by Obadiah Harris: Essentials of Religion…
It is a real delight to invite all of you who are interested in the higher values that
are common to all religions such as love of the divine, devotion to truth, and
concern for human welfare, to give some attention every day to this new website
which responds to our deeper longing and our higher purpose.
In the various religions and wisdom traditions there are some values which are
perennial, neither outmoded by time, nor provincial appeal. These may be called
the essentials of the faiths.
Whenever religion has not stood the test of time, is of questionable value, or lacks
universality, it may be omitted from the category of religious essentials.
The great teachers tell us that the highest of these values stands for the element of
pure transcendence. It is the unfathomable mystery of existence. Words cannot
describe it. Thoughts cannot reach it. The creeds of religion and the categories of
philosophy are cried to halt in its august presence. Beyond all names and forms,
quantity and quality, it is the ultimate grounds of all existence.
All the multitudinous things in the world emerge from it, abide in it, and in the
words of a Greek poet, quoted by the apostle Paul, “live, move, and have their
being in it.”
It is the transcendence that man seeks as the infinite, eternal, absolute reality.
His consciousness requires that he exceed himself, that he reach out for something
higher and nobler and greater than himself. The desire to be united with God is
the very essence of his being.
To find this absolute however, we must start from where we are now. No one else
can make this journey for us. Our provisions for this pilgrimage are in our own
nature with its present admixture of strengths and weaknesses, its lower motives
and its higher aspirations. From this base we must launch our quest for the perfect
and the divine.
We must make our first quest in ourselves before we can mount from it to our
final victory of spiritual liberation. We welcome you to join us in this noble
adventure. Perhaps together, through the inspiration and revelation of this website
we can increase our growth, deepen our understanding, and have much more to
share with others, which is why we’re here.
So, in looking for the essentials of religion and spiritual development, we should
also look at the essentials of becoming human. To uncover the treasures of the
infinite we must not only look within ourselves, but in what is most suited to us as
We can begin with what we master, acquire, or experience most readily before we
can mount from it to our final victory of spiritual liberation, and proceed from that
to greater victories, wider insights, deeper visions. Thus more and more we open
ourselves unreservedly to the higher light which is the truth of existence. This
process follows different steps in various religions.
Some call for elaborate disciplines and prescribed steps taken one by one.
In Christianity, it’s simply called “Growing in Grace”.
In our next article, we will review the ways by which this growth is fostered by
different, authentic, spiritual, and cultural systems.
We can do this individually and together. Meanwhile may the light of truth shine
upon our hearts in the constant aspiration which Aurobindo says “Calls from
below, and a supreme grace from above that answers.”