that is another thing. They are supposed to reach God! Why should they not hand over all their possessions to the public, because they are of the public and not personal property, and just lay their heads together? Whatever experience they have had so far of God and of the scriptures, let them reconcile and give a digest to the people at large!” I was told: “Look here, what you say is splendid, but the heads of the sects will never agree, for the reasons they have immense possessions and spiritual egotism.” He also told me: “You always do this, and my whole possessions are at your beck and call to use.” This is social religion.
I have met people who have really had contact with God. They sent me a message. Naturally there is an affinity between man and God. How can there be any difference at all? Not in the least. I know of other cases when I was in the Himalayas. There I went out to meet each and every one of the yogis over there and their so-called sects. I asked one or two questions by the way, quite as an average man. “I’m a man, you see, coming to you as a man!” Then I spoke to them and they gave me some reply and I came away.
Then I went to see somebody of high level. That man’s habit was so kingly that he would never stand up. When he saw me coming at about 200 yards, he stood up. People said: “What is this? It is the first day in his life for him to stand!” When he came over, then naturally, we talked. He was just going to leave the physical plane to go into the higher planes. How did I know? A drunken man passing by and looking into the eyes of another drunkard, knows he is a drunkard. Well, cannot a spiritual man recognize another spiritual man? They must! If they do not, then they have not gone in-only the outer show is there. So my point is that we are all lovers of God, whether we belong to East or West. One religion or the other makes no difference. All social religions were made by man and their purpose was for the uplift of man. We have to make the best use of them here. We were not made for them, but they were made for man. We have to live up to what the scriptures say: Love God, love all humanity. Have an ethical life, chaste life, be truthful, hate none, love all and do selfless service. Is there any individual who does not know all these things? If they do, let them live up to them. If they do, there will be love between us. What a pity that it is only lip talk and that we are separated from day to day. If we had lived up to them, we would have been quite different people. The first thing it would give us is peace on earth. The inner Way is to know one’s Self and know God. That is the way before us.
Differences between religions are only in non-essentials. I will give you one or two examples to show that. If you go to a Christian church, you sit with bare head as a sign of respect. To go to a Sikh temple, your head is covered for respect. This is due to the customs of the two countries. The purpose is the same but the outward observances are a little different.
In Arabia, you find a dearth of water, and Prophet Mohammed says: “When you say prayers just wash your face, hands and feet, and you can sit there.” He also made a provision for where there is no water at all. He said: “To sit there, just smear the hands and feet with dust and then sit down.” You see! Certainly you should sit wide awake when you say your prayers. In other countries where there is abundance of water, they say: “Until you take a bath, you should not sit down.” The purpose is the same, I tell you! Well, look here, we are all lovers of God. If a man sits in this way or that way, well, let him. We are to love him. After all, we are lovers of God, you see!
It is said of Moses that he went into the wilderness. There was a shepherd over there. He was just praising God in his own way, naturally. Being an ignorant lad, he could only praise God in the limited vocabulary he had known. He was praying: “O God, if you had been a child, I would have given you milk to drink! O God, if your clothes were torn and worn out, I would have made clothes from the wool of the sheep! They would give you good wearing.” He went so far: “O God, if you were a child and there were leeches in your hair, I would have gotten them out!” And so, out of his love and devotion, he was just saying all these things.
The prophet Moses was passing by and said: “Hello, heretic, what are you talking nonsense for?” He was just a boy and a lover of God. He asked: “Have I done heresy? Have I done anything wrong?” Moses answered, “O yes! How can God be a child to have milk and this and that? What nonsense!” The shepherd cried: “O God, out of love, I have just insulted you!” While crying, he went inside, just inverted, you see! He saw God over there, who said: “Don’t be afraid, I’ll drink your milk, I’ll have your clothing, too!” Then Moses, when he went into meditation, saw God within and God said: “Look here, Moses, I sent you into the world to unite men with me, not to separate them from me. That boy was united to me out of devotion. What he was uttering, I don’t mind. I was just following the import of the thought back of it. You have done a great sin, go and ask the shepherd for forgiveness!”
So, you see my point, that Masters came to unite man to man. They have only one goal before them: to know God and let others know God — to love God and to love all humanity. That is no business proposition, I tell you! But people, they have done what? Did not Jesus say: “Go ye out of the temple, ye have made the house of my Father a business house!”? That cannot be. So we have one concern before us, whether we belong to one religion or the other. We have to love God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength and — as God resides in every heart — we have to love all humanity.
On these two commandments hang the work of all the Masters, I would say. Other things follow of themselves; but this is for all mankind alike, to love everybody. Those who are lovers of God should also do likewise and sit at His feet. It is just like a classroom; it is natural that everything will follow. And the other point is to know the inner man. When you see within, then you lose all desires and naturally respect all others. A story is told of a certain saint in the East. He was a lover of God and was seeing God everywhere. A dog came up while he was baking some loaves of bread. One of the loaves he had taken from the oven. The dog snatched it and ran away. What did the saint do? He took butter and ran after the dog, saying: “See! Don’t you eat a dry loaf of bread — have this butter on it!”
There are instances of those who have the Inner Eye open. They have love for everybody. The idea is: “To be as perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” We have to work up to that, but that we can do only if we work at it and know what our scriptures say. We can understand scriptures only when we meet someone who has had first-hand experience. Masters like that, if you meet them anywhere, you are really blessed. To sit at the feet of a Master is a great blessing.
The name “Master” has been greatly misused. People are afraid now to follow a Master or teacher, due to the misuse of the name. You see, they come up to a Master, with all devotion, all love, all sacrifice, but they ultimately find the majority of them are simply like most people, they are of the world. It is always the same way, and they say: “Oh, we don’t like Masters!” Then books suffice them.
Without a true Master, there is no way out. This I have spoken to you, is about the outer truths. The inner truths are, how to rise above the body consciousness, to know yourself and to know God. Well, that is the gift only of the real Master who can give you first-hand experience that can open your inner eye that you may see the Light of God. So what does Master say? This man-body that is given to you is the highest of all creation. Man is God, you see, and his first mission of life is to know Self and to know God.
As compared with other creatures, the animal kingdom and others, your work is almost the same, except that you have discrimination in you. You can discriminate the real from the unreal. Stick to the real and leave off the unreal. That is the competency and qualification that man has in this man-body. If, after getting the man-body, we do not analyze ourself, we do not exercise this discrimination, or quality, of man. We are at the top of creation. All creation was made for our service. We should be worthy of it. If I had so many children under me, I should be loving all, not killing all, you see!
Man is the highest of all creation. Animals are the same as man. They feel heat and cold, man does the same. They feel pain and pleasure, man does too. They have children, man has children. They get attachments, man gets attachments which overtake him. Man is the same. Where is the difference? If animals die, their skins are used for the benefit of someone. Well, man is the highest of all creation. What does he do? Animal is to the back of man, I would say. If he does not leave off developing all the animal spirit in him and rise up and know God and see and come in contact with a mouthpiece of Reality, then he is not doing as a man should. Only when a man does rise up and know God, do we behold man as a man.
Whether we belong to one country or the other, all these social religions are made for man. We are studying man now and what he should have done for that reason, was the returning to know God and to meet God. For that reason, he has to sit at the feet of one who has realized God and who has become perfect man, you see! All work other than this knowing of one’s Self and knowing God is all to no avail to you when you leave this body ultimately.
You do have to leave this body and what is going along with you? Your body is the first companion that came into the world with you, but it does not go along with you at death. Anything that we have come into contact with through this body, how can it go along with us? Man who is attached to these outer things, how can he find his way back to God? This is what Christ said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich man with attachments outside to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven within.”
We have to remain in the world but unattached. That only comes when you transcend and rise above the body consciousness. You can have visible attachment within, too! Then you see what is more glorious and beautiful. Once you find God and have that experience, all outer attachments will leave you. How can we have that Reality and learn it, too? The mission of life is to sit at the feet of those who have found God — the Truth. And what do they say? Have an ethical life, for ethical life is the stepping-stone to spirituality. Just know yourself: who you are, what you are. Self knowledge precedes God knowledge. “Know yourself!” is the first motto. All Masters spoke alike. Guru Nanak, Kabir, Swami Shiv Dayal, Christ, all said the same thing. What did the old Greeks say? — “Go within and contact the Divine Link within you!”
God resides within your heart. Why don’t you open your Eye and go within and see? That is the teaching of all Masters. They are all parallel. Unless we realize this, then we can have no peace of heart, neither from the inner nor the outer. There are two ways to find peace, as I just told you. To love God and all humanity, to sit at the feet of someone who has contacted God within and whose Inner Eye is open, then what do you find? He gives you first-hand experience to rise above the body consciousness, to know yourself and ultimately to know God.
It is the soul within which has to know God, not the intellect. Of course, you must make the best use of the intellect. Now, as I am talking to you, you need intellect for understanding. Reason is a help and reason can be a bar. Reason has to be stilled before you can have first-hand experience of self and first-hand experience and knowledge of God. This same Truth you will find as a digest in all the scriptures — Truth in a nutshell, in a few words, and which we have to learn. We have to know the inner man and also the outer man. How can we know the inner man? We will take that up tomorrow and the day after.
We reside in the body and God also resides in this body. How to open the inner eye and to see Him, that is our goal. You may belong to any religion or country you like, but unless you do this and solve this mystery of life, man can get nowhere.
Today’s talk was only of the outer man, a few words. Tomorrow, we will just take up: What are the higher values of life and how to enter inside. We have to enter the Kingdom of God, there is no doubt. How to enter will be the subject of tomorrow’s talk. Day after tomorrow we will find out what is the way back to God.
* * *