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Universal Spiritual Consciousness


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Universal Spiritual Consciousness (An article by Rawel Singh).

Consciousness means awareness and universal spiritual consciousness refers to awareness of the spirit pervading the universe including every living creature. Fundamentally there is complete unanimity among all the faiths on this subject. The Hindu scripture the Gita states that all living beings rest in God (Quran 9:6). The Old Testament, which is acknowledged as the scripture by the Jews, Christians and Muslims says that God made man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) the scripture of the Sikhs says “God made the body, put the soul and made provision for clothing and food†(SGGS, P 619). The same soul or spirit is therefore the source of all life. The differences that we see between religions are a result of man’s ego and misinterpretation of the scriptures.

The Quran, the scripture of the Muslims says that... "initially there was one religion, but people started having differences. God therefore sent His messengers and the scriptures so that the various views could be judged. God also noticed that after people read the scriptures, differences came up because of varying interpretations."

(Quran, 2:213).

Varying interpretations are indeed the reason for most of the problems attributed to religion.

In spite of this unity of thought the academicians try, without realizing that they are doing so, to split the basic spirit into different entities. We therefore hear of the God of the Gita, the Biblical God, and the God of the Quran as if they are different. The situation is not helped by the overzealous followers of the various religions because they either ignore or are unable to see the universality of the message of their respective scriptures.

The contents of the Quran were revealed in the seventh Century CE. By then plenty of antagonism between the Jews and Christians had come to the fore and a lot of blood shed. The Quran sought to correct the situation by acknowledging both Moses and Jesus, and at the same time emphasizing that no one can be equated with God. The Muslims believe that there is no true God but one God and Mohammad is the messenger of God. The Quran states that whosoever seeks a religion other than Islam shall not be accepted by God Quran 3:85. The meaning of ‘Islam’ is ‘surrender to the will of God’ and as such all those who believe in one God are acceptable. But overenthusiastic Muslims say that followers of Islam means Muslims only and everyone must become a Muslim to be acceptable to God.

The Christian and Muslim missionaries generally emphasize that their respective religion is the only way to God and make efforts for conversions. This shows intolerance towards other religions. There are significant statements in the Quran which say otherwise:

Those who believe; whether they are Jews, Christians or Sabians, whoever believes in God, believes in the last day and does good deeds shall be rewarded (Quran 2:62).

.

Those who say that none will enter paradise except the Jews and Christians; these are their vain desires; Ask them to provide proof if they are truthful (Quran 2:111).

The SGGS advises firstly not to find faults with the scriptures of various religions and secondly not to make God a prisoner of any scripture thus:

Do not find faults with either the Eastern or Semitic scriptures;

Fault lies with one who does not try to understand them (SGGS, P 1350).

God transcends the scriptures, Eastern and Semitic;

He manifests right in front of us (If one sees) (SGGS, P 611).

The Sikh religion is the youngest of the monotheistic religions. It believes in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. God is addressed thus:

One Father, we are all His children;

You are the Guru above all (SGGS, P 397).

The world is afire O’ Lord;

Pray save all whichever method it takes (SGGS, P 853).

This unity of mankind is beautifully described thus:

One sheds all jealousy

When together praising God in holy congregation;

There is then no enemy or stranger;

Everyone gets along amicably;

Whatever God does is for the good of all;

This is the wisdom imparted by the saint Guru

The One Lord pervades all;

One should feel happy seeing each and every one (SGGS P 1299).

When the mind is truly awakened one feels part of the total universe. The vision of God and the universe is now experienced in the body itself. We only have to let our mind open and receive this realization:

What exists in the universe, is present in the body,

Any one who searches shall find it;

God is the supreme essence of the Universe,

He enables this realization through the true preceptor (SGGS, P 695).

It is with this Universal Spiritual Consciousness that Guru Nanak describes God in th Mool Mantar or the Root Mantra, thus:

One, All Pervasive Lord, the Universal Truth, Creator, Beyond Fear or Jealousy, Timeless and deathless, Does not Incarnate, Self Existent, Known through the Grace of the True Guru (SGGS, P 1).

This defines the Sikh faith and translates into the dual fundamental principle of remembering (obeying) God and serving His creation i.e. Simran and Seva.

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