(Spirituality: What it is — chapter 1)
Man is older than all philosophies and religions, which in fact were originally intended, and later on fashioned and developed, for his moral and spiritual well-being so that he may ultimately attain salvation or freedom from the bondage of mind and matter. But in spite of riches, moral codes, and the vast acquisition of learning, knowledge and wisdom, he is not really satisfied with life, because he has not been able to realise the Fundamental Truth of Love which lies at the core of all religions.
God made man and man made religions. Religions, then, are for man and not man for religions. The various religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and others, came into existence in course of time to serve the primary human need according to the exigencies of the then prevailing conditions.
If we travel back along the stream of time, we find no trace of the Sikhs beyond five hundred years ago, of the Muslims beyond fourteen hundred years, of the Christians beyond two thousand years, of the Buddhists and the Jains beyond five or six thousand years.
Before the advent of the Aryan tribes many races appeared and disappeared on the scene of life. But man has ever remained a man, the lord of created things, in all times and in all climes, whether in the East or in the West, always and everywhere the same, an ensouled body or embodied soul with no distinctions of caste, creed or colour in his essential nature. The inner self in him is of the same essence as of God.
“The spirit in man is of the same essence
as the All-Pervading Spirit.”
— Gond Kabir
“All creatures are products from one
and the same Jauhar (Essence).”
— Sheikh Saadi (14)
Every country and every age has had its sages and seers. Corruption and deterioration are the natural features of time, and prophets appear time and again to set things in order. All religions owe their birth to the teachings of such Master-souls.
The aim and purpose of the various religious orders has ever been the same — to provide a Way-back to God, to find the missing link between God and man. They are thus a means to an end and not the end in themselves. But in actual practice we find that none of them affords any high degree of satisfaction. The fault lies not with the religions but with those who administer them to the people.
(14) Sheik Saadhi: Poet, 13th century