So steep has been this man-made schism that we forget that all religions teach unity
Unto Him shall we all return. He who has taken a breath shall taste death too. That is a divine word believed by all. Why then does man build boundaries? Why then does man even try to find different ways of reaching the Almighty? He is One; the most beautiful of names belong to Him. Doesn’t The Rig Veda tell us all He is in the East, He is in the West? Does not The Holy Quran tell humanity, “To Allah belongs the East and the West. To whichever direction you turn, you face the countenance of God. For God is All Embracing and All Knowing”?
This is a message we have learnt at the feet of pandits, moulvis and the like. Yet it is a message available in separate books of different religions only. You read the book (of the family) you are born in. Others you respect out of good manners. So steep has been man-made schism that I cannot recall the last occasion I saw a copy of The Rig Veda in a mosque, never mind that the revered book talks of the Almighty God, and even refers to Prophet Mohammed.
Nor can I recall any occasion when I found a copy of The Holy Quran in a temple; even if the holy book talks of messengers sent by God to each land and people. Even academics, not often found lacking in patient research and an ability to draw parallels, have been found wanting.
Even book publishers have been happy to bring out the biographies of say Ram and Jesus Christ and the like. Attempts at comparative analysis have been few and far between; their results often cloaked in academic jargon, often incomprehensible to a believer.
Now, Moosa Raza, has sought to find the Oneness of God through a work In Search Of Oneness: The Bhagavad Gita And The Quran Through Sufi Eyes. It is not a scholarly work by any stretch, but it is a work that provokes you to study, to explore, to find out. All along, Raza, a career bureaucrat, and now chairman, South Indian Education Trust, uses the tools of a scientist to find an answer to a question of belief.
At one place in the Penguin publication, he happily tells us that The Quran says “Inna khalqnaakum min nafsun wahida (verily we have created you from a single soul). He goes on to tell that The Quran says that mankind is but a single community, “ummatan wahida”. Isn’t it very similar to “Vasudeva kutumbakam”? Then Raza expounds the virtues of The Gita. Quoting The Gita, he says, “sarvabhutasthitam” (abiding in all beings). Then he draws a parallel with the Sufi who sees God in every atom, every speck and every drop of water. Of course, he finds an easy echo in the words of Sankara, who moaned, “O Lord! Pardon my three sins. I have in contemplation clothed in form Thee who are formless. I have in praise described Thee who are ineffable. And in visiting temples ignored Thy omnipresence.”
Raza’s search for Oneness deserves moments of quiet contemplation. Some, like Panditji whom he quotes, might find that within. Others might yearn to find it all around.
Many may draw solace from His word itself. After all, Raza is talking of God. Does not Surah Ikhlas tell us, “Allah, the One and Only! The Eternal, the Absolute. He begeteth not nor is He begotten. And there is none like unto Him”? Or what The Gita says about Ishwar, “The Unmanifested, the Imperishable”. On such commonalities Raza finds a bridge to happy coexistence. Now on to the truth.
And that search might as well be honest, fast and focussed because he who has taken a breath shall taste death too. Unto Him shall we all return.