The Ideal is something we are missing to-day. The whole working of humanity to-day shows that the ideal is entirely missing, when you look at it in education, in business, in industry, in politics. And if there is no ideal, there is no way of evolution, because it is by the ideal that mankind evolves, and in the absence of the ideal there is no other way of evolving. It was religion that taught the ideal in all ages.
Now coming to the idea of God. With the increase of intellectual knowledge, a person begins to question if there is some such thing as God; and then he begins to think, if there is a God, how must there be injustice? If there were a perfect God, why would there be imperfection? Why, if there were a God of goodness, would there be so much wretchedness in the world? Why, if there were a God of power, would there be so much ugliness?
And the answer is that it is God Who is needed; what is wanting, what is lacking, that is God. If there were nothing wanting, then there would not be God. Because there is limitation, there is somewhere perfection. Perfection is wanting; there is only limitation and what is wanting is God. And when we look at it in this way, we begin to comprehend the idea of God and its necessity for humanity. There is a tendency to disbelieve or to refuse to believe in a personal God, but those who will not believe in a personal God, for them God is abstract. But what is abstract? It means nothing; and nothing means abstract; either call it nothing or call it abstract, it is the same.
I have heard of hundreds and thousands of people who, after they had studied the philosophy of Vedanta, of New Thought, of Advanced Thought, their thoughtfulness had expressed itself in this manner: either there is no God, or they think there is a God but it is an abstract God. Then why call it God? Call it space, which means nothing. And what devotion has that man who has an abstract God in his heart? In the first place he cannot have an abstract God in his heart; perhaps in his head, but even his head cannot contain an abstract God. The abstract God is much larger than his head. What purpose is there in believing in a God who is nothing? That is where they arrive after having studied philosophies, but if one knew the mystery of the God-Ideal one would solve this question.
We must know that by our praying to God and praising Him, we do not raise God higher than He is. By our praising God, we do not bring a pleasure to God. Because God is perfect, our praise is imperfect. However much we praise God, we cannot find the appropriate words. We can say ‘The King of the Universe’, but this is a very small word to name God. We say ‘Forgiver’; well, man can forgive. Any words we make use of for God are inappropriate and only make God limited. Therefore, if there is a necessity of praising God, it is for ourselves and not for God. The best thing would be to keep God’s being apart, and for our own benefit make a God Whom we can comprehend; this we can only do by trying our best to make God as great, as good, as wonderful as we can conceive of. And that we cannot do if we do not make God a personal Being.
If a person wishes to become perfect by divine knowledge, and if he begins to say, “I am God, because in myself is God”, he is making God smaller than himself; what he thinks of is small. Therefore many people, by taking the intellectual, philosophical way of understanding God, go astray because they cover God by their small self. The best thing is to forget our small self and then see the perfection of God. What stands in front of God is our limited being. If we removed our limited being from our eyes and looked at the perfect God without our selves coming in between, then we shall have the vision of God.
Now, coming to the church: no doubt it is necessary that people having the same spiritual ideals may meet together and perform their spiritual adorations or services or worship together, because this gives a greater strength and brings a greater blessing. The more people are together in one thought, and the more they take the same form for their spiritual development, the more they will be helped. The prayer of one person helps another; the devotion of one person helps another; they help one another naturally. Those inclined to receive spiritual blessings can profit by joining together in a worship.
The Universal Worship of the Sufi Order is inaugurated for this purpose, that the people of different faiths and religions may come together to give their adoration in one form. And the need for Universal Worship is greater than one can imagine, for it gives a facility to the people of all religions. If we think of the wishes of the Prophets who have given different religions, we shall come to this same idea, that their wish is that there would come a form of worship in which all different communities and nations would take part, and in this Universal Worship their wish is being fulfilled. It is now beginning in the world, but before long this will become the manner of worship, the way of worship and this will become the source of a higher evolution of humanity.
There is the greatest need that East and West may be united together for the evolution of the whole humanity. If the East was left behind or if the West remained behind in their spiritual evolution it would keep them both back. East and West both should join hands in spiritual evolution and this can only be done if all come and worship together. And remember, the day that Universal Worship will begin in the East, you will see hundreds and thousands and millions of people who will appreciate it and take it up and it will spread so widely, because this is the pressing need of the whole world and all of humanity. It is our responsibility to establish it and to begin it and to present it to humanity and we should be thankful for the privilege.