Continuing in our series, Hazrat Inayat Khan here emphasises the absolute unity and universality of the Message, although it has been given at different times in different forms. The previous post in the series may be found here.
The word ‘Message’ in itself conveys a different meaning from that of an intellectual philosophy. There are two ideas prevailing in the world: one is that man has evolved through years and centuries, and the other that, as Solomon has said, there is nothing new under the sun. And this explains to us that divine truth has always been and always will be the same. No one can improve upon it, and nobody can give a new message. It is the divine tongue that at times has spoken louder, and at times in a whisper, and it is the consciousness of the divine spirit which made Christ say, ‘I am Alpha and Omega.’ Those who limit Christ to the historic period of the life of the Prophet of Nazareth surely limit the message, in spite of his open declaration that he is the first and the last.
According to this point of view, the message has been given each time in a form suited to the evolution of the people in that particular age. Man divides, God unites humanity. Man takes pleasure in thinking and feeling, ‘I am different from you; you are different from me,’ in nationality, race, creed, or religion. In animals this feeling is still more pronounced. But as man evolves, his tendency is to unite, to become one. Did Jesus Christ come to form an exclusive community called Christian, or Buddha to found a creed called Buddhism? Or was it Mohammed’s ideal to form a community called Mohammedan? On the contrary, the Prophet warned his disciples that they should not attach his name to his message, but that it should be called Islam, the Message of Peace.
Not one of the masters came with the thought of forming an exclusive community, or to give a certain religion. They came with the same message from one and the same God. Whether the message was in Sanskrit, Hebrew, Zend, or Arabic, it had one and the same meaning. The difference between religions is external; their inner meaning is one. If man had only understood this, the world would have avoided many wars, for war has mostly been caused by religion, religion which was given to the world to establish peace and harmony. What a pity that war and disaster should come from the same source!
The Sufi message is a reminder to humanity, not to any one nation but to all; not to one, but to every creed. It is a reminder of the truth taught by all the great teachers of humanity: that God, truth, religion are one, and that duality is only a delusion of human nature. Think, then, what a great task lies before this message, at this time when nation is against nation and race against race; when the followers of one religion are constantly working against the followers of another religion, and class against class; competition, hate, and prejudice prevailing everywhere. What will be the outcome of it all? What can poison produce? Not nectar; only poison.