It was many years ago. The boy was not more than ten years old as he stood beside the man that early morning. They were both standing on the shore of the Atlantic looking east toward the rising sun. The chill morning air caused a slight shiver to run through the boy. The man, seeming to know without even looking, took off his jacket and draped it over the small shoulders of his son. They walked up to the water’s edge as the man spoke: “You see that wide expanse of water? It is made of billions of gallons, and each gallon is made of tens of thousands of drops.”
The little boy seemed curious. “And what are the drops made of?” he asked.
With a smile, the man replied: “The drops are made of smaller and smaller drops, and each in turn is made of bits and pieces of things that make the very world we live in.”
“What am I made of, Dad?” the boy asked after a short while. “Am I made of the same stuff as the ocean?”
The father smiled as he replied: “Everything is made of everything else, and everything is a part of other things. As you stand here this morning, you are a part of this land, this shore, this ocean. Look at that tree, the sky. They are parts of the very me and the eternal “I”. There is a force that keeps us together. Some call that force God, others, Allah, Jehovah, or Jove. There are a thousand names for this force, but it doesn’t matter what it’s called. It just is. As you grow older and wiser, you will find the stirring of this mighty force within you. You will know that it’s always there, and that you’re safe and happy within it.”
The boy, with a puzzled expression, looked at his father and asked: “How can this force, this God, be within me and at the same time be in everything else I see?”
“Because,” the man replied, “God is in everything and everyone. God is in you and in me, in those gulls you see over there, in the sand under our feet and the lilies of the field. God is everywhere and everything, and there cannot be two everything. God is a part of you just like the drop of water is a part of this ocean. Remember this well and you will grow up to have a sense of peace, joy and understanding.”
Decades have passed since I stood on that shore with my father. I have since traveled to many countries, lived in various cultures, and experienced deep sorrow and great joy. I have seen the best and the worst of my fellow human beings, Yet, through it all, I could hear the voice of my father telling me: “God is everywhere and everything, and there cannot be two everything.”
As a young boy, I grew up in a small village of Hindus, Christians, Moslems and others. I learned at a very early age that all people are shipmates on the common voyage of life and that one cannot sink one’s shipmates without sinking oneself. As I studied the Vedic writings and compared them with the words of the Hebrew prophets and the teachings of the New Testament Apostles, I found that the common thread running through them all was love. The greatest commandment ever given was “Love your God and love one another” – all others are simply variations on that theme.