In the New Testament it is taught, “Our Father who art in heaven” — God living in the heavens separated from men. We are living on earth and He is living in heaven. Further on we find the teaching that He is a God immanent in nature; He is not only God in heaven, but on earth too. He is the God in us. In the Hindu philosophy we find a stage of the same proximity of God to us.
But we do not stop there. There is the non-dualistic stage, in which man realises that the God he has been worshiping is not only the Father in heaven, and on earth, but that “I and my Father are one.” He realises in his soul that he is God Himself, only a lower expression of Him. All that is real in me is He; all that is real in Him is I. The gulf between God and man is thus bridged. Thus we find how, by knowing God, we find the kingdom of heaven within us. (I, 323)
This observation is found in Swamiji’s talk on ‘ Soul, God and Religion’. Realization of God is directly related to purity of heart. Purity and perfection are the net result of various spiritual efforts. In this lecture Swamiji mentions that “the different stages of growth are absolutely necessary to attainment of purity and perfection. The varying systems of religion are at bottom founded on the same ideas. Jesus says, the kingdom of heaven is within you. Again he says “Our father who art in Heaven”….
He was talking to the uneducated masses when he said the latter, the masses who were uneducated in religion. It was necessary to speak to them in their own language…..Thus we see that the apparent contradictions and perplexities in every religion mark but different stages of growth. And as such we have no right to blame anyone for his religion.”