Universal Worship

This is a gathering (originally given by Hazrat Inayat Khan and used by the Inayati Sufis). At this gathering all religions are honoured and represented on one altar.

At the highest point on the altar  a candle burns. This represents the Light of the One, or the Light of Unity. There is nothing that falls outside this Unity (whether we can comprehend that or not.) From this light all the other candles on the altar are lit. This is symbolic of the divine power which connects everything.

Oringinally there were 7 holy scriptures and 7 candles on the altar. Scriptures from the 6 most common religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroaster, Jewish, Christian, and from the Islam) and the 7th book represents all other paths and all other people who “whether known or unknown have held aloft the light in the midst of human ignorance”. In this way there is a place for all traditions and spiritual paths. Often these days there may be 9 books or artefacts and candles with the two extra representing the Divine Feminine and the Nature Traditions. These could be seen as the root of all other traditions. It may also be that the religions represented on the altar are altered if these are not the 6 most common religions in any specific area.

In the presence of those at the gathering all the candles are lit. There will then be readings, prayers, mantras, songs said or sung from all the various traditions all linked by the theme of the meeting. In this way the unity behind the differences can be experienced.

One of the foundations of the Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan was Religious Unity and Spiritual Freedom. He felt that those who do not understand this have not understood the message from any religion. If we would only truly understand the true message at the root of any religion or path then we would also understand that all ways are really the same. They lead to the same goal. They were only brought through at different times with different words to meet the needs of that land or that time. There are no grounds to argue or have differences of opinion about which  of the scriptures is ‘right’.  If we pass them through our heart, then we can understand and comprehend the deep message that ALL IS ONE.

There are various branches of the Inayati Sufi family. In each branch this gathering is different. ‘Strange” you may think, “if they all come from the same source.” And especially as the Sufi message is ‘Unity’.  My experience in this is that the different forms attract and serve different people. Through the differences the message reaches and serves more people. Also here it is not about which is ‘good’ or ‘right’, but whether it stimulates the participants toward a deeper awareness or connection to the Divine Unity both within and around them.