Pearls Upon a String: the Essential Unity of Religion

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Information about Pearls Upon a String: the Essential Unity of Religion
Spiritual

Published on January 22, 2014

Author: mayabohnhoff

Source: slideshare.net

Description

A look through scripture at several of the world's revealed religions and their teachings about God, the Founders of faith, and humankind ... and the nature of the relationship between the three.

The Essential Unity of Religion Pearls Upon a String

“That ... the manifold systems of religious belief should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, and are the rays of one Light.” — Bahá’u’lláh

Essential Principles All of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings are focused on achieving the unity of mankind. ✴One God. ✴One progressively revealed faith. ✴One human family.

The Golden Rule: Divine Coincidence? • This is the sum of duty: do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain. — Hinduism • What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary. — Judaism • Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others. — Zoroastrianism • • Do as ye would be done by. — Buddhism • No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. — Islam • And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbor that which thou choosest for thyself. — Bahá’í Faith All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. — Christianity

Five Essential Questions • Who is God? • How can we know God? • What is the foundation of our relationship with God and His Messenger? • What are the fruits of this relationship? • What is "living the life" (of a Yogi, a bhikku, disciple, Bahá'í)?

Who IS God?

The God of Krishna • • • God is pure and ever one. — Bhagavad Gita 5:19a But beyond My visible nature is My invisible Spirit. This is the fountain of life whereby this universe has its being. All things have their life in this Life, and I am their beginning and end. In this whole vast universe there is nothing higher than I. I am the taste of living waters and the light of the sun and the moon. I am OM; the sacred Word of the Vedas... And I am from everlasting the seed of eternal life. — Bhagavad Gita 7:5-10 But beyond this creation, visible and invisible, there is an invisible, higher, Eternal; and when all things pass away this remains for ever and ever. This invisible is called the Everlasting and is the highest End supreme. Those who reach Him never return. This is My supreme abode. This Spirit Supreme, Arjuna, is attained by an ever-living love. In Him all things have their life, and from Him all things have come. — Bhagavad Gita 8:20-22

The God of Christ • 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.’— Mark 12:29,30 • Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! — Matthew7:7-11

The God of Bahá’u’lláh • God testifieth to the unity of His Godhood and to the singleness of His own Being. On the throne of eternity, from the inaccessible heights of His station, His tongue proclaimeth that there is none other God but Him. — Prayers and Meditations of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 86-87. • All-praise to the unity of God, and all-honor to Him, the sovereign Lord, the incomparable and all-glorious Ruler of the universe, Who, out of utter nothingness hath created the reality of all things... Nothing short of His all-encompassing grace, His all-pervading mercy, could have possibly achieved it... Having created the world and all that liveth and moveth therein, He through the direct operation of His unconstrained and sovereign Will, chose to confer upon man the unique distinction to know Him and to love Him—a capacity that must needs be regarded as the generating impulse and the primary purpose underlying the whole of creation." — Gleanings, p. 65.

How can we know God?

Knowing God: Krishna • I am the Way, and the Master who watches in silence; thy friend and thy shelter, and thy abode of peace. I am the beginning and the middle and the end of all things; their seed of Eternity, their Treasure supreme. — Bhagavad Gita 9:16-18 • For I am the Abode of Brahman, the never-failing fountain of everlasting life. The law of righteousness is My law; and My joy is infinite joy. — Bhagavad Gita 14:27

Knowing God: Christ • I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me. If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him. — John 14:6,7 • I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. — Revelation 21:6 • It is written in the Prophets: 'They will be taught by God.' Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to Me. No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father. I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.— John 6:45-51

Knowing God: Bahá’u’lláh • Naught is seen in My temple but the Temple of God, and in My beauty but His Beauty, and in My being but His Being, and in My self but His Self ... and in My Pen but His Pen, the Almighty, the All-Praised. There hath not been in My soul but the Truth, and in Myself, naught could be seen but God.... The Holy Spirit Itself hath been generated by this Most Great Spirit, if ye be of them that comprehend." — World Order of Bahá’u’lláh p. 109 • ...He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth Them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth unto Their call, hath hearkened unto the voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of Their revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself.... Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above.... They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory. — Gleanings p. 49,50

Knowing God: Bahá’u’lláh ...He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. Unto this subtle, this mysterious and ethereal Being He hath assigned a twofold nature; the physical, pertaining to the world of matter, and the spiritual, which is born of the substance of God Himself. He hath, moreover, conferred upon Him a double station. The first station, which is related to His innermost reality, representeth Him as One Whose voice is the voice of God Himself... The second station is the human station... These Essences of Detachment ... are the channels of God's all-pervasive grace. Led by the light of unfailing guidance, They are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, the effusions of Their infallible grace, and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit... Only then will the Trust of God, latent within the reality of man, emerge ... from behind the veil of concealment... — Gleanings XXVII

What is the foundation of our relationship with God?

Foundation of faith: Krishna • Not by the Vedas (Scriptures), or an austere life, or gifts to the poor, or ritual offerings can I be seen as thou hast seen Me. Only by love can men see Me, and know Me, and come unto Me. He who works for Me, who loves Me, whose end Supreme I am, free from attachment to all things, and with love for all creation, he in truth comes unto Me. — Bhagavad Gita 11:53, 54 • This Spirit Supreme ... is attained by an ever-living love. In Him all things have their life, and from Him all things have come. — Bhagavad Gita 8:22

Foundation of Faith: Christ • The most important (commandment) is this: 'Hear, O Israel the Lord our God is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. — Mark 12:29,30 • For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. — John 3:16 • If ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. ... This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.Ye are my friends if ye practice whatever I command you." — John 15:4-14

Foundation of Faith: Bahá’u’lláh • For every one of you his paramount duty is to choose for himself that on which no other may infringe and none usurp from him. Such a thing ... is the love of God, could ye but perceive it. — Gleanings CXXIII • O SON OF MAN! Veiled in My immemorial Being and in the ancient eternity of My essence, I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty. • O SON OF BEING! Love Me that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant! • O SON OF BEING! Thy Paradise is My love; thy heavenly home, reunion with Me. Enter therein and tarry not. — Hidden Words (Arabic) vs.3-6

What are the fruits of our relationship with God?

By Our Fruits: Krishna • When the mind is resting in the stillness of the prayer of Yoga, and by the grace of the Spirit sees the Spirit ... then the seeker knows the joy of Eternity: a vision seen by reason far beyond what senses can see. He abides therein and moves not from Truth. He has found joy and Truth, a vision for him supreme. He is therein steady: the greatest pain moves him not. — Bhagavad Gita 6:20-22 • Give thy mind to Me, and give Me thy heart, and thy sacrifice, and thy adoration. This is My Word of promise: thou shalt in truth come to Me, for thou art dear to Me. Leave all things behind, and come to Me for thy salvation. I will make thee free from the bondage of sins. Fear no more. — Bhagavad Gita 18:64-66 • The man who sees Brahman abides in Brahman; his reason is steady, gone is his delusion. When pleasure comes he is not shaken, and when pain comes he trembles not. He is not bound by things without, and within he finds inner gladness. His soul is one in Brahman and he attains everlasting joy... This Yogi attains the Nirvana of Brahman; he is one with God and goes unto God. — Bhagavad Gita 5:20,21,24

By Our Fruits: Christ • I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again... No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. — John 3:3-6 • The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and they are life. — John 6:63 • I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. — John 5:24

By Our Fruits: Bahá’u’lláh Only when the lamp of search, of earnest striving, of longing desire, of passionate devotion, of fervid love, of rapture, and ecstasy, is kindled within the seeker's heart, and the breeze of His lovingkindness is wafted upon his soul, will the darkness of error be dispelled, the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being. At that hour will the Mystic Herald, bearing the joyful tidings of the Spirit, shine forth from the City of God resplendent as the morn, and, through the trumpet blast of knowledge, will awaken the heart, the soul, and the spirit from the slumber of heedlessness. Then will the manifold favors and outpouring grace of the holy and everlasting Spirit confer such new life upon the seeker that he will find himself endowed with a new eye, new ear, a new heart, and a new mind. — Gleanings p.267,268

What is living the life?

Living the life: Krishna The man whose love is the same for his enemies or his friends, whose soul is the same in honor or disgrace, who is beyond heat or cold or pleasure or pain, who is free from the chains of attachments; who is balanced in blame and in praise, whose soul is silent, who is happy with whatever he has, whose home is not in this world, and who has love—this man is dear to Me. But even dearer to Me are those who have faith and love, and who have Me as their End Supreme; those who hear My words of Truth and who come to the waters of Everlasting Life. — Bhagavad Gita 12:19-20

Living the life: Christ • Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ... Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:3-12 • But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will given to you as well. — Matthew 6:31

Living the life: Bahá’u’lláh • O SON OF SPIRIT! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting. — Hidden Words • Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgement and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.... — Gleanings CXXX

Do these religions agree? • • • Who is God? • What are the fruits of that relationship? • What is “living the life?” How can we know God? What is the foundation of our relationship with God?

Unity in Action The Purpose of the one true God, exalted be His glory, in revealing Himself unto men is to lay bare those gems that lie hidden within the mine of their true and inmost selves. That the divers communions of the earth, and the manifold systems of religious belief, should never be allowed to foster the feelings of animosity among men, is, in this Day, of the essence of the Faith of God and His Religion. These principles and laws, these firmly-established and mighty systems, have proceeded from one Source, 288 and are the rays of one Light. That they differ one from another is to be attributed to the varying requirements of the ages in which they were promulgated. Gird up the loins of your endeavor, O people of Bahá, that haply the tumult of religious dissension and strife that agitateth the peoples of the earth may be stilled, that every trace of it may be completely obliterated. — Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings

Unity in Action It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.... That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race. The Great Being saith: Blessed and happy is he that ariseth to promote the best interests of the peoples and kindreds of the earth. In another passage He hath proclaimed: It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens. — Gleanings, CXVII

Unity in Action God has created us all human and all countries of the world are parts of the same globe. We are all his servants. He is kind and just to all. Why should we be unkind and unjust to each other? He provides for all. Why should we deprive one another? He protects and preserves all. Why should we kill our fellow-creatures? If this warfare and strife be for the sake of religion, it is evident that it violates the spirit and basis of all religion. All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. Read the gospel and the other holy books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. — Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundation of World Unity.

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