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The new religion

India is the world’s ancestral home of religious consciousness. Yet in India too, interest in religion has greatly diminished in recent years. Economics and politics are, today, stronger motives than religion or culture. Yet, I believe in the crisis of the new questioning spirit of these days is being born a new faith in reason, a new yearning for simple truths, for a rejuvenated life, for a new creative activity. From the very homeland of Bolshevism come voices that a new religion is needed for a new renewal of life.

The new criticism is a call to reconstruction in religion. And in the revolt of a section of Indian youths against religion, I hear a cry for a revaluation of religious values. The history of humanity is a story of repeated recoveries and rediscoveries of religion.

Einstein, the greatest Jew since Jesus, has given us his fruitful theory of relativity, and we begin to understand that all our knowledge is relative to our reference-mechanism.


We meet in no arrogant, controversial spirit. We meet, I am sure, in a spirit of fellowship. Spiritual pride is a sin against the spirit, at once of culture and religion. It cannot be that spiritual truths are the monopoly of any one race or religion. Whether you view them as human discoveries or as divine offerings, they cannot be the final word of life. Who is there who would say, he sees the truth as God sees it? All religious knowledge, I humbly submit, is at best symbolical, analogical. When, for instance, we speak of God as our Father, we use that word as a symbol. The letter killeth: the spirit saveth.

Einstein, the greatest Jew since Jesus, has given us his fruitful theory of relativity, and we begin to understand that all our knowledge is relative to our reference-mechanism. Who, then, will say he knows the truth in its transcendent fullness? I recall the words of the Kenopanishad, “Who does not know, knows. Who knows, does not know. That is not known to those who know.” Divine revelation may flow through a mighty sage, but he too, is a medium of finite equipment.

Veil upon veil will lift,

But there must be

Veil upon veil behind!

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