Spirituality is Synthesis, it is Oneness
(Vinod Anand)

A British author has described Jesus as a Sufi. Jesus was pure; he was love personified. Love is the motif of Sufism. Perhaps that is the reason why the author is calling Jesus a Sufi. In the same why, scholar Sheikh Saleem Ahmed has described Guru Nanak, Buddha and Kabir as Sufis.

Their purpose was to unite and not to divide. They came to quench the burning flames of hate and terror, torture and persecution with the waters of the spirit. Spiritually speaking, the prophets Jesus, Muhammad, Guru Nanak and Buddha were Messengers of Peace.

But religion is a culture of self-identity; instead of uniting it has led to wars between self-proclaimed sects of the same religion or between the followers of different faiths. Regions across the world bear sufficient witness to this.

Religion has been hemmed in by boundaries. Boundaries are the cause of hate and war. Boundaries are the cause of persecution and oppression. Religious dogmas are practiced as superiority challenges.

How can one religion or faith be inferior or superior to another? In fact, religion is a way of life or is a faith that comes from the pure consciousness of prophets or avatars. They bear the same Light, the same Divinity that is within.

For this very reason, saints like Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa materialized the experience of all religions of the world. They came to the conclusion that Ram and Rahim, Krishna and Christ are the same divine light of the Infinite One. Yet we have imprisoned God; we have drawn boundaries around the Divine, and in the process created bloodshed.

I think that is reason enough to say ‘no’ to religion, and say ‘yes’ to spirituality. Once in London, taking shelter under a tree during rain, an Englishman asked Sadhu Vaswani, “India is supposed to be ‘the ancestral home’ of the world’s religious consciousness. Will you tell me in three words, what is the essence of religion?”

Smiling softly, Sadhu Vaswani said: “The essence of religion in three words! The first word is Love. The second word is Love. The third word is Love.” Love is the spiritual quality of every religion, be it Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian. Love is not an attribute of God, love is God.

It is this love which makes thorns blossom; it is this love which brings peace. It is this love which makes life the wonderful journey that it is. Spirituality as expressed in love, forgiveness and compassion has no caste, no creed, no sects and no divisions.

Spirituality has no boundaries. Those of us, Sindhis and Kashmiris or whoever, who have grown in composite cultures, know this. During the partition of the country all that my family brought with them was a wooden cut-out of an angel with the words ‘Abide With Me, Fast Falls The Eventide’ inscribed on it; my mother brought her sacred Sukhmani — The Jewel of Peace, and my grandmother had the picture of her guru, a Muslim Pir of Rohiri. My father, a Sikh, practiced Vedanta; my mother’s family worshipped a Muslim Pir but practiced Sikhism. “Spirituality is synthesis,” said Sadhu Vaswani. In other words, it is Oneness.

It is oneness of love; it is oneness of infinite divinity. And therefore my heart cries out:
I hope, I pray, for the mandala of love,
For the return
Of our true Sufi Fakirs, Sai to Shirdi, Lal Ded to Kashmir,
And Buddha to his own,
To make this earth
A peaceful home!

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.