Baha'u'llah and the New Era (part 2)

Print

Political Freedom
 
   Although advocating as the ideal condition a representative
form of government, local, national and international,
Baha'u'llah teaches that this is possible only when men have
attained a sufficiently high degree of individual and social
development.  Suddenly to grant full self-government to people
without education, who are dominated by selfish desires and
are inexperienced in the conduct of public affairs, would be
disastrous.  There is nothing more dangerous than freedom for
<p138>
those who aare not fit to use it wisely.  Baha'u'llah writes in the
Book of Aqdas: --
 
     Consider the pettiness of men's minds.  They ask for
   that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that
   profiteth them.  They are, indeed, of those that are far
   astray.  We find some men desiring liberty, and priding
   themselves therein.  Such men are in the depths of
   ignorance.
     Liberty must, in the end, lead to sedition, whose flames
   none can quench.  Thus warneth you He Who is the
   Reckoner, the All-Knowing.  Know ye that the embodiment
   of liberty and its symbol is the animal.  That which
   beseemeth man is submission unto such restraints as will
   protect him from his own ignorance, and guard him
   against the harm of the mischief-maker.  Liberty causeth
   man to overstep the bounds of propriety, and to infrings
   on the dignity of his station.  It debaseth him to the level
   of extreme depravity and wickedness.
     Regard men as a flock of sheep that need a shepherd
   for their protection.  This, verily, is the truth, the certain
   truth.  We approve oof liberty in certain circumstances, and
   refuse to sanction it in others.  We, verily, are the
   All-Knowing.
     Say:  True liberty consisteth in man's submission unto
   My commandments, little as ye know it.  Were men to
   observe that which We have sent down unto them from
   the Heaven of Revelation, they would, of a certainty, attain
   unto perfect liberty.  Happy is the man that hath apprehended
   the Purpose of God in whatever He hath revealed
   from the Heaven of His Will, that pervadeth all
   created things.  Say:  The liberty that profiteth you is to be
   found nowhere except in complete servitude unto God,
   the Eternal Truth.  Whoso hath tasted of its sweetness will
   refuse to barter it for all the dominion of earth and
   heaven. -- Kitab-i-Aqdas.
 
   For improving the condition of backward races and nations,
the Divine teachings are the sovereign remedy.  When both
<p139>
people and statesmen learn and adopt these teachings the nations
will be freed from all their bonds.
 
 
Rulers and Subjects
 
   Baha'u'llah forbids tyranny and oppression in the most
emphatic terms.  In Hidden Words He writes: --
 
     O Oppressors of Earth!
     Withdraw your hands from tyranny, for I have pledged
   Myself not to forgive any man's injustice.  This is My
   covenant which I have irrevocably decreed in the preserved
   tablet and sealed it with My seal of glory.
 
   Those entrusted with the framing and administration of
laws and regulations must "hold fast to the rope of Consultation,
and decide upon and execute that which is conducive to
the people's security, affluence, welfare and tranquillity; for
if matters be arranged otherwise, it will lead to discord and
tumult." -- Tablet of the World.
   On the other hand, the people must be law-abiding and loyal
to the just government.  They must rely on educational methods
and on the force of good example, not on violence, for bringing
about a better state of affairs in the nation.  Baha'u'llah says: --
 
     In every country where any of this community reside,
   they must behave toward the government of that country
   with faithfulness, truthfulness, and obedience. -- Glad
   Tidings.
     O people of God!  Adorn your temples with the mantle
   of trustworthiness and integrity; then assist your Lord
   with the hosts of good deeds and good morals.  Verily We
   have forbidden you sedition and strife, in My Books and
   Epistles, in My Writings and Tablets; and by this We
   have desired only your loftiness and exaltation. -- Tablet
   of Ishraqat.
 
 
Appointment and Promotion
 
   In making appointments, the only criterion must be fitness
for the position.  Before this paramount consideration, all
<p140>
others, such as seniority, social or financial status, family connection
or personal friendship, must give way.  Baha'u'llah says
in the Tablet of Ishraqat: --
 
     The fifth Ishraq (Effulgence) is the knowledge by
   governments of the condition of the governed, and the
   conferring of ranks according to desert and merit.  Regard
   to this matter is strictly enjoined upon every chief and
   ruler, that haply traitors may not usurp the positions of
   trustworthy men nor spoilers occupy the seats of
   guardians.
 
   It needs but little consideration to show that when this
principle becomes generally accepted and acted upon, the
transformation in our social life will be astounding.  When each
individual is given the position for which his talents and
capabilities specially fit him he will be able to put his heart into
his work and become an artist in his profession, with incalculable
benefit to himself and the rest of the world.
 
 
Economic Problems
 
   The Baha'i teachings insist in the strongest terms on the
need for reform in the economic relations of rich and poor.
Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     The arrangements of the circumstances of the people
   must be such that poverty shall disappear, that everyone,
   as far as possible, according to his rank and position, shall
   share in comfort and well-being.  We see among us men
   who are overburdened with riches on the one hand, and
   on the other those unfortunate ones who starve with nothing;
   those who possess several stately palaces, and those
   who have not where to lay their head. ... This condition
   of affairs is wrong, and must be remedied.  Now the
   remedy must be carefully undertaken.  It cannot be done
   by bringing to pass absolute equality between men.
   Equality is a chimera!  It is entirely impracticable.  Even
   if equality could be achieved it could not continue; and
<p141>
   if its existence were possible, the whole order of the world
   would be destroyed.  The Law of Order must always obtain
   in the world of humanity.  Heaven has so decreed in the
   creation of man. ... Humanity, like a great army, requires
   a general, captains, underofficers in their degree,
   and soldiers, each with their appointed duties.  Degrees are
   absolutely necessary to ensure an orderly organization.  An
   army could not be composed of generals alone, or of captains
   only, or of nothing but soldiers without anyone in
   authority.
     Certainly, some being enormously rich and other lamentably
   poor, an organization is necessary to control
   and improve this state of affairs.  It is important to limit
   riches, as it is also of importance to limit poverty.  Either
   extreme is not good. ... When we see poverty allowed
   to reach a condition of starvation, it is a sure sign that
   somewhere we shall find tyranny.  Men must bestir themselves
   in this matter, and no longer delay in altering
   conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to
   a very large number of people.
     The rich must give of their abundance; they must
   soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence,
   taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering
   from lack of the very necessaries of life.
     There must be special laws made, dealing with these
   extremes of rich and want. ... The government of the
   countries should conform to the Divine Law which gives
   equal justice to all. ... Not until this is done will the Law
   of God be obeyed.
 
 
Public Finance
 
   Abdu'l-Baha suggests that each town and village or district
should be entrusted as far as possible with the administration
of fiscal matters within its own area and should contribute its
due proportion for the expenses of the general government.
One of the principal sources of revenue should be a graduated
income tax.  If a man's income does not exceed his necessary
<p142>
expenditure he should not be required to pay any tax, but in
all cases where income exceeds the necessary expenditure a
tax should be levied, the percentage of tax increasing as the
surplus of income over necessary expenditure increases.
   On the other hand, if a person, through illness, poor crops,
or other cause for which he is not responsible, is unable to
earn an income sufficient to meet his necessary expenses for
the year, then what he lacks for the maintenance of himself
and his family should be supplied out of public funds.
   There will also be other sources of public revenue, e.g. from
intestate estates, mines, treasure trove and voluntary contributions;
while among the expenditures will be grants for the
support of the infirm, of orphans, of schools, of the deaf and
blind, and for the maintenance of public health.  Thus the
welfare and comfort of all will be provided for.+F1
 
 
Voluntary Sharing
 
   In a letter to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace,
written in 1919, Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     Among the teachings of Baha'u'llah is voluntary sharing
   of one's property with others among mankind.  This
   voluntary sharing is greater than (legally imposed) equality,
   and consists in this, that one should not prefer oneself
   to others, but rather should sacrifice one's life and property
   for others.  But this should not be introduced by
   coercion so that it becomes a law which man is compelled
   to follow.  Nay, rather, man should voluntarily and of his
   own choice sacrifice his property and life for others, and
   spend willingly for the poor, just as is done in Persia
   among the Baha'is.
 
 
Work for All
 
   One of the most important instructions of Baha'u'llah in
regard to the economic question is that all must engage in
------------------------
1.    For further particulars see Abdu'l-Baha's published addresses,
    especially those given in the United States of America.
<p143>
useful work.  There must be no drones in the social hive, no
able-bodied parasites on society.  He says: --
 
     It is enjoined on every one of you to engage in some
   occupation -- some art, trade or the like.  We have made
   this -- your occupation -- identical with the worship of
   God, the True One.  Reflect, O people, upon the Mercy of
   God and upon His Favors, then thank Him in the mornings
   and evenings.
     Waste not your time in idleness and indolence, and
   occupy yourselves with that which will profit yourselves
   and others beside yourselves, Thus hath the matter been
   decreed in this Tablet, from the Horizon of which the Sun
   of Wisdom and Divine Utterance is gleaming!  The most
   despised of men before is he who sits and begs.  Cling
   unto the rope of means, relying upon God, the Causer of
   Causes. -- Glad Tidings.
 
   How much of the energy employed in the business world of
today is expended simply in canceling and neutralizing the
efforts of other people -- in useless strife and competition!  And
how much in ways that are still more injurious!  Were all to
work, and were all work, whether of brain or hand, of a nature
profitable to mankind, as Baha'u'llah commands, then the supplies
of everything necessary for a healthy, comfortable and
noble life would amply suffice for all.  There need be no slums,
no starvation, no destitution, no industrial slavery, no health-destroying
drudgery.
 
 
The Ethics of Wealth
 
   According to the Baha'i teachings, riches rightly acquired
and rightly used are honorable and praiseworthy.  Services
rendered should be adequately rewarded.  Baha'u'llah says in
the Tablet of Tarazat: -- "The people of Baha must not refuse
to discharge the due reward of anyone, and must respect possessors
of talent, ... One must speak with justice and recognize
the worth of benefits."
<p144>
   With regard to interest on money, Baha'u'llah writes in the
Tablet of Ishraqat as follows: --
 
     Most of the people are found to be in need of this mattter;
   for if no interest be allowed, affairs (business) will
   be trammeled and obstructed. ... A person is rarely
   found who would lend money to anyone upon the principle
   of "Qar-i-hasan" (literally "good loan," i.e. money
   advanced without interest and repaid at the pleasure of
   the borrower).  Consequently, out of favor to the servants,
   We have appointed "profit on money" to be current,
   among other business transactions which are in force
   among people.  That is ... it is allowable, lawful and
   pure to charge interest on money ... but this matter
   must be conducted with moderation and justice.  The Pen
   of Glory has withheld itself from laying down its limits, as
   a Wisdom from His Presence and as a convenience for His
   servants.  We exhort the friends of God to act with fairness
   and justice, and in such a way that the mercy of His beloved
   ones, and their compassion, may be manifested toward
   each other. ...
     The execution of these matters has been placed in
   charge of the men of the House of Justice, in order that
   they may act in accordance with the exigencies of the time
   and with wisdom.
 
 
No Industrial Slavery
 
   In the Book of Aqdas Baha'u'llah forbids slavery, and
Abdu'l-Baha has explained that not only chattel slavery, but
also industrial slavery, is contrary to the law of God.  When in
the United States in 1912, He said to the American people: --
 
     Between 1860 and 1865 you did a wonderful thing;
   you abolished chattel slavery; but today you must do a
   much more wonderful thing:  you must abolish industrial
   slavery. ...
     The solution of economic questions will not be brought
   about by array of capital against labor, and labor against
<p145>
   capital, in strife and conflict, but by the voluntary attitude
   of goodwill on both sides.  Then a real and lasting justness
   of conditions will be secured. ...
     Among the Baha'is there are no extortionate, mercenary
   and unjust practices, no rebellious demands, no revolutionary
   uprisings against existing governments. ...
     It will not be possible in the future for men to amass
   great fortunes by the labors of others.  The rich will
   willingly divide.  They will come to this gradually, naturally,
   by their own volition.  It will never be accomplished
   by war and bloodshed.
 
   It is by friendly consultation and cooperation, by just copartnership
and profit-sharing, that the interests of both capital
and labor will be best served.  The harsh weapons of the strike
and lockout are injurious, not only to the trades immediately
affected, but to the community as a whole.  It is, therefore, the
business of the governments to devise means for preventing
recourse to such barbarous methods of settling disputes.
Abdu'l-Baha said at Dublin, New Hampshire, in 1912: --
 
     Now I want to tell you about the law of God.  According
   to the divine law, employees should not be paid merely
   by wages.  Nay, rather they should be partners in every
   work.  The question of socialization is very difficult.  It
   will not be solved by strikes for wages.  All the governments
   of the world must be united, and organize an assembly,
   the members of which shall be elected from the
   parliaments and the noble ones of the nations.  These must
   plan with wisdom and power, so that neither the capitalists
   suffer enormous losses, nor the laborers become
   needy.  In the utmost moderation they should make the
   law, then announce to the public that the rights of the
   working people are to be effectively preserved; also the
   rights of the capitalists are to be protected.  When such a
   general law is adopted, by the will of both sides, should a
   strike occur, all the governments of the world should collectively
   resist it.  Otherwise the work will lead to much
<p146>
   destruction, especially in Europe.  Terrible things will take
   place.
     One of the several causes of a universal European war
   will be this question.  The owners of properties, mines and
   factories, should share their incomes with their employees,
   and give a fairly certain percentage of their profits to
   their workingmen, in order that the employees should receive,
   besides their wages, some of the general income of
   the factory, so that the employee may strive with his soul
   in the work.
 
 
Bequest and Inheritance
 
   Baha'u'llah states that a person should be free to dispose of
his possessions during his lifetime in any way he chooses, and
it is incumbent on everyone to write a will stating how his
property is to be disposed of after his death.  When a person
dies without leaving a will, the value of the property should be
estimated and divided in certain state proportions among
seven classes of inheritors, namely, children, wife or husband,
father, mother, brothers, sisters and teachers, the share of
each diminishing from the first to the last.  In the absence of
one or more of these classes, the share which would belong to
them goes to the public treasury, to be expended on the poor,
the fatherless and the widows, or on useful public works.  If
the deceased has no heirs, then all his property goes to the public
treasury.
   There is nothing in the law of Baha'u'llah to prevent a man
from leaving all his property to one individual if he pleases,
but Baha'is will naturally be influenced, in making their wills,
by the model Baha'u'llah has laid down for the case of
intestate estates, which ensures distribution of property
among a considerable number of heirs.
 
 
Equality of Men and Women
 
   One of the social principles to which Baha'u'llah attaches
great importance is that women should be regarded as the
equals of men and should enjoy equal rights and privileges,
<p147>
equal education and equal opportunities.
   The great means on which He relies for bringing about the
emancipation of women is universal education.  Girls are to
receive as good an education as boys.  In fact, the education
of girls is even more important than that of boys, for in time
these girls will become mothers, and, as mothers, they will be
the first teachers of the next generation.  Children are like green
and tender branches; if the early training is right they grow
straight, and if it is wrong they grow crooked; and to the end
of their lives they are affected by the training of their earliest
years.  How important, then, that girls should be well and
wisely educated!
   During His Western tours, Abdu'l-Baha had frequent occasion
to explain the Baha'i teachings on this subject.  At a meeting
of the Women's Freedom League in London in January
1913, He said: --
 
     Humanity is like a bird with its two wings -- the one is
   male, the other female.  Unless both wings are strong and
   impelled by some common force, the bird cannot fly
   heavenwards.  According to the spirit of this age, women
   must advance and fulfill their mission in all departments
   of life, becoming equal to men.  They must be on the same
   level as men and enjoy equal rights.  This is my earnest
   prayer and it is one of the fundamental principles of
   Baha'u'llah.
     Some scientists have declared that the brains of men
   weigh more than those of women, and claim this as a
   proof of man's superiority.  Yet when we look around us
   we see people with small heads, whose brains much weigh
   little, who show the greatest intelligence and great powers
   of understanding; and others with big heads, whose brains
   must be heavy, and yet they are witless.  Therefore the
   avoirdupois of the brain is no true measure of intelligence
   or superiority.
     When men bring forward as a second proof of their
   superiority the assertion that women have not achieved as
   much as men, they use poor arguments which leave
   history out of consideration.  If they kept themselves more
<p148>
   fully informed historically, they would know that great
   women have lived and achieved great things in the past,
   and that there are many living and achieving great things
   today.
 
   Here Abdu'l-Baha described the achievements of Zenobia
and other great women of the past, concluding with an eloquent
tribute to the fearless Mary Magdalene, whose faith remained
firm while that of the apostles was shaken.  He
continued: --
 
     Amongst the women of our own time is Qurratu'l-'Ayn,
   the daughter of a Muhammadan priest.  At the time of the
   appearance of the Bab she showed such tremendous
   courage and power that all who heard her were astonished.
   She threw aside her veil despite the immemorial
   custom of the women of Persia, and although it was considered
   impolite to speak with men, this heroic woman
   carried on controversies with the most learned men, and
   in every meeting she vanquished them.  The Persian
   Government took her prisoner; she was stoned in the
   streets, anathematized, exiled from town to town, threatened
   with death, but she never failed in her determination
   to work for the freedom of her sisters.  She bore persecution
   and suffering with the greatest heroism; even in
   prison she gained converts.  To a Minister in Persia, in
   whose house she was imprisoned, she said:  "You can kill
   me as soon as you like but you cannot stop the emancipation
   of women."  At last the end of her tragic life came;
   she was carried into a garden and strangled.  She put on,
   however, her choicest robes as if she were going to join
   a bridal party.  With such magnanimity and courage she
   gave her life, startling and thrilling all who saw her.  She
   was truly a great heroine.  Today in Persia, among the
   Baha'is, there are women who also show unflinching
   courage, and who are endowed with great poetic insight.
   They are most eloquent, and speak before large gatherings
   of people.
     Women must go on advancing; they must extend their
<p149>
   knowledge of science, literature, history, for the perfection
   of humanity.  Erelong they will receive their rights.
   Men will see women in earnest, bearing themselves with
   dignity, improving the civil and political life, opposed to
   warfare, demanding suffrage and equal opportunities.
   I expect to see you advance in all phases of life; then
   will your brows be crowned with the diadem of eternal
   glory.
 
 
Women and the New Age
 
   When woman's point of view receives due consideration and
woman's will is allowed adequate expression in the arrangement
of social affairs, we may expect great advancement in
matters which have often be grievously neglected under the
old regime of male dominance -- such matters as health, temperance,
peace, and regard for the value of the individual life.
Improvements in these respects will have very far-reaching and
beneficent effects.  Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man
   has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful
   and aggressive qualities both of body and mind.  But
   the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance,
   and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual
   qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong,
   are gaining ascendancy.  Hence the new age will be an
   age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine
   ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which
   the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will
   be more evenly balanced. -- Star of the West, viii, No. 3,
   p. 4 [from report of remarks made abose the S.S. Cedric
   on arrival in New York].
 
 
Methods of Violence Discarded
 
   In bringing about the emancipation of women as in other
matters, Baha'u'llah counsels His followers to avoid methods
of violence.  An excellent illustration of the Baha'i method of
social reform has been given by the Baha'i in Persia,
<p150>
Egypt and Syria.  In these countries it is customary for Muhammadan
women outside their homes to wear a veil covering
the face.  The Bab indicated that in the New Dispensation
women would be relieved from this irksome restraint, but
Baha'u'llah counsels His followers, where no important question
of morality is involved, to defer to established customs
until people become enlightened, rather than scandalize those
amongst whom they live, and arouse needless antagonism.
The Baha'i women, therefore, although well aware that the
antiquated custom of wearing the veil is, for enlightened people,
unnecessary and inconvenient, yet quietly put up with the
inconvenience, rather than rouse a storm of fanatical hatred
and rancorous opposition by uncovering their faces in public.
This conformity to custom is in no way due to fear, but to an
assured confidence in the power of education and in the transforming
and life-giving effect of true religion.  Baha'is in these
regions are devoting their energies to the education of their
children, especially their girls, and to the diffusion and promotion
of the Baha'i ideals, well knowing that as the new
spiritual life grows and spreads among the people, antiquated
customs and prejudices will by and by be shed, as naturally
and inevitably as bud scales are shed in spring when the leaves
and flowers expand in the sunshine.
 
 
Education
 
   Education -- the instruction and guidance of men and the
development and training of their innate faculties -- has been
the supreme aim of all the Holy Prophets since the world began,
and in the Baha'i teachings the fundamental importance
and limitless possibilities of education are proclaimed in the
clearest terms.  The teacher is the most potent factor in civilization
and his work is the highest to which men can aspire.
Education begins in the mother's womb and is as unending as
the life of the individual.  It is a perennial necessity of right
living and the foundation of both individual and social welfare.
When education on right lines becomes general, humanity
will be transformed and world will become a paradise.
<p151>
   At present a really well educated man is the rarest of
phenomena, for nearly everyone has false prejudices, wrong
ideals, erroneous conceptions and bad habits drilled into him
from babyhood.  How few are taught from their earliest childhood
to love God with all their hearts and dedicate their lives
to Him; to regard service to humanity as the highest aim in
life; to develop their powers to the best advantage for the
general good of all!  Yet surely these are the essential elements
of a good education.  Mere cramming of the memory with facts
about arithmetic, grammar, geography, languages, etc., has
comparatively little effect in producing noble and useful lives.
   Baha'u'llah says that education must be universal: --
 
     It is decreed that every father must educate his sons
   and daughters in learning and in writing and also in that
   which hath been ordained in the tablet.  He who neglects
   that which hath been commanded (in this matter), if he
   be rich, it is incumbent on the trustees of the House of
   Justice to recover from him the amount required for the
   education of his children; otherwise (i.e. if the parent be
   not capable) the matter shall devolve upon the House of
   Justice.  Verily We have made it (the House of Justice)
   an asylum for the poor and needy.
     He who educates his son, or any other children, it is as
   though he hath educated one of My children. -- Tablet of
   Ishraqat.
     Men and women must place a part of what they earn
   by trade, agriculture or other business, in charge of a
   trustworthy person, to be spent in the education and instruction
   of the children.  That deposit must be invested
   in the education of the children, under the advice of the
   trustees (or members) of the House of Justice. -- Tablet
   of the World.
 
 
Innate Differences of Nature
 
   In the Baha'i view the child's nature is not like so much wax
that can be molded indifferently to any shape according to the
will of the teacher.  Nay, each from the first has his own God-given
<p152>
character and individuality which can develop to the
best advantage only in a particular way; and that way in each
case is unique.  No two people have exactly the same capabilities
and talents, and the true educator will never attempt to
force two natures into the same mold.  In fact, he will never
attempt to force any nature into any mold.  Rather he will
reverently tend the developing powers of the young nature,
encourage and protect them, and supply the nourishment
and assistance which they need.  His work is like that of a gardener
tending different plants.  One plant likes the bright sunshine,
another the cool shade; one loves the water's edge and another
the dry knoll; one thrives best on sandy soil and another on rich
loam.  Each must have its needs appropriately supplied, else
its perfections can never be fully revealed.  Abdu'l-Baha
says: --
 
     The Prophets acknowledge that education hath a great
   effect upon the human race, but They declare that minds
   and comprehensions are originally different.  We see that
   certain children of the same age, nativity and race, nay,
   from the same household, under the tutorship of the same
   teacher, differ in minds and comprehensions.  No matter
   how the shell is educated (or polished) it can never become
   the radiant pearl.  The black stone will not become
   the world-illuminating gem.  The thorny cactus can never
   by training and development become the blessed tree.
   That is to say, training doth not change the essential
   nature of the human gem, but it produceth a marvelous
   effect.  By this effective power all that is latent, of virtues
   and capacities in the human reality, will be revealed.
 
 
Character Training
 
   The thing of paramount importance in education is
character training.  With regard to this, example is more effective
than precept, and the lives and characters of the child's
parents, teachers and habitual associates are factors of the
utmost importance.
<p153>
   The Prophets of God are the great educators of mankind,
and Their counsels and the story of Their lives should be instilled
into the child's mind as soon as it is able to grasp them.
Especially important are the words of the Supreme Teacher,
Baha'u'llah, Who reveals the root principles on which the
civilization of the future must be built up.  He says: --
 
     Teach your children what hath been revealed through
   the Pen of Glory.  Instruct them in what hath descended
   from the heaven of greatness and power.  Let them memorize
   the Tablets of the Merciful and chant them with the
   most melodious voices in the halls of the
   Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.
 
 
Arts, Sciences, and Crafts
 
   Training in arts, sciences, crafts and useful professions is
regarded as important and necessary.  Baha'u'llah says: --
 
     Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man)
   and is like a ladder for ascending.  To acquire knowledge
   is incumbent upon all, but of those sciences which may
   profit the people of the earth, and not such sciences as
   being in mere words and end in mere words.  The possessors
   of sciences and arts have a great right among the
   people of the world.  Indeed, the real treasury of man is his
   knowledge.  Knowledge is the means of honor, prosperity,
   joy, gladness, happiness and exaltation. -- Tablet of
   Tajalliyat.
 
 
Treatment of Criminals
 
   In a talk on the right method of treating criminals, Abdu'l-Baha
spoke as follows: --
 
     ... the most essential thing is that the people must be
   educated in such a way ... that they will avoid and
   shrink from perpetrating crimes, so that the crime itself
   will appear to them as the greatest chastisement, the utmost
<p154>
   condemnation and torment.  Therefore no crimes
   which require punishment will be committed. ...
     ... if someone oppresses, injures, and wrongs another,
   and the wronged man retaliates, this is vengeance,
   and is censurable. ... If `Amru dishonours Zaid, the latter
   has not the right to dishonour `Amru; if he does so, this is
   vengeance, and is very reprehensible.  No, rather he must
   return good for evil, and not only forgive, but also, if possible,
   be of service to his oppressor.  This conduct is worthy
   of man; for what advantage does he gain by vengeance?
   The two actions are equivalent; if one action is reprehensible,
   both are reprehensible.  The only difference is that one
   was committed first, the other later.
     But the community has the right of defense and of self-protection;
   moreover, the community has no hatred nor
   animosity for the murderer:  it imprisons or punishes him
   merely for the protection and security of others. ...
     Thus when Christ said:  "Whosoever shall smite thee on
   the right cheek, turn to him the left one also," it was for
   the purpose of teaching men not to take personal revenge.
   He did not mean that if a wolf should fall upon a flock of
   sheep and wish to destroy it, that the wolf should be encouraged
   to do so.  No, if Christ had known that a wolf
   had entered the fold and was about to destroy the sheep,
   most certainly he would have prevented it. ...
     ... the constitution of the communities depends
   upon justice. ... Then what Christ meant by forgiveness
   and pardon is not that, when nations attack you, burn
   your homes, plunder your goods, assault your wives,
   children, and relatives, and violate your honour, you
   should be submissive in the presence of these tyrannical
   foes, and allow them to perform all their cruelties and oppressions.
   No, the words of Christ refer to the conduct of
   two individuals towards each other:  if one person assaults
   another, the injured one should forgive him.  But the
   communities must protect the rights of man. ...
     One thing remains to be said:  it is that the communities
   are day and night occupied in making penal
   laws, and in preparing and organizing instruments and
<p155>
   means of punishment.  They build prisons, make chains
   and fetters, arrange places of exile and banishment, and
   different kinds of hardships and tortures, and think by
   these means to discipline criminals; whereas, in reality,
   they are causing destruction of morals and perversion of
   characters.  The community, on the contrary, ought day
   and night to strive and endeavour with the utmost zeal
   and effort to accomplish the education of men, to cause
   them day by day to progress and to increase in science
   and knowledge, to acquire virtues, to gain good morals
   and to avoid vices, so that crimes may not occur. -- Some
   Answered Questions, pp. 307-311.
 
 
Influence of the Press
 
   The importance of the press as a means of diffusing knowledge
and educating the people, and its power as a civilizing
force, when rightly directed, are fully recognized by Baha'u'llah.
He writes: --
 
     In this day the mysteries of this earth are unfolded and
   visible before the eyes, and the pages of swiftly appearing
   newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world; they display
   the doings and actions of the different nations; they
   both illustrate them and cause them to be heard.  Newspapers
   are as a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and
   speech; they are a wonderful phenomenon and a great
   matter.
     But it behooves the writers and editors thereof to be
   sanctified from the prejudice of egotism and desire, and to
   be adorned with the ornament of equity and justice.  They
   must inquire into matters as fully as possible in order that
   they may be informed of the real facts, and commit the
   same to writing.  Concerning this wronged one, what the
   newspapers have published has for the most part
   been devoid of truth.  Good speech and truthfulness are, in
   loftiness of position and rank, like the sun which has risen
   from the horizon of the heaven of knowledge. -- Tablet of
   Tarazat.
<p156>
The Way to Peace/10
 
   Today, this Servant has assuredly come to vivify the world
and to bring into unity all who are on the face of the earth.
That which God willeth shall come to pass and thou shalt see
the earth even as the Abha (Most Glorious) Paradise. --
BAHA'U'LLAH, Tablet to the Ra'is.
 
 
Conflict versus Concord
 
   During the past century scientists have devoted and immense
amount of study to the struggle for existence in the plant and
animal world, and, amid the perplexities of social life, many
have turned for guidance to the principles which have been
found to hold good in the lower world of nature.  In this way
they have come to regard rivalry and conflict as necessities of
life, and the ruthless killing out of the weaker members of
society as a legitimate or even necessary means of improving
the race.  Baha'u'llah tells us, on the other hand, that, if we
wish to ascend the scale of progress, instead of looking backward
to the animal world, we must direct our gaze forward
and upward, and must take not the beasts, but the Prophets
as our guides.  The principles of unity, concord and compassion
taught by the Prophets are the very antithesis of those
dominating the animal struggle for self-preservation, and we
must choose between them, for they cannot be reconciled.
Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     In the world of nature the dominant note is the struggle
   for existence -- the result of which is the survival of the
   fittest.  The law of the survival of the fittest is the origin
   of all difficulties.  It is the cause of war and strife, hatred
   and animosity, between human beings.  In the world of
   nature there is tyranny, egoism, aggression, overbearance,
   usurpation of the rights of others and other blameworthy
<p157>
   attributes which are defects of the animal world.  Therefore,
   so long as the requirements of the natural world play
   paramount part among the children of men, success and
   prosperity are impossible.  Nature is warlike, nature is
   bloodthirsty, nature is tyrannical, for nature is unaware of
   God the Almighty.  That is why these cruel qualities are
   natural to the animal world.
     Therefore the Lord of mankind, having great love and
   mercy, has caused the appearance of the prophets and the
   revelation of the Holy Books, so that through divine education
   humanity may be released from the corruption of
   nature and the darkness of ignorance, be confirmed with
   ideal virtues and spiritual attributes, and become the
   dawning-place of merciful emotions. ...
     A hundred thousand times, alas! that ignorant prejudice,
   unnatural differences and antagonistic principles are
   yet displayed by the nations of the world toward one another,
   thus causing the retardation of general progress.
   This retrogression comes from the fact that the principles
   of divine civilization are completely abandoned, and the
   teachings of the prophets are forgotten.
 
 
The Most Great Peace
 
   In all ages the Prophets of God have foretold the coming of
an era of "peace on earth, goodwill among men."  As we have
already seen Baha'u'llah, in the most glowing and confident
terms, confirms these prophecies and declares that their fulfillment
is at hand.  Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     ... in this marvellous cycle, the earth will be transformed,
   and the world of humanity arrayed in tranquility
   and beauty.  Disputes, quarrels, and murders will
   be replaced by peace, truth, and concord; among the
   nations, peoples, races, and countries, love and amity
   will appear.  Co-operation and union will be established,
   and finally war will be entirely suppressed. ... Universal
   peace will raise its tent in the centre of the earth,
<p158>
   and the Blessed Tree of Life will grow and spread to such
   an extent that it will overshadow the East and the West.
   Strong and weak, rich and poor, antagonistic sects and
   hostile nations -- which are like the wolf and the lamb, the
   leopard and kid, the lion and calf -- will act towards each
   other with the most complete love, friendship, justice, and
   equity.  The world will be filled with science, with the
   knowledge of the reality of the mysteries of beings, and
   with the knowledge of God. -- Some Answered Questions,
   pp. 74-75.
 
 
Religious Prejudices
 
   In order to see clearly how the Most Great Peace may be
established, let us first examine the principle causes that have
led to war in the past and see how Baha'u'llah proposes to deal
with each.
   One of the most fertile causes of war has been religious
prejudice.  With regard to this the Baha'i teachings show
clearly that animosity and conflict between people of different
religions and sects have always been due, not to true religion,
but to the want of it, and to its replacement by false prejudices,
imitations and misrepresentations.
   In one of His talks in Paris, Abdu'l-Baha said:
 
     Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and
   disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should
   give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every
   soul.  If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and
   division it would be better to be without it, and to withdraw
   from such a religion would be a truly religious act.
   For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure, but
   if the remedy only aggravates the complaint, it had better
   be left alone.  Any religion which is not a cause of love
   and unity is no religion.
 
   Again He says: --
 
     From the beginning of human history down to the
<p159>
   present time various religions of the world have anathematized
   one another and accused one another of falsity.
   ... They have shunned one another most rigidly, exercising
   mutual animosity and rancor.  Consider the history
   of religious warfare. ... One of the greatest religious wars,
   the Crusaders, extended over a period of 200 years.
   ... Sometimes the Crusaders were successful, killing,
   pillaging and taking captive Muhammadan people;
   sometimes the Mussulmans were victorious, inflicting
   bloodshed and ruin in turn upon the invaders.
     So they continued for two centuries, alternately fighting
   with fury and relaxing with weakness until the European
   religionists withdrew from the East, leaving ashes of desolation
   behind them and finding their own nations in a condition
   of turbulence and upheaval. ... Yet this was only
   one of the "Holy wars."
     Religious wars have been many.  Nine hundred thousand
   martyrs of the Protestant cause was the record of
   conflict and difference between that sect of Christians and
   the Catholics. ... How many languished in prisons!
   How merciless the treatment of captives!  All in the name
   of religion!
     The Christians and Muhammadans considered the
   Jews as satanic and the enemies of God.  Therefore they
   cursed and persecuted them.  Great numbers of Jews
   were killed, their houses burnt and pillaged, their children
   carried into captivity.  The Jews in turn regarded the
   Christians as infidels, and the Muhammadans as enemies
   and destroyers of the laws of Moses; therefore they called
   down vengeance upon them and curse them even to this
   day.
     When the light of Baha'u'llah dawned from the East,
   He proclaimed the promise of the oneness of humanity.
   He addressed all mankind saying:  "Ye are all fruits of
   one tree.  There are not two trees, one a tree of divine
   mercy, the other a tree of Satan." ... Therefore we
   must exercise the utmost love toward one another.  We
   must not consider any people the people of Satan, but
<p160>
   know and recognize all as servants of one God.  At most
   it is this:  some do not know, they must be guided and
   trained. ... Some are ignorant, they must be informed.
   Some are as children, they must be helped to reach
   maturity.  Some are ailing, their moral condition is bad,
   they must be treated until their morals are purified.  But
   the sick man is not to be hated because he is sick; the
   child must not be shunned because he is a child, the
   ignorant one is not to be despised because he lacks knowledge.
   They must be treated, educated, trained and assisted
   in love.  Everything must be done in order that all
   humanity may live under the shadow of God in the utmost
   security, in happiness of the highest type.
 
 
Racial and Patriotic Prejudices
 
   The Baha'i doctrine of the unity of mankind strikes at the
root of another cause of war, namely, racial prejudice.  Certain
races have assumed themselves to be superior to others and
have taken for granted, on the principle of "survival of the
fittest," that this superiority gives them the right to exploit
for their own advantage, or even to exterminate, weaker races.
Many of the blackest pages in the world's history are examples
of the pitiless application of this principle.  According to the
Baha'i view people of every race are of equal value in the sight
of God.  All have wonderful innate capacities which only require
suitable education for their development, and each can
play a part, which, instead of impoverishing, will enrich and
complete the life of all the other members of the body of
humanity.  Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     Concerning the prejudice of race; it is an illusion, a
   superstition pure and simple, for God created us all of one
   race. ... In the beginning also there were no limits and
   boundaries between the different lands; no part of the
   earth belonged more to one people than to another.  In the
   sight of God there is no different between the various
<p161>
   races.  Why should man invent such a prejudice?  How
   can we uphold war caused by such an illusion?  God has
   not created men that they should destroy one another.  All
   races, tribes, sects and classes share equally in the bounty
   of their Heavenly Father.
     The only real difference lies in the degree of faithfulness,
   of obedience to the laws of God.  There are some
   who are as lighted torches; there are others who shine as
   stars in the sky of humanity.
     The lovers of mankind, these are the superior men, of
   whatever nation, creed or color they may be.
 
   Equally mischievous with racial prejudice is political or
patriotic prejudice.  The time has now come when narrow
national patriotisms should be merged in the wider patriotism
whose country is the world.  Baha'u'llah says: --
 
     Of old it hath been revealed:  "Love of one's country
   is an element of the Faith of God."  The Tongue of Grandeur
   hath ... in the day of His manifestation proclaimed:
   "It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his
   who loveth the world."  Through the power released by
   these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a
   new direction, to the birds of men's hearts, and hath obliterated
   every trace of restriction and limitation from God's
   Holy Book. -- Tablet of the World.
 
 
Territorial Ambitions
 
   Many are the wars which have been fought over pieces of
territory whose possession has been coveted by two or more
rival nations.  The greed of possession has been as fertile a
cause of strife among nations as among individuals.  According
to the Baha'i view, land rightly belongs not to individual
men or individual nations but to humanity as a whole; nay,
rather, it belongs to God alone, and all men are but tenants.
<p162>
   On the occasion of the Battle of Benghazi+F1 , Abdu'l-Baha
said: --
 
     The news of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart.
   I wonder at the human savagery that still exists in the
   world:  How is it possible for men to fight from morning
   till night, killing each other, shedding the blood of their
   fellowmen?  And for what object?  To gain possession of
   a part of the earth!  Even the animals when they fight
   have an immediate and more reasonable cause for their
   attacks.  How terrible is it that men who are of the higher
   kingdom can descend to slaying and bringing misery to
   their fellow beings for the possession of a tract of land --
   the highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest
   form of matter, earth.
     Land belongs not to one people but to all people.  The
   earth is not man's home but his tomb.
     However great the conqueror, however many countries
   he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of
   these devastated lands but one tiny portion -- his tomb.
     If more land is required for the improvement of the
   condition of the people, for the spread of civilization
   ... surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the
   necessary extension of territory.  But war is made for the
   satisfaction of men's ambition.  For the sake of worldly
   gain to the few terrible misery is brought to numberless
   homes, breaking the hearts of hundred of men and
   women. ...
     I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all
   the thoughts of his heart on love and unity.  When a
   thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of
   peace.  A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more
   powerful thought of love.  When soldiers of the world draw
   their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other's
   hands.  So may all the savagery of men disappear by the
   mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the
------------------------
1.    A battle of the Italo-Turkish War which broke out on September 29,
    1911.
<p163>
   sincere of soul.  Do not think the peace of the world
   an ideal impossible to attain.  Nothing is impossible to the
   divine benevolence of God.  If you desire with all your
   heart friendship with every race on earth, your thought,
   spiritual and positive will spread; it will become the
   desire of others, growing stronger until it reaches the
   minds of all men.
 
 
Universal Language
 
   Having glanced at the principal causes of war and how they
may be avoided, we may now proceed to examine certain
constructive proposals made by Baha'u'llah with a view to
achieving the Most Great Peace.
   The first deals with the establishment of a universal auxiliary
language.  Baha'u'llah refers to this matter in the Book of
Aqdas and in many of His Tablets.  Thus in the Tablet of
Ishraqat He says: --
 
     The Sixth Ishraq (Effulgence) is Concord and Union
   amongst men.  Through the radiance of Union have the
   regions of the world at all times been illumined, and the
   greatest of all means thereunto is the understanding of one
   another's writing and speech.  Ere this, in Our Epistles,
   have We commanded the Trustees of the House of Justice,
   either to choose one of the existing tongues, or to originate
   a new one, and in like manner to adopt a common script,
   teaching these to the children in all the schools of the
   world, that the world may become even as one land and
   one home.
 
   About the time when this proposal of Baha'u'llah was first
given to the world, there was born in Poland a boy named
Ludovic Zamenhof, who was destined to play a leading part
in carrying it into effect.  Almost from his infancy, the ideal
of a universal language became a dominant motive in Zamenhof's
life, and the result of his devoted labors was the invention
and widespread adoption of the language known as
Esperanto, which has now stood the test of many years and
<p164>
has proved to be a very satisfactory medium of international
intercourse.  It has the great advantage that it can be mastered
in about a twentieth part of the time required to master such
languages as English, French or German.  At an Esperanto
banquet given in Paris in February 1913, Abdu'l-Baha
said: --
 
     Today one of the chief causes of the differences in
   Europe is the diversity of languages.  We say this man is a
   German, the other is an Italian, then we meet an Englishman
   and then again a Frenchman.  Although they belong
   to the same race, yet language is the greatest barrier between
   them.  Were a universal auxiliary language in operation
   they would all be considered as one.
     His Holiness Baha'u'llah wrote about this international
   language more than forty years ago.  He says that as long
   as an international language is not adopted, complete
   union between the various sections of the world will be
   unrealized, for we observe that misunderstandings keep
   people from mutual association, and these misunderstandings
   will not be dispelled except through an international
   auxiliary language.
     Generally speaking, the whole people of the Orient are
   not fully informed of events in the West, neither can the
   Westerners put themselves in sympathetic touch with
   the Easterners; their thoughts are enclosed in a casket
   -- the international language will be the master key to
   open it.  Were we in possession of a universal language,
   the Western books could easily be translated into that
   language, and the Eastern peoples be informed of their
   contents.  In the same way the books of the East could be
   translated into that language for the benefit of the people
   in the West.  The greatest means of progress towards the
   union of East and West will be a common language.  It
   will make the whole world one home and become the
   strongest impulse for human advancement.  It will upraise
   the standard of the oneness of humanity.  It will make the
   earth one universal commonwealth.  It will be the cause
<p165>
   of love between the children of men.  It will cause good
   fellowship between the various races.
     Now, praise be to God that Dr. Zamenhof+F1 has invented
   the Esperanto language.  It has all the potential
   qualities of becoming the international means of communication.
   All of us must be grateful and thankful to
   him for this noble effort; for in this way he has served his
   fellowmen well.  With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on
   the part of its devotees Esperanto will become universal.
   Therefore every one of us must study this language and
   spread it as far as possible so that day by day it may receive
   a broader recognition, be accepted by all nations
   and governments of the world, and become a part of the
   curriculum in all the public schools.  I hope that Esperanto
   will be adopted as the language of all the future
   international conferences and congresses, so that all
   people need acquire only two languages -- one their own
   tongue and the other the international language.  Then
   perfect union will be established between all the people
   of the world.  Consider how difficult it is today to communicate
   with various nations.  If one studies fifty
   languages one may yet travel through a country and not
   know the language.  Therefore I hope that you will make
   the utmost effort, so that this language of Esperanto
   may be widely spread.
 
   While these allusions to Esperanto are specific and encouraging,
it remains true that until the House of Justice has acted
on the matter in accordance with Baha'u'llah's instruction the
Baha'i Faith is not committed to Esperanto nor to any other
living or artificial tongue.  Abdu'l-Baha Himself said:  "The
love and effort put into Esperanto will not be lost, but no one
person can construct a Universal Language." -- Abdu'l-Baha in
London, p. 95.
   Which language to adopt, and whether it is to be a natural
------------------------
1.    It is of interest that Zamenhof's daughter, Lydia, became an active
    Baha'i.
<p166>
or constructed one, is a decision which the nations of the world
will have to make.
 
 
Universal League of Nations
 
   Another proposal frequently and powerfully advocated by
Baha'u'llah was that a Universal League of Nations should be
formed for the maintenance of international peace.  In a letter to
Queen Victoria, written while He was still a prisoner in the
barracks of Akka,+F1 He said: --
 
     O Rulers of the earth!  Be reconciled among yourselves,
   that ye may need no more armaments save in a measure to
   safeguard your territories and dominions. ...
     Be united, O Kings of the earth, for thereby will the
   tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your people
   find rest. ... Should any one among you take up arms
   against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught
   but manifest justice.
 
   In 1875, Abdu'l-Baha gave a forecast of the establishment
of a Universal League of Nations, which is especially interesting
at the present time+F2 in view of the strenuous attempts now
being made to establish such a league.  He wrote: --
 
     True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost
   heart of the world whenever a certain number of its
   distinguished and high-minded sovereigns -- the shining
   exemplars of devotion and determination -- shall, for the
   good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve
   and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal
   Peace.  They must make the Cause of Peace the object
   of general consultation, and seek by every means in their
   power to establish a Union of the nations of the world.
   They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a
   covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable
   and definite.  They must proclaim it to all the
------------------------
1.    1868 to 1870.
2.    The author wrote this passage in 1919-1920.
<p167>
   world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race.
   This supreme and noble undertaking -- the real source
   of the peace and well-being of all the world -- should be
   regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth.  All the
   forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the
   stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant.
   In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each
   and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles
   underlying the relations of governments towards one another
   definitely laid down, and all international agreements
   and obligations ascertained.  In like manner, the
   size of the armaments of every government should be
   strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the
   military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase,
   they will arouse the suspicion of others.  The fundamental
   principle underlying this solemn Pact should be
   so fixed that if any government later violate any one of
   its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise
   to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a
   whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to
   destroy that government.  Should this greatest of all remedies
   be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly
   recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe
   and secure. -- The Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 64-65.
 
   Baha'is see grave deficiencies in the structure of the League
of Nations+F1 which falls short of the type of institution which
Baha'u'llah described as essential to the establishment of world
peace.  On December 17, 1919, Abdu'l-Baha declared: --
 
     At present Universal Peace is a matter of great importance,
   but unity of conscience is essential, so that the
   foundation of this matter may become secure, its establishment
   firm and its edifice strong. ... Although the
   League of Nations has been brought into existence, yet it
   is incapable of establishing Universal Peace.  But the Supreme
   Tribunal which His Holiness Baha'u'llah has described
------------------------
1.    The same considerations apply to the United Nations Organization.
<p168>
   will fulfill this sacred task with the utmost might and
   power.
 
 
International Arbitration
 
   Baha'u'llah also advocated the establishment of an international
court of arbitration, so that differences arising between
nations might be settled in accordance with justice and reason,
instead of by appeal to the ordeal of battle.
   In a letter to the Secretary of the Mohonk Conference on
International Arbitration, in August 1911, Abdu'l-Baha
said: --
 
     About fifty years ago in the Book of Aqdas, Baha'u'llah
   commanded people to establish universal peace and
   summoned all the nations to the divine banquet of international
   arbitration, so that the questions of boundaries,
   of national honor and property, and of vital interests between
   nations might be settled by an arbitral court of justice,
   and that no nation would dare to refuse to abide by
   the decisions thus arrived at.  If any quarrel between
   two nations it must be adjudicated by this international
   court and be arbitrated and decided upon like the judgment
   rendered by the Judge between two individuals.  If at
   any time any nation dares to break such a decision, all the
   other nations must arise to put down this rebellion.
 
   Again, in one of His Paris talks in 1911, He said: --
 
     A supreme tribunal shall be established by the peoples
   and governments of every nation, composed of members
   elected from each country and government.  The members
   of this great council shall assemble in unity.  All disputes
   of an international character shall be submitted to this
   court, its work being to arrange by arbitration everything
   which otherwise would be a cause of war.  This mission of
   this tribunal would be to prevent war.
 
   During the quarter of a century preceding the establishment
of the League of Nations a permanent Court of Arbitration
<p169>
was established at The Hague (1900), and many arbitration
treaties were signed, but most of these fell far short of the comprehensive
proposals of Baha'u'llah.  No arbitration treaty was
made between two great Powers in which all matters of dispute
were included.  Differences affecting "vital interests,"
"honor" and "independence" were specifically excepted.  Not
only so, but effective guarantees that nations would abide by
the terms of the treaties into which they had entered were lacking.
In the Baha'i proposals, on the other hand, questions of
boundaries, of national honor and of vital interest are expressly
included, and agreements will have the supreme guarantee
of the World League of Nations behind them.  Only when
these proposals are completely carried out will international arbitration
attain the full scope of its beneficent possibilities and the
curse of war be finally banished from the world.
 
 
Limitation of Armaments
 
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     By a general agreement all the governments of the
   world must disarm simultaneously.  It will not do if one
   lays down its arms and the others refuse to do so.  The nations
   of the world must concur with each other concerning
   this supremely important subject, so that they may
   abandon together the deadly weapons of human slaughter.
   As long as one nation increases her military and naval
   budget other nations will be forced into this crazed
   competition through their natural and supposed interests.
   -- Diary of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, May 11-14, 1914.
 
 
Nonresistence
 
   As a religious body, Baha'is have, at the express command
of Baha'u'llah, entirely abandoned the use of armed force in
their own interests, even for strictly defensive purposes.  In
Persia many, many thousands of the Babis and Baha'is have
suffered cruel deaths because of their faith.  In the early days
<p170>
of the Cause the Babis on various occasions defended themselves
and their families by the sword, with great courage and
bravery.  Baha'u'llah, however, forbade this.  Abdu'l-Baha
writes: --
 
     When Baha'u'llah appeared, He declared that the promulgation
   of the truth by such means must on no account
   be allowed, even for purposes of self-defense.  He abrogated
   the rule of the sword and annulled the ordinance of
   "Holy War."  "If ye be slain," said He, "it is better for you
   than to slay.  It is through the firmness and assurance of
   the faithful that the Cause of the Lord must be diffused.
   As the faithful, fearless and undaunted, arise with absolute
   detachment to exalt the Word of God, and, with eyes
   averted from the things of this world, engaged in service
   for the Lord's sake and by His power, thereby will they
   cause the Word of Truth to triumph.  These blessed souls
   bear witness by their lifeblood to the truth of the Cause
   and attest it by the sincerity of their faith, their devotion
   and their constancy.  The Lord can avail to diffuse His
   Cause and to defeat the froward.  We desire no defender
   but Him, and with our lives in our hands face the foe and
   welcome martyrdom." (written by Abdu'l-Baha for this
   book).
 
Baha'u'llah wrote to one of the persecutors of His cause: --
 
     Gracious God!  This people need no weapons of destruction,
   inasmuch as they have girded themselves to reconstruct
   the world.  Their hosts are the hosts of goodly
   deeds, and their arms the arms of upright conduct, and
   their commander the fear of God.  Blessed that one that
   judgeth with fairness.  By the righteousness of God!  Such
   hath been the patience, the calm, the resignation of contentment
   of this people that they have become the exponents
   of justice, and so great hath been their forbearance,
   that they have suffered themselves to be killed rather than
   kill, and this notwithstanding that these whom the world
   hath wronged have endured tribulations the like of which
<p171>
   the history of the world hath never recorded, nor the eyes
   of any nation witnessed.  What is it that could have induced
   them to reconcile themselves to these grievous
   trials, and to refuse to put forth a hand to repel them?
   What could have caused such resignation and serenity?
   The true cause is to be found in the band which the Pen of
   Glory hath, day and night, chosen to impose, and in Our
   assumption of the reins of authority, through the power
   and might of Him Who is the Lord of all mankind. --
   Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp. 74-75.
 
   The soundness of Baha'u'llah's nonresistance policy has already
been proved by results.  For every believer martyred in
Persia, the Baha'i faith has received a hundred new believers
into its fold, and the glad and dauntless way in which these
martyrs cast the crowns of their lives at the feet of their Lord
has furnished to the world the clearest proof that they had
found a new life for which death has no terrors, a life of ineffable
fullness and joy, compared with which the pleasures of
earth are but as dust in the balance, and the most fiendish
physical tortures but trifles light as air.
 
 
Righteous Warfare
 
   Although Baha'u'llah, like Christ, counsels His follows as
individuals and as a religious body to adopt an attitude of nonresistance
and forgiveness toward their enemies, He teaches
that it is the duty of the community to prevent injustice and
oppression.  If individuals are persecuted and injured it is wrong
for a community to allow pillage and murder to continue unchecked
within its borders.  It is the duty of a good government
to prevent wrongdoing and to punish offenders.+F1  So also
with the community of nations.  If one nation oppresses or injures
another, it is the duty of all other nations to unite to prevent
such oppression.  Abdu'l-Baha writes: -- "It may happen
that at a given time warlike and savage tribes may furiously
------------------------
1.    See also section on Treatment of Criminals, pp. 153-155.
<p172>
attack the body politic with the intention of carrying on a
wholesale slaughter of its members; under such a circumstance
defense is necessary."
   Hitherto the usual practice of mankind has been that if one
nation attacked another, the rest of the nations of the world
remained neutral, and accepted no responsibility in the matter
unless their own interests were directly affected or threatened.
The whole burden of defense was left to the nation attacked,
however weak and helpless it might be.  The teaching of
Baha'u'llah reverses this position and throws the responsibility
of defense not specially on the nation attacked, but on all the
others, individually and collectively.  As the whole of mankind
is one community, an attack on any one nation is an attack on
the community, and ought to be dealt with by the community.
Were this doctrine generally recognized and acted on, any nation
contemplating an aggression on another would know in
advance that it would have to reckon with the opposition not
of that other nation only, but of the whole of the rest of the
world.  This knowledge alone would be sufficient to deter even
the boldest and most bellicose of nations.  When a sufficiently
strong league of peace-loving nations is established war will,
there, become a thing of the past.  During the period of
transition from the old state of international anarchy to the
new state of international solidarity aggressive wars will still
be possible, and in these circumstances, military or other coercive
action in the cause of international justice, unity and
peace may be a positive duty.  Abdu'l-Baha writes that in such
case: --
 
     A conquest can be a praiseworthy thing, and there are
   times when war becomes the powerful basis of peace, and
   ruin the very means of reconstruction.  If, for example, a
   high-minded sovereign marshals his troops to block the
   onset of the insurgent and the aggressor, or again, if he
   takes the field and distinguishes himself in a struggle to
   unify a divided state and people, if, in brief, he is waging
   war for a righteous purpose, then this seeming wrath is
   mercy itself, and this apparent tyranny the very substance
<p173>
   of justice and this warfare the cornerstone of peace.  Today,
   the task befitting great rulers is to establish universal
   peace, for in this lies the freedom of all peoples. -- The
   Secret of Divine Civilization, pp. 70-71.
 
 
Unity of East and West
 
   Another factor which will help in bringing about universal
peace is the linking together of the East and the West.  The
Most Great Peace is no mere cessation of hostilities, but a fertilizing
union and cordial cooperation of the hitherto sundered
peoples of the earth which will bear much precious fruit.  In
one of His talks in Paris, Abdu'l-Baha said: --
 
     In the past, as in the present, the Spiritual Sun of Truth
   has always shone from the horizon of the East.  In the East
   Moses arose to lead and teach the people.  On the Eastern
   horizon rose the Lord Christ.  Muhammad was sent to an
   Eastern nation.  The Bab arose in the Eastern land of Persia.
   Baha'u'llah lived and taught in the East.  All the great
   spiritual teachers arose in the Eastern world.
     But although the Sun of Christ dawned in the East, the
   radiance thereof was apparent in the West, where the
   effulgence of its glory was more clearly seen.  The divine
   light of His teaching shone with a greater force in the
   Western world, where it has made more rapid headway
   than in the land of its birth.
     In these days the East is in need of material progress
   and the West is in need of a spiritual ideal.  It would be
   well for the West to turn to the East for illumination, and
   to give in exchange its scientific knowledge.  There must
   be this interchange of gifts.  The East and the West must
   unite to give to each other what is lacking.  This union will
   bring about true civilization where the spiritual is expressed
   and carried out in the material.  Receiving thus,
   the one from the other, the greatest harmony will prevail,
   all people will be united, a state of great perfection will be
   attained, there will be a firm cementing, and this world
<p174>
   will become a shining mirror for the reflection of the attributes
   of God.
     We all, the Eastern and the Western nations, must
   strive day and night, with heart and soul, to achieve this
   high ideal, to cement the unity between all the nations of
   the earth.  Every heart will then be refreshed, all eyes will
   be opened, the most wonderful power will be given, the
   happiness of humanity will be assured. ... This will be
   the Paradise which is to come on earth, when all mankind
   will be gathered together under the Tent of Unity in the
   Kingdom of Glory.
<p175>
Various Ordinances and Teachings/11
 
   Know thou that in every age and dispensation all divine ordinances
are changed and transformed according to the requirement
of the time, except the law of love, which, like a
fountain, always flows and is never overtaken by change. --
BAHA'U'LLAH.
 
 
Monastic Life
 
   Baha'u'llah, like Muhammad, forbids His followers to lead
lives of monastic seclusion.
   In the Tablet to Napoleon III we read: --
 
     O concourse of monks!  Seclude not yourselves in
   churches and cloisters.  Come forth by My leave, and occupy
   yourselves with that which will profit your souls and
   the souls of men. ... Enter ye into wedlock, that after
   you someone may fill your place.  We have forbidden you
   perfidious acts, and not that which will demonstrate fidelity.
   Have ye clung to the standards fixed by your own
   selves, and cast the standards of God behind your backs?
   Fear God, and be not of the foolish.  But for man, who
   would make mention of Me on My earth, and how could
   My attributes and My name have been revealed?  Ponder
   ye, and be not of them that are veiled and fast asleep.  He
   that wedded not (Jesus) found no place wherein to dwell
   or lay His head, by reason of that which the hands of the
   treacherous had wrought.  His sanctity consisteth not in
   that which ye believe or fancy, but rather in the things
   We possess.  Ask, that ye may apprehend His station
<p176>
   which hath been exalted above the imaginings of all that
   dwell on earth.  Blessed are they who perceive it.
 
   Does it not seem strange that Christian sects should have instituted
the monastic life and celibacy for the clergy, in view of
the facts that Christ chose married men for His disciples, and
both He Himself and His apostles lived lives of active beneficence,
in close association and familiar intercourse with the
people?
   In the Muhammadan Qur'an we read: --
 
     To Jesus the son of Mary We gave the Gospel, and We
   put into the hearts of those who followed Him kindness
   and compassion:  but as to the monastic life, they invented
   it themselves.  The desire only of pleasing god did
   We prescribe to them, and this they observed not as it
   ought to have been observed. -- Qur'an, s. lviii. 27.
 
   Whatever justification there may have been for the monastic
life in ancient times and bygone circumstances, Baha'u'llah
declares that such justification no longer exists; and, indeed, it
seems obvious that the withdrawal of a large number of the
most pious and God-fearing of the population from association
with their fellows, and from the duties and responsibilities
of parenthood, must result in the spiritual impoverishment of
the race.
 
 
Marriage
 
   The Baha'i teachings enjoin monogamy, and Baha'u'llah
makes marriage conditional on the consent of both parties and
of their parents.  He says in the Book of Aqdas: --
 
     Verily in the Book of Bayan (the Bab's Revelation)
   the matter is restricted to the consent of both (bride and
   bridegroom).  As We desired to bring about love and
   friendship and the unity of the people, therefore We made
<p177>
   it conditional upon the consent of the parents also, that
   enmity and ill-feeling might be avoided. -- Kitab-i-Aqdas.
 
   On this point Abdu'l-Baha wrote to an inquirer: -- "As to
the question of marriage, according to the law of God:  First
you must select one, and then it depends on the consent of the
father and mother.  Before your selection they have no right of
interference."
   Abdu'l-Baha says that as a result of this precaution of
Baha'u'llah's the strained relations between relatives-in-law
which have become proverbial in Christian and Muhammadan
countries are almost unknown among the Baha'is, and divorce
is also of very rare occurrence.  He writes on the subject of
matrimony: --
 
     Baha'i marriage is union and cordial affection between
   the two parties.  They must, however, exercise the utmost
   care and become acquainted with each other's character.
   This eternal bond should be made secure by a firm covenant,
   and the intention should be to foster harmony, fellowship
   and unity and to attain everlasting life. ...
     In a true Baha'i marriage the two parties must become
   fully united both spiritually and physically, so that they
   may attain eternal union throughout all the worlds of
   God, and improve the spiritual life of each other.  This is
   Baha'i matrimony.
 
   The Baha'i marriage ceremony is very simple, the only requirement
being that the groom and the bride, in the presence
of at least two witnesses, each say:  "We will all, verily,
abide by the Will of God."
 
 
Divorce
 
   In the matter of divorce, as in that of marriage, the instructions
of the Prophets have varied in accordance with the circumstances
of the times.  Abdu'l-Baha states the Baha'i teaching,
with regard to divorce, thus: --
<p178>
     The friends (Baha'is) must strictly refrain from divorce
   unless something arises which compels them to
   separate because of their aversion for each other; in that
   case, with the knowledge of the Spiritual Assembly, they
   may decide to separate.  They must then be patient and
   wait one complete year.  If during this year harmony is not
   reestablished between them, then their divorce may be
   realized. ... The foundation of the Kingdom of God is
   based upon harmony and love, oneness, relationship and
   union, not upon differences, especially between husband
   and wife.  If one of these two become the cause of divorce,
   that one will unquestionably fall into great difficulties,
   will become the victim of formidable calamities and experience
   deep remorse. (Tablet to the Baha'is of America).
 
   In the matter of divorce, as in other matters, Baha'is will, of
course, be bound not only by the Baha'i teaching, but also by
the laws of the country in which they live.
 
 
The Baha'i Calendar
 
   Among different peoples and at different times many different
methods have been adopted for the measurement of time
and fixing of dates, and several different calendars are still in
daily use, e.g., the Gregorian in Western Europe, the Julian in
many countries of Eastern Europe, the Hebrew among the
Jews, and the Muhammadan in Muslim communities.
   The Bab signalized the importance of the dispensation
which He came to herald, by inaugurating a new calendar.  In
this, as in the Gregorian Calendar, the lunar month is abandoned
and the solar year is adopted.
   The Baha'i year consists of 19 months of 19 days each (i.e.
361 days), with the addition of certain "Intercalary Days"
(four in ordinary and five in leap years) between the eighteenth
and nineteenth months in order to adjust the calendar
to the solar year.  The Bab named the months after the attributes
of God.  The Baha'i New Year, like the ancient Persian
<p179>
New Year, is astronomically fixed, commencing at the
March equinox (usually March 21), and the Baha'i era commences
with the year of the Bab's declaration (i.e. 1844 A.D.,
1260 A.H.).
   In the not far distant future it will be necessary that all peoples
in the world agree on a common calendar.
   It seems, therefore, fitting that the new age of unity should
have a new calendar free from the objections and associations
which make each of the older calendar unacceptable to large
sections of the world's population, and it is difficult to see how
any other arrangement could exceed in simplicity and convenience
that proposed by the Bab.
   The months in the Baha'i Calendar are as follows:
 
          x       Arabic Name     x      Translation     x     First Days
          x                       x                      x
          x                       x                      x
    1st   x         Baha         x     Splendor         x     March 21
    2nd   x         Jalal        x     Glory            x     April 9
    3rd   x         Jamal        x     Beauty           x     April 28
    4th   x         Azamat       x     Grandeur         x     May 17
    5th   x         Nur          x     Light            x     June 5
    6th   x         Rahmat       x     Mercy            x     June 24
    7th   x         Kalimat      x     Words            x     July 31
    8th   x         Kamal        x     Perfection       x     Aug. 1
    9th   x         Asma'        x     Names            x     Aug. 20
   10th   x         `Izzat        x     Might            x     Sept. 8
   11th   x         Mashiyyat    x     Will             x     Sept. 27
   12th   x         `Ilm          x     Knowledge        x     Oct. 16
   13th   x         Qudrat        x     Power            x     Nov. 4
   14th   x         Qawl          x     Speech           x     Nov. 23
   15th   x         Masa'il      x     Questions        x     Dec. 12
   16th   x         Sharaf       x     Honor            x     Dec. 31
   17th   x         Sultan       x     Sovereignty      x     Jan. 19
   18th   x         Mulk          x     Dominion         x     Feb. 7
            Intercalary Days Feb. 26 to March 1, inclusive.
   19th   x         Ala'         x     Loftiness        x     March 2
          x                       x                      x
 
 
Spiritual Assemblies
 
   Before Abdu'l-Baha completed His earthly mission, He had laid a basis for
the development of the administrative order
<p180>
established in Baha'u'llah's Writings.  To show the high importance
to be attributed to the institution of the Spiritual Assembly,
Abdu'l-Baha in a tablet declared that a certain translation
must be approved by the Spiritual Assembly of Cairo before
publication, even though He Himself had reviewed and corrected
the text.
   By Spiritual Assembly is meant the administrative body of
nine persons, elected annually by each local Baha'i community,
in which is vested the authority of decision on all matters of
mutual action on the part of the community.  This designation
is temporary, since in future the Spiritual Assemblies will be
termed Houses of Justice.
   Unlike the organization of churches, these Baha'i bodies are
social rather than ecclesiastical institutions.  That is, they apply
the law of consultation to all questions and difficulties arising
between Baha'is, who are called upon no to carry them to the
civil court, and seek to promote unity as well as justice
throughout the community.  The Spiritual Assembly is in no
wise equivalent to the priest or clergy, but is responsible for
upholding the teachings, stimulating active service, conducting
meetings, maintaining unity, holding Baha'i property in trust
for the community, and representing it in its relations to the
public and to other Baha'i communities.
   The nature of the Spiritual Assembly, local and national, is
described more fully in the section devoted to the Will and Testament
of Abdu'l-Baha in the final chapter, but its general functions
have been defined by Shoghi Effendi as follows: --
 
     The matter of Teaching, its direction, its ways
   and means, its extension, its consolidation, essential as they
   are to the interests of the Cause, constitute by no means
   the only issue which should receive the full attention of
   these Assemblies.  A careful study of Baha'u'llah's and
   Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets will reveal that other duties, no
   less vital to the interests of the Cause, devolve upon the
   elected representatives of the friends in every locality.
     It is incumbent upon them to be vigilant and cautious,
   discreet and watchful, and protect at all times the Temple
<p181>
   of the Cause from the dart of the mischief-maker and the
   onslaught of the enemy.
     They must endeavor to promote amity and concord
   amongst the friends, efface every lingering trace of distrust,
   coolness and estrangement from every heart, and
   secure in its stead an active and whole-hearted cooperation
   for the service of the Cause.
     They must do their utmost to extend at all times the
   helping hand to the poor, the sick, the disabled, the orphan,
   the widow, irrespective of color, caste and creed.
     They must promote by every means in their power the
   material as well as the spiritual enlightenment of youth,
   the means for the education of children, institute,
   whenever possible, Baha'i educational institutions, organize
   and supervise their work and provide the best means
   for their progress and development. ...
     They must undertake the arrangement of the regular
   meetings of the friends, the feasts and the anniversaries, as
   well as the special gatherings designed to serve and promote
   the social, intellectual and spiritual interests of their
   fellow-men.
     They must supervise in these days when the Cause is
   still in its infancy all Baha'i publications and translations,
   and provide in general for a dignified and accurate presentation
   of all Baha'i literature and its distribution to the
   general public.
 
   The possibilities inherent in Baha'i institutions can only be
estimated when one realizes how rapidly modern civilization is
disintegrating for lack of that spiritual power which can alone
supply the necessary attitude of responsibility and humility to
the leaders and the requisite loyalty to the individual members
of society.
 
 
Baha'i Feasts, Anniversaries, and Days of Fasting
 
Feast of Naw-Ruz (Baha'i New Year), March 21.
Feast of Ridvan (Declaration of Baha'u'llah), April 21-
  May 2.
<p182>
Declaration of the Bab, May 23.+F1
Ascension of Baha'u'llah, May 29.
Martyrdom of the Bab, July 9.
Birth of the Bab, October 20.
Birth of Baha'u'llah, November 12.
Day of the Covenant, November 26.
Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha, November 28.
Period of the Fast, nineteen days beginning March 2.
 
 
Feasts
 
   The essential joyousness of the Baha'i religion finds expression
in numerous feasts and holidays throughout the year.
   In a talk on the Feast of Naw-Ruz, in Alexandria, Egypt, in
1912, Abdu'l-Baha said: --
 
     In the sacred laws of God, in every cycle and dispensation
   there are blessed feasts, holidays and workless days.
   On such days all kinds of occupations, commerce, industry,
   agriculture, etc., should be suspended.
     All should rejoice together, hold general meetings, become
   as one assembly, so that the national oneness, unity
   and harmony may be demonstrated in the eyes of all.
     As it is a blessed day it should not be neglected, nor deprived
   of results by making it a day devoted to the pursuit
   of mere pleasure.
     During such days institutions should be founded that
   may be of permanent benefit and value to the
   people. ...
     Today there is no result or fruit greater than guiding
   the people.  Undoubtedly the friends of God, upon such a
   day, must leave tangible philanthropic or ideal traces that
   should reach all mankind and not pertain only to the
   Baha'is.  In this wonderful dispensation, philanthropic affairs
   are for all humanity without exception, because it is
   the manifestation of the mercifulness of God.  Therefore,
------------------------
1.    This date coincides with the birth of Abdu'l-Baha.
<p183>
   my hope is that the friends of God, every one of them,
   may become as the mercy of God to all mankind.
 
   The Feasts of Naw-Ruz (New Year) and Ridvan, the Anniversaries
of the Birth of the Bab and Baha'u'llah, and of the
Bab's Declaration (which is also the birthday of Abdu'l-Baha)
are the great joy-days of the year for Baha'is.  In Persia they are
celebrated by picnics or festal gatherings at which music, the
chanting of verses and tablets, and short addresses suitable to the
occasion are contributed by those present.  The intercalary days
between the eighteenth and nineteenth months (that is, February
26 to March 1 inclusive) are specially devoted to hospitality
to friends, the giving of presents, ministering to the poor and
sick, et cetera.
   The anniversaries of the martyrdom of the Bab and the departure
of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha are celebrated with
solemnity by appropriate meetings and discourses, the chanting
of prayers and Tablets.
 
 
Fast
 
   The nineteenth month, following immediately on the hospitality
of the intercalary days, is the month of the fast.  During
nineteen days the fast is observed by abstaining from both food
and drink from sunrise to sunset.  As the month of the fast ends
at the March equinox, the fast always falls in the same season,
namely, spring in the Northern, and autumn in the Southern,
Hemisphere; never in the extreme heart of summer nor in the
extreme cold of winter, when hardship would be likely to result.
At that season, moreover, the interval between sunrise
and sunset is approximately the same all over the habitable
portion of the globe, namely, from about 6 A.M. to 6 P.M.  The
fast is not binding on children and invalids, on travelers, or on
those who are too old or too weak (including women who are
with child or have babes at the breast).
   There is much evidence to show that a periodical fast such
as is enjoined by the Baha'i teachings is beneficial as a measure
of physical hygiene, but just as the reality of the Baha'i
<p184>
fast does not lie in the consumption of physical food, but in
the commemoration of God, which is our spiritual food, so the
reality of the Baha'i fast does not consist in abstention from
physical food, although that may help in the purification of the
body, but in the abstention from the desires and lusts of the
flesh, and in severance from all save God.  Abdu'l-Baha
says: --
 
     Fasting is a symbol.  Fasting signifies abstinence from
   lust.  Physical fasting is a symbol of that abstinence, and
   is a reminder; that is, just as a person abstains from physical
   appetites, he is to abstain from self-appetites and self-desires.
   But mere abstention from food has no effect on
   the spirit.  It is only a symbol, a reminder.  Otherwise it is
   of no importance.  Fasting for this purpose does not mean
   entire abstinence from food.  The golden rule as to food
   is, do not take too much or too little.  Moderation is necessary.
   There is a sect in India who practice extreme abstinence,
   and gradually reduce their food until they exist
   on almost nothing.  But their intelligence suffers.  A man
   is not fit to do service for God with brain or body if he is
   weakened by lack of food.  He cannot see clearly. (quoted
   by Miss E. S. Stevens in Fortnightly Review, June 1911).
 
 
Meetings
 
   Abdu'l-Baha attaches the greatest important to regular
meetings of the believers for united worship, for the exposition
and study of the teachings and for consultation regarding the
progress of the Movement.  In one of His Tablets He says: --
 
     It hath been decided by the Desire of God that union
   and harmony may day by day increase among the friends
   of God and the handmaids of the Merciful.  Not until this
   is realized will the affairs advance by any means whatever!
   And the greatest means for the union and harmony
   of all are Spiritual Meetings.  This matter is very important
<p185>
   and is as a magnet to attract divine confirmation.
 
   In the spiritual meetings of Baha'is contentious argument
and the discussion of political or worldly affairs must be
avoided; the sole aim of the believers should be to teach and
learn Divine Truth, to have their hearts filled with Divine Love,
to attain more perfect obedience to the Divine Will, and to
promote the coming of the Kingdom of God.  In an address
given at New York in 1912, Abdu'l-Baha said: --
 
     The Baha'i meeting must be the meeting of the Celestial
   Concourse.  It must be illumined by the lights of the
   Celestial Concourse.  The hearts must be as mirrors
   wherein the lights of the Sun of Truth shall be revealed.
   Every bosom must be as a telegraph station:  one terminal
   of the wire shall be in the bosom of the soul, the other in
   the Celestial Concourse, so that messages may be exchanged
   between them.  In this way from the Abha Kingdom
   inspiration shall flow and in all discussions harmony
   shall prevail. ... The more agreement, unity and love
   prevail among you, the more shall the confirmations of
   God assist you, and the help and aid of the Blessed
   Beauty, Baha'u'llah, support you.
 
   In one of His Tablets He said: --
 
     In these meetings outside conversation must be entirely
   avoided, and the gathering must be confined to chanting
   the verses and reading the words, and to matters which
   concern the Cause of God, such as explaining proofs, adducing
   clear and manifest evidences, and tracing the
   signs of the Beloved One of the creatures.  Those who attend
   the meeting must, before entering, be arrayed with
   the utmost cleanliness and turn to the Abha Kingdom,
   and then enter the meeting with all meekness and humbleness;
   and while the tablets are being read, must be
   quiet and silent; and if one wishes to speak he must do so
<p186>
   with all courtesy, with the satisfaction and permission of
   those present, and do it with eloquence and fluency.
 
 
The Nineteen Day Feast
 
   With the development of the Baha'i administrative order
since the ascension of Abdu'l-Baha, the Nineteen Day Feast,
observed on the first day of each Baha'i month, has assumed a
very special importance, providing as it does not only for community
prayer and reading from the Holy Books, but also for
general consultation on all current Baha'i affairs and for the
association of the friends together.  This Feast is the occasion
when the Spiritual Assembly makes its reports to the community
and invites both discussion of plans and suggestions for new
and better methods of service.
 
 
Mashriqu'l-Adhkar+F1
 
   Baha'u'llah left instructions that temples of worship should
be built by His followers in every country and city.  To these
temples He gave the name of "Mashriqu'l-Adhkar," which
means "Dawning Place of God's Praise."  The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
is to be a nine-sided building surmounted by a dome,
and as beautiful as possible in design and workmanship.  It is
to stand in a large garden adorned with fountains, trees and
flowers, surrounded by a number of accessory buildings devoted
to educational, charitable and social purposes, so that
the worship of God in the temple may always be closely associated
with reverent delight in the beauties of nature and of
art, and with practical work for the amelioration of social
conditions.+F2
------------------------
1.    (Pronounced Azkar).
2.    In connection with the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar it is interesting to
    recall Tennyson's lines: --
                                                 I dreamed
              That stone by stone I reared a sacred fane,
              A temple, neither Pagod, Mosque nor Church,
              But loftier, simpler, always open-doored
              To every breath from heaven, and Truth and Peace
              And Love and Justice came and dwelt therein."
                                        Akbar's Dream, 1892
<p187>
   In Persia, up till the present, Baha'is have been debarred
from building temples for public worship, and so the first great
Mashriqu'l-Adhkar was built in Ishqabad,+F1 Russia.  Abdu'l-Baha
dedicated the site of the second Baha'i House of Worship,
to stand on the shore of Lake Michigan a few miles north
of Chicago, during His visit to America in 1912.+F2
   In tablets referring to this "Mother Temple" of the West,
Abdu'l-Baha writes as follows: --
 
     Praise be to God, that, at this moment, from every
   country in the world, according to their various means,
   contributions are continually being sent toward the fund
   of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in America. ... From the day
   of Adam until now, such a thing has never been witnessed
   by man, that from the furthermost country of Asia contributions
   were forwarded to America.  This is through
   the power of the Covenant of God.  Verily this is a cause
   of astonishment for the people of perception.  It is hoped
   that the believers of God may show magnanimity and
   raise a great sum for the building. ... I want everyone
   left free to act as he wills.  If anyone wishes to put money
   into other things, let him do so.  Do not interfere with him
   in any way, but be assured that the most important thing at
   this time is the building of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar.
     ... The mystery of the edifice is great, and cannot be unveiled
   yet, but its erection is the most important undertaking
   of this day.  The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar has important
   accessories, which are accounted of the basic foundations.
   These are:  school for orphan children, hospital and dispensary
   for the poor, home for the incapable, college for
   the higher scientific education, and hospice.  In every city
   a great Mashriqu'l-Adhkar must be founded after this order.
------------------------
1.    This first House of Worship was seriously damaged in an earthquake in
    1948 and had to be demolished some years later.
2.    This Temple was completed in 1953.  Since then other Baha'i
    Temples have been constructed in Kampala, Uganda; Sydney, Australia;
    Frankfurt, Germany; Panama City, Panama; and two more are being built in
    India and Samoa.  At the present time, 1979, sites for 123 others have been
    purchased. (See Epilogue)
<p188>
   In the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar services will be held every
   morning.  There will be no organ in the Temple.  In buildings
   nearby, festivals, services, conventions, public meetings
   and spiritual gatherings will be held, but in the Temple
   the chanting and singing will be unaccompanied.
   Open ye the gates of the Temple to all mankind.
     When these institutions, college, hospital, hospice and
   establishment for the incurables, university for the study
   of higher sciences, giving post-graduate courses, and
   other philanthropic buildings are built, the doors will be
   opened to all the nations and religions.  There will be absolutely
   no line of demarcation drawn.  Its charities will
   be dispense irrespective of color or race.  Its gates will be
   flung wide open to mankind; prejudice towards none, love
   for all.  The central building will be devoted to the purpose
   of prayer and worship.  Thus ... religion will become
   harmonized with science, and science will be the
   handmaid of religion, both showering their material and
   spiritual gifts on all humanity.
 
 
Life After Death
 
   Baha'u'llah tells us that the life in the flesh is but the embryonic
stage of our existence, and that escape from the body
is like a new birth through which the human spirit enters on a
fuller, freer life.  He writes: --
 
     Know thou of a truth that the soul, after its separation
   from the body, will continue to progress until it attaineth
   the presence of God, in a state and condition which neither
   the revolution of ages and centuries, nor the changes
   and chances of this world, can alter.  It will endure as
   long as the Kingdom of God, His sovereignty, His dominion
   and power will endure.  It will manifest the signs of
   God and His attributes, and will reveal His loving kindness
   and bounty.  The movement of My Pen is stilled when
   it attempteth to befittingly describe the loftiness and glory
   of so exalted a station.  The honor with which the Hand of
<p189>
   Mercy will invest the soul is such as no tongue can adequately
   reveal, nor any other earthly agency describe.
   Blessed is the soul which, at the hour of its separation
   from the body, is sanctified from the vain imaginings of
   the peoples of the world.  Such a soul liveth and moveth in
   accordance with the Will of its Creator, and entereth the
   all-highest Paradise.  The Maids of Heaven, inmates of
   the loftiest mansions, will circle around it, and the Prophets
   of God and His chosen ones will seek its companionship.
   With them that soul will freely converse, and will
   recount unto them that which it hath been made to endure
   in the path of God, the Lord of all worlds.  If any
   man be told that which hath been ordained for such a
   soul in the worlds of God, the Lord of the throne on high
   and of earth below, his whole being will instantly blaze
   out in his great longing to attain that most exalted, that
   sanctified and resplendent station. ... The nature of the
   soul after death can never be described, nor is it meet and
   permissible to reveal its whole character to the eyes of
   men.  The Prophets and Messengers of God have been
   sent down for the sole purpose underlying their
   revelation hath been to educate all men, that they may,
   at the hour of death, ascend, in the utmost purity and
   sanctity and with absolute detachment, to the throne of
   the Most High.  The light which these souls radiate is responsible
   for the progress of the world and the advancement
   of its peoples.  They are like unto leaven which leaveneth
   the world of being, and constitute the animating
   force through which the arts and wonders of the world
   are made manifest.  Through them the clouds rain their
   bounty upon men, and the earth bringeth forth its fruits.
   All things must needs have a cause, a motive power, an
   animating principle.  These souls and symbols of detachment
   have provided, and will continue to provide, the supreme
   moving impulse in the world of being.  The world
   beyond is as different from this world as this world is
   different from that of the child while still in the womb of
<p190>
   its mother. -- Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah,
   pp. 155-157.
 
   Similarly, Abdu'l-Baha writes: --
 
     The mysteries of which man is heedless in the earthly
   world, those will he discover in the heavenly world, and
   there will he be informed of the secrets of the truth; how
   much more will he recognize or discover persons with
   whom he has been associated.  Undoubtedly the holy souls
   who find a pure eye and are favored with insight will, in
   the kingdom of lights, be acquainted with all mysteries,
   and will seek the bounty of witnessing the reality of every
   great soul.  They will even manifestly behold the Beauty
   of God in that world.  Likewise will they find all the
   friends of God, both those of the former and recent times,
   present in the heavenly assemblage.
     The difference and distinction between men will naturally
   become realized after their departure from this mortal
   world.  But this distinction is not in respect to place,
   but in respect to the soul and the conscience.  For the Kingdom
   of God is sanctified (or free) from time and place;
   it is another world and another universe.  And know
   thou for a certainty that in the divine worlds the spiritual
   beloved ones will recognize one another, and will seek
   union with each other, but a spiritual union.  Likewise a
   love that one may have entertained for anyone will not be
   forgotten in the world of the Kingdom, nor wilt thou forget
   there the life that thou hadst in the material world.
 
 
Heaven and Hell
 
   Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha regard the descriptions of
Heaven and Hell given in some of the older religious writings
as symbolic, like the Biblical story of the Creation, and not as
literally true.  According to Them, Heaven is the state of perfection,
and Hell that of imperfection; Heaven is harmony with
God's will and with our fellows, and Hell is the want of such
<p191>
harmony; Heaven is the condition of spiritual life, and Hell that
of spiritual death.  A man may be either in Heaven or in Hell
while still in the body.  The joys of Heaven are spiritual joys;
and the pains of Hell consist in the deprivation of these joys.
   Abdu'l-Baha says:
 
     When they [men] are delivered through the light of
   faith from the darkness of these vices, and become illuminated
   with the radiance of the sun of reality, and ennobled
   with all the virtues, they esteem this the greatest
   reward, and they know it to be the true paradise.  In the
   same way they consider that the spiritual punishment
   ... is to be subjected to the world of nature, to be veiled
   from God, to be brutal and ignorant, to fall into carnal
   lusts, to be absorbed in animal frailties, to be characterized
   with dark qualities ... these are the greatest punishments
   and tortures. ...
     ... The rewards of the other world are the perfections
   and the peace obtained in the spiritual worlds after leaving
   this world ... the spiritual graces, the various spiritual
   gifts in the Kingdom of God, the gaining of the desires of
   the heart and the soul, and the meeting of God in the
   world of eternity.  In the same way the punishments of the
   other world ... consist in being deprived of the special
   divine blessings and the absolute bounties, and falling into
   the lowest degrees of existence.  He who is deprived of
   these divine favours, although he continues after death, is
   considered as dead by the people of truth.
     The wealth of the other world is nearness to God.  Consequently
   it is certain that those who are near the Divine
   Court are allowed to intercede, and this intercession is
   approved by God. ...
     It is even possible that the condition of those who have
   died in sin and unbelief may become changed; that is to
   say, they may become the object of pardon through the
   bounty of God, not through His justice; for bounty if giving
   without desert, and justice is giving what is deserved.
   As we have the power to pray for these souls here, so likewise
<p192>
   we shall possess the same power in the other world,
   which is the Kingdom of God. ... Therefore in that
   world also they can make progress.  As here they can receive
   light by their supplications, there also they can
   plead for forgiveness, and receive light through entreaties
   and supplications.
     Both before and after putting off this material form,
   there is progress in perfection, but not in state. ...
   There is no other being higher than a perfect man.  But
   man when he has reached this state can still make progress
   in perfections but not in state, because there is no
   state higher than that of a perfect man to which he can
   transfer himself.  He only progresses in the state of humanity,
   for the human perfections are infinite.  Thus however
   learned a man may be, we can imagine one more
   learned.
     Hence, as the perfections of humanity are endless, man
   can also make progress in perfections after leaving this
   world. -- Some Answered Questions, pp. 260, 261, 268,
   269, 274.
 
 
Oneness of the Two Worlds
 
   The unity of humanity as taught by Baha'u'llah refers not
only to men still in the flesh, but to all human beings, whether
embodied or disembodied.  Not only all men now living on the
earth, but all in the spiritual world as well, are parts of one and
the same organism and these two parts are intimately dependent,
one on the other.  Spiritual communion one with the other,
far from being impossible or unnatural, is constant and inevitable.
Those whose spiritual faculties are as yet undeveloped
are unconscious of this vital connection, but as one's faculties
develop, communications with those beyond the veil gradually
become more conscious and definite.  To the Prophets and
saints this spiritual communion is as familiar and real as are
ordinary vision and conversation to the rest of mankind.
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
<p193>
     The visions of the Prophets are not dreams; no, they
   are spiritual discoveries and have reality.  They say, for
   example:  "I saw a person in a certain form, and I said
   such a thing, and he gave such an answer."  This vision is
   in the world of wakefulness, and not in that of sleep.  Nay,
   it is a spiritual discovery. ...
     ... Among spiritual souls there are spiritual understandings,
   discoveries, a communion which is purified from
   imagination and fancy, an association which is sanctified
   from time and place.  So it is written in the Gospel that on
   Mount Tabor, Moses and Elias came to Christ, and it is
   evident that this was not a material meeting.  It was a
   spiritual condition. ...
     ... [Communications such as] these are real, and produce
   wonderful effects in the minds and thoughts of men,
   and cause their hearts to be attracted. -- Some Answered
   Questions, pp. 290, 291, 292.
 
   While admitting the reality of "supernormal" psychic faculties
He deprecates attempts to force their development prematurely.
These faculties will unfold naturally when the right
time comes, if we only follow the path of spiritual progress
which the Prophets have traced for us.  He says: --
 
     To tamper with psychic forces while in this world interferes
   with the condition of the soul in the world to
   come.  These forces are real, but, normally, are not active
   on this plane.  The child in the womb has its eyes, ears,
   hands, feet, etc., but they are not in activity.  The whole
   purpose of life in the material world is the coming forth
   into the world of Reality, where those forces will become
   active.  They belong to that world. (from Miss Buckton's
   notes, revised by Abdu'l-Baha).
 
   Intercourse with spirits of the departed ought not to be
sought for its own sake, nor in order to gratify idle curiosity.  It
is both a privilege and duty, however, for those on one side of
the veil to love and help and pray for those on the other.
Prayers for the dead are enjoined on Baha'is.  Abdu'l-Baha
said to Miss E. J. Rosenberg in 1904:  "The grace of effective
<p194>
intercession is one of the perfections belonging to advanced
souls, as well as to the Manifestation of God.  Jesus Christ had
the power of interceding for the forgiveness of His enemies
when on earth, and He certainly has this power now.
Abdu'l-Baha never mentions the name of a dead person without
saying `May God forgive him!' or words to that effect.  Followers
of the prophets have also this power of praying for the forgiveness
of souls.  Therefore we may not think that any souls are
condemned to a stationary condition of suffering or loss arising
from absolute ignorance of God.  The power of effective intercession
for them always exists. ...
   "The rich in the other world can help the poor, as the rich
can help the poor here.  In every world all are the creatures of
God.  They are always dependent on Him.  They are not independent
and can never be so.  While they are needful of God,
the more they supplicate, the richer they become.  What is their
merchandise, their wealth?  In the other world what is help and
assistance?  It is intercession.  Undeveloped souls must gain progress
at first through the supplications of the spiritually rich; afterwards
they can progress through their own supplications."
   Again He says: -- "Those who have ascended have different
attributes from those who are still on earth, yet there is no real
separation.
   "In prayer there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition.
Pray for them as they pray for you!" -- Abdu'l-Baha in
London, p. 97.
   Asked whether it was possible through faith and love to
bring the New Revelation to the knowledge of those who have
departed from this life without hearing of it, Abdu'l-Baha
replied: -- "Yes, surely! since sincere prayer always has its effect,
and it has a great influence in the other world.  We are never
cut off from those who are there.  The real and genuine
influence is not in this world but in that other." -- Notes of
Mary Hanford Ford: Paris, 1911.
   On the other hand, Baha'u'llah writes: --
 
     He who lives according to what is ordained for him
   -- the Celestial Concourse, and the people of the Supreme
<p195>
   Paradise, and those who are dwelling in the Dome of
   Greatness will pray for him, by a Command from God,
   the Dearest and the praiseworthy. (Tablet translated by Ali
   Kuli Khan).
 
   When Abdu'l-Baha was asked how it was that the heart
often turns with instinctive appeal to some friend who has passed
into the next life, He answered: -- "It is a law of God's creation
that the weak should lean upon the strong.  Those to whom
you turn may be mediators of God's power to you, even as
when on earth.  But it is the One Holy Spirit that strengthens all
men." -- Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 98.
 
 
The Nonexistence of Evil
 
   According to Baha'i philosophy it follows from the doctrine
of the unity of God that there can be no such thing as positive
evil.  There can only be one Infinite.  If there were any other
power in the universe outside of or opposed to the One, then
the One would not be infinite.  Just as darkness is but the
absence or lesser degree of light, so evil is but the absence or
lesser degree of good -- the undeveloped state.  A bad man is
a man with the higher side of his nature still undeveloped.  If
he is selfish, the evil is not in his love of self -- all love, even
self-love, is good, is divine.  The evil is that he has such a poor,
inadequate, misguided love of self and such a lack of love for
others and for God.  He looks upon himself as only a superior
sort of animal, and foolishly pampers his lower nature as he
might pamper a pet dog -- with worse results in his own case
than in that of the dog.
   In one of His letters Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     As to thy remark, that Abdu'l-Baha hath said to some
   of the believers that evil never exists, nay rather, it is a
   nonexistent thing, this is but truth, inasmuch as the greatest
   evil is man's going astray and being veiled from truth.
   Error is lack of guidance; darkness is absence of light;
   ignorance is lack of knowledge; falsehood is lack of truthfulness;
   blindness is lack of sight; and deafness is lack
<p196>
   of hearing.  Therefore, error, blindness, deafness and ignorance
   are nonexistent things.
 
   Again He says: --
 
     In creation there is no evil; all is good.  Certain qualities
   and natures innate in some men and apparently blameworthy
   are not so in reality.  For example, from the beginning
   of his life you can see in a nursing child the
   signs of desire, of anger, and of temper.  Then, it may be
   said, good and evil are innate in the reality of man, and
   this is contrary to the pure goodness of nature and creation.
   The answer to this is that desire, which is to ask for
   something more, is a praiseworthy quality provided that it
   is used suitably.  So, if a man has the desire to acquire
   science and knowledge, or to become compassionate,
   generous and just, it is most praiseworthy.  If he exercises
   his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who
   are like ferocious beasts, it is very praiseworthy; but if he
   does not use these qualities in a right way, they are
   blameworthy. ...
     ... It is the same with all the natural qualities of man,
   which constitute the capital of life; if they be used and
   displayed in an unlawful way, they become blameworthy.
   Therefore it is clear that creation is purely good. -- Some
   Answered Questions, pp. 250, 251.
 
   Evil is always lack of life.  If the lower side of man's nature
is disproportionately developed, the remedy is not less life for
that side, but more life for the higher side, so that the balance
may be restored.  "I am come," said Christ, "that ye may
have life and that ye may have it more abundantly."  That
is what we all need -- life, more life, the life that is life indeed!
Baha'u'llah's message is the same as Christ's.  "Today," He
says, "this servant has assuredly come to vivify the world"
(Tablet to Ra'is), and to His followers He says:  "Come ye
after Me, that We may make you to become quickeners of
mankind." (Tablet to the Pope.)
<p197>
Religion and Science/12
 
   Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad, said:  "That which is in
conformity with science is also in conformity with religion."
Whatever the intelligence of man cannot understand, religion
ought not to accept.  Religion and science walk hand in hand,
and any religion contrary to science is not the truth. -- ABDU'L-BAHA,
Wisdom of Abdu'l-Baha.
 
 
Conflict Due to Error
 
   One of the fundamental teachings of Baha'u'llah is that true
science and true religion must always be in harmony.  Truth is
one, and whenever conflict appears it is due, not to truth, but
to error.  Between so-called science and so-called religion there
have been fierce conflicts all down the ages, but looking back
on these conflicts in the light of fuller truth we can trace them
every time to ignorance, prejudice, vanity, greed, narrow-mindedness,
intolerance, obstinacy or something of the kind --
something foreign to the true spirit of both science and religion,
for the spirit of both is one.  As Huxley tells us, "The
great deeds of philosophers have been less the fruit of their
intellect than the direction of that intellect by an eminently
religious tone of mind.  Truth has yielded herself rather to their
patience, their love, their single-heartedness and self-denial
than to their logical acumen."  Boole, the mathematician, assures
us that "geometric induction is essentially a process of
prayer -- an appeal from the finite mind to the Infinite for light
on finite concerns."  The great prophets of religion and science
have never denounced each other.  It is the unworthy followers
of these great world teachers -- worshipers of the letter but not
of the spirit of their teaching -- who have always been the
persecutors of the later prophets and the bitterest opponents
of progress.  They have studied the light of the particular revelation
<p198>
which they hold sacred, and have defined its properties
and peculiarities as seen by their limited vision, with the utmost
care and precision.  That is for them the one true light.  If God
in His infinite bounty sends fuller light from another quarter,
and the torch of inspiration burns brighter than before from
a new torchholder, instead of welcoming the new lights they are
angry and alarmed.  This new light does not correspond with
their definitions.  It has not the orthodox color, and does not
shine from the orthodox place, therefore it must at all costs
be extinguished lest it lead men astray into the paths of heresy!
Many enemies of the Prophets are of this type -- blind leaders
of the blind, who oppose new and fuller truth in the supposed
interests of what they believe to be the truth.  Others are of
baser sort and are moved by selfish interests to fight against
truth, or else block the path of progress by reason of spiritual
deadness and inertia.
 
 
Persecution of Prophets
 
   The great Prophets of religion have always been, at Their
coming, despised and rejected of men.  Both They and Their
early followers have given their backs to the smiters and
sacrificed their possessions and their lives in the path of God.
Even in our own times this has been so.  Since 1844 A.D., many
thousands of Babis and Baha'is in Persia have suffered cruel
deaths for their faith, and many more have borne imprisonment,
exile, poverty and degradation.  The latest of the great
religions has been "baptized in blood" more than its predecessors,
and martyrdoms have continued down to the present day.
With the prophets of science the same thing has happened.
Giordano Bruno was burned as a heretic in 1600 A.D. for
teaching, amongst other things, that the earth moved around
the sun.  A few years later the veteran philosopher Galileo had
to abjure the same doctrine on his knees in order to escape a
similar fate.  In later times, Darwin and the pioneers of modern
geology were vehemently denounced for daring to dispute the
teaching of Holy Write that the world was made in six days,
<p199>
and less than six thousand years ago!  The opposition to new
scientific truth has not all come from the Church, however.
The orthodox in science have been just as hostile to progress
as the orthodox in religion.  Columbus was laughed to scorn by
the so-called scientists of his day, who proved to their own
satisfaction that if ships did succeed in getting down to the
Antipodes over the side of the globe, it would be absolutely
impossible for them to get up again!  Galvani, the pioneer of
electrical science, was scoffed at by his learned colleagues, and
called the "frogs' dancing master."  Harvey, who discovered
the circulation of the blood, was ridiculed and persecuted by
his professional brethren on account of his heresy and driven
from his lecture chair.  When Stephenson invented his locomotive
engine, European mathematicians of the time, instead of
opening their eyes and studying the facts, continued for years
to prove to their own satisfaction that an engine on smooth
rails could never pull a load, as the wheels would simply slip
round and round and the train make no progress.  To examples
like these one might add indefinitely, both from ancient and
modern history, and even from our own times.  Dr. Zamenhof,
the inventor of Esperanto, had to battle for his wonderful
international language against the same sort of ridicule, contempt,
and stupid opposition which greeted Columbus, Galvani,
and Stephenson.  Even Esperanto, which was given to the
world so recently as 1887, has had its martyrs.
 
 
The Dawn of Reconciliation
 
   In the last half century or so, however, a change has come
over the spirit of the times, a New Light of Truth has arisen
which has already made the controversies of last century seem
strangely out of date.  Where are now the boastful materialists
and dogmatic atheists who, only a few short years ago, were
threatening to drive religion out of the world?  And where are
the preachers who so confidently consigned those who did not
accept their dogmas to the fires of hell and the tortures of the
damned?  Echoes of their clamor we may still hear, but their
day is fast declining and their doctrines are being discredited.
<p200>
We can see now that the doctrines around which their controversies
waxed most bitter were neither true science nor true
religion.  What scientist in the light of modern psychical research
could still maintain that "brain secretes thought as the
liver secretes bile"?  Or that decay of the body is necessarily
accompanied by decay of the soul?  We now see that thought
to be really free must soar to the realms of psychical and
spiritual phenomena and not be confined to the material only.
We realize that what we now know about nature is but as a
drop in the ocean compared with what remains to be discovered.
We therefore freely admit the possibility of miracles,
not indeed in the sense of the breaking of nature's laws, but as
manifestations of the operation of subtle forces which are still
unknown to us, as electricity and X rays were to our ancestors.
On the other hand, who amongst our leading religious teachers
would still declare it is necessary to salvation to believe that
the world was made in six days, or that the description of the
plagues in Egypt as given in the Book of Exodus is literally
true, or that the sun stood still in the heavens (that is, that the
earth stopped its rotation) to let Joshua pursue his enemies,
or that if a man accept not the creed of St. Athanasius, "without
doubt he shall perish everlastingly"?  Such beliefs may still
be repeated in form, but who accepts them in their literal
sense and without reservation?  Their hold on people's hearts
and minds has gone or is fast going.  The religious world owes
a debt of gratitude to the men of science who helped to tear
such worn-out creeds and dogmas to tatters and allowed the
truth to step forth free.  But the scientific world owes an even
heavier debt to the real saints and mystics who, through good
report and ill, held to the vital truths of spiritual existence
and demonstrated to an incredulous world that the life is more
than meat and the unseen greater than the seen.  these scientists
and saints were like the mountain peaks which caught the
first rays of the rising sun and reflected them to the lower world,
but now the sun has risen and its rays are illuminating the
world.  In the teachings of Baha'u'llah we have a glorious
revelation of truth which satisfies both heart and mind, in
which religion and science are at one.
<p201>
Search after Truth
 
   Complete harmony with science is evident in the Baha'i
teachings regarding the way in which we must seek the truth.
Man must cut himself free from all prejudice so that he may
search after truth unhindered.
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     In order to find truth we must give up our prejudices,
   our own small trivial notions; an open receptive mind is
   essential.  If our chalice is full of self, there is no room
   in it for the water of life.  The fact that we imagine ourselves
   to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest
   of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is
   essential if we would reach Truth, for Truth is one. ...
     No one truth can contradict another truth.  Light is
   good in whatsoever lamp it is burning!  A rose is beautiful
   in whatsoever garden it may bloom!  A star has the
   same radiance if it shines from the East or from the West!
   Be free from prejudice; so will you love the Sun of Truth
   from whatever point in the horizon it may arise.  You will
   realize that if the Divine Light of Truth shone in Jesus
   Christ, it also shone in Moses and Buddha.  This is what
   is meant by the search after truth.
     It also means that we must be willing to clear away all
   that we have previously learned, all that would clog our
   steps on the way to Truth; we must not shrink, if necessary,
   from beginning our education all over again.  We
   must not allow our love for any one religion or any one
   personality so to blind our eyes that we become fettered by
   superstition.  When we are freed from all these bonds, seeking
   with liberal minds, then shall we be able to arrive at
   our goal.
 
 
The Agnosticism
 
   The Baha'i teaching is at one with science and philosophy
in declaring the essential nature of God to be entirely beyond
<p202>
human comprehension.  As emphatically as Thomas Huxley
and Herbert Spencer teach that the nature of the Great First
Cause is unknowable, does Baha'u'llah teach that "God comprehends
all; He cannot be comprehended."  To knowledge of
the Divine essence "the way is barred and road is impassable,"
for how can the finite comprehend the Infinite; how
can a drop contain the ocean or a mote dancing in the sunbeam
embrace the universe?  Yet the whole universe is eloquent of
God.  In each drop of water are hidden oceans of meaning,
and in each mote is concealed a whole universe of significances,
reaching far beyond the ken of the most learned scientist.  The
chemist and physicist pursuing their researches into the nature
of matter have passed from masses to molecules, from molecules
to atoms, from atoms to electrons and ether, but at every
step the difficulties of the research increase till the most profound
intellect can penetrate no farther, and can but bow in
silent awe before the unknown Infinite which remains ever
shrouded in inscrutable mystery.
 
   Flower in the crannied wall,
     I pluck you out of the crannies.
   I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
     Little flower -- but if I could understand
   What you are, root and all, and all in all,
     I should know what God and man is. -- TENNYSON.
 
   If the flower in the crannied wall, if even a single atom of
matter, present mysteries which the most profound intellect
cannot solve, how is it possible for man to comprehend the
universe?  How dare he pretend to define or describe the Infinite
cause of all things?  All theological speculations about the
nature of God's essence are thus swept aside as foolish and futile.
 
 
Knowledge of God
 
   But if the essence is unknowable, the manifestations of its
bounty are everywhere apparent.  If the first cause cannot be
conceived, its effects appeal to our every faculty.  Just as
knowledge of a painter's pictures gives to the connoisseur a
<p203>
true knowledge of the artist, so knowledge of the universe in
any of its aspects -- knowledge of nature or of human nature, of
things visible or of things invisible -- is knowledge of God's
handiwork, and gives to the seeker for Divine truth a real knowledge
of His Glory.  "The Heavens declare the glory of God; and
the firmament sheweth his handywork.  Day unto day uttereth
speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. -- Ps. xix, 1-2.
 
 
The Divine Manifestations
 
   All things manifest the bounty of God with greater or less
clearness, as all material objects exposed to the sun reflect its
light in greater or less degree.  A heap of soot reflects a little,
a stone reflects more, a piece of chalk more still, but in none
of these reflections can we trace the form and color of the
glorious orb.  A perfect mirror, however, reflects the sun's very
form and color, so that looking into it is like looking at the sun
itself.  So it is with the way in which things speak to us of God.
The stone can tell us something of the Divine attributes, the
flower can tell us more, the animal with its marvelous senses,
instincts and power of movement, more still.  In the lowest of
our fellowmen we can trace wonderful faculties which tell of
a wonderful Creator.  In the poet, the saint, the genius, we find
a higher revelation still, but the great Prophets and Founders of
religions are the perfect mirrors by which the love and wisdom
of God are reflected to the rest of mankind.  Other men's mirrors
are dulled by the stains and the dust of selfishness and
prejudice, but these are pure and without blemish -- wholly devoted
to the Will of God.  Thus They become the greatest educators
of mankind.  The Divine teachings and the Power of the
Holy Spirit proceeding through Them have been and are the
cause of the progress of humanity, for God helps men through
other men.  Each man who is higher in the ascent of life is the
means of helping those who are lower, and those who are the
highest of all are the helpers of all mankind.  It is as if all men
were connected together by elastic cords.  If a man rises a little
above the general level of his fellows, the cords tighten.  His
<p204>
former companions tend to draw him back, but with an equal
force he draws them upwards.  The higher he gets, the more he
feels the weight of the whole world pulling him back, and the
more dependent he is on the divine support, which reaches
him through the few who are still above him.  Highest of all are
the great Prophets and Saviors, the Divine "Manifestations" --
those perfect men Who were each, in Their day, without peer
or companion, and bore the burden of the whole world, supported
by God alone.  "The burden of our sins was upon Him:
was true of each of Them.  Each was the "Way, the Truth and
the Life" to His followers.  Each was the channel of God's
bounty to every heart that would receive it.  Each had His part
to play in the great divine plan for the upliftment of humanity.
 
 
Creation
 
   Baha'u'llah teaches that the universe is without beginning
in time.  It is a perpetual emanation from the Great First Cause.
The Creator always had His creation and always will have.
Worlds and systems may come and go, but the universe remains.
All things that undergo composition, in time undergo
decomposition, but the component elements remain.  The creation
of a world, a daisy or a human body is not "making
something out of nothing"; it is rather a bringing together of
elements which before were scattered, a making visible of
something which before was hidden.  By and by the elements
will again be scattered, the form will disappear, but nothing is
really lost or annihilated; ever new combinations and forms
arise from the ruins of the old.  Baha'u'llah confirms the scientists
who claim, not six thousand, but millions and billions of
years for the history of the earth's creation.  The evolution
theory does not deny creative power.  It only tries to describe
the method of its manifestation; and the wonderful story of the
material universe which the astronomer, the geologist, the
physicist and the biologist are gradually unfolding to our gaze
is, rightly appreciated, far more capable of evoking the deepest
reverence and worship than the crude and bald account of
creation given in the Hebrew Scriptures.  The old account in
<p205>
the Book of Genesis had, however, the advantage of indicating
by a few bold strokes of symbolism the essential spiritual meanings
of the story, as a master painter may, by a few strokes of
the brush, convey expressions which the mere plodder with the
most laborious attention to details may utterly fail to portray.
If the material details blind us to the spiritual meaning, then
we should be better without them; but if we have once firmly
grasped the essential meaning of the whole scheme, then
knowledge of the details will give our conception a wonderful
added richness and splendor and make it a magnificent picture
instead of a mere sketch plan.
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     Know that it is one of the most abstruse spiritual truths
   that the world of existence, that is to say this endless
   universe, has no beginning. ...
     ... Know that ... a creator without a creature is
   impossible, a provider without those provided for cannot
   be conceived; for all the divine names and attributes demand
   the existence of beings.  If we could imagine a time
   when no beings existed, this imagination would be the denial
   of the Divinity of God.  Moreover, absolute non-existence
   cannot become existence.  If the beings were absolutely
   non-existent, existence would not have come into
   being.  Therefore, as the Essence of Unity, that is the existence
   of God, is everlasting and eternal -- that is to say, it
   has neither beginning nor end -- it is certain that this world
   of existence ... has neither beginning nor end. ... it
   may be that one of the parts of the universe, one of the
   globes, for example, may come into existence, or may be
   disintegrated, but the other endless globes are still existing.
   ... As each globe has a beginning, necessarily it has an
   end, because every composition, collective or particular,
   must of necessity be decomposed; the only difference is
   that some are quickly decomposed, and others more
   slowly, but it is impossible that a composed thing should
   not eventually be decomposed. -- Some Answered
   Questions, pp. 209-210.
<p206>
The Evolution of Man
 
   Baha'u'llah also confirms the biologist who finds for the
body of man a history reaching back in the development of the
species through millions of years.  Starting from a very simple,
apparently insignificant form, the human body is pictured as
developing stage by stage, in the course of untold generations,
becoming more and more complex, and better and better
organized until the man of the present day is reached.  Each
individual human body develops through such a series of
stages, from a tiny round speck of jelly-like matter to the fully
developed man.  If this is true of the individual, as nobody
denies, why should we consider it derogatory to human dignity
to admit a similar development for the species?  This is a very
different thing from claiming that man is descended from a
monkey.  The human embryo may at one time resemble a fish
with gill-slits and tail, but it is not a fish.  It is a human embryo.
So the human species+F1 may at various stages of its long development
have resembled to the outward eye various species
of lower animals, but it was still the human species, possessing
the mysterious latent power of developing into man as we know
him today, nay more, of developing in the future, we trust,
into something far higher still.
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     ... it is clear that this terrestrial globe in its present
   form did not come into existence all at once; but ...
   gradually passed through different phases until it became
   adorned with its present perfection. ...
     ... man, in the beginning of his existence and in the
   womb of the earth, like the embryo in the womb of the
   mother, gradually grew and developed, and passed from
   one form to another ... until he appeared with this
   beauty and perfection, this force and this power.  It is certain
   that in the beginning he had not this loveliness and
------------------------
1.    The word "species" is used here to explain the distinction which has
    always existed between men and animals, despite outward appearances.  It
    should not be read with its current specialized biological meaning.
<p207>
   grace and elegance, and that he only by degrees attained
   this shape, this form, this beauty, and this grace. ...
     ... man's existence on this earth, from the beginning
   until it reaches this state, form, and condition, necessarily
   lasts a long time. ... But from the beginning of man's
   existence he is a distinct species. ... admitting that the
   traces of organs which have disappeared actually exist [in
   the human body], this is not a proof of the impermanence
   and the non-originality of the species.  At the most it proves
   that the form, and fashion, and the organs of man have
   progressed.  Man was always a distinct species, a man, not
   an animal. -- Some Answered Questions, pp. 211, 212,
   213, 214.
 
   Of the story of Adam and Eve He says: --
 
     If we take this story in its apparent meaning, according
   to the interpretation of the masses, it is indeed extraordinary.
   The intelligence cannot accept it, affirm it, or
   imagine it; for such arrangements, such details, such
   speeches and reproaches are far from being those of an
   intelligent man, how must less of the Divinity -- that
   Divinity who has organised this infinite universe in the
   most perfect form, and its innumerable inhabitants with
   absolute system, strength, and perfection. ...
     Therefore this story of Adam and Eve who ate from
   the tree, and their expulsion from Paradise, must be
   thought of simply as a symbol.  It contains divine mysteries
   and universal meanings, and it is capable of marvellous
   explanations. -- Some Answered Questions, p. 140
 
 
Body and Soul
 
   The Baha'i teachings with regard to body and soul, and the
life after death, are quite in harmony with the results of psychical
research.  They teach, as we have seen, that death is but a
new birth -- the escape from the prison of the body into a
larger life, and that progress in the afterlife is limitless.
   A large body of scientific evidence has gradually been accumulating
<p208>
which in the opinion of impartial but highly critical
investigators is amply sufficient to establish beyond all question
the fact of a life after death -- of the continued life and
activity of the conscious "soul" after the dissolution of the
material body.  As F. W. H. Myers says in his Human
Personality, a work which summarizes many of the investigations
of the Psychical Research Society: --
 
     Observation, experiment, inference, have led many inquirers,
   of whom I am one, to a belief in direct or telepathic
   intercommunication, not between the minds of
   men still on earth only, but between minds or spirits
   still on earth and spirits departed.  Such a discovery opens
   the doors also to revelation. ...
     We have shown that amid much deception and self-deception,
   fraud and illusion, veritable manifestations do
   reach us from beyond the grave. ...
     By discovery and by revelation certain theses have been
   provisionally established with regard to such departed
   souls as we have been able to encounter.  First and chiefly,
   I, at least, see ground to believe that their state is one of
   endless evolution in wisdom and in love.  Their loves of
   earth persist, and most of all, those highest loves which
   find their outlet in adoration and worship. ... Evil to
   them seems less a terrible than a slavish thing.  It is embodied
   in no mighty Potentate; rather it forms as isolating
   madness from which higher spirits strive to free the distorted
   soul.  There needs no chastisement of fire; self-knowledge
   is man's punishment and his reward; self-knowledge
   and the nearness or the aloofness of companion
   souls.  For in that world love is actually self-preservation;
   the Communion of Saints not only adorns but constitutes
   the Life Everlasting.  nay, from the laws of telepathy it
   follows that that communion is valid to us here and now.
   Even now the love of souls departed makes answer to our
   invocations.  Even now our loving memory -- love is itself a
   prayer -- supports and strengthens those delivered spirits
   upon their upward way.
<p209>
   The measure of agreement between this view, which is
founded on careful scientific research, and that of the Baha'i
teachings, is truly remarkable.
 
 
Unity of Mankind
 
   "Ye are all fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch, the
flowers of one garden."  That is one of the most characteristic
sayings of Baha'u'llah, and another is like it:  "Glory is not his
who loves his own country, but glory is his who loves his kind."
Unity -- unity of mankind, and of all created beings in God --
is the main theme of His teaching.  Here again the harmony
between true religion and science is evident.  With every advance
in science the oneness of the universe and the interdependence
of its parts has become more clearly evident.  The
astronomer's domain is inseparably bound up with physicist's,
and the physicist's with the chemist's, the chemist's with
the biologist's, the biologist's with the psychologist's, and so
on.  Every new discovery in one field of research throws new
light on other fields.  Just as physical science has shown that
every particle of matter in the universe attracts and influences
every other particle, no matter how minute or how distant, so
psychical science is finding that every soul in the universe
affects and influences every other soul.  Prince Kropotkin, in
his book on Mutual Aid, shows most clearly that even among
the lower animals, mutual aid is absolutely necessary to continued
life, while in the case of man, the progress of civilization
depends on the increasing substitution of mutual aid for mutual
enmity.  "Each for all and all for each" is the only principle on
which a community can prosper.
 
 
The Era of Unity
 
   All the signs of the times indicate that we are at the dawn
of a new era in the history of mankind.  Hitherto the young
eagle of humanity has clung to the old aerie in the solid rock
of selfishness and materialism.  Its attempts to use its wings
have been timid and tentative.  It has had restless longings for
<p210>
something still unattained.  More and more it has been chafing
in the confinement of the old dogmas and orthodoxies.  But
now the era of confinement is at an end, and it can launch on
the wings of faith and reason into the higher realms of spiritual
love and truth.  It will no longer be earthbound as it was before
its wings had grown, but will soar at will to the regions of wide
outlook and glorious freedom.  One thing is necessary, however,
if its flight is to be sure and steady.  Its wings must not
only be strong, but they must act in perfect harmony and
coordination.  As Abdu'l-Baha says: -- "It cannot fly with one
wing alone.  If it tries to fly with the wing of religion alone it
will land in the slough of superstition, and if it tries to fly with
the wing of science alone it will end in the dreary bog of
materialism."
   Perfect harmony between religion and science is the sine
qua non of the higher life for humanity.  When that is achieved,
and every child is trained not only in the study of the sciences,
and arts, but equally in love to all mankind and in radiant
acquiescence to the Will of God as revealed in the progress of
evolution and the teachings of the Prophets, then and not till
then, shall the Kingdom of God come and His Will be done on
earth as it is in Heaven; then and not till then shall the Most
Great Peace shed its blessings on the world.
 
     "When religion," says Abdu'l-Baha, "shorn of its
   superstitions, traditions and unintelligent dogmas, shows
   its conformity with science, then there will be a great
   unifying, cleansing force in the world, which will sweep
   before it all wars, disagreements, discords and struggles,
   and then will mankind be united in the power of the love
   of God."
<p211>
Prophecies Fulfilled by the Baha'i
Movement/13
 
   As to the Manifestation of the Greatest Name (Baha'u'llah):
this is He Whom God promised in all His Books and Scriptures,
such as the Bible, the Gospels and the Qur'an. --
ABDU'L-BAHA.
 
 
Interpretation of Prophecy
 
   The interpretation of prophecy is notoriously difficult, and
on no subject do the opinions of the learned differ more widely.
This is not to be wondered at, for, according to the revealed
writings themselves, many of the prophecies were given in such
a form that they could not be fully understood until the fulfillment
came, and even then, only by those who were pure in
heart and free from prejudice.  Thus at the end of Daniel's
visions the seer was told: --
 
     But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the
   book, even to the time of the end:  many shall run to and
   fro, and knowledge shall be increased. ... And I heard,
   but I understood not:  then said I, O my Lord, what shall
   be the end of these things?  And he said, Go thy way,
   Daniel:  for the words are closed up and sealed till the time
   of the end. -- Daniel xii, 4-9.
 
   If God sealed up the prophecies until the appointed time,
and did not fully reveal the interpretation even to the prophets
who uttered them, we may expect that none but the appointed
Messenger of God will be able to break the seal and disclose
the meanings concealed in the casket of the prophetic parables.
Reflection on the history of prophecies and their misinterpretation
in previous ages and dispensations, combined with the
<p212>
solemn warnings of the prophets themselves, should render us
very chary of accepting the speculations of theologians as to
the real meaning of these utterances and the manner of their
fulfillment.  On the other hand, when someone appears who
claims to fulfill the prophecies, it is important that we examine
his claim with open, unprejudiced minds.  Should he be an impostor,
the fraud will soon be discovered and no harm will
be done, but woe to all who carelessly turn God's Messenger
from the door because He comes in an unexpected form or
time.
   The life and utterances of Baha'u'llah testify that He is the
Promised One of all the Holy Books, Who has the power to
break the seals of the prophecies and to pour forth the "Sealed
choice wine" of the divine mysteries.  Let us hasten, then, to
hear His explanations and to reexamine in their light the familiar
but often mysterious words spoken by the prophets of old.
 
 
The Coming of the Lord
 
   The "Coming of the Lord" in the "last days" is the one
"far-off divine event" to which all the Prophets look forward,
about which Their most glorious songs are sung.  Now what
is meant by the "Coming of the Lord"?  Surely God is at all
times with His creatures, in all, through all, and over all;
"Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet."
Yes, but men cannot see or hear God immanent and transcendent,
cannot realize His Presence, until He reveals Himself
through a visible form and talks to them in human language.
For the revelation of His higher attributes, God has always
made use of a human instrument.  Each of the Prophets was
a mediator through whom God visited and spoke to His people.
Jesus was such a mediator, and the Christians have rightly
regarded His appearance as a coming of God.  In Him they
saw the Face of God and through His lips they heard the Voice
of God.  Baha'u'llah tells us that the "Coming" of the Lord of
Hosts, the Everlasting Father, the Maker and Redeemer of
the World, which, according to all the Prophets, is to take
place at "the time of the end," means no other than His manifestation
<p213>
in a human temple, as he manifested through the
temple of Jesus of Nazareth, only this time with a fuller and
more glorious revelation, for which Jesus and all the former
Prophets came to prepare men's hearts and minds.
 
 
Prophecies about Christ
 
   Through failing to understand the meaning of the prophecies
about the dominion of the Messiah, the Jews rejected Christ.
Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     The Jews still await the coming of the Messiah, and
   pray to God day and night to hasten His advent.  When
   Jesus came they denounced and slew Him, saying:  "This
   is not the One for Whom we wait.  Behold, when the Messiah
   shall come, signs and wonders shall testify that He is
   in truth the Christ.  The Messiah will arise out of an unknown
   city.  He shall sit upon the throne of David, and
   behold, He shall come with a sword of steel, and with a
   scepter of iron shall He rule.  He shall fulfill the Law of the
   Prophets.  He shall conquer the East and the West, and
   shall glorify His chosen people the Jews.  He shall bring
   with Him a reign of Peace during which even the animals
   shall cease to be at enmity with man.  For behold, the wolf
   and the lamb shall drink from the same spring ... and all
   God's creatures shall be at rest. ..."
     Thus the Jews thought and spoke, for they did not
   understand the Scriptures nor the glorious truths that
   were contained in them.  The letter they knew by heart,
   but of the life-giving Spirit they understood not a word.
     Hearken, and I will show you the meaning thereof:
   Although Christ came from Nazareth, which was a known
   place, He came also from heaven.  His body was born of
   Mary, but His Spirit came from heaven.  The sword He
   carried was the sword of His tongue, with which He
   divided the good from the evil, the true from the false, the
   faithful from the unfaithful, and the light from the darkness.
   His Word was indeed a sharp sword!  The throne
<p214>
   upon which He sat is the Eternal Throne from which
   Christ reigns forever, a heavenly throne, not an earthly
   one, for the things of earth pass away but heavenly things
   pass not away.  He reinterpreted and completed the Laws of
   Moses and fulfilled the Law of the Prophets.  His Word
   conquered the East and the West.  His kingdom is everlasting.
   He exalted those Jews who recognized Him.  They
   were men and women of humble birth, but contact with
   Him made them great and gave them everlasting dignity.
   The animals who were to live with one another signified
   the different sects and races, who, once having been at
   war, were now to dwell in love and charity, drinking together
   the Water of Life from Christ the Eternal Spring.
 
   Most Christians accept these interpretations of Messianic
prophecies as applied to Christ; but with regard to similar
prophecies about the latter-day Messiah, many of them take
up the same attitude as the Jews, expecting a miraculous display
on the material plane which will fulfill the very letter of
the prophecies.
 
 
Prophecies about the Bab and Baha'u'llah
 
   According to the Baha'i interpretations, the prophecies
which speak of "the time of the end," the "last days," the coming
of the "Lord of hosts," of the "everlasting Father," refer
especially, not to the advent of Jesus Christ, but to that of
Baha'u'llah.  Take, for instance, the well-known prophecy in
Isaiah: --
 
     The people that walked in darkness have seen a great
   light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
   upon them hath the light shined. ... For thou hast
   broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder,
   the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.  For
   every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and
   garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning
   and fuel of fire.  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son
<p215>
   is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
   and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The
   might God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
   Of the increase of his government and peace there shall
   be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
   to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
   with justice from henceforth even for ever.  The zeal of
   the Lord of hosts will perform this. -- Isa. ix, 2-7.
 
   This is one of the prophecies that has often been regarded
as referring to Christ, and must of it may quite fairly be thus
applied, but a little examination will show how much more
fully and aptly it applies to Baha'u'llah.  Christ has, indeed,
been a light-bringer and Savior, but for nearly two thousand
years since His advent the great majority of the people of the
earth have continued to walk in darkness, and the children of
Israel and many other of God's children have continued to
groan under the rod of the oppressor.  On the other hand, during
the first few decades of the Baha'i era, the light of truth
has illumined the East and the West, the gospel of the fatherhood
of God and the brotherhood of man has been carried into
all countries of the world, the great military autocracies have
been overthrown, and a consciousness of world unity has been
born which brings hope of eventual relief to all the downtrodden
and oppressed nationalities of the world.  The great war
which from 1914 to 1918 convulsed the world, with its unprecedented
use of firearms, liquid fire, incendiary bombs and
fuel for engines, has indeed been "with burning and fuel of
fire."+F1  Baha'u'llah, by dealing at great length in His Writings
with questions of government and administration, and showing
how they may best be solved, has "taken the government upon
His shoulders" in a way that Christ never did.  With regard to
the titles "everlasting Father," "Prince of Peace," Baha'u'llah
repeatedly refers to Himself as the manifestation of the
Father, of whom Christ and Isaiah spoke, whereas Christ
always referred to Himself as the Son; and Baha'u'llah declares
------------------------
1.    The Second World War further demonstrated the fulfillment of this
    prophecy, culminating in the use of the atomic bomb.
<p216>
that His mission is to establish peace on earth, while Christ
said:  "I came not to send peace but a sword," and as a matter
of fact during the whole of the Christian era wars and sectarian
strifes have abounded.
 
 
The Glory of God
 
   The title "Baha'u'llah" is the Arabic for "Glory of God,"
and this very title is frequently used by the Hebrew prophets
for the Promised One Who is to appear in the last days.  Thus
in the 40th chapter of Isaiah we read: --
 
     Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
   Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that
   her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned:
   for she hath received of the Lord's hand double
   for all her sins.  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
   Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the
   desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be exalted,
   and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and
   the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places
   plain: And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all
   flesh shall see it together.  Isa. xl, 1-5.
 
   Like the former prophecy, this has also been partly fulfilled
in the advent of Christ and His forerunner, John the Baptist;
but only partly, for in the days of Christ the warfare of Jerusalem
was not accomplished; many centuries of bitter trail and
humiliation were yet in store for her.  With the advent of the
Bab and Baha'u'llah, however, the more complete fulfillment
dawned for Jerusalem, and her prospects of a peaceful and
glorious future seem now to be reasonably assured.
   Other prophecies speak of the Redeemer of Israel, the
Glory of the Lord, as coming to the Holy Land from the East,
from the rising of the sun.  Now Baha'u'llah appeared in Persia,
which is eastward from Palestine, towards the rising of the sun,
and He came to the Holy Land, where He spent the last twenty-four
<p217>
years of His life.  Had He come there as a free man, people
might have said that it was the trick of an impostor in order
to conform to the prophecies; but He came as an exile and
prisoner.  He was sent there by the Shah of Persia and the Sultan
of Turkey, who can hardly be suspected of any design to
furnish arguments in favor of Baha'u'llah's claim to be the
"Glory of God" Whose coming the Prophets foretold.
 
 
The Branch
 
   In the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zechariah
are several references to a man called the Branch.  These
have often been taken by Christians as applying to Christ, but
are regarded by Baha'is as referring especially to Baha'u'llah.
   The longest Bible prophecy about the Branch is in the 11th
chapter of Isaiah: --
 
     And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of
   Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the
   spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom
   and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might,
   the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. ...
   righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness
   the girdle of his reins.  The wolf also shall dwell with
   the lamb, and the leopard ... with the kid; and the calf
   and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little
   child shall lead them. ... They shall not hurt nor destroy
   in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full
   of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
   ... And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord
   shall set his hand again the second time to recover the
   remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria,
   and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush,
   and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from
   the islands of the sea.  And he shall set up an ensign  for the
   nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and
   gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four
   corners of the earth. -- Isa. xi, 1-12.
<p218>
   Abdu'l-Baha remarks about this and other prophecies of
the Branch: --
 
     One of the great events which is to occur in the day
   of the manifestation of that incomparable Branch, is the
   hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations; meaning
   that all the nations and tribes will come under the
   shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the
   Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation.  The
   antagonism of faiths and religions, the hostility of races
   and peoples, and the national differences, will be eradicated
   from amongst them.  All will become one religion,
   one faith, one race, and one single people, and will dwell
   in one native land, which is the terrestrial globe.  Universal
   peace and concord will be realised between all the nations,
   and that incomparable Branch will gather together
   all Israel: signifying that in this cycle Israel will be gathered
   in the Holy Land, and that the Jewish people who
   are scattered to the East and West, South and North, will
   be assembled together.
     Now see: these events did not take place in the Christian
   cycle, for the nations did not come under the One
   Standard which is the Divine Branch.  But in this cycle of
   the Lord of Hosts all the nations and people will enter
   under the shadow of this Flag.  In the same way, Israel,
   scattered all over the world, was not reassembled in the
   Holy Land in the Christian cycle; but in the beginning of
   the cycle of Baha'u'llah this divine promise, as is clearly
   stated in all the Books of the Prophets, has begun to be
   manifest.  You can see that form all the parts of the world
   tribes of Jews are coming to the Holy Land; they live in
   villages and lands which they make their own, and day by
   day they are increasing to such an extent, that all Palestine
   will become their home. -- Some Answered Questions, p.
   75-76.
 
 
The Day of God
 
   The word "Day" in such phrases as "Day of God" and "Last
Day" is interpreted as meaning "Dispensation."  Each of the
<p219>
great religion-founders has His "Day."  Each is like a sun.  His
teachings have their dawn, their truth gradually illumines more
and more the minds and hearts of the people until they attain
the zenith of their influence.  Then they gradually become obscured,
misrepresented and corrupted, and darkness overshadows
the earth until the sun of a new day arises.  The day of the
Supreme Manifestation of God is the Last Day, because it is a
day that shall never end, and shall not be overtaken by night.
His sun shall never set, but shall illumine the souls of men both
in this world and in the world to come.  In reality none of the
spiritual suns ever set.  The suns of Moses, of Christ, of
Muhammad, and all the other Prophets are still shining in
heaven with undiminished luster.  But earthborn clouds have
concealed their radiance from the people of earth.  The Supreme
Sun of Baha'u'llah will finally disperse these dark clouds,
so that the people of all religions will rejoice in the light of all
the Prophets, and with one accord worship the one God Whose
light all the Prophets have mirrored forth.
 
 
The Day of Judgment
 
   Christ spoke much in parables about a great Day of Judgment
when "the Son of man shall come in the glory of his
Father ... and ... shall reward every man according to his
works" (Matt. xvi, 27).  He compares this Day to the time
of harvest, when the tares are burned and the wheat gathered
into barns: --
 
     ... so shall it be in the end of this world [consummation
   of the age].  The Son of man shall send
   forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom
   all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And
   shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing
   and gnashing of teeth.  Then shall the righteous shine forth
   as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. -- Matt. xiii,
   40-43.
 
   The phrase "end of the world" used in the Authorized
Version of the Bible in this and similar passages has led many
to suppose that when the Day of Judgment comes, the earth
will suddenly be destroyed, but this is evidently a mistake.  The
<p220>
true translation of the phrase appears to be "the consummation
or end of the age."  Christ teaches that the Kingdom of the
Father is to be established on earth, as well as in heaven.  He
teaches us to pray:  "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on
earth as it is in heaven."  In the parable of the Vineyard, when
the Father, the Lord of the Vineyard, comes to destroy the
wicked husbandmen, He does not destroy the vineyard (the
world) also, but lets it out to other husbandmen, who will
render Him the fruits in their season.  The earth is not to be
destroyed, but to be renewed and regenerated.  Christ speaks of
that day on another occasion as "the regeneration when the
Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory."  St. Peter speaks
of it as "the times of refreshing," "the times of restitution of
all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy
prophets since the world began."  The Day of Judgment of
which Christ speaks is evidently identical with the coming of
the Lord of Hosts, the Father, which was prophesied by Isaiah
and the other Old Testament prophets; a time of terrible punishment
for the wicked, but a time in which justice shall be
established and righteousness rule, on earth as in heaven.
   In the Baha'i interpretation, the coming of each Manifestation
of God is a Day of Judgment, but the coming of the
supreme Manifestation of Baha'u'llah is the great Day of Judgment
for the world cycle in which we are living.  The trumpet
blast of which Christ and Muhammad and many other prophets
speak is the call of the Manifestation, which is sounded for all
who are in heaven and on earth -- the embodied and the disembodied.
The meeting with God, through His Manifestation,
is, for those who desire to meet Him, the gateway to the
Paradise of knowing and loving Him, and living in love with all
His creatures.  Those, on the other hand, who prefer their own
way to God's way, as revealed by the Manifestation, thereby
consign themselves to the hell of selfishness, error and enmity.
 
 
The Great Resurrection
 
   The Day of Judgment is also the Day of Resurrection, of
the raising of the dead.  St. Paul in his First Epistle to the
Corinthians says: --
<p221>
     Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,
   but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling
   of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound,
   and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be
   changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
   and this mortal must put on immortality. -- I Cor. xv,
   51-53.
 
   As to the meaning of these passages about the raising of the
dead, Baha'u'llah writes in the Book of Iqan: --
 
     ... By the terms "life" and "death," spoken of in the
   scriptures, is intended the life of faith and the death of
   unbelief.  The generality of the people, owing to their failure
   to grasp the meaning of these words, rejected and despised
   the person of the Manifestation, deprived themselves
   of the light of His divine guidance, and refused to
   follow the example of that immortal Beauty. ...
     ... Even as Jesus said: "Ye must be born again" [John
   iii, 7].  Again He saith: "Except a man be born of water
   and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of
   God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that
   which is born of the Spirit is spirit" [John iii, 5-6].  The
   purpose of these words is that whosoever in every dispensation
   is born of the Spirit and is quickened by the breath of
   the Manifestation of Holiness, he verily is of those that
   have attained unto "life" and "resurrection" and have entered
   into the "paradise" of the love of God.  And
   whosoever is not of them, is condemned to "death" and
   "deprivation," to the "fire" of unbelief, and to the "wrath"
   of God. ...
     In every age and century, the purpose of the Prophets
   of God and their chosen ones hath been no other but to
   affirm the spiritual significance of the terms "life," "resurrection,"
   and "judgment." ... Wert thou to attain to but
   a dewdrop of the crystal waters of divine knowledge, thou
   wouldst readily realize that true life is not the life of the
   flesh but the life of the spirit.  For the life of the flesh is
   common to both men and animals, whereas the life of
<p222>
   the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have
   quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit
   of certitude.  This life knoweth no death, and this existence
   is crowned by immortality.  Even as it hath been said:
   "He who is a true believer liveth both in this world and
   in the world to come."  If by "life" be meant this earthly
   life, it is evident that death must needs overtake it. --
   Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 114, 118, 120-21.
 
   According to the Baha'i teaching the Resurrection has nothing
to do with the gross physical body.  That body, once dead,
is done with.  It becomes decomposed and its atoms will never
be recomposed into the same body.
   Resurrection is the birth of the individual to spiritual life,
through the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed through the Manifestation
of God.  The grave from which he arises is the grave
of ignorance and negligence of God.  The sleep from which he
awakens is the dormant spiritual condition in which many
await the dawn of the Day of God.  This dawn illumines all
who have lived on the face of the earth, whether they are in the
body or out of the body, but those who are spiritually blind
cannot perceive it.  The Day of Resurrection is not a day of
twenty-four hours, but an era which has now begun and will
last as long as the present world cycle continues.  It will continue
when all traces of the present civilization will have been
wiped off the surface of the globe.
 
 
Return of Christ
 
   In many of His conversations Christ speaks of the future
Manifestation of God in the third person, but in others the first
person is used.  He says:  "I go to prepare a place for you.  And
if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive
you unto myself" (John xiv, 2-3).  In the first chapter of
Acts we read that the disciples were told, at the ascension of
Jesus:  "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into
heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him
go into heaven."  Because of these and similar sayings, many
<p223>
Christians expect that when the Son of Man comes "in the
clouds of heaven and with great glory" they shall see in bodily
form the very Jesus Who walked the streets of Jerusalem two
thousand years ago, and bled and suffered on the cross.  They
expect to be able to thrust their fingers into the prints of the
nails on His hands and feet, and their hands into the spear
wound in His side.  But surely a little reflection on Christ's own
words would dissipate such an idea.  The Jews of Christ's time
had just such ideas about the return of Elias, but Jesus explained
their error, showing that the prophecy that "Elias must
first come" was fulfilled, not by the return of the person and
body of the former Elias, but in the person of John the Baptist,
who came "in the spirit and power of Elias."  "And if ye will
receive it," said Christ, "this is Elias, which was for to come.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."  The "return" of
Elias, therefore, meant the appearance of another person, born
of other parents, but inspired by God with the same spirit and
power.  These words of Jesus may surely be taken to imply that
the return of Christ will, in like manner, be accomplished by
the appearance of another person, born of another mother,
but showing forth the Spirit and Power of God even as Christ
did.  Baha'u'llah explains that the "coming again" of Christ was
fulfilled in the advent of the Bab and in his own coming.  He
says: --
 
     Consider the sun.  Were it to say now, "I am the sun
   of yesterday," it would speak the truth.  And should it,
   bearing the sequence of time in mind, claim to be other
   than that sun, it still would speak the truth.  In like manner,
   if it be said that all the days are but one and the
   same, it is correct and true.  And if it be said, with respect
   to their particular names and designations, that they
   differ, that again is true.  For though they are the same,
   yet one doth recognize in each a separate designation, a
   specific attribute, a particular character.  Conceive accordingly
   the distinction, variation, and unity characteristic
   of the various Manifestations of holiness, that thou
   mayest comprehend the allusions made by the creator of
<p224>
   all names and attributes to the mysteries of distinction
   and unity, and discover the answer to thy question as to
   why that everlasting Beauty should have, at sundry times,
   called Himself by different names and titles. -- Kitab-i-Iqan,
   21-22.
 
   Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     Know that the return of Christ for a second time doth
   not mean what the people believe, but rather signifieth the
   One promised to come after Him.  He shall come with the
   Kingdom of God and His Power which hath surrounded
   the world.  This dominion is in the world of hearts and
   spirits, and not in that of matter; for the material world is
   not comparable to a single wing of a fly, in the sight of the
   Lord, wert thou of those who know!  Verily Christ came
   with His Kingdom from the beginning which hath no beginning,
   and will come with His Kingdom to the eternity
   of eternities, inasmuch as in this sense "Christ" is an expression
   of the Divine Reality, the simple Essence and
   heavenly Entity, which hath no beginning nor ending.  It
   hath appearance, arising, manifestation and setting in each
   of the cycles.
 
 
The Time of the End
 
   Christ and His apostles mentioned many signs which would
distinguish the times of the "Return" of the Son of Man in the
glory of the Father.  Christ said: --
 
     And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies,
   then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. ...
   For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which
   are written may be fulfilled. ... for there shall be great
   distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.  And they
   shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away
   captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden
   down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall
   be fulfilled. -- Luke xxi, 20-24.
<p225>
   Again He said: --
 
     Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall
   come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive
   many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see
   that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to
   pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against
   nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be
   famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers
   places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then shall
   they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and
   ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.  And
   then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another,
   and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall
   rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall
   abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall
   endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.  And this
   gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world
   for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end
   come. -- Matt. xxiv, 4-14.
 
   In these two passages Christ foretold in plain terms, without
veil or covering, the things that must come to pass before the
coming of the Son of Man.  During the centuries that have
elapsed since Christ spoke, every one of these signs has been
fulfilled.  In the last part of each passage He mentions an event
that shall mark the time of the coming -- in one case the ending
of the Jewish exile and the restoration of Jerusalem, and in the
other the preaching of the gospel in all the world.  It is startling
to find that both of these signs are being literally fulfilled
in our own times.  If these parts of the prophecy are as true as
the rest, it follows that we must be living now in the "time of
the end" of which Christ spoke.
   Muhammad also mentions certain signs which will persist
until the Day of Resurrection.  In the Qur'an we read: --
 
     When Allah said: "O Jesus!  Verily I will cause thee
   to die, and exalt thee towards Me, and clear thee of the
   charges of those who disbelieve, and will place those who
<p226>
   follow thee [that is, Christians] above those who disbelieve
   [Jews and others], until the Day of Resurrection; then to
   Me shall be your return, so I will decide between you concerning
   that in which you differed." -- Sura iii, 54.
     "The Hand of God," say the Jews, "is chained up."
   Their own hands shall be chained up -- and for that which
   they have said shall they be cursed.  Nay! outstretched are
   both His hands!  At His own pleasure doth He bestow gifts.
   That which hath been sent down to thee from thy Lord
   will surely increase the rebellion and unbelief of many of
   them; and We have put enmity and hatred between them
   that shall last until the Day of Resurrection.  Oft as they
   kindle a beacon fire for war shall God quench it. -- Sura v,
   69.
     And of those who say, "We are Christians," have We
   accepted the Covenant.  But they too have forgotten a part
   of what they were taught; wherefore We have stirred up
   enmity and hatred among them that shall last till the Day
   of Resurrection; and in the end will God tell them of their
   doings. -- Sura v, 17.
 
   These words also have been literally fulfilled in the subjection
of the Jews to Christian (and Muslim) peoples, and in
the sectarianism and strife which have divided both Jews and
Christians among themselves during all the centuries since
Muhammad spoke.  Only since the commencement of the
Baha'i era (the Day of Resurrection) have signs of the approaching
end of these conditions made their appearance.
 
 
Signs in Heaven and Earth
 
   In the Hebrew, Christian, Muhammadan and many other
Scriptures, there is a remarkable similarity in the description
of the signs which are to accompany the coming of the Promised
One.
   In the Book of Joel we read: --
 
     And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the
   earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  The sun shall
<p227>
   be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before
   the great and terrible days of the Lord come. ... For,
   behold, in those days ... when I shall bring again the
   captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all
   nations, and will bring them down into the valley of
   Jehoshaphat [Jehovah judgeth], and will plead with them
   there. ... Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
   for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
   The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the
   stars shall withdraw their shining.  The Lord also shall
   roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and
   the heavens and the earth shall shake; but the Lord will
   be the hope of his people. -- Joel ii, 30-31; iii, 1-2, 14-16.
 
   Christ says: --
 
     Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall
   the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her
   light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers
   of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the
   sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the
   tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of
   man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great
   glory. -- Matt. xxiv, 29-30.
 
   In the Qur'an we read: --
 
   When the sun shall be shrouded,
   And when the stars shall fall,
   And when the mountains are made to pass away ...
   And when the leaves of the Book shall be unrolled,
   And when the heaven shall be uncovered,
   And when hell shall be made to blaze. -- Sura lxxxi.
 
   In the Book of Iqan Baha'u'llah explains that these prophecies
about the sun, moon and stars, the heavens and the earth,
are symbolical and are not to be understood merely in the literal
sense.  The Prophets were primarily concerned with spiritual,
not material, things; with spiritual, not with physical,
light.  When They mention the sun, in connection with the
<p228>
Day of Judgment, They refer to the Sun of Righteousness.  The
sun is the supreme source of light, so Moses was a sun for
the Hebrews, Christ for the Christians, and Muhammad for
the Muslims.  When the Prophets speak of the sun being darkened,
what is meant is that the pure teachings of these spiritual
Suns have become obscured by misrepresentation, misunderstanding
and prejudice, so that the people are in spiritual
darkness.  The moon and stars are the lesser sources of illumination,
the religious leaders and teachers, who should guide
and inspire the people.  When it is said that the moon shall not
give her light or shall be turned into blood, and the stars shall
fall from heaven, it is indicated that the leaders of the churches
shall become debased, engaging in strife and contention, and
the priests shall become worldly minded, concerned about
earthly instead of heavenly things.
   The meaning of these prophecies is not exhausted by one
explanation, however, and there are other senses in which these
symbols can be interpreted.  Baha'u'llah says that in another
sense the words "sun," "moon," and "stars" are applied to the
ordinances and instructions enacted in every religion.  As in
every subsequent Manifestation the ceremonies, forms, customs
and instructions of the preceding Manifestations are
changed in accordance with the requirements of the times, so,
in this sense the sun and moon are changed and the stars
dispersed.
   In many cases the literal fulfillment of these prophecies in
the outward sense would be absurd or impossible; for example,
the moon being turned into blood or the stars falling upon the
earth.  The least of the visible stars is many thousand times
larger than the earth, and were one to fall on the earth there
would be no earth left for another to fall on!  In other cases,
however, there is a material as well as a spiritual fulfillment.
For example, the Holy Land did literally become desert and
desolate during many centuries, as foretold by the prophets,
but already, in the Day of Resurrection, it is beginning to
"rejoice and blossom as the rose," as Isaiah foretold.  Prosperous
colonies are being started, the land is being irrigated
and cultivated, and vineyards, olive groves and gardens are
<p229>
flourishing where half a century ago there was only sandy
waste.  Doubtless when men beat their swords into ploughshares
and their spears into pruning hooks, wildernesses and
deserts in all parts of the world will be reclaimed; the scorching
winds and sandstorms that blow from these deserts, and make
life in their neighborhood well-nigh intolerable, will be things
of the past; the climate of the whole earth will become milder
and more equable; cities will no longer defile the air with
smoke and poisonous fumes, and even in the outward, material
sense there will be "new heavens and a new earth."
 
 
Manner of Coming
 
   As to the manner of His coming at the end of the age, Christ
said: --
 
     And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds
   of heaven with power and great glory.  And he shall send
   his angels with a great sound of a trumpet. ... then shall
   he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall
   be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one
   from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the
   goats. -- Matt. xxiv, 30-31; xxv, 31-32.
 
   Regarding these and similar passages Baha'u'llah writes in
the Book of Iqan: --
 
     ... The term "heaven" denoteth loftiness and exaltation,
   inasmuch as it is the seat of the revelation of those Manifestations
   of Holiness, the Day-springs of ancient glory.
   These ancient Beings, though delivered from the womb
   of their mother, have in reality descended from the
   heaven of the will of God.  Though they be dwelling on
   this earth, yet their true habitations are the retreats
   of glory in the realms above.  Whilst walking amongst
   mortals, they soar in the heaven of the divine presence.
   Without feet they tread the path of the spirit, and without
   wings they rise unto the exalted heights of divine
   unity.  With every fleeting breath they cover the immensity
<p230>
   of space, and at every moment traverse the kingdoms
   of the visible and the invisible. ...
     ... By the term "clouds" is meant those things that are
   contrary to the ways and desires of men.  Even as He hath
   revealed in the verse already quoted: "As oft as an Apostle
   cometh unto you with that which your souls desire not, ye
   swell with pride, accusing some of being impostors and
   slaying others." [Qur'an 2:87.]  These "clouds" signify, in one
   sense, the annulment of laws, the abrogation of former
   Dispensations, the repeal of rituals and customs current
   amongst men, the exalting of the illiterate faithful above the
   learned opposers of the Faith.  In another sense, they mean
   the appearance of that immortal Beauty in the image of
   mortal man, with such human limitations as eating and
   drinking, poverty and riches, glory and abasement, sleeping
   and waking, and such other things as cast doubt in the minds
   of men, and cause them to turn away.  All such veils are
   symbolically referred to as "clouds."
     These are the "clouds" that cause the heavens of the
   knowledge and understanding of all that dwell on earth
   to be cloven asunder.  Even as He hath revealed: "On that
   day shall the heaven be cloven by the clouds." [Qur'an
   25:25].  Even as the clouds prevent the eyes of men from
   beholding the sun, so do these things hinder the souls
   of men from recognizing the light of the divine Luminary.
   To this beareth witness that which hath proceeded out of
   the mouth of the unbelievers as revealed in the sacred
   Book: "And they have said: `What manner of apostle is
   this?  He eateth food, and walketh the streets.  Unless an
   angel be sent down and take part in His warnings, we will
   not believe.'" [Qur'an 25:7.]  Other Prophets, similarly,
   have been subject to poverty and afflictions, to hunger,
   and to the ills and chances of this world.  As these holy
   Persons were subject to such needs and wants, the people
   were, consequently, lost in the wilds of misgivings and
   doubts, and were afflicted with bewilderment and perplexity.
   How, they wondered, could such a person be sent
<p231>
   down from God, assert His ascendancy over all the peoples
   and kindreds of the earth, and claim Himself to be
   the goal of all creation, -- even as He hath said: "But for
   Thee, I would have not created all that are in heaven
   and on earth," -- and yet be subject to such trivial things?
   You must undoubtedly have been informed of the tribulations,
   the poverty, the ills, and the degradation that have
   befallen every Prophet of God and His companions.  You
   must have heard how the heads of their followers were
   sent as presents unto different cities, how grievously they
   were hindered from that whereunto they were commanded.
   Each and every one of them fell a prey to the
   hands of the enemies of His Cause, and had to suffer
   whatsoever they decreed. ...
     ... The All-Glorious hath decreed these very things,
   that are contrary to the desires of wicked men, to be the
   touchstone and standard whereby He proveth His servants,
   that the just may be known from the wicked, and the faithful
   distinguished from the infidel. ...
     And now, concerning His words: "And He shall send
   His angels. ..."  By "angels" is meant those who, reinforced
   by the power of the spirit, have consumed, with
   the fire of the love of God, all human traits and limitations,
   and have clothed themselves with the attributes of
   the most exalted Beings and of the Cherubim. ...
     As the adherents of Jesus have never understood the
   hidden meaning of these words, and as the signs which
   they and leaders of their Faith have expected have
   failed to appear, they therefore refused to acknowledge,
   even until now, the truth of those Manifestations of Holiness
   that have since the days of Jesus been made manifest.
   They have thus deprived themselves of the outpourings
   of God's holy grace, and of the wonders of His
   divine utterance.  Such is their low estate in this, the Day
   of Resurrection!  They have even failed to perceive that
   were the signs of the Manifestation of God in every age
   to appear in the visible realm in accordance with the text
<p232>
   of established traditions, none could possibly deny or turn
   away, not would the blessed be distinguished from the
   miserable, and the transgressor from the God-fearing.
   Judge fairly: Were the prophecies recorded in the Gospel
   to be literally fulfilled; were Jesus, Son of Mary, accompanied
   by angels, to descend from the visible heaven upon
   the clouds; who would dare to disbelieve, who would dare
   to reject the truth, and wax disdainful?  Nay, such consternation
   would immediately seize all the dwellers of the
   earth that no soul would feel able to utter a word, much
   less to reject or accept the truth. -- Kitab-i-Iqan, pp. 67,
   71-73, 76, 78-79, 80-81.
 
   According to the above explanation the coming of the Son
of Man, in lowly human form, born of woman, poor, uneducated,
oppressed and set at naught by the great ones of the
earth -- this manner of coming is the very touchstone by which
He judges the people of earth and separates them one from
another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  Those
whose spiritual eyes are opened can see through those clouds
and rejoice in the "power and great glory" -- the very glory of
God -- which He comes to reveal; the others, whose eyes are
still holden by prejudice and error, can see but the dark clouds
and continue to grope in gloom, deprived of the blessed
sunshine.
 
     Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare
   the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall
   suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the
   covenant, whom ye delight in. ... But who may abide
   the day of his coming?  And who shall stand when he appeareth?
   for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers'
   sope. ... For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn
   as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly,
   shall be stubble: ... But unto you that fear my
   name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in
   his wings. -- Mal. iii, 1-2; iv. 1-2.
 
   NOTE -- The subject of fulfillment of prophecy is such an extensive
one that many volumes would be required for its adequate
<p233>
exposition.  All that can be done within the limits of a single
chapter is to indicate the main outlines of the Baha'i interpretations.
The detailed Apocalypses revealed by Daniel and St. John
have been left untouched.  Readers will find certain chapters of
these dealt with in Some Answered Questions.  In the Book of Iqan,
by Baha'u'llah, Baha'i Proofs, by Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, and in many
of the Tablets of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha further explanation
of prophecies may be found.
<p234>
Prophecies of Baha'u'llah and
Abdu'l-Baha/14
 
   And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word
which the Lord hath not spoken?  When a prophet speaketh in
the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass,
that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the
prophet hath spoken it presumptuously:  thou shalt not be
afraid of him. -- Duet. xviii, 21-22.
 
 
Creative Power of God's Word
 
   God, and God alone, has the power to do whatever He wills,
and the greatest proof of a Manifestation of God is the creative
power of His word -- its effectiveness to change and transform
all human affairs and to triumph over all human opposition.
Through the word of the Prophets God announces His
will, and the immediate or subsequent fulfillment of that word
is the clearest proof of the Prophet's claim and of the genuineness
of His inspiration.
 
     For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from
   the heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,
   and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give
   seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be
   that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto
   me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it
   shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. -- Isa. lv, 10-11.
 
   When the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus with
the question:  "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for
another?" the answer of Jesus was simply to point to the effects
wrought by His words: --
<p235>
     Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear
   and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk,
   the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are
   raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to
   them.  And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended
   in me. -- Matt. xi, 4-6.
 
   Let us now see what evidence there is to show whether the
words of Baha'u'llah have this creative power which is distinctive
of the word of God.
   Baha'u'llah commanded the rulers to establish universal
peace, and their prolongation of the policy of war since 1869-1870
has overthrown many ancient dynasties, while each successive
war has produced less and less fruits of victory,
until the European War of 1914-1918 revealed the historically
startling fact that was has become disastrous to victor and vanquished
alike.+F1
   Baha'u'llah bade the rulers likewise to act as trustees of
those under their control, making political authority a means
to true general welfare.  The progress toward social legislation
has been unprecedented.
   He commanded limitation of the extremes of wealth and
poverty, and ever since, legislation for the establishment of
minimum subsistence levels and for graduated taxation of
wealth by income and inheritance taxes has been a constant
concern.  He commanded the abolition of both chattel and economic
slavery, and ever since, the progress toward emancipation
has been a ferment in all parts of the world.
   Baha'u'llah declared the equality of men and women, expressed
through equal responsibilities and equal rights and
privileges, and since that declaration, the bonds by which
women have been bound for ages have been breaking, and
woman has rapidly been securing her rightful place as the
equal and partner of man.
   He declared the fundamental oneness of religions, and the
succeeding interval has witnessed the most determined efforts
of sincere souls in all parts of the world to achieve a new degree
------------------------
1.    This has been further evidenced by the Second World War.
<p236>
of tolerance, of mutual understanding and of cooperation
for universal ends.  The sectarian attitude has everywhere been
undermined, and its historical position has become more and
more untenable.  The basis of exclusiveness in religion has
been destroyed by the same forces making nationalism of the
self-contained type incapable of survival.
   He commanded universal education, and made the independent
investigation of truth a proof of spiritual vitality.
Modern civilization has been stirred to its depths by this new
leaven.  Compulsory education for children, and the extension
of educational facilities for adults, have become a primary policy
of government.  Nations which deliberately seek to restrict
that very policy have aroused revolution within and suspicion
and fear outside their boundaries.
   Baha'u'llah commanded the adoption of a universal auxiliary
language, and Dr. Zamenhof and others obeyed His call
by devoting their lives and genius to this great task and
opportunity.
   Above all, Baha'u'llah imbued humanity with a new spirit,
arousing new longings in minds and hearts and new ideals for
society.  Nothing in all history is so dramatic and impressive as
the course of events since the dawn of the Baha'i era in 1844.
Year by year, the power of a dead past prolonged through outworn
ideas, habits, attitudes and institutions has weakened,
until at present every intelligent man and woman on earth
realizes that humanity is passing through its most terrible crisis.
On the one hand we see the new creation arising as the
light of Baha'u'llah's teaching has revealed the true path of
evolution.  On the other hand we see naught but disaster and
frustration in all realms where that light is resisted or ignored.
   Yet, to the faithful Baha'i, these and countless other evidences,
impressive as they are, fail to give the real measure of
the spiritual majesty of Baha'u'llah.  His life on earth, and the
irresistible force of His inspired words, stand as the only true
criterion of the will of God.
   A study of the more detailed prophecies of Baha'u'llah and
<p237>
their fulfillment will give powerful corroborative evidence.  Of
these prophecies we shall now proceed to give a few examples,
about the authenticity of which there can be no dispute.  They
were widely published and known before their fulfillment came
about.  The letter which He sent to the crowned heads of the
world, in which many of these prophecies occur, were compiled
in a book which was first published in Bombay in the
late nineteenth century.  Several editions have since been published.
We shall also give some examples of noteworthy prophecies
by Abdu'l-Baha.
 
 
Napoleon III
 
   In the year 1869 Baha'u'llah wrote to Napoleon III, rebuking
him for his lust of war and for the contempt with which he
had treated a former letter from Baha'u'llah.  The Epistle contains
the following stern warning: --
 
     For what thou has done, thy kingdom shall be thrown
   into confusion, and thine empire shall pass from thine
   hands, as a punishment for that which thou has wrought.
   Then wilt thou know how thou has plainly erred.  Commotions
   shall seize all the people in that land, unless thou
   arisest to held this Cause, and followest Him Who is the
   Spirit of God (Jesus Christ) in this, the Straight Path.  Hath
   thy pomp made thee proud?  By My Life!  It shall not endure;
   nay, it shall soon pass away, unless thou holdest fast
   by this firm Cord.  We see abasement hastening after thee,
   whilst thou art of the heedless.
 
   Needless to say, Napoleon, who was then at the zenith of his
power, paid no heed to this warning.  In the following year he
went to war with Prussia, firmly convinced that his troops
could easily gain Berlin; but the tragedy foretold by Baha'u'llah
overwhelmed him.  He was defeated at Saarbruck, at Weisenburg,
at Metz, and finally in the crushing catastrophe at
Sedan.  He was then carried prisoner to Prussia, and came to a
miserable end in England two years later.
<p238>
Germany
 
   Baha'u'llah later gave an equally solemn warning to the
conquerors of Napoleon, which also fell on deaf ears and received
a terrible fulfillment.  In the Book of Aqdas, which was
begun in Adrianople, and finished in the early years of
Baha'u'llah's imprisonment in Akka, He addressed the Emperor
of Germany as follows: --
 
     O King of Berlin! ... Do thou remember the one
   whose power transcended thy power (Napoleon III)
   and whose station excelled thy station.  Where is he?
   Whither are gone the things he possessed?  Take warning,
   and be not of them that are fast asleep.  He it was who
   cast the Tablet of God behind him, when We made
   known unto him what the hosts of tyranny had caused
   Us to suffer.  Wherefore, disgrace assailed him from all
   sides, and he went down to dust in great loss.  Think
   deeply, O King, concerning him, and concerning them
   who, like unto thee, have conquered cities and ruled over
   men.  The All-Merciful brought them down from their
   palaces to their graves.  Be warned, be of them who reflect.
   ...
 
     O banks of the Rhine!  We have seen you covered with
   gore, inasmuch as the swords of retribution were drawn
   against you; and you shall have another turn.  And We
   hear the lamentations of Berlin, though she be today in
   conspicuous glory. -- Kitab-i-Aqdas.
 
   During the period of German successes in the Great War of
1914-1918, and especially during the last great German offensive
in the spring of 1918, this well-known prophecy was
extensively quoted by the opponents of the Baha'i Faith in
Persia, in order to discredit Baha'u'llah; but when the forward
sweep of the victorious Germans was suddenly transformed
into crushing, overwhelming disaster, the efforts of these enemies
of the Baha'i Cause recoiled on themselves, and the notoriety
which they had given to the prophecy became a powerful
means of enhancing the reputation of Baha'u'llah.
<p239>
Persia
 
   In the Book of Aqdas written when the tyrannical Nasiri'd-Din Shah
was at the height of his power, Baha'u'llah blesses
the city of Tihran, which is the capital of Persia, and His own
birthplace, and says of it: --
 
     Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Ta (Tihran), for
   God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all
   mankind.  He shall, if it be His will, bless thy throne with
   one who will rule with justice, who will gather together
   the flock of God which the wolves have scattered.  Such a
   ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards,
   and extend his favors unto, the people of Baha.  He indeed
   is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among
   men.  Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and the
   glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His Revelation.
     Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee "the
   Day Spring of His light," inasmuch as within thee was
   born the Manifestation of His Glory.  Be thou glad for this
   name that hath been conferred upon thee -- a name
   through which the Day Star of Grace hath shed its splendor,
   through which both earth and heaven have been
   illumined.
     Ere long will the state of affairs within thee be changed,
   and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people.
   Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing.  His authority embraceth
   all things.  Rest thou assured in the gracious favor
   of thy Lord.  The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly
   be directed towards thee.  The day is approaching
   when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace
   and quiet calm.  Thus hath it been decreed in the wondrous
   Book. -- Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah,
   pp. 110-111.
 
   So far, Persia has only begun to emerge from the period of
confusion foretold by Baha'u'llah, but already constitutional
government has been started, and signs are not lacking that a
brighter era is at hand.
<p240>
Turkey
 
   To the Sultan of Turkey and his Prime Minister `Ali Pasha,
Baha'u'llah, then (in 1868) confined in a Turkish prison, addressed
some of His most solemn, grave warnings.  To the
Sultan He wrote from the Barracks at Akka: --
 
     O thou who considerest thyself the greatest of all men
   ... erelong thy name shall be forgotten and thou shalt
   find thyself in great loss.  According to thy opinion, this
   Quickener of the world and its Peacemaker is culpable
   and seditious.  What crime have the women, children and
   suffering babes committed to merit thy wrath, oppression
   and hate?  You have persecuted a number of souls who
   have shown no opposition in your country, and who have
   instigated no revolution against the government; nay,
   rather, by day and by night they have been peacefully engaged
   in the mentioning of God.  You have pillaged their
   properties, and through your tyrannical acts, all that they
   had was taken from them. ... Before God, a handful of
   dust is greater than your kingdom, glory, sovereignty and
   dominion, and should He desire, He would scatter you as
   the sand of the desert.  Erelong His wrath shall overtake
   you, revolutions shall appear in your midst and your
   countries will be divided!  Then you will weep and lament
   and nowhere will you find help and protection. ... Be
   ye watchful, for the wrath of God is prepared, and erelong
   you shall behold that which is written by the Pen of
   Command.
 
   And to Ali Pasha He wrote: --
 
     Thou hast, O Chief, committed that which hath made
   Muhammad, the Apostle of God, groan in the Most Exalted
   Paradise.  The world hath made thee proud, so much
   so that thou hast turned away from the Face through
   Whose brightness the Concourse on high hath been illumined.
   Soon thou shalt find thyself in evident loss.  Thou
   didst unite with the Ruler of Persia for doing Me harm,
<p241>
   although I had come to you from the Dawning-place of
   the Almighty, the Great, with a Cause which refreshed
   the eyes of the favored ones of God. ...
     Didst thou think that thou could put out the fire
   which God hath enkindled in the Universe?  No! I declare
   by His True Soul, wert thou of those who understand.
   More than that, by what thou hast done its blaze and
   flame have been increased.  Soon it will encompass the
   world and its inhabitants. ... The day is approaching
   when the Land of Mystery (Adrianople) and what is beside
   it shall be changed, and shall pass out of the hands of the
   King, and commotions shall appear, and the voice of
   lamentation shall be raised, and the evidences of mischief
   shall be revealed on all sides, and confusion shall spread
   by reason of that which hath befallen these captives
   [Baha'u'llah and His companions] at the hands of the hosts
   of oppression.  The course of things shall be altered, and
   conditions shall wax so grievous, that the very sand on the
   desolate hills will moan, and the trees on the mountain
   will weep, and blood will flow out of all things.  Then wilt
   thou behold the people in sore distress. ...
     Thus hath the matter been decreed on the part of the
   Designer, the Wise, Whose command the hosts of heaven
   and earth could not withstand, nor could all the kings and
   rulers withhold Him from that which He willeth.  Calamities
   are the oil for this Lamp, and through them its Light
   increaseth, were ye of those who know!  All oppositions
   displayed by the oppressors are indeed as heralds to this
   Faith, and by them the appearance of God and His Cause
   have become widely spread among the people of the
   world.
 
   Again in the Book of Aqdas He wrote: --
 
     O Spot [Constantinople] that art situate on the shores
   of the two seas!  The throne of tyranny hath, verily,
   been established upon thee, and the flame of hatred hath
   been kindled within thy bosom, in such wise that the
   Concourse on high and they who circle around the Exalted
<p242>
   Throne have wailed and lamented.  We behold in thee
   the foolish ruling over the wise, and darkness vaunting itself
   against the light.  Thou art indeed filled with manifest pride.
   Hath thine outward splendor made thee vainglorious?  By
   Him Who is the Lord of mankind!  It shall soon perish, and
   thy daughters and thy widows and all the kindreds that dwell
   within thee shall lament.  Thus informeth thee the All-Knowing,
   the All-Wise.
 
   The successive calamities which have befallen this once
great empire since the publication of these warnings have furnished
an eloquent commentary on their prophetic significance.
 
 
America
 
   In the Book of Aqdas, revealed in Akka in 1873, Baha'u'llah
appealed to America as follows: --
 
     O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics
   therein ... Give ear unto that which hath been raised
   from the Dayspring of Grandeur:  Verily, there is none
   other God but Me, the Lord of Utterance, the All-Knowing.
   Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice,
   and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of
   the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the
   All-Wise. -- Kitab-i-Aqdas.
 
   Abdu'l-Baha in His addresses in America and elsewhere
frequently expressed the hope, the prayer and the assurance
that the banner of international peace would be first raised in
America.  At Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 5, 1912, He
said: --
 
     America is a noble nation, a standard-bearer of peace
   throughout the world, shedding her light to all regions.
   Other nations are not untrammeled and free of intrigues
   like the United States, and are unable to bring about Universal
   Peace.  But America, thank God, is at peace with
   all the world, and is worthy of raising the flag of brotherhood
   and International Peace.  When the summons to International
<p243>
   Peace is raised by America, all the rest of the
   world will cry:  "Yes, we accept."  The nations of every
   clime will join in adopting the teachings of Baha'u'llah,
   revealed over fifty years ago.  In His Epistles He asked the
   parliaments of the world to send their best and wisest men
   to an international world parliament that should decide all
   questions between the peoples and establish peace ...
   then we shall have the Parliament of Man of which the
   prophets have dreamed.
 
   The appeals of Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha have already
been responded to, in a large measure, by the United States of
America, and in no country of the world have the Baha'i
teachings met with readier acceptance.  The role assigned to
America, of summoning the nations to international peace, has
as yet, however, been only partially played, and Baha'is are
awaiting with interest the developments which the future has
in store.+F1
 
 
The Great War
 
   Both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha on many occasions foretold
with surprising accuracy the coming of the Great War of
1914-1918.  At Sacramento, California, on October 26, 1912,
Abdu'l-Baha said: -- "Today the European continent is like an
arsenal.  It is a storehouse of explosives, ready for just a spark,
and one spark could set aflame the whole of Europe, particularly
at this time, when the Balkan question is before the
world."
   In many of His addresses in America and Europe He gave
similar warning.  In another address in California in October
1912 He said: --
 
     We are on the eve of the Battle of Armageddon referred
   to in the sixteenth chapter of Revelation.  The time
------------------------
1.    It is of interest that the charter meeting of the United Nations
    Organization was held in San Francisco.
<p244>
   is two years hence, when only a spark will set aflame the
   whole of Europe.
     The social unrest in all countries, the growing religious
   scepticism antecedent to the millennium, and already
   here, will set aflame the whole of Europe as is prophesied
   in the Book of Daniel and in the Book (Revelation) of
   John.
     By 1917 kingdoms will fall and cataclysms will rock
   the earth.  (Reported by Mrs. Corinne True in The North
   Shore Review, September 26, 1914, Chicago, U.S.A.)
 
   On the eve of the great conflict He said: --
 
     A great melee of the civilized nations is in sight.  A
   tremendous conflict is at hand.  The world is at the threshold
   of a most tragic struggle. ... Vast armies -- millions
   of men -- are being mobilized and stationed at their frontiers.
   They are being prepared for the fearful contest.  The
   slightest friction will bring them into a terrific crash, and
   there will be a conflagration, the like of which is not recorded
   in the past history of mankind.  (At Haifa, August 3,
   1914).
 
 
Social Troubles After the War
 
   Both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha also foretold a period of
great social upheaval, conflict and calamity as an inevitable
result of the irreligion and prejudices, the ignorance and superstition,
prevalent throughout the world.  The great international
military conflict was but one phase of this upheaval.  In
a Tablet dated January, 1920, He wrote: --
 
     O ye lovers of truth!  O ye servants of mankind!  As the
   sweet fragrance of your thoughts and high intentions has
   breathed upon me, I feel that my soul is irresistibly
   prompted to communicate with you.
     Ponder in your hearts how grievous is the turmoil in
   which the world is plunged; how the nations of the earth are
   besmeared with human blood, nay their very soil is turned
   into clotted gore.  The flame of war has caused so wild a
<p245>
   conflagration that the world in its early days, in its middle
   ages, or in modern times has never witnessed its like.  The
   millstones of war have ground and crushed many a human
   head, nay, even more severe has been the lot of these
   victims.  Flourishing countries have been made desolate,
   cities have been laid level with the ground, and smiling
   villages have been turned into ruin.  Fathers have lost
   their sons, and sons turned fatherless.  Mothers have shed
   tears of blood in mourning for their youths, little children
   have been made orphans, and women left wanderers and
   homeless.  In a word, humanity, in all its phases, has been
   debased.  Loud is the cry and wailing of orphans, and bitter
   the lamentations of mothers which are echoed by the
   skies.
     The prime cause for all these happenings is racial, national,
   religious, and political prejudice, and the root of
   all this prejudice lies in outworn and deepseated traditions,
   be they religious, racial, national, or political.  So
   long as these traditions remain, the foundation of human
   edifice is insecure, and mankind itself is exposed to continuous
   peril.
     Now in this radiant age, when the essence of all beings
   has been made manifest, and the hidden secret of all
   created thing has been revealed, when the morning light of
   truth has broken and turned the darkness of the world
   into light, is it meet and seemly that such a frightful carnage
   which brings irretrievable ruin upon the world
   should be made possible?  By God! that cannot be.
     Christ summoned all the people of the world to reconciliation
   and peace.  He commanded Peter to return
   his sword unto its scabbard.  Such was His wish and counsel,
   and yet they that bear His name have unsheathed the
   sword!  How great the difference between their deeds and
   the explicit text of the Gospel!
     Sixty years ago Baha'u'llah, even as the shining sun,
   shone in the firmament of Persia, and proclaimed that the
   world is wrapt in darkness and this darkness is fraught
   with disastrous results, and will lead to fearful strife.  In
<p246>
   His prison city of Akka, He apostrophized in unmistakable
   terms the Emperor of Germany, declaring that a
   terrible war shall take place, and Berlin will break forth
   in lamentation and wailing.  In like manner, whilst the
   wronged prisoner of the Sultan of Turkey in the citadel of
   Akka, He clearly and emphatically wrote him that Constantinople
   will fall a prey to grave disorder, in such wise
   that the women and children will raise their moaning cry.
   In brief, He addressed epistles to all the chief rulers and
   sovereigns of the world, and all that He foretold has been
   fulfilled.  From His pen of glory flowed teachings for the
   prevention of war, and these have been scattered far and
   wide.
     His first teaching is the search after truth.  Blind imitation,
   He declared, killeth the spirit of man, whereas the
   investigation of truth frees the world from the darkness
   of prejudice.
     His second teaching is the oneness of mankind.  All
   men are but one fold, and God the loving Shepherd.  He
   bestoweth upon them His most great mercy, and considers
   them all as one.  "Thou shalt find no difference
   amongst the creatures of God."  They are all His servants,
   and all seek His bounty.
     His third teaching is that religion is the most mighty
   stronghold.  It should be conducive to unity, rather than
   be the cause of enmity and hate.  Should it lead to enmity
   and hate better not have it at all.  For religion is even as
   medicine, which if it should aggravate the disease, its
   abandonment would be preferred.
     Likewise, religious, racial, national, and political prejudice,
   all are subversive of the foundation of human society,
   all lead to bloodshed, all heap ruin upon mankind.
   So long as these remain, the dread of war will continue.
   The sole remedy is universal peace.  And this is achieved
   only by the establishment of a supreme Tribunal, representative
   of all governments and peoples.  All national
   and international problems should be referred to this tribunal,
   and whatsoever be its decision that should be enforced.
<p247>
   Were a government or people to dissent, the world
   as a whole should rise against it.
     And among His teachings is the equality in right of
   men and women, and so on with many other similar
   teachings that have been revealed by His pen.
     At present it has been made evident and manifest that
   these principles are the very life of the world, and the embodiment
   of its true spirit.  And now, ye, who are the servants
   of mankind, should exert yourselves, heart and soul,
   to free the world from the darkness of materialism and
   human prejudice, that it may be illumined with the light
   of the City of God.
     Praise be to Him, ye are acquainted with the various
   schools, institutions and principles of the world; today
   nothing short of these divine teachings can assure peace
   and tranquillity to mankind.  But for these teachings, this
   darkness shall never vanish, these chronic diseases shall
   never be healed; nay, they shall grow fiercer from day to
   day.  The Balkans will remain restless, and it condition
   will aggravate.  The vanquished will not keep still, but
   will seize every means to kindle anew the flame of war.
   Modern universal movements will do their utmost to
   carry out their purpose and intentions.  The Movement of
   the Left will acquire great importance, and its influence
   will spread.
     Wherefore, endeavor that with an illumined heart, a
   heavenly spirit, and a divine strength, and aided by His
   grace, ye may bestow God's bountiful gift upon the world
   ... the gift of comfort and tranquillity for all mankind.
 
   In a talk given in November 1919, He said: --
 
     Baha'u'llah frequently predicted that there would be a
   period when irreligion and consequent anarchy would
   prevail.  The chaos will be due to too great liberty among
   people who are not ready for it, and in consequence there
   will have to be a temporary reversion to coercive government,
   in the interests of the people themselves and in order
   to prevent disorder and chaos.  It is clear that each nation
<p248>
   now wishes complete self-determination and freedom
   of action, but some of them are not ready for it.  The prevailing
   state of the world is one of irreligion, which is
   bound to result in anarchy and confusion.  I have always
   said that the peace proposals following the great war
   were only a glimmer of the dawn, and not the sunrise.
 
 
Coming of the Kingdom of God
 
   Amid these troublous times, however, the Cause of God will
prosper.  The calamities caused by selfish struggle for individual
existence, or for party or sectarian or national gain,
will induce the people to turn in despair to the remedy offered
by the Word of God.  The more calamities abound, the more
will the people turn to the only true remedy.  Baha'u'llah says
in his Epistle to the Shah: --
 
     God hath made afflictions as a morning shower to this
   green pasture, and as a wick for His Lamp, whereby earth
   and heaven are illumined. ... Through affliction hath
   His Light shone and His Praise been bright unceasingly;
   this hath been His method through past ages and bygone
   times.
 
   Both Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha predict in the most confident
terms the speedy triumph of spirituality over materiality
and the consequent establishment of the Most Great Peace.
Abdu'l-Baha wrote in 1904: --
 
     Know this, that hardships and misfortunes shall increase
   day by day, and the people shall be distressed.  The
   doors of joy and happiness shall be closed on all sides.
   Terrible wars shall happen.  Disappointment and the frustration
   of hopes shall surround the people from every direction
   until they are obliged to turn to God.  Then the
   lights of great happiness shall enlighten the horizons, so
   that the cry of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha!" may arise on all
   sides. -- Tablet to L.D.B. quoted in Compilation on War
   and Peace, p. 187.
<p249>
   When asked, in February 1914, whether any of the Great
Powers would become believers, He replied: --
 
     All the people of the world will become believers.
   Should you compare the beginning of the Cause with its
   position today, you would see what a quick influence the
   Word of God has, and now the Cause of God has encompassed
   the world. ... Unquestionably, all will come under
   the shadow of the Cause of God.
 
   He declared that the establishment of world unity will come
about during the present century.  In one of His Tablets He
wrote: --
 
     ... All the members of the human family, whether
   peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly
   interdependent.  For none is self-sufficiency any
   longer possible, inasmuch as political ties unite all peoples
   and nations, and the bonds of trade and industry, of agriculture
   and education, are being strengthened every day.
   Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be
   achieved.  Verily this is none other but one of the wonders
   of this wondrous age, this glorious century -- the century of
   light -- has been endowed with the unique and unprecedented
   glory, power and illumination.  Hence the miraculous
   unfolding of a fresh marvel every day.  Eventually it
   will be seen how bright its candles will burn in the assemblage
   of man.
 
   In the last two verses of the Book of Daniel occur the cryptic
words: -- "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the
thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.  But go thy way
till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end
of the days."
   Many have been the attempts of learned students to solve
the problem of the significance of these words.  In a tabletalk
at which the writer was present, Abdu'l-Baha reckoned the
fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy from the date of the beginning
of the Muhammadan era.
<p250>
   Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets make it clear that this prophecy refers
to the one hundredth anniversary of the Declaration of
Baha'u'llah in Baghdad, or the year 1963: --
 
     Now concerning the verse in Daniel, the interpretation
   whereof thou didst ask, namely, "Blessed is he who cometh
   unto the thousand, three hundred and thirty-five
   days."  These days must be reckoned as solar and not lunar
   years.  For according to this calculation a century will
   have elapsed from the dawn of the Sun of Truth, then will
   the teachings of God be firmly established upon the earth,
   and the Divine Light shall flood the world from the East
   even unto the West.  Then, on this day, will the faithful
   rejoice!
 
 
Akka and Haifa
 
   Mirza Ahmad Sohrab recorded in his diary the following
prophecy about Akka and Haifa uttered by Abdu'l-Baha
while seated by the window of one of the Baha'i Pilgrim Homes
at Haifa on February 14, 1914: --
 
     The view from the Pilgrim Home is very attractive,
   especially as it faces the Blessed Tom of Baha'u'llah.  In
   the future the distance between Akka and Haifa will be built
   up, and the two cities will join and clasp hands, becoming
   the two terminal section of one mighty metropolis.  As I
   look now over this scene, I see so clearly that it will become
   one of the first emporiums of the world.  This great
   semicircular bay will be transformed into the finest harbor,
   wherein the ships of all nations will seek shelter and
   refuge.  The great vessels of all peoples will come to this
   port, bringing on their decks thousands and thousands of
   men and women from every part of the globe.  The mountain
   and the plain will be dotted with the most modern
   buildings and palaces.  Industries will be established and
   various institutions of philanthropic nature will be
   founded.  The flowers of civilization and culture from all
   nations will be brought here to blend their fragrances together
<p251>
   and blaze the way for the brotherhood of man.
   Wonderful gardens, orchards, groves and parks will be laid
   out on all sides.  At night the great city will be lighted by
   electricity.  The entire harbor from Akka to Haifa will be
   one path of illumination.  Powerful searchlights will be
   placed on both sides of Mount Carmel to guide the steamers.
   Mount Carmel itself, from top to bottom, will be
   submerged in a sea of lights.  A person standing on the
   summit of Mount Carmel, and the passengers of the
   steamers coming to it, will look upon the most sublime
   and majestic spectacle of the whole world.
     From every part of the mountain the symphony of "Ya
   Baha'u'l-Abha!" will be raised, and before the daybreak
   soul-entrancing music accompanied by melodious voices
   will be uplifted towards the throne of the Almighty.
     Indeed, God's ways are mysterious and unsearchable.
   What outward relation exists between Shiraz and Tihran,
   Baghdad and Constantinople, Adrianople and Akka
   and Haifa?  God worked patiently, step by step, through
   these various cities, according to His own definite and
   eternal plan, so that the prophecies and predictions as
   foretold by the Prophets might be fulfilled.  This golden
   thread of promise concerning the Messianic Millennium
   runs through the Bible, and it was so destined that God in
   His own good time would cause its appearance.  Not even a
   single word will be left meaningless and unfulfilled.
<p252>
Retrospect and Prospect/15
 
   I bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument
fulfilled, the proof manifest, and the evidence established.
Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of
detachment will reveal.  In this wise hath the divine favor been
fully vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven
and on earth.  All praise to God, the Lord of all worlds. --
BAHA'U'LLAH, The Hidden Words.
 
 
Progress of the Cause
 
   Unfortunately it is impossible, within the space at our disposal,
to describe in detail the progress of the Baha'i Faith
throughout the world.  Many chapters might be devoted to this
fascinating subject, and many thrilling stories related about
the pioneers and martyrs of the Cause, but a very brief summary
must surface.
   In Persia the early believers in this revelation met with the
utmost opposition, persecution and cruelty at the hands of
their fellow countrymen, but they faced all calamities and ordeals
with sublime heroism, firmness and patience.  Their baptism
was in their own blood, for many thousands of them
perished as martyrs; while thousands more were beaten, imprisoned,
stripped of their possessions, driven from their
homes or otherwise ill-treated.  For sixty years or more anyone
in Persia who dared to own allegiance to the Bab or
Baha'u'llah did so at the risk of his property, his freedom and
even his life.  Yet this determined and ferocious opposition
could not more check the progress of the Movement than a
cloud of dust could keep the sun from rising.
<p253>
   From one end of Persia+F1 to the other Baha'is are now to be
found in almost every city and town, and even amongst the
nomad tribes.  In some villages the whole population is Baha'i
and in other places a large proportion of the inhabitants are
believers.  Recruited from many and diverse sects, which were
bitterly hostile to each other, they now form a great fellowship
of friends who acknowledge brotherhood, not only with each
other, but with all men everywhere, who are working for the
unification and upliftment of humanity, for the removal of all
prejudices and conflict, and for the establishment of the Kingdom
of God in the world.
     What miracle could be greater than this?  Only one, and that
the accomplishment throughout the entire world of the task to
which these men have set themselves.  And signs are not lacking
that this greater miracle, too, is in progress.  The Faith is
showing an astonishing vitality, and is spreading, like leaven,
through the lump of humanity, transforming people and society
as its spreads.+F2
   The relatively small number of Baha'is may still seem insignificant
in comparison with the followers of the ancient religions,
but they are confident that a divine Power has blessed
them with the high privilege of serving a new order into which
will throng the multitudes of East and West at no distant day.
------------------------
1.    Lord Curzon, in his book, Persia and the Persian Question, published in
    1892, the year of Baha'u'llah's death, writes: --
      "The lowest estimate places the present number of Babis in Persia at half
    a million. I am disposed to think, from conversations with persons well
    qualified to judge, that the total is nearer one million. They are to be
    found in every walk of life, from the ministers and nobles of the Court to
    the scavenger or the groom, not the least arena of their activity being the
    Mussulman priesthood itself. ...
      "If Babism continues to grow at its present rate of progression, a time
    may conceivably come when it will oust Mohammedanism from the field in
    Persia.  This, I think, it would be unlikely to do, did it appear upon the
    ground under the flag of a hostile faith. But since its recruits are won
    from the best soldiers of the garrison whom it is attacking, there is
    greater reason to believe that it may ultimately prevail." (Vol. i,
    pp. 449-502).
2.    The number of Baha'is is increasing every year and by 1979 the number
    of localities throughout the world where Baha'is reside has risen to
    over 103,000. (See Epilogue).
<p254>
   While, therefore, it remains true that the Holy Spirit has reflected
from pure hearts in all countries still unconscious of the
Source, and the growth of the Faith can be witnessed in the
many efforts outside the Baha'i community to promote one or
another of Baha'u'llah's teachings, nevertheless the lack of any
enduring foundation in the old order is convincing proof that
the ideals of the Kingdom can only become fruitful within the
framework of the Baha'i community.
 
 
Prophethood of Bab and Baha'u'llah
 
   The more we study the lives and teachings of the Bab and
Baha'u'llah, the more impossible does it seem to find any explanation
of Their greatness, except that of Divine Inspiration.
They were reared in an atmosphere of fanaticism and bigotry.
They had only the most elementary education.  They had no
contact with Western culture.  They had no political or
financial power to back Them.  They asked nothing from men,
and receive little but injustice and oppression.  The great ones
of earth ignored or opposed Them.  They were scourged and
tortured, imprisoned and subjected to direst calamities in the
fulfillment of Their mission.  They were alone against the
world, having no help but that of God, yet already Their
triumph is manifest and magnificent.
   The grandeur and sublimity of Their ideals, the nobility
and self-sacrifice of Their lives; Their dauntless courage and
conviction, Their amazing wisdom and knowledge, Their
grasp of the needs of both Eastern and Western peoples, the
comprehensiveness and adequacy of Their teachings, Their
power to inspire wholehearted devotion and enthusiasm in
Their followers, the penetration and potency of Their influence,
the progress of the Movement They founded -- surely
these constitute proofs of Prophethood as convincing as any
which the history of religion can show.
 
 
A Glorious Prospect
 
   The Baha'i glad tidings disclose a vision of the Bounty of
God and of the future progress of humanity, which is surely
<p255>
the greatest and most glorious Revelation ever given to mankind,
the development and fulfillment of all previous Revelations.
Its purpose is nothing less than the regeneration of mankind
and the creation of "new heavens and a new earth."  It is
the same task to which Christ and all the Prophets have devoted
Their lives, and between these great teachers there is no
rivalry.  It is not by this Manifestation or by that, but by all together,
that the task will be accomplished.
   As Abdu'l-Baha says: --
 
     It is not necessary to lower Abraham to raise Jesus.  It
   is not necessary to lower Jesus to proclaim Baha'u'llah.
   We must welcome the Truth of God wherever we behold
   it.  The essence of the question is that all these great Messengers
   came to raise the Divine Standard of Perfections.
   All of them shine as orbs in the same heaven of the Divine
   Will.  All of them give Light to the world.
 
   The task is God's, and God calls not only the Prophets but
all mankind to be His co-workers in this creative process.  If we
refuse His invitation, we shall not hinder the work from going
on, for what God wills shall surely come to pass.  If we fail to
play our part He can raise up other instruments to perform His
purpose; but we shall miss the real aim and object of our own
lives.  At-one-ment with God -- becoming His lovers, His servants,
the willing channels and mediums of His Creative
Power, so that we are conscious of no life within us but His
Divine and abundant life -- that, according to the Baha'i teaching,
is the ineffable and glorious consummation of human
existence.
   Humanity, however, is sound at heart, for it is made "in the
image and likeness of God," and when at last it sees the truth,
it will not persist in the paths of folly.  Baha'u'llah assures us
that erelong the call of God will be generally accepted, and
mankind as a whole will turn to righteousness and obedience.
"All sorrow will then be turned into joy, and all disease into
health," and the kingdoms of this world shall become "the
kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for
ever and ever" (Rev. xi, 15).  Not only those on earth, but all
<p256>
in the heavens and on the earth, shall become one in God and
rejoice eternally in Him.
 
 
Renewal of Religion
 
   The state of the world today surely affords ample evidence
that, with rare exceptions, people of all religions need to be
reawakened to the real meaning of their religion; and that reawakening
is an important part of the work of Baha'u'llah.  He
comes to make Christians better Christians, to make Muslims
real Muslims, to make all men true to the spirit that inspired
their Prophets.  He also fulfills the promise made by all these
Prophets, of a more glorious Manifestation which was to appear
in the "Fullness of Time" to crown and consummate Their
labors.  He gives a fuller unfolding of spiritual truths than His
predecessors, and reveals the Will of God with regard to all the
problems of individual and social life that confront us in the
world today.  He gives a universal teaching which affords a firm
foundation on which a new and better civilization can be built
up, a teaching adapted to the needs of the world in the new era
which is now commencing.
 
 
Need for New Revelation
 
   The unification of the world of humanity, the welding together
of the world's different religions, the reconciliation of
Religion and Science, the establishment of Universal Peace, of
International Arbitration of an International House of Justice,
of an International Language, the Emancipation of Women,
Universal Education, the abolition not only of Chattel Slavery,
but of Industrial Slavery, the Organization of Humanity as a
single whole, with due regard to the rights and liberties of each
individual -- these are problems of gigantic magnitude and
stupendous difficulty in relation to which Christians,
Muhammadans and adherents of other religions have held and
still hold the most diverse and often violently opposed views,
but Baha'u'llah has revealed clearly defined principles, the general
adoption of which would obviously make the world a
paradise.
<p257>
Truth Is for All
 
   Many are quite ready to admit that the Baha'i teachings
would be a splendid thing for Persia and for the East, but
imagine that for the nations of the West they are unnecessary
or unsuitable.  To one who mentioned such a view, Abdu'l-Baha
replied: --
 
     As to the meaning of the Cause of Baha'u'llah, whatever
   has to do with the universal good is divine, and
   whatever is divine is for the universal good.  If it be true,
   it is for all; if not, it is for no one; therefore a divine cause
   of universal good cannot be limited to either the East or
   the West, for the radiance of the Sun of Truth illumines
   both the East and the West, and it makes its heat felt in
   the South and in the North -- there is no difference between
   one Pole and another.  At the time of the Manifestation
   of Christ, the Romans and Greeks thought His Cause
   was especially for the Jews.  They thought they had a perfect
   civilization and nothing to learn from Christ's teachings,
   and by this false supposition many were deprived of
   His Grace.  Likewise know that the principles of Christianity
   and the Commandments of Baha'u'llah are identical
   and their paths are the same.  Every day there is progress;
   there was a time when this divine institution (of progressive
   revelation) was in embryo, then newborn, then a child,
   then an intellectual youth; but today it is resplendent with
   beauty and shining with the greatest brilliancy.
     Happy is he who penetrates the mystery and takes his
   place in the world of the illumined ones.
 
 
The Last Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha
 
   With the passing of its beloved leader, Abdu'l-Baha, the
Baha'i Faith entered on a new phase of its history.  This new
phase represents a higher state in the existence of the same
<p258>
spiritual organism, a more mature and consequently a more
responsible expression of the faith felt by its members.
Abdu'l-Baha had devoted His superhuman energy and unique
capacity to the task of spreading His love for Baha'u'llah
throughout the East and West.  He had lighted the candle of
faith in countless souls.  He had trained and guided them in the
attributes of the personal spiritual life.  In view of the momentous
importance of the Last Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Baha,
the gravity of the issues it raises and the profound wisdom
underlying its provisions, we give a few extracts which vividly
portray the spirit and leading principles which animated and
guided Abdu'l-Baha and are transmitted as a rich heritage to
His faithful followers: --
 
     O ye beloved of the Lord!  In this sacred Dispensation,
   conflict and contention are in no wise permitted.  Every
   aggressor deprives himself of God's grace.  It is incumbent
   upon everyone to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct,
   straight forwardness and sincere kindliness unto all
   the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or
   strangers.  So intense must be the spirit of love and loving
   kindness, that the stranger may find himself a friend, the
   enemy a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing
   between them.  For universality is of God and all limitations
   earthly. ...
     Wherefore, O my loving friends!  Consort with all the
   peoples, kindreds and religions of the world with the utmost
   truthfulness, uprightness, faithfulness, kindliness,
   good-will and friendliness, that all the world of being may
   be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Baha, that
   ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the
   world and the darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples
   and kindreds of the world may give way to the Light
   of Unity.  Should other peoples and nations be unfaithful
   to you show your fidelity unto them, should they
   keep aloof from you attract them to yourself, should they
   show their enmity be friendly towards them, should they
<p259>
   poison your lives, sweeten their souls, should they inflict a
   wound upon you, be a salve to their sores.  Such are the
   attributes of the sincere!  Such are the attributes of the
   truthful.
 
     O ye beloved of the Lord!  It is incumbent upon you to
   be submissive to all monarchs that are just and to show
   your fidelity to every righteous king.  Serve ye the sovereigns
   of the world with utmost truthfulness and loyalty.
   Show obedience unto them and be their well-wishers.
   Without their leave and permission do not meddle with
   political affairs, for disloyalty to the just sovereign is
   disloyalty to God Himself.
     This is my counsel and the commandment of God unto
   you.  Well is it with them that act accordingly.
 
     Lord!  Thou seest all things weeping me and my kindred
   rejoicing in my woes.  By Thy Glory, O my God!
   Even amongst mine enemies, some have lamented my
   troubles and my distress, and of the envious ones a number
   have shed tears because of my cares, my exile and
   my afflictions.  They did this because they found naught in
   me but affection and care and witnessed naught but kindliness
   and mercy.  As they saw me swept into the flood of
   tribulation and adversity and exposed even as a target to
   the arrows of fate, their hearts were moved with compassion
   -- "The Lord is our witness; naught have we seen from
   him but faithfulness, generosity and extreme compassion."
   The Covenant-breakers, foreboders of evil, however,
   waxed fiercer in their rancor, rejoiced as I fell a victim to
   the most grievous ordeal, bestirred themselves against me
   and made merry over the heartrending happenings around
   me.
     I call upon Thee, O Lord my God! with my tongue and
   with all my heart, not to require them for their cruelty and
   their wrong-doings, their craft and their mischief, for they
   are foolish and ignoble and know not what they do.  They
<p260>
   discern not good from evil, neither do they distinguish
   right from wrong, nor justice from injustice.  They follow
   their own desires and walk in the footsteps of the most
   imperfect and foolish amongst them.  O my Lord!  Have
   mercy upon them, shield them from all afflictions in these
   troubled times and grant that all trials and hardships may
   be the lot of this Thy servant that hath fallen into this
   darksome pit.  Single me out for every woe and make me a
   sacrifice for all Thy loved ones.  O Lord, Most High!  May
   my soul, my life, my being, my spirit, my all be offered up
   for them.  O God, my God!  Lowly, suppliant and fallen
   upon my face, I beseech Thee with all the ardor of my
   invocation to pardon whosoever hath hurt me, forgive
   him that hath conspired against me and offended me, and
   wash away the misdeeds of them that have wrought injustice
   upon me.  Vouchsafe unto them Thy goodly gifts,
   give them joy, relieve them from sorrow, grant them peace
   and prosperity, give them Thy bliss and pour upon them
   Thy bounty.
     Thou art the Powerful, the Gracious, the Help in Peril,
   the Self-Subsisting!
 
     The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all
   earthy things, forsook all their cares and belongings,
   purged themselves of self and passion and with absolute
   detachment scattered far and wide and engaged in calling
   the peoples of the world to the Divine Guidance, till at
   last they made the world another world, illumined the
   surface of the earth and even to their last hour proved
   self-sacrificing in the pathway of that Beloved One of God.
   Finally in various lands they suffered glorious martyrdom.
   Let them that are men of action follow in their footsteps!
 
     O God, my God!  I call Thee, Thy Prophets and Thy
   Messengers, Thy Saints and Thy Holy Ones, to witness
   that I have declared conclusively Thy Proofs unto Thy
   loved ones and set forth clearly all things unto them, that
<p261>
   they may watch over Thy Faith, guard Thy Straight Path
   and protect Thy Resplendent Law.  Thou art, verily, the
   All-Knowing, the All-Wise!
 
   With Abdu'l-Baha's passing, the time had come to establish
the administrative order which has been termed the pattern
and nucleus of the world order which it is the special mission
of the religion of Baha'u'llah to establish.  The Will and Testament
of Abdu'l-Baha consequently marks a turning point in
Baha'i history, dividing the era of immaturity and irresponsibility
from that era in which the Baha'is themselves are destined
to fulfill their spirituality by enlarging its scope from the realm
of personal experience to that of social unity and cooperation.
The three principal elements in the administrative plan left
by Abdu'l-Baha are: --
 
   1.  "The Guardian of the Cause of God,"
   2.  "The Hands of the Cause of God," and
   3.  "The Houses of Justice, Local, National and
International."+F1
 
 
The Guardian of the Cause of God
 
   Abdu'l-Baha appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi,
to the responsible position of "Guardian of the Cause"
(Valiyy-i-Amru'llah).  Shoghi Effendi is the eldest son of
Diya'iyyih Khanum, the eldest daughter of Abdu'l-Baha.  His
father, Mirza Hadi, is a relative of the Bab (although not a
direct descendant, as the Bab's only child died in infancy).
Shoghi Effendi was twenty-five years of age, and was studying at
Balliol College, Oxford, at the time of his grandfather's passing.
The announcement of his appointment is made in Abdu'l-Baha's
Will as follows: --
 
     O my loving friends!  After the passing away of this
   wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsan
------------------------
1.    The Local and National Houses of Justice are at the present time
    designated Local and National Assemblies, as previously indicated.
<p262>
   (Branches), the Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree,
   the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved
   ones of the Abha Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi --
   the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed and
   sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the union of
   the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, -- as he is the
   sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the
   Cause of God, he unto whom all the Aghsan, the Afnan,
   the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones must
   turn.  He is the expounder of the words of God and after
   him will succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.
     The sacred and youthful branch, the Guardian of the
   Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice,
   to be universally elected and established, are both under
   the care and protection of the Abha Beauty, under the
   shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted
   One (may my life be offered up for them both).
   Whatsoever they decide is of God. ...
     O ye beloved of the Lord!  It is incumbent upon the
   Guardian of the Cause of God to appoint in his own lifetime
   him that shall become his successor, that differences
   may not arise after his passing.  He that is appointed must
   manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things,
   must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the
   fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning.  Thus,
   should the first-born of the Guardian of the Cause of God
   not manifest in himself the truth of the words: -- "The
   child is the secret essence of its sire," that is, should he not
   inherit of the spiritual within him (the Guardian of the
   Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched
   with a goodly character, then must he (the Guardian of the
   Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him.
     The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their
   own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied
   in the important services of the work of the Guardian
   of the Cause of God.  The election of these nine must be
   carried either unanimously or by majority from the company
   of the Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether
<p263>
   unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent
   to the choice of the one whom the Guardian of the Cause
   of God hath chosen as his successor.  This assent must be
   given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices
   may not be distinguished (i.e., secret ballot).
 
 
Hands of the Cause of God
 
   During His own lifetime Baha'u'llah appointed a few tried
and trusted friends to assist in directing and promoting the
work of the Movement, and gave them the title of Ayadiyi-Amru'llah
(lit. "Hands of the Cause of God").  Abdu'l-Baha
makes provision in His Will for the establishment of a permanent
body of workers to serve the Cause and help the Guardian
of the Cause.  He writes: --
 
     O friends!  The Hands of the Cause of God must be
   nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause
   of God. ...
     The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are
   to diffuse the Divine Fragrances, to edify the souls of men,
   to promote learning, to improve the character of all men
   and to be, at all times and under all conditions, sanctified
   and detached from earthly things.  They must manifest the
   fear of God in their conduct, their manners, their deeds
   and their words.
     This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under
   the direction of the Guardian of the Cause of God.  He
   must continually urge them to strive and endeavor to the
   utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of God,
   and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light
   of Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be
   illumined.+F1
------------------------
1.    Of the Hands of the Cause appointed by Shoghi Effendi during his
    thirty-six year ministry, twenty-seven were living at the time of his
    passing.  He also instituted, in 1954, Auxiliary Boards to be appointed
    by the Hands and to be their deputies, assistants and advisors.
<p264>
The Administrative Order+F1
 
   It has been the general characteristic of religion that organization
marks the interruption of the true spiritual influence
and serves to prevent the original impulse from being carried
into the world.  The organization has invariably become a
substitute for religion rather than a method or an instrument
used to give the religion effect.  The separation of peoples into
different traditions unbridged by any peaceful or constructive
intercourse has made this inevitable.  Up to the present time,
in fact, no Founder of a revealed religion has explicitly laid
down the principles that should guide the administrative
machinery of the Faith He has established.
   In the Baha'i Cause, the principles of world administration
were expressed by Baha'u'llah, and these principles were
developed in the writings of Abdu'l-Baha, more especially in
His Will and Testament.
   The purpose of this organization is to make possible a true
and lasting unity among peoples of different races, classes,
interests, characters, and inherited creeds.  A close and sympathetic
study of this aspect of the Baha'i Cause will show that the
purpose and method of Baha'i administration is so perfectly
adapted to the fundamental spirit of the Revelation that it
bears to it the same relationship as body to soul.  In character,
the principles of Baha'i administration represent the science of
cooperation; in application, they provide for a new and higher
type of morality worldwide in scope. ...
   A Baha'i community differs from other voluntary gatherings
in that its foundation is so deeply laid and broadly extended
that it can include any sincere soul.  Whereas other associations
are exclusive, in effect if not in intention, and from method if
not from ideal, Baha'i association is inclusive, shutting the
------------------------
1.    This section on the Administrative Order is taken from the article on
    The Present-Day Administration of the Baha'i Faith by Horace Holley,
    published in 1933 in The Baha'i World, Volume V, p. 191 et seq.
    Passages in this article quoting from Baha'i writings have been replaced
    by newer translations where these are available.
<p265>
gates of fellowship to no sincere soul.  In every gathering there
is latent or developed some basis of selection.  In religion this
basis is a creed limited by the historical nature of its origin;
in politics this is party or platform; in economics this is a
mutual misfortune or mutual power; in the arts and sciences
this basis consists of special training or activity or interest.  In
all these matters, the more exclusive the basis of selection, the
stronger the movement -- a condition diametrically opposed to
that existing in the Baha'i Cause.  Hence the Cause, for all its
spirit of growth and progress, develops slowly as regards the
numbers of its active adherents.  For people are accustomed
to exclusiveness and division in all affairs.  The important sanctions
have ever been warrants and justifications of division.  To
enter the Baha'i Movement is to leave these sanctions behind --
an experience which at first invariably exposes one to new
trials and sufferings, as the human ego revolts against the supreme
sanction of universal love.  The scientific must associate
with the simple and unlearned, the rich with the poor, the
white with the colored, the mystic with the literalist, the
Christian with the Jew, the Muslim with the Parsee: and on
terms removing the advantage of long established presumptions
and privileges.
   But for this difficult experience there are glorious compensations.
Let us remember that art grows sterile as it turns away
from the common humanity, that philosophy likewise loses its
vision when developed in solitude, and that politics and religion
never succeed apart from the general needs of mankind.  Human
nature is not yet known, for we have all lived in a state of
mental, moral, emotional or social defense, and the psychology
of defense is the psychology of inhibition.  But the love of God
removes fear; the removal of fear establishes the latent power,
and association with others in spiritual love brings these powers
into vital, positive expression.  A Baha'i community is a gathering
where this process can take place in this age, slowly at first,
as the new impetus gathers force, more rapidly as the members
become conscious of the powers unfolding the flower of unity
among men. ...
   The responsibility for and supervision of local Baha'i affairs
<p266>
is vested in a body known as the Spiritual Assembly.  This body
(limited to nine members) is elected annually on April 21st, the
first day of Ridvan (the Festival commemorating the Declaration
of Baha'u'llah) by the adult declared believers of the
community, the voting list being drawn up by the outgoing
Spiritual Assembly.  Concerning the character and functions of
this body, Abdu'l-Baha has written as follows: --
 
     It is incumbent upon every one [every believer] not to
   take any step [of Baha'i activity] without consulting the
   Spiritual Assembly, and they must assuredly obey with
   heart and soul its bidding and be submissive unto it, that
   things may be properly ordered and well arranged.  Otherwise
   every person will act independently and after his own
   judgment, will follow his own desire, and do harm to the
   Cause.
     The prime requisites for them that take counsel together
   are purity of motive, radiance of spirit, detachment
   from all else save God, attrationg to His Divine Fragrances,
   humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones, patience
   and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted
   Threshold.  Should they be graciously aided to acquire
   these attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of
   Baha shall be vouchsafed to them.  In this day, assemblies
   of consultation are of the greatest importance and a
   vital necessity.  Obedience unto them is essential and obligatory.
   The members thereof must take counsel together
   in such wise that no occasion for ill-feeling or discord
   may arise.  This can be attained when every member expresseth
   with absolute freedom his own opinion and
   must on no account feel hurt for not until matters are
   fully discussed can the right way be revealed.  The shining
   spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing
   opinions.  If after discussion, a decision be carried
   unanimously well and good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences
   of opinion should arise, a majority of voices
   must prevail. ...
<p267>
     The first condition is absolute love and harmony
   amongst the members of the assembly.  They must be
   wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in
   themselves the Unity of God, for they are the waves of one
   sea, the drops of one river, the stars of one heaven, the
   rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the flowers of
   one garden.  Should harmony of thought and absolute
   unity be non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and
   that assembly be brought to naught.  The second
   condition: -- They must when coming together turn their
   faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm
   of Glory. ... Discussions must all be confined to spiritual
   matters that pertain to the training of souls, the instruction
   of children, the relief of the poor, the help of the feeble
   throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples,
   the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of
   His Holy Word.  Should they endeavor to fulfill these conditions
   the Grace of the Holy Spirit shall be vouchsafed
   unto them, and that assembly shall become the center of
   the Divine blessings, the hosts of Divine confirmation
   shall come to their aid, and they shall day by day receive a
   new effusion of Spirit.
 
   Expounding this subject, Shoghi Effendi writes: --
 
     ... nothing whatever should be given to the public by
   any individual among the friends, unless fully considered
   and approved by the Spiritual Assembly in his locality; and
   if this (as is undoubtedly the case) is a matter that pertains
   to the general interest of the Cause in that land, then it is
   incumbent upon the Spiritual Assembly to submit it to the
   consideration and approval of the national body representing
   all the various local assemblies.  Not only with
   regard to publication, but all matters without any excerption
   whatsoever, regarding the interests of the Cause in
   that locality, individually or collectively, should be referred
   exclusively to the Spiritual Assembly in that locality,
   which shall decide upon it, unless it be a matter of national
   interest, in which case it shall be referred to the
<p268>
   national [Baha'i] body.  With this national body also will
   rest the decision whether a given question is of local or
   national interest.  (By national affairs is not meant matters
   that are political in their character, for the friends of God
   the world over are strictly forbidden to meddle with political
   affairs in any way whatsoever, but rather things that
   affect the spiritual activities of the body of the friends in
   that land.)
     Full harmony, however, as well as cooperation among
   the various local assemblies and the members themselves,
   and particularly between each assembly and the national
   body, is of the utmost importance, for upon it depends the
   unity of the Cause of God, the solidarity of the friends,
   the full, speedy and efficient working of the spiritual
   activities of His loved ones. ...
     The various Assemblies, local and national, constitute
   today the bedrock upon the strength of which the Universal
   House [of Justice] is in future to be firmly established
   and raised.  Not until these function vigorously and harmoniously
   can the hope for the termination of this period
   of transition be realized. ...
     ... bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God
   is not dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary
   power, but the spirit of frank and loving consultation.
   Nothing short of the spirit of a true Baha'i can hope
   to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of freedom
   and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual
   and of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and
   prudence on the one hand, and fellowship, candor and
   courage on the other.
 
   The local Spiritual Assemblies of a country are linked together
and co-ordinating through another elected body of nine
members, the National Spiritual Assembly.  This body comes into
being by means of an annual election held by elected delegates
representing the local Baha'i communities. ... The National
Convention in which the delegates are gather together is
composed of an elective body based upon the principle of
<p269>
proportional representation. ... These National Conventions
are preferably held during the period of Ridvan, the twelve days
beginning April 21st which commemorate the Declaration
made by Baha'u'llah in the Garden of Ridvan near Baghdad.
The recognition of delegates is vested in the outgoing National
Spiritual Assembly.
   A National Convention is an occasion for deepening one's
understanding of Baha'i activities and of sharing reports of
national and local activities for the period of the elapsed
year. ... The function of a Baha'i delegate is limited to the
duration of the National Convention and participation in the
election of the new National Spiritual Assembly.  While gathered
together, the delegates are a consultative and advisory
body whose recommendations are to be carefully considered by
the members of the elected National Spiritual Assembly. ...
   The relation of the National Spiritual Assembly to the local
Spiritual Assemblies and to the body of the believers in the
country is thus defined in the letters of the Guardian of the
Cause:
 
     Regarding the establishment of "National Assemblies,"
   it is of vital importance that in every country, where the
   conditions are favorable and the number of the friends has
   grown and reached a considerable size ... that a "National
   Spiritual Assembly" be immediately established,
   representative of the friends throughout that country.
     Its immediate purpose is to stimulate, unify and coordinate
   by frequent personal consultations, the manifold
   activities of the friends as well as the local Assemblies; and
   by keeping in close and constant touch with the Holy
   Land, initiate measures, and direct in general the affairs of
   the Cause in that country.
     It serves also another purpose, no less essential than
   the first, as in the course of time it shall evolve into the
   National House of Justice (referred to in Abdu'l-Baha's
   Will as the "secondary House of Justice"), which according
   to the explicit text of the Testament will have, in conjunction
   with the other National Assemblies throughout
<p270>
   the Baha'i world, to elect directly the members of the International
   House of Justice, that Supreme Council that
   will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement
   throughout the world. ...
     This National Spiritual Assembly, which, pending the
   establishment of the Universal House of Justice, will have
   to be re-elected once a year, obviously assumes grave
   responsibilities, for it has to exercise full authority over
   all the local Assemblies in its province, and will have to
   direct the activities of the friends, guard vigilantly the
   Cause of God, and control and supervise the affairs of the
   Movement in general.
     Vital issues, affecting the interests of the Cause in
   that country such as the matter of translation and publication,
   the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the Teaching Work, and
   other similar matters that stand distinct from strictly local
   affairs, must be under the full jurisdiction of the National
   Assembly.
     It will have to refer each of these questions, even as
   the local Assemblies, to a special Committee, to be elected
   by the members of the National Spiritual Assembly, from
   among all the friends in that country, which will bear to it
   the same relation as the local committees bear to their
   respective local Assemblies.
     With it, too, rests the decision whether a certain point
   at issue is strictly local in its nature, and should be reserved
   for the consideration and decision of the local
   Assembly, or whether it should fall under its own province
   and be regarded as a matter which ought to receive its special
   attention. ...
     ... it is bounden duty, in the interest of the Cause
   we all love and serve, of the members of the incoming National
   Assembly, once elected by the delegates at Convention
   time, to seek and have the utmost regard, individually
   as well as collectively, for the advice, the considered
   opinion and the true sentiments of the assembled delegates.
   Banishing every vestige of secrecy, of undue reticence,
   of dictatorial aloofness, from their midst, they
<p271>
   should radiantly and abundantly unfold to the eyes of the
   delegates, by whom they are elected, their plans, their
   hopes, and their cares.  They should familiarize the delegates
   with the various matters that will have to be considered
   in the current year, and calmly and conscientiously
   study and weigh the opinions and judgments of the delegates.
   The newly elected National Assembly, during the
   few days when the Convention is in session and after the
   dispersal of the delegates, should seek ways and means to
   cultivate understanding, facilitate and maintain the exchange
   of views, deepen confidence, and vindicate by
   every tangible evidence their one desire to serve and advance
   the common weal. ...
     The National Spiritual Assembly, however, in view of
   the unavoidable limitations imposed upon the convening
   of frequent and long-standing sessions of the Convention,
   will have to retain in its hands the final decision on all
   matters that affect the interests of the Cause ... such as
   the right to decide whether any local Assembly is functioning
   in accordance with the principles laid down for the
   conduct and the advancement of the Cause. ...
 
   Concerning the matter of drawing up the voting list to be
used at the annual local Baha'i elections, the responsibility for
this is placed upon each local Spiritual Assembly, and as a guidance
in the matter the Guardian has written the following:
 
     ... to state very briefly and as adequately as present
   circumstances permit the principal factors that must be
   taken into consideration before deciding whether a person
   may be regarded as a true believer or not.  Full recognition
   of the station of the Forerunner, the Author, and the
   True Exemplar of the Baha'i Cause, as set forth in
   Abdu'l-Baha's Testament; unreserved acceptance of, and
   submission to, whatsoever has been revealed by their
   Pen; loyal and steadfast adherence to every clause of our
   Beloved's sacred Will; and close association with the
   spirit as well as the form of the present day Baha'i administration
   throughout the world -- these I conceive to
<p272>
   be the fundamental and primary considerations that must
   be fairly, discreetly and thoughtfully ascertained before
   reaching such a vital decision.
 
   Abdu'l-Baha's instructions provide for the further development
of Baha'i organization. ...:
 
     And now, concerning the House of Justice which God
   hath ordained as the source of all good and freed from
   all error, it must be elected by universal suffrage, that is,
   by the believers.  Its members must be manifestations of
   the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding,
   must be steadfast in God's faith and the well-wishers
   of all mankind.  By this House is meant the
   Universal House of Justice, that is, in all countries a
   secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and these
   secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of
   the Universal one.+F1  Unto this body all things must be referred.
   It enacted all ordinances and regulations that are
   not to be found in the explicit Holy Text.  By this body all
   the difficult problems are to be resolved and the Guardian
   of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished
   member for life of that body.  Should he not attend
   in person its deliberations, he must appoint one to
   represent him. ... This House of Justice enacteth the
   laws and the government enforceth them.  The legislative
   body must reinforce the executive, the executive must aid
   and assist the legislative body so that through the close
   union and harmony of these two forces, the foundation
   of fairness and justice may become firm and strong, that
   all the regions of the world may become even as Paradise
   itself. ...
     ... Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn and
   all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred
   to the Universal House of Justice.  That which this body,
   whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is
------------------------
1.    The Universal House of Justice was elected for the first time in April
    1986 by the members of fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies.
<p273>
   verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself.  Whoso
   doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord,
   hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of
   the Covenant.
 
   Even at the present time, the Baha'is in all parts of the world
maintain an intimate and cordial association by means of regular
correspondence and individual visits.  This contact of members of
different races, nationalities and religious traditions is concrete
proof that the burden of prejudice and the historical factors of
division can be entirely overcome through the spirit of oneness
established by Baha'u'llah.
 
 
The World Order of Baha'u'llah
 
   The larger implications of this order are explained by Shoghi
Effendi in successive communications addressed to the Baha'i
community since February, 1929: --
 
     I cannot refrain from appealing to them who stand
   identified with the Faith to disregard the prevailing notions
   and the fleeting fashions of the day, and to realize as
   never before that the exploded theories and the tottering
   institutions of present-day civilization must needs appear
   in sharp contrast with those God-given institutions which
   are destined to arise upon their ruin. ...
     For Baha'u'llah ... has not only imbued mankind with
   a new and regenerating Spirit.  He has not merely
   enunciated certain universal principles, or propounded a
   particular philosophy, however potent, sound and universal
   these may be.  In addition to these He, as well as
   Abdu'l-Baha after Him, has, unlike the Dispensations of
   the past, clearly and specifically laid down a set of Laws,
   established definite institutions, and provided for the essentials
   of a Divine Economy.  These are destined to be a
   pattern for future society, a supreme instrument for the
   establishment of the Most Great Peace, and the one
   agency for the unification of the world, and the proclamation
<p274>
   of the reign of righteousness and justice upon the
   earth. ...
     Unlike the Dispensation of Christ, unlike the Dispensation
   of Muhammad, unlike all the Dispensations of the
   past, the apostles of Baha'u'llah in every land, wherever
   they labor and toil, have before them in clear, in unequivocal
   and emphatic language, all the laws, the regulations,
   the principles, the institutions, the guidance, they
   require for the prosecution and consummation of their
   task. ... Therein lies the distinguishing feature of the
   Baha'i Revelation.  Therein lies the strength of the unity
   of the Faith, of the validity of a Revelation that claims
   not to destroy or belittle previous Revelations, but to connect,
   unify, and fulfill them. ...
 
     Feeble though our Faith may now appear in the eyes
   of men, who either denounce it as an offshoot of Islam, or
   contemptuously ignore it as one more of those obscure
   sects that abound in the West, this priceless gem of
   Divine Revelation, now still in its embryonic state, shall
   evolve within the shell of His law, and shall forge ahead,
   undivided and unimpaired, till it embraces the whole of
   mankind.  Only those who have already recognized the
   supreme station of Baha'u'llah, only those whose hearts
   have been touched by His love, and have become familiar
   with the potency of His spirit, can adequately appreciate
   the value of this Divine Economy -- His inestimable gift to
   mankind. -- March 21, 1930.
 
     It is towards this goal -- the goal of a new World
   Order, Divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, equitable
   in principle, challenging in its features -- that a harassed
   humanity must strive. ...
 
     How pathetic indeed are the efforts of those leaders
   of human institutions who, in utter disregard of the spirit
   of the age, are striving to adjust national processes, suited
   to the ancient days of self-contained nations, to an age
   which must either achieve the unity of the world, as
<p275>
   adumbrated by Baha'u'llah, or perish.  At so critical an
   hour in the history of civilization it behooves the leaders
   of all the nations of the world, great and small, whether
   in the East or in the West, whether victors or vanquished,
   to give heed to the clarion call of Baha'u'llah and, thoroughly
   imbued with a sense of world solidarity, the sine
   quaa non of loyalty to His Cause, arise manfully to carry
   out in its entirety the one remedial scheme He, the Divine
   Physician, has prescribed for an ailing humanity.  Let
   them discard, one for all, every preconceived idea, every
   national prejudice, and give heed to the sublime counsel
   of Abdu'l-Baha, the authorized Expounder of His
   teachings.  You can best serve your country, was Abdu'l-Baha's
   rejoinder+F1 to a high official in the service of the
   federal government of the United States of America, who
   had questioned Him as to the best manner in which he
   could promote the interests of his government and people,
   if you strive, in your capacity as a citizen of the world, to
   assist in the eventual application of the principles of federalism
   underlying the government of your own country to
   the relationships now existing between the peoples and
   nations of the world. ...
     Some form of a world Super-State must needs be
   evolved, in whose favor all the nations of the world will
   have willingly ceded every claim to make war, certain
   rights to impose taxation and all rights to maintain armaments,
   except for purposes of maintaining internal order
   within their respective dominions.  Such a state will have
   to include within its orbit an International Executive
   adequate to enforce supreme and unchallengeable authority
   on every recalcitrant member of the commonwealth;
   a World Parliament whose members shall be
   elected by the people in their respective countries and
   whose election shall be confirmed by their respective governments;
   and a Supreme Tribunal whose judgment will
   have a binding effect even in such cases where the parties
------------------------
1.    In the year 1912.
<p276>
   concerned did not voluntarily agree to submit their case to
   its consideration.  A world community in which all economic
   barriers will have been permanently demolished
   and the interdependence of Capital and Labor definitely
   recognized; in which the clamor of religious fanaticism
   and strife will have been forever stilled; in which the flame
   of racial animosity will have been finally extinguished; in
   which a single code of international law -- the product of
   the considered judgment of the world's federated representatives --
   shall have as its sanction the instant and
   coercive intervention of the combined forces of the federated
   units; and finally a world community in which the
   fury of a capricious and militant nationalism will have
   been transmuted into an abiding consciousness of world
   citizenship -- such indeed, appears, in its broadest outline,
   the Order anticipated by Baha'u'llah, an Order that shall
   come to be regarded as the fairest fruit of a slowly maturing
   age. ...
     Let there be no misgivings as to the animating purpose
   of the world-wide Law of Baha'u'llah.  Far from aiming at
   the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it
   seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a
   manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing
   world.  It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor
   can it undermine essential loyalties.  Its purpose is neither
   to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in
   men's hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy
   so essential if the evils of excessive centralization
   are to be avoided.  It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to
   suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of
   history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit,
   that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world.  It
   calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any
   that has animated the human race. ...
     The call of Baha'u'llah is primarily directed against all
   forms of provincialism, all insularities and prejudices.
   ... For legal standards, political and economic theories
   are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity
<p277>
   as a whole, and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation
   of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine. ...
     The principle of the Oneness of Mankind -- the pivot
   round which all the teachings of Baha'u'llah revolve -- is
   no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression
   of vague and pious hope. ... Its implications are
   deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of
   old were allowed to advance.  Its message is applicable not
   only to the individual, but concerns itself primarily with
   the nature of those essential relationships that must bind
   all the states and nations as members of one human
   family. ...
     It represents the consummation of human
   evolution. ...
 
     That the forces of a world catastrophe can alone precipitate
   such a new phase of human thought is, alas, becoming
   increasingly apparent. ...
     Nothing but a fiery ordeal, out of which humanity will
   emerge, chastened and prepared, can succeed in implanting
   that sense of responsibility which the leaders of a
   newborn age must arise to shoulder. ...
     Has not Abdu'l-Baha Himself asserted in unequivocal
   language that "another war, fiercer than the last, will
   assuredly break out"? -- November 28, 1931.
 
     This Administrative Order ... will, as its component
   parts, its organic institutions, begin to function with efficiency
   and vigor, assert its claim and demonstrate its
   capacity to be regarded not only as the nucleus but the
   very pattern of the New World Order destined to embrace
   in the fullness of time the whole of mankind. ...
     Alone of all the Revelations gone before it this Faith
   has ... succeeded in raising a structure which the bewildered
   followers of bankrupt and broken creeds might
   well approach and critically examine, and seek, ere it is
   too late, the invulnerable security of its world-embracing
   shelter. ...
<p278>
     To what else if not the power and majesty which
   this Administrative Order -- the rudiments of the future
   all-enfolding Baha'i Commonwealth -- is destined to manifest,
   can these utterances of Baha'u'llah allude:  "The
   world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating
   influence of this most great, this new World Order.  Mankind's
   ordered life hath been revolutionized through the
   agency of this unique, this wondrous System -- the like of
   which mortal eyes have never witnessed." ...
 
     The Baha'i Commonwealth of the future of which this
   vast Administrative Order is the sole framework, is, both
   in theory and practice, not only unique in the entire history
   of political institutions, but can find no parallel in the
   annals of any of the world's recognized religious systems.
   No form of democratic government; no system of autocracy
   or of dictatorship, whether monarchical or republican;
   no intermediary scheme of a purely aristocratic
   order; nor even any of the recognized types of theocracy,
   whether it be the Hebrew Commonwealth, or the various
   Christian ecclesiastical organizations, or the Imamate or
   the Caliphate in Islam -- none of these can be identified
   or be said to conform with the Administrative Order
   which the master-hand of its perfect Architect has
   fashioned. ...
 
     Let no one, while this System is still in its infancy,
   misconceive its character, belittle its significance or misrepresent
   its purpose.  The bedrock on which this Administrative
   Order is founded is God's immutable Purpose
   for mankind in this day.  The Source from which it derives
   its inspiration is no one less than Baha'u'llah Himself.
   ... The central, the underlying aim which animates it
   is the establishment of the New World Order as adumbrated
   by Baha'u'llah.  The methods it employs, the
   standard it inculcates, incline it to neither East nor West,
   neither Jew nor Gentile, neither rich nor poor, neither
   white nor colored.  Its watchword is the unification of
<p279>
   the human race; its standard the "Most Great Peace." ...
   February 8, 1934.
 
     The contrast between the accumulating evidences of
   steady consolidation that accompany the rise of the Administrative
   Order of the Faith of God, and the forces of
   disintegration which batter at the fabric of a travailing
   society, is as clear as it is arresting.  Both within and
   outside the Baha'i world the signs and tokens which, in
   a mysterious manner, are heralding the birth of that
   World Order, the establishment of which must signalize
   the Golden Age of the Cause of God, are growing and
   multiplying day by day. ...
     "Soon," Baha'u'llah's own words proclaim it, "will the
   present day Order be rolled up, and a new one spread out
   in its stead." ...
     The Revelation of Baha'u'llah ... should ... be regarded
   as signalizing through its advent the coming of age
   of the entire human race.  It should be viewed not merely
   as yet another spiritual revival in the ever-changing fortunes
   of mankind, not only as a further stage in a chain
   of progressive Revelations, nor even as the culmination
   of one of a series of recurrent prophetic cycles, but rather
   as marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous
   evolution of man's collective life on this planet.  The
   emergence of a world community, the consciousness of
   world citizenship, the founding of a world civilization and
   culture ... should ... be regarded, as far as this planetary
   life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the organization
   of human society, though man, as an individual,
   will, nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation,
   continue indefinitely to progress and
   develop. ...
     The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah,
   implies the establishment of a world commonwealth
   in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely
   and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its
<p280>
   state members and the personal freedom and initiative of
   the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely
   safeguarded.  This commonwealth must, as far as
   we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose
   members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind,
   ultimately control the entire resources of all the component
   nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required
   to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships
   of all races and peoples.  A world executive,
   backed by an international Force, will carry out the decisions
   arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this
   world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of
   the whole commonwealth.  A world tribunal will ajudicate
   and deliver its compulsory and final verdict in all and
   any disputes that may arise between the various elements
   constituting this universal system.  A mechanism of world
   intercommunication will be devised, embracing the whole
   planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions,
   and functioning with marvelous swiftness and perfect
   regularity.  A world metropolis will act as the nerve center
   of a world civilization, the focus towards which the unifying
   forces of life will converge and from which its energizing
   influences will radiate.  A world language will either
   be invented or chosen from among the existing languages
   and will be taught in the schools of all the federated
   nations as an auxiliary to their mother tongue.  A world
   script, a world literature, a uniform and universal system
   of currency, of weights and measures, will simplify and
   facilitate intercourse and understanding among the nations
   and races of mankind.  In such a world society,
   science and religion, the two most potent forces in human
   life, will be reconciled, will cooperate, and will harmoniously
   develop.  The press will, under such a system, while
   giving full scope to the expression of the diversified views
   and convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously
   manipulated by vested interests, whether private or public,
   and will be liberated from the influence of contending
   governments and peoples.  The economic resources of the
<p281>
   world will be organized, its sources of raw materials will be
   tapped and fully utilized, its markets will be coordinated
   and developed, and the distribution of its products will be
   equitably regulated.
     National rivalries, hatred, and intrigues will cease,
   and racial animosity and prejudice will be replaced by
   racial amity, understanding and cooperation.  The causes
   of religious strife will be permanently removed, economic
   barriers and restrictions will be completely abolished, and
   the inordinate distinction between classes will be obliterated.
   Destitution on the one hand, and gross accumulation
   of ownership on the other, will disappear.  The enormous
   energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic
   or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend
   the range of human inventions and technical development,
   to the increase of the productivity of mankind, to
   the extermination of disease, to the extension of scientific
   research, to the raising of the standard of physical health,
   to the sharpening and refinement of the human brain, to
   the exploitation of the unused and unsuspected resources
   of the planet, to the prolongation of human life, and to
   the furtherance of any other agency that can stimulate
   the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the entire
   human race.
     A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and
   exercising unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably
   vast resources, blending and embodying the ideals
   of both the East and the West, liberated from the curse
   of war and its miseries, and bent on the exploitation of all
   the available sources of energy on the surface of the
   planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of
   Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition
   of one God and by its allegiance to one common
   Revelation -- such is the goal towards which humanity,
   impelled by the unifying forces of life, is moving. ...
     The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led
   to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom.  And yet
   it stubbornly refuses to embrace the light and acknowledge
<p282>
   the sovereign authority of the one Power that can extricate
   it from its entanglements, and avert the woeful calamity
   that threatens to engulf it. ...
     Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of
   the stage which human society is now approaching.  Unity
   of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively
   attempted and fully established.  World unity is
   the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.
   Nation-building has come to an end.  The anarchy inherent
   in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax.  A
   world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize
   the oneness and wholeness of human relationships,
   and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate
   this fundamental principle of its life. -- March 11,
   1936.
 
[The above letters have been published in one volume entitled
The World Order of Baha'u'llah.]
<p283>
Epilogue
 
   Under the inspired guidance of Shoghi Effendi the Baha'i
Cause grew steadily in size and in the establishment of its Administrative
Order, so that by 1951 there were eleven functioning
National Spiritual Assemblies.  At that point the Guardian
turned to the development of the institutions of the Faith at its
international level, appointing the International Baha'i Council,
the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice, and,
shortly thereafter, the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause
of God.  Hitherto Shoghi Effendi has raised certain eminent
Baha'is to the rank of Hands of the Cause posthumously, one
of them being Dr. John E. Esslemont, but it was only in 1951
that he adjudged the time ripe to begin the full development
of this important institution.  In rapid succession between 1951
and 1957 he appointed thirty-two Hands and extended the
range of their activities, instituting in each continent Auxiliary
Boards consisting of believers and appointed by the Hands to be
their deputies, assistants and advisors.  Twenty-seven of these
Hands were living at the time of his passing.
   Through a series of letters, some addressed to Baha'is
throughout the world, and others to those in specific countries,
the Guardian deepened their understanding of the teachings,
built up the administrative institutions of the Faith, trained
the believers in their correct and effective use, and in 1937
launched the American Baha'i Community on its implementation
of the Divine Plan for the diffusion of Baha'u'llah's
Message.  This Divine Plan had been revealed by Abdu'l-Baha
in a number of Tablets written during the years of the First
World War and constitutes the charter for the propagation of
the Faith.
   Within the framework of this charter a number of teaching
plans were carried out, first in the Western Hemisphere, then
also in Europe, Asia, Australasia and AFrica until in 1953
<p284>
the Guardian called for a "decade-long, world-embracing,
spiritual crusade" to carry the Faith to all the remaining independent
states and principal dependencies of the world.
   In 1957, as the midway point of the crusade approached,
the Guardian, exhausted by thirty-six years of unremitting
labor, died while on a visit to London.
   As Shoghi Effendi had no heir, the work of the Faith after
November 1957 was coordinated and directed by the twenty-seven
Hands of the Cause until the victorious completion of
the crusade in April 1963, at which time the first Universal
House of Justice was elected by the members of fifty-six National
Spiritual Assemblies convened at the Baha'i World
Center in Haifa by the Hands of the Cause.
   Immediately following this historic election, Baha'is from all
parts of the globe gathered in London at the first World Congress
of the Faith to celebrate the Centenary of the Declaration
of Baha'u'llah and to rejoice in the worldwide spread of
His Faith.
   The supreme institution of the Faith today is the Universal
House of Justice, created by Baha'u'llah in His Most Holy
Book, invested with authority to legislate on all matters not
covered in the Baha'i Writings, and assured divine guidance in
the Sacred Text itself.  Abdu'l-Baha, in His Will and testament,
lays down the method of election of the Universal House
of Justice, define sits station and duties more clearly, and
asserts that it is under the direct guidance of the Bab and
Baha'u'llah and is the body to which all must turn.
   The unique and distinguishing feature of the Baha'i Faith
is the Covenant of Baha'u'llah, the bedrock upon which the
Faith raises all its structures and bases its development.  Its
uniqueness is that for the first time in religious history the
Manifestation of God, in clear and unambiguous language,
provides for the authorized interpretation of His Word, and
ensures the continuity of the divinely appointed authority
which flows from the Source of the Faith.
   Interpretation of Scripture has always in earlier religions
been a most fertile source of schism.  Baha'u'llah, in the Book
of His Covenant, vested in His eldest son, Abdu'l-Baha, full
<p285>
powers for the interpretation of His Writings and for the direction
of His Cause.  Abdu'l-Baha, in His Will and Testament,
appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, Guardian
of the Faith and sole interpreter of the Writings.  There is no
priesthood within the Faith and no individual may claim
special station or guidance; authority is vested in institutions
created within the Baha'i Scriptures.
   By virtue of these unique provisions, the Faith of Baha'u'llah
has been preserved from schism, from the depredations
of unauthorized leadership, and above all from the infiltration
of man-made doctrines and theories, which in the past
have shattered the unity of religions.  Pure and inviolate,
the revealed Word of Baha'u'llah, with its authorized interpretation,
remains throughout the Dispensation the uncorrupted
and incorruptible source of spiritual life to men.
   In 1968 the Universal House of Justice took action to provide
for the future carrying out of the specific functions of
protection and propagation vested in the Hands of the Cause,
by the establishment of Continental Board of Counsellors.
Each Board consists of a number of Counsellors appointed by
the Universal House of Justice, and they work in close collaboration
with the Hands of the Cause of God.  The appointment
and direction of Auxiliary Boards is now the duty of the Boards
of Counsellors, and the activities of the Hands, of whom fourteen
are still living, have been extended to be worldwide.  In June
1973 the Universal House of Justice established in the Holy
Land an International Teaching Centre and assigned it the
activities of the Continental Board of Counsellors and as
liaison between them and the Universal House of Justice.
   The Guardian had written of future global teaching plans
to be carried out under the direction of the Universal House of
Justice, and the first of these, a Nine Year Plan, was launched
in 1964.  This was followed by a Five Year Plan terminating at
Ridvan 1979.  At the present time, 1979, the Baha'i Faith has been
established in 172 independent states.  There are Baha'is living in
over 103,000 localities throughout the world; Baha'i literature has
been translated into over 650 languages; the sixth and seventh
<p286>
Baha'i Temples are being built in India and Samoa; land for 123
other Temples has been acquired; there are 125 National Spiritual
Assemblies and 25,500 Local Spiritual Assemblies.  Baha'is are
now energetically pursuing a Seven Year Plan designed to further
expand and consolidate the growth of the Faith throughout the
world.
   Most encouraging of all has been the response of the masses
in such places as Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Latin
America, where large numbers of the indigenous peoples have
begun to enter the Cause, bringing about a new stage in the
development of the administrative and social activities of the
worldwide Baha'i community.