O, how full of error is the judgment of mankind. They wonder at results when they are ignorant of the reasons. They call it fortune when they know not the cause, and thus worship their own ignorance changed into a deity.
The religion of the Sufi is not separate from the religions of the world. People have fought in vain about the names and lives of their saviors, and have named their religions after the name of their savior, instead of uniting with each other in the truth that is taught. This truth can be traced in all religions, whether one community calls another pagan or infidel or heathen. Such persons claim that theirs is the only scripture, and their place of worship the only abode of God. Sufism is a name applied to a certain philosophy by those who do not accept the philosophy; hence it cannot really be described as a religion; it contains a religion but is not itself a religion. Sufism is a religion if one wishes to learn religion from it. But it is beyond religion, for it is the light, the sustenance of every soul, raising the mortal being to immortality.
The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful and cheerful heart.
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the plea that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness after this short life shall have run its course. But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it.
For the sake of all that is highest, a truthful recognition of this life,
and especially of that of it which underlies the fundamental ties of
humanity--the love of husband and wife, fatherhood, motherhood--is needed.
Religion needs it, now at last alive to the fact that the basis of all
true worship is comprised in "the great lesson of reception, neither
preference nor denial," interpreting, loving, rejoicing in all that is
created, fearing and despising nothing.
True religion is not what men see and admire; it is what God sees and loves… the sanctity which shrinks from the approach of evil; the humility which lies low at the feet of the Redeemer, and washes them with tears; the love which welcomes every sacrifice; the cheerful consecration of all the powers of the soul; the worship which, rising above all outward forms, ascends to God in the sweetest, dearest communion--a worship often too deep for utterance, and then which the highest heaven knows nothing more sublime.
Above and before all things, worship GOD! [Honor first the immortal gods, in the manner prescribed, and respect the oath.] Next, honor the reverent heroes and the spirits of the dead by making the traditional sacrifices. Honor your parents and your relatives. As for others, befriend whoever excels in virtue. Yield to kind words and helpful deeds, and do not hate your friend for a trifling fault as you are able. For ability is near to necessity.
Would you have the sun and the moon destroyed because of the foolish ones who worship them? To change the course of nature to punish sinners, would bring suffering to the innocent also.
I read your categories of humanism with interest. They seem to me to be excellent and will be useful to me. As for myself, I do not know exactly where I fit. I do not know the realities of the cosmos. I only know that man with his hopes and aspirations, his capacity to sacrifice for an ideal is part of it. He uses the abilities with which he is endowed not only to maintain life but to find some meaning for it. His efforts to discover meaning ends in mystery. His attempt through the use of reason to add to his knowledge of the cosmos has brought a vast increase in that knowledge beyond the frontiers of which, however, lies mystery. To push out this frontier, to penetrate the mystery is his greatest challenge. I find that contemplation of the mystery brings that humility which is one of the virtues taught by religion. For me the aspirations (part of the cosmos) of men suggest an essence or being greater than man, worship of whom gives added strength for dealing with the vicissitudes of life.
Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit. If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agreed, as you can all read the Book?
A man may not know the right path, but if he has bhakti and the desire to know God, then he attains Him through the force of sheer bhakti. Once a sincere devotee set out on a pilgrimage to the temple of Jagganath in Puri. He did not know the way; he went west instead of south. He no doubt strayed from the right path, but he always eagerly asked people the way, and they gave him the right directions, saying, This is not the path; follow that one.' At last the devotee was able to get to Puri and worship the Deity. So you see, even if you are ignorant, someone will tell you the way if you are earnest.
All else is illusory. This moment the body is and the next moment it is not. One must make haste to worship God.
All worship and spiritual discipline are directed to one end alone, namely, to get rid of worldly attachment. The more you meditate on God, the less you will be attached to the trifling things of the world. The more you love the Lotus Feet of God, the less you will crave the things of the world or pay heed to creature comforts. You will look on another man's wife as your mother and regard your own wife as your companion in spiritual life. You will get rid of your bestial desires and
He who has surrendered his body, mind, and innermost self to God is surely a holy man. He who has renounced 'woman and gold' is surely a holy man. He is a holy man who does not regard woman with the eyes of a worldly person. He never forgets to look upon a woman as his mother, and to offer her his worship if he happens to be near her. The holy man constantly thinks of God and does not indulge in any talk except about spiritual things. Furthermore, he serves all beings, knowing that God resides in everybody's heart. These, in general, are the signs of a holy man.
It isn't necessary to read all of the Gita. One can get the essence of the Gita by repeating the word ten times. It becomes reversed and is then 'tagi'. The essence of the book is: 'O man, renounce everything and worship God.'
Money enables a man to get food and drink, build a house, worship the Deity, serve devotees and holy men, and helps the poor when he happens to meet them. These are the good uses of money. Money is not meant for luxuries or creature comforts or for buying a position in society.
More are the names of God and infinite are the forms through which He may be approached. In whatever name and form you worship Him, through them you will realize Him.
One should learn the essence of the scriptures from the guru and then spiritual practice. If one rightly follows spiritual discipline, then one directly sees God. The discipline is said to be rightly followed only when one plunges in. What will a man gain by merely reasoning about the words of the scriptures? Ah, the fools! They reason themselves to death over information about the path. They never take the plunge. What a pity! All else is illusory. This moment the body is and the next moment it is not. One must make haste to worship God.
The bliss of worship and communion with God is the true wine, the wine of ecstatic love. The goal of human life is to love God, Bhakti is the one essential thing.
The thing is somehow to unite the mind with God. You must not forget Him, not even once. Your thought of Him should be like the flow of oil, without any interruption. If you worship with love even a brick or stone as God, then through His grace you can see Him.