India has literally and graciously handed us the system of the Four Yogas of Jnana (wisdom), Bhakti (devotion), Raja (meditation), and Karma (action), and also the knowledge and will to synthesize them. With this subtle weaponry lying about in her well-stocked philosophical arsenal, ready to be utilized for a necessary but nonviolent spiritual war, Indian spirituality brilliantly reveals and proposes the successful battle-plan of rendering all the world’s religions into one universal bouquet. Offered to the presently presiding war-god of competitive religion, it will soon appease its undue anger which has no real basis in Truth. This is a compassionate, holy ideal whose peaceful beauty and irresistible wisdom-fragrance will soothe ruffled philosophical feathers and heal seemingly unsurmountable religious differences. Since the temporary and fragile peace of bare tolerance has not worked to this day, it is time to usher in that “Peace which passeth all understanding” aromatically rising off the principle of the universality of all religions which will finally render mankind’s inhumanity to his fellows a thing of the past. For India is no stranger to wars and battles brought to Her lands by others, and even the fractious misfortunes caused by ignorant beings born within her own borders. She has learned first-hand the fallacy, futility, and fatality of such ill-considered wars, and the endless string of resultant karmas that they usher in. Noting both problem and solution via India’s own history, Vivekananda states:
“The modern reformers saw no way to reform but by first crushing out the religion of India. They tried and they failed. Why? Because few of them ever studied their own religion, and not one ever underwent the training necessary to understand the Mother of all Religions.”
As to foreign invaders in India, the most recent on record being the English, theirs was a world-dominating race espousing a warlike religion that, like all materialistically based nations, judged success by the amount of wealth extracted and level of power that could be wielded. Further, it saw suffering as a sign of weakness rather than a builder of strength leading, via sacrifice, to transformation. Thus Swamiji remembers:
“On metaphysical lines, no nation on earth can hold a candle to the Hindus; and curiously, all fellows that come over here from Christian lands have that one antiquated foolishness of an argument that because the Christians are powerful and rich and the Hindus are not, so Christianity must be better than Hinduism. To which the Hindus aptly retort that that is the very reason why Hinduism is a religion and Christianity is not; because in this beastly world it is blackguardism and that alone which prospers, and virtue always suffers.”
To both avoid error and invite higher wisdom, the superior person, race, and religion will move, gradually through forbearance or swiftly through focused practice, to borrow, absorb, and utilize a mature synthesis of spiritual practices and philosophies — Vedanta with its Advaitic element being among the foremost. Through a thorough study and comprehensive understanding of India’s philosophical past, and a thorough scrutiny of all the astute darshanas which have sprung up over many centuries of sincere spiritual seeking — all based upon the dedicated practice and direct spiritual experience of the Indian rishis — authentic spirituality will dawn upon the human mind. This is the perennial Wisdom Way which will render the synthesis of Yoga and the universality of all religions cogent and their implementation into daily life most effective. This concise synthesis, as in the integration of the Four Yogas, is the real religious path of the present age. To quote Swami Vivekananda:
“This is the new religion of this age — the synthesis of Yoga, Knowledge, Devotion, and Work; the propagation of Knowledge and Devotion down to the very lowest, without distinction of age or sex....”
Further, an uncompromised Universality leading towards the harmony of all religions epitomizes the consummate view which leads to the penultimate philosophical perspective. Thus, the great Swami declares: “Acceptance, love, toleration for everything sincere and honest — but never for hypocrisy — this is true universality. Unity is variety; see that universality is not hampered in the least. Everything must be sacrificed, if necessary, for that one sentiment, universality.”
Finally, there is the ultimate position Itself, which he proclaims adamantly: “On planes physical, ethical and spiritual, an ever-broadening generalization — leading up to a concept of Unity Eternal — is in the air; and this being so, all the movements of the time may be taken to represent, knowingly or unknowingly, the noblest philosophy of the unity of man ever had — the Advaita Vedanta.”
It is this Advaita, Nondualism, which represents, in full, the settling of all affairs, the purification of all minds, an end to differences and distinctions, and the granting of the soul’s fitness for comprehension of its intrinsic oneness with Absolute Reality, by whatever name one is pleased to call It — Atman, Allah, Adonai, Ahura Mazda, and many others. In this regard, all religions possess this nondual element, whether it is duly emphasized, purposely hidden, or left lying dormant. However, it is time to bring this infrangible facet of Truth to the fore in order to remove unnecessary suffering and help heal a world that is presently and prematurely heading for another adharmic upheaval, if not worse. Beings of this day and age, being born and raised as they are in a violent and spiritually uninformed world, need as much time to realize their true nature as possible. According to Vedanta, all beings deserve and will gain salvation, what to speak of liberation — the latter being their very nature.
For, unlike fundamentalism with its untenable beliefs, which scarcely represents religion at all, Vedanta points to an all-compassionate Lord and Mother Who, in turn, lead onward to afford the merging of dual mind, and all the worlds that it projects, into Reality. All forms, to the Advaita Vedanta, are soluble into Brahman, the Formless. So, since the gods and devils and heavens and hells are all conceptual forms, and find their basis in fundamentalism or dualism, perhaps the partaking of the principle of Unity will provide a more effective solution.