In this age a universal religion
has a distinctive role to play and has the greatest appeal. We unite all
religions by discovering the common Principle in all of us. We are all
children and manifestations of the one Truth, the one Reality, the one
Consciousness. Some call themselves Christians, some call themselves Jews,
and some Muslims. These are only external social institutions and external
creeds of religion. The basic, central religion is the same everywhere. By
emphasizing the essentials of this basic inner religion we can unite all
In all religions, what is the
uniting Principle? The Divine, the Truth, is the uniting Principle. God is
the uniting Principle. The conception of God in every religion may have
its own limitations, but the limitations are in the conceiving individual,
in the thinking individual, in the human individual, not in God Himself.
The real God is one, and all
religions agree on that point. That can become the basis for uniting all
The world is formed not by
matter. Matter did not create the world. Matter itself is a created
object; it has not produced life; it is not the Creator. It is itself
produced by something else. Matter is an effect. What is it that formed
the matter? God, Truth, the Supreme Cause. Where is this Cause? It is
everywhere. It is in the matter, above the matter. It is everything. It is
above everything. It is divine Consciousness. Matter and all life, the
entire field of experience, the whole universe, is formed by the divine
Consciousness, or God; is supported by God, is in God. A new dimension
comes into our life the moment we grow conscious of this fact. One who is
conscious of this is alone building his life on the rock. Any man who is
not conscious of this Truth is making a mistake, has problems,
difficulties, trials, and sufferings.
Since God is divine
Consciousness, and since God has formed this universe, and since we are in
this universe, we are in the divine Consciousness, in Truth. The whole
cosmos, the world and the life is the field of Truth, the field of our
experience and growth.
No-one can be happy if he is not
in harmony with God, with Truth. Any man with even a little hatred in his
inner heart is exposed to suffering, is cut off from Truth, has his life
built upon the sands. The world can be best enjoyed only by those who are
in harmony with God. No-one can have any satisfaction in life unless he
has an underlying consciousness of God who is infinite Peace, infinite
Wealth. If you have an underlying consciousness of God, an underlying
consciousness of this Wealth, your life prospers, you have imperishable wealth; but if
there is not this underlying consciousness of God, and if there is not an
inner harmony between yourself and God, though you may be a millionaire,
you are the poorest man in the world.
I am trying to transmit to people
the living Spirit of God. I have no interest in life, and I am not
attached to an institution. My only attachment is to God, and I am trying
to present to people the transforming Spirit, the liberating Presence of
God. I am not destroying the rules of the organization of the religion, -
my teaching lights a candle, brings a fresh light into the organized
religion. If religions were to live only by dead dogmas, they would not
make progress, they would not find life a growing process, a developing
People as such are either
completely dominated by dogmas and view, and by the
pressure of religious institutions, or they have no faith in them, reject them. People
need a greater attachment to the religion into which they are born. We can
assimilate the best tendencies in other religions into our religion. We
should not contradict, oppose, but assimilate.
Purpose of True Religion
True religion does not kill the
happiness of the human individual, but enables the human individual to
rise above all sorrow. That is the test of true religion; and a true
spiritual life is that life which is constantly, continuously in a happy,
creative, productive state. A religion which does not enable you to be in
a higher, happy state of consciousness, always, in all conditions, is not
a true religion.
When a child is in a happy state
of consciousness you see him producing newer and newer words of his own
make, though those words are meaningless words and strange sounds.
Creativity, happiness, productivity, luminosity are characteristics of
this higher state of consciousness. In that happy state of the child's
inner consciousness, if you impart some lessons or give him some
education, it goes deep into the heart and is retained by him fully.
Suppose the child has lost this inner state of higher happy consciousness
and has become moody. You tell him to do something, he will not do it.
Teach him something, he cannot retain. This state, this moodiness is
unnatural and a negative state. The aim of true religion and true
spirituality is to see how it can quickly restore him to a higher, happy,
expanded state of consciousness, where he grows productive, learns much
and becomes a light to himself and to the world. The difference between
the saint and the ordinary person is that the saint or the sage is in a
position to retain his inner, higher singing, composing, happy
consciousness in all conditions, even in the face of death, dangers,
It is the duty of the parents,
the teacher and the society around the child to keep it in that happy
higher state of creative consciousness. Even so, it is the central aim and
task of true religion to keep the human individual in a happy, creative,
higher state of consciousness. Religion should not destroy human happiness
but enrich it, making it absolute, everlasting.
It is the task of true religion
to free the human individual from all sense of sorrow, to integrate the
human personality, to uplift human emotions and to sublimate them into the
steady light of higher Love, to free the human individual from all sense
of defeat and frustration, all sense of weakness or helplessness, and to
cause in him unbreakable faith and all-conquering, triumphing will-force.
Any religion which does not execute this function is not a right religion,
and does not carry in itself the resources of true religion.
is One, East and West
What is religion? If you look at
the etymology of the term religion, and try to see the root of the word
religion, you will find that it is said: religion is something that unites
one thing to the other. What is united to what? Man is to be united to
God. The soul and the consciousness in man is to be united to God.
Religion does not mean Christianity, not Hinduism, not Judaism, not Islam.
Religion is anything which unites us with God.
It is sheer childishness to say
that one religion is lower, another religion higher. All religions have
aimed at only one aim: the Truth. All religions are pointers to the Truth.
This is an undeniable fact in human history, in the world of spirituality
also. This is the first and fundamental fact. Truth is the wonder of
wonders, the timeless infinite Reality.
The most sincere and earnest
persons who turn to the East for Light must come to the final conclusion,
after their decades of struggle, efforts and earnest striving after the
Truth, that the highest wisdom that they have found is already embodied in
their own scriptures, is already treasured in the heart of their own
religion. And if you
refer to the Upanishads as the treasures that embody highest, deepest
spiritual wisdom, you will find the same treasures in the words of Christ.
There is absolutely no difference between the Truth experienced by one
religion and another. The Jews experience God in their particular way, the
Iranians, the Mohammedans, the Buddhists experience God in their own way.
The Christians experience God as Father. Is that Spirit that God is, only
a Father, or only a Mother, or only a Truth, or only a Light? It is all
these and infinitely more.
God is Spirit. You can address
Him in any way you like. You can call Him any way you like: Truth, Father,
Mother, Saviour. Whatever name
you give to God, He responds to it. Truth is one. It is
the depths of spiritual vision embodied in the scriptures, the highest
spiritual truths incorporated in their statements, have not yet
been taught in everyday life. If the human individual does not use one
tenth of his brain's capacities, as the scientist says, he does not use one tenth of the marvellous, mighty, life-transforming
spiritual wisdom embodied in the scriptures.
We live and move and have our
being in the Divine. This is the Christian Truth, and it is also the Truth
of other religions, and has parallels in the great cultures of the world.
And if this is the Truth of other religions, it is only a confirmation of
this Truth, - it reveals its inner identity with the other truths. It is a
great mistake that the Western mind has not turned to this Truth, has not
turned to this marvellous statement of living experience.
When the scientist says the air
that you breathe in has oxygen and nitrogen, it is a statement of fact.
Every minute, every moment, you are breathing in and breathing out,
without knowing that you are drawing in oxygen and nitrogen. Even so,
every day you are living and moving here on earth without knowing the
marvellous fact experienced that you are living and moving in
Life is great as such and has
infinite dignity, in so far as it is a formulation of the Divine in the
Divine. Each of us has endless dignity, endless value, for the simple
reason that we are in the Divine. All space is filled with the divine
In us is the Image of the Divine.
Human nature and human perception find in everyday life people made not in
the Image of the Divine but in the image of something which is not divine.
But this is the report of the physical vision, it is the report of human
experience. If we live by spiritual truths and teachings, all our life becomes a heaven, a perpetual
peace, a peace that passes understanding. Life is given us in order we may
know God and experience the infinite Happiness, the
fullness of Happiness. It is intense,
unlimited Happiness, unimaginable and unconditioned, even as it is also a
Peace that passes understanding, an everlasting Peace, a Peace that is the
Divine. This God, this Divine, is the infinite divine Consciousness. Being
subtler than space, it is all-pervasive. It is the highest universal
feature. In It all are united.
as the Divine Consciousness
As all planets and all stars
share one space, so does everyone and everything in creation share the one
The meaning assigned to
'consciousness' should be discovered only in the context in which it is
used. When consciousness is said to be imperfect and different in
different people, the reference is to a merely limited form and expression
of consciousness. When consciousness is spoken of as perfect, subtler than
space, infinite, all-pure, timeless, it is a reference to the unlimited
Reality in the individual, and in this context it could be called the One
in the many. And all the many are in this One. It should not be confounded
with the several or numberless modes of ordinary human consciousness.
This fundamental unity in
Consciousness is the only right foundation for essential unity, national
unity, international unity, religious unity. It is the Consciousness in
the highest Essential in a being. It is the Essential of all essentials.
Life has to be enriched by this
Knowledge. Everything is a manifestation of that Consciousness, and all
the infinite Perfections of that infinite Consciousness, that mighty
Intelligence, are in every heart; and this can be experienced.
Human dignity lies in this
spiritual knowledge. The more of this knowledge you have, the less
mistakes you make in life, the more progress you make in life, the more
pure you remain, and therefore an instrument of harmony, order, and
The one God, the one Truth, the
one Consciousness, the one Intelligence, is in all. The inner Intelligence
in you and the inner intelligence in another person are not two things;
they are an organic One. This Principle is in all beings; therefore, you
are related to each other in this inner Intelligence, in this inmost
Principle, or God, which is One in the many. This has to be known. This is
the right foundation for true religion, for lasting love, the real
foundation for respecting each other. No matter what the person is, if you
know him to be the centre of infinite Intelligence, automatically a value
is set on him, automatically reverence for him arises in you. He is no
more the body he appears to be. You are full of reverence for that which
you are perceiving in him - the centre of infinite Consciousness, God. The
flower is no more what it appears to be the moment your inner intelligence
perceives a dynamic activity in it by the unfoldment of the flower. What
has developed the flower there, is the same Principle which is developing
us here. The ultimate Reality or Existence in us is one and the same in
all men. The human ceases to be a human individual for you when you are in
a position to perceive the operations of the infinite Intelligence in his
inner spirit. This is the process of growth in knowledge. This is how we
have to understand life and people. Then the dimensions of our personality
become wider and greater.
The respect for every individual
which democracy teaches has no foundation. That is why many forms of
democracy have perished. It is not for the first time in history that we
are democratic. Ancient Greece had democracy, and that democracy perished.
Our democracy also will perish unless it is supported by this inner
spiritual knowledge. You must be able to perceive the One in the many, and
the many people in the One. We are all one in the inner spirit. This
knowledge is most fundamental and most essential. If this we have, our
life becomes a perpetual paradise, no matter what the outer circumstances
are. We are always greater than our problems, and our strength to endure
our pains and our challenges is greater than our pains and challenges.
The greater the wisdom, the
greater the knowledge of the science of life, the less you are troubled by
the events of life, and the more power you have to make the circumstances
better and better. He who discovers the central Truth becomes a great
personality, a perpetual source of joy and peace to himself and also to
The cosmos, the universe, life is
the field of our experience and growth. It is a school, a natural college
for everybody. It is the field of our evolution. The whole cosmic
manifestation is a field for the development of our inner love, affection,
sense of harmony, sense of the infinite. It is a grand arena for the
growth of the powers of the soul in us, of the higher mind in us. And the
purpose of this universal manifestation is that this wave, this
individual, may recover a consciousness of the Sea, of the Infinite, of
the Absolute. The purpose of man in the world is to know the highest
potentialities in himself, the Truth. Spiritual evolution is your goal,
the development of your higher personality is the goal. This is the
foundation of every true religion.
All the creative powers, all that
has been grand and great and genius-like in every great person in human
history, is there in your inner Spirit. Let us think in terms of the
Divine, act in terms of the Divine, feel in terms of the Divine; and we
will find new dimensions of the world disclose themselves to us. How is it
that uneducated persons like Surdas are the greatest poets
of the world, the greatest devotees of
the world, men of inner ecstasy, inner joy, inner peace, inner light? They
are shining examples of our inner spiritual possibilities. They show us
that every one of us can find the peace that passes understanding, can
utter words that will live for ever, show a fearlessness in daily life
that is astonishing, live in true freedom, real freedom, freedom given by
the Spirit within us, by the immortal and imperishable Soul in us, which
is the Truth.
Truth alone can grant you
freedom. The real freedom is the freedom that comes from the knowledge of
the Truth, the freedom that results from your inner experience of the
imperishability of the Spirit within you and around you, the freedom that
emerges from the knowledge of the Divine, the Divine as endless Treasures,
as eternal Life, as absolute Knowledge, as infinite Goodness, as boundless
Light, Love and Perfection. It is with these essences and values we are
constituted in our inner being.
Essentials of All Religions
The whole world, every speck of
space, is filled with the Omnipotence of God, is filled with the
Omniscience of God. We are being seen all the time by the all-seeing
Intelligence of the omnipresent Divinity. The Divine is perceiving
everyone at the same time around the universe. It is a baffling
Intelligence. We cannot describe It; we cannot even imagine It. It is a
mighty and glorious Intelligence, and this Intelligence has infinite Love
for each of us. It has come into human history at different times taking
different forms. It has
founded the manifold religions for the welfare and progress of all humanity.
We have to evolve towards that divine Intelligence through the religion
into which we are born. The essentials of all religions are the same.
Catholicism says love your neighbour, have faith in God, be good, be
moral. What does Protestantism say? Exactly the same thing. What does
Judaism say? Exactly the same. What does Islam say? Exactly the same. What
does Hinduism say? Exactly the same.
Love is the same everywhere, in
all religions, in all races, in all nations.
Truth is the same in all
cultures, in all nations, in all religions.
Goodness is the same in all
Faith is the same in all
Devotion is the same in all
Knowledge is the same in all
All these could become the
factors for uniting all religions.
What does it matter whether you
are a Hindu or Jew, a Catholic or a Protestant? What does it matter
whether you are in a white body or in a black body? What is necessary is
to exercise faith, love, prayer, service. It does not matter to which
religion you belong, to which denomination you belong. God-experience does
not respect age, it does not respect race, colour of the body, it does not
respect religion and denomination. It does not respect the age of the
world: we cannot say it was easier to experience God during Krishna's or
Rama's or Jesus' time,
but in our time it is difficult or impossible. All these are arguments
born of lack of real knowledge.
When you are earnestly pursuing
God, through whatever body God has given you, whatever denomination of
religion you are born into, whatever may be your sex and age, whatever be
your conditions and your circumstances, you are bound to make progress on
the path; and God's Grace is bound to furnish you all the help which your
denomination and religion does not provide you. Whatever may be the
defects and the deficiencies of your religion, whatever may be the glory
and advantages of other religions, God will give you infinitely more help
than the best religion in the world can give you, provided you are sincere
in your pursuit. So, what is essential? Begin with the equipment that God
has given you, and you will gather, attract to yourself all the help which
is necessary for you to become God's true son or daughter. But when there
is lack of sincerity and earnestness, you will be full of doubts. You will
complain that your religion does not provide all the advantages of some
other religion, that Christianity is not half as wonderful as Buddhism,
half as wonderful as Islam or as Hinduism. All these are creations of lack
of sincerity and earnestness in following the path of God. Quietly proceed
further and further, and as you proceed, the other religions will help
you, the world will help you, your own faith will help you. You will get
help from every direction. You will become great. God helps those who help
And until you achieve complete
union with God, your spiritual evolution and progress continue. Be
with God: you will be not only the light of the denomination of the
religion you are born into, but you will be the light of all other
Evolution is a very slow process.
You do not sow a seed today and reap the grains tomorrow morning. It takes
time. Growth is a slow process. Nature has taken millions of years to
evolve man, says science. Religious science says nature takes several
million years more before it could evolve out of man a spiritual
individual. How to reduce this long evolutionary process? What is the
shortest way to experience God? Through true religion, through spiritual
practices, through rich, fiery blazing spiritual knowledge, intense faith,
or a pure heart of universal love.
As new realities discovered by
scientists are hidden from common humanity, as the soul in man is hidden
from common gaze, as even the air is hidden from the human sight, though
it can be felt by the skin, God is hidden everywhere. He has to be
Devotion discovers Him. Love
discovers Him. Growth in purity discovers Him. Growth in wisdom discovers
Him. This growth in wisdom is greatly helped by constant reflection upon
scriptural passages and by the study of the lives of saints.
There is in each of us the divine
Centre, the Eternity, God. That is the Source of unending happiness,
knowledge, power, love and perfection. We will never be in a position to
understand It, perceive It, experience It, unless we transform our
unconsciousness, transform our subconsciousness, and our outer life, by
constant pursuit of spiritual activities and aims.
True religion is that body of
knowledge and that body and system of discipline which connects us with
God. True religion is nothing but a life lived in accordance with the
living Truth. Such a life is the real strength of any lasting culture; it
is the light of real and enduring civilization.
God, or Truth, are one
and the same. He is not wise who makes a difference between Truth and God. It is ignorance to make differences. It is the cause
of unhappiness to make distinctions.
One Truth in All Forms
There are not two truths, there is only one Truth. There
is only one Kingdom of God, not two. There is only one divine
Consciousness. Whether you call it Krishna, Christ or God, it is one and the same.
If the Muslims say Allah, know that Allah to be your God, because by
Allah he means God, and God is only One. If we are worshipping God as
Krishna, the Muslims are worshipping God as Allah.
Any saintly heart can experience
God anywhere, and in the manner his devotion determines. God is
not imprisoned in the form that is attributed to Him: He is eternal
Freedom in Itself. He is the heart of Truth, constantly responding to the
love in the saintly heart.
While our body lives and moves in
this matter-moulded universe of time and space and circumstance, the
Spirit in us, the very nature of the soul in us, is self-transcending,
all-transcending. A timeless Being is resident in this time-controlled
There is only one goal for all
educational endeavours, all evolutionary efforts, all cultural activities,
all spiritual practices: the experience of the Truth, the experience of
the infinite creative Consciousness. With that goal in our eyes we have to
conduct the daily activities of life, and endeavour to see that our
attention is constantly turned towards the Divine. It is the goal of life;
it is the final aim of evolution.
How strong, how beautiful, how
genius-like our life is, rests upon the extent to which we establish
contact with the Divine, the Truth, the inner resources of the timeless
and supreme Spirit. A conscious experience of this fact is the aim of all
religious activities, of all cultural endeavours, of all spiritual
disciplines. All wisdom, all knowledge points towards this goal. Let us
abide by the dictates of wisdom, and let the Grace of the Divine render
our lives more and more beautiful and peaceful, rich and abundant, through
the unfoldment of higher and higher excellences, the growth in love, in
knowledge and in wisdom. Let us recognize the Presence of one Life, of one
God, in the inner heart of all creatures. Let us live our daily life from
the power, the peace, and the joy that come from a strong sense of our
inner organic relations with the supreme Creator, God.
- Swami Omkarananda