In this instalment of the series, Hazrat Inayat Khan emphasises that differences amongst prophets are in appearance only, and the product of our own limited point of view. The previous post in the series may be found here.
The ways in which the message is given are different because the mentality of mankind differs at each period. Every prophet had to speak in the manner of the time in which he lived, and according to the evolution of that time. Also, the custom of each country differs from that of other countries; the manners and life differ. If the messenger is born in one country and has to give his message in another country, surely he has to consider the way in which the people there look at life, and to give his message accordingly. But the message is always from God. This is the reason why the external study of Buddhism will make one feel that Hinduism is different from Buddhism, and the external study of Christianity and Islam will make one feel that Christianity is different from Islam; but if one saw that underlying thread that connects all religions, one would see that all religion is one, as truth is one, as life is one, as God is one.
Truth is the soul of religion. When Jesus came to earth he did not say, ‘I have brought you a new religion never heard of by you or your ancestors.’ He said he had not come to give a new law but to fulfil the law; in other words, ‘I have come to continue giving you that which you have received before and have not understood.’
There are scriptures that mankind regards as religious scriptures, but imagine how little of that message a book can contain, and how much more must have been given that was never written in a book! If books were sufficient, then the book of Abraham or the earlier books that were kept as scriptures could be sufficient, but it was not the book. The messenger, whenever he came, came to give the life, the living spirit, the divine light that can shine like the sun during the day, so that no soul with the slightest spark of sincerity could ever doubt the truth and unity of the message.
With all the opposition to the Master, at the time when the Jews demanded his crucifixion, did those who were present sincerely think the Master was guilty? No, each one of them was more or less impressed by the truth of the message, yet torn by convention and custom, bound by laws, held fast by the religious authority that was in power. They could not express their sincere feelings, and so law governed instead of love. And this state of things has existed in all ages. Blinded by conventions and by the laws of his time and the customs of his people, man has ignored and opposed the truth. Yet at the same time, the truth has never failed to make its impression upon the soul, because the soul of all is one soul, and truth is one truth, under whatever religion it is hidden.
In reality there cannot be many religions; there is only one. There cannot be two truths; there cannot be two masters. As there is only one God and one religion, there is one master and there is one truth. And the weakness of man has been that only what he is accustomed to consider as truth he takes to be truth, and anything he has not been accustomed to hear or think frightens him. Just like a person in a strange land, away from home, the soul is a stranger to the nature of things it is not accustomed to. But the journey to perfection means rising above limitations, rising so high that not only the horizon of one country, of one continent, is seen, but that of the whole world. The higher we rise, the wider becomes the horizon of our view.
Many intellectual people, with their various ideas, differ from one another in their opinions and in their way of looking at things, in their speculations, but do the prophets differ from one another? No, they cannot differ. The reason is that it is the various minds that differ, not the souls. The one who lives in his mind, is conscious of his mind; the one who lives in his soul is conscious of the soul.
To be continued…