Dr. Jack Feely
As we move closer in time and in thought to reaching the spirit of
Sai Baba's mission, we wonder how so much separation in the world
can eventually lead to unity. How will so many people of so many
different religions merge into the one feeling of love He wants us
to realize? Common attitudes of different faith-holders usually
stress the differences rather than the sameness.
At the same time the different religions are not identical. There
are glorious differences which must be respected and appreciated.
Nor are the various religions unrelated parallel streams moving
towards the same end. The family of man is related, and the varied
beliefs of that family can benefit everyone.
How might we view the unity of faiths in a way that helps us to
see the sameness as well as the differences? The rainbow can
illuminate our understanding. A rainbow is a multicoloured array
formed as rays of light bend and reflect in raindrops, spray or
mist during the journey from the sun. The different religious
traditions are a multicoloured array of understanding as the white
light of divinity falls on the prism of human experience and
spreads over mankind.
One colour is not another colour. Green is not yellow and Hinduism
is not Buddhism. At the edges, though, we cannot know exactly
where yellow ends and green begins. Similarly the different faiths
do overlap. Through any particular colour (or religion) one can
reach the source of the white light. So, then, any follower of the
different religions has the opportunity to reach his or her
destination and fullness provided one sees a beam of light, for
the beam of light is always there.
As we continue to look at a rainbow, we know that mixing blue and
yellow together makes green. When two colours mix they give birth
to another. In the same way the meeting of two religious
traditions may give birth to a new one. In fact most of the known
religions today have been influenced by mutual mingling. As
colours merge into each other, we may begin the rainbow with the
infra-red, or with the ultra-violet, or any place along the
spectrum. Most Sai devotees initially began their journey to His
Lotus Feet from one of the different faiths.
When understanding light it is important to realize that under the
green area all objects take on a green glow. The same object
within the red area will look red. Believers of different faiths
will perceive the same phenomena from their filter, and may fail
to appreciate the multicoloured array of understandings of other
When looking at nature, we know that the colour of an object is
the only colour of the spectrum not absorbed by that object. A
green leaf absorbs all the colours that live in light except green
which it reflects back. This can serve to remind us that any
religion might hide in its bosom all the potentiality of Divine
Light, and its external colour is in truth only in appearance, its
message to the outer world. It is inaccurate to judge a religion
only from its outer colour.
The rainbow metaphor teaches us that the wonderful variety of
religions can actually make up a seamless web of love, devotion
and understanding which can spread across mankind. The
multicoloured array of devotion to God belongs to the beauty and
richness of the human situation. Not only can all believers of all
the different religions reach the Divine Light through their own
faith and devotion as Swami teaches us, but it is the entire
rainbow of religious traditions that provides a complete picture
of the true human spirit.
Dr. Jack Feely
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.