Unity at the Mountaintop
June 17, 2013 Comments Off on Unity at the Mountaintop
If we return to our analogy of the mountain peak, the path to it, religion, would be likened to a well-trodden trail. There are many people all along the way to assist in times of need. There are also those few in each religion who have walked the entire path, reached the summit and can lead others along the way. Those pursuing yoga, philosophy or mysticism separate from the foundation of day-to-day religion are like lone climbers treading through unknown territory, up unknown slopes. Theoretically they too can reach the summit. But realistically they do not. Mountain storms, unforeseen precipices, dead ends and untold other dangers and detours eventually claim such would-be seekers. Many fall into the crevice of intellectual rigidity and arrogant argumentativeness.
The path of dharma, which is India’s word for religion, is the sure and proven path. They call it the eternal path, Sanatana Dharma. True religion does not discount mystic experience. Every true religion has produced its mystics. And it is here where religious unity is realized. The Zen master, Christian mystic, master of Kabala, Sufi mystic, Shinto shaman, Hindu sage and Taoist recluse can all speak of unity. They can all look into each others’ eyes and see no differences, but only oneness of spirit. For there is but one mountain peak that rises above the clouds. And all true seekers, regardless of their religion, must find their way to this one summit within themselves, sometimes transcending the religion of their birth. In mystic experience lies the unity of all religions.
Vedanta is an attempt to describe the experiences of the mystic. But how many actually attain to these final heights of realization? Many speak of them, but in the final analysis, too few ever reach them, for very few are willing to go through the rigorous efforts of purification. Few are willing to face each fault and weakness in their nature. Few are willing to take their scriptures, their spiritual leader’s words and their own intuitive knowing to heart and apply and practice their religion every day, every hour, every minute. But this is what it takes. It takes this kind of dedication, this kind of unrelenting effort.
The mystic whom we see poised on the peak of God Realization is the man who once faced each experience that you now do. He didn’t skip them or go around them. He had to deal with the same doubts, the same fears and the same confusions. He had those same experiences where all seems against you, and you seem so alone and ask, “Why am I the one who has these unsolvable problems, these totally confusing situations?” He didn’t give in to that abyss of doubt. He threw himself at the feet of God when all seemed beyond hope. And hope appeared. He persevered, tried his best, made the decisions that made the most sense in spite of unclarity–and all the while continued his sadhana, continued his spiritual practices, until one by one the veils of confusion faded and clarity became constant. He is the man who strived so hard on the little things in life, as well as on the great challenges. He simply did–not spoke of, but did–what you know you should do. We are the carvers of our own future. God’s grace, His love, is always blessing us in our efforts. – Lesson 305 from Living with Siva, by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya SWami