Inspired by his reading of Punjabi mystic poets, Ghulam, in his debut work of nonfiction, takes the broadest possible deistic approach to personal spirituality.
The author describes an ultimate divine source underlying all the religious faiths of the world. “The God of the universe,” Ghulam writes, “is not God of any particular faith, race, or group of people, claiming any sort of superiority over others.” Neither is this God a creature of trappings; he “prefers neither the designs of prayer buildings nor the days or times of worship,” Ghulam notes in a typically eloquent passage. “He needs neither the meat of the sacrifices nor the hunger of the fasts, if these do not evoke love and mercy.” Love and mercy are central to this benign concept of a supreme being; Ghulam roundly denies divine complicity in human atrocities throughout the ages, which have been caused by entirely human traits such as “obstinacy, irrationality, greed, and pride of power.” According to Ghulam, God is beyond all such pettiness, accessible to any “free mind” who seeks enlightenment. Ghulam himself wishes everyone their own liberties, based on “equality and justice” (this equality doesn’t extend to the rest of the animals on Earth, who, the author believes, “have no values, so these were created to serve humans”). The author goes into great detail when describing his concept of a God free of the taint of human conflict. He points to “fighting between Pakistan and India, Palestine and Israel, or mujahedeen and Russians in Afghanistan,” stressing that these tragedies were born of human foibles, without divine prompting or sanction. In a handful of elegantly reasoned chapters, he reduces the bewildering multiplicity of conflicting human faiths to a simple series of spiritual precepts, keeping his focus on compassion and charity.
A calm, spiritual call to a faith “for all humans, for the world, and for all times.”