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Ultimate Reality
God & Religion

Ultimate Reality!

What can be truly known to be THE Ultimate Reality?

For very many persons adhering to one of the Great Religions of the World, (by which we mean Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism), a God or Spirit is regarded as being a Potent, Ultimate Reality.

Skeptics, agnostics and atheists can well say that such religious beliefs are often irrational and unfounded yet we hope to demonstrate that the Godly and / or Spiritual ~ Ultimate Reality ~ believed in many billions of the several World Religions' adherents does, in fact, exist!!!

The approach adopted in this demonstration relies on identifying a range of agreement about "Core" or "Central" Spiritual Truths as accepted by ALL the major Religions of the World and supporting this demonstration of a range of "Core" or "Central" agreement with "hopefully undeniable" Secular Truths in the form of the Wisdom of the Poets.

We cannot deny that there is some divergence between the Christian Religion and in particular, Hinduism, (otherwise known as Vedanta), but this divergence will be commented upon fully and shown, we hope, although highly relevant to appreciating an undeniable divergence between Christianity and Hinduism, to be moreso one of Emphasis or Focus rather than one of the deepest Essentials of Faith.

Whether we realise it or not most people, even though they might consider themselves to be quite un-spiritual and rather un-poetic, have a capacity which allows for a recognition of Profund Truths which have been "somehow encapsulated" within certain spiritual and poetical quotations.

It may even be the case that spiritual and poetic wisdom can help us to realise truths that are otherwise largely beyond our reach:-

...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.

St. Paul



†Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge
of the mind, because they drink at streams which we
have not yet made accessible to science.

Sigmund Freud


We have found it entirely possible to research into the Profund Truths that have been "captured and somehow encapsulated" within certain spiritual and poetical quotations!!!

Some words of background context introduction to the important wisdoms we are attempting to identify as "Central Spiritual Insights" are probably necessary:-

Many commentators have claimed to have discerned a "Perennial Philosophy" of central agreement about "Divine Truths" between the Great Religions of the World across the ages!!!

More than twenty-five centuries have passed since that which has been called the Perennial Philosophy was first committed to writing; and in the course of those centuries it has found expression, now partial, now complete, now in this form, now in that, again and again...
...the Perennial Philosophy has spoken almost all the languages of Asia and Europe and has made use of the terminology and traditions of every one of the higher religions. But under all this confusion of tongues and myths, of local histories and particularist doctrines, there remains a Highest Common Factor, which is the Perennial Philosophy in what may be called its chemically pure state...


Taken from an introduction, written in 1944 by Aldous Huxley, to an English language translation of a principal holy book of the Hindu faith.
[The ancient religion that the West refers to as Hinduism is referred to in the East as Vedanta - by association with the Vedas - scriptures which are the oldest of Vedic-Hindu teachings].
In his own celebrated study into the central agreements about "Divine Truths" between the Great Religions of the World, (first published as The Perennial Philosophy in 1945), Aldous Huxley accepted the proposition, deriving from Leibniz, a notably eminent scholar who was an early investigator into the Common Ground shared by The World Religions, that Religions concern themselves

"with the one, divine Reality"

and that

"the nature of this one Reality is such that it cannot be directly or immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfill certain conditions, making themselves loving, pure in heart, and poor in spirit."

The results of exhaustive studies conducted by ourselves at Age-of-the-Sage.org into The Perennial Philosophy were such as to lead us to also accept that "the one, divine Reality" is better discerned by those spiritually endowed with Charity, Purity of Heart and Humility. However, we came to believe Meekness to be another spiritual endowment which may well tend to contribute towards heightened powers of discernment.

This suggestion that Meekness is of immense spiritual value may not surprise.
More unexpectedly, perhaps, the outcomes of our comprehensive researches into the mysteries of Deep Spiritual Truth were also such as to suggest that it is appropriate to fully associate A Disdain for Materialism (compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration), and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment), with the centralities of The Perennial Philosophy.

Some truly extra-ordinary wisdoms ~ a brief selection of "Central Spiritual Insights" gleaned from sources generally accepted by most of Christianity closely followed by another brief selection of "Central Spiritual Insights" drawn from "non-Christian" Inter-Faith sources (by which we mean Buddhism, Hinduism or Vedanta, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism) are set out below ~ to be again closely followed by what seems to be a comparable selection of "Central Poetry Insights".

A selection of "Central Spiritual Insights" gleaned from Christian sources

These Christian Religion quotations have been selected based on their inherent Spirtual Impact, (rather than whether they might be deemed to be Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox), and come from The King James Bible and from the 'Of the Imitation of Christ'; a fifteenth century devotional work that has long been the second most widely read Christian book after The Bible itself.
A Disdain for Materialism
Some have Me in their mouths, but little in their hearts.
†There are others who, being enlightened in their understanding and purified in their affection, always breathe after things eternal, are unwilling to hear of earthly things, and grieve to be subject to the necessities of nature; and such as these perceive what the Spirit of Truth speaketh in them.
†For it teacheth them to despise the things of the earth and to love heavenly things; to disregard the world, and all the day and night to aspire after heaven.

Thomas a Kempis - Of the Imitation of Christ Book 3 Ch. 4 v. 4

A Distrust of Intellect
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind. Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

St. Paul

A Yearning for Divine Edification
It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
† ...the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

St. Paul

Charity
††Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

St. John

Purity of Heart
†Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke ...

St. Paul

Humility
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whomsoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

Jesus

Meekness
†Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

St. James


"Central Spiritual Insights" drawn from "non-Christian" Inter-Faith sources

A Disdain for Materialism
Chuang Tzu put on cotton clothes with patches in them, and arranging his girdle and tying on his shoes, (i.e. to keep them from falling off), went to see the prince of Wei.
"How miserable you look, Sir!" Cried the prince. "It is poverty, not misery", replied Chuang Tzu. "A man who has TAO cannot be miserable. Ragged clothes and old boots make poverty, not misery".

Chuang Tzu - ( Taoism )

A Distrust of Intellect
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment; Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment intuition.

Rumi - (Islam)

A Yearning for Divine Edification
The intelligence of the mean man does not rise beyond bribes and letters of recommendation. His mind is beclouded with trivialities. Yet he would penetrate the mystery of TAO and of creation, and rise to participation in the ONE. The result is that he is confounded by time and space; and that trammelled by objective existences, that he fails apprehension of that age before anything was. But the perfect man, - he carries his mind back to the period before the beginning. Content to rest in the oblivion of nowhere, passing away like flowing water, he is merged in the clear depths of the infinite.

Chuang Tzu - ( Taoism )

Charity
†He that does everything for Me, whose supreme object I am, who worships Me, being free from attachment and without hatred to any creature, this man, Arjuna!, comes to Me.

Bhagavad Gita 11:55 ~ ( Hinduism or Vedanta )



And my soul is absorbed†
In the Love of My Lord.†
Bow humbly to the saint†
That is a pious act.†
Bow to the ground before him†
That is devotion, indeed.†

The faithless know not,†
The joy of the love of the Lord;†

From Sohila-Arti ~ a bed-time prayer
This section of which is attributed to Guru Ram Das - (Sikhism)

Purity of Heart
†The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Solomon - ( Judaism )

Humility
Would you become a pilgrim on the road of love? The first condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.

Ansari of Herat - ( Islam )

Meekness
†Let a man overcome anger by love, let him overcome evil by good; let him overcome the greedy by liberality, the liar by truth! Speak the truth, do not yield to anger; give, if thou art asked for little; by these three steps thou wilt go near the gods.

Dhammapada - ( Buddhism )

The Great Poets have also won many profoundly instructive insights.
The following "Central Poetry Insights" quotations could be said to "somehow encapsulate" the same Truths just presented from Christian sources, and from "non-Christian" Inter-Faith sources.

A Disdain for Materialism
Poor and content is rich, and rich enough.

Shakespeare

A Distrust of Intellect
The intellectual power, through words and things,
Went sounding on, a dim and perilous way!

Wordsworth

A Yearning for Divine Edification
God guard me from those thoughts men think
In the mind alone;
He that sings a lasting song
Thinks in a marrow-bone;

Yeats

Charity
††That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

Wordsworth

Purity of Heart
†A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.

Shakespeare

Humility
The best of men
That e'er wore earth about him, was a sufferer,
A soft, meek, patient, humble, tranquil spirit,
The first true gentleman that ever breathed.

Thomas Dekker

Meekness
†Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice,
And could of men distinguish her election,
Sh'hath sealed thee for herself, for thou hast been
As one in suff'ring all that suffers nothing,
A man that Fortune's buffets and rewards
Hast ta'en with equal thanks; and blest are those
Whose blood and judgement are so well co-medled,
That they are not a pipe for Fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please: give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart,
As I do thee.

Shakespeare





The following linked pages are intended to more fully demonstrate a degree of Common Ground between the Inner-most Spiritual Teachings of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism or Vedanta, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and Taoism on Charity, Purity of Heart, Humility, Meekness, A Disdain for Materialism (compared to the Spiritual), A Distrust of the Intellect (compared to Divine Inspiration) and A Yearning for Divine Edification (or A Thirst for Spiritual Enlightenment).

These quotations are presented on a series of very brief pages where each faith is considered individually.

We have seen it as worthwhile to add another category of quotation ~ where recognition has been given to the possibility of Mystical Communion with God ~ as this addition may rather directly tend the range of agreement about "Core Spiritual Truths" already demonstrated towards actually becoming something of a proof of the Existence of an Ultimate Reality:-

The one God or Spirit which is the focus of Mystical Faith.


Buddhist
Spirituality
Quotations



Islamic
Spirituality
Quotations



Vedic-Hindu
Spirituality
Quotations



Christian Spirituality Quotations


Sikh
Spirituality
Quotations



Taoist
Spirituality
Quotations



Jewish
Spirituality
Quotations



The divergency between Christianity (every Monotheism!) and Hinduism

N.B. This can (just about) be perceived as being moreso as
one of Emphasis or Focus rather than one of the deepest Essentials of Faith


We have already put "on the record" our hope, and expectation, that it will be possible to see our contribution to the Faith vs Reason debate as being consistent with such Sermons and Parables of Jesus as The Sermon on the Mount and The Parable of the Sower.
We nevertheless have great respect for the Spiritualities that exist at the cores of such major faiths as Buddhism, Islam, Judaim, Sikhism, Taoism and Vedanta-Hinduism and have laid out the above table of links in a manner consistent with our aspiration towards promoting a mutually respectful co-existence of The Great Religions of the World.

Central poetry insights ~ Secular but comparable in depth and content!!!
Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Cowper and Dryden ~ need we say more?


A representative collection of the Spiritual and Poetic wisdoms
recently presented is available to download from this page


† A certain difficulty for people brought up within such monotheistic faith based cultures as Christianity, Islam or Judaism in relation to Hinduism, lies in the view that Vedic philosophy speaks of Mystical Union as being with "The Atman which is Brahman."

† The Atman being the "Self" and Brahman being an Ultimate Reality recognised as the "World Soul":-

† The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and from grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.

Khândogya-Upanishad 8.7.1


† All this is Brahman. Let a man meditate on that (visible world) as beginning, ending, and breathing in it (the Brahman)...
...He is my self within the heart, smaller than a corn of rice, smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed or the kernel of a canary seed. He is also myself within the heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these worlds.

Khândogya-Upanishad 3.14 1, 3

Instances where Vedic Religion and Philosophy
suggest acceptance of "tripartite" Human Nature

In the Bhagavad Gita we read -

Arjuna spoke.
† But by what is a man impelled, O Varshneya! when he commits sin even against his will, as if compelled by force?

The Holy One spoke.
† It is lust: it is wrath, born from the "passion" mode: know that this, all-devouring, all-defiling, is here our foe.

Bhagavad Gita 3: 36- 37

and again -

† He who even here, ere he is freed from the body, can resist the impulse of lust and wrath, he is devout (yukta); he is blessed.
† He who is happy in himself, pleased with himself, who finds also light in himself, this Yogin, one with Brahma, finds nirvãna in him.
† The (wise and holy men) whose sins are destroyed, whose doubts are removed, who are self-restrained and pleased with the well-being of all that live, obtain nirvãna in Brahma.
† They who are freed from lust and wrath, who are subdued in nature and in thought, and who know the soul, are near to nirvãna in Brahma.

Bhagavad Gita 5: 22-26


† (Note:†† In the second of these quotations "Brahma" should be read "Brahman")


† Whilst Indian metaphysics and philosophy hold that Brahman "is" the "World-Soul" it further holds that this ~ Ultimate Reality ~ should itself be regarded as being the Three-in-One God known as the Trimurti.
Brahma-the Creator, Vishnu-the Preserver, and Shiva-the Destroyer, are all perceived as being aspects or manifestations of the One-ness which is Brahman.

† Notwithstanding the view that Mystical Union is with the Atman which is Brahman several very remarkable spiritual teachers and guides who have appeared from time to time across the ages are considered, by Vedanta or Hinduism, to have been incarnations of the Lord Vishnu!!!

† This may be effective in (just about) providing something of a bridge towards traditionally monotheistic cultures which view Mystical Union as being purely spiritual rather than with existence in ALL its manifestations. †

That being said we would not dismiss Vedic Philosophy's insights concerning Atman and Brahman as being merely speculative "concepts" or "notions" but would actually accept that they are Genuine Perceptions of Importance, Validity, Truth, Power and Potency capable of co-existing alongside The One God, or Spirit, of the Monotheistic Faiths!!!

In Chater 6 of the Khândogya-Upanishad we read:-
"Believe me, my son," said Svetketuís father, a sage. "An invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole Universe. That is Reality. That is Atman. Thou Art That."
This Thou Art That, (in Sanskrit - Twam Tat Asi), is a key tenet of Vedic Philosophy identifying individual Human Being, Atman, with the Ultimate Reality of the World Soul, Brahman.

We would suggest that the God, or Spirit, reverenced by the Monotheist Faiths is associable, in terms of the Vedic Philosophy of Brahman / The Trimurti, with Vishnu-the Preserver moreso than Brahma-the Creator or Shiva-the Destroyer.
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