Calabria shows how a golden thread of social- and self-awareness underlies all major religions.
Born into a Christian family, Calabria began to explore other religions in his teens, and by his 20s, he’d begun meditating with a yoga master. After much study of comparative religion, he concluded that what differs are not the specific teachings of a religion but the approach individuals take to the religion they have chosen. Exoteric believers, Calabria says, take their scriptures—whether the Bible, Quran, Gita, Avestas, etc.—literally and ignore inconsistencies in the texts. They are the dogmatists and fundamentalists of the world. Mesoteric believers, he says, see that there are similarities across religions and inconsistencies within them, which makes them more open-minded but also more equivocal. Mesoteric believers sound much like stereotypical New Agers (although Calabria doesn’t use the term), taking a bit here and there from diverse traditions. Finally, esoteric believers comprehend the Cosmic Religion, a kind of Platonic ideal of religion that underlies all the major religions. Esoteric believers will generally choose one specific tradition to follow, but, Calabria says, they see through the dogmatism and inconsistencies to practice the three unitary principles that the author calls Love God, Love Neighbor and Love Self. Calabria illustrates these principles through comparisons of Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Sikh, Hindu, Taoist, Judaic and Zoroastrian scriptures and the teachings of several ascended masters (Jesus Christ, Guru Nank, Lao Tzu, Moses, etc.). Calabria seems to be well-read, although it can be disturbing that his main cited resource is Wikipedia and there’s no bibliography of secondary literature. His list of resources at the end of the book consists of links to websites for a variety of Kriya Yoga organizations. Calabria tends to make sweeping statements about world religions but seems to be really talking about only the Judeo-Christian-Muslim nexus and the Indo-Aryan religions—the same group that has been mined for “universal truths” since Madam Blavatsky introduced theosophy in the late 19th century.
For readers seeking universal truths, this book is as good a place as any to start, though there’s not much new here.