Symbols of the world's religions



Elizabeth C. Patterson

Talk given on February 16, 1963, at Meher Spiritual Center to Episcopal group from Conway, South Carolina:

Some of you recently have had the privilege of studying comparative religions and you know about the five great world religions, which are the stems from which many branches have sprung. I like to think of them as the five fingers on the one hand of God. They are the Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Judaic-Christian, and Mohammedan religions.

I like to think of the founders as great Souls sent from God who came to this earth and lived among men, in different epochs, and left their imprint down through the ages until this day. They were very real and their example is still in the world; details of their lives may have faded, or even been embellished, but what their lives stood for becomes ever clearer in perspective.

Zoroaster, with the symbol of fire, stood for Light or Purity. He taught good thoughts, good words, good deeds.

If brought down to a central point, one could say that Krishna of the Hindus stood for spiritual attainment, known in India as ananda or Eternal Bliss; and nirvana or reunion with Brahma (God).

Buddha's life was one of spiritual search until he at last gained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree; his great example to mankind was Compassion so complete that it included every living creature.

Mohammed was said to be born about 570 years after Jesus. He lived in a desert country largely among nomadic people, who had many deities, and he stood firmly for one God, with unison of prayer five times a day as a constant reminder of the one God.

I do not mention Judaism separately despite its ancient root and the orthodox Jewish belief that it is distinctly apart. It had its great Prophets who were forerunners of Christianity, and the Old Testament belongs to both the Jewish and Christian religions. There are many Christians who think of Christianity as the flower that grew from its ancient stem. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, that was part of his mission; but it was through his example in life that he showed mankind the greater concept of Divine Love than had ever been known. Jesus taught that we cannot say we love God and hate our fellowman. God was not only to be loved, He is Love.

Saint Matthew's gospel states that: "When Jesus came unto the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? And they said, Some say that Thou art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?"

This question must ever be answered. When we consider who Meher Baba is, you will probably get many answers and in accordance with the understanding of the individual asked. Some have a ready answer before they meet Meher Baba. Some persons when they meet Meher Baba have a faint impression and others a great impression; sometimes the little impression grows and with the years it becomes a great spiritual impression. Still others have a flash of recognition from the very first contact with him — it is as tangible to their inner experience, as for example, the striking of a match. But whatever the impression, everyone agrees that Meher Baba is not an ordinary man.

In India he is looked upon as more than an outstanding religious leader; he is known as a very rare occurrence — a Sadguru or Perfect Master. Baba himself has said that he is what you take him to be. He has also stated that he is the Highest of the High, the Ancient One. He tells us that he has not come to teach, but to awaken. Let us think of Meher Baba as having come to awaken mankind and that we might be included in their spiritual awakening.

This modern-day Awakener tells us that:

The New Humanity will come into existence through a release of love in measureless abundance; and this release of love itself can come through the spiritual awakening brought about by the Masters. Love and coercion can never go together but, though love cannot be forced upon anyone, it can be awakened in him through Love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative and its own evidence; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it....

Humanity will attain to a new mode of being and life through the free and unhampered play of pure love from heart to heart. When it recognizes that there are no claims greater than the claims of the universal divine life, which without exception includes everyone and everything, love shall not only establish peace, harmony, and happiness in social, national, and international spheres, but will shine in its own purity and beauty....

It is through Divine Love that the New Humanity will come in tune with the Divine Plan; it will free itself from the tyranny of dead forms and release a creative life of spiritual wisdom; it will shed all illusions and get established in Truth; it will be initiated into the life of Eternity.


LETTERS OF LOVE FOR MEHER BABA, pp. 257-259, ed Jane Barry Haynes
1997 © EliNor Publications


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