These are remarks which Caru Das made Thursday evening in the Provo Taberanacle as part of the National Prayer Day Observances across the country. Though it was conceived as an opportunity for Americans of different faiths to pray together & unite, the evangelsts generally feel that Hindus, Muslims and Mormons do not pray to the same God, and pointedly exclude them from the majority of services, which are organised by the National Prayer Day Task force. Caru opens his message by quoting the son of Billy Graham on the subject, & proceeding to Bhaktivinode Thakur.
"In an interview Tuesday, Franklin Graham, Honorary Chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, mocked Muslims and Hindus and said they "do not worship the same God I worship." Bhaktivinode Thakur, 130 years ago, in 1880, commented on this mentality, whch is nothing new. It's elevated prose so I’ll enunciate carefully.
“The true critic is a generous judge, void of prejudices and party-spirit. Thoughts have different ways. Both the Western Christian and the Eastern devotees will utter the same sentiment, but they will fight with each other only because they have arrived at their common conclusion by different ways of thoughts. Thus it is, that a great deal of ungenerousness enters into the arguments of the pious Christians when they pass their imperfect opinion on the religion of Devotion.
Plato looked at the peak of the Spiritual question from the West and Vyåsa made the observation from the East. They both hunted after the Great Spirit, the unconditioned Soul of the Universe. They could not but get an insight into it. Their words and expressions are different, but their import is the same. They tried to find out the absolute religion and their labors were crowned with success, for God gives all that He has to His children if they want to have it. It requires a candid, generous, pious and holy heart to feel the beauties of their conclusions.
Party-spirit––that great enemy of truth––will always baffle the attempt of the inquirer, and will make him believe that absolute truth is nowhere except in his religious book. Some, thinking in their own way, can never see the beauty of the Christian faith. The way, in which Christ thought of his own Father, was love absolute and so long as one will not adopt that way he will ever remain deprived of the absolute faith preached by the western Savior. The critic, therefore, should have a comprehensive, good, generous, candid, impartial and a sympathetic soul.
God is the soul of the principle of goodness! (strong emphasis) The incarnations of that principle are innumerable! They are not limited to only one conduit for all people, all times and all places and all circumstances! As thousands of watercourses come out of one inexhaustible fountain of water, so these incarnations are but emanations of that infinitely good energy of God which is full at all times.” We are allowed to call such sages as Vyåsa and Nårada Muni, as avatars of the infinite energy of God, and this spirit goes far to honor all great reformers and teachers who lived and will live in other countries.
We are ready to honor all great men, because they are filled with the energy of God. Pure goodness is not intended for a certain class alone but it is a gift to man at large in whatever country he is born and whatever society is bred. Ultimate goodness is the Absolute Love binding all men together into the infinite unconditioned and absolute God. May peace reign for ever in the whole universe in the continual development of its purity by the exertion of future heroes, who will be blessed with powers from the Almighty Father, the Creator, Preserver, and the Annihilator of all things in Heaven and Earth.
Pure devotion does not allow us to ask anything from You Lord except eternal love towards You. The kingdom of the world, the beauties of the local heavens and salvation itself are never the subjects of pure prayer. We meekly and humbly say, “Father, Master, God, Friend and Husband of my soul! Hallowed be Your name! I have sinned against You and I now repent and solicit Your pardon.
Let us pray.
Let Your holiness touch my soul and make me free from grossness. Let my spirit be devoted meekly to Your Holy service in absolute love towards You. I have called You my God, and let my soul be wrapped up in admiration at Your greatness! I have addressed You as my Master and let my soul be strongly devoted to your service. I have called You my friend, and let my soul be in reverential love towards You and not in fear! I have called you my husband and let my spiritual nature be in eternal union with You, forever loving and never dreading. Father! let me have strength enough to serve You as the consort of my soul, so that we may be reunited in eternal love!” “Om shanti shantihi shantihi.”