Amongst the living beings, constituting the entire living world, rare is human birth. Rarer is coming into contact with Satguru (True Master) for attainment of God-knowledge, the primary purpose of human life. Rarer still is the opportunity to serve the True Master for spreading the message of Truth and the rarest of all is to treat all of humanity as your own family!
If we peruse the literature pertaining to spiritual thought down the ages in the shape of scriptures, epics and other philosophic treatises, we can very easily identify all the True Masters, Prophets, sages and seers who embodied the mainstream of spirituality from time to time and transmitted it to their worthy successors. It is in this context that it is said, "Prophet is said to be the oldest and the newest on earth, like the day and night which have followed each other down the ages and are still ever new." (Atharvaveda 10:8:23) Every True Master (Prophet) is not the originator but only the latest revealer of divine knowledge.
Whenever there is decline of righteousness and the forces of Matter (Maya) tighten their stranglehold on the human mind, it becomes a cosmic compulsion, a spiritual necessity, to retrieve the situation to normalcy and re-establish the law of Dharma through the instrumentation of Revelation (Brahm Gyan).
This brings out that True Masters, Prophets of God refer to the same Formless spirit although their embodiments kept on changing. They have been basically holding common threads with each other, carrying on and weaving the same pattern of spirituality till date. The four main pillars on which the Mainstream of Spirituality have always rested on is that formless God is cosmic and belongs to all. Secondly, His revelation is possible only through True Master of the day. Thirdly, any kind of rites and rituals performed for any length of time cannot help knowing or seeing God. Fourthly, all the True Masters who blessed the seekers with revelation of one Formless God, taught their disciples to imbibe qualities of humanism, altruism, humility, love, mercy, compassion and service of mankind and their teachings transcend time and place.
The eternal continuity of True Masters (Prophets) with their revelation of one formless God, the process of humanization and rearrangement of human relations on the basis of love and humility characterize the main features of the mainstream of spirituality in the world. In this background, all the prophets and the acknowledged scriptures are part and parcel of the mainstream. The entire content of spirituality and the essence of humanism belong only to the mainstream.
Lord Jesus Christ, the presiding deity and prophet of the New Testament, embodied the mainstream of spirituality in his life time, with his revealing teachings in the Holy Bible, carrying a crisp message to the weary world :-
"If God is all you have,
you have all you need". (St. John. 14:8)
It is worth understanding the Holy Message of Lord Jesus Christ in letter and spirit and translate it into action in our life.
THE OLD TESTAMENT
As God is one and omnipresent, He is cosmic and common to all. All the prophets of the Old Testament have total agreement on this. God of one prophet is also the God of the other prophets. Being one, God cannot be divided or sub-divided. Only such a God is to be worshipped. As per the Old Testament, man was made in the image of God, superior to all species, having the inherent power to know God. The prophets rejected the deadwood of religious rites and put forth the concept of true worshipper. As a social being, man needs wisdom which is more valuable than material wealth. Changing the hard appearance means making one humble and lovable. There is also a reference that remembrance of God should begin in youth.
"Remember your Creator in the day of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, I find no pleasure in them".
The Holy Bible refers to the Ten Commandments. The first five relate to our love and worship of God, while the remaining five refer to our obligation and service to our society. Like two sides of the same coin, these are inseparable and give us coherent advice, "Worship and love for God and service to man go hand in hand."
THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament and the Old Testament have an integral relation with each other. St. Augustine has rightly said:
The New Testament was in the Old concealed,
The Old Testament is in the New revealed."
Jesus Christ is the presiding deity and the prophet of the New Testament who embodied the mainstream of spirituality in his life time. Jesus clarified that he was continuing the old prophetic tradition and fulfilling their commandment. He said:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish
the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them,
but to fulfil them." (Matthew. 5-17)
All this shows that Jesus had nothing different to reveal to the people. He preached the same as the earlier prophets had preached. His commandments were the same as those of the earlier prophets. Jesus also preached that God is One, Formless and Spirit. The basic commandments according to the Old Testament is:
"Lord is One.
Love thy God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all
The same commandment is given by Jesus in the New Testament:-
"Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and with all your soul;
and with all your mind. This is the
first and greatest commandment." (Matthew: 22.37)
This establishes kinship of Jesus with all his preceding Hebrew prophets. He continued the same old tradition enshrined in the mainstream of spirituality which related to worship of One Formless God as the Ultimate Reality of cosmos. Two points are of basic importance in the philosophy of Jesus. Firstly, before worship of God, one must know what God is and secondly, God is to be worshipped as Spirit only. Any transgression from this is not approved by Jesus. So, whosoever wants to follow and practice the teachings of Jesus Christ has to attain practical knowledge of God as Spirit, as Formless Being and then only he can be a true worshipper. Any dilution or deviation from this commandment will take away the essence out of what Jesus preached and died for. To quote;
"God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him
must worship Him in Spirit and in truth" (St. John 4-24)
.....To be continued in the next issue
The author is the Vice Chairman, Sant Nirankari Mandal, Delhi