Robert Traer, Director of the International Association for Religious Freedom, and Celia Storey, a major supporter of the International Interfaith Centre, both sharing offices in Oxford, UK, came to Maharaj to tell him about their efforts to organize an interfaith gathering in Bangalore to commemorate the Parliament of the World’s Religions which was held in Chicago in 1893. Such hundredth-anniversary gatherings were being planned all over the world this year, including the huge one in Chicago which Daniel Gomez-Ibanez was trying to organize.
Maharaj kindly counseled them, with Ralph Singh translating,
If God chooses someone to gather people, they can. Others can’t succeed without God’s blessings. If we take things from other people, we are not free to stand against them if they do something wrong. Therefore it is important that in order to be free from external pressures, we should have our own source of income and from that make a programme to help others.
A person can never be totally free unless he has his own independent source of income. It is not so difficult to develop that. If a few of us come together we can start with some small enterprise. If we are doing God’s work, God will bless us and it will work.
The second point is that before we really begin to do God’s work, it is important to meditate in order to free ourselves from fear, greed, and passions. Then we will be free to be empowered by God to do God’s work. Then we won’t even have to speak. Our actions and our life will become living examples of what God wants us to project to others.
Give some thought yourself—When you approach someone wealthy and ask them to help get rid of poverty, they think, “I’ll be able to help get rid of poverty. I don’t know about God.” They will ask, “What is your organization? Are you tax-exempt?” If yes, they will inwardly think, “Okay, since we’re receiving this deduction, we will help your project.”
Look at the situation in the world: How many organizations and meetings there are to bring peace, and yet the fire of poverty and strife continues to spread. Instead, keep your mind totally attuned to the will of God, and have your own source of income. Then nothing will bar your success.
Will we spend our time thinking which rich person we will go to for help or spend our time looking to God for help? It may take longer, but the foundation will be so much deeper.
This is what I have seen in my own life. People try to think how and where they will find enough money to provide hospitality for a large gathering. If you have your own source of income, there is no problem. You just open your storehouse and everyone is happy.
You have come here with love, and it is my responsibility to tell you what God says to you. Your idea is very good. But before you exhaust yourself, establish this base. Meet with your organization and think what enterprise you could establish to support yourself. You will see that you achieve this result very quickly.
All resources reside with God. If we love God, God will give us. God is providing for the whole universe. Of course, if we direct our love to God, He will give to us, too.
We learned this from the life of Jesus. His disciples were worrying. He said, “Who of you have made tomorrow? If none of you, then thank Him for today and tomorrow, too. Just serve, and God will provide everything.” He said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, because that rich persons always keeps two masters. But if a child has only one master, he will receive very good training and he will pass. Therefore Jesus says to take only one master: God.
First develop faith. If you have the faith that God is the Giver of all, then God will give to you and your programme will be very successful.
Believe me, I am not the kind of person who will tell you that you are great. Follow this advice and see. Your best friend is one who gives you good advice. Your enemy is the one who says you are doing great.
We are all continually learning. The day we presume we have learned everything, our progress ends. It should be a continuous process of picking up good things and leaving bad ones. Then someday we will all become good people.
Robert Traer responded, “Thank you. Our programme is simply one of friendship, strengthening the bonds we share. We believe that our religious traditions need not prevent us from becoming friends, and through one another, we can more fully realize the God we share.”
I appreciate that. But let us first make friends with the One who has created all of us. Then with God’s help, He has so much power that He will change us. He is so full of love and bring those people to us who are full of love. When you devote yourself to God’s love, the whole world becomes your friend.
Look at all the prophets. They became God’s friend, then the whole world turned to them. On Jesus’ birthday the whole world sings Jesus’ praises. Everyone has a birthday, but it was Jesus’ love for God. Then God linked everyone to Jesus. That should be proof that when we love God, God brings people to us. There are weaknesses in our programmes because we forget that love for God and have only a little love among us. God will so fill us with love.
Celia, who had been to Gobind Sadan before and loved what she saw and heard, said at the end of the audience, “It’s my house. I’m back home.”