Dr. Diana Eck has come to meet Maharaj, along with two of her friends. Diana is a well-known scholar of comparative religion and Indian studies. She heads the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, documenting the fact that many religions are practiced side by side in the United States. Maharaj gives them a long and wonderful talk, beginning with this:
When you think that a prophet belongs to a particular community, problems start. Recognize that the message of Christ and Krishna is the same, and that the same was given by Moses. They have all said that there is one God; we are to love Him and serve the people. They have all said not to hurt others, not to take away anyone’s rights, to see the Light of God in each person.
What is the problem in the world? We always feel that other prophets are inferior to our own. Then people who worship other prophets begin to hate us.
We all know that Jesus was born of one Light. What Light? That which has created the whole Creation. If we make a boundary around Jesus, I do not think He will be happy. We must understand that we cannot claim any exclusive right over Jesus’ love. We cannot lay claim on him as a being. His love is universal.
It is my firm belief that if you think of Jesus and then want to communicate with flowers and plants, you can. He is prevailing in everything that breathes and everything that does not. We must open our minds. Until we can enlarge the window of our mind, you can be certain that Jesus will not be pleased.
Mohammad proclaimed that there is only one Allah, who is Supreme Master of the whole cosmos. But the Islamic clergy say that Allah and His followers are Muslims. Similarly, Christians believe that Jesus and his followers are Christians. This is not true. If we confine Jesus to these limitations, his mission cannot be accomplished. Chaos and anarchy are prevailing because of these sectarian views.
When the holy day of any prophet comes, we should be grateful to God for their having been with us. There are various ways that we can acknowledge their holy days. For instance, on the day of Buddha’s birthday and his enlightenment, we can light candles and say to God, “His compassionate qualities are Your qualities. That is why we are lighting candles, for You have sent someone so enlightened.” Then Jesus will be very happy. He will feel, “You truly love me.”
By contrast, if we say that Moses or Buddha is nothing, and we recognize Jesus alone, Then Jesus’ Father will doubt you: “Why are you questioning those whom I have sent, even as I have sent Jesus?”
I can only speak to you from my own feelings, not from books. If the priests of all religions would speak the truth of the scriptures, there would be no difficulty for all people to sit together. Otherwise, no matter how much energy we expend, people will not unite.
We do not celebrate Christmas to please Christians, but rather to appreciate Jesus’ good qualities and to receive his blessings. We thank God for having sent him in human form, speaking so lovingly in language that we could understand. We thank God for sending Love and Truth with him.
We should decide not to confine Jesus in a little fort. Look within yourself, and look at a tree. At first it might laugh at you: “You think that Light is only within one religion. It is also in us and in the flowers. You people think He is only for you, but His beautiful fragrance is in us as well.”
We have never looked with enlightened wisdom. If we do, we will find Him in the skies, oceans, planets, everywhere. It is not right for us to try to confine something so large to something so small. That is like trying to confine the sun in a diva. If you do that, you are offending Him. So open your minds and your hearts. See God in everyone, in the crippled, the blind, the poor, in all humanity. But try and open your inner eyes. God cannot be perceived with the outer eyes.
God is not contained within any buildings or meetings. He is all-pervading, and within every heart. How did Jesus heal? He had no building for healing. Even when animals came, they were healed by his presence. All people who came, the earth, the skies, the trees—all were healed. When you start seeing him in this way, you do not need to hold so many meetings. People will start to feel his universal love in your presence. So long as boundaries exist, there will not be peace. If the priests, who created the boundaries, will step back, His beneficence will pervade the world.