The Song Universal1The Song Universal is freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from limitations, freedom from imperfections and freedom from ignorance. Man is in stark bondage. Nevertheless, man has the power deep within to cut asunder the teeming ties that have bound him and forced him to launch into the sea of uncertainty.
Four thousand years ago the Vedic seers voiced forth:
Give freedom for our dwelling.
Give freedom for our life."
This soulful prayer of the Vedic seers of yore will echo and re-echo through eternity in humanity's aspiring heart.
Freedom does not mean being away from home. Freedom means accepting and feeling the entire world as one's real home, as one's very own. With a view to achieving and growing into this peerless freedom, man does many things. He simply throws himself into a tornado of blind activities. But man has to learn that he has only one thing to do, and that is to discover and uncover. He has to discover the Divinity within, and uncover the veil of ignorance without. Likewise, man has only one thing to be: God. He has to be God the Infinite, God the Eternal and God the Immortal.
It is said that the quickest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time. Let us start by thinking of, concentrating and meditating on God, and end, if there is any end, with God-Realisation. This is not only the quickest way, but by far the best.
God is Freedom. In an unparalleled way, the Isha Upanishad speaks of God the Absolute:
Far it is. And it is near.
Within all this it is.
It is without all this."
Man's deepest faith in God and man's boundless freedom in himself go together. Sublimely significant is the truth that James M. Barrie offers us: "The reason why birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings."
"We walk by faith, not by sight." An aspirant, a true seeker of the Infinite Freedom, has to breathe in this life-giving and life-transforming truth that the New Testament endows us with.
Man is sick. His sickness is his ignorance. He has been suffering from this unfathomable ignorance for millennia. There is considerable truth in what Bernard Shaw says: "We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession."
It is high time for us to come out of our ignorance-sleep. Let us not play the fool. Let us be wise once again. Let us have back our faith in God, who alone can and will cure our entire life and our earthly existence of this fatal ignorance-sickness.
We are all assembled at the Church Center for the United Nations. The word "United" is hallowed. It can better be felt than described. Rather I should say it can only be felt and cannot be described at all. "United we stand, divided we fall. " We are fully aware of this maxim. What we need is to live it.
Now where does this unity come from? It comes from God. It comes from the Brahman, the One without a second. When we walk further along the path of unity, we realise that not only does God have the Consciousness of Unity, but He is Consciousness-Unity itself. When we reach the end of our journey's Goal, we discover that God is both Unity and Multiplicity. In the field of Unity, He is Realisation and Liberation; and in the field of Multiplicity, He is Manifestation and Transformation.
Our inner realisation and outer action must run abreast. Outer achievements should be the conscious and spontaneous revelation of the inner divinity.
Love, harmony, peace and oneness. These are man's divine ideals. On the strength of his inner mounting flame, aspiration, man can easily, unerringly and spontaneously manifest these ideals of his in his human life, in every sphere of his life.
It is quite natural and proper that we should discover our God in and through our own religion. When we go deep within we come to realise that there is only one religion, and that religion is man's inmost cry for God-Realisation. In the hoary past, Asoka, the great Emperor of India, sent missionaries to the corners of the globe with a profound message: "The basis of all religions is the same, wherever they are. Try to help them all you can, teach them all you can, but do not try to injure them."
Let each religion play the role of a flower. Let us make a garland of these divine flowers and offer them at the Feet of God. God will be pleased. We shall be fulfilled.
As there is only one Religion, even so there is only one Song. This Song is man.
Man is Infinity's Heart.
Man is Eternity's Breath.
Man is Immortality's Life.
GNS 3. United Nations Church Center, 26 November 1968.↩