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Excerpted from One River, Many Wells by Matthew Fox. Copyright 2000 by Matthew Fox. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"True religion is not about institutions, be they mosques, temples, or objects of any kind. It is about relationship."

  Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells, Part 2

The Indian mystic Kabir sings:

Neither a Hindu
Nor a Muslim am I!
A mere ensemble
Of five elements is
This body,
Where the spirit
Plays its drama
Of joy and suffering!

Kabir is telling us how the cosmic gift of his body supersedes the claims of organized religion to his allegiance. The spirit plays within that body, it plays games of joy and games of suffering. Life is a drama when one moves beyond mere religious allegiances. Divinity cannot be locked up.

The god of Hindus resides in a temple;
The god of Muslims resides in a mosque.
Who resides there
Where there are no temples
Nor mosques?

We are reminded of Jesus saying, "Do not look here nor there. The kingdom of God is among you." True religion is not about institutions, be they mosques, temples, or objects of any kind. It is about relationship. It is about intersubjectivity and not objects and the objectifying of objects that we so often fall into. Creation brings us all together. As Kabir put it, "Once you experience his presence in all beings, all debate comes to naught!"

From Hinduism we hear: "Many are the paths of humans, but they all in the end come to Me." Nikhilananda, a scholar on Hinduism, believes that "the great religions of the world are not competitive but complementary. One religion is not the enemy of the other, but all religions are faced by common enemies: skepticism, atheism, and perhaps worst of all, severe indifference. Only if the religions of the world stand together will they preserve themselves [and] help to bring about a new manifestation of the world spirit." 

In the Bhagavad Gita, God says: "I am the thread that runs through the pearls, as in a necklace." Nikhilananda adds to this line: "Each religion is one of the pearls."

From the Hindu Scriptures we read: "Truth is one, sages call it by different names." The Hindu mystic Rajjab writes:

The worship of the different religions,
which are like so many small streams,
move together to meet God, who is like the ocean.

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