05/20/2014 06:58 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Quantum Leap Toward Universal Spirituality

Humanity is taking a quantum leap beyond the religions of the world. Emerging from this quantum leap is a universal spirituality (USP) that removes ideological, gnostic, denominational, and sectarian borders within and across religions. Universal spirituality does not nullify the teachings of any religion, nor does it denigrate any faith or creed. The USP incorporates the morals derived from religions into shared consciousness. It respects the practices of each creed.

Churches, temples, synagogues, gurdwaras and mosques are the places of worship, tranquility, and goodness. The divine books, including Upanishads, Dhammapada, the Bible, the Qur'an, and the Granth Sahib, which animate old and new religions, constitute the heritage of humanity. The places of pilgrimage, including Benares, Jerusalem, Makkah and Black Hills, all are sacred repositories of shared reflection. Yogis, Sufis, monks, rabbis, priests, ministers and Imams, all are the guardians of spiritual traditions.

The USP does not exclude any religion, faith or creed, from the realm of truth or authenticity. Consistent with the moral evolution of the human species, the USP interfuses the human psyche with cosmic intelligence, promoting the free flow of spirituality in and beyond space and time

Goodness. The USP defines spirituality as goodness to oneself and to others. Dishonest, deceitful and miserly individuals cannot be spiritual no matter how much education or knowledge they accumulate. Likewise, nations and communities rife with violence, torture and enforced disappearances are tracking far away from the spiritual path. A people that occupy another people cannot be spiritual. Social systems that endorse racism, caste system or misogyny cannot be spiritual. Economic systems that promote material acquisitiveness and egotistical self-assertions may produce wealth but bring no spiritual joy for the participants. The USP establishes the principle of goodness as the bedrock of spirituality. Spirituality is not mere higher consciousness, it is not mere worship, and it is not mere remembering God. Spirituality is goodness to oneself and to others, pure and simple.

Author's Fresh Paint Rendering

Creed Exceptionalism. The USP repudiates creed exceptionalism. No religion is superior to any other religion. And no religion has exceptional monopoly over truth or spiritual truth. Each religion lays out a spiritual path, good and authentic for its followers. As long as there are sincere followers of a religion, the religion cannot be suppressed. There is no external definition of religion. All religions are internal to the followers. Only weak spiritual traditions are intolerant of other religions. Universal spirituality allows the followers of each and every religion and denomination to freely practice their faith without harassment, criticism and denigration from the followers of another religion or from non-believers. The USP prohibits the burning of divine books or making fun of any prophets held in esteem by a religious community. It guides both believers and non-believers in taking the quantum leap and shunning the orbit of self-righteousness and prejudice.

Quiet and Personal Spirituality. Because universal spirituality rejects creed exceptionalism, it also rejects the principle of proselytization. The institution of proselytization emanates from creed exceptionalism, with the belief that the proselytizer practices a more truthful creed. Conversion from one faith to another is a personal choice, freely available under universal spirituality. However, criminalization of voluntary conversion is an abomination; and forced conversion is an ugly contravention of universal spirituality. Even artful proselytization obtained by offering material benefits is offensive to universal spirituality. The very notion of proselytization and "saving" presupposes that the creed of the person to be saved is erratic or inferior. Universal spirituality prohibits proselytization from one religion to another, from disbelief to belief, or from belief to disbelief. Each human being is entitled to quiet and personal spirituality without a knock at the door from state officials, intolerant neighbors or wandering proselytizers.