The Unity That Underlies All Religions
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
“All religions are one. They teach a divine life. I respect saints and prophets of all religions. I respect all religions, all cults, all faiths and all creeds. I serve all, love all, mix with all and see the Lord in all”.
– Swami Sivananda
At the present moment all religions contain a mixture of truth, which is divine, and error which is human. The fundamentals or essentials of all religions are the same. There is difference only in the non-essentials. The apparent differences in religions are due to a misconception or misconstruction of the long-forgotten truth of the Vedas on which they are ultimately founded. All systems of religion are equally divine and true. The conflicting points are all due to misconception and misconstruction of truths on account of prejudice, bigotry, lack of purity of heart and subtlety and purity of intellect, and perverted condition of the intellect of people.
The great majority of religions had their origin in prehistoric times. Hence there are no genuine documents or trustworthy traditions concerning them.
All prophets are messengers of God. They are great Yogins and realized souls, who have had divine, intuitive perception of God. Their words are infallible and sacred. The Koran or the Zend-Avesta or the Bible is as much a sacred book as the Bhagavad-Gita. All contain the essence of divine wisdom. Ahuramazda, Isvara, Allah, Jehovah are different names for one God.
Truth is neither Hindu nor Muslim, nor Buddhist nor Christian! Truth is one, homogeneous, eternal substance. The follower of the religion of Truth walks on the path of light, peace, wisdom, power and bliss.
Man forgets all about his religion on account of ignorance, or lust for power and greed. He has become irreligious. So he has come down to the level of a brute. He has lost all sense of morality. He does havoc. He creates mischief. He stabs, loots, and burns houses. The law of the jungle prevails.
Many preach Buddhism, but no one gives up desires and Himsa (as opposed to Ahimsa). Many preach Christianity, but no one practices love and forgiveness. Many preach Islam, but no one recognizes the brotherhood of man. Many preach Hinduism, but no one realizes the Divinity in all. Preaching has become the livelihood of men, while practice has become their object of scorn.
Hence the world is wicked, not for want of truth, nor on account of religions; but, alas, it is wicked for the lack of true followers of these ideals and religions.
What is needed is proper education of the followers of all religions. Place the practical tenets of their own religion before the followers of that religion, and devise ways and means of enabling them to express these tenets in their daily life. Without practice, idealism creates fatalism in man. Unless knowledge alters one’s life, it is useless. Selflessness and love are not creeds to be taught, but ideals to be exemplified, demonstrated and radiated. Therefore, let everyone practice his own religion and strive to attain the goal. Let religion create saints and Yogins, rather than Mandirs (Hindu temple), Masjids (Mosque) and Churches.