The Present Need of the World for ReligionDec 02, 2020
If one truly observes the present condition of humanity, no one with sense will deny that the world today needs the religion. I say the religion and not a religion because there are many religions existing today called a religion, but what is needed today is the religion. Must it be a new religion? If it were a new religion, it could not be called the religion; then it would be like many religions. I call the religion that religion which one can see by rising above the sects and differences which divide men. By understanding the religion, we shall understand all religions which may be called a religion.
I do not mean that all the religions are not religion; they are the notes. There is music, and that music is the religion. Every religion strikes a note which strikes the demand of humanity in a certain epoch. But at the same time, the source of every note is the same music which manifests when the notes are arranged together. In this way I want to explain that all the different religions are different notes, and when they are arranged together they make music. You may ask why at each epoch all the music was not given but only a single note? In answer I say that there are times in the life of an infant when a rattle is sufficient; for the violin another time in life comes.
During the times of the Chaldeans, Arabs, Romans, and Greeks, different religious ideals were brought. To the few music was brought; to the many only a note. Music has always existed, only man in general was not ready to grasp it and so was given only one note. Consequently the person given the C note and the person given the G note fought together, each saying, “The note given to us is the right note. ” There have always existed souls who said, “G is right,” and others who said, “C is right.” All are right notes, and when they are mixed together there is music.
This shows that there is an outer substance of religion which is the form and an inner essence which is wisdom. When wisdom has blessed the soul, then the soul has heard the divine music. Do the words of Christ, “I am alpha and omega,” mean that it was only when he came as Jesus? No, that music belongs to alpha and omega, the first and the last. Those who tuned their hearts to listen to music and who elevated their souls high enough heard this divine music. But those who played with their rattle, their unique note, disputed one with the other. They would have refused a violin; they were not ready for it and would not have known how to use it.
Today the world is more starved for religion than ever before. What is the reason? The reason is that while some simple souls held to the faith of their ancestors with esteem, considering religion necessary in life, many souls, with intelligence and reason and understanding of life, rebelled against religion just as the child when grown up throws away his rattle because he is no longer interested in it.
I will tell you my own experience in the western world. Traveling for ten years I have come in contact with people of intelligence, thinkers, and people of science, and in them I have seen the greatest yearning for the religious spirit. They are longing every moment of their life for it, for they find that with all their education and science there is some space empty in themselves, and they want it filled. At the same time if you speak of religion, they say, “No, no speak of something else, we do not want religion.” This means they know only the rattle part of religion and not the violin part. They do not think anything different from a rattle exists, and yet there is a perplexity in them, a spiritual craving that is not answered even by all their learned and scientific pursuits.
Now therefore, what is needed today in this world is a reconciliation between the religious man and the one who runs away from religion. But what can we do when we see even in the Christian religion so many sects opposing one another. The Christians, the Muslims, the Buddhists, Jews, and many others, each considers their own religion and thinks the others are not worth thinking about. Now to me these different religions are like different organs of the body cut apart and thrown asunder. Therefore to me personally it seems as if one arm of the same person were cut off and rising to right the other; both are arms of the same person. When this person is complete and all these parts are brought together, then there is the religion.
Then what is the effort of the Sufi Order? To make a new religion? No, it is to bring together the different organs of the one body which is meant to be united and not thrown apart. Now you may ask what is our method? How do we work to bring about a reconciliation? By realizing for ourselves that the essence of all religion is one and that essence is wisdom, and by considering that wisdom to be our religion, whatever our own form.
The Sufi Order has persons belonging to many different faiths among its members. Do you think they have given up their own religion? No, on the contrary they are firmer in their own faith by understanding the faith of others. From the narrow point of view, fault may be found because they do not hate, mistrust, and criticize the religions of others. They have respect for the scriptures that millions of people hold sacred, though those scriptures do not belong to their own religion. They desire to study and appreciate other scriptures, to find that all wisdom comes from one source, both the wisdom of the East and of the West.
The Sufi Order is therefore not a sect; it can be anything but a sect. If it ever became one it would be quite contrary to the idea with which it has been begun, because its main idea is to remove the differences and distinctions which divide mankind. This ideal is attained by the realization of the one source of all human beings and the goal, which we all call God.
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