Seeking - We are one
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
All through the ages, the different religions, which have been given to man for his spiritual development with the sole idea of unity, have gradually become a kind of community or nationality. Many people who belong to a Church accept its dogmas, claim a certain name for their religion, and consider all other children of God as separate; by doing so, they lose the very seed of wisdom for whose development that religion was given. This error has existed from the beginning, so that instead of touching the true spirit, people have lost reality by seeking a false objective.
Religious differences have caused endless wars and disasters for the human race. The reason is that the spirit of unity has not been recognised, while undue regard has been paid to uniformity. In the present age, when the spirit of religion is at its lowest ebb, divisions of classes and discords of all kinds spring up, one party, one class against another, and the spirit of rivalry, jealousy, and destruction everywhere. The effect has been to keep man away from the consciousness of God. Very few indeed recognise Him, all humanity is labouring under a great unrest, and yet man thinks he is progressing, while all the time he only progresses towards still greater unrest.
Divisiveness hinders progress
There can never be true progress when nations, kingdoms, and people are divided. The same spirit of destruction is at work all the time, and even families become separated. Unity seems to be rooted out from the hearts of men. Examples are not necessary. Those who will notice it can see the particular state of humanity, and the particular condition of life, all over the world.
The scripture given to the Jews, the Muslims, Parsis, Hindus, Buddhists, all have as their central truth the message of unity, but man has been so interested, and absorbed in the poetry of the scriptures, that he has forgotten their inner voice.
If only we would recognise the inner voice, we would see that the different scriptures all contain words spoken by the same voice. Some hear the voice, others only hear the words, just as in nature, some see only the branches, and others the roots of the tree. However, all the different scriptures and ways of worship and of contemplating God are given for one purpose, the realisation of unity. In unity resides the happiness and illumination of man, and his guidance in life. We all know unity by name, but most of us think of it as uniformity. The Vedanta, for thousands of years in all its prayers and mantras, voiced the central theme of unity, the oneness of all. The Quran with all its warnings expresses in one essential sura the being of God – not only in the unseen, but also in all that is seen, there is a single underlying current. The Bible says that we live, move, and have our being in God.
Of all the millions of believers in God perhaps only one makes God a reality, and that is because the picture man makes of God is as limited as himself. The knowledge of God is beyond man’s reason. Man only perceives things he is capable of perceiving. He cannot raise his imagination above what he is used to, and he cannot reach beyond his imagination to where the being of God is. The secret of God is hidden in the knowledge of unity. Man thinks, ‘What can unity give me? Can it bring me happiness? What is there in it?’ He can get the answer by observing and studying life more closely. See what an atmosphere the harmony of 10 people can create. The power of love and the influence created by 10 people is much greater than that created by one. Think then what would be the blessing for humanity if nations, races, and communities were united.
Unity is a must
No doubt, uniformity can teach the lesson of unity, but its purpose must not be for worldly gain, for then it is destructive. The wise in all ages have dived deep into life in order to attain unity in themselves, and in order to spread unity. In the life of the world, every man has some complaint to make. He lacks something; he is troubled by something. It is only the external reason; the truth is that he is not in unity with his own soul, for when there is disharmony in ourselves, how can we spread harmony? His mind and body are at war. The soul wants something else. But the soul and mind are pulled by the body and the body and the mind are pulled by the soul, and so there is disharmony. When a man is in harmony with himself, he is in harmony with all. He produces harmony and gives harmony to all; he gives it out all the time.
It is a question that can be answered by understanding our relationship with God. The innermost being of man is the real being of God. Man is always linked with God. If he could only realise it, it is by finding harmony in his own soul that he finds communion with God. All meditation and contemplation are taught with this purpose, to harmonise one’s innermost being with God, so that he is seeing, hearing, thinking through us, and our being is a ray of his light. In that way, we are even closer to God than the fish are to the ocean in which they have their being. It is mostly interest in worldly things that unites one man with another, in order that they can make profit. How great would be this power if man would unite in true brotherhood.
True life cannot be ours until unity is achieved. It is the work of religion to promote the spirit of unity, in the knowledge and love of God to whom all devotion belongs. The only studies which are worth accomplishing are those which lead to the realisation of God, and of unity, first with God and then with the self, and so with all. We ourselves will know when our hearts go forward, and by loving, forgiving, and serving, our whole life becomes one single vision of the sublime beauty of God.
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