We all in this world, according to our little ability, serve God, consciously or unconsciously; we all perform that service, though it be without knowing it.
There is a saying of a great philosopher of Persia, Jelaluddin Rumi: “ Fire, water, air and earth are God’s servants and whenever He wishes them to work for Him, they are ready to obey His command.” If the elements are the obedient servants of God, and if the elements become the instruments of God, can man not be a greater and better instrument? In reality man must be the best instrument of God for the accomplishment of the purpose of His creation.
And in this way those who have been the instruments for a community He has used as instruments for the community; those who have been instruments for a nation He has used as instruments for a nation. And the souls who have been instruments for the whole humanity have been used by God for that purpose. In whatever capacity in life, as a king, as a prophet, as a reformer, as a preacher, they have served God. The great service of God is the work that is done by the prophet to bring humanity closer to perfection. For every soul is born for this purpose and that every soul should reach, so to speak, the feet of God.
And since the prophet brings the Message of God, it is the Message from the same Source whenever it comes. If it came a hundred thousand years ago it was His Message, and if it came two thousand years ago, it was His Message; and if it came today it is His Message. And how ignorant man has been through all the ages, and he shows his ignorance even today! For whenever the Message has come, man has fought and disputed and argued. Man has held to one prophet and ignored the other; he esteemed one, and he despised the other. And the reason is that he knows the messenger but he does not know the Message; he has taken the book as his religion, but he does not know the Message. If that were not the tendency of the generality, then how could Jesus Christ with his most spiritual Message have been crucified? There had been prophecies, and besides prophecies the Master himself was the evidence of his Message, as there is a saying: ‘What you are speaks louder than what you say’. And how thickly veiled man’s eyes must be by the religion, the faith, the belief he held, for him to accept one Messenger and to reject the Message, not knowing that there is one Message, that there cannot be two!
Yes, the ways in which it is given are different ways, because of the mentality of humanity at each time. Every prophet had to speak in the manner of the time at which he lived, according to the evolution of that time. Another thing is that 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 one country, surely he has to consider the way in which the people in that country look at life, and to give his Message according to that. But the Message is from God. This is the reason why the external study of Buddhism will make one feel that Hinduism is different from Buddhism; that 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.
Humanity has had enough wars, fights, and disputes and differences. Now if you ask individuals of any country, of any race, they will tell you, ”Enough, enough, now we would not have any war again.” The recent war, that has just passed, has shown us the greatest tragedy that the world has seen. Although the teaching of Christ is peace, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’, and the innermost desire of everyone is peace, humanity does not know how to make peace; and in order to make peace it goes to war.
The message of Sufism is working towards the desire of individuals and the desire of nations to bring about that peace which every soul should desire and which is the teaching of Christ, and which is the nature of God. There are different activities now going on towards both peace and war. Every little activity which is working toward the unity of mankind is worth encouraging and worth helping. But it must be known that a religious peace must be brought about, because, directly or indirectly, a religious thought is working to bring about peace or war.
It is not the desire of the Sufi Movement to form a community, or to wish that the whole world should be of one religion. It is as impossible as that all the people in the world should have the same face.
But what is possible is this: that by knowing and understanding the secret of life, by understanding the nature of God, by studying and realizing the nature of life, men must surely become tolerant of one another, that man can surely rise and unite above the differences of race, faith, nation and religion.
By a personal guidance individuals are taught in the Inner School called the Sufi Order the problems of the deeper side of life and the methods of self-realization, in which there is the realization of God. And to this Order, for study and practical guidance, all are welcome. Whatever may be their faith, or name, or nation, or religion, the Order does not interfere with it. It is not the desire of a Sufi to take anyone away from his religion, but that he should live his religion. Beyond and above all other objects that the Sufi Order has, the principal object is to draw together humanity–so divided in race, in classes, in creeds, in religions–in wisdom, in the knowledge of truth, that a human Brotherhood may be formed in the Fatherhood of God.