Religion translates metaphysical or universal truths into the language & forms of the various religions. These are accessible through faith which is, for the vast majority, the only way they can participate in Divine Truths. The transcendent Truth, the Reality common to the great religions, is, less accessible to the majority of believers who are often comfortable with the exoteric practices, the rituals of a religion. For the esoteric, while they participate in rites & observances, they see the need to transcend these forms by fathoming their depths & discerning their universal content. For them, rituals are doorways to be entered in order to reach the Absolute, & not an end in themselves. The esoteric finds the Absolute within the traditions as poets find poetry in poems.
Intellectual knowledge proceeds neither from belief nor reasoning. It goes beyond dogma, without ever contradicting it, and finds the infinite Truth that dominates all forms; and religion, by its very nature, contains & transmits this purely intellectual knowledge which lies beneath the veil of dogma & rituals.
Transcendent unity means that the unity of all religious forms must be realized in a purely inward and spiritual way, and without prejudice to any other form. The antagonisms between the various forms cannot affect the one Universal Truth just as opposing colours cannot affect the transmission of one uncoloured light. Just as every colour, by its negation of darkness and its affirmation of light, provides the possibility of discovering the ray that makes it visible and of tracing this ray back to the luminous source, so all forms, all symbols, all religions, all dogmas, by their negation of error and their affirmation of Truth, makes it possible to follow the ray of Revelation, which is no other than the ray of the Intellect, back to its Divine Source.
Frithjof Schuon, Transcendental Unity of Religions.
Pythagoreans celebrate sunrise by Fyodor Bronnikov c. 1869