An old man was visiting a city for the first time in his life. He had grown up in a remote mountain village, worked hard raising his children, and was then enjoying his first visit to his children”s modern homes.
While being shown around the city, the old man heard a sound that stung his ears. He had never heard such an awful noise in his quiet mountain village. Following the grating sound back to its source, he came to a room in the back of a house where a small boy was practising on a violin.
“Screech! Screech!” came the discordant notes form the groaning violin. When he was told that it was called a “violin”, he decided he never wanted to hear such a horrible thing again.
The next day, in a different part of the city, the old man heard a beautiful sound, which seemed to caress his aged ears. He had never heard such an enchanting melody in his mountain valley. Following the delightful sound back to its source, he came to a room in the front of a house where an old lady, a maestro, was performing a sonata on a violin.
At once, the old man realised his mistake. The terrible sound that he had heard the previous day was not the fault of the violin, nor even the boy. It was just that the young man had yet to learn his instrument well.
With a wisdom reserved for the simple folk, the old man thought it was the same with religion. When we come across a religious enthusiast causing such strife with his beliefs, it is incorrect to blame the religion.
It is just that the novice has yet to learn his religion well. When we come across a saint, a maestro of her religion, it is such a sweet encounter that it inspires us for many years, whatever their beliefs.
But that was not the end of the story…..
The third day, in a different part of the city, the old man heardanother sound that surpassed in its beauty and purity even that of the maestro on her violin. What do you think that sound was?
It was a sound more beautiful than the cascade of the mountain stream in spring, than the autumn wind through the forest groves, or than the mountain birds singing after a heavy rain. It was even more beautiful than the silence in the mountain hollows on a still winter”s night. What was that sound that moved the old man”s heart more powerfully than anything before?
It was a large orchestra playing a symphony.
The reason it was, for the old man, the most beautiful sound in the world is that firstly, every member of that orchestra was a maestro of their own instrument; and secondly, they had further learned how to play together in harmony.
“May it be the same with religion,” the old man thought. “Let each one of us learn through the lessons of life the soft heart of our beliefs. Let us each be a maestro of the love within our religion. Then, having learned our religion well, let us go further and learn how to play, like members of an orchestra, with other religions in harmony together!”
That would be the most beautiful melody!