New World Religion

The idea that the human being can come to know the divine creator — that the central Source of life can be known through prayer and meditation–is a universal concept.

Robert: Welcome to Inner Sight. Inner sight is simply seeing that which is always present but not yet fully recognized. You have within you the ability to see yourself and the world around you in a new way with new eyes. So, stay with us, and together we’ll look at the world and ourselves with inner sight. Today’s topic is the new world religion. John Lennon had some comments about religion in general, and of course I think it’s very noble, very pure and very correct for people to worship God, to feel an inner divinity within oneself and to see a divinity within other people and to see the best within everyone, but Alice Bailey has a comment about religion. Alice Bailey, by the way, is the author of twenty-four volumes of literature and all the dialogue on this show emanates from those writings. She wrote the literature around the turn of the twentieth century, and we’re exploring a lot of her concepts and viewpoints. I guess we can best define our show as being a spiritual philosophy show based on the writings of Alice Bailey and she started our organization, Lucis Trust. Our opening thought is from one of the volumes of literature written by Alice Bailey. “Religion is the name given to the invocative appeal of humanity and the evocative response of the greater Life to that cry.” We’ll come back to a discussion of that opening thought in a little while, but first, thinking of the title of this program — and the title once again is, The New World Religion — with all the religious diversity in the world, will it ever be possible to establish a universal religion? And I ask that question to Sarah and Dale. 

Sarah: I think we have to, first of all, define our terms and explain that the new world religion is not something that Alice Bailey or the Lucis Trust offers to people. We are not a religion. We have people interested in our work, who belong to all of the world’s faiths and many people who don’t have any particular religious inclination. The second thought that comes to me is that saying, I think it is, “The mature mind is at home in paradox.” Well, my mind must be mature because I don’t find any problem with seeing the two aspects of this question. One being that there could be a world religion that would have a universal appeal, but at the same time realizing that the religious traditions as they exist now have a diversity that’s needed and will probably always continue. What will come down is the barriers between religion and the hatreds and antipathies that so often are characterized by religious differences. For one thing, human beings have culture and tradition and history, and that makes for the different varieties of religious beliefs. And you think of a people like the Jewish people. They not only have a religion, but they also have a history, a culture and an experience that is unique. So, we can’t envision all the people of the world believing or following the same religious practices, but perhaps we can imagine that if you look at religious faith beyond the realm of language and words, you can imagine that there might be a lot more common ground among the different world religions than you might think. 

Dale: Yes, I think that’s true. There is a lot of common ground and we’re going to get into that a little later on. But you’re right that we are not a religion and we’re not really advocating any particular religion here, but we’re only pointing out certain potential possibilities for the future, in the field of religion. I think it’s inevitable as human consciousness expands and becomes more and more sensitive to the inner spiritual dimensions of the soul, that a new depth of understanding will arise from this expansion, and in time this will very likely give rise to a new religious expression of some kind. Today there is a strong desire to gain more knowledge of the soul and this in turn will eventually bring about a revelation of our universal heritage in the nature of the soul, the oneness of the human soul and the oneness with God. And this in time will give rise to a new religious expression that will be commensurate with the new spiritual sensitivity as human consciousness expands. A new depth of understanding will demand a new religious expression, and the forms and some of the doctrines of the existing religions today will no longer be adequate to contain this new consciousness, and as more light pours into human consciousness, new and more refined forms will have to be built to contain that light. It’s a little bit like the old biblical saying, you can’t put new wine into old bottles, because the light that is coming into human consciousness will no longer be contained in these older forms of religious expression. 

Sarah: So, are you saying that the world’s religions will fall away and disappear into the past? 

Dale: No, I don’t think so. I think the basic fundamentals of the religions will remain. It’s the way religion is approached that may change. But yeah, religion is here to stay, it’s just that the forms will change. 

Sarah: I think perhaps what’s needed is a new spiritual vitality within the religions, and we can see that happening, I think. For example, if you look back to — was it 1963? — when Pope John the XXIII started the reorganization, so to speak, of the Catholic Church. Since then, there have been tremendous changes and maybe this new life will express itself through existing religions, but it will create a whole new spirit. 

Dale: There are a lot of changes taking place in the churches today, because they have to change. Their congregations are changing and they’re demanding more answers, and so the churches have to make changes, yes. 

Sarah: There’s a saying — I think it was some religious leader who said it — that religions are like the spokes of the wheel. They start from an outer perimeter that is widely spaced apart, but they all meet at the centre. In that image we can imagine that the circle of the one and the point of unity within that one, are one and the same thing. There can be a broad diversity and a central unifying factor at the same time, if religion is approached properly. 

Dale: That’s right. And I think that will form the basis for a new world religion, perhaps in the future as this becomes a fuller realization. 

Robert: Whenever I’ve gone to the Lucis Trust meditation meetings, I can’t help recalling as both of you dialogue, about how it was like a United Nations meeting because there are so many people from a multiple number of faiths and backgrounds. And when they get to talking, I’m amazed at the commonality that runs through religions, rather than the differences. In line with this, can you define certain common values and principles that are shared by the world’s religions? 

Sarah: Well, it’s said in the writings of Alice Bailey that all the world’s religions have been created or established around, so to speak, an embodied idea. A human being, or a God- like divine being who came to earth and enacted and embodied a certain spiritual truth that was so powerful at the time that those who saw the example and believed in the teaching carried on that powerful example by establishing a religion. This is probably something that we can trace back with most of the world’s religions — Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity — all traced back to the tremendous impact of the original founder. 

Dale: Yes, and there are many — as you mentioned all these different religions, Buddhism and Hinduism — there are commonalities already existing between these religions and one in particular is the divine Trinity. Christianity of course has the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost or the Holy Spirit. Buddhism has its trinity: Adi-Buddha, the second aspect or the son aspect would be the Bodhisattva, and the third, the Holy Ghost, would be the Manushya-Buddha. In Hinduism you have the Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. So, there are these traditional trinities that already formed the basis for these world religions. And also, just to carry on from that, what we call the Ageless Wisdom of course has the same trinity, which is called the Atma, Buddhi and Manas, being the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost. It’s the same three energies, the same three aspects. The words change, the names change, but in each case in all these different religions they’re talking about the same energies, the same life qualities. 

Sarah: And this again comes back to something I mentioned earlier that I really think we have to remember; that language can be an impediment when talking about anything to do with spiritual experience. Our minds are such that we want to tag things and label them for recollection and for explanation to someone else. So, it’s a useful tool, but the words that we give to these concepts can also be imprisoning and they can obscure the essential similarity and common ground that might exist among the different religions. If only we could let go of our cherished terminology. I think there is more commonality than we might realize, but I’m also not glossing over the essential differences. There are a few factors in addition to the power of the founder of the religion in that example; there’s some other aspect that a lot of religions share, and it’s a belief in resurrection. A belief that this earthly life is not the beginning and the end of existence, that it continues on some level beyond the birth and death of the physical body. That’s quite pervasive in world religions. 

Dale: And related to that is the continuity aspect of the soul and the fact of immortality, because I think most religions have this basic fundamental as part of their religious expression or belief. The soul establishes the continuity between the outer world and the inner world and this always exists. It changes its outer shape, but it is always present and provides a channel for the inner and the outer forms of existence. 

Sarah: And another aspect of religious practice that’s shared almost universally, I think, is prayer, worship, meditation. The idea that the human being can come to know the divine creator — God as we in the West tend to refer to this being — but that the central Source of life can be known through prayer and meditation is a universal concept. 

Robert: The opening quote defines religion as an invocative appeal and the evocative response. Could you explain what this means? 

Sarah: Well, invocation and evocation are two fancy words for the idea that when the human being makes an approach to our creator, to God, through prayer and meditation, God responds in kind. Maybe people are familiar with the biblical parable of the Prodigal Son who wandered off into the far country — meaning he pursued the realm of the senses, the materialistic pursuits — until he became satiated by them and then he said I will arise and go to my father. When he returned to the father’s home, the father rushed out to meet him. That’s a good example of the concept of invocation and evocation. The appeal to God inevitably evokes a response. 

Dale: Yes, and invocation and evocation is actually more of a participatory activity —that’s the way I look at it. It’s much more participating in the working with energy than perhaps prayer. Although prayer is very effective, but it seems…. 

Sarah: It’s more passive? 

Dale: Yes, it’s more passive and it seems to emanate from a different level, perhaps a more devotional level. Invocation and evocation is — at least the way I understand it — actually more like participating in the working with energy and in a sense becoming a co-creator with God. You’re working with the energies you’re invoking and using the mind, the principle of the mind and the thought power of the mind, and visualization, to create an image of what you want to bring into the world. We use this in the Great Invocation which we sound at the end of each program. It’s invoking the light and the love and the will-to-good of God, and by doing that one is actually working with the very energies that one is asking for. In other words, you’re taking part in a creative act and working with God to bring these energies into human consciousness. So, I see it as more of an active approach. 

Sarah: There’s also a great power that is increasingly understood in group approach, group worship, group meditation. We’re accustomed to thinking of the solitary individual giving himself over to prayer or meditation, but when a group of people makes that approach to God through meditation, through shared collective practice, that has a great power. I think this is an important aspect of the new world religion that will be very broadly practiced and in probably a great multitude of ways, but the power of the group working together to wield these energies that you talk about is something that I think we’re beginning to realize is really significant. And there’s another aspect about the idea of invocation and evocation that’s central to the new world religion, and that is that when humanity is ready, the teacher appears. In other words, as human consciousness evolves, God responds with the next stage of teaching, which is given to humanity through the embodiment of a particular being. We could look back in history and say that Buddha brought great light to humanity through his message, through his life, so powerful an example that twenty-four or five hundred years later it’s one of the great world religions. Christ was another example of someone who brought an example of love so powerful that we are still striving after it, and as far as I know not able to emulate that example but aspiring to. It’s said in the writings of Alice Bailey that the next example that will be given to humanity will be that of an embodiment of the spiritual will to good, which is quite exciting to think about — some kind of example for humankind to strive after, of the active will to good as a force that humanity could then learn to wield in the world. 

Dale: Yes. And as I said before, these same energies that you just mentioned, the work of the Buddha and the Christ and the coming dispensation for the will are summed up in the Great Invocation, and that acts as a blueprint for these three divine energies. 

Sarah: This concept of the reappearance of this World Teacher is something that’s found in many of the world’s religions, and it’s a unifying example of the new world religion. There’s a book written by Alice Bailey called the Reappearance of the Christ, which discusses this world teacher expected by the Jewish people as the Messiah, by the Buddhists as the Maitreya, by the Hindus as the Kalki Avatar, by Christians as Christ. It’s a universal concept, a recognition that God reveals himself through the embodiment of extraordinary beings who are yet human. 

Robert:  You know, so much in the literature of Alice Bailey seems to almost hit upon actual prophecies of what will take place in the future, and I think that what impressed me, is so many of the items that she talks about seem to have already materialized. It gives us hope that there might be a new world religion where there is no diversity and division and the people are united in their common beliefs. Can you point to any examples, though, of a growing collaboration between the world’s faiths, that might give us hope? 

Sarah: Well, I think I would amend what you just said in that there will be diversity, but it will not represent divisions. The diversity will be seen as healthy and natural, but not as the creation of walls between peoples. And I think we are seeing examples. One is the most recent example of the disaster of the World Trade Centre, which brought together so many people in interfaith services; right from the beginning, there were members of religions coming together to share in worship and prayer. Two events in Assisi, Italy in the last ten or fifteen years brought people, leaders of many world faiths, together. One was to focus on a universal spiritual declaration of man’s role in regard to nature, the natural world, and the other was a World Day of Prayer for peace. I don’t know, can you think of other examples? 

Dale: I was just going to mention that since the September 11th disaster there has been a tremendous coming together in collaboration with all the different faiths and they are beginning to study each other. I think that’s a very hopeful sign because as we gain more knowledge of each other’s religion and doctrines, we begin to see these commonalities, and this is what will emerge. That’s a very hopeful sign. 

Sarah: And there’s another example, in May or June of every year World Invocation Day is a world day of prayer in which the Great Invocation is sounded in seventy different languages and by people of all faiths, as an expression of the new world religion. 

 Robert: Well, that’s about all the time we have for our discussion today. You’ve been listening to Inner Sight and now we would like to close with the world prayer called the Great Invocation. It’s a call for light and love and goodwill to flow into the world and into our hearts. Let’s listen for a moment to these powerful words. 

Sarah: Closes the program by reciting the adapted version of the Great Invocation

(This is an edited transcript of a recorded radio program called “Inner Sight”. This conversation was recorded between the host, Robert Anderson, and the then President and Vice-President of Lucis Trust, Sarah and Dale McKechnie.)

(Transcribed and edited by Carla McLeod)




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