Many people active in international interfaith work have been visiting Maharaj lately, and today it was Taj Hammad, director of one of Rev. Moon’s interfaith organizations. Tall and distinguished-looking, with a powerful presence, he was born a Muslim. He told Maharaj about many meetings he had organized of Muslim scholars, political leaders, and business leaders in countries including Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and Sudan. He is very dedicated to Rev. Moon and his mission, and also has great appreciation for Maharaj. Praising him for his dedication to his master, Maharaj spoke to him about a general problem in religious organizations:
Taj Hammad (right) with philanthropist Eli Epstein in Gobind Sadan’s mosque, 2009
I love everyone. But the question in my mind is this: Are those who are speaking about God actually speaking from their own experience? I know that you have traveled throughout the world and met many people. You know that many who speak of peace have no inner compassion. They speak of compassion and forgiveness, but have those people looked within themselves to see if God has taken away all their bad habits?
It is very difficult to speak about God. But I am amazed: Everyone in the world is ready to speak on God’s behalf. I say, “Lord, who do they think You are?” That is why strife–anxiety, struggles, and wars—is spreading throughout the world. In the midst of that strife, meetings and pilgrimages for religious purposes are not working.
We should decide: Have we really met God within ourselves? Then in that state, when we meet God, we can ask, “Please Lord, tell us what we should say to the people that will make You happy.”
There is another issue: Jesus said to feed the poor in your area, yet we are not making sure that everyone is fed. When we arrange gatherings, we look for those who are well-fed and famous. The resulting focus of the meeting is that many famous people will be there, improving our image, not God’s. Even if it takes 100 years, if we do not create an atmosphere where the poor are welcome, God will not be present. If we are to act according to Jesus’ teachings, those without food, clothes, legs, or eyesight should be present.
It is unfortunate that you cannot see Shiv Sadan, where our real work is being done. I am sure you would be happy. When they celebrate my birthday there, the majority of people are poor. I am happy and God is happy, because that is what God’s work is about.
On the contrary, around the world everyone has based their programme on calling and surrounding themselves those of high positions, not people at the bottom. Not only Jesus, but also Moses and Prophet Muhammad all emphasized uplift of the downtrodden. It may take more time, but in the end everyone will have to come under God’s programme of reaching out to and helping the poor. Why are we looking for fame? God is so famous.
Another point: Wherever we set up a place in honour of God, we should be sure that there is 24-hour-a-day praise of God. A place of worship is not an office. That is another visible weakness in our religious centres around the world. We should always be calling out to God. We should not do that only when we have a gathering. Even when we care about people, we must always greet them. We should not greet God only at functions. He laughs. At some point we will have to pull everyone together and discuss this. I am sure everyone will agree.
Everyone wants love, but sometimes people do not know how to express it. People are under the impresson that by having large functions and providing food, people will be happy. A good play will be sold out of tickets. But we are not concerned with creating a majority. God wants quality, not quantity. At least people are trying to bring people together to talk about God. We just need to change the focus of the programme a little—to make people at the bottom happy as well. The time is definitely coming.
Taj told Maharaj about various commercial enterprises that Rev. Moon had set up to help people. Maharaj responded,
I appreciate that he has a business base. It is good that people can be helped. People will only turn toward God after they have been fed. As you set up factories, people will be employed. Jesus never even set up a room for himself, and yet he changed the whole world. You have to either have to much spiritual power that wherever you go the world is changed, or else you have to provide for people. At this time, you have to provide for people. Very few people have understood this.
Spiritual programmes continue. It took 600 years before they first celebrated Jesus’ birthday. Historically, programmes have not grown immediately. Human beings are not very good. They fight with the prophets and then only later decide that their ideas were good. People used to beat the Prophet Muhammad, but now he is revered as the Nabi by so many countries. We don’t know if they really believe it, but at least they say it.
Taj switched the subject: “What is your view of marriage?”
Maharaj, who himself never married, said,
It is born out of a previous link between souls. Consider Shaikh Farid, a complete dervish whose presence was largely responsible for the spread of Islam in India. One day he was praying. Allah showed him a vision: He was instructed by Allah to go to Delhi, to be married to the king’s daughter. He was told that his meditation would not be accepted until that was done. So it was done.
Buddha had taken a pledge not to marry. When his father insisted, and all the women were paraded before him, he put a garland on one of them, saying, “I have a link with her from my past lives.” He first married, and then later left worldly things.
Many realized souls likewise follow this path that God has laid out for them. Ramakrishna [who was married to Sarada Devi when she was only five years old, but their unique spiritual marriage was never physically consummated], Vivekananda [who never married], and Baba Siri Chand [who never married, but raised his brother’s son] spent their whole life preaching. Mahavir not only never married—He said he was not even going to brush his teeth, to avoid hurting the living beings there. Nevertheless, everyone accepts marriage as a re-linking of souls who were joined in previous lives. Not everyone can focus their mind. The nature of the mind is to run around. If by marrying we settle the mind, that is fine. Why worry about it if we feel like marrying? It is a good thing.
God has many ways of working. Perhaps He is using Rev. Moon to marry these people [in mass, cross-national marriage ceremonies] because they were linked anyway. It is God’s choice to whom He is to give what role. God’s family is spread throughout the world and will be brought together again.
Then Maharaj spoke personally to Taj:
I am very happy to see your faith. If you don’t have faith, what is there in life?
A call came to Shaikh Farid: “Take a horse and lead a procession. Whosoever sees you will go to heaven after death.” So he got up in the morning and led a procession. His disciples came to see him and receive blessings. But one disciple hid himself in such a place that no one could see or hear him. When the procession ended, he went very far away. Shaikh Farid asked him, “Why are you so late?” His disciple answered, “I got stuck. I had decided that if I could see you, I would go to heaven—and I wanted to stay with you. You are heaven for me. Wherever you go, please take me with you. I don’t want kingdom or salvation—I just want to sit at your feet all the time.” Shaikh Farid said, “This is the true love.”
Taj asked, “How could we advance or accelerate the salvation of humanity? Many people are dying in agony every day.”
Make the King of the Spirit happy first. Then when that Spirit begins to work in you, people will change and that happiness will come in them. Without that Spirit, nothing and no one will change. But He will change it. The time is coming.