"Unity already exists in the human form, since each one is born the same way with the same outer and inner construction, and each one has a soul which is of the same essence as that of God. We are drops of the Ocean of All Consciousness, whom we worship as the same God, calling Him by different names. Holy men say that the human body is the true temple of God, and that He resides in the temple made by Him in the womb of the mother, and not in temples made by human hands, and that the human form provides us with the golden opportunity to realize Him."

 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I am happy to greet you all, who have gathered here from all over the world. In this
momentous session we have to explore and find out ways and means to cement and
strengthen the solidarity of mankind. Nations, like individuals, are swayed by passions,
prides and prejudices which create chasms in the real social order which are very often
difficult to span.

We are living in an age of decadence, when moral and spiritual values
are at their lowest ebb. With all these drawbacks and the numerous divisive tendencies,
there is still a ray of hope of regeneration and re-orientation. This very hope has brought
us together. I thank you all for the loving response to the call for remodelling of our
destiny to secure a lasting peace.

It is said that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” That
may have been true at one time or another, or for the author of the dictum, Rudyard
Kipling; but certainly it carries no weight with men of God in the present scientific age,
when distance and space are fast losing their significance, and efforts are being made to
establish interplanetary contacts.
The various countries of the world are just like chambers in the House of God,
housing different nations. Distinguished from one another by geographic, climatic and
historical conditions, facial contours and complexions, languages and dialects, diet and
apparel and modes of worship, all people conditioned by these divergent factors form
the great organic whole called humanity. With all these seeming differences and
distinctions of colour, creed, and caste, and these diversities in his modes of living and
thinking, man essentially and basically remains man in outer appearance and inner
make-up.

Unity already exists in the human form, since each one is born the same way with the
same outer and inner construction, and each one has a soul which is of the same essence
as that of God. We are drops of the Ocean of All Consciousness, whom we worship as
the same God, calling Him by different names. Holy men say that the human body is the
true temple of God, and that He resides in the temple made by Him in the womb of the
mother, and not in temples made by human hands, and that the human form provides us
with the golden opportunity to realize Him.

Man has three aspects: physical body, intellect, and a conscious entity. He has
progressed physically, intellectually and mechanically; but despite this, he is unhappy
and has not developed spiritually. He has developed his head and not his heart, and his
scientific knowledge is misdirected to fiendish malevolence. It has created a spiritual
vacuum. We stand in the middle of a two-fold crisis: a state cult of militarism,
euphemistically called ‘patriotism’ on one hand, and an apathy to spiritual development

through knowledge of the True Self on the other. In the absence of any positive thinking
on both these levels we are morally regressing, and in this sad predicament we cannot
have lasting peace. Guru Nanak therefore prayed, “Oh God, the world is aflame and has
passed beyond our care. Save it by the means You consider best!”
The problem before us is how to bring about a change in man’s heart and effect his
inner conversion so that he can see truly and clearly and learn to discriminate between
truth and untruth. Since this lies beyond the scope of body and intellect, it can only
come about through an inward illumination of divine wisdom in the sanctuary of the
soul. This is the individual aspect of the matter. We also have to forge abiding bonds of
kinship among the nations of the world so that they will treat each other with genuine
courtesy based on inward love and friendliness, and seek the welfare of all members of
the human family, transcending their political ideologies which create rivalries and
international tensions.

During my last foreign tour I was asked on television in the United States, “How can
peace be cemented?” I told them, “Peace can be cemented only when men rise above
‘isms’ and presidents and kings above countries.” To remain in any ‘ism’ is a blessing,
if we keep in mind the ideal for which we have joined it and rise into universalism; but
if we stick obdurately to the ‘ism’, the result is again narrow-mindedness and
selfishness. Similarly, if kings nourish their gardens well and keep them blooming in all
respects, they should let all other countries bloom the same way and further the cause of
human happiness; otherwise there will be conflicts and wars. It has been our endeavour
of late to find a common forum and meeting ground where such momentous issues
could be discussed dispassionately – by separating the non-essentials from essentials
and eliminating differences, in order to find unity in diverse thinking and bring abiding
peace on earth: complete concord and amity in all spheres of our life.
In order to understand this world-wide movement in which we are participating
today, it is necessary to review its background. Religious contacts between East and
West were established as far back as 1893, when the patriot-Saint Vivekananda went
out with the message of the Upanishads and Gita and represented India at the Chicago
Parliament of Religions. His life and living showed a practical way to demonstrate the
essential unity of all religions, to proclaim the message of which he founded a chain of
missions in the name of his Master, Paramhansa Ramakrishna. Ten years later, in 1903,
another savant, Swami Ram Tirath, presented the philosophy of Vedanta to the West in
such a lucid manner that he was hailed as a ‘living Christ’. Thus the way was paved for
the next great step, the spread of spirituality or mysticism – the bedrock of every
religion.

In its pure essence, this implies the awakening of man to a consciousness at once
supra-sensible and supra-mental – an immediate revelation. All mystics, Eastern and
Western, have believed in the possibility of direct communion with the Spirit and Power
of God through love and contemplation, without the aid of reason and logic. It puts man
on the road to inwardness – not to be confused with escapism – with an active living
morality as the essential prerequisite.

This is the religion of spirit – or the science of the soul – and through it an individual
finds his proper relation to the universe by establishing contact with God through His
expression, the Power called Naam, Shabd, Kalma or Word which is the Maker,
permeating and controlling all creation.
The relationship with this Power is achieved by developing reverence for life at all
levels of existence without distinguishing between high and humble – including man,
bird, beast, and lower species. The non-human forms are the younger members of the
family of God. This idea of the sanctity of life is a living religion of love in the
innermost part of our being. True theism cannot be reasoned out intellectually or felt on
the level of emotions; it proceeds from true knowledge, which is an action of the soul in
perfect harmony beyond the senses. This is what is called ‘spirituality’ – the contact of
the soul with the Oversoul – and it is achieved by rising above body-consciousness
through practical self-analysis, a demonstration of which can be given by an adept in the
process. We call it ‘Para Vidya’ (the Knowledge of the Beyond) because it lies beyond
our sensory perceptions.

This science of the soul is not something new; it is the most ancient teaching of all.
The way back to God is of God’s own make and stands on its own, without the
necessity of scriptural support to uphold its authenticity. But unmistakable references in
the scriptures of all religions from the earliest times to the present day bear witness to
the Unmanifest Reality in its primordial form of Light and Sound.
In the present age, saints like Kabir (1440-1518) and Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
revived the ancient teachings of the sages of the past. In more recent times the torch was
kept alive by their successors until the spiritual mantle came to hallow the personality of
Baba Sawan Singh Ji, who during his long ministry of 45 years (1903-1948) gave it the
widest distribution possible. In 1911 he began the work of revealing the Gospel of
Love, Light and Life to the Western world as well. Ruhani Satsang was founded in 1948
and dedicated to the task of imparting purely spiritual instruction, shorn of all ritual and
ceremony and free from embellishment and symbol, to all classes of humanity.
Followers of different faiths, beliefs, and creeds meet at Sawan Ashram – which became
its permanent centre in 1951 – and address large masses of people coming from
different walks of life, who are eager to learn and understand the elemental truths which
form the quintessence of all sacred scriptures. The discourses converge on the common
theme of establishing direct touch with Reality, and attempts are made to reproduce and
correlate, in simple understandable language, the sayings of sages and seers of all times.
Presently this is being spread in 209 centres all over the world, which have helped
considerably to remove to some extent artificial barriers of race, language, and religion,
and brought many kinds of human beings to worship the Nameless Being with so many
names.

By the grace of God, a new field unexpectedly opened up in 1957 when Muni Sushil
Kumar Ji sponsored a Conference of World Religions with the idea of forming a World
Fellowship of Religions. As a result of further deliberations there did come into being a
Fellowship including most of the faiths of the world, and I was elected its president.
Three World Tours were undertaken and four World Religions Conferences were

organized in India, besides regional conferences in other countries. The purpose was to
disseminate the idea of universal fellowship among people professing different faiths
and beliefs, and it brought about broader and better understanding and a sense of mutual
trust and confidence at the top level among the representatives of the various religions.
But while the religious leaders were coming closer, a danger was developing among the
followers. Instead of making religion a cementing force, they made it an instrument to
serve their vested interests and began to form communal groupings bearing the labels
associated with their ‘isms’ – fortifying them with artificial walls of hatred and distrust.
One wonders how a person professing religion, which is a link between man and
God, can run the risk of forgetting that he is a man born with the same privileges from
God as those he hates, and that he is a conscious entity which is a drop of the Ocean of
All Consciousness.

To combat this danger of religious chauvinism, it was thought necessary to start the
work of regeneration from the roots. Man-making must take precedence. This can only
be done by inculcating in people generally the humanistic ideas of unselfish love and
selfless service, with special emphasis on man service, land service and animal service
(animals being our younger brothers and sisters in the family of God). This idea took
concrete shape in 1969 with the decision to set up Man-Making Centres or Manav
Kendras here in India and abroad. In India a Man Centre has been started at Dehra Dun
at the foot of the Shivalik Range of the Himalayas. It has set up a hospital, a home for
indigent elderly people, and a school for the children of poor families in the area. A
provision for farming and cattle-raising on modern scientific lines is a part of the
project. Eventually we hope to see a university, fully equipped with the original
scriptural texts of the religions of the world, so that comparative studies of the truths
contained therein may be undertaken; and a language school to overcome linguistic
difficulties.

This convention aims to unite all mankind on the common ground of service to
fellow human beings and Faith in Divine Power, and to accomplish that, it urges the
religious and ethical leadership of the world to shed apathy and aloofness and assume a
more prominent role in human affairs. Such conferences in the past have been organized
at the level of religions, and consequently have not been able to achieve integration in
the required measure. A significant feature of this conference is that it is being
organized at the level of man, as envisioned by saints and prophets like Socrates,
Buddha, Mohammed, Christ, Kabir, and Nanak, so that it may lead to true integration.
The challenging task before the religious and spiritual leaders is to bring about a radical
change in the ethical, educational and economic status of humanity. Economic uplift is
essential because “a hungry man is an angry man” and to talk of God to him is a
mockery.

I am confident that each one of us fully realizes the significance of this cosmopolitan
meeting and will extend his whole-hearted support toward the fulfilment of its
objectives: developing human understanding and heralding the unity of mankind. Let us
pledge ourselves to this task, transcending all narrow allegiances and commitments, and
stand united and resolute until its ultimate fulfilment.

Presidential Address by Sant Kirpal Singh
World Conference on Unity of Man
3 – 6 February 1974, Delhi, India

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