There are many religions, many creeds and many sects in the world. The object of them all is, ostensibly, to awaken in the heart of man a consciousness of a spiritual kinship – a knowledge of the Brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood or Motherhood of God. But what is the actual situation? Instead of standing for unity, love and brotherhood, they are busy fomenting ill will and dissension in the relations between man and man, and curiously enough, this is all done in the name of God.
The great Teachers, who brought the light of God to the hearts of men, belonged to no religion, no society, no church and no temple. Their temple was the entire world and their God dwelt in the hearts of all beings and creatures. So their love poured out for all alike irrespective of any man-made creed or class. Their love was as free as the air and their vision was as universal as the sunlight and their service was alike to all members of the human race.
There is struggle, strife and war going on in the world for attaining earthly power and glory. Men who are pursuing these aims are naturally impelled by the lower nature or self. But what to say of those who create trouble, violence and misery in the name of God who is all love, mercy and peace?
Then again, just as superiority complex is rampant among those who are proud of their race, wealth, status and caste, so also it is evident among the followers of the great Teachers of the world. They say: “My Teacher alone is perfect and you can attain salvation only if you follow him; my religion is the true religion and all other religions are false; I am the only civilised man and you are all heathens and infidels.” So long as this kind of mentality persists with the so-called religionists, instead of bringing about unity, harmony and peace in the world, they spread in it only discord and chaos.
The very conception of God is founded upon the principle of universal harmony and peace. He is the true servant of God and humanity who understands this truth and, realising the unifying power of Divine love, looks upon all his fellow-men as members of one family of God. It is now that he beholds Divinity in all of them. It is now that his heart is flooded with pure love and his vision is radiant with light Divine and his life is a consecrated offering to the indwelling God. A spiritual awakening of this nature is the need of the hour. Man should purify his heart and fill it with Divine love and his life must flow in blissful spontaneity in the service of the suffering humanity.
Denominations, labels, organisations and societies are of secondary importance. The Divine Spirit – call Him God, Truth or Reality – should possess our souls so that we can melt into His being and become His very embodiments. Christ, Buddha, Krishna or Mohammed are not for being held merely as great ideals to be worshipped from afar. We have to mould and transform our lives so that we may become like them – rise to their stature and know our real Divine and immortal nature.
Inherently every soul is bathing in the light and joy of God. If we only attain to the awareness of this glory, we can bring peace and goodwill in the world, otherwise not. Mere preaching, without becoming a flaming example that touches, elevates and transmutes the hearts of men, can do little good.
Owing to wars the world is passing through a period of terrible agony. It behoves us all now to sink our petty differences and unitedly lift our hearts to the Divine Master of the worlds in a prayer for peace and goodwill on earth. It is not given to us to fully understand God and His ways. Let us not quarrel over the limited and imperfect conceptions we form of Him. We know that God is omnipotent, all-loving and all-merciful. Let us open our hearts so that His power and grace may be revealed in us. Let us submit our will to His will so that He may work through us. Let our puny self disappear in the effulgence of His presence. Let us love all people in the world in His name. Let our hearts go out in compassion and sympathy towards all those who are in sorrow and suffering. Let us invoke His blessings upon them. May we become His true children inheriting the qualities of our Divine parentage!
(Extracted from the section titled ‘World Unity and Peace’ from Swami Ramdas’ The Divine Life [vol. 2])
Swami Ramdas (1884–1963), lovingly called ‘Papa’, was a Spiritual Master and founder of Anandashram, in Kerala, India. He was leading an ordinary life till God’s grace descended on him in or about the year 1920. In a short while, he could behold God everywhere, both within and without. Having thus attained spiritual liberation and God-vision, he started on his mission to awaken mankind to the awareness of God.
Swami Ramdas wrote many books in English and in 1933 started a monthly called The Vision to carry his message of Universal Love and Service based on cosmic vision. The magazine continues to be published today.