by Albert Chiwara
When we look around at the world, we see a vast array of seemingly different religions and spiritual traditions. The ego in mankind impels him to seek to negate the worldviews of others and to hold his outlook alone as correct. Of course, even a casual look should lead one to doubt the validity of such an egocentric worldview. The truth of the matter is that the knowledge of ultimate reality is contained in the various traditions. Due to differences in culture, tradition, language, the ultimate truth is reflected in different ways in different regions. However, it is the same truth that is contained in the various traditions. Within the confines of this essay I will very briefly point out that all of the world’s great religions and spiritual traditions contain the same eternal truth and that this truth is about the attainment of spiritual ecstasy. This unfolding truth begins with an exposition of the emergence of the universe from the primordial state of consciousness that existed prior to the concrete physical manifestation of the cosmos. Within the boundless ocean of the eternal Godhead, a desire to experience its own power of self-manifestation spontaneously arose. God-the-creator, in whom the causal principle has been activated, allows the exceedingly subtle vibrational dream structures to play out in his mind first as the sphere of ideas, then as the sphere of life and lastly as the gross physical sphere.
The manifestation of the world is a process in which Spirit folds back and reflects itself with its own being as the mirror. This reflection is manifested as an involution (the reversal of evolution) of consciousness from an unbounded state of pure infinite awareness to a bounded state of divided physical existence. The various scriptures detail the fall of the gross physical world and mankind from a sphere of undivided existence into a diminished state of being in which the individual ego is faced with fear, danger, hatred, disease, war and countless other misfortunes arising from duality or the false idea of division in the indivisible spirit. Instead of living in a state of unbounded bliss, mankind is observed to live without wisdom, experiencing divided states that fluctuate wildly between sorrow and joy. Standing in this desert of spiritual poverty, mankind receives the gift of scriptures through compassionate sages that provide him with a roadmap for finding the way back to eternal joy. Ignorance rooted in the illusion of the ego however creates conflict between different religions and promotes intolerance, hatred and bigotry. In truth, there is absolute unity in the message of the world’s religions and spiritual traditions.
All phenomena in the realm of manifestation are nothing other than the dynamic motion of spirit. By retracing the path traversed by consciousness, the realm of the Spirit is explained in the context of the progression of consciousness through the unfolding of spirit in an evolutionary process of self-unveiling. At the dawn of the cosmos, spirit hides or veils itself as matter. Spirit then unveils itself from matter and reveals itself as life. Eventually spirit unveils itself from life and reveals itself as the sense-mind. At the end of the outward process of evolution, spirit unveils itself as intellect in mankind. At the level of mankind, there is no more outward evolution, and the process of evolution folds back and continues in an inward direction. The inward process of evolution proceeds through two realms which are the sphere of life and the sphere of ideas. The two inner spheres are the domains of experience in the Spirit world.