When I arrived at the University of Texas to go to college, I was desperately aware that my view of religion was too small. I went to a nearby bookshop (Grok Bookstore, which would later become Book People) and asked the clerk to give me a sampler platter of religious world views. He gave me the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the philosopher Krishnamurti.
As I struggled through the Bhagavad Gita, I tripped across a Sanskrit scholar whose only advice was not to take the book literally. “The epic battle described is taking place within the hero,” she said.
As I read those books and many other world scriptures, I was transformed in my view of what Jesus was talking about. I could hear Krishna was not just speaking of himself, but was calling the hero to a unified vision of life:
“I am ever present into those who have realized Me in every creature. Seeing all life as My manifestation, they are never separated from Me. They worship Me in the hearts of all, and all their actions proceed from Me. Wherever they may live, they abide in Me.”
I learned from Hinduism that the point of religion is not to love a divine person, but to love all of life as an expression of the sacred. I then could return to Christian texts and understand that Jesus was not a monstrous ego wanting our worship, but one who had drowned in love until he saw the whole world as his body:
“What you do to the least of these, you have done to Me.”