UNIVERSAL RELIGION AND ITS’ REALIZATION: Universal religion must be one which will have no location in place or time; which will be infinite, and whose sun will shine upon all saints and sinners alike, and still will have infinite space for development, which will embrace in infinite arms and find a place for every human being, from the lowest groveling savage, not far removed from the brute, to the highest man, towering by the virtues, of his head and heart almost above humanity. It will be a religion which will have no place for persecution or intolerance in its society, which will recognize divinity in every human being and whose whole scope and force will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its own true, divine nature.
The seed is put in the ground; earth, air and water are supplied to it. The seed does not become the earth or the air or the water but it becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth and the water, converts them to plant substance and grows in to a plant. Thus also it is with religion. The Christians not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Muslim, nor is a Hindu or Buddhist or Muslim to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
The way to the realization of the universal religion: No study has taken so much human energy, whether in times past or present, as the study of the SOUL, of GOD, and of HUMAN DESTINY. Humans have always wanted to look beyond, wanted to expand himself; and all that we call progress, evolution, has always been measured by that one search, the search for human destiny, the search for GOD. As our social struggles are represented, among different nations, by different social organizations, so man’s spiritual struggles are represented by various religions. And as different social organizations are constantly quarrelling, are constantly at war with each other, so these spiritual organizations have been constantly at war with each other, constantly quarreling. And thus we find that though nothing has brought man more blessings than religion, yet at the same time there is nothing that has brought him more horror than religion. Nothing has made more for peace and love than religion; nothing has endangered fiercer hatred than religion. Nothing has made the brotherhood of man more tangible than religion; nothing has bred more bitter enmity between man and man than religion. Nothing has built more charitable institutions, more hospitals for men and even for animals, than religion; nothing has deluged the world with more blood than religion.
Now how can all this variety be true? How can contradictory opinions be true at the same time? This reminds me of the following childhood story.
“Once upon a time, six blind men happened to come near a standing elephant. They felt with their hands, different parts of the huge animal, and began disputing about its nature. One caught the end of the tail, and said it was a broom or brush. Another felt the trunk and declared it was a huge python. A third found an ear, and affirmed that it was a large winnowing fan. A fourth found the abdomen and maintained it was a vast drum. A fifth stroked a leg, and asserted it was a thick column. A sixth grasped a tusk, and was sure it was a very large pestle (grinder or crusher). They argued over their positions. A seventh person happened to pass, and saw them disputing. He had eyes, was a man of vision, a man of wisdom. He explained to them what it was; a compound of all their opinions. Each blind man was right, but he only explored one facet of the whole elephant.”
In the same way, we are all looking at the truth from different standpoints, which vary according to our birth, education, surroundings, and so on. We are viewing Truth, getting as much of it as these circumstances will permit, coloring it with our own feelings, understanding with our own intellect, grasping it with our own minds. We can feel only as much of truth as is related to us, as much of it as we are able to receive. This makes the difference between humans and sometimes-even occasions contradictory ideas. Yet we all belong to the same great, Universal Truth.