When someone, in his ego, believes that he has become something, he is
caught in his error, like a parrot in a trap. (sggs 255).

God is Love. The spirit of Love is the religion. Therefore, religion is also Love. There are many man-made religious systems in the world which are valid and equally effective; because they were created to propagate the spirit of Universal Love. This eternal principle, this all-embracing truth, this noble attitude, this sense of duty to the Universe, and this state of Pure Consciousness is the unity that underlies all religions. In that sense, there is only one religion! This lead to the following question: then why there is so much hatred and intolerance in the world? In spite of the so many religions, where did the "Love" go?

At the present, all man-made religions are mixture of truth and error. The source of truth is the infallible words of Prophets or Spiritual Masters who were Self-realized Beings, and spoke from the heights of their Spiritual experiences. Hence, the Truth is Divine. However, the error is man-made. It is this human error — manifestation of man's egoism or false self — in religions that has created havoc on earth. All are caught in this fire.

  • ਜਜਾ ਜਾਨੈ ਹਉ ਕਛੁ ਹੂਆ ॥ ਬਾਧਿਓ ਜਿਉ ਨਲਿਨੀ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਸੂਆ ॥: Jajaa jaanai ho kashu hooaa. Baadhio jiu nalinee bhrami sooaa: Jajjaa: When someone, in his ego, believes that he has become something, he is caught in his error, like a parrot in a trap (sggs 255).
  • ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਿ ਕਰਿ ਜਾਇ ਘਣੇਰੀ ਕਰਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਪਛੋਤਾਵਣਿਆ ॥: Houmai kar kar jaai ghanaeree kari avagun pashotaavaniaa: Acting in egotism, so very many have died. After making mistakes, they later repent and regret (sggs 109).

All prophets or masters were the messengers of but One God. So they all spoke of the same One Truth — the Eternal Principle, the Homogeneous Oneness. Therefore, all religious texts (SGGS, Vedas, Bible, Quran, Avestaa, etc.) are sacred; for they contain the essence of Self-knowledge (Aatam Giaan, Wisdom). They all point to the same One Truth (also called God...). Thus, in reality, the scriptures serve as beacon lights for all.

  • ਏਕੁ ਪਛਾਣੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਾਰਿ ॥:  Ek pashaanai haumai maari: Recognize One Truth by erdaicating your egoism — error (sggs 1277).
  • ਆਪਿ ਅਭੁਲੁ ਨ ਕਬਹੂ ਭੁਲਾ ॥: Aap abhul na kabahoo bhulaa: Divine is infallible; He never makes mistakes (sggs 1022).
  • ਭੁਲਣ ਵਿਚਿ ਕੀਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਈ ਕਰਤਾ ਆਪਿ ਨ ਭੁਲੈ ॥: Bhulan vich keeaa sabh koee karataa aap na bhulai: Everyone makes mistakes; only the Creator does not make mistakes (sggs 1344).
  • The Truth is one in all (Geetaa 13:16).

Although the Raam, Allah, Ahuramazdaa, Jehovah and Parmaatam. That Truth is the true structure of all beings; meaning we all are the embodiment, emanation or the manifestation of the same One Light. Therefore, Truth is neither Sikh, nor Hindu, nor Muslim, nor Christian, nor Buddhists, and so on. The followers of the religion of Truth (the Gurmukhs) walk on the path of Spiritual Life — Love, Light, Wisdom, Knowledge, Oneness, Spiritual Beauty and Power.

Since many religion were born in prehistoric times, there are no authentic documents written by the Masters themselves. In reality, none of the Masters thought of founding a separate religion. Because there cannot be any concept of separateness (duality) in a True Master! That is to say, if someone entertains the notion of separateness, he cannot be a Master. Also, the Masters, ancient or modern, do not make any new discovery — they just proclaim the same Ancient, One Truth. Thus, they appear among men to reform who had been misguided and hence taken to the path of materialism. Then they leave hoping people will live by their Divine Teachings.

The trouble begins after they depart the scene; leaving the work to followers who generally make a mess of it! They turn the master's work into a separate organized religion, which, with the passing of time, turns into a complicated mixture of Spiritual precepts and material practices. This is where the human error — introduction of complex adherents and antagonists, or simply nonessentials — enters into religions. These nonessentials generally consist of unmeaning rituals, ceremonies, paths, traditions, rules, creeds, dogmas, religious robes, symbols, frightening and stupid concepts of God, pilgrimages, stubborn intellect, fanaticism and fundamentalism; creating fake fear of hell and death and expectation of far-off heavens. With the passage of time, thus, people lose the real meaning as well as the purpose and function of the words of their Prophets or Masters. Thus, although the man-made religious systems often start good but later turn into a mess when they fall in the hands of selfish and ignorant disciples who want name and gain.

  • ਮਨਮੁਖ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਣੇ ਜਿਉ ਦੋਹਾਗਣਿ ਤਨਿ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ॥: Manmukh karam kamaavanae jio dohaagan tani seegaar: The material beings (Manmukh) perform religious rituals, like the unwanted bride decorating her body (sggs 31).
  • ਕਰਮ ਕਰਤ ਬਧੇ ਅਹੰਮੇਵ ॥: Karam karat baadhe ahammev: Ritual practices bind people in egotism (sggs 324).
  • ਮਲੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਧੋਤੀ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਜੇ ਸਉ ਤੀਰਥ ਨਾਇ ॥ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧਿ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦੇ ਦੂਣੀ ਮਲੁ ਲਾਗੀ ਆਇ ॥ ਪੜਿਐ ਮੈਲੁ ਨ ਉਤਰੈ ਪੂਛਹੁ ਗਿਆਨੀਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: This filth of egotism cannot be washed away, even by taking cleansing baths at hundreds of sacred shrines. Performing all sorts of rituals, people are smeared with twice as much filth. The filth is not removed by reading. Go ahead, and ask the Wise ones (sggs 39).
  • ਪਉੜੀ ॥ ਸਚਾ ਅਲਖ ਅਭੇਉ ਹਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਗਾਵਹਿ ਰਾਗ ਪਰੀਆ ਰਾਗਿ ਨ ਭੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਨਚਿ ਨਚਿ ਪੂਰਹਿ ਤਾਲ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਇਕਿ ਅੰਨੁ ਨ ਖਾਹਿ ਮੂਰਖ ਤਿਨਾ ਕਿਆ ਕੀਜਈ ॥ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਹੋਈ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਿਵੈ ਨ ਧੀਜਈ ॥ ਕਰਮ ਵਧਹਿ ਕੈ ਲੋਅ ਖਪਿ ਮਰੀਜਈ ॥ ਲਾਹਾ ਨਾਮੁ ਸੰਸਾਰਿ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਪੀਜਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਭਗਤੀ ਅਸਨੇਹਿ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਘੀਜਈ ॥੧੭॥: Pourree || Sachaa alakh abheou hathi n pateejaee ...: Pourree. The True, Unseen, Mysterious (God) is not won over by stubbornness. Some sing according to traditional Raag, but the Lord is not pleased by these Raag. Some dance and dance in perfect beat, but this is not the way of worship (either). Some refuse to eat; (tell me) what can be done with these fools? (i.e., how can it be explained to them that the Truth is not realized like this, etc.). By such acts, their thirst (desires) greatly increase; (consequently) nothing (done in stubbornness) can bring them satisfaction. Somany are tied down by rituals; they hassle themselves to death. In this world, the true profit (ਨਾਮ ਹੀ ਖੱਟੀ) comes by drinking in the Amrit Naam, Name of the Lord. By becoming the Gurmukh, (one) attains (the Bliss of) Bhagti (devotion) of the Lord ||17|| (sggs 1285).

On account of the element of Divine "Truth" in religions, the fundamentals and essentials of all religions are the same. The apparent differences are because of the element of human "error" consisting of nonessentials introduced by the followers due to nonapprehension, misunderstanding, misconception, misconstruction or reconstruction of the long-forgotten One Truth taught to them by the masters. And the reason behind their nonapprehension, misunderstanding, misconception, misconstruction or reconstruction of the truth is their selfishness, corrupt consciousness, prejudices, bigotry, foolishness, ignorance, impurity of mind and intellect — lust, greed, anger, sensual attachment, self-conceit, envy, and stubbornness.

Thus, due to the element of human "error", religion becomes dogmatic and sectarian. Such religion divides people. It only gives priority and importance to worshiping prophet, religious text and dogmas over everything else. Consequently, very few ever build their character upon the foundation of True Love. Because the majority of us do not pause to make distinction between the essentials and nonessentials in religion. Pure Love is the ultimate goal of religion, thus essential. On the other hand, the elements introduced by the human error are not the religious goal, thus nonessential. However, in fanaticism (ignorance), nonessentials are carried to the point that it gives the impression that they are an end in themselves! Consequently, those who practice religion with Intuitive Wisdom are very few and far in between, while the rest of us (over 99.9 percent) practice it with only sense-blind mind (or ego illusion).

  • ਹੁਕਮੁ ਨ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਬਪੁੜੇ ਭੂਲੇ ਫਿਰਹਿ ਗਵਾਰ ॥: hukam na jaanahi bapurre bhoole firahi gavaar: The wretched fools do not know the Divine Will; they wander around making mistakes (sggs 66).
  • ਅਖਰ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭੁਲੀਐ ਭੇਖੀ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ Akhar parr parr bhuleeai bhekhee bahutu abhimaan: (In spite of) Reading books over and over again, people make mistakes (due the pride of this reading); wearing of religious robes also gives rise to much pride (in the mind). (sggs 61).

As a result, many preach Sikhism without giving up evil passions, and without practicing meditation on the Divine Name ("Naam Jap"), earning honest living ("Kirat Kamaaee"), sharing with others ("Vand Shaknaa") and seeing One Truth in all beings. Many preach Islaam, but no one practices Peace (Islaam=Peace!) or recognizes the brotherhood of man taught by the Master. Many preach Christianity, but no one practices selfless Love, forgiveness and charity. Many preach Buddhism without giving up desires and cruelty. Many preach Hinduism, but no one realizes the same One Self in all. Thus, the preaching has become mundane business or livelihood to the priest-class, while the practice of religion has vanished. Since they think, speak and act in error (egoism), their preaching have no positive effect on their listeners. Preachers and their audience both are being ruined.

  • ਓਨਾ ਦਾ ਆਖਿਆ ਕੋ ਨ ਸੁਣੈ ਨਿਤ ਹਉਲੇ ਹਉਲਿ ਮਰਾਹੀ ॥: Onaa daa aakhiaa ko na sunai nit houle houli maraahee: No one hears what they (those who are in error) have to say; they live in constant fear and terror, until they finally die (sggs 308).

Because of this human error in religions, as history reports to us, religions have committed the greatest sins in the name of religion and God. They have misguided mankind, thus failed in their Universal mission of unifying man in Love. Instead of proclaiming the Truth of our Oneness, they propagate and emphasize the nonessentials — preaching wrong, changing factors of names and forms. Consequently, religions have brought about a great pain and suffering on the earth.

Because religions have erred, the world is inflicted with hatred, communalism, extremism, blind rage, violence, vengeance, hypocrisy, brutal intolerance, oppression, slavery, injustice, bigotry, prejudices, killing of innocent people, materialism, addiction to evil passions, unfeeling towards others, wars, quarrel, riots, holocaust, destruction, fear, calamities, persecution of godly souls, discord, disharmony, and so forth.

Frustrated with the nonessentials ("error") in religions, many convert to other organized religions. This is not the solution. Because other religions are also plagued by the same human "error"! Thus, there is nothing to be gained by changing one's external religion. Therefore, instead of converting to other religion, help the human-family by eradicate "error" from your own external religion, otherwise religion will never become what it's meant to be. Until all religions have become what religion is meant to be, the plight of global-mankind will be hatred, bigotry, prejudices, conflicts, wars, differences, disunity, chaos, destruction and disharmony.

As a matter of fact, there is only one Religion of Truth (True Religion or Dharma), which nobody can change! Because It's the Essence of man's very Being. But, due to the rise of ego illusion, this Divine Essence lies dormant within and waits to be awakened by the Jeeva (individual being). You see, by changing your external religion all you are doing is changing the name and form. That's all! But, according to all the true Masters and the true scriptures, this consciousness of "names" and "forms" — or time and space — is the man's real trouble to begin with! Thus, there is nothing anew to be gained by changing one's external religion. One must change within, and awaken his True Religion lying dormant deep within his bosom. Nobody can do it for you. You have to do it yourself. All man-made religions are the expression of this one Religion of Truth. Hence the key is true understanding.

  • ਏਕੋ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜੈ ਸਚੁ ਕੋਈ ...: Eko Dharam drirhai sabh koee...: There is only one Religion of Dharma or Truth; let everyone grasp this truth....Humble being imbued with the sublime Essence of God is certified and approved (sggs 1188).
  • ਕਲ ਮੈ ਏਕੁ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਨਿਧਿ ਜਾਹਿ ਜਪੈ ਗਤਿ ਪਾਵੈ ॥ ਅਉਰ ਧਰਮ ਤਾ ਕੈ ਸਮ ਨਾਹਨਿ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਬੇਦੁ ਬਤਾਵੈ ॥: Kal mai eaek naam kirapaa nidhi jaahi japai gati paavai. Aour dharama taa kai samm naahan ih bidhi bedu bataavai: In Kal, God's Name is the treasure of mercy; chanting it, one obtains salvation. No other religion is comparable to this; so speak the Vedas (sggs 632).
  • ਤਜਿ ਸਭਿ ਭਰਮ ਭਜਿਓ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ॥ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਅਟਲ ਇਹੁ ਧਰਮ ॥: Taji Sabhi bharam bhajio paarbrahm. Kahu Nanak attal ih dharama: Renounce all your doubts, and vibrate upon the Supreme Lord. Says Nanak, this Dharma is eternal (sggs 196).

Therefore, the appropriate course seems to be to stay in one's own religion, faith, mode of worship, method of meditation or philosophy. But go beyond its nonessentials. Stick to the Truth only and realize Spiritual Nature within. Because, the Self-realization is not produced by any religion, but by one's own self-efforts in Truth. As mentioned earlier, until all religions have become what religion is meant to be, the future of global-mankind will be hatred, bigotry, prejudices, conflicts, wars, differences, disunity, chaos, destruction and disharmony.

  • ਮੈ ਅਵਰੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਨ ਧਿਆਨੁ ਪੂਜਾ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਵਸਿ ਰਹੇ ॥ ਭੇਖੁ ਭਵਨੀ ਹਠੁ ਨ ਜਾਨਾ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਸਚੁ ਗਹਿ ਰਹੇ ॥੧॥: Mai avar giaan n dhiaan poojaa Hari Naam antari vasi rahe. Bhekh bhavnee hath n jaanaa Nanakaa sach gahi rahe ||1||: God's Name dwells deep within me, I know no other wisdom, meditation or worship. I know nothing about religious robes, pilgrimages or stubbornness; O Nanak, I only hold tight to the Truth ||1|| (sggs 843).
  • ਬੰਧਨ ਕਰਮ ਧਰਮ ਹਉ ਕੀਆ ॥: Bandhan karam dharma hayu keeyaa: Acting in false ego, people are entangled with religious rituals, and religious faith (sggs 416).
  • ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਜੋ ਲਿਖਿ ਦੀਆ ॥ ਛਾਡਿ ਚਲੇ ਹਮ ਕਛੂ ਨ ਲੀਆ ॥੩॥: Pandit mulaan jo likhi deeaa. Chhaadi cale ham kachhoo n leeaa ||3||: Whatever the Pandit and the Mullaan has written (the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...), I have abandoned (all of that); I have not taken any of it ||3||. (sggs 1159).
  • ਹਮਰਾ ਝਗਰਾ ਰਹਾ ਨ ਕੋਊ ॥ ਪੰਡਿਤ ਮੁਲਾਂ ਛਾਡੇ ਦੋਊ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Hamaraa jhagaraa rahaa na ko-oo. Pandit mulaan shaade do-oo ||1|| Rahaaou ||: (Now) I have no quarrel with anyone anymore; because I have abandoned both the Pandit and the Mullaan (ਦੋਹਾਂ ਦੇ ਦੱਸੇ ਰਸਤੇ ਨਾਲ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੋਈ ਵਾਸਤਾ ਨਹੀਂ - the path of Karamkaand, Shariyat...). |1|| Pause || (sggs 1158).

The religions must admit folly of their past mistakes and learn from them. They must mend their ways and abandon the path of error so the past mistakes are not repeated again. They must recognize their roles as unifiers not dividers. They must fulfill their true mission to raise the human spirit towards his Essential Divine Nature which is free of error, so that the entire mankind can become filled with godly attributes of Love, truthfulness, righteousness, selflessness, compassion, contentment, mercy, light, wisdom, knowledge, forgiveness, bliss, kindness, service, unity, understanding, humility, purity and with everything that is holy, beautiful and sanctifying. The way to eradicate error is, by becoming a Spiritual being, meditate on the Divine Word. This is religion.

  • ਜਹ ਤੇ ਉਪਜੀ ਤਹੀ ਸਮਾਨੀ ਇਹ ਬਿਧਿ ਬਿਸਰੀ ਤਬ ਹੀ ॥: Jah te upajee tahee samaanee ih bidhi bisaree tabb hee: The soul is re-absorbed into That (One Reality) from which it originated, when one leaves this path of errors (sggs 334).
  • ਸਭ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਦੁਖ ਕਟਿਆ ਮੇਰੀ ਜਿੰਦੁੜੀਏ ਮਲੁ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਉਤਾਰੇ ਰਾਮ ॥: Sabh kilavikh paap dukh kattiaa meree jindurreeeae mal gurmukh naam outaare raam: All sins and errors are erased, O my soul; with the Divine Word, by becoming a Gurmukh, wash off your filth (sggs 539).
  • ਸਿਮਰਉ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਰੰਜਨ ਕਰਤੇ ਮਨ ਤਨ ਤੇ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਨਾਸ ॥: Simarau naam niranjan karate mann tann te sabh kilavikh naas: I meditate in remembrance on the Divine Name of the immaculate God; all the sins and errors of my mind and body are washed away (sggs 716).
  • ਕਿਵ ਸਚਿਆਰਾ ਹੋਈਐ ਕਿਵ ਕੂੜੈ ਤੁਟੈ ਪਾਲਿ ॥ ਹੁਕਮਿ ਰਜਾਈ ਚਲਣਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਿਖਿਆ ਨਾਲਿ ॥ (sggs 1).
  • ਕਉਡੀ ਬਦਲੈ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਚੀਨਸਿ ਨਾਹੀ ਆਪੈ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਤਾ ਏਕੋ ਜਾਣੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਦੁਖੁ ਨ ਸੰਤਾਪੈ ॥: Kouddee badalai janm gavaaiaa cheenas naahee aapai. Gurmukh hovai taa eko jaanai houmai dukh na santaapai: He wastes this human life in exchange for a mere shell; he does not understand his own self — Divine status or godly status. But, if he becomes Spiritual being (Gurmukh), then he comes to know the Oneness, and thereafter the disease of egotism does not afflict him anymore (sggs 753).

— T. Singh