In his earlier years, Dr. Rahdakrishnan was a man far ahead of his time; but today philosophers and theologians of most faiths acknowledge his greatness and the breakthroughs he has made in the twentieth century.
Dr. Radhakrishnan has been described by the Public Orator at Oxford as ‘The philosopher-king of whom Plato dream-ed’. But he is more than even that. He is one of the inspired men who has helped to rediscover the meanings of life on earth. To Radhakrishnan, his relationship with the Eternal is of prime importance. This rediscovery may be his greatest contribution to modern Hinduism and to the other religions of the world. Each of us can grow in our personal faiths by being more God centred. Indeed, one could say of Dr. Radhakrishnan that his catholicity is unexcelled.
Because of our birth, culture, history and race, we will view God in different ways. But surely we can learn from each other. By studying other people’s ideas, we may understand better the wonders of God’s creation, his meaning for history and the future of mankind. Indeed, by sharing together the rich variety of visions we may, in the end, better understand each other. Each of us is inspired spiritually when we hear about the dedicated souls in each religion who have found new ways to increase man’s love of God and man’s surrender to the infinite spirit.
All of us worship the same creator, the same ground of being, the same supreme spirit which is infinite, omnipresent and omniscient. Each of us worships in a different way, because we understand so little. The purpose of life on earth may be for each man to grow more spiritually and in the love and understanding of God.
It is arrogant of atheists to say there is no God because even the best scientists can perceive only a tiny fraction of what exists in the universe. Throughout history religion has often led to wars, inquisitions and martyrdom, but only because man was not humble about how little he understood about an infinite God.
Nations have gone to war to force upon others their own idea of God. This could not happen if each of us worships God in humility, admitting that no man and no church will ever understand even one per cent of God. God is infinite and we are limited in our knowledge. We may learn more if we approach God in humility, not thinking we know it all. I believe that God is all of us and each of us is a little part of Him. Each of the millions of galaxies is a little part of the infinite Creator. Each of us may be in reality only a wave pattern, a symphony in the mind of the infinite Creator. In the infinite spirit we live and move and have our being. The greater part of our Creator is the unseen part. When any man says he knows all about God, he has pictured in his human mind a god so small that he is no god at all.
Humility causes an open mind, which in turn makes it possible for us to learn from each other. An open mind causes progress. One of the purposes of our Prize Programme is to cause humility by helping people of all nations to learn about the rich variety of ways that other men love and understand the Supreme Spirit. Also, competition causes progress. It may be good for the great visions and revelations to compete with each other in a loving neighbourly way. If the earth knew only one religion, mankind’s spiritual progress would be slow. When scientists study the history of the millions of types of life on earth, many conclude that the Creator has ordained competition for the purpose of progress.
It is this progress we seek. It is this wider understanding of God we pursue; and it is this enrichment by cultural and spiritual diversity that may enable mankind to move forward to a future called heaven on earth. In conclusion, we are grateful to each of the nine judges who have been diligent in their consideration of the nominees and to the Board of Advisors who work to improve this programme. We are grateful to His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury for presiding here this afternoon. And we are grateful to His Royal Highness Prince Philip for presenting the third annual Prize for Progress in Religion to Dr. Radhakrishnan’s representative today at Buckingham Palace.
After this celebration you are welcome to join us for tea in the crypt below where you, will have an opportunity to meet the judges and others on this platform.