What is the Universal Worship?

The Universal Worship offers our reverence and gratitude for the message of God as it has been given to humanity through all the religions. We honor the One Being in many different forms— in the light of the prophets, saints and masters, in the love of our parents, in the help from our friends, in the innocence of children.

The Universal Worship offers the fulfillment of the purpose for which blessing descends from above: for spreading love and peace on earth and awakening the religion of love.  The religion of love is the religion of tolerance, the religion of love is the religion of forgiveness.

Whether we call on God, Ahura Mazda, Allah, Ram or the Divine Mother, these are all expressions of the intuition that we are somehow part of a greater whole. The Universal Worship recognizes that intuition as an underlying commonality of all people and of every faith.  Spiritual guidance towards the divine ideal has come in every culture through the ages, through many prophets, masters and saints, and the sacred scriptures they have given us. The religions of the world are our divine inheritance, and we honor them all as the spirit of divine guidance.

The Universal Worship acts to bring together those of any faith—or of no faith—in an awakening of the human spirit to our essential Oneness.

We sometimes think that spiritual messages must have concrete and definite doctrines and principles, but this is not always the way divine nature—unlimited life itself—works. The sun does not “teach” anything, but in its light, we see. The sun does not cultivate the ground nor sow the seed, but it helps the plant to grow, flower, and bear fruit. The divine message is the life and light in our souls.

There is no belief that is urged upon anyone.  Whatever belief you have, you are free to keep. Because of that freedom, the Universal Worship is not an “exclusive” religion.  In the Universal Worship, we come together in the bond of friendship, in the bond of sympathy, in the desire of rendering service to the world in the light of our evolving understanding of the  religion given humanity.

There is an element in our spiritual life that exceeds our understanding. However much we might long to understand, there is something else that is undefinable, ineffable, and that ultimately is the only thing that really makes sense in life, which is glorification. This notion seems to be somewhat lost in our time, but the fulfillment of one’s life is attained in glorification. It is the ultimate act in the heavens, and all aspects of nature participate in it.

In order to be able to experience what we were born out of—which was an act of glorification, the High Mass celebration in the heavens—we celebrate down here, translating in our little terms something that is beyond our compass.

We light candles because it is a reminiscence of the light in the heavens.

We play music because part of the High Mass is the music of the spheres behind the universe.

We burn incense because incense represents the transfiguration of the earth, matter being transmuted into Spirit.

“We have processions because that’s the way it is in the heavens; there is all that jubilation manifesting as motion.”

—Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan