In the course of our development, mankind increasingly became aware of the existence of some other entities, unseen though they were to a great many. In all cultures and to all races, their existence became manifest, as their helpers, as their friends and as their teachers. They are forces which are active in Nature and are called, nature beings also widely referred to as elemental beings. As teachers they taught the early men many things. We never read in any literature, for example, that our forebears went to any laboratory to perform experiments to determine whether okro or lettuce was edible and safe, nor did we read they were armed with tubes and scalpel and headed for the forest to test the suitability of a variety of herbs to heal their ailing bodies. Their friends and helpers were their untiring teachers whose activities they found were amazing and that they carried out these out with incredible precision. The early people, in their simplicity and closeness to Nature, beheld water sprites, also called nixies or mermaids in exquisite beauty. They saw gnomes in various sizes and they were amazed to see those they called giants, tending hills and building mountains, and elves male and female, each species facing its allotted tasks in loyal commitment. The small gnomes bring about the sands of the beach, all, big or small working correspondingly to their sizes. Seeing gnomes of unbelievable sizes with their heads touching the clouds, and incredible beauty, the people of old thought they had seen their gods, giving them cover and protecting them. The elemental beings were in all parts of the world; they were, therefore, regarded as benevolent helpers. They taught them not only seasons, what to plant and when, but also how to fabricate tools.
As their inner eyes got increasingly open, and connected to the finer environment, the external perception temporarily shut down, they were able to behold the lords of the elemental beings themselves whom they regarded as embodiments, indeed personification of virtues. They were able to discern the specific briefs of each of them. Such was it that, as I did state two weeks ago, acute sense of justice was ascribed to Zeus; vigilance to Athena; sincerity to Apollo; Aphrodite, grace; Mercury, humility and conscientiousness; Mars, courage; Artemis, purity; and Ares, courage. As the familiarization with these gods and goddesses was firmly established among the Greeks, Germans and the Romans of the olden times, so was it assiduously cultivated and the knowledge, passed on by the clairvoyants amongst them, unassailably upheld among Africans, Indians and the Chinese.
In his work, “The Nature of the Gods,” Cicero says: “For the belief in the gods has not been established by authority, custom, or law, but rests on the unanimous and abiding consensus of mankind; their existence is therefore a necessary inference, since we possess an instinctive or rather an innate concept of them; but a belief which all men by nature share must necessarily be true; therefore it must be admitted that the gods exist.”
With the knowledge passed on by clairvoyants amongst all people and unassailably upheld, the time then came for them to climb the next rung of the ladder of life and widen their recognitions. Our world is a school to learn to recognise the Will of the Creator and obey and swing in It. The schools everyone went are patterned after the school of life—moving from Infant One; Primary One, Primary Two; then Standard One to Standard Six as in the colonial days; but today it is just Primary One to Primary Six; then off to secondary school and tertiary institutions. The zenith is the university.
Those who have come to the recognition that there are certain forces in life moved closer to the Nature Beings not just for help and guidance but saw them as entities to worship and so the concept of gods and goddesses arose. Much as the Nature Beings sought to reject being worshipped, pointing to them that God, the Almighty in Heaven alone was to be worshipped, the guidance fell on the deaf ears of many until this day. Those who heeded their guidance moved on to the next rung of the ladder. The missionaries and clerics came and dismissed their recognition and cooperation with the Nature Beings as well as their appreciation for their help as primitive. In the process the Creator’s ordained orderly development of mankind for a great many was disrupted. The overzealous missionaries were unable to separate the wheat from the chaff and they threw away the baby with the bath water. This would seem to have led to many people, among them highly educated, still resisting what the missionaries brought and spread, dismissing Christianity and Islamic religions as foreign and as attempts at dislodging the gods of their forefathers and the corresponding ways of worship. So is it that today there is an awakening to hold on to the worship of the gods and goddesses recognised by Yoruba in large communities of Brazilians of Yoruba extraction. If our world is a school, shouldn’t it go without saying that one cannot get oneself stuck in primary one all one’s school life in the name of patriotism and resistance to foreign religious influence?
Where there are students, teachers will always appear, appointed by the authority. In the course of further development of mankind and with the foundation solidly laid through the recognition of Nature Beings, Teachers and Prophets were sent from very high Realms by the Almighty Creator. They were to lead people to the next rung of the ladder to the Heights, His Luminous Kingdom, to move away from gods and goddesses. These Teachers were sent to different parts of our world, to different peoples who had developed to a certain degree of spiritual maturity, receptivity and absorptive capacity for what was being mediated to them. It would be considered anomalous to send a professor to teach in a secondary school how much less in a primary school! The pupils would be incapable of grasping what he may have to impart to them.
The Teachers of Mankind were Hjalfdar who came in pre-historic times; Zoroaster, the Forerunner who was sent to Iran; Lao-Tse the Forerunner sent to China; Buddha, the Forerunner sent to India; and Moses; and the Prophets, principal among whom was Prophet Mohammed who was sent by God to Arabia. Africa can rightly claim to have Two Light Manifestations among them some 3,000 years ago! All the Teachers and Prophets pointed to the Will of God in their words of Truth. They taught that the Will of the Most High is paramount; it is to be recognised in the Laws of God, which are also called the Divine Laws, Laws of Creation or the Laws of Nature. These Laws were encapsulated as Commandments. Zoroaster was told, for example, that he was to bring the Commandments of the Lord to the human beings who were ready to receive them so that they would have a firm guideline to which they could hold on their way. The world is more familiar with The Ten Commandments of God which Moses received on Mount Sinai. The Teachers of Mankind and the Prophets taught that it is by internalizing and unconditionally living according to these eternal and incorruptible Laws of the Most High that humanity will know peace, and development and free ourselves of dross and entanglements. We would have then learnt how to live in Paradise where living in accordance of the Will of the Creator is given, and that only the Will of God governs the Realm. Lao Tse said to his audience that “the sprit spark in each human being teaches what he must and what he must not do, in order to live according to the Will of the Supreme One. He who listens to his inner voice acts in harmony with the Laws of God.”
Since the Teachers and Prophets brought the words of Truth, and truth is universal, it means that their Teachings are meant for people who have reached the degree of spiritual maturity to comprehend and absorb them even if they live in parts of the world distant from where the Forerunners lived and worked. They may be living in countries other than where the Teachings were mediated for several other reasons. It should follow from the foregoing that no “religion” can be said to be foreign.
The first people to recognise the existence of only One God, the Almighty, were the Jews. The revelation was received by Abraham about 1800 BC. This was consolidated with the reception of the Ten Commandments by Moses who admonished mankind that worship should be directed exclusively to One God: “I am the Lord, thy God. Thou shall have no other gods before me.” Prophets arose to exhort and guide the Jews and give them encouragement so they would not waver in the recognition of only One God. Samuel said to Saul for example: “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over His people, Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord.” With the recognition of the One God, they had taken a giant stride in the recognition of Truth. In consequence, they provided the anchorage for Light incarnation in their midst. So the Lord Jesus was born among people prepared through their recognition for His Coming bringing Words of salvation to all mankind. Among the most prominent of the Prophets sent to the Jews were Elijah and Isaiah. Following the Teachings of the great Prophet of God, Prophet Mohammed in Arabia, the worship of numerous gods gave way for the worship of Allah. And so we have it clearly stated today in Islamic faith that there is no God beside Allah.
What I am getting at is that there are no foreign religions. The Teachers of Mankind were sent by the same Creator after they were carefully prepared for their high tasks. The words of Truth they brought were put in the form suitable and correspondent to the degree of the spiritual maturity of different people among whom they incarnated and people of the same degree of inner development elsewhere all over the world. Their words of Truth united were to lead mankind to the recognition and the single acknowledgement of Divine Truth and the eternal principles upholding and bearing witness to the Will of God.
However, no sooner the Teachers of Mankind departed from earthly life than men began to form religions around their Teachings, some in the determination, and some others ostensibly, to preserve the teachings. With time, men began to distort them, through misinterpretation and invention of creeds; then came dogmas, all of which obscure the pure Teachings of the truth-bringers. Also, struggles for position, power and influence soon ensued. There were dissension and conflicts, and wars with men claiming superiority of one religion over the other. The ultimate Truth brought by the Lord Christ from the highest Height has fared no better with the teaching of men in several respects replacing His pure Words, yet in His Name. Yet, the prophesied trumpets go on blaring unaffected by the dissension among men, pointing to the main features of these times, also foretold, without many a man paying attention: Help in the knowledge, and the Judgment!
Last week’s omission
In this column of last week captioned “Sowore and Odunjo’s tortoise folklore” I wrote as follows: “Rule of law dates back to Magna Carta in 1215, but took a firm root through the instrumentality of 1689.” It should have read: Rule of law dates back to Magna Carta in 1215, but took a firm root through the instrumentality of the Bill of Rights of 1689.
The omission of the Bill of Rights is regretted.
By Abdu Rafiu