What 19 faiths contribute to the spiritual
The following excerpts are from a book entitled
World Fellowship Addresses and Messages by leading spokesmen of all
Faiths, Races and Countries; edited by Charles Frederick Weller,
General Executive World Fellowship of Faiths; Liveright Publishing
Corporation, New York 1935.
Author of the spiritual classic Autobiography of a
Science is progressive. Most religions are stationary.
Science is constantly winning new inventions because they are based on
untested beliefs. The usual method of most churches has been to hold their
people by virtue of inbred church-going religious habits, or by holy
threats, or by lectures, and musical or festive entertainments. If the
scientists do not get new knowledge by blind prayer, how can the
religionists expect to know new laws of life just through blind prayer?
Instead of peddling untested dogmas and urging people to believe, churches
should convert their premises into universities of experimental
psychology. Ancient India built the biggest and most gorgeous temples in
the world, but now they have mostly become marts for priests to ply their
religious trades and to shear the pilgrims of money for their own
diabolical uses. India is now going through a new evolution and is getting
rid of this false growth. In little secluded hermitages, unmarked by any
religious trade-mark, real spiritual teachers, who live the Life, are
experimenting with the worthwhile effect of spiritual laws on the lives of
true seekers , and not on floating curiosity seekers.
Catholics, Christian Scientists, Jews, Quakers, followers of Unity,
Rosicrucians, Theosophists, Buddhists, Shintoists, Mohammedans, Jains,
Mormons, Zoroastrians and Hindus must cease fighting with one another
about the infallibility of their individual dogmas, and spending money in
decorating their temples. They should get together and find the real
meaning of life. Let the best universal moral and religious codes of
discipline as found in all true religions, be combined into a universal
spiritual treatise on the art of moral and spiritual living. It might be
named the "Code Book of All Religions."
Hindus let us take their methods of Self-Realization
through scientific psycho-physical meditation, which throws the
searchlight of attention from without to within. Let us omit the
superficial religious ceremonies, caste system, untested beliefs, etc. Let
us take the pantheistic, positive conception of God as ever-existing,
ever-conscious, ever-new Joy -- which, directly or indirectly, all people
are seeking. Let us take from them the doctrine of Reincarnation which
assures imperfect souls, cut off by untimely death, a chance to make
continuous effort until perfection is reached. Let us take [the] law of
Karm or cause and effect which makes man responsible for his advancement
or downfall, and explains why there are born failures, morons and other
defectives, produced not by God but by the wrong actions of individuals in
past lives. Let us take the Hindus' step-by-step methods of meditation
which scientifically and gradually lead to God-contact.
Buddhism let us select the unique self-discipline and the
doctrine of compassion-including even the animals within the family circle
of love. Let us avoid the popularly-interpreted negative or annihilating
state of Nirvana. As Souls, made in the image of God, we cannot be
absorbed, losing our individuality. We can remain confined in the flesh
through desires for some time, but not for all time. According to
Hinduism, as Soul images of God, we expand by right effort until we become
Gods. Let us accept from Buddhism the doctrine of Reincarnation and the
universal moral code of living.
From the Christian
Catholics let us learn their profound devotion to God. Let us
learn self-discipline from the exemplary lives of the Catholic saints. Let
us omit their fear of hell. This earth can be made hotter then hades or
better then beatific paradise. Let us omit their sect exclusiveness. I
should like to see the Pope of Rome and the Bishop of Canterbury exchange
pulpits-for they are both disciples of One Christ. The Catholics should
hold their people by Self-Realisation, not by dogma.
Protestant Christians let us adopt their liberal views
about God and Truth-and avoid their lack of perfect devotion. Let us
combine the intellectual sermons of the liberal Christian Church with the
Self-Realization of the Hindus. Christian churches should employ
intellectuality, not merely to believe something reasonable, but also to
find the technique of using and developing the powers of intuition and
concentration so the God may be scientifically contacted. Self-Realisation
should be the binding force of the Christian churches.
Christian Science let us take the idea of making
Christianity practical by using spiritual healing. Let us adopt their good
principles of teaching people to depend more upon the all-powerful mind
and not to enslave it to the habits of the body. Let us omit their
exclusiveness and their method of holding people by intellectual dogma and
isolation. Truth can never be the monopoly of one sect. It is only
comparative study of religions that we can find the path best suited to
us. Let no Christian Scientist deny the existence of matter or body until
he develops himself like Christ to know that Spirit alone exists.
Christian Science , according to Mary Baker Eddy, received some of its
knowledge from India-and Christian Scientists should increase their
knowledge by constructively exchanging their religious experiences with
real Hindu Savants.
New Thought has done great
work in uniting the eastern and western religions and in emphasizing the
necessity of entering the Silence. It lacks a system of scientific
training in spirituality, but it has done much to free people from wrong
Unity (Kansas City) has done
great work in liberalising Orthodox Christianity in America and by
incorporating some of the doctrines of Reincarnation , and so forth, of
the Eastern religion. It should avoid the growing clannish spirit and the
excluding from its centres of speakers representing other religions whom
it used to welcome. Unity is very liberal and has done a great good in
emphasizing the necessity of Silence and Mediation in modern churches.
Unity asks its students to meditate, but does not give them the exact
technique. It needs the scientific method. Unity would be more practical
it if adopted the Eastern technique of systematic meditation and mental
development which leads to conscious contact with God.
Judaism let us learn to worship only the One God of Gods,
and no other. Let us follow some of the hygienic teachings of Judaism --
and avoid its clannishness. Let all followers of Judaism hold themselves
to their religion because of the Self-Realisation of Truth and not because
of racial prejudice.
From Mohammedans let us adopt
the practice of regular chanting and regular praying. Let us learn their
spirit of resignation to the will of God. Mohammedans ought to adopt the
esoteric method of Sufis.
Bahaism is an eclectic
religion with splendid liberal principles. It is not original, but
collects the results of other religions under the liberal doctrine of
Bahaism. It should give esoteric training in Self-Realisation and
Self-DisciplineQand not depend only upon theoretical lofty
Theosophy has done wonderful work in
uniting eastern and western religions and in emphasizing esoteric
Christianity, but it has contradicted its esoteric teaching by frightening
people about some forms of meditation. Real meditation never caused any
one to go crazy, but instead can heal insanity. Meditation should not be
blamed if people happen to go crazy anyway in the course of time, due to
bad heredity or wrong living. People who are liable to go crazy should
take a rest; they have no business taking any kind of lessons. Many crazy
people seek the church and if they happen to explode with an emotional
bomb during a stirring sermon and go crazy in the church, the temple walls
or the sermon of the minister should not be blamed. Churches, or
representatives of any kind of teaching, cannot help it if crazy people
Rosicrucianism is more or less an
eclectic religion. It emphasizes the necessity of Silence. It has done
much good. It should avoid the emphasis of mysticism. Truth when
understood should be free from mysticism. The tendency to love
supernatural powers must be free avoided lest it divert its devotees from
the seeking the highest-God. Rosicrucianism should learn systematic
methods of Self-Realisation from the Eastern
Self-Realisation Fellowship (Yogoda
Sat-Sangh) emphasizes the technique of Self-Realisation:as
scientifically evolved by the Saints of India-and still to be discovered
by future Savants. It is not a sect. It tries to avoid the lack of
(Self-Realisation)of the theological school and the dogmatism of the
churches. It emphasizes the fellowship of religions, not for empty
theological discussions, but to get together and find the highway of
Self-Realisation wherein the bypaths of all beliefs meet.
Sat-Sangh was founded by Lahiri Mahashay , one of the great incarnations
of God. He was a prophet who lived according to the ideals of the Bhagavad
Gita in the world but was not of the world. His life was exemplary and
unparalleled in showing to business men and women of the wold now, by
Self-Realisation, God can be contacted without fleeing away from the
world. We have heard of unmarried prophets without distractions attaining
Realisation, but Lahiri Mahasaya was married and had a family with its
business to look after; still he was one of the greatest prophets the
world has known. He has been compared to Kind and Saint Janaka of India.
The Supreme Master of these teachings is Babaji, who is living an
unusually long life-while retaining his youthful appearance. He is known
to have all the powers which Christ had. My Master, Swami Sri Yukteswarji,
founded the Sat-Sanga (Fellowship of Religion) Movement in India. Yogoda,
or Self-Realisation doctrine, teaches the combined technique of
Self-Realisation as taught in Sankhya, Yog and Vedant-and is based on the
universal, usable principles underlying all religions.
Krishna Mission exalts the name of modern India. Ramakrishna
emphasized Self-Realisation from the beginning to the end, and united all
religions by his exemplary life. However, most of his disciples in India
have concentrated more upon missionary work, and emphasize only the
devotional path, to the exclusion of some other scientific Yog paths. Rama
Krishna Mission has done wonderful relief work in India. It should avoid
the clannish spirit of intolerance for other paths-which its Master never
had. It has more substantial Self-Realisation of the great Savants than
most so-called liberal eclectic religions. Rama Krishna Mission would do
well to teach its students more of the technique of meditation (Yog) and
not so much emotional devotion. Ramakrishna himself practiced
I believe that Mahatma Gandhi, from the
quantitative standpoint of doing good, has outdone all the saints and
prophets who preceded him. Gandhi is second to none, for, unlike all other
prophets, he came out of the confinement of his teachings and of his
followers and has virtually dictated to the powerful English nation to
abandon empty politics and to administer justice in India. I believe that
he is living the Scriptures and is the embodiment of Spiritual discipline.
Through his life many Souls will also be qualitatively, completely
uplifted and liberated;quantitatively he has partially uplifted more Souls
of all nationalities than any one that I know. Of course, it is hard to
tell which saint or prophet has been the greatest instrument of
qualitatively liberating the most Souls.
Gandhi, by his example,
has done a great deal to rid India of the liquor and drug trade and liquor
and drug habits. he has greatly helped to make India's people fearless and
self-supporting. His has given to the nations of the world his religion of
reforming life and politics by Truth (Satyagrah). His has given to the
nations of the world the all-conquering ammunition of non-co-operation
with which to conquer wars, to destroy the castles of patriotic and
industrial selfishness and to bring peace on earth.
for plain living and high thinking, and each for all, and all for each. By
his example, he has actually gained more followers in his life time than
any saint or prophet who lived before him. Gandhi is a political prophet
sent on earth to be the Savior of nations by forming a league of hearts..
His principles of living Truth, combined with the esoteric teaching of
Soul development as scientifically taught by Hindu Savants and true saints
of all religions, offers to the world a great standard of
The Bharat Dharm Mahamandal is an
Orthodox religion teaching a belief in the caste system. It emphasizes the
teachings of the Rishis. It was founded by Swami Gyananand with his great
lecturer disciple Swami Dyananda whom I personally know. This movement,
would do a greater service if it liberated its principles to include all
nationalities, all the children of God.
Samaj of India is what the Unitarians now are in America. It was
founded by the great Raja Ram Mohan Roi and developed by the famous Keshab
Chandra Sen. It has done much to liberalise the ideas of Orthodox
religions of India. It was the pioneer religion which helped gain freedom
for the women of India. It leans towards western methods of culture and
adopts them in daily life. It would do well to incorporate the practical
Yog system in its teachings.
The Arya Samaj
movement, founded by the illuminated late Swami Dayanand, is a very
liberal Movement, which has done wonderful work in India in breaking down
the caste system and other social evils. This Movement has revived the
ancient Aryan culture of the Rishis along liberal lines by establishing
Gurugulas (institutions for both boys and girls) in India, and is also
doing various other philanthropic work, such as establishing orphanages,
widow-homes, free dispensaries , and Yog ashrams.
philosophy of pantheism, which teaches that God is
everything, should be used to take away the one-sidedness of monoism and
dualism. Evil should be explained as the result of delusion. All that
exists is God. Study of theoretical western philosophies is good, for it
helps us to understand the pragmatic philosophies of the East. Sankhya,
Yog and Vedant, three eastern philosophies, are pragmatic and meant
directly to discipline human activity so that it will yield the highest
wisdom and final emancipation. The Sankhya philosophy teaches that the
highest necessity of men consists in uprooting the three-fold suffering of
body, mind and Soul. Sankhya teaches one to seek in religious technique
the panacea for all sorrow. Yog tells people of the step-by-step methods
of Self-Realisation which directly lead to God by the scientific way,
which alone can destroy the possibility of all suffering. According to the
highest Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, Yog is the surest and the
supreme best way, for it constitutes the scientific technique of
salvation. Vedant teaches the doctrine of the Ultimate; it describes the
state of God Realisation and God. Yog is the most important of the three,
for it is the technique which leads to the Ultimate Goal. Vedant describes
the contents of the mine of Divine wisdom, but Yog tells about the way of
mining that knowledge for human use. All humanity, and all religious
sects, should follow the combined religious experiences of these three
philosophies, and find in them the greatest standard of right living. This
alone can produce ideal citizens of the world.
Last of all,
remember, we are all a little bit crazy and don't know it -- because crazy
people of the same kind mix together. But when people with different crazy
ideas about religion and other matters come together, they find out their
own craziness. Let us all get together and find out our craziness, and
then, with united hearts and Souls, we shall march to the altar of World
From my heard I feel that a great Spiritual flood is coming
from America and a great Spiritual flood is coming from India -- started
by Mahatma Gandhi and the saints of India. When these two floods meet, we
shall have perfect harmony and understanding and peace in all
SOME OF THE MAJOR RELIGIONS REPRESENTED IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA ARE:
CHRISTIANITY CHRISTIANITY BEGAN ABOUT 2000 YEARS
AGO IN WHAT IS NOW ISRAEL. JESUS OF NAZARETH IS THE FOUNDER. ESTIMATED 1.5
BILLION ADHERE TO THE RELIGION. THERE ARE THREE MAIN SECTS: ROMAN CATHOLIC,
EASTERN ORTHODOX AND PROTESTANT. AMONG PROTESTANTS THERE ARE OVER 20,000
DENOMINATIONS. TODAY OVER HALF OF THE CHRISTIANS ARE BLACK.
JUDAISM JUDAISM BEGAN ABOUT 3700 YEARS AGO
IN EGYPT-CANAAN, NOW ISRAEL. ABRAHAM, WHO STARTED THE LINEAGE, AND MOSES, WHO
EMANCIPATED THE ENSLAVED JEWISH TRIBES FROM EGYPT. ABOUT 12 MILLION WORLDWIDE
ADHERE TO THE RELIGION, OVER HALF IN U.S. THERE ARE THREE MAIN SECTS: ORTHODOX,
CONSERVATIVE AND REFORM, WITH OTHER REGIONAL AND ETHNIC DIVISIONS.
ZOROASTRIANISM IT BEGAN 2600 YEARS AGO IN ANCIENT
IRAN. SPENTA ZARATHUSTRA IS THE FOUNDER. 125,000 MOSTLY NEAR MUMBAI
(BOMBAY-INDIA), WHERE THEY ARE CALLED PARSIS. THEY ARE SPLIT INTO TWO SECTS
SPLIT OVER A QUESTION OF CALENDAR.
ISLAM ISLAM BEGAN ABOUT 1400 YEARS AGO IN
PRESENT DAY SAUDI ARABIA. PROPHET MOHAMMED IS THE FOUNDER. OVER I BILLION, MOSTLY IN THE MIDDLE EAST,
INDONESIA, MALAYSIA, PAKISTAN, BANGLADESH, AFRICA, CHINA, EASTERN EUROPE AND
U.S. (GROWING POPULARITY). THERE ARE TWO MAIN DIVISIONS WITHIN ISLAM. THE
SUNNIS, FOLLOWERS OF THE POLITICAL SUCCESSORS OF MOHAMMED AND SHIITES ARE
FOLLOWERS OF MOHAMMED’S FAMILY SUCCESSORS, ALL MARTYRED AT AN EARLY AGE.
SHINTOISM SHINTOISM BEGAN AROUND 2500-3000
YEARS AGO. EACH OF THE THIRTEEN ANCIENT SECTS HAS ITS OWN FOUNDER. ESTIMATED 30
MILLION AHERE TO THIS RELIGION, MOSTLY IN JAPAN. MOST ARE ALSO BUDHISTS.
CONFUCIANISM CONFUCIANISM BEGAN ABOUT 2500 YEARS
AGO IN CHINA. FOUNDED BY SUPREME SAGE K’UNG-FU-TSU (CONFUCIUS) AND SECOND SAGE
MENG-TSU (MENCIUS). ESTIMATED 350 MILLION MOSTLY IN CHINA, JAPAN, BURMA AND THIALAND ADHERE TO THIS RELIGION.
FOLLOWERS ARE FREE TO PROFESS OTHER RELIGIONS YET STILL BE CONFUCIANISTS.
TAOISM TAOISM BEGAN ABOUT 2500 YEARS AGO IN
CHINA. FOUNDED BY LAO-TZU, WHOM CONFUCIUS DESCRIBED AS A DRAGON RIDING THE WIND
AND CLOUDS. ESTIMATED 50 MILLION MOSTLY IN CHINA AND OTHER PARTS OF ASIA ADHERE
TO THIS FAITH. TAOISM IS POTENTLY MYSTICAL TRADITION, SO INTERPRETATIONS HAVE
BEEN DIVERSE AND ITS SECTS ARE MANY.
SIKHISM SIKHISM BEGAN ABOUT 500 YEARS AGO IN
NORTHERN INDIA, NOW THE COUNTRY OF PAKISTAN. GURU NANAK WAS THE FOUNDER.
ESTIMATED 9 MILLION, MOSTLY IN INDIA ARE THE FOLLOWERS. MOST OF MALE WEAR
JAINISM JAINISM BEGAN ABOUT 2500 YEARS AGO
IN INDIA. NATAPUTTA VARDHAMANA KNOWN AS MAHAVIRA WAS THE FOUNDER. ABOUT SIX
MILLION ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN INDIA ADHERE TO THIS FAITH. THERE ARE TWO SECTS:
THE DIGAMBARA AND SVETAMBARA.
BUDDHISM BUDDHISM BEGAN ABOUT 2500 YEARS AGO
IN INDIA. GAUTAMA SIDDHARTHA OR THE BUDDHA (ENLIGHTENED ONE) IS THE FOUNDER.
OVER 300 MILLION THROUGHOUT CHINA,
JAPAN, SRI LANKA , THAILAND, BURMA, INDO-CHINA, KOREA AND TIBET ADHERE TO THIS
RELIGION. BUSSHISM TODAY IS DIVIDED INTO THREE SECTS: THERAVADA, TIBETAN AND
MAHAYANA. ZEN BUDDHISM, WELL KNOWN IN THE WEST, IS A JAPANESE MAHAYANA SCHOOL.
HINDUISM HINDUISM, THE WORLD’S OLDEST
RELIGION, HAS NO KNOWN BEGINNING-IT PREDATES RECORDED HISTORY. HAS NO HUMAN
FOUNDER. NEARLY 1 BILLION, MOSTLY IN INDIA, SRI LANKA, BHUTAN, NEPAL, MALAYSIA,
INDONESIA (BALI), AFRICA, EUROPE AND NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA ADHERES TO THIS
RELIGION. THERE ARE MAIN FOUR SECTS: SAIVISM, SAKTISM, VAISHNAVISM AND
SMARTISM. IT WORSHIPS ONE SUPREME REALITY, CALLED BY MANY NAMES.
FAITHS IN SEARCH OF THE DIVINE, HUMAN HAS
CREATED INUMERABLE SMALLER “FAITHS.” A FEW EXAMPLES ARE EXPLORED BELOW:
SHAMANISM THIS BROAD TERM INCLUDES THE
THOUSANDS OF TRIBAL INDIGENOUS FAITHS WHICH HAVE EXISTED ON EVERY CONTINENT
SINCE LONG BEFORE RECORDED HISTORY. BELIEVES INCLUDE A DEEP SENSE OF THE
SACREDNESS OF LIFE AND OF THE EARTH, COMMUNION
WITH SPIRIT GUIDES AND IN THE ABILITY OF MAN TO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH AND
SPIRITUALISM SPIRITUALISM HOLDS THAT THERE IS
ANOTHER PERHAPS DEEPER, REALITY ON THE OTHER SIDE WHICH CAN BE CONTAACTED BY
MEDIUMS OF PSYCHICS WHO HAVE SUFFICIENT SENSITIVITY. IT IS ONE OF THE OLDEST
FORMS OF COMMUNION.
THEOSOPHY FOUNDED IN THE LATE 1800’S BY MADAME
BLAVATSKY, THEOSOPHY EMPHASIZES MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE, ESOTERIC DOCTRINE, MONISM,
UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD, AND EXPLORING THE POWERS OF LATENT IN THE MAN AND
UNIVERSALISM MANY FAITHS ARE BASED ON UNIVERSALIST PRINCIPLES,
OFTEN TO AVOID CERTAIN DOCTRINES WHICH ARE SEEN AS NARROW OR SACTERIAN.
UNIVERSALISM ARISES IN ALL RELIGIONS, WHETHER CHRISTIAN (UNITARIANISM), ISLAM
(BAHA’I), JAIN (RAJNEESHISM) OR HINDU (DOZENS OF ALL RELIGIONS MOVEMENTS, SUCH
AS THOSE OF SAI BABA AND MAHARISHI MAHESH YOGI).
FAITHS AMONG THOUSANDS OF OTHER FAITHS ARE: INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S
TRIBAL RELIGIONS, HUMANITARIANISM, ANTHROPOSOPHY, SWEDENBORGIANISM, GNOSTICISM,
NEOPLATONISM, SCIENTOLOGY, WITCHCRAFT, PAGANISM, OCCULTISM, SUBUD, FREEMASONRY,
SATAN WORSHIP, MYSTICISM, HUNA, SUFISM, ROSECRUCIANISM, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE AND