THE UNIVERSAL RELIGION
Religion expresses itself at three levels, the philosophical, the mythological or historical, and the ritualistic. Each of these three levels is marked by the same conflict of opposites, often taking positions of violent extremes. The greatest harm comes from the fanatic. We may not doubt the sincerity of the fanatic but often he has the irresponsibility of a lunatic. The fanatic is the greatest enemy of mankind.
Is the idea the universal religion realistic or just idealistic?
But behind all these differences, we must recognize a deeper level of common- ality that suggests that the universal religion already exists, and is constantly evolving and taking clearer shape. No two persons are exactly alike, yet, despite these differences, there is a common thread of humanity.
“If I am sure of anything, it is this humanity, which is common to all…. So it is with the universal religion, which runs through all the various religions of the world in the form of GOD; it must and does exist through eternity. ‘I am the thread that runs through all these pearls… ‘ (Gita) and each pearl is a religion or even a sect thereof, only the majority of mankind is entirely unconscious of it…”
While the human mind and inclination occur in an innumerable variety, four broad types of humans may be recognized for practical purposes: the person of action, the person of emotion, the mystic or person of spirit, and the philosopher or person of intellect. Religion must offer a path for each type to follow, suited to the nature of each type.
“But is there any way of practically working out this harmony in religions?
Radical or Revolutionary religions do no good to this world… Secondly, take a person where he stands, and from there give him a lift. If it were true that God is at the center of all religions, and that each of us is moving along one of these radii, then it is certain that all of us must reach that center. At the center, where all radii meet, all our differences will cease; but until we reach there, differences there must be … ”
Religion is realization, not talk, nor doctrine, nor theories, however beautiful they may be. It is being and becoming, not hearing or acknowledging; it is the whole soul becoming changed into what it believes. That is religion.
If there is ever to be a universal religion, it must be one which will have no lo- cation in place or time; which will be infinite like the God it will preach, and whose sun will shine upon the followers of Krishna and of Christ, on saints and sinners alike; which will not be Brahmanism or Buddhist, Christian or Mohammedan, but the sum total of all these, and still have infinite space for development; which in its catholicity will embrace in infinite arms, and find a place for, every human being from the lowest groveling savage, not far re- moved from the brute, to the highest man towering by the virtues of his head and heart almost above humanity, making society stand in awe of him and doubt his human nature. It will be a religion which will have no place for per- secution or intolerance in its society, which will recognize divinity in every man and woman, and whose whole scope, whose whole force, will be centered in aiding humanity to realize its own true, divine nature.
May He who is the Brahman of the Hindus, the Azhura-Mazda of the Zoroas- trians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians, give strength to you to carry out your noble idea and make it Universal.