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Title: Foundations of World Unity
Author: `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1844-1921
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Foundations of World Unity


by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
THE TRUE MODERNISM
THE SOURCE OF REALITY
THE DAWN OF PEACE
THE CAUSE OF STRIFE
UNIVERSAL PEACE
THE PROPHETS AND WAR
FOUNDATIONS OF WORLD UNITY
RACIAL HARMONY
THE SPIRIT OF JUSTICE
COOPERATION
“The question of socialization is very important. It will not be...”
THE CRITERIONS OF TRUTH
MAN AND NATURE
THE MICROCOSM AND THE MACROCOSM
THE UNIVERSAL CYCLES
EDUCATION
THE HOLY SPIRIT
SCIENCE
SPIRITUAL SPRINGTIME
ETERNAL UNITY
THE DARKENED LIGHTS
THE NEED OF DIVINE EDUCATION
RELIGION: ESSENTIAL AND NON-ESSENTIAL
RELIGION RENEWED
DIVINE LOVE
THE FOUNDATION OF RELIGION
THE QUICKENING SPIRIT
THE LAW OF GOD
CONTINUITY OF REVELATION



THE TRUE MODERNISM


All created things have their degree or stage of maturity. The period of
maturity in the life of a tree is the time of its fruit-bearing. The
maturity of a plant is the time of its blossoming and flower. The animal
attains a stage of full growth and completeness, and in the human kingdom
man reaches his maturity when the lights of intelligence have their
greatest power and development.

From the beginning to the end of his life man passes through certain
periods or stages each of which is marked by certain conditions peculiar
to itself. For instance during the period of childhood his conditions and
requirements are characteristic of that degree of intelligence and
capacity. After a time he enters the period of youth in which his former
conditions and needs are superseded by new requirements applicable to the
advance in his degree. His faculties of observation are broadened and
deepened, his intelligent capacities are trained and awakened, the
limitations and environment of childhood no longer restrict his energies
and accomplishments. At last he passes out of the period of youth and
enters the stage or station of maturity which necessitates another
transformation and corresponding advance in his sphere of life-activity.
New powers and perceptions clothe him, teaching and training commensurate
with his progression occupy his mind, special bounties and bestowals
descend in proportion to his increased capacities and his former period of
youth and its conditions will no longer satisfy his matured view and
vision.

Similarly there are periods and stages in the life of the aggregate world
of humanity which at one time was passing through its degree of childhood,
at another its time of youth but now has entered its long presaged period
of maturity, the evidences of which are everywhere visible and apparent.
Therefore the requirements and conditions of former periods have changed
and merged into exigencies which distinctly characterize the present age
of the world of mankind. That which was applicable to human needs during
the early history of the race could neither meet nor satisfy the demands
of this day and period of newness and consummation. Humanity has emerged
from its former degrees of limitation and preliminary training. Man must
now become imbued with new virtues and powers, new moralities, new
capacities. New bounties, bestowals and perfections are awaiting and
already descending upon him. The gifts and graces of the period of youth
although timely and sufficient during the adolescence of the world of
mankind, are now incapable of meeting the requirements of its maturity.
The playthings of childhood and infancy no longer satisfy or interest the
adult mind.

From every standpoint the world of humanity is undergoing a re-formation.
The laws of former governments and civilizations are in process of
revision, scientific ideas and theories are developing and advancing to
meet a new range of phenomena, invention and discovery are penetrating
hitherto unknown fields revealing new wonders and hidden secrets of the
material universe; industries have vastly wider scope and production;
everywhere the world of mankind is in the throes of evolutionary activity
indicating the passing of the old conditions and advent of the new age of
re-formation. Old trees yield no fruitage; old ideas and methods are
obsolete and worthless now. Old standards of ethics, moral codes and
methods of living in the past will not suffice for the present age of
advancement and progress.

This is the cycle of maturity and re-formation in religion as well.
Dogmatic imitations of ancestral beliefs are passing. They have been the
axis around which religion revolved but now are no longer fruitful; on the
contrary, in this day they have become the cause of human degradation and
hindrance. Bigotry and dogmatic adherence to ancient beliefs have become
the central and fundamental source of animosity among men, the obstacle to
human progress, the cause of warfare and strife, the destroyer of peace,
composure and welfare in the world. Consider conditions in the Balkans
today(1); fathers, mothers, children in grief and lamentation, the
foundations of life overturned, cities laid waste and fertile lands made
desolate by the ravages of war. These conditions are the outcome of
hostility and hatred between nations and peoples of religion who imitate
and adhere to the forms and violate the spirit and reality of the divine
teachings.

While this is true and apparent, it is likewise evident that the Lord of
mankind has bestowed infinite bounties upon the world in this century of
maturity and consummation. The ocean of divine mercy is surging, the
vernal showers are descending, the Sun of Reality is shining gloriously.
Heavenly teachings applicable to the advancement in human conditions have
been revealed in this merciful age. This re-formation and renewal of the
fundamental reality of religion constitute the true and outworking spirit
of modernism, the unmistakable light of the world, the manifest effulgence
of the Word of God, the divine remedy for all human ailment and the bounty
of eternal life to all mankind.



THE SOURCE OF REALITY


In our solar system, the center of illumination is the sun itself. Through
the will of God this central luminary is the one source of the existence
and development of all phenomenal things. When we observe the organisms of
the material kingdoms we find that their growth and training are dependent
upon the heat and light of the sun. Without this quickening impulse there
would be no growth of tree or vegetation, neither would the existence of
animal or human being be possible; in fact no forms of created life would
be manifest upon the earth. But if we reflect deeply we will perceive that
the great bestower and giver of life is God; the sun is the intermediary
of His will and plan. Without the bounty of the sun therefore the world
would be in darkness. All illumination of our planetary system proceeds or
emanates from the solar center.

Likewise in the spiritual realm of intelligence and idealism there must be
a center of illumination, and that center is the everlasting, ever-shining
Sun, the Word of God. Its lights are the lights of reality which have
shone upon humanity, illumining the realm of thought and morals,
conferring the bounties of the divine world upon man. These lights are the
cause of the education of souls and the source of the enlightenment of
hearts, sending forth in effulgent radiance the message of the
glad-tidings of the Kingdom of God. In brief, the moral and ethical world
and the world of spiritual regeneration are dependent for their
progressive being upon that heavenly center of illumination. It gives
forth the light of religion and bestows the life of the spirit, imbues
humanity with archetypal virtues and confers eternal splendors. This Sun
of Reality, this center of effulgences is the prophet or Manifestation of
God. Just as the phenomenal sun shines upon the material world producing
life and growth, likewise the spiritual or prophetic Sun confers
illumination upon the human world of thought and intelligence, and unless
it rose upon the horizon of human existence the kingdom of man would
become dark and extinguished.

The Sun of Reality is one Sun but it has different dawning-places, just as
the phenomenal sun is one although it appears at various points of the
horizon. During the time of spring the luminary of the physical world
rises far to the north of the equinoctial; in summer it dawns midway and
in winter it appears in the most southerly point of its zodiacal journey.
These day-springs or dawning-points differ widely but the sun is ever the
same sun whether it be the phenomenal or spiritual luminary. Souls who
focus their vision upon the Sun of Reality will be the recipients of light
no matter from what point it rises, but those who are fettered by
adoration of the dawning-point are deprived when it appears in a different
station upon the spiritual horizon.

Furthermore, just as the solar cycle has its four seasons, the cycle of
the Sun of Reality has its distinct and successive periods. Each brings
its vernal season or springtime. When the Sun of Reality returns to
quicken the world of mankind a divine bounty descends from the heaven of
generosity. The realm of thoughts and ideals is set in motion and blessed
with new life. Minds are developed, hopes brighten, aspirations become
spiritual, the virtues of the human world appear with freshened power of
growth and the image and likeness of God become visible in man. It is the
springtime of the inner world. After the spring, summer comes with its
fullness and fruitage spiritual; autumn follows with its withering winds
which chill the soul; the Sun seems to be going away until at last the
mantle of winter overspreads and only faint traces of the effulgence of
that divine Sun remain. Just as the surface of the material world becomes
dark and dreary, the soil dormant, the trees naked and bare and no beauty
or freshness remain to cheer the darkness and desolation, so the winter of
the spiritual cycle witnesses the death and disappearance of divine growth
and extinction of the light and love of God. But again the cycle begins
and a new springtime appears. In it the former springtime has returned,
the world is resuscitated, illumined and attains spirituality; religion is
renewed and reorganized, hearts are turned to God, the summons of God is
heard and life is again bestowed upon man. For a long time the religious
world had been weakened and materialism had advanced; the spiritual forces
of life were waning, moralities were becoming degraded, composure and
peace had vanished from souls and satanic qualities were dominating
hearts; strife and hatred overshadowed humanity, bloodshed and violence
prevailed. God was neglected; the Sun of Reality seemed to have gone
completely; deprivation of the bounties of heaven was a fact; and so the
season of winter fell upon mankind. But in the generosity of God a new
springtime dawned, the lights of God shone forth, the effulgent Sun of
Reality returned and became manifest, the realm of thoughts and kingdom of
hearts became exhilarated, a new spirit of life breathed into the body of
the world and continuous advancement became apparent.

I hope that the lights of the Sun of Reality will illumine the whole world
so that no strife and warfare, no battles and bloodshed remain. May
fanaticism and religious bigotry be unknown, all humanity enter the bond
of brotherhood, souls consort in perfect agreement, the nations of earth
at last hoist the banner of truth and the religions of the world enter the
divine temple of oneness, for the foundations of the heavenly religions
are one reality. Reality is not divisible; it does not admit multiplicity.
All the holy Manifestations of God have proclaimed and promulgated the
same reality. They have summoned mankind to reality itself and reality is
one. The clouds and mists of imitations have obscured the Sun of Truth. We
must forsake these imitations, dispel these clouds and mists and free the
Sun from the darkness of superstition. Then will the Sun of Truth shine
most gloriously; then all the inhabitants of the world will be united, the
religions will be one, sects and denominations will reconcile, all
nationalities will flow together in the recognition of one fatherhood and
all degrees of humankind gather in the shelter of the same tabernacle,
under the same banner.

Until the heavenly civilization is founded, no result will be forthcoming
from material civilization, even as you observe. See what catastrophes
overwhelm mankind. Consider the wars which disturb the world. Consider the
enmity and hatred. The existence of these wars and conditions indicates
and proves that the heavenly civilization has not yet been established. If
the civilization of the Kingdom be spread to all the nations, this dust of
disagreement will be dispelled, these clouds will pass away and the Sun of
Reality in its greatest effulgence and glory will shine upon mankind.



THE DAWN OF PEACE


The fatherhood of God, His loving-kindness and beneficence are apparent to
all. In His mercy he provides fully and amply for His creatures and if any
soul sins He does not suspend His bounty. All created things are visible
manifestations of His fatherhood, mercy and heavenly bestowals. Human
brotherhood is likewise as clear and evident as the sun, for all are
servants of one God, belong to one humankind, inhabit the same globe, are
sheltered beneath the overshadowing dome of heaven and submerged in the
sea of divine mercy. Human brotherhood and dependence exist because mutual
helpfulness and cooperation are the two necessary principles underlying
human welfare. This is the physical relationship of mankind. There is
another brotherhood, the spiritual, which is higher, holier and superior
to all others. It is heavenly; it emanates from the breaths of the Holy
Spirit and the effulgence of merciful attributes; it is founded upon
spiritual susceptibilities. This brotherhood is established by the
Manifestations of the Holy One.

The divine Manifestations since the day of Adam have striven to unite
humanity so that all may be accounted as one soul. The function and
purpose of a shepherd is to gather and not disperse his flock. The
prophets of God have been divine shepherds of humanity. They have
established a bond of love and unity among mankind, made scattered peoples
one nation and wandering tribes a mighty kingdom. They have laid the
foundation of the oneness of God and summoned all to universal peace. All
these holy, divine Manifestations are one. They have served one God,
promulgated the same truth, founded the same institutions and reflected
the same light. Their appearances have been successive and correlated;
each one has announced and extolled the one who was to follow and all laid
the foundation of reality. They summoned and invited the people to love
and made the human world a mirror of the Word of God. Therefore the divine
religions they established have one foundation; their teachings, proofs
and evidences are one; in name and form they differ but in reality they
agree and are the same. These holy Manifestations have been as the coming
of springtime in the world. Although the springtime of this year is
designated by another name according to the changing calendar, yet as
regards its life and quickening it is the same as the springtime of last
year. For each spring is the time of a new creation, the effects,
bestowals, perfections and life-giving forces of which are the same as
those of the former vernal seasons although the names are many and
various. This is 1912, last year’s was 1911 and so on, but in fundamental
reality no difference is apparent. The sun is one but the dawning-points
of the sun are numerous and changing. The ocean is one body of water but
different parts of it have particular designation, Atlantic, Pacific,
Mediterranean, Antarctic, etc. If we consider the names, there is
differentiation, but the water, the ocean itself is one reality.

Likewise the divine religions of the holy Manifestations of God are in
reality one though in name and nomenclature they differ. Man must be a
lover of the light no matter from what day-spring it may appear. He must
be a lover of the rose no matter in what soil it may be growing. He must
be a seeker of the truth no matter from what source it come. Attachment to
the lantern is not loving the light. Attachment to the earth is not
befitting but enjoyment of the rose which develops from the soil is
worthy. Devotion to the tree is profitless but partaking of the fruit is
beneficial. Luscious fruits no matter upon what tree they grow or where
they may be found must be enjoyed. The word of truth no matter which
tongue utters it must be sanctioned. Absolute verities no matter in what
book they be recorded must be accepted. If we harbor prejudice it will be
the cause of deprivation and ignorance. The strife between religions,
nations and races arises from misunderstanding. If we investigate the
religions to discover the principles underlying their foundations we will
find they agree, for the fundamental reality of them is one and not
multiple. By this means the religionists of the world will reach their
point of unity and reconciliation. They will ascertain the truth that the
purpose of religion is the acquisition of praiseworthy virtues, betterment
of morals, spiritual development of mankind, the real life and divine
bestowals. All the prophets have been the promoters of these principles;
none of them has been the promoter of corruption, vice or evil. They have
summoned mankind to all good. They have united people in the love of God,
invited them to the religions of the unity of mankind and exhorted them to
amity and agreement. For example, we mention Abraham and Moses. By this
mention we do not mean the limitation implied in the mere names but intend
the virtues which these names embody. When we say “Abraham” we mean
thereby a Manifestation of divine guidance, a center of human virtues, a
source of heavenly bestowals to mankind, a dawning-point of divine
inspiration and perfections. These perfections and graces are not limited
to names and boundaries. When we find these virtues, qualities and
attributes in any personality, we recognize the same reality shining from
within and bow in acknowledgment of the Abrahamic perfections. Similarly
we acknowledge and adore the beauty of Moses. Some souls were lovers of
the name Abraham, loving the lantern instead of the light and when they
saw this same light shining from another lantern they were so attached to
the former lantern that they did not recognize its later appearance and
illumination. Therefore those who were attached and held tenaciously to
the name Abraham were deprived when the Abrahamic virtues reappeared in
Moses. Similarly the Jews were believers in His Holiness Moses, awaiting
the coming of the Messiah. The virtues and perfections of Moses became
apparent in His Holiness Jesus Christ most effulgently but the Jews held
to the name Moses, not adoring the virtues and perfections manifest in
him. Had they been adoring these virtues and seeking these perfections
they would assuredly have believed in His Holiness Jesus Christ when the
same virtues and perfections shone in him. If we are lovers of the light
we adore it in whatever lamp it may become manifest but if we love the
lamp itself and the light is transferred to another lamp we will neither
accept nor sanction it. Therefore we must follow and adore the virtues
revealed in the messengers of God whether in Abraham, Moses, Jesus or
other prophets but we must not adhere to and adore the lamp. We must
recognize the sun no matter from what dawning-point it may shine forth, be
it Mosaic, Abrahamic or any personal point of orientation whatever, for we
are lovers of sunlight and not of orientation. We are lovers of
illumination and not of lamps and candles. We are seekers for water no
matter from what rock it may gush forth. We are in need of fruit in
whatsoever orchard it may be ripened. We long for rain it matters not
which cloud pours it down. We must not be fettered. If we renounce these
fetters we shall agree, for all are seekers of reality. The counterfeit or
imitation of true religion has adulterated human belief and the
foundations have been lost sight of. The variance of these imitations has
produced enmity and strife, war and bloodshed. Now the glorious and
brilliant twentieth century has dawned and the divine bounty is radiating
universally. The Sun of Truth is shining forth in intense enkindlement.
This is verily the century when these imitations must be forsaken,
superstitions abandoned and God alone worshiped. We must look at the
reality of the prophets and their teachings in order that we may agree.

Praise be to God! the springtime of God is at hand. This century is verily
the spring season. The world of mind and the kingdom of soul have become
fresh and verdant by its bestowals. It has resuscitated the whole realm of
existence. On one hand the lights of reality are shining; on the other the
clouds of divine mercy are pouring down the fullness of heavenly bounty.
Wonderful material progress is evident and great spiritual discoveries are
being made. Truly this can be called the miracle of centuries for it is
replete with manifestations of the miraculous. The time has come when all
mankind shall be united, when all races shall be loyal to one fatherland,
all religions become one religion and racial and religious bias pass away.
It is a day in which the oneness of humankind shall uplift its standard
and international peace like the true morning flood the world with its
light. Therefore we offer supplications to God, asking him to dispel these
gloomy clouds and uproot these imitations in order that the East and West
may become radiant with love and unity; that the nations of the world
shall embrace each other and the ideal spiritual brotherhood illumine the
world like the glorious sun of the high heavens.



THE CAUSE OF STRIFE


In the estimation of historians this radiant century is equivalent to one
hundred centuries of the past. If comparison be made with the sum total of
all former human achievements it will be found that the discoveries,
scientific advancement and material civilization of this present century
have equaled, yea far exceeded the progress and outcome of one hundred
former centuries. The production of books and compilations of literature
alone bear witness that the output of the human mind in this century has
been greater and more enlightening than all the past centuries together.
It is evident therefore that this century is of paramount importance.
Reflect upon the miracles of accomplishment which have already
characterized it, the discoveries in every realm of human research,
inventions, scientific knowledge, ethical reforms and regulations
established for the welfare of humanity, mysteries of nature explored,
invisible forces brought into visibility and subjection, a veritable
wonder-world of new phenomena and conditions heretofore unknown to man now
open to his uses and further investigation. The East and West can
communicate instantly. A human being can soar in the skies or speed in
submarine depths. The power of steam has linked the continents. Trains
cross the deserts and pierce the barriers of mountains; ships find
unerring pathways upon the trackless oceans. Day by day discoveries are
increasing. What a wonderful century this is! It is an age of universal
re-formation. Laws and statutes of governments civil and federal are in
process of change and transformation. Sciences and arts are being moulded
anew. Thoughts are metamorphosed. The foundations of human society are
changing and strengthening. Today sciences of the past are useless. The
ptolemaic system of astronomy, numberless other systems and theories of
scientific and philosophical explanation are discarded, known to be false
and worthless. Ethical precedents and principles cannot be applied to the
needs of the modern world. Thoughts and theories of past ages are
fruitless now. Thrones and governments are crumbling and falling. All
conditions and requisites of the past unfitted and inadequate for the
present time, are undergoing radical reform.

It is evident therefore that counterfeit and spurious religious teaching,
antiquated forms of belief and ancestral imitations which are at variance
with the foundations of divine reality must also pass away and be
re-formed. They must be abandoned and new conditions be recognized. The
morals of humanity must undergo change. New remedy and solution for human
problems must be adopted. Human intellects themselves must change and be
subject to the universal reformation. Just as the thoughts and hypotheses
of past ages are fruitless today, likewise dogmas and codes of human
invention are obsolete and barren of product in religion. Nay, it is true
that they are the cause of enmity and conducive to strife in the world of
humanity; war and bloodshed proceed from them and the oneness of mankind
finds no recognition in their observance. Therefore it is our duty in this
radiant century to investigate the essentials of divine religion, seek the
realities underlying the oneness of the world of humanity and discover the
source of fellowship and agreement which will unite mankind in the
heavenly bond of love. This unity is the radiance of eternity, the divine
spirituality, the effulgence of God and the bounty of the Kingdom. We must
investigate the divine source of these heavenly bestowals and adhere unto
them steadfastly. For if we remain fettered and restricted by human
inventions and dogmas, day by day the world of mankind will be degraded,
day by day warfare and strife will increase and satanic forces converge
toward the destruction of the human race.

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will
advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and hatred exist
within it destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true
of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a spirit of accord and
fellowship it will progress steadily and human conditions become brighter
whereas through enmity and strife it will be degraded and its inhabitants
scattered. In the same way the people of a nation develop and advance
toward civilization and enlightenment through love and accord, and are
disintegrated by war and strife. Finally, this is true of humanity itself
in the aggregate. When love is realized and the ideal spiritual bonds
unite the hearts of men, the whole human race will be uplifted, the world
will continually grow more spiritual and radiant and the happiness and
tranquillity of mankind be immeasurably increased. Warfare and strife will
be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and universal peace
unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell
together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of
one firmament and appear as fruits of the same tree. This is the happiness
and felicity of humankind. This is the illumination of man, the glory
eternal and life everlasting; this is the divine bestowal. I desire this
station for you and I pray God that the people of America may achieve this
great end in order that the virtue of this democracy may be insured and
their names be glorified eternally.



UNIVERSAL PEACE


Today there is no greater glory for man than that of service in the cause
of the “Most Great Peace”. Peace is light whereas war is darkness. Peace
is life; war is death. Peace is guidance; war is error. Peace is the
foundation of God; war is satanic institution. Peace is the illumination
of the world of humanity; war is the destroyer of human foundations. When
we consider outcomes in the world of existence we find that peace and
fellowship are factors of upbuilding and betterment whereas war and strife
are the causes of destruction and disintegration. All created things are
expressions of the affinity and cohesion of elementary substances, and
non-existence is the absence of their attraction and agreement. Various
elements unite harmoniously in composition but when these elements become
discordant, repelling each other, decomposition and non-existence result.
Everything partakes of this nature and is subject to this principle, for
the creative foundation in all its degrees and kingdoms is an expression
or outcome of love. Consider the restlessness and agitation of the human
world today because of war. Peace is health and construction; war is
disease and dissolution. When the banner of truth is raised, peace becomes
the cause of the welfare and advancement of the human world. In all cycles
and ages war has been a factor of derangement and discomfort whereas peace
and brotherhood have brought security and consideration of human
interests. This distinction is especially pronounced in the present world
conditions, for warfare in former centuries had not attained the degree of
savagery and destructiveness which now characterizes it. If two nations
were at war in olden times, ten or twenty thousand would be sacrificed but
in this century the destruction of one hundred thousand lives in a day is
quite possible. So perfected has the science of killing become and so
efficient the means and instruments of its accomplishment that a whole
nation can be obliterated in a short time. Therefore comparison with the
methods and results of ancient warfare is out of the question.

According to an intrinsic law, all phenomena of being attain to a summit
and degree of consummation, after which a new order and condition is
established. As the instruments and science of war have reached the degree
of thoroughness and proficiency, it is hoped that the transformation of
the human world is at hand and that in the coming centuries all the
energies and inventions of man will be utilized in promoting the interests
of peace and brotherhood. Therefore may this esteemed and worthy society
for the establishment of international peace(2) be confirmed in its
sincere intentions and empowered by God. Then will it hasten the time when
the banner of universal agreement will be raised and international welfare
will be proclaimed and consummated so that the darkness which now
encompasses the world shall pass away....

The powers of earth cannot withstand the privileges and bestowals which
God has ordained for this great and glorious century. It is a need and
exigency of the time. Man can withstand anything except that which is
divinely intended and indicated for the age and its requirements. Now,
Praise be to God! in all countries of the world, lovers of peace are to be
found and these principles are being spread among mankind, especially in
this country. Praise be to God! this thought is prevailing and souls are
continually arising as defenders of the oneness of humanity, endeavoring
to assist and establish international peace. There is no doubt that this
wonderful democracy will be able to realize it and the banner of
international agreement will be unfurled here to spread onward and outward
among all the nations of the world. I give thanks to God that I find you
imbued with such susceptibilities and lofty aspirations and I hope that
you will be the means of spreading this light to all men. Thus may the Sun
of Reality shine upon the East and West. The enveloping clouds shall pass
away and the heat of the divine rays will dispel the mist. The reality of
man shall develop and come forth as the image of God his creator. The
thoughts of man shall take such upward flight that former accomplishments
shall appear as the play of children;—for the ideas and beliefs of the
past and the prejudices regarding race and religion have ever been
lowering and destructive to human evolution. I am most hopeful that in
this century these lofty thoughts shall be conducive to human welfare. Let
this century be the sun of previous centuries the effulgences of which
shall last forever, so that in times to come they shall glorify the
twentieth century, saying the twentieth century was the century of lights,
the twentieth century was the century of life, the twentieth century was
the century of international peace, the twentieth century was the century
of divine bestowals and the twentieth century has left traces which shall
last forever.



THE PROPHETS AND WAR


When we review history from the beginning down to the present day we find
that strife and warfare have prevailed throughout the human world. Wars,
religious, racial or political, have arisen from human ignorance,
misunderstanding and lack of education. We will first consider religious
strife and conflict.

It is evident that the divine prophets have appeared in the world to
establish love and agreement among mankind. They have been the shepherds
and not the wolves. The shepherd comes forth to gather and lead his flock
and not to disperse them by creating strife. Every divine shepherd has
assembled a flock which had formerly been scattered. Among the shepherds
was His Holiness Moses. At a time when the tribes of Israel were wandering
and dispersed, he assembled, united and educated them to higher degrees of
capacity and progress until they passed out of the wilderness of
discipline into the holy land of possession. He transformed their
degradation into glory, changed their poverty into wealth and replaced
their vices by virtues until they rose to such a zenith that the splendor
of the sovereignty of Solomon was made possible and the fame of their
civilization extended to the East and the West. It is evident therefore
that His Holiness was a divine shepherd for he gathered the tribes of
Israel together and united them in the power and strength of a great
nationhood.

When the Messianic star of Jesus Christ dawned, he declared he had come to
gather together the lost tribes or scattered sheep of Moses. He not only
shepherded the flock of Israel, but brought together people of Chaldea,
Egypt, Syria, ancient Assyria and Phoenicia. These people were in a state
of utmost hostility, thirsting for the blood of each other with the
ferocity of animals; but His Holiness Jesus Christ brought them together,
cemented and united them in his cause and established such a bond of love
among them that enmity and warfare were abandoned. It is evident therefore
that the divine teachings are intended to create a bond of unity in the
human world and establish the foundations of love and fellowship among
mankind. Divine religion is not a cause for discord and disagreement. If
religion becomes the source of antagonism and strife, the absence of
religion is to be preferred. Religion is meant to be the quickening life
of the body politic; if it be the cause of death to humanity, its
nonexistence would be a blessing and benefit to man. Therefore in this day
the divine teachings must be sought, for they are the remedies for the
present conditions of the world of humanity.

At a time when the Arabian tribes and nomadic peoples were widely
separated, living in the deserts under lawless conditions, strife and
bloodshed continual among them, no tribe free from the menace of attack
and destruction by another,—at such a critical time Mohammed appeared. He
gathered these wild tribes of the desert together, reconciled, united and
caused them to agree so that enmity and warfare ceased. The Arabian nation
immediately advanced until its dominion extended westward to Spain and
Andalusia.

From these facts and premises we may conclude that the establishing of the
divine religions is for peace, not for war and the shedding of blood.
Inasmuch as all are founded upon one reality which is love and unity, the
wars and dissensions which have characterized the history of religion have
been due to imitations and superstitions which arise afterward. Religion
is reality and reality is one. The fundamentals of the religion of God are
therefore one in reality. There is neither difference nor change in the
fundamentals. Variance is caused by blind imitations, prejudices and
adherence to forms which appear later, and inasmuch as these differ,
discord and strife result. If the religions of the world would forsake
these causes of difficulty and seek the fundamentals, all would agree, and
strife and dissension would pass away; for religion and reality are one
and not multiple.

Other wars are caused by purely imaginary racial differences; for humanity
is one kind, one race and progeny inhabiting the same globe. In the
creative plan there is no racial distinction and separation such as
Frenchman, Englishman, American, German, Italian or Spaniard; all belong
to one household. These boundaries and distinctions are human and
artificial, not natural and original. All mankind are the fruits of one
tree, flowers of the same garden, waves of one sea. In the animal kingdom
no such distinction and separation are observed. The sheep of the East and
the sheep of the West would associate peacefully. The oriental flock would
not look surprised as if saying, “These are sheep of the Occident; they do
not belong to our country.” All would gather in harmony and enjoy the same
pasture without evidence of local or racial distinction. The birds of
different countries mingle in friendliness. We find these virtues in the
animal kingdom. Shall man deprive himself of these virtues? Man is endowed
with superior reasoning power and the faculty of perception; he is the
manifestation of divine bestowals. Shall racial ideas prevail and obscure
the creative purpose of unity in his kingdom? Shall he say, “I am a
German,” “I am a Frenchman,” or an “Englishman” and declare war because of
this imaginary and human distinction? God forbid! This earth is one
household and the nativity of all humanity; therefore the human race
should ignore distinctions and boundaries which are artificial and
conducive to disagreement and hostility. We have come from the East.
Praise be to God! we find this continent prosperous, the climate
salubrious and delightful, the inhabitants genial and courteous, the
government equable and just. Shall we entertain any other thought and
feeling than that of love for you? Shall we say, “This is not our native
land, therefore everything is objectionable?” This would be gross
ignorance to which man must not subject himself. Man is endowed with
powers to investigate reality, and the reality is that humanity is one in
kind and equal in the creative plan. Therefore false distinctions of race
and nativity which are factors and causes of warfare must be abandoned.

Consider what is happening(3) in Tripoli; how the poor are being killed
and the blood of the helpless is being shed upon both sides; children made
fatherless, fathers lamenting the death of their sons, mothers bewailing
the loss of dear ones. And what is the benefit after all? Nothing
conceivable. Is it therefore justifiable? The domestic animals do not
manifest hatred and cruelty toward each other; that is the attribute of
the wild and ferocious beasts. In a flock of one thousand sheep you will
witness no bloodshed. Numberless species of birds are peaceful in flocks.
Wolves, lions, tigers are ferocious because it is their natural and
necessary means for obtaining food. Man has no need of such ferocity; his
food is provided in other ways. Therefore it is evident that warfare,
cruelty and bloodshed in the kingdom of man are caused by human greed,
hatred and selfishness. The kings and rulers of nations enjoy luxury and
ease in their palaces and send the common people to the battlefield; offer
them as the food and targets of cannon. Each day they invent new
instruments for the more complete destruction of the foundations of the
human race. They are callous and merciless toward their fellow-creatures.
What shall atone for the sufferings and grief of mothers who have so
tenderly cared for their sons? What sleepless nights they have spent and
what days of devotion and love they have given to bring their children to
maturity! Yet the savagery of these warring rulers causes great numbers of
their victims to be torn and mutilated in a day. What ignorance and
degradation, yea even greater than the ferocious beasts themselves! For a
wolf will carry away and devour one sheep at a time whereas an ambitious
tyrant may cause the death of one hundred thousand men in a battle and
glory in his military prowess saying, “I am commander-in-chief; I have won
this mighty victory.” Consider the ignorance and inconsistency of the
human race. If a man kills another, no matter what the cause may be, he is
pronounced a murderer, imprisoned or executed; but the brutal oppressor
who has slain one hundred thousand is idolized as a hero, conqueror or
military genius. A man steals a small sum of money; he is called a thief
and sent to the penitentiary; but the military leader who invades and
pillages a whole kingdom is acclaimed heroic and a mighty man of valor.
How base and ignorant is man!

In Persia previous to the middle of the nineteenth century, among the
various tribes and peoples, sects and denominations there existed the
greatest animosity, strife and hatred. At that time too all the other
nations of the East were in the same condition. Religionists were hostile
and bigoted, sects were at enmity, races hated each other, tribes were
constantly at war; everywhere antagonism and conflict prevailed. Men
shunned and were suspicious of each other. The man who could kill a number
of his fellow-creatures was glorified for his heroism and strength. Among
religionists it was esteemed a praiseworthy deed to take the life of one
who held an opposite belief. At this time Bahá’u’lláh arose and declared
his mission. He founded the oneness of the world of humanity, proclaimed
that all are servants of the loving and merciful God who has created,
nourished and provided for all, therefore why should men be unjust and
unkind to each other, showing forth that which is contrary to God? As He
loves us why should we entertain animosity and hate? If God did not love
all He would not have created, trained and provided for all.
Loving-kindness is the divine policy. Shall we consider human policy and
attitude superior to the wisdom and policy of God? This would be
inconceivable, impossible. Therefore we must emulate and follow the divine
policy, dealing with each other in the utmost love and tenderness.

Bahá’u’lláh declared the “Most Great Peace” and international arbitration.
He voiced these principles in numerous epistles which were circulated
broadcast throughout the East. He wrote to all the kings and rulers
encouraging, advising and admonishing them in regard to the establishment
of peace; making it evident by conclusive proofs that the happiness and
glory of humanity can only be assured through disarmament and arbitration.
This was nearly fifty years ago. Because he promulgated the message of
Universal Peace and international agreement, the kings of the Orient arose
against him for they did not find their personal and national benefits
advanced by his admonition and teaching. They persecuted him bitterly,
inflicted upon him every torment, imprisoned, bastinadoed, banished him
and eventually confined him in a fortress. Then they arose against his
followers. For the establishment of international peace the blood of
twenty thousand Bahá’ís was spilt. Their homes were destroyed, their
children made captives and their possessions pillaged yet none of these
people waxed cold or wavered in devotion. Even to this day the Bahá’ís are
persecuted and quite recently a number were killed, for wherever they are
found they put forth the greatest efforts to establish the peace of the
world. They not only promulgate principles; they are people of action.

In Persia today through the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh you will find people
of various religious beliefs and denominations living together in the
utmost peace and agreement. The former enmities and hatred have passed
away and they exercise the utmost love toward all mankind for they realize
and know that all are the creatures and servants of one God. This is
directly due to the divine teachings. At most it is simply this; that the
ignorant must be educated, the ailing must be healed, those who are as
children in the scale of development must be helped to reach the age of
maturity. We must not be unfriendly to any one because of ignorance,
neither must we reject the immature or turn away from the sick but
administer the remedy for each human need until all are united in the
providence of God. Therefore it is evident that the essential foundations
of the divine religions are unity and love. If religion be productive of
discord among mankind it is a destroyer and not divine for religion
implies unity and binding together and not separation. Mere knowledge of
principles is not sufficient. We all know and admit that justice is good
but there is need of volition and action to carry out and manifest it. For
example, we might think it good to build a church but simply thinking of
it as a good thing will not help its erection. The ways and means must be
provided; we must will to build it and then proceed with the construction.
All of us know that international peace is good, that it is conducive to
human welfare and the glory of man but volition and action are necessary
before it can be established. Action is the essential. Inasmuch as this
century is a century of light, capacity for action is assured to mankind.
Necessarily the divine principles will be spread among men until the time
of action arrives. Surely this has been so and truly the time and
conditions are ripe for action now. All men know that verily war is the
destroyer of human foundations and in every country of the world this is
admitted and apparent. I find the United States of America an exceedingly
progressive nation, the government just, the people in a state of
readiness and the principle of equality established to an extraordinary
degree. Therefore it is my hope that inasmuch as the standard of
international peace must be upraised it may be upraised upon this
continent, for this nation is more deserving and has greater capacity for
such an initial step than any other. If other nations should attempt to do
this the motive will be misunderstood. For instance, if Great Britain
should declare for international peace it will be said that it has been
done to insure the safety of her colonies. If France should hoist the
standard other nations will declare some hidden diplomatic policy
underlies the action; Russia would be suspected of national designs if the
first step were taken by that people, and so on with all the European and
eastern governments. But the United States of America could not be accused
of any such selfish interest. Your government has, strictly speaking, no
colonies to protect. You are not endeavoring to extend your domain nor
have you need of territorial expansion. Therefore if America takes the
first step toward the establishing of world peace it is certain to be
ascribed to unselfishness and altruism. The world will say, “There is no
other motive than altruism and service to humanity in this action by the
United States.” Therefore it is my hope that you may stand forth as the
first herald of peace and hoist this banner; for this banner will be
hoisted. Raise it aloft, for you are the most qualified and deserving of
nations. The other countries await this summons, expect this call to the
standard of reconciliation, for the whole world is distressed because of
the excessive burden and irreparable damage of war. Taxes are levied to
meet its drain. Every year the burden increases and the people have come
to their end. Just now(4) Europe is a battlefield of ammunition ready for
a spark; and one spark will set aflame the whole world. Before these
complications and cataclysmic events happen, take the step to prevent it.

The foundations of all the divine religions are peace and agreement, but
misunderstandings and ignorance have developed. If these are caused to
disappear you will see that all the religious agencies will work for peace
and promulgate the oneness of humankind. For the foundation of all is
reality and reality is not multiple or divisible. His Holiness Moses
founded it, His Holiness Jesus raised its tent, and its brilliant light
has shone forth in all the religions. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed
this one reality and spread the message of the “Most Great Peace”. Even in
prison he rested not until he lighted this lamp in the East. Praise be to
God! all who have accepted his teachings are lovers of peace, peacemakers
ready to sacrifice their lives and expend their possessions for it. Now
let this standard be upraised in the West and many will respond to the
call. America has become renowned for her discoveries, inventions and
artistic skill, famous for equity of government and stupendous
undertakings; now may she also become noted and celebrated as the herald
and messenger of Universal Peace. Let this be her mission and undertaking
and may its blessed impetus spread to all countries. I pray for all of you
that you may render this service to the world of humanity.



FOUNDATIONS OF WORLD UNITY


There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day
there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal
Peace. Every just one bears witness to this and adores that esteemed
Assembly(5) because its aim is that this darkness may be turned into
light, this bloodthirstiness into kindness, this torment into bliss, this
hardship into ease and this enmity and hatred into fellowship and love.
Therefore the effort of those esteemed souls is worthy of praise and
commendation.

But the wise souls who are aware of the essential relationships emanating
from the realities of things consider that one single matter cannot, by
itself, influence the human reality as it ought and should, for until the
minds of men become united, no important matter can be accomplished. 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.

Therefore His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh fifty years ago, expounded this
question of Universal Peace at a time when he was confined in the fortress
of Akka and was wronged and imprisoned. He wrote about this matter of
Universal Peace to all the great sovereigns of the world, and established
it among his friends in the Orient. The horizon of the East was in utter
darkness, nations displayed the utmost hatred and enmity towards each
other, religions thirsted for each other’s blood, and it was darkness upon
darkness. At such a time His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh shone forth like the sun
from the horizon of the East and illumined Persia with the light of these
teachings.

Among his teachings was the declaration of Universal Peace. People of
different nations, religions and sects, who followed him, came together to
such an extent that remarkable gatherings were instituted, consisting of
the various nations and religions of the East. Every soul who entered
those gatherings saw but one nation, one pathway, one teaching, one order;
for the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh were not limited to the
establishment of Universal Peace. They embraced many teachings which
supplemented and supported that of Universal Peace.

Among these teachings is the independent investigation of reality, so that
the world of humanity might be saved from the darkness of imitation and
attain to the truth; might tear off and cast away this ragged and outworn
garment of one thousand years ago and put on the robe woven in the utmost
purity and holiness in the loom of reality. As reality is one and cannot
admit of multiplicity, therefore different opinions must ultimately become
fused into one.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the oneness of the
world of humanity; that all human beings are the sheep of God and He is
the kind Shepherd. This Shepherd is kind to all the sheep, because He
created them all, trained them, provided for them and protected them.
There is no doubt that the Shepherd is kind to all the sheep; and should
there be among these sheep ignorant ones, they must be educated; if there
be children, they must be trained until they reach maturity; if there be
sick ones, they must be healed. There must be no hatred and enmity, for as
by a kind physician these ignorant, sick ones should be treated.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is that religion must
be the cause of fellowship and love. If it becomes the cause of
estrangement, then it is not needed, for religion is like a remedy: if it
aggravates the disease, then it becomes unnecessary.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that religious, racial,
political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of
humanity. As long as these prejudices prevail, the world of humanity will
have no rest. For a period of six thousand years history informs us about
the world of humanity. During these six thousand years the world of
humanity has not been free from war, strife, murder and bloodthirstiness.
In every period war has been waged in one country or another, and that war
was due to either religious prejudice, racial prejudice, political
prejudice or patriotic prejudice. It has, therefore, been ascertained and
proved that all prejudices are destructive of the human edifice. As long
as these prejudices persist, the struggle for existence must remain
dominant, and bloodthirstiness and rapacity continue. Therefore, even as
was the case in the past, the world of humanity cannot be saved from the
darkness of nature, and cannot attain illumination, except through the
abandonment of prejudices and the acquisition of the morals of the
Kingdom....

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the origination of
one language that may be spread universally among the people. This
teaching was revealed from the pen of Bahá’u’lláh in order that this
universal language may eliminate misunderstandings from among mankind.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of
women and men. The world of humanity has two wings— one is woman and the
other man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.
Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of
woman becomes equal to the world of man in the acquisition of virtues and
perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is voluntary sharing of one’s
property with others among mankind. This voluntary sharing is greater than
equality, and consists in this: that man should not prefer himself to
others, but rather should sacrifice his life and property for others. But
this should not be introduced by coercion so that it becomes a law and man
is compelled to follow it. Nay, rather should man 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 Bahá’ís.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh is man’s freedom: that
through the Ideal Power he should be emancipated and free from the
captivity of the world of nature; for as long as man is captive to nature
he is a ferocious animal, as the struggle for existence is one of the
exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of the struggle for
existence is the fountain-head of all calamities, and is the supreme
affliction.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that religion is a mighty
bulwark. If the edifice of religion shakes and totters, commotion and
chaos will ensue and the order of things will be utterly upset, for in the
world of mankind there are two safeguards that protect man from
wrongdoing. One is the law which punishes the criminal; but the law
prevents only the manifest crime and not the concealed sin; whereas the
ideal safeguard, namely, the religion of God, prevents both the manifest
and the concealed crime, trains man, educates morals, compels the adoption
of virtues and is the all-inclusive power which guarantees the felicity of
the world of mankind. But by religion is meant that which is ascertained
by investigation and not that which is based on mere imitation, the
foundation of divine religions and not human imitations.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that although material
civilization is one of the means for the progress of the world of mankind,
yet until it becomes combined with divine civilization the desired result,
which is the felicity of mankind, will not be attained. Consider! These
battleships that reduce a city to ruins within the space of an hour are
the result of material civilization; likewise the Krupp guns, the Mauser
rifles, dynamite, submarines, torpedo boats, armed aircraft and bombing
aeroplanes—all these weapons of war are malignant fruits of material
civilization. Had material civilization been combined with divine
civilization, these fiery weapons would never have been invented. Nay,
rather human energy would have been wholly devoted to useful inventions
and concentrated on praiseworthy discoveries. Material civilization is
like a globe of glass. Divine civilization is the light itself, and the
glass without the light is dark. Material civilization is like the body.
No matter how infinitely graceful, elegant and beautiful it may be, it is
dead. Divine civilization is like the spirit, and the body gets its life
from the spirit, otherwise it becomes a corpse. It has thus been made
evident that the world of mankind is in need of the breaths of the Holy
Spirit. Without the spirit the world of mankind is lifeless, and without
this light the world of mankind is in utter darkness. For the world of
nature is an animal world. Until man is born again from the world of
nature—that is to say, becomes detached from the world of nature, he is
essentially an animal, and it is the teachings of God which convert this
animal into a human soul.

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the promotion of education.
Every child must be instructed in sciences as much as is necessary. If the
parents are able to provide the expenses of this education, it is all
right; otherwise the community must provide the means for the teaching of
that child.

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are justice and right.
Until these are realized on the plane of existence, all things will be in
disorder and remain imperfect. The world of mankind is a world of
oppression and cruelty, and a realm of aggression and error.

In fine, such teachings are numerous. These manifold principles, which
constitute the greatest basis for the felicity of mankind and are of the
bounties of the Merciful, must be added to the matter of Universal Peace
and combined with it, so that results may accrue. Otherwise the
realization of Universal Peace in the world of mankind is difficult. As
the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are combined with Universal
Peace, they are like a table provided with every kind of fresh and
delicious food. Every soul can find at that table of infinite bounty that
which he desires. If the question is restricted to Universal Peace alone,
the remarkable results which are expected and desired will not be
attained. The scope of Universal Peace must be such that all the
communities and religions may find their highest wish realized in it. At
present the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh are such that all the
communities of the world, whether religious, political or ethical, ancient
or modern, find in the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the expression of their
highest wish.

For example, the people of religions find, in the teachings of His
Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, the establishment of Universal Religion—a religion
that perfectly conforms with present conditions, which in reality effects
the immediate cure of the incurable disease, which relieves every pain and
bestows the infallible antidote for every deadly poison. For if we wish to
arrange and organize the world of mankind in accordance with the present
religious imitations and thereby to establish the felicity of mankind, it
is impossible and impracticable: for example, the enforcement of the laws
of the Old Testament and also of the other religions in accordance with
present imitations. But the essential basis of all the divine religions
which pertains to the virtues of the world of mankind and is the
foundation of the welfare of the world of man, is found in the teachings
of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh in the most perfect presentation.

Similarly, with regard to the people who clamor for freedom: the moderate
freedom which guarantees the welfare of the world of man, is found in the
teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.

So with regard to political parties: that which is the greatest policy
directing the world of mankind, nay, rather the divine policy, is found in
the teachings of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.

Likewise with regard to the party of “equality” which seeks the solution
of the economic problems: until now all proposed solutions have proved
impracticable except the economic proposals in the teachings of His
Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, which are practicable and cause no distress to
society.

So with the other parties: when ye look deeply into this matter, ye will
discover that the highest aims of those parties are found in the teachings
of Bahá’u’lláh. These teachings constitute the all-inclusive power among
all men, and are practicable....

For example, the question of Universal Peace, about which His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh says that the Supreme Tribunal must be established; 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 Bahá’u’lláh has described will fulfill this sacred task with the
utmost might and power. And his plan is this: that the national assemblies
of each country and nation—that is to say, their parliaments—should elect
two or three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well
informed concerning international laws and the relations between
governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in
this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to
the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who
are chosen by the national assembly—that is, the parliament—must be
confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the
president or monarch so that these persons may be the elected ones of all
the nation and the government. From among these people the members of the
Supreme Tribunal will be elected, and all mankind will thus have a share
therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his
nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international
question, either unanimously or by majority rule, there will no longer be
any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In
case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the
irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory,
the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the
governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme
Tribunal. Consider what a firm foundation this is! But by a limited and
restricted League the purpose will not be realized as it ought and should.
This is the truth about the situation which has been stated....

Today nothing but the power of the Word of God which encompasses the
realities of things can bring the thoughts, minds, hearts and spirits
under the shade of one Tree. He is the potent in all things, the vivifier
of souls, the preserver and the controller of the world of mankind. Praise
be to God, in this day the light of the Word of God has shone forth upon
all regions; and from all sects, communities, nations, tribes, peoples,
religions and denominations, souls have gathered together under the shadow
of the Word of Oneness, and have in the utmost fellowship united and
harmonized!



RACIAL HARMONY


Today I am most happy, for I see here(6) a gathering of the servants of
God. I see the white and colored people together. In the estimation of God
there is no distinction of color; all are one in the color and beauty of
servitude to Him. Color is not important; the heart is all-important. It
matters not what the exterior may be if the heart be pure and white
within. God does not behold differences of hue and complexion; He looks at
the hearts. He whose morals and virtues are praiseworthy is preferred in
the presence of God; he who is devoted to the Kingdom is most beloved. In
the realm of genesis and creation the question of color is of least
importance.

The mineral kingdom abounds with many-colored substances and compositions
but we find no strife among them on that account. In the kingdom of the
plant and vegetable, distinct and variegated hues exist but the fruit and
flowers are not in conflict for that reason. Nay, rather, the very fact
that there is difference and variety lends a charm to the garden. If all
were of the same color the effect would be monotonous and depressing. When
you enter a rose-garden the wealth of color and variety of floral forms
spread before you a picture of wonder and beauty. The world of humanity is
like a garden and the various races are the flowers which constitute its
adornment and decoration. In the animal kingdom also we find variety of
color. See how the doves differ in beauty yet they live together in
perfect peace, and love each other. They do not make difference of color a
cause of discord and strife. They view each other as the same species and
kind. They know they are one in kind. Often a white dove soars aloft with
a black one. Throughout the animal kingdom we do not find the creatures
separated because of color. They recognize unity of species and oneness of
kind. If we do not find color distinction drawn in a kingdom of lower
intelligence and reason, how can it be justified among human beings,
especially when we know that all have come from the same source and belong
to the same household? In origin and intention of creation mankind is one.
Distinctions of race and color have arisen afterward.

Therefore today I am exceedingly glad that both white and colored people
have gathered here and I hope the time will come when they shall live
together in the utmost peace, unity and friendship. I wish to say one
thing of importance to both in order that the white race may be just and
kind to the colored and that the colored race may in turn be grateful and
appreciative toward the white. The great proclamation of liberty and
emancipation from slavery was made upon this continent. A long bloody war
was fought by white men for the sake of colored people. These white men
forfeited their possessions and sacrificed their lives by thousands in
order that colored men might be freed from bondage. The colored population
of the United States of America are possibly not fully informed of the
wide-reaching effect of this freedom and emancipation upon their colored
brethren in Asia and Africa where even more terrible conditions of slavery
existed. Influenced and impelled by the example of the United States, the
European powers proclaimed universal liberty to the colored race and
slavery ceased to exist. This effort and accomplishment by the white
nations should never be lost sight of. Both races should rejoice in
gratitude, for the institution of liberty and equality here became the
cause of liberating your fellow-beings elsewhere. The colored people of
this country are especially fortunate, for, Praise be to God! conditions
here are so much higher than in the East and comparatively few differences
exist in the possibility of equal attainments with the white race. May
both develop toward the highest degree of equality and altruism. May you
be drawn together in friendship and may extraordinary development make
brotherhood a reality and truth. I pray in your behalf that there shall be
no name other than that of humanity among you.

Therefore strive earnestly and put forth your greatest endeavor toward the
accomplishment of this fellowship and the cementing of this bond of
brotherhood between you. Such an attainment is not possible without will
and effort on the part of each; from one, expressions of gratitude and
appreciation; from the other kindliness and recognition of equality. Each
one should endeavor to develop and assist the other toward mutual
advancement. This is possible only by conjoining of effort and
inclination. Love and unity will be fostered between you, thereby bringing
about the oneness of mankind. For the accomplishment of unity between the
colored and whites will be an assurance of the world’s peace. Then racial
prejudice, national prejudice, limited patriotism and religious bias will
pass away and remain no longer. I am pleased to see you at this gathering,
white and dark, and I praise God that I have had this opportunity of
seeing you loving each other, for this is the means of the glory of
humanity. This is the means of the good-pleasure of God and of eternal
bliss in His Kingdom. Therefore I pray in your behalf that you may attain
to the fullest of love and that the day may come when all differences
between you may disappear.



THE SPIRIT OF JUSTICE


What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor
are beloved by our heavenly Father. When His Holiness Christ came upon the
earth those who believed in him and followed him were the poor and lowly,
showing the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows
the Manifestation of God it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle
and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he
has been tested and tried it will be seen whether his possessions are a
hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of
God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their
hopes are in God alone. Therefore you must assist the poor as much as
possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before
God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the
possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When physically
destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is stimulus toward
God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render
them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase
of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of
the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible
for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá’u’lláh’s
teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under
this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards
wealth and sustenance. For the community needs financier, farmer merchant
and laborer just as an army must be composed of commander, officers and
privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot be officers or privates.
Each in his station in the social fabric must be competent; each in his
function according to ability; but justness of opportunity for all.

Lycurgus, king of Sparta, who lived long before the day of Christ,
conceived the idea of absolute equality in government. He proclaimed laws
by which all the people of Sparta were classified into certain divisions.
Each division had its separate rights and function. First, farmers and
tillers of the soil. Second, artisans and merchants. Third, leaders or
grandees. Under the laws of Lycurgus the latter were not required to
engage in any labor or vocation but it was incumbent upon them to defend
the country in case of war and invasion. Then he divided Sparta into nine
thousand equal parts or provinces, appointing nine thousand leaders or
grandees to protect them. In this way the farmers of each province were
assured of protection but each farmer was compelled to pay a tax to
support the grandee of that province. The farmers and merchants were not
obliged to defend the country. In lieu of labor the grandees received the
taxes. Lycurgus in order to establish this forever as a law, brought nine
thousand grandees together, told them he was going upon a long journey and
wished this form of government to remain effective until his return. They
swore an oath to protect and preserve his law. He then left his kingdom,
went into voluntary exile and never came back. No man ever made such a
sacrifice to insure equality among his fellowmen. A few years passed and
the whole system of government he had founded collapsed, although
established upon such a just and wise basis.

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is
impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise.
Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the
adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is
possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through
these principles. When the laws he has instituted are carried out there
will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no
extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the
different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the
community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each
person in the community whose income is equal to his individual producing
capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than
his needs he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to
say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and
reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds he will pay no tax;
if his necessities exceed his production he shall receive an amount
sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore taxation will be proportionate
to capacity and production and there will be no poor in the community.



COOPERATION


It seems as though all creatures can exist singly and alone. For example,
a tree can exist solitary and alone on a given prairie or in a valley or
on the mountainside. An animal upon a mountain or a bird soaring in the
air might live a solitary life. They are not in need of cooperation or
solidarity. Such animated beings enjoy the greatest comfort and happiness
in their respective solitary lives.

On the contrary, man cannot live singly and alone. He is in need of
continuous cooperation and mutual help. For example, a man living alone in
the wilderness will eventually starve. He can never, singly and alone,
provide himself with all the necessities of existence. Therefore, he is in
need of cooperation and reciprocity.

The mystery of this phenomenon, the cause thereof is this, that mankind
has been created from one single origin, has branched off from one family.
Thus in reality all mankind represents one family. God has not created any
difference. He has created all as one that thus this family might live in
perfect happiness and well-being.

Regarding reciprocity and cooperation: each member of the body politic
should live in the utmost comfort and welfare because each individual
member of humanity is a member of the body politic and if one member of
the members be in distress or be afflicted with some disease all the other
members must necessarily suffer. For example, a member of the human
organism is the eye. If the eye should be affected that affliction would
affect the whole nervous system. Hence, if a member of the body politic
becomes afflicted, in reality, from the standpoint of sympathetic
connection, all will share that affliction since this (one afflicted) is a
member of the group of members, a part of the whole. Is it possible for
one member or part to be in distress and the other members to be at ease?
It is impossible! Hence God has desired that in the body politic of
humanity each one shall enjoy perfect welfare and comfort.

Although the body politic is one family yet because of lack of harmonious
relations some members are comfortable and some in direst misery, some
members are satisfied and some are hungry, some members are clothed in
most costly garments and some families are in need of food and shelter.
Why? Because this family lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry.
This household is not well arranged. This household is not living under a
perfect law. All the laws which are legislated do not ensure happiness.
They do not provide comfort. Therefore a law must be given to this family
by means of which all the members of this family will enjoy equal
well-being and happiness.

Is it possible for one member of a family to be subjected to the utmost
misery and to abject poverty and for the rest of the family to be
comfortable? It is impossible unless those members of the family be
senseless, atrophied, inhospitable, unkind. Then they would say, “Though
these members do belong to our family—let them alone. Let us look after
ourselves. Let them die. So long as I am comfortable, I am honored, I am
happy—this my brother—let him die. If he be in misery let him remain in
misery, so long as I am comfortable. If he is hungry let him remain so; I
am satisfied. If he is without clothes, so long as I am clothed, let him
remain as he is. If he is shelterless, homeless, so long as I have a home,
let him remain in the wilderness.”

Such utter indifference in the human family is due to lack of control, to
lack of a working law, to lack of kindness in its midst. If kindness had
been shown to the members of this family surely all the members thereof
would have enjoyed comfort and happiness.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has given instructions regarding every one of the
questions confronting humanity. He has given teachings and instructions
with regard to every one of the problems with which man struggles. Among
them are (the teachings) concerning the question of economics that all the
members of the body politic may enjoy through the working out of this
solution the greatest happiness, welfare and comfort without any harm or
injury attacking the general order of things. Thereby no difference or
dissension will occur. No sedition or contention will take place. This
solution is this:

First and foremost is the principle that to all the members of the body
politic shall be given the greatest achievements of the world of humanity.
Each one shall have the utmost welfare and well-being. To solve this
problem we must begin with the farmer; there will we lay a foundation for
system and order because the peasant class and the agricultural class
exceed other classes in the importance of their service. In every village
there must be established a general storehouse which will have a number of
revenues.

The first revenue will be that of the tenth or tithes.

The second revenue (will be derived) from the animals. The third revenue,
from the minerals, that is to say, every mine prospected or discovered, a
third thereof will go to this vast storehouse.

The fourth is this: whosoever dies without leaving any heirs all his
heritage will go to the general storehouse.

Fifth, if any treasures shall be found on the land they should be devoted
to this storehouse.

All these revenues will be assembled in this storehouse.

As to the first, the tenths or tithes: we will consider a farmer, one of
the peasants. We will look into his income. We will find out, for
instance, what is his annual revenue and also what are his expenditures.
Now, if his income be equal to his expenditures, from such a farmer
nothing whatever will be taken. That is, he will not be subjected to
taxation of any sort, needing as he does all his income. Another farmer
may have expenses running up to one thousand dollars we will say, and his
income is two thousand dollars. From such an one a tenth will be required,
because he has a surplus. But if his income be ten thousand dollars and
his expenses one thousand dollars or his income twenty thousand dollars,
he will have to pay as taxes, one-fourth. If his income be one hundred
thousand dollars and his expenses five thousand, one-third will he have to
pay because he has still a surplus since his expenses are five thousand
and his income one hundred thousand. If he pays, say, thirty-five thousand
dollars, in addition to the expenditure of five thousand he still has
sixty thousand left. But if his expenses be ten thousand and his income
two hundred thousand then he must give an even half because ninety
thousand will be in that case the sum remaining. Such a scale as this will
determine allotment of taxes. All the income from such revenues will go to
this general storehouse.

Then there must be considered such emergencies as follows: a certain
farmer whose expenses run up to ten thousand dollars and whose income is
only five thousand, he will receive necessary expenses from the
storehouse. Five thousand dollars will be allotted to him so he will not
be in need.

Then the orphans will be looked after, all of whose expenses will be taken
care of. The cripples in the village—all their expenses will be looked
after. The poor in the village—their necessary expenses will be defrayed.
And other members who for valid reasons are incapacitated—the blind, the
old, the deaf—their comfort must be looked after. In the village no one
will remain in need or in want. All will live in the utmost comfort and
welfare. Yet no schism will assail the general order of the body politic.

Hence the expenses or expenditures of the general storehouse are now made
clear and its activities made manifest. The income of this general
storehouse has been shown. Certain trustees will be elected by the people
in a given village to look after these transactions. The farmers will be
taken care of and if after all these expenses are defrayed any surplus is
found in the storehouse it must be transferred to the national treasury.

This system is all thus ordered so that in the village the very poor will
be comfortable, the orphans will live happily and well; in a word, no one
will be left destitute. All the individual members of the body politic
will thus live comfortably and well.

For larger cities, naturally, there will be a system on a larger scale.
Were I to go into that solution the details thereof would be very lengthy.

The result of this (system) will be that each individual member of the
body politic will live most comfortably and happily under obligation to no
one. Nevertheless, there will be preservation of degree because in the
world of humanity there must needs be degrees. The body politic may well
be likened to an army. In this army there must be a general, there must be
a sergeant, there must be a marshal, there must be the infantry; but all
must enjoy the greatest comfort and welfare.

God is not partial and is no respecter of persons. He has made provision
for all. The harvest comes forth for everyone. The rain showers upon
everybody and the heat of the sun is destined to warm everyone. The
verdure of the earth is for everyone. Therefore there should be for all
humanity the utmost happiness, the utmost comfort, the utmost well-being.

But if conditions are such that some are happy and comfortable and some in
misery; some are accumulating exorbitant wealth and others are in dire
want—under such a system it is impossible for man to be happy and
impossible for him to win the good pleasure of God. God is kind to all.
The good pleasure of God consists in the welfare of all the individual
members of mankind.

A Persian king was one night in his palace, living in the greatest luxury
and comfort. Through excessive joy and gladness he addressed a certain
man, saying: “Of all my life this is the happiest moment. Praise be to
God, from every point prosperity appears and fortune smiles! My treasury
is full and the army is well taken care of. My palaces are many; my land
unlimited; my family is well off; my honor and sovereignty are great. What
more could I want!”

The poor man at the gate of his palace spoke out, saying: “O kind king!
Assuming that you are from every point of view so happy, free from every
worry and sadness—do you not worry for us? You say that on your own
account you have no worries—but do you never worry about the poor in your
land? Is it becoming or meet that you should be so well off and we in such
dire want and need? In view of our needs and troubles how can you rest in
your palace, how can you even say that you are free from worries and
sorrows? As a ruler you must not be so egoistic as to think of yourself
alone but you must think of those who are your subjects. When we are
comfortable then you will be comfortable; when we are in misery how can
you, as a king, be in happiness?”

The purport is this that we are all inhabiting one globe of earth. In
reality we are one family and each one of us is a member of this family.
We must all be in the greatest happiness and comfort, under a just rule
and regulation which is according to the good pleasure of God, thus
causing us to be happy, for this life is fleeting.

If man were to care for himself only he would be nothing but an animal for
only the animals are thus egoistic. If you bring a thousand sheep to a
well to kill nine hundred and ninety-nine the one remaining sheep would go
on grazing, not thinking of the others and worrying not at all about the
lost, never bothering that its own kind had passed away, or had perished
or been killed. To look after one’s self only is therefore an animal
propensity. It is the animal propensity to live solitary and alone. It is
the animal proclivity to look after one’s own comfort. But man was created
to be a man—to be fair, to be just, to be merciful, to be kind to all his
species, never to be willing that he himself be well off while others are
in misery and distress—this is an attribute of the animal and not of man.
Nay, rather, man should be willing to accept hardships for himself in
order that others may enjoy wealth; he should enjoy trouble for himself
that others may enjoy happiness and well-being. This is the attribute of
man. This is becoming of man. Otherwise man is not man—he is less than the
animal.

The man who thinks only of himself and is thoughtless of others is
undoubtedly inferior to the animal because the animal is not possessed of
the reasoning faculty. The animal is excused; but in man there is reason,
the faculty of justice, the faculty of mercifulness. Possessing all these
faculties he must not leave them unused. He who is so hard-hearted as to
think only of his own comfort, such an one will not be called man.

Man is he who forgets his own interests for the sake of others. His own
comfort he forfeits for the well-being of all. Nay, rather, his own life
must he be willing to forfeit for the life of mankind. Such a man is the
honor of the world of humanity. Such a man is the glory of the world of
mankind. Such a man is the one who wins eternal bliss. Such a man is near
to the threshold of God. Such a man is the very manifestation of eternal
happiness. Otherwise, men are like animals, exhibiting the same
proclivities and propensities as the world of animals. What distinction is
there? What prerogatives, what perfections? None whatever! Animals are
better even—thinking only of themselves and negligent of the needs of
others.

Consider how the greatest men in the world—whether among prophets or
philosophers—all have forfeited their own comfort, have sacrificed their
own pleasure for the well-being of humanity. They have sacrificed their
own lives for the body politic. They have sacrificed their own wealth for
that of the general welfare. They have forfeited their own honor for the
honor of mankind. Therefore it becomes evident that this is the highest
attainment for the world of humanity.

We ask God to endow human souls with justice so that they may be fair, and
may strive to provide for the comfort of all, that each member of humanity
may pass his life in the utmost comfort and welfare. Then this material
world will become the very paradise of the Kingdom, this elemental earth
will be in a heavenly state and all the servants of God will live in the
utmost joy, happiness and gladness. We must all strive and concentrate all
our thoughts in order that such happiness may accrue to the world of
humanity.



“THE QUESTION OF SOCIALIZATION IS VERY IMPORTANT. IT WILL NOT BE...”


The question of socialization is very important. 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 should be elected from the
parliaments and the nobles of the nations. These must plan with utmost
wisdom and power so that neither the capitalist suffer from 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 strongly preserved. Also the rights of the capitalists
are to be protected. When such a general plan is adopted by the will of
both sides, should a strike occur, all the governments of the world
collectively should resist it. Otherwise, the labor problem will lead to
much destruction, especially in Europe. Terrible things will take place.

For instance, the owners of properties, mines and factories should share
their incomes with their employees and give a fairly certain percentage of
their products to their workingmen in order that the employees may
receive, beside their wages, some of the general income of the factory so
that the employee may strive with his soul in the work.

No more trusts will remain in the future. The question of the trusts will
be wiped away entirely. Also, every factory that has ten thousand shares
will give two thousand shares of these ten thousand to its employees and
will write the shares in their names, so that they may have them, and the
rest will belong to the capitalists. Then at the end of the month or year
whatever they may earn after the expenses and wages are paid, according to
the number of shares, should be divided among both. In reality, so far
great injustice has befallen the common people. Laws must be made because
it is impossible for the laborers to be satisfied with the present system.
They will strike every month and every year. Finally, the capitalists will
lose. In ancient times a strike occurred among the Turkish soldiers. They
said to the government: “Our wages are very small and they should be
increased.” The government was forced to give them their demands. Shortly
afterwards they struck again. Finally all the incomes went to the pockets
of the soldiers to the extent that they killed the king, saying: “Why
didst thou not increase the income so that we might have received more?”

It is impossible for a country to live properly without laws. To solve
this problem rigorous laws must be made, so that all the governments of
the world will be the protectors thereof.

In the Bolshevistic principles equality is effected through force. The
masses who are opposed to the people of rank and to the wealthy class
desire to partake of their advantages.

But in the divine teachings equality is brought about through a ready
willingness to share. It is commanded as regards wealth that the rich
among the people, and the aristocrats should, by their own free will and
for the sake of their own happiness, concern themselves with and care for
the poor. This equality is the result of the lofty characteristics and
noble attributes of mankind.



THE CRITERIONS OF TRUTH


During my visit to London and Paris last year(7) I had many talks with the
materialistic philosophers of Europe. The basis of all their conclusions
is that the acquisition of knowledge of phenomena is according to a fixed,
invariable law,—a law mathematically exact in its operation through the
senses. For instance, the eye sees a chair; therefore there is no doubt of
the chair’s existence. The eye looks up into the heavens and beholds the
sun; I see flowers upon this table; I smell their fragrance; I hear sounds
outside, etc., etc. This, they say, is a fixed mathematical law of
perception and deduction, the operation of which admits of no doubt
whatever; for inasmuch as the universe is subject to our sensing, the
proof is self-evident that our knowledge of it must be gained through the
avenues of the senses. That is to say, the materialists announce that the
criterion and standard of human knowledge is sense perception. Among the
Greeks and Romans the criterion of knowledge was reason; that whatever is
provable and acceptable by reason must necessarily be admitted as true. A
third standard or criterion is the opinion held by theologians that
traditions or prophetic statement and interpretations constitute the basis
of human knowing. There is still another, a fourth criterion upheld by
religionists and metaphysicians who say that the source and channel of all
human penetration into the unknown is through inspiration. Briefly then,
these four criterions according to the declarations of men are:
First—Sense Perception; Second—Reason; Third—Traditions;
Fourth—Inspiration.

In Europe I told the philosophers and scientists of materialism that the
criterion of the senses is not reliable. For instance, consider a mirror
and the images reflected in it. These images have no actual corporeal
existence. Yet if you had never seen a mirror you would firmly insist and
believe that they were real. The eye sees a mirage upon the desert as a
lake of water but there is no reality in it. As we stand upon the deck of
a steamer the shore appears to be moving, yet we know the land is
stationary and we are moving. The earth was believed to be fixed and the
sun revolving about it but although this appears to be so, the reverse is
now known to be true. A whirling torch makes a circle of fire appear
before the eye, yet we realize there is but one point of light. We behold
a shadow moving upon the ground but it has no material existence, no
substance. In deserts the atmospheric effects are particularly productive
of illusions which deceive the eye. Once I saw a mirage in which a whole
caravan appeared traveling upward into the sky. In the far north other
deceptive phenomena appear and baffle human vision. Sometimes three or
four suns called by scientists “mock suns” will be shining at the same
time whereas we know the great solar orb is one and that it remains fixed
and single. In brief, the senses are continually deceived and we are
unable to separate that which is reality from that which is not.

As to the second criterion—reason—this likewise is unreliable and not to
be depended upon. This human world is an ocean of varying opinions. If
reason is the perfect standard and criterion of knowledge, why are
opinions at variance and why do philosophers disagree so completely with
each other? This is a clear proof that human reason is not to be relied
upon as an infallible criterion. For instance, great discoveries and
announcements of former centuries are continually upset and discarded by
the wise men of today. Mathematicians, astronomers, chemical scientists
continually disprove and reject the conclusions of the ancients; nothing
is fixed, nothing final; everything continually changing because human
reason is progressing along new roads of investigation and arriving at new
conclusions every day. In the future much that is announced and accepted
as true now will be rejected and disproved. And so it will continue ad
infinitum.

When we consider the third criterion—traditions—upheld by theologians as
the avenue and standard of knowledge, we find this source equally
unreliable and unworthy of dependence. For religious traditions are the
report and record of understanding and interpretation of the Book. By what
means has this understanding, this interpretation been reached? By the
analysis of human reason. When we read the Book of God the faculty of
comprehension by which we form conclusions is reason. Reason is mind. If
we are not endowed with perfect reason, how can we comprehend the meanings
of the Word of God? Therefore human reason, as already pointed out, is by
its very nature finite and faulty in conclusions. It cannot surround the
Reality Itself, the Infinite Word. Inasmuch as the source of traditions
and interpretations is human reason, and human reason is faulty, how can
we depend upon its findings for real knowledge?

The fourth criterion I have named is inspiration through which it is
claimed the reality of knowledge is attainable. What is inspiration? It is
the influx of the human heart. But what are satanic promptings which
afflict mankind? They are the influx of the heart also. How shall we
differentiate between them? The question arises, How shall we know whether
we are following inspiration from God or satanic promptings of the human
soul? Briefly, the point is that in the human material world of phenomena
these four are the only existing criterions or avenues of knowledge, and
all of them are faulty and unreliable. What then remains? How shall we
attain the reality of knowledge? By the breaths and promptings of the Holy
Spirit which is light and knowledge itself. Through it the human mind is
quickened and fortified into true conclusions and perfect knowledge. This
is conclusive argument showing that all available human criterions are
erroneous and defective, but the divine standard of knowledge is
infallible. Therefore man is not justified in saying “I know because I
perceive through my senses”; or “I know because it is proved through my
faculty of reason”; or “I know because it is according to tradition and
interpretation of the holy book”; or “I know because I am inspired.” All
human standard of judgment is faulty, finite.



MAN AND NATURE


If we look with a perceiving eye upon the world of creation, we find that
all existing things may be classified as follows: First—Mineral—that is to
say matter or substance appearing in various forms of composition.
Second—Vegetable—possessing the virtues of the mineral plus the power of
augmentation or growth, indicating a degree higher and more specialized
than the mineral. Third—Animal—possessing the attributes of the mineral
and vegetable plus the power of sense perception. Fourth—Human—the highest
specialized organism of visible creation, embodying the qualities of the
mineral, vegetable and animal plus an ideal endowment absolutely minus and
absent in the lower kingdoms—the power of intellectual investigation into
the mysteries of outer phenomena. The outcome of this intellectual
endowment is science which is especially characteristic of man. This
scientific power investigates and apprehends created objects and the laws
surrounding them. It is the discoverer of the hidden and mysterious
secrets of the material universe and is peculiar to man alone. The most
noble and praiseworthy accomplishment of man therefore is scientific
knowledge and attainment.

Science may be likened to a mirror wherein the images of the mysteries of
outer phenomena are reflected. It brings forth and exhibits to us in the
arena of knowledge all the product of the past. It links together past and
present. The philosophical conclusions of bygone centuries, the teachings
of the prophets and wisdom of former sages are crystallized and reproduced
in the scientific advancement of today. Science is the discoverer of the
past. From its premises of past and present we deduce conclusions as to
the future. Science is the governor of nature and its mysteries, the one
agency by which man explores the institutions of material creation. All
created things are captives of nature and subject to its laws. They cannot
transgress the control of these laws in one detail or particular. The
infinite starry worlds and heavenly bodies are nature’s obedient subjects.
The earth and its myriad organisms, all minerals, plants and animals are
thralls of its dominion. But man through the exercise of his scientific,
intellectual power can rise out of this condition, can modify, change and
control nature according to his own wishes and uses. Science, so to speak,
is the “breaker” of the laws of nature.

Consider, for example, that man according to natural law should dwell upon
the surface of the earth. By overcoming this law and restriction however
he sails in ships over the ocean, mounts to the zenith in aeroplanes and
sinks to the depths of the sea in submarines. This is against the fiat of
nature and a violation of her sovereignty and dominion. Nature’s laws and
methods, the hidden secrets and mysteries of the universe, human
inventions and discoveries, all our scientific acquisitions should
naturally remain concealed and unknown, but man through his intellectual
acumen searches them out of the plane of the invisible, draws them into
the plane of the visible, exposes and explains them. For instance, one of
the mysteries of nature is electricity. According to nature this force,
this energy should remain latent and hidden, but man scientifically breaks
through the very laws of nature, arrests it and even imprisons it for his
use.

In brief, man through the possession of this ideal endowment of scientific
investigation is the most noble product of creation, the governor of
nature. He takes the sword from nature’s hand and uses it upon nature’s
head. According to natural law, night is a period of darkness and
obscurity, but man by utilizing the power of electricity, by wielding this
electric sword overcomes the darkness and dispels the gloom. Man is
superior to nature and makes nature do his bidding. Man is a sensitive
being; nature is minus sensation. Man has memory and reason; nature lacks
them. Man is nobler than nature. There are powers within him of which
nature is devoid. It may be claimed that these powers are from nature
itself and that man is a part of nature. In answer to this statement we
will say that if nature is the whole and man is a part of that whole, how
could it be possible for a part to possess qualities and virtues which are
absent in the whole. Undoubtedly the part must be endowed with the same
qualities and properties as the whole. For example, the hair is a part of
the human anatomy. It cannot contain elements which are not found in other
parts of the body, for in all cases the component elements of the body are
the same. Therefore it is manifest and evident that man, although in body
a part of nature, nevertheless in spirit possesses a power transcending
nature; for if he were simply a part of nature and limited to material
laws he could possess only the things which nature embodies. God has
conferred upon and added to man a distinctive power, the faculty of
intellectual investigation into the secrets of creation, the acquisition
of higher knowledge, the greatest virtue of which is scientific
enlightenment.

This endowment is the most praiseworthy power of man, for through its
employment and exercise, the betterment of the human race is accomplished,
the development of the virtues of mankind is made possible and the spirit
and mysteries of God become manifest.

As material and physical sciences are taught here(8) and are constantly
unfolding in wider vistas of attainment, I am hopeful that spiritual
development may also follow and keep pace with these outer advantages. As
material knowledge is illuminating those within the walls of this great
temple of learning, so also may the light of the spirit, the inner and
divine light of the real philosophy glorify this institution. The most
important principle of divine philosophy is the oneness of the world of
humanity, the unity of mankind, the bond conjoining East and West, the tie
of love which blends human hearts.

Therefore it is our duty to put forth our greatest efforts and summon all
our energies in order that the bonds of unity and accord may be
established among mankind. For thousands of years we have had bloodshed
and strife. It is enough; it is sufficient. Now is the time to associate
together in love and harmony. For thousands of years we have tried the
sword and warfare; let mankind for a time at least live in peace. Review
history and consider how much savagery, how much bloodshed and battle the
world has witnessed. It has been either religious warfare, political
warfare or some other clash of human interests. The world of humanity has
never enjoyed the blessing of Universal Peace. Year by year the implements
of warfare have been increased and perfected. Consider the wars of past
centuries; only ten, fifteen or twenty thousand at the most were killed
but now it is possible to kill one hundred thousand in a single day. In
ancient times warfare was carried on with the sword; today it is the
smokeless gun. Formerly battleships were sailing vessels; today they are
dreadnoughts. Consider the increase and improvement in the weapons of war.
God has created us all human and all countries of the world are parts of
the same globe. We are all his servants. He is kind and just to all. Why
should we be unkind and unjust to each other? He provides for all. Why
should we deprive one another? He protects and preserves all. Why should
we kill our fellow-creatures? If this warfare and strife be for the sake
of religion, it is evident that it violates the spirit and basis of all
religion. All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God
and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and
mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this
conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of
humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This
underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should
live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider
the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is
the primary foundation of them all. Read the gospel and the other holy
books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same.



THE MICROCOSM AND THE MACROCOSM


When we ponder over the reality of the microcosm, we discover that in the
microcosm there are deposited three realities. Man is endowed with an
outer or physical reality. It belongs to the material realm, the animal
kingdom, because it has sprung from the material world. This animalistic
reality of man he shares in common with the animals.

The human body is like animals subject to nature’s laws. But man is
endowed with a second reality, the rational or intellectual reality; and
the intellectual reality of man predominates over nature.

All these sciences which we enjoy were the hidden and recondite secrets of
nature, unknowable to nature, but man was enabled to discover these
mysteries, and out of the plane of the unseen he brought them into the
plane of the seen.

Yet there is a third reality in man, the spiritual reality. Through its
medium one discovers spiritual revelations, a celestial faculty which is
infinite as regards the intellectual as well as physical realms. That
power is conferred upon man through the breath of the Holy Spirit. It is
an eternal reality, an indestructible reality, a reality belonging to the
divine, supernatural kingdom; a reality whereby the world is illumined, a
reality which grants unto man eternal life. This third, spiritual reality
it is which discovers past events and looks along the vistas of the
future. It is the ray of the Sun of Reality. The spiritual world is
enlightened through it, the whole of the Kingdom is being illumined by it.
It enjoys the world of beatitude, a world which had not beginning and
which shall have no end.

That celestial reality, the third reality of the microcosm, delivers man
from the material world. Its power causes man to escape from nature’s
world. Escaping, he will find an illuminating reality, transcending the
limited reality of man and causing him to attain to the infinitude of God,
abstracting him from the world of superstitions and imaginations, and
submerging him in the sea of the rays of the Sun of Reality.

This fact is proved from scientific as well as spiritual evidence.

When we ponder over the conditions of phenomena, we observe that all
phenomena are composed of single elements. This singular cell-element
travels and has its coursings through all the grades of existence. I wish
you to ponder carefully over this. This cellular element has at some time
been in the mineral kingdom. While staying in the mineral kingdom it has
had its coursings and transformations through myriads of images and forms.
Having perfected its journey in the mineral kingdom, it has ascended to
the vegetable kingdom; and in the vegetable kingdom it has again had
journeys and transformations through myriads of conditions. Having
accomplished its functions in the vegetable kingdom, the cellular element
ascends to the animal kingdom.

In the animal kingdom again it goes through the composition of myriads of
images, and then we have it in the human kingdom. In the human kingdom
likewise it has its transformations and coursings through multitudes of
forms. In short, this single primordial atom has had its great journeys
through every stage of life, and in every stage it was endowed with a
special and particular virtue or characteristic.

Consequently, the great divine philosophers have had the following
epigram: All things are involved in all things. For every single
phenomenon has enjoyed the postulates of God, and in every form of these
infinite electrons it has had its characteristics of perfection.

Thus this flower once upon a time was of the soil. The animal eats the
flower or its fruit, and it thereby ascends to the animal kingdom. Man
eats the meat of the animal, and there you have its ascent into the human
kingdom, because all phenomena are divided into that which eats and that
which is eaten. Therefore, every primordial atom of these atoms, singly
and indivisible, has had its coursings throughout all the sentient
creation, going constantly into the aggregation of the various elements.
Hence do you have the conservation of energy and the infinity of
phenomena, the indestructibility of phenomena, changeless and immutable,
because life cannot suffer annihilation but only change.

The apparent annihilation is this: that the form, the outward image, goes
through all these changes and transformations. Let us again take the
example of this flower. The flower is indestructible. The only thing that
we can see, this outer form, is indeed destroyed, but the elements, the
indivisible elements which have gone into the composition of this flower
are eternal and changeless. Therefore the realities of all phenomena are
immutable. Extinction or mortality is nothing but the transformation of
pictures and images, so to speak—the reality back of these images is
eternal. And every reality of the realities is one of the bounties of God.

Some people believe that the divinity of God had a beginning. They say
that before this particular beginning man had no knowledge of the divinity
of God. With this principle they have limited the operation of the
influences of God.

For example, they think there was a time when man did not exist, and that
there will be a time in the future when man will not exist. Such a theory
circumscribes the power of God, because how can we understand the divinity
of God except through scientifically understanding the manifestations of
the attributes of God?

How can we understand the nature of fire except from its heat, its light?
Were not heat and light in this fire, naturally we could not say that the
fire existed.

Thus, if there was a time when God did not manifest His qualities, then
there was no God, because the attributes of God presuppose the creation of
phenomena. For example, by present consideration we say that God is the
creator. Then there must always have been a creation—since the quality of
creator cannot be limited to the moment when some man or men realize this
attribute. The attributes that we discover one by one—these attributes
themselves necessarily anticipated our discovery of them. Therefore, God
has no beginning and no ending; nor is His creation limited ever as to
degree. Limitations of time and degree pertain to things created, never to
the creation as a whole. They pertain to the forms of things, not to their
realities. The effulgence of God cannot be suspended. The sovereignty of
God cannot be interrupted.

As long as the sovereignty of God is immemorial, therefore the creation of
our world throughout infinity is presupposed. When we look at the reality
of this subject, we see that the bounties of God are infinite, without
beginning and without end.

The greatest bounties of God in this phenomenal world are His
Manifestations. This is the greatest postulate. These Manifestations are
the Suns of Reality. For it is through the Manifestation that the reality
becomes known and established for man. History proves to us that apart
from the influence of the Manifestations, man sinks back into his animal
condition, using even his intellectual power to subserve an animal
purpose. Therefore there is no cessation whatsoever in the future for the
appearance of the Manifestation of God, because God is infinite and His
purpose cannot be limited in any way. If we ever dare to limit and
circumscribe God’s purpose within any bounds, then of necessity we have
dared to set limitations to the omnipotence of God. The created has dared
to define his Creator!

Consequently, the perfect man ever beholds the rays of the Sun of Truth.
The perfect man ever awaits and expects the coming of the effulgence of
God, he ever ponders over the methods and purposes of God, knowing that of
certainty the realities of the Divine are not finite, the Divine names and
attributes are not finite. God’s graces and bounties are without limit,
and the coming of the Manifestations of God are not circumscribed by time.



THE UNIVERSAL CYCLES


Each one of the luminous bodies in this limitless firmament has a cycle of
revolution which is of a different duration, and every one revolves in its
own orbit, and again begins a new cycle. So the earth, every three hundred
and sixty-five days, five hours, forty-eight minutes and a fraction,
completes a revolution; and then it begins a new cycle, that is to say,
the first cycle is again renewed. In the same way, for the whole universe,
whether for the heavens or for men, there are cycles of great events, of
important facts and occurrences. When a cycle is ended, a new cycle
begins, and the old one, on account of the great events which take place,
is completely forgotten, and not a trace or record of it will remain. As
you see, we have no records of twenty thousand years ago, although we have
before proved by argument that life on this earth is very ancient. It is
not one hundred thousand, or two hundred thousand, or one million or two
million years old; it is very ancient, and the ancient records and traces
are entirely obliterated.

Each of the Divine Manifestations has likewise a cycle, and during the
cycle his laws and commandments prevail and are performed. When his cycle
is completed by the appearance of a new Manifestation, a new cycle begins.
In this way cycles begin, end, and are renewed, until a universal cycle is
completed in the world, when important events and great occurrences will
take place which entirely efface every trace and every record of the past;
then a new universal cycle begins in the world, for this universe has no
beginning. We have before stated proofs and evidences concerning this
subject; there is no need of repetition.

Briefly, we say a universal cycle in the world of existence signifies a
long duration of time, and innumerable and incalculable periods and
epochs. In such a cycle the Manifestations appear with splendor in the
realm of the visible, until a great and universal Manifestation makes the
world the center of his radiance. His appearance causes the world to
attain to maturity, and the extension of his cycle is very great.
Afterwards other Manifestations will arise under his shadow, who according
to the needs of the time will renew certain commandments relating to
material questions and affairs, while remaining under his shadow.

We are in the cycle which began with Adam, and its universal Manifestation
is Bahá’u’lláh.



EDUCATION


According to the statement of philosophers the difference in degree of
humankind from lowest to highest is due to education. The proofs they
advance are these: The civilization of Europe and America is an evidence
and outcome of education whereas the semi-civilized and barbarous peoples
of Africa bear witness in their condition that they have been deprived of
its advantages. Education makes the ignorant wise, the tyrant just,
promotes happiness, strengthens the mind, develops the will and makes
fruitless trees of humanity fruitful. Therefore in the human world some
have attained lofty degrees while others grope in the abyss of despair.
Nevertheless the highest attainment is possible for every member of the
human race even to the station of the prophets. This is the statement and
reasoning of the philosophers.

The prophets of God are the first educators. They bestow universal
education upon man and cause him to rise from lowest levels of savagery to
the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The philosophers too are
educators along lines of intellectual training. At most they have only
been able to educate themselves and a limited number about them, to
improve their own morals and, so to speak, civilize themselves; but they
have been incapable of universal education. They have failed to cause an
advancement for any given nation from savagery to civilization.

It is evident that although education improves the morals of mankind,
confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man from lowest
degrees to the station of sublimity, there is nevertheless a difference in
the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals. Ten children of the same
age, with equal station of birth, taught in the same school, partaking of
the same food, in all respects subject to the same environment, their
interests equal and in common, will evidence separate and distinct degrees
of capability and advancement; some exceedingly intelligent and
progressive, some of mediocre ability, others limited and incapable. One
may become a learned professor while another under the same course of
education proves dull and stupid. From all standpoints the opportunities
have been equal but the results and outcomes vary from the highest to
lowest degree of advancement. It is evident therefore that mankind differs
in natal capacity and intrinsic intellectual endowment. Nevertheless
although capacities are not the same, every member of the human race is
capable of education.

His Holiness Jesus Christ was an educator of humanity. His teachings were
altruistic; his bestowal universal. He taught mankind by the power of the
Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human power is limited
whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite. The influence and
accomplishment of Christ will attest this. Galen, the Greek physician and
philosopher, who lived in the second century A.D., wrote a treatise upon
the civilization of nations. He was not a Christian but he has borne
testimony that religious beliefs exercise an extraordinary effect upon the
problems of civilization. In substance he says, “There are certain people
among us, followers of Jesus the Nazarene who was killed in Jerusalem.
These people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy of
philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have hopes in His
favors, therefore they shun all unworthy deeds and actions and incline to
praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and night they strive that their deeds
may be commendable and that they may contribute to the welfare of
humanity; therefore each one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these
people have attained unto that which is the essence and purport of
philosophy. These people have praiseworthy morals even though they may be
illiterate.”

The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of God, the
divine prophets, are the first teachers of the human race. They are
universal educators and the fundamental principles they have laid down are
the causes and factors of the advancement of nations.



THE HOLY SPIRIT


The elemental atoms which constitute all phenomenal existence and being in
this illimitable universe are in perpetual motion, undergoing continuous
degrees of progression. For instance, let us conceive of an atom in the
mineral kingdom progressing upward to the kingdom of the vegetable by
entering into the composition and fibre of a tree or plant. From thence it
is assimilated and transferred into the kingdom of the animal and finally
by the law and process of composition becomes a part of the body of man.
That is to say, it has traversed the intermediate degrees and stations of
phenomenal existence, entering into the composition of various organisms
in its journey. This motion or transference is progressive and perpetual,
for after disintegration of the human body into which it has entered, it
returns to the mineral kingdom whence it came, and will continue to
traverse the kingdoms of phenomena as before. This is an illustration
designed to show that the constituent elemental atoms of phenomena undergo
progressive transference and motion throughout the material kingdoms.

In its ceaseless progression and journeyings the atom becomes imbued with
the virtues and powers of each degree or kingdom it traverses. In the
degree of the mineral it possessed mineral affinities; in the kingdom of
the vegetable it manifested the virtue augmentative or power of growth; in
the animal organism it reflected the intelligence of that degree, and in
the kingdom of man it was qualified with human attributes or virtues.

Furthermore, the forms and organisms of phenomenal being and existence in
each of the kingdoms of the universe are myriad and numberless. The
vegetable plane or kingdom for instance has its infinite variety of types
and material structures of plant life, each distinct and different within
itself, no two exactly alike in composition and detail, for there are no
repetitions in nature, and the virtue augmentative cannot be confined to
any given image or shape. Each leaf has its own particular identity, so to
speak, its own individuality as a leaf. Therefore each atom of the
innumerable elemental atoms, during its ceaseless motion through the
kingdoms of existence as a constituent of organic composition, not only
becomes imbued with the powers and virtues of the kingdoms it traverses
but also reflects the attributes and qualities of the forms and organisms
of those kingdoms. As each of these forms has its individual and
particular virtue, therefore each elemental atom of the universe has the
opportunity of expressing an infinite variety of those individual virtues.
No atom is bereft or deprived of this opportunity or right of expression.
Nor can it be said of any given atom that it is denied equal opportunities
with other atoms; nay, all are privileged to possess the virtues existent
in these kingdoms and to reflect the attributes of their organisms. In the
various transformations or passages from kingdom to kingdom, the virtues
expressed by the atoms in each degree are peculiar to that degree. For
example, in the world of the mineral, the atom does not express the
vegetable form and organism, and when through the process of transmutation
it assumes the virtues of the vegetable degree, it does not reflect the
attributes of animal organisms, and so on.

It is evident then that each elemental atom of the universe is possessed
of a capacity to express all the virtues of the universe. This is a subtle
and abstract realization. Meditate upon it, for within it lies the true
explanation of pantheism. From this point of view and perception,
pantheism is a truth, for every atom in the universe possesses or reflects
all the virtues of life, the manifestation of which is effected through
change and transformation. Therefore the origin and outcome of phenomena
is verily the omnipresent God for the reality of all phenomenal existence
is through Him. There is neither reality nor the manifestation of reality
without the instrumentality of God. Existence is realized and possible
through the bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this
lamp is realized through the bounty of the lamp from which it originates.
Even so all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty, and the
explanation of true pantheistic statement and principle is that the
phenomena of the universe find realization through the one power animating
and dominating all things; and all things are but manifestations of its
energy and bounty. The virtue of being and existence is through no other
agency. Therefore in the words of Bahá’u’lláh the first teaching is the
oneness of the world of humanity....

Bahá’u’lláh has announced that no matter how far the world of humanity may
advance in material civilization, it is nevertheless in need of spiritual
virtues and the bounties of God. The spirit of man is not illumined and
quickened through material sources. It is not resuscitated by
investigating phenomena of the world of matter. The spirit of man is in
need of the protection of the Holy Spirit. Just as he advances by
progressive stages from the mere physical world of being into the
intellectual realm, so must he develop upward in moral attributes and
spiritual graces. In the process of this attainment he is ever in need of
the bestowals of the Holy Spirit. Material development may be likened to
the glass of a lamp whereas divine virtues and spiritual susceptibilities
are the light within the glass. The lamp chimney is worthless without the
light; likewise man in his material condition requires the radiance and
vivification of the divine graces and merciful attributes. Without the
presence of the Holy Spirit he is lifeless. Although physically and
mentally alive he is spiritually dead. His Holiness Christ announced,
“That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit is
spirit,” meaning that man must be born again. As the babe is born into the
light of this physical world so must the physical and intellectual man be
born into the light of the world of divinity. In the matrix of the mother
the unborn child was deprived and unconscious of the world of material
existence but after its birth it beheld the wonders and beauties of a new
realm of life and being. In the world of the matrix it was utterly
ignorant and unable to conceive of these new conditions but after its
transformation it discovers the radiant sun, trees, flowers and an
infinite range of blessings and bounties awaiting it. In the human plane
and kingdom man is a captive of nature and ignorant of the divine world
until born of the breaths of the Holy Spirit out of physical conditions of
limitation and deprivation. Then he beholds the reality of the spiritual
realm and kingdom, realizes the narrow restrictions of the mere human
world of existence and becomes conscious of the unlimited and infinite
glories of the world of God. Therefore no matter how man may advance upon
the physical and intellectual plane he is ever in need of the boundless
virtues of divinity, the protection of the Holy Spirit and the face of
God.



SCIENCE


The virtues of humanity are many but science is the most noble of them
all. The distinction which man enjoys above and beyond the station of the
animal is due to this paramount virtue. It is a bestowal of God; it is not
material, it is divine. Science is an effulgence of the Sun of Reality,
the power of investigating and discovering the verities of the universe,
the means by which man finds a pathway to God. All the powers and
attributes of man are human and hereditary in origin, outcomes of nature’s
processes, except the intellect, which is supernatural. Through
intellectual and intelligent inquiry science is the discoverer of all
things. It unites present and past, reveals the history of bygone nations
and events, and confers upon man today the essence of all human knowledge
and attainment throughout the ages. By intellectual processes and logical
deductions of reason, this super-power in man can penetrate the mysteries
of the future and anticipate its happenings.

Science is the first emanation from God toward man. All created beings
embody the potentiality of material perfection, but the power of
intellectual investigation and scientific acquisition is a higher virtue
specialized to man alone. Other beings and organisms are deprived of this
potentiality and attainment. God has created or deposited this love of
reality in man. The development and progress of a nation is according to
the measure and degree of that nation’s scientific attainments. Through
this means, its greatness is continually increased and day by day the
welfare and prosperity of its people are assured.

All blessings are divine in origin but none can be compared with this
power of intellectual investigation and research which is an eternal gift
producing fruits of unending delight. Man is ever partaking of these
fruits. All other blessings are temporary; this is an everlasting
possession. Even sovereignty has its limitations and overthrow; this is a
kingship and dominion which none may usurp or destroy. Briefly; it is an
eternal blessing and divine bestowal, the supreme gift of God to man.
Therefore you should put forward your most earnest efforts toward the
acquisition of sciences and arts. The greater your attainment, the higher
your standard in the divine purpose. The man of science is perceiving and
endowed with vision whereas he who is ignorant and neglectful of this
development is blind. The investigating mind is attentive, alive; the mind
callous and indifferent is deaf and dead. A scientific man is a true index
and representative of humanity, for through processes of inductive
reasoning and research he is informed of all that appertains to humanity,
its status, conditions and happenings. He studies the human body politic,
understands social problems and weaves the web and texture of
civilization. In fact, science may be likened to a mirror wherein the
infinite forms and images of existing things are revealed and reflected.
It is the very foundation of all individual and national development.
Without this basis of investigation, development is impossible. Therefore
seek with diligent endeavor the knowledge and attainment of all that lies
within the power of this wonderful bestowal.

We have already stated that science or the attribute of scientific
penetration is supernatural and that all other blessings of God are within
the boundary of nature. What is the proof of this? All created things
except man are captives of nature. The stars and suns swinging through
infinite space, all earthly forms of life and existence whether mineral,
vegetable or animal come under the dominion and control of natural law.
Man through scientific knowledge and power rules nature and utilizes her
laws to do his bidding. According to natural limitations he is a creature
of earth restricted to life upon its surface, but through scientific
utilization of material laws he soars in the sky, sails upon the ocean and
dives beneath it. The products of his invention and discovery so familiar
to us in daily life were once mysteries of nature. For instance, man has
brought electricity out of the plane of the invisible into the plane of
the visible, harnessed and imprisoned that mysterious natural agent and
made it the servant of his needs and wishes. Similar instances are many
but we will not prolong. Man as it were takes the sword out of nature’s
hand and with it for his sceptre of authority dominates nature itself.
Nature is without the crown of human faculties and attributes. Man
possesses conscious intelligence and reflection; nature is minus. This is
an established fundamental among philosophers. Man is endowed with
volition and memory; nature has neither. Man can seek out the mysteries
latent in nature whereas nature is not conscious of her own hidden
phenomena. Man is progressive; nature is stationary, without the power of
progression or retrogression. Man is endowed with ideal virtues, for
example intellection, volition,—among them faith, confession and
acknowledgment of God, while nature is devoid of all these. The ideal
faculties of man, including the capacity of scientific acquisition are
beyond nature’s ken. These are powers whereby man is differentiated and
distinguished from all other forms of life. This is the bestowal of divine
idealism, the crown adorning human heads. Notwithstanding the gift of this
supernatural power, it is most amazing that materialists still consider
themselves within the bounds and captivity of nature. The truth is that
God has endowed man with virtues, powers and ideal faculties of which
nature is entirely bereft and by which man is elevated, distinguished and
superior. We must thank God for these bestowals, for these powers He has
given us, for this crown He has placed upon our heads.

How shall we utilize these gifts and expend these bounties? By directing
our efforts toward the unification of the human race. We must use these
powers in establishing the oneness of the world of humanity; appreciate
these virtues by accomplishing the unity of the white and colored races;
devote this divine intelligence to the perfecting of amity and accord
among all branches of the human family, so that under the protection and
providence of God, the East and West may hold each other’s hands and
become as lovers. Then will mankind be as one nation, one race and kind;
as waves of one ocean. Although these waves may differ in form and shape,
they are waves of the same sea. Flowers may be variegated in colors but
they are all flowers of one garden. Trees differ though they grow in the
same orchard. All are nourished and quickened into life by the bounty of
the same rain; all grow and develop by the heat and light of the one sun;
all are refreshed and exhilarated by the same breeze; that they may bring
forth varied fruits. This is according to the creative wisdom. If all
trees bore the same kind of fruit it would cease to be delicious. In their
never ending variety man finds enjoyment instead of monotony.

And now as I look into your faces I am reminded of trees varying in color
and form but all bearing luscious and delectable fruits, fragrant and
delightful to the inner and outer senses. The radiance and spirituality of
this meeting is through the favor of God. Our hearts are uplifted in
thankfulness to Him. Praise be to God! you are living upon the great
continent of the West enjoying the perfect liberty, security and peace of
this just government. There is no cause for sorrow or unhappiness
anywhere; every means of happiness and enjoyment is about you, for in this
human world there is no greater blessing than liberty. You do not know. I
who for forty years have been a prisoner, do know. I do know the value and
blessing of liberty. For you have been and are now living in freedom and
you have no fear of anybody. Is there a greater blessing than this?
Freedom! Liberty! Security! These are the great bestowals of God.
Therefore praise God!



SPIRITUAL SPRINGTIME


In the world of existence man has traversed successive degrees until he
has attained the human kingdom. In each degree of his progression he has
developed capacity for advancement to the next station and condition.
While in the kingdom of the mineral he was attaining the capacity for
promotion into the degree of the vegetable. In the kingdom of the
vegetable he underwent preparation for the world of the animal and from
thence he has come onward to the human degree or kingdom. Throughout this
journey of progression he has ever and always been potentially man.

In the beginning of his human life man was embryonic in the world of the
matrix. There he received capacity and endowment for the reality of human
existence. The forces and powers necessary for this world were bestowed
upon him in that limited condition. In this world he needed eyes; he
received them potentially in the other. He needed ears; he obtained them
there in readiness and preparation for his new existence. The powers
requisite in this world were conferred upon him in the world of the
matrix, so that when he entered this realm of real existence he not only
possessed all necessary functions and powers but found provision for his
material sustenance awaiting him.

Therefore in this world he must prepare himself for the life beyond. That
which he needs in the world of the Kingdom must be obtained here. Just as
he prepared himself in the world of the matrix by acquiring forces
necessary in this sphere of existence, so likewise the indispensable
forces of the divine existence must be potentially attained in this world.

What is he in need of in the Kingdom which transcends the life and
limitation of this mortal sphere? That world beyond is a world of sanctity
and radiance; therefore it is necessary that in this world he should
acquire these divine attributes. In that world there is need of
spirituality, faith, assurance, the knowledge and love of God. These he
must attain in this world so that after his ascension from the earthly to
the heavenly Kingdom he shall find all that is needful in that life
eternal ready for him.

That divine world is manifestly a world of lights; therefore man has need
of illumination here. That is a world of love; the love of God is
essential. It is a world of perfections; virtues or perfections must be
acquired. That world is vivified by the breaths of the Holy Spirit; in
this world we must seek them. That is the Kingdom of life everlasting; it
must be attained during this vanishing existence.

By what means can man acquire these things? How shall he obtain these
merciful gifts and powers? First, through the knowledge of God. Second,
through the love of God. Third, through faith. Fourth, through
philanthropic deeds. Fifth, through self-sacrifice. Sixth, through
severance from this world. Seventh, through sanctity and holiness. Unless
he acquires these forces and attains to these requirements he will surely
be deprived of the life that is eternal. But if he possesses the knowledge
of God, becomes ignited through the fire of the love of God, witnesses the
great and mighty signs of the Kingdom, becomes the cause of love among
mankind, and lives in the utmost state of sanctity and holiness, he shall
surely attain to second birth, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and enjoy
everlasting existence.

Is it not astonishing that although man has been created for the knowledge
and love of God, for the virtues of the human world, for spirituality,
heavenly illumination and life eternal, nevertheless he continues ignorant
and negligent of all this? Consider how he seeks knowledge of everything
except knowledge of God. For instance, his utmost desire is to penetrate
the mysteries of the lowest strata of the earth. Day by day he strives to
know what can be found ten metres below the surface, what he can discover
within the stone, what he can learn by archaeological research in the
dust. He puts forth arduous labors to fathom terrestrial mysteries but is
not at all concerned about knowing the mysteries of the Kingdom,
traversing the illimitable fields of the eternal world, becoming informed
of the divine realities, discovering the secrets of God, attaining the
knowledge of God, witnessing the splendors of the Sun of Truth and
realizing the glories of everlasting life. He is unmindful and thoughtless
of these. How much he is attracted to the mysteries of matter and how
completely unaware he is of the mysteries of divinity! Nay, he is utterly
negligent and oblivious of the secrets of divinity. How great his
ignorance! How conducive to his degradation! It is as if a kind and loving
father had provided a library of wonderful books for his son in order that
he might be informed of the mysteries of creation; at the same time
surrounding him with every means of comfort and enjoyment; but the son
amuses himself with pebbles and playthings, neglectful of all his father’s
gifts and provision. How ignorant and heedless is man! The Father has
willed for him glory eternal and he is content with blindness and
deprivation. The Father has built for him a royal palace but he is playing
with the dust; prepared for him garments of silk but he prefers to remain
unclothed; provided for him delicious foods and fruits while he seeks
sustenance in the grasses of the field.

Praise be to God! you have heard the call of the Kingdom. Your eyes are
opened; you have turned to God. Your purpose is the good-pleasure of God,
the understanding of the mysteries of the heart and investigation of the
realities. Day and night you must strive that you may attain to the
significances of the heavenly kingdom, perceive the signs of divinity,
acquire certainty of knowledge and realize that this world has a creator,
a vivifier, a provider, an architect,—knowing this through proofs and
evidences and not through susceptibilities,—nay, rather, through decisive
arguments and real vision; that is to say, visualizing it as clearly as
the outer eye beholds the sun. In this way may you behold the presence of
God and attain to the knowledge of the holy, divine Manifestations.



ETERNAL UNITY


What is real unity? When we observe the human world we find various
collective expressions of unity therein. For instance, man is
distinguished from the animal by his degree or kingdom. This comprehensive
distinction includes all the posterity of Adam and constitutes one great
household or human family which may be considered the fundamental or
physical unity of mankind. Furthermore, a distinction exists between
various groups of humankind according to lineage, each group forming a
racial unity separate from the others. There is also the unity of tongue
among those who use the same language as a means of communication;
national unity where various peoples live under one form of government
such as French, German, British, etc.; and political unity which conserves
the civil rights of parties or factions of the same government. All these
unities are imaginary and without real foundation, for no real result
proceeds from them. The purpose of true unity is real and divine outcomes.
From these limited unities mentioned only limited outcomes proceed whereas
unlimited unity produces unlimited result. For instance, from the limited
unity of race or nationality the results at most are limited. It is like a
family living alone and solitary; there are no unlimited or universal
outcomes from it.

The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of
mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing
glory of the All-Glorious; that all are servants of one God; for all
breathe the same atmosphere, live upon the same earth, move beneath the
same heavens, receive effulgence from the same sun and are under the
protection of one God. This is the most great unity, and its results are
lasting if humanity adheres to it; but mankind has hitherto violated it,
adhering to sectarian or other limited unities such as racial, patriotic
or unity of self-interests; therefore no great results have been
forthcoming. Nevertheless it is certain that the radiance and favors of
God are encompassing, minds have developed, perceptions have become acute,
sciences and arts are widespread and capacity exists for the proclamation
and promulgation of the real and ultimate unity of mankind which will
bring forth marvelous results. It will reconcile all religions, make
warring nations loving, cause hostile kings to become friendly and bring
peace and happiness to the human world. It will cement together the Orient
and Occident, remove forever the foundations of war and upraise the ensign
of the “Most Great Peace”. These limited unities are therefore signs of
that great unity which will make all the human family one by being
productive of the attractions of conscience in mankind.

Another unity is the spiritual unity which emanates from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit. This is greater than the unity of mankind. Human unity or
solidarity may be likened to the body whereas unity from the breaths of
the Holy Spirit is the spirit animating the body. This is a perfect unity.
It creates such a condition in mankind that each one will make sacrifices
for the other and the utmost desire will be to forfeit life and all that
pertains to it in behalf of another’s good. This is the unity which
existed among the disciples of His Holiness Jesus Christ and bound
together the prophets and holy souls of the past. It is the unity which
through the influence of the divine spirit is permeating the Bahá’ís so
that each offers his life for the other and strives with all sincerity to
attain his good-pleasure. This is the unity which caused twenty thousand
people in Persia to give their lives in love and devotion to it. It made
the Bab the target of a thousand arrows and caused Bahá’u’lláh to suffer
exile and imprisonment forty years. This unity is the very spirit of the
body of the world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become
quickened with life without its vivification. His Holiness Jesus
Christ—may my life be a sacrifice to him!—promulgated this unity among
mankind. Every soul who believed in Jesus Christ became revivified and
resuscitated through this spirit, attained to the zenith of eternal glory,
realized the life everlasting, experienced the second birth and rose to
the acme of good fortune.

In the Word of God there is still another unity, the oneness of the
Manifestations of God, His Holiness Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ,
Mohammed, the Bab and Bahá’u’lláh. This is a unity divine, heavenly,
radiant, merciful; the one reality appearing in its successive
manifestations. For instance, the sun is one and the same but its points
of dawning are various. During the summer season it rises from the
northern point of the ecliptic; in winter it appears from the southern
point of rising. Each month between it appears from a certain zodiacal
position. Although these dawning-points are different, the sun is the same
sun which has appeared from them all. The significance is the reality of
prophethood which is symbolized by the sun, and the holy Manifestations
are the dawning-places or zodiacal points.

There is also the divine unity or entity which is sanctified above all
concept of humanity. It cannot be comprehended nor conceived because it is
infinite reality and cannot become finite. Human minds are incapable of
surrounding that reality because all thoughts and conceptions of it are
finite, intellectual creations and not the reality of divine being which
alone knows itself. For example, if we form a conception of divinity as a
living, almighty, self-subsisting, eternal being, this is only a concept
apprehended by a human intellectual reality. It would not be the outward,
visible reality which is beyond the power of human mind to conceive or
encompass. We ourselves have an external, visible entity but even our
concept of it is the product of our own brain and limited comprehension.
The reality of divinity is sanctified above this degree of knowing and
realization. It has ever been hidden and secluded in its own holiness and
sanctity above our comprehending. Although it transcends our realization,
its lights, bestowals, traces and virtues have become manifest in the
realities of the prophets, even as the sun becomes resplendent in various
mirrors. These holy realities are as reflectors, and the reality of
divinity is as the sun which although it is reflected from the mirrors,
and its virtues and perfections become resplendent therein, does not stoop
from its own station of majesty and glory and seek abode in the mirrors;
it remains in its heaven of sanctity. At most it is this, that its lights
become manifest and evident in its mirrors or manifestations. Therefore
its bounty proceeding from them is one bounty but the recipients of that
bounty are many. This is the unity of God; this is oneness;—unity of
divinity, holy above ascent or descent, embodiment, comprehension or
idealization;—divine unity—the prophets are its mirrors; its lights are
revealed through them; its virtues become resplendent in them, but the Sun
of Reality never descends from its own highest point and station. This is
unity, oneness, sanctity; this is glorification whereby we praise and
adore God.



THE DARKENED LIGHTS


From the time of the creation of Adam to this day there have been two
pathways in the world of humanity; one the natural or materialistic, the
other the religious or spiritual. The pathway of nature is the pathway of
the animal realm. The animal acts in accordance with the requirements of
nature, follows its own instincts and desires. Whatever its impulses and
proclivities may be it has the liberty to gratify them; yet it is a
captive of nature. It cannot deviate in the least degree from the road
nature has established. It is utterly minus spiritual susceptibilities,
ignorant of divine religion and without knowledge of the Kingdom of God.
The animal possesses no power of ideation or conscious intelligence; it is
a captive of the senses and deprived of that which lies beyond them. It is
subject to what the eye sees, the ear hears, the nostrils sense, the taste
detects and touch reveals. These sensations are acceptable and sufficient
for the animal. But that which is beyond the range of the senses, that
realm of phenomena through which the conscious pathway to the Kingdom of
God leads, the world of spiritual susceptibilities and divine religion,—of
these the animal is completely unaware, for in its highest station it is a
captive of nature.

One of the strangest things witnessed is that the materialists of today
are proud of their natural instincts and bondage. They state that nothing
is entitled to belief and acceptance except that which is sensible or
tangible. By their own statements they are captives of nature, unconscious
of the spiritual world, uninformed of the divine kingdom and unaware of
heavenly bestowals. If this be a virtue the animal has attained it to a
superlative degree, for the animal is absolutely ignorant of the realm of
spirit and out of touch with the inner world of conscious realization. The
animal would agree with the materialist in denying the existence of that
which transcends the senses. If we admit that being limited to the plane
of the senses is a virtue the animal is indeed more virtuous than man, for
it is entirely bereft of that which lies beyond, absolutely oblivious of
the Kingdom of God and its traces whereas God has deposited within the
human creature an illimitable power by which he can rule the world of
nature.

Consider how all other phenomenal existence and beings are captives of
nature. The sun, that colossal center of our solar system, the giant stars
and planets, the towering mountains, the earth itself and its kingdoms of
life lower than the human,—all are captives of nature except man. No other
created thing can deviate in the slightest degree from obedience to
natural law. The sun in its glory and greatness millions of miles away is
held prisoner in its orbit of universal revolution, captive of universal
natural control. Man is the ruler of nature. According to natural law and
limitation he should remain upon the earth, but behold how he violates
this command and soars above the mountains in aeroplanes. He sails in
ships upon the surface of the ocean and dives into its depths in
submarines. Man makes nature his servant; harnesses the mighty energy of
electricity for instance and imprisons it in a small lamp for his uses and
conveniences. He speaks from the East to the West through a wire. He is
able to store and preserve his voice in a phonograph. Though he is a
dweller upon earth he penetrates the mysteries of starry worlds
inconceivably distant. He discovers latent realities within the bosom of
the earth, uncovers treasures, penetrates secrets and mysteries of the
phenomenal world and brings to light that which according to nature’s
jealous laws should remain hidden, unknown and unfathomable. Through an
ideal inner power man brings these realities forth from the invisible
plane to the visible. This is contrary to nature’s law.

It is evident therefore that man is ruler over nature’s sphere and
province. Nature is inert, man is progressive. Nature has no
consciousness, man is endowed with it. Nature is without volition and acts
perforce whereas man possesses a mighty will. Nature is incapable of
discovering mysteries or realities whereas man is especially fitted to do
so. Nature is not in touch with the realm of God, man is attuned to its
evidences. Nature is uninformed of God, man is conscious of Him. Man
acquires divine virtues, nature is denied them. Man can voluntarily
discontinue vices, nature has no power to modify the influence of its
instincts. Altogether it is evident that man is more noble and superior;
that in him there is an ideal power surpassing nature. He has
consciousness, volition, memory, intelligent power, divine attributes and
virtues of which nature is completely deprived, bereft and minus;
therefore man is higher and nobler by reason of the ideal and heavenly
force latent and manifest in him.

How strange then it seems that man, notwithstanding his endowment with
this ideal power, will descend to a level beneath him and declare himself
no greater than that which is manifestly inferior to his real station. God
has created such a conscious spirit within him that he is the most
wonderful of all contingent beings. In ignoring these virtues he descends
to the material plane, considers matter the ruler of existence and denies
that which lies beyond. Is this virtue? In its fullest sense this is
animalistic, for the animal realizes nothing more. In fact from this
standpoint the animal is the greater philosopher because it is completely
ignorant of the Kingdom of God, possesses no spiritual susceptibilities
and is uninformed of the heavenly world. In brief, this is a view of the
pathway of nature.

The second pathway is that of religion, the road of the divine Kingdom. It
involves the acquisition of praiseworthy attributes, heavenly illumination
and righteous actions in the world of humanity. This pathway is conducive
to the progress and uplift of the world. It is the source of human
enlightenment, training and ethical improvement; the magnet which attracts
the love of God because of the knowledge of God it bestows. This is the
road of the holy Manifestations of God for they are in reality the
foundation of the divine religion of oneness. There is no change or
transformation in this pathway. It is the cause of human betterment, the
acquisition of heavenly virtues and the illumination of mankind.

Alas! that humanity is completely submerged in imitations and unrealities
notwithstanding the truth of divine religion has ever remained the same.
Superstitions have obscured the fundamental reality, the world is darkened
and the light of religion is not apparent. This darkness is conducive to
differences and dissensions; rites and dogmas are many and various;
therefore discord has arisen among the religious systems whereas religion
is for the unification of mankind. True religion is the source of love and
agreement amongst men, the cause of the development of praiseworthy
qualities; but the people are holding to the counterfeit and imitation,
negligent of the reality which unifies; so they are bereft and deprived of
the radiance of religion. They follow superstitions inherited from their
fathers and ancestors. To such an extent has this prevailed that they have
taken away the heavenly light of divine truth and sit in the darkness of
imitations and imaginations. That which was meant to be conducive to life
has become the cause of death; that which should have been an evidence of
knowledge is now a proof of ignorance; that which was a factor in the
sublimity of human nature has proved to be its degradation. Therefore the
realm of the religionist has gradually narrowed and darkened and the
sphere of the materialist has widened and advanced; for the religionist
has held to imitation and counterfeit, neglecting and discarding holiness
and the sacred reality of religion. When the sun sets it is the time for
bats to fly. They come forth because they are creatures of the night. When
the lights of religion become darkened the materialists appear. They are
the bats of night. The decline of religion is their time of activity; they
seek the shadows when the world is darkened and clouds have spread over
it.



THE NEED OF DIVINE EDUCATION


In the books of the prophets certain glad-tidings are recorded which are
absolutely true and free from doubt. The East has ever been the
dawning-point of the Sun of Reality. All the prophets of God have appeared
there. The religions of God have been promulgated, the teachings of God
have been spread and the law of God founded in the East. The Orient has
always been the center of lights. The West has acquired illumination from
the East but in some respects the reflection of the light has been greater
in the Occident. This is especially true of Christianity. His Holiness
Christ appeared in Palestine and his teachings were founded there.
Although the doors of the Kingdom were opened in that country and the
bestowals of divinity were spread broadcast from its center, the people of
the West have embraced and promulgated Christianity more fully than those
in the East. The Sun of Reality shone forth from the horizon of the East
but its heat and ray are most resplendent in the West where the radiant
standard of His Holiness Christ has been upraised. I have great hopes that
the lights of Bahá’u’lláh’s appearance may also find the fullest
manifestation and reflection in these western regions; for the teachings
of Bahá’u’lláh are especially applicable to the conditions of the people
here. The western nations are endowed with the capability of understanding
the rational and peerless words of Bahá’u’lláh and realizing that the
essence of the teachings of all the former prophets can be found in his
utterance.

The teachings of His Holiness Christ have been promulgated by His Holiness
Bahá’u’lláh who has also revealed new teachings applicable to present
conditions in the world of humanity. He has trained the people of the East
through the power and protection of the Holy Spirit, cemented the souls of
humanity together and established the foundations of international unity.

Through the power of his words the hearts of the people of all religions
have been attuned in harmony. For instance, among the Bahá’ís in Persia
there are Christians, Mohammedans, Zoroastrians, Jews and many others of
varying denominations and beliefs who have been brought together in unity
and love in the cause of Bahá’u’lláh. Although these people were formerly
hostile and antagonistic, filled with hatred and bitterness toward each
other, blood-thirsty and pillaging, considering that animosity and attack
were the means of attaining the good-pleasure of God, they have now become
loving and filled with the radiant zeal of fellowship and brotherhood, the
purpose of them all being service to the world of humanity, promotion of
international peace, the unification of the divine religions and deeds of
universal philanthropy. By their words and actions they are proving the
verity of His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh.

Consider the animosity and hatred existing today between the various
nations of the world. What disagreements and hostilities arise, what
warfare and contention, how much bloodshed, what injustice and tyranny!
Just now there is war in eastern Turkey, also war between Turkey and
Italy. Nations are devoted to conquest and bloodshed, filled with the
animus of religious hatred, seeking the good-pleasure of God by killing
and destroying those whom they consider enemies in their blindness. How
ignorant they are! That which is forbidden by God they consider acceptable
to Him. God is love; God seeketh fellowship, purity, sanctity and
long-suffering; these are the attributes of divinity. Therefore these
warring, raging nations have arisen against divinity, imagining they are
serving God. What gross ignorance this is! What injustice, blindness and
lack of realization! Briefly; we must strive with heart and soul in order
that this darkness of the contingent world may be dispelled, that the
lights of the Kingdom shall shine upon all the horizons, the world of
humanity become illumined, the image of God become apparent in human
mirrors, the law of God be well established and that all regions of the
world shall enjoy peace, comfort and composure beneath the equitable
protection of God. My admonition and exhortation to you is this: Be kind
to all people, love humanity, consider all mankind as your relations and
servants of the most high God. Strive day and night that animosity and
contention may pass away from the hearts of men, that all religions shall
become reconciled and the nations love each other, so that no racial,
religious or political prejudice may remain and the world of humanity
behold God as the beginning and end of all existence. God has created all
and all return to God. Therefore love humanity with all your heart and
soul. If you meet a poor man, assist him; if you see the sick, heal him;
reassure the affrighted one, render the cowardly noble and courageous,
educate the ignorant, associate with the stranger. Emulate God. Consider
how kindly, how lovingly He deals with all and follow His example. You
must treat people in accordance with the divine precepts; in other words,
treat them as kindly as God treats them, for this is the greatest
attainment possible for the world of humanity.

Furthermore, know ye that God has created in man the power of reason
whereby man is enabled to investigate reality. God has not intended man to
blindly imitate his fathers and ancestors. He has endowed him with mind or
the faculty of reasoning by the exercise of which he is to investigate and
discover the truth; and that which he finds real and true, he must accept.
He must not be an imitator or blind follower of any soul. He must not rely
implicitly upon the opinion of any man without investigation; nay, each
soul must seek intelligently and independently, arriving at a real
conclusion and bound only by that reality. The greatest cause of
bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based
upon blind imitation. It is due to this that wars and battles prevail;
from this cause hatred and animosity arise continually among mankind.
Through failure to investigate reality the Jews rejected His Holiness
Jesus Christ. They were expecting his coming; by day and night they
mourned and lamented, saying, “O God! hasten thou the day of the advent of
Christ,” expressing most intense longing for the Messiah but when His
Holiness Christ appeared they denied and rejected him, treated him with
arrogant contempt, sentenced him to death and finally crucified him. Why
did this happen? Because they were blindly following imitations, believing
that which had descended to them as a heritage from their fathers and
ancestors; tenaciously holding to it and refusing to investigate the
reality of Christ. Therefore they were deprived of the bounties of His
Holiness whereas if they had forsaken imitations and investigated the
reality of the Messiah they would have surely been guided to believing in
him. Instead of this, they said, “We have heard from our fathers and have
read in the old testament that His Holiness Christ must come from an
unknown place; now we find that this one has come from Nazareth.” Steeped
in the literal interpretation and imitating the beliefs of fathers and
ancestors they failed to understand the fact that although the body of
Jesus came from Nazareth, the reality of the Christ came from the unknown
place of the divine Kingdom. They also said that the sceptre of His
Holiness Christ would be of iron, that is to say he should wield a sword.
When His Holiness Christ appeared, he did possess a sword but it was the
sword of his tongue with which he separated the false from the true; but
the Jews were blind to the spiritual significance and symbolism of the
prophetic words. They also expected that the Messiah would sit upon the
throne of David whereas His Holiness the Christ had neither throne nor
semblance of sovereignty; nay, rather, he was a poor man, apparently
abject and vanquished; therefore how could he be the veritable Christ?
This was one of their most insistent objections based upon ancestral
interpretation and teaching. In reality His Holiness Christ was glorified
with an eternal sovereignty and everlasting dominion, spiritual and not
temporal. His throne and kingdom were established in human hearts where he
reigns with power and authority without end. Notwithstanding the
fulfillment of all the prophetic signs in His Holiness, the Jews denied
him and entered the period of their deprivation because of their
allegiance to imitations and ancestral forms.

Among other objections, they said, “We are promised through the tongue of
the prophets that His Holiness Christ at the time of his coming would
proclaim the law of the torah whereas now we see this person abrogating
the commands of the pentateuch, disturbing our blessed sabbath and
abolishing the law of divorce. He has left nothing of the ancient law of
Moses, therefore he is the enemy of Moses.” In reality His Holiness Christ
proclaimed and completed the law of Moses. He was the very helper and
assister of Moses. He spread the book of Moses throughout the world and
established anew the fundamentals of the law revealed by him. He abolished
certain unimportant laws and forms which were no longer compatible with
the exigencies of the time, such as divorce and plurality of wives. The
Jews did not comprehend this, and the cause of their ignorance was blind
and tenacious adherence to imitations of ancient forms and teachings;
therefore they finally sentenced His Holiness to death.

They likewise said, “Through the tongues of the prophets it was announced
that during the time of Christ’s appearance the justice of God would
prevail throughout the world, tyranny and oppression would be unknown,
justice would even extend to the animal kingdom, ferocious beasts would
associate in gentleness and peace, the wolf and the lamb would drink from
the same spring, the lion and the deer meet in the same meadow, the eagle
and quail dwell together in the same nest; but instead of this, we see
that during the time of this supposed Christ the Romans have conquered
Palestine and are ruling it with extreme tyranny, justice is nowhere
apparent and signs of peace in the kingdom are conspicuously absent.”
These statements and attitudes of the Jews were inherited from their
fathers; blind allegiance to literal expectations which did not come to
pass during the time of Jesus Christ. The real purport of these prophetic
statements was that various peoples symbolized by the wolf and lamb
between whom love and fellowship were impossible would come together
during Messiah’s reign, drink from the same fountain of life in his
teachings and become his devoted followers. This was realized when peoples
of all religions, nationalities and dispositions became united in their
beliefs and followed Christ in humility, associating in love and
brotherhood under the shadow of his divine protection. The Jews, being
blind to this and holding to their bigoted imitations, were insolent and
arrogant toward His Holiness and crucified him. Had they investigated the
reality of Christ they would have beheld his beauty and truth.

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and
recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message
of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may
discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the
investigation of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of
another, hear through another’s ears nor comprehend with another’s brain.
Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in
the creative plan of God. Therefore depend upon your own reason and
judgment and adhere to the outcome of your own investigation; otherwise
you will be utterly submerged in the sea of ignorance and deprived of all
the bounties of God. Turn to God, supplicate humbly at His threshold,
seeking assistance and confirmation, that God may rend asunder the veils
that obscure your vision. Then will your eyes be filled with illumination,
face to face you will behold the reality of God and your heart become
completely purified from the dross of ignorance, reflecting the glories
and bounties of the Kingdom.

Holy souls are like soil which has been plowed and tilled with much
earnest labor; the thorns and thistles cast aside and all weeds uprooted.
Such soil is most fruitful and the harvest from it will prove full and
plenteous. In this same way man must free himself from the weeds of
ignorance, thorns of superstitions and thistles of imitations, that he may
discover reality in the harvests of true knowledge. Otherwise the
discovery of reality is impossible, contention and divergence of religious
belief will always remain and mankind, like ferocious wolves will rage and
attack each other in hatred and antagonism. We supplicate God that He may
destroy the veils which limit our vision and that these becloudings which
darken the way of the manifestation of the shining lights may be dispelled
in order that the effulgent Sun of Reality may shine forth. We implore and
invoke God, seeking His assistance and confirmation. Man is a child of
God; most noble, lofty and beloved by God his creator. Therefore he must
ever strive that the divine bounties and virtues bestowed upon him may
prevail and control him. Just now the soil of human hearts seems like
black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark soil there are
thousands of fragrant flowers latent. We must endeavor to cultivate and
awaken these potentialities, discover the secret treasure in this very
mine and depository of God, bring forth these resplendent powers long
hidden in human hearts. Then will the glories of both worlds be blended
and increased and the quintessence of human existence be made manifest.

We must not be content with simply following a certain course because we
find our fathers pursued that course. It is the duty of everyone to
investigate reality, and investigation of reality by another will not do
for us. If all in the world were rich and one man poor, of what use are
these riches to that man? If all the world be virtuous and a man steeped
in vice, what good results are forthcoming from him? If all the world be
resplendent and a man blind, where are his benefits? If all the world be
in plenty and a man hungry, what sustenance does he derive? Therefore
every man must be an investigator for himself. Ideas and beliefs left by
his fathers and ancestors as a heritage will not suffice, for adherence to
these are but imitations and imitations have ever been a cause of
disappointment and misguidance. Be investigators of reality, that you may
attain the verity of truth and life.

You have asked why it was necessary for the soul that was from God to make
this journey back to God. Would you like to understand the reality of this
question just as I teach it or do you wish to hear it as the world teaches
it?—for if I should answer you according to the latter way, this would be
but imitation and would not make the subject clear.

The reality underlying this question is that the evil spirit, Satan or
whatever is interpreted as evil, refers to the lower nature in man. This
baser nature is symbolized in various ways. In man there are two
expressions, one is the expression of nature, the other the expression of
the spiritual realm. The world of nature is defective. Look at it clearly,
casting aside all superstition and imagination. If you should leave a man
uneducated and barbarous in the wilds of Africa, would there be any doubt
about his remaining ignorant? God has never created an evil spirit; all
such ideas and nomenclature are symbols expressing the mere human or
earthly nature of man. It is an essential condition of the soil of earth
that thorns, weeds and fruitless trees may grow from it. Relatively
speaking, this is evil; it is simply the lower state and baser product of
nature.

It is evident therefore that man is in need of divine education and
inspiration; that the spirit and bounties of God are essential to his
development. That is to say, the teachings of Christ and the prophets are
necessary for his education and guidance. Why? Because they are the divine
gardeners who till the earth of human hearts and minds. They educate man,
uproot the weeds, burn the thorns and remodel the waste places into
gardens and orchards where fruitful trees grow. The wisdom and purpose of
their training is that man must pass from degree to degree of progressive
unfoldment until perfection is attained. For instance, if a man should
live his entire life in one city, he cannot gain a knowledge of the whole
world. To become perfectly informed he must visit other cities, see the
mountains and valleys, cross the rivers and traverse the plains. In other
words, without progressive and universal education, perfection will not be
attained.

Man must walk in many paths and be subjected to various processes in his
evolution upward. Physically he is not born in full stature but passes
through consecutive stages of foetus, infant, childhood, youth, maturity
and old age. Suppose he had the power to remain young throughout his life.
He then would not understand the meaning of old age and could not believe
it existed. If he could not realize the condition of old age he would not
know that he was young. He would not know the difference between young and
old without experiencing the old. Unless you have passed through the state
of infancy how would you know this was an infant beside you? If there was
no wrong how would you recognize the right? If it were not for sin how
would you appreciate virtue? If evil deeds were unknown how could you
commend good actions? If sickness did not exist how would you understand
health? Evil is non-existent; it is the absence of good; sickness is the
loss of health; poverty the lack of riches. When wealth disappears you are
poor; you look within the treasure box but find nothing there. Without
knowledge there is ignorance; therefore ignorance is simply the lack of
knowledge. Death is the absence of life. Therefore on the one hand we have
existence; on the other, nonexistence, negation or absence of existence.

Briefly; the journey of the soul is necessary. The pathway of life is the
road which leads to divine knowledge and attainment. Without training and
guidance the soul could never progress beyond the conditions of its lower
nature which is ignorant and defective.



RELIGION: ESSENTIAL AND NON-ESSENTIAL


The world of existence is an emanation of the merciful attribute of God.
God has shone forth upon the phenomena of being through His effulgence of
mercy and He is clement and kind to all His creation. Therefore the world
of humanity must ever be the recipient of bounties from the eternal Lord;
even as His Holiness Christ has declared, “Be ye perfect even as your
Father which is in heaven.” For His bounties like the light and heat of
the sun in the material heavens descend alike upon all mankind.
Consequently man must learn the lesson of kindness and beneficence from
God Himself. Just as God is kind to all humanity, man also must be kind to
his fellow creatures. If his attitude is just and loving toward his fellow
men, toward all creation, then indeed is he worthy of being pronounced the
image and likeness of God.

Brotherhood or fraternity is of different kinds. It may be family
association, the intimate relationship of the household. This is limited
and subject to change and disruption. How often it happens that in a
family, love and agreement are changed into enmity and antagonism. Another
form of fraternity is manifest in patriotism. Man loves his fellow-men
because they belong to the same nativity. This is also limited and subject
to change and disintegration, as for instance when sons of the same
fatherland are opposed to each other in war, bloodshed and battle. Still
another brotherhood or fraternity is that which arises from racial unity,
the oneness of racial origin, producing ties of affinity and association.
This likewise has its limitation and liability to change, for often war
and deadly strife have been witnessed between people and nations of the
same racial lineage. There is a fourth kind of brotherhood, the attitude
of man toward humanity itself, the altruistic love of humankind and
recognition of the fundamental human bond. Although this is unlimited it
is nevertheless susceptible to change and destruction. Even from this
universal fraternal bond the looked-for result does not appear. What is
the looked-for result? Loving-kindness among all human creatures and a
firm, indestructible brotherhood which includes all the divine
possibilities and significances in humanity. Therefore it is evident that
fraternity, love and kindness based upon family, nativity, race or an
attitude of altruism are neither sufficient nor permanent since all of
them are limited, restricted and liable to change and disruption. For in
the family there is discord and alienation; among sons of the same
fatherland strife and internecine warfare are witnessed; between those of
a given race, hostility and hatred are frequent; and even among the
altruists varying aspects of opinion and lack of unselfish devotion give
little promise of permanent and indestructible unity among mankind.

Therefore the Lord of mankind has caused His holy divine Manifestations to
come into the world. He has revealed His heavenly books in order to
establish spiritual brotherhood, and through the power of the Holy Spirit
has made it practicable for perfect fraternity to be realized among
mankind. And when through the breaths of the Holy Spirit this perfect
fraternity and agreement are established amongst men, this brotherhood and
love being spiritual in character, this loving-kindness being heavenly,
these constraining bonds being divine, a unity appears which is
indissoluble, unchanging and never subject to transformation. It is ever
the same and will forever remain the same. For example consider the
foundation of the brotherhood laid by His Holiness Christ. Observe how
that fraternity was conducive to unity and accord and how it brought
various souls to a plane of uniform attainment where they were willing to
sacrifice their lives for each other. They were content to renounce
possessions and ready to joyously forfeit life itself. They lived together
in such love and fellowship that even Galen, the famous Greek philosopher,
who was not a Christian, in his work entitled “The Progress of the
Nations” says that religious beliefs are greatly conducive to the
foundation of real civilization. As a proof thereof he says, “A certain
number of people contemporaneous with us are known as Christians. These
enjoy the superlative degree of moral civilization. Each one of them is a
great philosopher because they live together in the utmost love and
good-fellowship. They sacrifice life for each other. They offer worldly
possessions for each other. You can say of the Christian people that they
are as one person. There is a bond amongst them that is indissoluble in
character.”

It is evident therefore that the foundation of real brotherhood, the cause
of loving co-operation and reciprocity and the source of real kindness and
unselfish devotion is none other than the breaths of the Holy Spirit.
Without this influence and animus it is impossible. We may be able to
realize some degrees of fraternity through other motives but these are
limited associations and subject to change. When human brotherhood is
founded upon the Holy Spirit, it is eternal, changeless, unlimited.

In various parts of the Orient there was a time when brotherhood,
loving-kindness and all the praiseworthy qualities of mankind seemed to
have disappeared. There was no evidence of patriotic, religious or racial
fraternity but conditions of bigotry, hatred and prejudice prevailed
instead. The adherents of each religion were violent enemies of the
others, filled with the spirit of hostility and eager for shedding of
blood. The present war in the Balkans furnishes a parallel of these
conditions. Consider the bloodshed, ferocity and oppression manifested
there even in this enlightened century; all of it based fundamentally upon
religious prejudice and disagreement. For the nations involved belong to
the same races and nativities, nevertheless they are savage and merciless
toward each other. Similar deplorable conditions prevailed in Persia in
the nineteenth century. Darkness and ignorant fanaticism were widespread;
no trace of fellowship or brotherhood existed amongst the races. On the
contrary, human hearts were filled with rage and hatred; darkness and
gloom were manifest in human lives and conditions everywhere. At such a
time as this His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh appeared upon the divine horizon,
even as the glory of the sun, and in that gross darkness and hopelessness
of the human world there shone a great light. He founded the oneness of
the world of humanity, declaring that all mankind are as sheep and that
God is the real and true shepherd. The shepherd is one and all people are
of his flock.

The world of humanity is one and God is equally kind to all. What then is
the source of unkindness and hatred in the human world? This real shepherd
loves all his sheep. He leads them in green pastures. He rears and
protects them. What then is the source of enmity and alienation among
humankind? Whence this conflict and strife? The real underlying cause is
lack of religious unity and association for in each of the great religions
we find superstition, blind imitation of creeds, and theological formulae
adhered to instead of the divine fundamentals, causing difference and
divergence among mankind instead of agreement and fellowship. Consequently
strife, hatred and warfare have arisen, based upon this divergence and
separation. If we investigate the foundations of the divine religions, we
find them to be one, absolutely changeless and never subject to
transformation. For example each of the divine religions contains two
kinds of laws or ordinances. One division concerns the world of morality
and ethical institutions. These are the essential ordinances. They instill
and awaken the knowledge and love of God, love for humanity, the virtues
of the world of mankind, the attributes of the divine kingdom, rebirth and
resurrection from the kingdom of nature. These constitute one kind of
divine law which is common to all and never subject to change. From the
dawn of the Adamic cycle to the present day this fundamental law of God
has continued changeless. This is the foundation of divine religion.

The second division comprises laws and institutions which provide for
human needs and conditions according to exigencies of time and place.
These are accidental, of no essential importance and should never have
been made the cause and source of human contention. For example during the
time of His Holiness Moses—Upon him be peace! —according to the exigencies
of that period, divorce was permissible. During the cycle of His Holiness
Christ inasmuch as divorce was not in conformity with the time and
conditions His Holiness Jesus Christ abrogated it. In the cycle of Moses
plurality of wives was permissible but during the time of His Holiness
Christ the exigency which had sanctioned it did not exist, therefore it
was forbidden. His Holiness Moses lived in the wilderness and desert of
Sinai; therefore his ordinances and commandments were in conformity with
those conditions. The penalty for theft was to cut off a man’s hand. An
ordinance of this kind was in keeping with desert life but not compatible
with conditions of the present day. Such ordinances therefore constitute
the second or non-essential division of the divine religions and are not
of importance for they deal with human transactions which are ever
changing according to the requirements of time and place. Therefore the
intrinsic foundations of the divine religions are one. As this is true,
why should hostility and strife exist among them? Why should this hatred
and warfare, ferocity and bloodshed continue? Is this allowable and
justified? God forbid!



RELIGION RENEWED


Creation is the expression of motion. Motion is life. A moving object is a
living object whereas that which is motionless and inert is as dead. All
created forms are progressive in their planes or kingdoms of existence
under the stimulus of the power or spirit of life. The universal energy is
dynamic. Nothing is stationary in the material world of outer phenomena or
in the inner world of intellect and consciousness.

Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore it must
be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and
non-progressive it is without the divine life; it is dead. The divine
institutes are continuously active and evolutionary; therefore the
revelation of them must be progressive and continuous. All things are
subject to re-formation. This is a century of life and renewal. Sciences
and arts, industry and invention have been reformed. Law and ethics have
been reconstituted, reorganized. The world of thought has been
regenerated. Sciences of former ages and philosophies of the past are
useless today. Present exigencies demand new methods of solution; world
problems are without precedent. Old ideas and modes of thought are fast
becoming obsolete. Ancient laws and archaic ethical systems will not meet
the requirements of modern conditions, for this is clearly the century of
a new life, the century of the revelation of the reality and therefore the
greatest of all centuries. Consider how the scientific developments of
fifty years have surpassed and eclipsed the knowledge and achievements of
all the former ages combined. Would the announcements and theories of
ancient astronomers explain our present knowledge of the sun-worlds and
planetary systems? Would the mask of obscurity which beclouded mediaeval
centuries meet the demand for clear-eyed vision and understanding which
characterizes the world today? In view of this, shall blind imitations of
ancestral forms and theological interpretations continue to guide and
control the religious life and spiritual development of humanity today?
Shall man gifted with the power of reason unthinkingly follow and adhere
to dogma, creeds and hereditary beliefs which will not bear the analysis
of reason in this century of effulgent reality? Unquestionably this will
not satisfy men of science, for when they find premise or conclusion
contrary to present standards of proof and without real foundation, they
reject that which has been formerly accepted as standard and correct and
move forward from new foundations.

The divine prophets have revealed and founded religion. They have laid
down certain laws and heavenly principles for the guidance of mankind.
They have taught and promulgated the knowledge of God, established
praiseworthy ethical ideals and inculcated the highest standards of virtue
in the human world. Gradually these heavenly teachings and foundations of
reality have been beclouded by human interpretations and dogmatic
imitations of ancestral beliefs. The essential realities which the
prophets labored so hard to establish in human hearts and minds while
undergoing ordeals and suffering tortures of persecution, have now well
nigh vanished. Some of these heavenly messengers have been killed, some
imprisoned; all of them despised and rejected while proclaiming the
reality of divinity. Soon after their departure from this world, the
essential truth of their teachings was lost sight of and dogmatic
imitations adhered to.

Inasmuch as human interpretations and blind imitations differ widely,
religious strife and disagreement have arisen among mankind, the light of
true religion has been extinguished and the unity of the world of humanity
destroyed. The prophets of God voiced the spirit of unity and agreement.
They have been the founders of divine reality. Therefore if the nations of
the world forsake imitations and investigate the reality underlying the
revealed Word of God they will agree and become reconciled. For reality is
one and not multiple.

The nations and religions are steeped in blind and bigoted imitations. A
man is a Jew because his father was a Jew. The Mohammedan follows
implicitly the footsteps of his ancestors in belief and observance. The
Buddhist is true to his heredity as a Buddhist. That is to say they
profess religious belief blindly and without investigation, making unity
and agreement impossible. It is evident therefore that this condition will
not be remedied without a re-formation in the world of religion. In other
words the fundamental reality of the divine religions must be renewed,
reformed, revoiced to mankind.

From the seed of reality, religion has grown into a tree which has put
forth leaves and branches, blossoms and fruit. After a time this tree has
fallen into a condition of decay. The leaves and blossoms have withered
and perished; the tree has become stricken and fruitless. It is not
reasonable that man should hold to the old tree, claiming that its life
forces are undiminished, its fruit unequalled, its existence eternal. The
seed of reality must be sown again in human hearts in order that a new
tree may grow therefrom and new divine fruits refresh the world. By this
means the nations and peoples now divergent in religion will be brought
into unity, imitations will be forsaken and a universal brotherhood in the
reality itself will be established. Warfare and strife will cease among
mankind; all will be reconciled as servants of God. For all are sheltered
beneath the tree of His providence and mercy. God is kind to all; He is
the giver of bounty to all alike, even as His Holiness Jesus Christ has
declared that God “sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust;” that is to
say, the mercy of God is universal. All humanity is under the protection
of His love and favor, and unto all He has pointed the way of guidance and
progress.

Progress is of two kinds, material and spiritual. The former is attained
through observation of the surrounding existence and constitutes the
foundation of civilization. Spiritual progress is through the breaths of
the Holy Spirit and is the awakening of the conscious soul of man to
perceive the reality of divinity. Material progress insures the happiness
of the human world. Spiritual progress insures the happiness and eternal
continuance of the soul. The prophets of God have founded the laws of
divine civilization. They have been the root and fundamental source of all
knowledge. They have established the principles of human brotherhood or
fraternity which is of various kinds, such as the fraternity of family, of
race, of nation and of ethical motives. These forms of fraternity, these
bonds of brotherhood are merely temporal and transient in association.
They do not insure harmony and are usually productive of disagreement.
They do not prevent warfare and strife; on the contrary they are selfish,
restricted and fruitful causes of enmity and hatred among mankind. The
spiritual brotherhood which is enkindled and established through the
breaths of the Holy Spirit unites nations and removes the cause of warfare
and strife. It transforms mankind into one great family and establishes
the foundations of the oneness of humanity. It promulgates the spirit of
international agreement and insures universal peace. Therefore we must
investigate the foundation reality of this heavenly fraternity. We must
forsake all imitations and promote the reality of the divine teachings. In
accordance with these principles and actions and by the assistance of the
Holy Spirit, both material and spiritual happiness shall become realized.
Until all nations and peoples become united by the bonds of the Holy
Spirit in this real fraternity, until national and international
prejudices are effaced in the reality of this spiritual brotherhood, true
progress, prosperity and lasting happiness will not be attained by man.
This is the century of new and universal nationhood. Sciences have
advanced, industries have progressed, politics have been reformed, liberty
has been proclaimed, justice is awakening. This is the century of motion,
divine stimulus and accomplishment; the century of human solidarity and
altruistic service; the century of universal peace and the reality of the
divine Kingdom.



DIVINE LOVE


Every subject presented to a thoughtful audience must be supported by
rational proofs and logical arguments. Proofs are of four kinds: first,
through sense-perception; second, through the reasoning faculty; third,
from traditional or scriptural authority; fourth, through the medium of
inspiration. That is to say, there are four criterions or standards of
judgment by which the human mind reaches its conclusions. We will first
consider the criterion of the senses. This is a standard still held to by
the materialistic philosophers of the world. They believe that whatever is
perceptible to the senses is a verity, a certainty and without doubt
existent. For example, they say, “Here is a lamp which you see, and
because it is perceptible to the sense of sight you cannot doubt its
existence. There is a tree; your sense of vision assures you of its
reality which is beyond question. This is a man; you see that he is a man;
therefore he exists.” In a word, everything confirmed by the senses is
assumed to be as undoubted and unquestioned as the product of five
multiplied by five; it cannot be twenty-six nor less than twenty-five.
Consequently the materialistic philosophers consider the criterion of the
senses to be first and foremost.

But in the estimation of the divine philosophers this proof and assurance
is not reliable; nay, rather, they deem the standard of the senses to be
false because it is imperfect. Sight, for instance, is one of the most
important of the senses, yet it is subject to many aberrations and
inaccuracies. The eye sees the mirage as a body of water, regards images
in the mirror as realities when they are but reflections. A man sailing
upon the river imagines that objects upon the shore are moving whereas he
is in motion and they are stationary. To the eye the earth appears fixed
while the sun and stars revolve about it. As a matter of fact the heavenly
orbs are stationary and the earth turning upon its axis. The colossal
suns, planets and constellations which shine in the heavens appear small,
nay, infinitesimal to human vision whereas in reality they are vastly
greater than the earth in dimension and volume. A whirling spark appears
to the sight as a circle of fire. There are numberless instances of this
kind which show the error and inaccuracy of the senses. Therefore the
divine philosophers have considered this standard of judgment to be
defective and unreliable.

The second criterion is that of the intellect. The ancient philosophers in
particular considered the intellect to be the most important agency of
judgment. Among the wise men of Greece, Rome, Persia and Egypt the
criterion of true proof was reason. They held that every matter submitted
to the reasoning faculty could be proved true or false and must be
accepted or rejected accordingly. But in the estimation of the people of
insight this criterion is likewise defective and unreliable, for these
same philosophers who held to reason or intellect as the standard of human
judgment have differed widely among themselves upon every subject of
investigation. The statements of the Greek philosophers are contradictory
to the conclusions of the Persian sages. Even among the Greek philosophers
themselves there is continual variance and lack of agreement upon any
given subject. Great difference of thought also prevailed between the wise
men of Greece and Rome. Therefore if the criterion of reason or intellect
constituted a correct and infallible standard of judgment, those who
tested and applied it should have arrived at the same conclusions. As they
differ and are contradictory in conclusions it is an evidence that the
method and standard of test must have been faulty and insufficient.

The third criterion or standard of proof is traditional or scriptural,
namely, that every statement of conclusion should be supported by
traditions recorded in certain religious books. When we come to consider
even the holy books—the books of God—we are led to ask, “Who understands
these books? By what authority of explanation may these books be
understood?” It must be the authority of human reason, and if reason or
intellect finds itself incapable of explaining certain questions, or if
the possessors of intellect contradict each other in the interpretation of
traditions, how can such a criterion be relied upon for accurate
conclusions?

The fourth standard is that of inspiration. In past centuries many
philosophers have claimed illumination or revelation, prefacing their
statements by the announcement that “this subject has been revealed
through me” or “thus do I speak by inspiration.” Of this class were the
philosophers of the Illuminati. Inspirations are the promptings or
susceptibilities of the human heart. The promptings of the heart are
sometimes satanic. How are we to differentiate them? How are we to tell
whether a given statement is an inspiration and prompting of the heart
through the merciful assistance or through the satanic agency?

Consequently it has become evident that the four criterions or standards
of judgment by which the human mind reaches its conclusions are faulty and
inaccurate. All of them are liable to mistake and error in conclusions.
But a statement presented to the mind accompanied by proofs which the
senses can perceive to be correct, which the faculty of reason can accept,
which is in accord with traditional authority and sanctioned by the
promptings of the heart, can be adjudged and relied upon as perfectly
correct, for it has been proved and tested by all the standards of
judgment and found to be complete. When we apply but one test there are
possibilities of mistake. This is self-evident and manifest.

We will now consider the subject of “Love” which has been suggested,
submitting it to the four standards of judgment and thereby reaching our
conclusions.

We declare that love is the cause of the existence of all phenomena and
that the absence of love is the cause of disintegration or nonexistence.
Love is the conscious bestowal of God, the bond of affiliation in all
phenomena. We will first consider the proof of this through
sense-perception. As we look upon the universe we observe that all
composite beings or existing phenomena are made up primarily of single
elements bound together by a power of attraction. Through this power of
attraction, cohesion has become manifest between atoms of these composing
elements. The resultant being is a phenomenon of the lower contingent
type. The power of cohesion expressed in the mineral kingdom is in reality
love or affinity manifested in a low degree according to the exigencies of
the mineral world. We take a step higher into the vegetable kingdom where
we find an increased power of attraction has become manifest among the
composing elements which form phenomena. Through this degree of attraction
a cellular admixture is produced among these elements which make up the
body of a plant. Therefore in the degree of the vegetable kingdom there is
love. We enter the animal kingdom and find the attractive power binding
together single elements as in the mineral, plus the cellular admixture as
in the vegetable, plus the phenomena of feelings or susceptibilities. We
observe that the animals are susceptible to certain affiliation and
fellowship, and that they exercise natural selection. This elemental
attraction, this admixture and selective affinity is love manifest in the
degree of the animal kingdom.

Finally we come to the kingdom of man. As this is the superior kingdom,
the light of love is more resplendent. In man we find the power of
attraction among the elements which compose his material body, plus the
attraction which produces cellular admixture or power augmentative, plus
the attraction which characterizes the sensibilities of the animal
kingdom, but still beyond and above all these lower powers we discover in
the being of man the attraction of heart, the susceptibilities and
affinities which bind men together, enabling them to live and associate in
friendship and solidarity. It is therefore evident that in the world of
humanity the greatest king and sovereign is love. If love were
extinguished, the power of attraction dispelled, the affinity of human
hearts destroyed, the phenomena of human life would disappear.

This is a proof perceptible to the senses, acceptable to reason, in accord
with traditions and teachings of the holy books and verified by the
promptings of human hearts themselves. It is a proof upon which we can
absolutely rely and declare to be complete. But these are only degrees of
love which exist in the natural or physical world. Their manifestation is
ever according to the requirement of natural conditions and standards.

Real love is the love which exists between God and His servants, the love
which binds together holy souls. This is the love of the spiritual world,
not the love of physical bodies and organisms. For example, consider and
observe how the bestowals of God successively descend upon mankind; how
the divine effulgences ever shine upon the human world. There can be no
doubt that these bestowals, these bounties, these effulgences emanate from
love. Unless love be the divine motive, it would be impossible for the
heart of man to attain or receive them. Unless love exists the divine
blessing could not descend upon any object or thing. Unless there be love
the recipient of divine effulgence could not radiate and reflect that
effulgence upon other objects. If we are of those who perceive, we realize
that the bounties of God manifest themselves continuously, even as the
rays of the sun unceasingly emanate from the solar center. The phenomenal
world through the resplendent effulgence of the sun is radiant and bright.
In the same way the realm of hearts and spirits is illumined and
resuscitated through the shining rays of the Sun of Reality and the
bounties of the love of God. Thereby the world of existence, the kingdom
of hearts and spirits is ever quickened into life. Were it not for the
love of God, hearts would be inanimate, spirits would wither and the
reality of man would be bereft of the everlasting bestowals.

Consider to what extent the love of God makes itself manifest. Among the
signs of His love which appear in the world are the dawning-point of His
Manifestations. What an infinite degree of love is reflected by the divine
Manifestations toward mankind! For the sake of guiding the people they
have willingly forfeited their lives to resuscitate human hearts. They
have accepted the cross. To enable human souls to attain the supreme
degree of advancement, they have suffered during their limited years
extreme ordeals and difficulties. If His Holiness Jesus Christ had not
possessed love for the world of humanity, surely he would not have
welcomed the cross. He was crucified for the love of mankind. Consider the
infinite degree of that love. Without love for humanity John the Baptist
would not have offered his life. It has been likewise with all the
prophets and holy souls. If His Holiness the Bab had not manifested love
for mankind, surely he would not have offered his breast for a thousand
bullets. If His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh had not been aflame with love for
humanity he would not have willingly accepted forty years’ imprisonment.

Observe how rarely human souls sacrifice their pleasure or comfort for
others; how improbable that a man would offer his eye or suffer himself to
be dismembered for the benefit of another. Yet all the divine
Manifestations suffered, offered their lives and blood, sacrificed their
existence, comfort and all they possessed for the sake of mankind.
Therefore consider how much they love. Were it not for their love for
humanity, spiritual love would be mere nomenclature. Were it not for their
illumination, human souls would not be radiant. How effective is their
love! This is a sign of the love of God; a ray of the Sun of Reality.

Therefore we must give praise unto God, for it is the light of His bounty
which has shone upon us through His love which is everlasting. His divine
Manifestations have offered their lives through love for us. Consider then
what the love of God means. Were it not for the love of God all the
spirits would be inanimate. The meaning of this is not physical death;
nay, rather, it is that condition concerning which His Holiness Christ
declared, “Let the dead bury their dead, for that which is born of the
flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” Were it
not for the love of God the hearts would not be illumined. Were it not for
the love of God the pathway of the Kingdom would not be opened. Were it
not for the love of God the holy books would not have been revealed. Were
it not for the love of God the divine prophets would not have been sent to
the world. The foundation of all these bestowals is the love of God.
Therefore in the human world there is no greater power than the love of
God. It is the love of God which has brought us together here tonight. It
is the love of God which is affiliating the East and the West. It is the
love of God which has resuscitated the world. Now we must offer thanks to
God that such a great bestowal and effulgence has been revealed to us.

We come to another aspect of our subject—Are the workings and effects of
love confined to this world or do they extend on and on to another
existence? Will its influence affect our existence here only or will it
extend to the life everlasting? When we look upon the human kingdom we
readily observe that it is superior to all others. In the differentiation
of life in the world of existence, there are four degrees or kingdoms,—the
mineral, vegetable, animal, and human. The mineral kingdom is possessed of
a certain virtue which we term cohesion. The vegetable kingdom possesses
cohesive properties plus the power of growth or power augmentative. The
animal kingdom is possessed of the virtues of the mineral and vegetable
plus the powers of the senses. But the animal although gifted with
sensibilities is utterly bereft of consciousness, absolutely out of touch
with the world of consciousness and spirit. The animal possesses no powers
by which it can make discoveries which lie beyond the realm of the senses.
It has no power of intellectual origination. For example, an animal
located in Europe is not capable of discovering the continent of America.
It understands only phenomena which come within the range of its senses
and instinct. It cannot abstractly reason out anything. The animal cannot
conceive of the earth being spherical or revolving upon its axis. It
cannot apprehend that the little stars in the heavens are tremendous
worlds vastly greater than the earth. The animal cannot abstractly
conceive of intellect. Of these powers it is bereft. Therefore these
powers are peculiar to man and it is made evident that in the human
kingdom there is a reality of which the animal is minus. What is that
reality? It is the spirit of man. By it man is distinguished above all the
other phenomenal kingdoms. Although he possesses all the virtues of the
lower kingdoms he is further endowed with the spiritual faculty, the
heavenly gift of consciousness.

All material phenomena are subject to nature. All material organisms are
captives of nature. None of them can deviate in the slightest from the law
of nature. This earth, these great mountains, the animals with their
wonderful powers and instincts cannot go beyond natural limitations. All
things are captives of nature except man. Man is the sovereign of nature;
he breaks nature’s laws. Though an animal fitted by nature to live upon
the surface of the earth he flies in the air like a bird, sails upon the
ocean and dives deep beneath its waves in submarines. Man is gifted with a
power whereby he penetrates and discovers the laws of nature, brings them
forth from the world of invisibility into the plane of visibility.
Electricity was once a latent force of nature. According to nature’s laws
it should remain a hidden secret, but the spirit of man discovered it,
brought it forth from its secret depository and made its phenomena
visible. It is evident and manifest that man is capable of breaking
nature’s laws. How does he accomplish it? Through a spirit with which God
has endowed him at creation. This is a proof that the spirit of man
differentiates and distinguishes him above all the lower kingdoms. It is
this spirit to which the verse in the Old Testament refers when it states
that man has been created “after the image and likeness of God”. The
spirit of man alone penetrates the realities of God and partakes of the
divine bounties.



THE FOUNDATION OF RELIGION


God is one; the effulgence of God is one; and humanity constitutes the
servants of that one God. God is kind to all. He creates and provides for
all; and all are under His care and protection. The Sun of Truth, the Word
of God shines upon all mankind; the divine cloud pours down its precious
rain; the gentle zephyrs of His mercy blow and all humanity is submerged
in the ocean of His eternal justice and loving-kindness.

But we have acted contrary to the will and good-pleasure of God. We have
been the cause of enmity and disunion. We have separated from each other
and risen against each other in opposition and strife. How many have been
the wars between peoples and nations! What bloodshed! Numberless are the
cities and homes which have been laid waste. All of this has been contrary
to the good-pleasure of God for He hath willed love for humanity. He is
clement and merciful to all His creatures. He hath ordained amity and
fellowship amongst men.

Most regrettable of all is the state of difference and divergence we have
created between each other in the name of religion imagining that a
paramount duty in our religious belief is that of alienation and
estrangement, that we should shun each other and consider each other
contaminated with error and infidelity. In reality the foundations of the
divine religions are one and the same. The differences which have arisen
between us are due to blind imitations of dogmatic beliefs and adherence
to ancestral forms of worship. His Holiness Abraham was the founder of
reality. His Holiness Moses, His Holiness Christ, His Holiness Mohammed
were the manifestations of reality. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh was the glory
of reality. This is not simply an assertion; it will be proved.

Let me ask your closest attention in considering this subject. The divine
religions embody two kinds of ordinances. First, those which constitute
essential or spiritual teachings of the Word of God. These are faith in
God, the acquirement of the virtues which characterize perfect manhood,
praiseworthy moralities, the acquisition of the bestowals and bounties
emanating from the divine effulgences; in brief, the ordinances which
concern the realm of morals and ethics. This is the fundamental aspect of
the religion of God and this is of the highest importance because
knowledge of God is the fundamental requirement of man. Man must
comprehend the oneness of divinity. He must come to know and acknowledge
the precepts of God and realize for a certainty that the ethical
development of humanity is dependent upon religion. He must get rid of all
defects and seek the attainment of heavenly virtues in order that he may
prove to be the image and likeness of God. It is recorded in the holy
bible that God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
It is self-evident that the image and likeness mentioned do not apply to
the form and semblance of a human being because the reality of divinity is
not limited to any form or figure. Nay, rather the attributes and
characteristics of God are intended. Even as God is pronounced to be just,
man must likewise be just. As God is loving and kind to all men, man must
likewise manifest loving-kindness to all humanity. As God is loyal and
truthful, man must show forth the same attributes in the human world. Even
as God exercises mercy toward all, man must prove himself to be the
manifestation of mercy. In a word, the “image and likeness of God”
constitute the virtues of God, and man is intended to become the recipient
of the effulgences of divine attributes. This is the essential foundation
of all the divine religions, the reality itself, common to all. His
Holiness Abraham promulgated this; His Holiness Moses proclaimed it. His
Holiness Christ and all the prophets upheld this standard and aspect of
divine religion.

Secondly: Laws and ordinances which are temporary and non-essential. These
concern human transactions and relations. They are accidental and subject
to change according to the exigencies of time and place. These ordinances
are neither permanent nor fundamental. For instance during the time of
Noah it was expedient that sea foods be considered as lawful; therefore
God commanded Noah to partake of all marine animal life. During the time
of Moses this was not in accordance with the exigencies of Israel’s
existence, therefore a second command was revealed partly abrogating the
law concerning marine foods. During the time of Abraham—Upon him be
peace!—camel’s milk was considered a lawful and acceptable food; likewise
the flesh of the camel; but during Jacob’s time because of a certain vow
he made, this became unlawful. These are non-essential temporary laws. In
the holy bible there are certain commandments which according to those
bygone times constituted the very spirit of the age, the very light of
that period. For example according to the law of the torah if a man
committed theft of a certain amount they cut off his hand. Is it
practicable and reasonable in this present day to cut off a man’s hand for
the theft of a dollar? In the torah there are ten ordinances concerning
murder. Could these be made effective today? Unquestionably no; times have
changed. According to the explicit text of the bible if a man should
change or break the law of the Sabbath or if he should touch fire on the
Sabbath he must be killed. Today such a law is abrogated. The torah
declares that if a man should speak a disrespectful word to his father he
should suffer the penalty of death. Is this possible of enforcement now?
No; human conditions have undergone changes. Likewise during the time of
Christ certain minor ordinances conformable to that period were enforced.

It has been shown conclusively therefore that the foundation of the
religion of God remains permanent and unchanging. It is that fixed
foundation which insures the progress and stability of the body politic
and the illumination of humanity. It has ever been the cause of love and
justice amongst men. It works for the true fellowship and unification of
all mankind for it never changes and is not subject to supersedure. The
accidental or non-essential laws which regulate the transactions of the
social body and everyday affairs of life are changeable and subject to
abrogation.

Let me ask what is the purpose of prophethood? Why has God sent the
prophets? It is self-evident that the prophets are the educators of men
and the teachers of the human race. They come to bestow universal
education upon humanity, to give humanity training, to uplift the human
race from the abyss of despair and desolation and enable man to attain the
apogee of advancement and glory. The people are in darkness; the prophets
bring them into the realm of light. They are in a state of utter
imperfection; the prophets imbue them with perfections. The purpose of the
prophetic mission is no other than the education and guidance of the
people. Therefore we must regard and be on the lookout for the man who is
thus qualified; that is to say any soul who proves to be the educator of
mankind and the teacher of the human race is undoubtedly the prophet of
his age.

For example let us review the events connected with the history of His
Holiness Moses—Upon him be peace! His Holiness dwelt in Midian at a time
when the children of Israel were in captivity and bondage in the land of
Egypt, subjected to every tyranny and severe oppression. They were
illiterate and ignorant, undergoing cruel ordeals and experiences. They
were in such a state of helplessness and impotence that it was proverbial
to state that one Egyptian could overcome ten Israelites. At such a time
as this and under such forbidding conditions His Holiness Moses appeared
and shone forth with a heavenly radiance. He saved Israel from the bondage
of Pharaoh and released them from captivity. He led them out of the land
of Egypt and into the Holy Land. They had been scattered and broken; he
unified and disciplined them; conferred upon them the blessing of wisdom
and knowledge. They had been slaves; he made them princes. They were
ignorant; he made them learned; they were imperfect; he enabled them to
attain perfection. In a word—he led them out of their condition of
hopelessness and brought them to efficiency in the plane of confidence and
valor. They became renowned throughout the ancient world until finally in
the zenith and splendor of their new civilization the glory of the
sovereignty of Solomon was attained. Through the guidance and training of
His Holiness Moses these slaves and captives became the dominating people
amongst the nations. Not only in physical and military superiority were
they renowned but in all the degrees of arts, letters and refinement their
fame was widespread. Even the celebrated philosophers of Greece journeyed
to Jerusalem in order to study with the Israelitish sages and many were
the lessons of philosophy and wisdom they received. Among these
philosophers was the famous Socrates. He visited the Holy Land and studied
with the prophets of Israel, acquiring principles of their philosophical
teaching and a knowledge of their advanced arts and sciences. After his
return to Greece he founded the system known as the unity of God. The
Greek people rose against him and at last he was poisoned in the presence
of the king. Hippocrates and many other Greek philosophers sat at the feet
of the learned Israelitish doctors and absorbed their expositions of
wisdom and the inner truth.

Inasmuch as His Holiness Moses through the influence of his great mission
was instrumental in releasing the Israelites from a low state of
debasement and humiliation, establishing them in a station of prestige and
glorification, disciplining and educating them, it is necessary for us to
reach a fair and just judgment in regard to such a marvelous teacher. For
in this great accomplishment he stood single and alone. Could he have made
such a change and brought about such a condition among these people
without the sanction and assistance of a heavenly power? Could he have
transformed a people from humiliation to glory without a holy and divine
support?

No other than a divine power could have done this. Therein lies the proof
of prophethood because the mission of a prophet is education of the human
race such as this personage accomplished, proving him to be a mighty
prophet among the prophets, and his book the very Book of God. This is a
rational, direct and perfect proof.

In brief, His Holiness Moses—Upon whom be peace!—founded the law of God,
purified the morals of the people of Israel and gave them an impetus
toward nobler and higher attainments. But after the departure of His
Holiness Moses, following the decline of the glory of Solomon’s era and
during the reign of Jeroboam there came a great change in this nation. The
high ethical standards and spiritual perfections ceased to exist.
Conditions and morals became corrupt, religion was debased and the perfect
principles of the Mosaic law were obscured in superstition and polytheism.
War and strife arose among the tribes and their unity was destroyed. The
followers of Jeroboam declared themselves rightful and valid in kingly
succession, and the supporters of Rehoboam made the same claim. Finally
the tribes were torn asunder by hostility and hatred, the glory of Israel
was eclipsed and so complete was the degradation, that a golden calf was
set up as an object of worship in the city of Tyre. Thereupon God sent
Elijah the prophet who redeemed the people, renewed the law of God and
established an era of new life for Israel. History shows a still later
change and transformation when this oneness and solidarity were followed
by another dispersion of the tribes. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon,
invaded the Holy Land and carried away captive seventy thousand Israelites
to Chaldea where the greatest reverses, trials and suffering afflicted
these unfortunate people. Then the prophets of God again reformed and
re-established the law of God and the people in their humiliation again
followed it. This resulted in their liberation, and under the edict of
Cyrus, king of Persia, there was a return to the holy city. Jerusalem and
the temple of Solomon were rebuilt and the glory of Israel was restored.
This lasted but a short time; the morality of the people declined and
conditions reached an extreme degree until the Roman general Titus took
Jerusalem and razed it to its foundations. Pillage and conquest completed
the desolation; Palestine became a waste and wilderness and the Jews fled
from the Holy Land of their ancestors. The cause of this disintegration
and dispersion was the departure of Israel from the foundation of the law
of God revealed by Moses, namely the acquisition of divine virtues,
morality, love, the development of arts and sciences and the spirit of the
oneness of humanity.

I now wish you(9) to examine certain facts and statements which are worthy
of consideration. My purpose and intention is to remove from the hearts of
men the religious enmity and hatred which have fettered them and to bring
all religions into agreement and unity. Inasmuch as this hatred and
enmity, this bigotry and intolerance are outcomes of misunderstandings,
the reality of religious unity will appear when these misunderstandings
are dispelled. For the foundation of the divine religions is one
foundation. This is the oneness of revelation or teaching; but alas! we
have turned away from that foundation, holding tenaciously to various
dogmatic forms and blind imitation of ancestral beliefs. This is the real
cause of enmity, hatred and bloodshed in the world; the reason of
alienation and estrangement among mankind. Therefore I wish you to be very
just and fair in your judgment of the following statements.

During the time that the people of Israel were being tossed and afflicted
by the conditions I have named, His Holiness Jesus Christ appeared among
them. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. He was single and unaided, alone and
unique. He had no assistant. The Jews at once pronounced him to be an
enemy of Moses. They declared that he was the destroyer of the Mosaic laws
and ordinances. Let us examine the facts as they are, investigate the
truth and reality in order to arrive at a true opinion and conclusion. For
a completely fair opinion upon this question we must lay aside all we have
and investigate independently. This personage Jesus Christ declared His
Holiness Moses to have been the prophet of God and pronounced all the
prophets of Israel as sent from God. He proclaimed the torah the very Book
of God, summoned all to conform to its precepts and follow its teachings.
It is a historical fact that during a period of fifteen hundred years the
kings of Israel were unable to promulgate broadcast the religion of
Judaism. In fact during that period the name and history of Moses were
confined to the boundaries of Palestine and the torah was a book well
known only in that country. But through His Holiness Christ, through the
blessing of the New Testament of Jesus Christ, the Old Testament, the
torah, was translated into six hundred different tongues and spread
throughout the world. It was through Christianity that the torah reached
Persia. Before that time there was no knowledge in that country of such a
book, but His Holiness Christ caused its spread and acceptance. Through
him the name of Moses was elevated and revered. He was instrumental in
publishing the name and greatness of the Israelitish prophets and he
proved to the world that the Israelites constituted the people of God.
Which of the kings of Israel could have accomplished this? Were it not for
Jesus Christ would the bible, the torah, have reached this land of
America? Would the name of Moses be spread throughout the world? Refer to
history. Everyone knows that when Christianity was spread, there was a
simultaneous spread of the knowledge of Judaism and the torah. Throughout
the length and breadth of Persia there was not a single volume of the Old
Testament until the religion of Jesus Christ caused it to appear
everywhere, so that today the holy bible is a household book in that
country. It is evident then that Christ was a friend of Moses, that he
loved and believed in His Holiness Moses, otherwise he would not have
commemorated his name and prophethood. This is self-evident. Therefore
Christians and Jews should have the greatest love for each other because
the founders of these two great religions have been in perfect agreement
in book and teaching. Their followers should be likewise.

We have already stated the valid proofs of prophethood. We find the very
evidences of the validity of His Holiness Moses were witnessed and
duplicated in His Holiness Christ. His Holiness Christ was also a unique
and single personage born of the lineage of Israel. By the power of his
Word he was able to unite people of the Roman, Greek, Chaldean, Egyptian
and Assyrian nations. Whereas they had been cruel, bloodthirsty and
hostile, killing, pillaging and taking each other captive, he cemented
them together in a perfect bond of unity and love. He caused them to agree
and become reconciled. Such mighty effects were the results of the
manifestation of one single soul. This proves conclusively that His
Holiness Christ was assisted by God. Today all Christians admit and
believe that His Holiness Moses was a prophet of God. They declare that
his book was the Book of God, that the prophets of Israel were true and
valid and that the people of Israel constituted the people of God. What
harm has come from this? What harm could come from a statement by the Jews
that Jesus was also a manifestation of the Word of God? Have the
Christians suffered for their belief in Moses? Have they experienced any
loss of religious enthusiasm or witnessed any defeat in their religious
belief by declaring that His Holiness Moses was a prophet of God, that the
torah was a Book of God and that all the prophets of Israel were prophets
of God? It is evident that no loss comes from this. And now it is time for
the Jews to declare that Christ was the Word of God and then this enmity
between two great religions will pass away. For two thousand years this
enmity and religious prejudice have continued. Blood has been shed,
ordeals have been suffered. These few words will remedy the difficulty and
unite two great religions. What harm could follow this,—that just as the
Christians glorify and praise the name of Moses, likewise the Jews should
commemorate the name of Christ, declare him to be the Word of God and
consider him as one of the chosen messengers of God?

A few words concerning the koran and the Mohammedans: When His Holiness
Mohammed appeared he spoke of Moses as the great man of God. In the koran
he refers to the sayings of Moses in seven different places, proclaims him
a prophet and the possessor of a Book, the founder of the law, and the
spirit of God. He said, “Whosoever believes in him is acceptable in the
estimation of God and whosoever shuns him or any of the prophets is
rejected of God.” Even in conclusion he calls upon his own relatives,
saying, “Why have ye shunned and not believed in Moses? Why have ye not
acknowledged the torah? Why have ye not believed in the Jewish prophets?”
In a certain surat of the koran he mentions the names of twenty-eight of
the prophets of Israel, praising each and all of them. To this great
extent he has ratified and commended the prophets and religion of Israel.
The purport is this,—that Mohammed praised and glorified His Holiness
Moses and confirmed Judaism. He declared that whosoever denies Moses is
contaminated and even if he repents, his repentance will not be accepted.
He pronounced his own relatives infidels and impure because they had
denied the prophets. He said, “Because you have not believed in Christ,
because you have not believed in Moses, because you have not believed in
the gospels you are infidels and contaminated.” In this way Mohammed has
praised the torah, Moses, Christ and the prophets of the past. He appeared
amongst the Arabs who were a people nomadic and illiterate, barbarous in
nature and blood-thirsty. He guided and trained them until they attained a
high degree of development. Through his education and discipline they rose
from the lowest levels of ignorance to the heights of knowledge, becoming
masters of erudition and philosophy. We see therefore that the proofs
applicable to one prophet are equally applicable to another.

In conclusion; since the prophets themselves, the founders, have loved,
praised and testified of each other, why should we disagree and be
alienated? God is one. He is the shepherd of all. We are his sheep and
therefore should live together in love and unity. We should manifest the
spirit of justness and good-will toward each other. Shall we do this or
shall we censure and pronounce anathema, praising ourselves and condemning
all others? What possible good can come from such attitude and action? On
the contrary, nothing but enmity and hatred, injustice and inhumanity can
possibly result. Has not this been the greatest cause of bloodshed, woe
and tribulation in the past?

Praise be to God! You are living in a land of freedom. You are blessed
with men of learning, men who are well versed in the comparative study of
religions. You realize the need of unity and know the great harm which
comes from prejudice and superstition. I ask you, Is not fellowship and
brotherhood preferable to enmity and hatred in society and community? The
answer is self-evident. Love and fellowship are absolutely needful to win
the good-pleasure of God which is the goal of all human attainment. We
must be united. We must love each other. We must ever praise each other.
We must bestow commendation upon all people, thus removing the discord and
hatred which have caused alienation amongst men. Otherwise the conditions
of the past will continue, praising ourselves and condemning others;
religious wars will have no end and religious prejudice, the prime cause
of this havoc and tribulation, will increase. This must be abandoned, and
the way to do it is to investigate the reality which underlies all the
religions. This underlying reality is the love of humanity. For God is one
and humanity is one, and the only creed of the prophets is love and unity.



THE QUICKENING SPIRIT


Today the human world is in need of a great power by which these glorious
principles and purposes may be executed. The cause of peace is a very
great cause; it is the cause of God, and all the forces of the world are
opposed to it. Governments for instance, consider militarism as the step
to human progress, that division among men and nations is the cause of
patriotism and honor, that if one nation attack and conquer another,
gaining wealth, territory and glory thereby, this warfare and conquest,
this bloodshed and cruelty are the cause of that victorious nation’s
advancement and prosperity. This is an utter mistake. Compare the nations
of the world to the members of a family. A family is a nation in
miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household and you have the
nation. Enlarge the circle of nations and you have all humanity. The
conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in
the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to
the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among
its members, fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of
injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the
effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of
nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore as strife
and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are
destroyed and advancement hindered.

All the heavenly books, divine prophets, sages and philosophers agree that
warfare is destructive to human development, and peace constructive. They
agree that war and strife strike at the foundations of humanity. Therefore
a power is needed to prevent war and to proclaim and establish the oneness
of humanity.

But knowledge of the need of this power is not sufficient. Realizing that
wealth is desirable is not becoming wealthy. The admission that scientific
attainment is praiseworthy does not confer scientific knowledge.
Acknowledgment of the excellence of honor does not make a man honorable.
Knowledge of human conditions and the needed remedy for them is not the
cause of their betterment. To admit that health is good does not
constitute health. A skilled physician is needed to remedy existing human
conditions. As a physician is required to have complete knowledge of
pathology, diagnosis, therapeutics and treatment, so this world physician
must be wise, skillful and capable before health will result. His mere
knowledge is not health; it must be applied and the remedy carried out.

The attainment of any object is conditioned upon knowledge, volition and
action. Unless these three conditions are forthcoming there is no
execution or accomplishment. In the erection of a house it is first
necessary to know the ground and design the house suitable for it; second,
to obtain the means or funds necessary for the construction; third, to
actually build it. Therefore a power is needed to carry out and execute
what is known and admitted to be the remedy for human conditions; namely,
the unification of mankind. Furthermore, it is evident that this cannot be
realized through material process and means. The accomplishment of this
unification cannot be through racial power, for races are different and
diverse in tendencies. It cannot be through patriotic power, for
nationalities are unlike. Nor can it be effected through political power
since the policies of governments and nations are various. That is to say,
any effort toward unification through these material means would benefit
one and injure another because of unequal and individual interests. Some
may believe this great remedy can be found in dogmatic insistence upon
imitations and interpretations. This would likewise be without foundation
and result. Therefore it is evident that no means but an ideal means, a
spiritual power, divine bestowals and the breaths of the Holy Spirit will
heal this world sickness of war, dissension and discord. Nothing else is
possible; nothing can be conceived of. But through spiritual means and the
divine power it is possible and practicable.

Consider history. What has brought unity to nations, morality to peoples
and benefits to mankind? If we reflect upon it we will find that
establishing the divine religions has been the greatest means toward
accomplishing the oneness of humanity. The foundation of divine reality in
religion has done this; not imitations of ancestral religious forms.
Imitations are opposed to each other and have ever been the cause of
strife, enmity, jealousy and war. The divine religions are collective
centers in which diverse standpoints may meet, agree and unify. They
accomplish oneness of nativities, races and policies. For instance, His
Holiness Christ united various nations, brought peace to warring peoples
and established the oneness of human kind. The conquering Greeks and
Romans, the prejudiced Egyptians and Assyrians were all in a condition of
strife, enmity and war but His Holiness gathered these varied peoples
together and removed the foundations of discord; not through racial,
patriotic or political power but through divine power, the power of the
Holy Spirit. This was not otherwise possible. All other efforts of men and
nations remain as mere mention in history, without accomplishment.

As this great result is contingent upon divine power and bestowals, where
shall the world obtain that power? God is eternal and ancient; not a new
God. His sovereignty is of old, not recent; not merely existent these five
or six thousand years. This infinite universe is from everlasting. The
sovereignty, power, names and attributes of God are eternal, ancient. His
names presuppose creation and predicate His existence and will. We say God
is creator. This name creator appears when we connote creation. We say God
is the provider. This name presupposes and proves the existence of the
provided. God is love. This name proves the existence of the beloved. In
the same way God is mercy, God is justice, God is life, etc., etc.
Therefore as God is creator, eternal and ancient, there were always
creatures and subjects existing and provided for. There is no doubt that
divine sovereignty is eternal. Sovereignty necessitates subjects,
ministers, trustees and others subordinate to sovereignty. Could there be
a king without country, subjects and armies? If we conceive of a time when
there were no creatures, no servants, no subjects of divine lordship we
dethrone God and predicate a time when God was not. It would be as if He
had been recently appointed and man had given these names to Him. The
divine sovereignty is ancient, eternal. God from everlasting was love,
justice, power, creator, provider, the omniscient, the bountiful.

As the divine entity is eternal, the divine attributes are co-existent,
co-eternal. The divine bestowals are therefore without beginning, without
end. God is infinite; the works of God are infinite; the bestowals of God
are infinite. As His divinity is eternal, His lordship and perfections are
without end. As the bounty of the Holy Spirit is eternal, we can never say
that His bestowals terminate, else He terminates. If we think of the sun
and then try to conceive of the cessation of the solar flame and heat, we
have predicated the non-existence of the sun. For separation of the sun
from its rays and heat is inconceivable. Therefore if we limit the
bestowals of God we limit the attributes of God and limit God.

Let us then trust in the bounty and bestowal of God. Let us be exhilarated
with the divine breath, illumined and exalted by the heavenly
glad-tidings. God has ever dealt with man in mercy and kindness. He who
conferred the divine spirit in former times is abundantly able and capable
at all times and periods to grant the same bestowals. Therefore let us be
hopeful. The God who gave to the world formerly will do so now and in the
future. God who breathed the breath of the Holy Spirit upon His servants
will breathe it upon them now and hereafter. There is no cessation to His
bounty. The divine spirit is penetrating from eternity to eternity for it
is the bounty of God and the bounty of God is eternal. Can you conceive of
limitation of the divine power in atomic verities or cessation of the
divine bounty in existing organisms? Could you conceive the power now
manifest in this glass in cohesion of its atoms, becoming non-existent?
The energy by which the water of the sea is constituted, failing to exert
itself and the sea disappearing? A shower of rain today and no more
showers afterward? The effulgence of the sun terminated and no more light
or heat?

When we observe that in the kingdom of minerals the divine bounties are
continuous, how much more shall we expect and realize in the divine
spiritual Kingdom! How much greater the radiation of the lights of God and
the bounty of life everlasting upon the soul of man! As the body of the
universe is continuous, indestructible, the bounties and bestowals of the
divine spirit are everlasting.

I praise God that I am privileged to be present in this revered
assembly(10) which is quickened with spiritual susceptibilities and
heavenly attraction; its members investigating the reality; their utmost
hope the establishment of international peace and their greatest purpose
service to the world of humanity.

When we observe the world of created phenomena we discover that each atom
of the atoms of substance is moving through the various degrees and
kingdoms of organic life. For instance, consider the ethereal element
which is penetrating and traveling through all the contingent realities.
When there is vibration or movement in the ethereal element, the eye is
affected by that vibration and beholds what is known as light.

In the same manner the bestowals of God are moving and circulating
throughout all created things. This illimitable divine bounty has no
beginning and will have no ending. It is moving, circulating and becomes
effective wherever capacity is developed to receive it. In every station
there is a specialized capacity. Therefore we must be hopeful that through
the bounty and favor of God, this spirit of life infusing all created
things shall quicken humanity and from its bestowals the human world
become a divine world, this earthly kingdom the mirror of the realm of
divinity, the virtues and perfections of the world of humanity become
unveiled and the image and likeness of God be reflected from this temple.



THE LAW OF GOD


Surely for everything there is an all-comprehending wisdom; especially for
the great and important affairs of life. The supreme and most important
happening in the human world is the Manifestation of God and the descent
of the law of God. The holy, divine Manifestations did not reveal
themselves for the purpose of founding a nation, sect or faction. They did
not appear in order that a certain number might acknowledge their
prophethood. They did not declare their heavenly mission and message in
order to lay the foundation for a religious belief. Even His Holiness
Christ did not become manifest that we should merely believe in him as the
Christ, follow him and adore his mention. All these are limited in scope
and requirement whereas the Reality of Christ is an unlimited essence. The
infinite and unlimited Reality cannot be bounded by any limitation. Nay,
rather His Holiness Christ appeared in order to illumine the world of
humanity, to render the earthly world celestial, to make the human kingdom
a realm of angels, to unite the hearts, to enkindle the light of love in
human souls, so that such souls might become independent, attaining
complete unity and fellowship, turning to God, entering into the divine
Kingdom, receiving the bounties and bestowals of God and partaking of the
manna from heaven. Through Christ they were intended to be baptized by the
Holy Spirit, attain a new spirit and realize the life everlasting. All the
holy precepts and the announcements of prophetic laws were for these
various and heavenly purposes. Therefore we offer thanks to God that
although no earthly relation obtains among us, yet—Praise be to God!—ideal
and divine bonds blend us together. We have gathered here in this meeting,
eagerly anticipating the showing forth of the divine bestowals.

In past centuries the nations of the world have imagined that the law of
God demanded blind imitation of ancestral forms of belief and worship. For
example the Jews were captives of hereditary racial religious observances.
The Mohammedans likewise have been held in the bondage of traditionary
forms and ceremonials. The Christians also have been implicit followers of
ancient tradition and hereditary teaching. At the same time the basic
foundation of the religion of God which was ever the principle of love,
unity and the fellowship of humanity has been forsaken and cast aside,
each religious system holding tenaciously to imitations of ancestral forms
as the supreme essential. Therefore hatred and hostility have appeared in
the world instead of the divine fruitage of unity and love. By reason of
this it has been impossible for the followers of religion to meet together
in fellowship and agreement. Even contact and communication have been
considered contaminating and the outcome has been a condition of complete
alienation and mutual bigotry. There has been no investigation of the
essential underlying basis of reality. One whose father was a Jew,
invariably proved to be a Jew; a Mohammedan was born of a Mohammedan; a
Buddhist was a Buddhist because of the faith of his father before him; and
so on. In brief, religion was a heritage descending from father to son,
ancestry to posterity without investigation of the fundamental reality;
consequently all religionists were veiled, obscured and at variance.

Praise be to God! We are living in this most radiant century wherein human
perceptions have developed and investigations of real foundations
characterize mankind. Individually and collectively man is proving and
penetrating into the reality of outer and inner conditions. Therefore it
has come to pass that we are renouncing all that savors of blind
imitation, and impartially and independently investigating truth. Let us
understand what constitutes the reality of the divine religions. If a
Christian sets aside traditionary forms and blind imitation of ceremonials
and investigates the reality of the gospels, he will discover that the
foundation principles of the teachings of His Holiness Christ were mercy,
love, fellowship, benevolence, altruism, the resplendence or radiance of
divine bestowals, acquisition of the breaths of the Holy Spirit and
oneness with God. Furthermore he will learn that His Holiness declared
that the Father “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and
sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” The meaning of this
declaration is that the mercy of God encircles all mankind; that not a
single individual is deprived of the mercy of God; and no soul is denied
the resplendent bestowals of God. The whole human race is submerged in the
sea of the mercy of the Lord and we are all the sheep of the one divine
shepherd. Whatever shortcomings exist among us must be remedied. For
example those who are ignorant must be educated so that they may become
wise; the sick must be treated until they recover; those who are immature
must be trained in order to reach maturity; those asleep must be awakened.
All this must be accomplished through love and not through hatred and
hostility. Furthermore His Holiness Jesus Christ referring to the prophecy
of Isaiah, spoke of those who “having eyes, see not, having ears, hear
not, having hearts, understand not,” yet they were to be healed. Therefore
it is evident that the bounties of Christ transformed the eye which was
blind into a seeing one, rendered the ear which was formerly deaf,
attentive, and made the hard, callous heart tender and sensitive. In other
words the meaning is that although the people possess external eyes, yet
the insight or perception of the soul is blind; although the outer ear
hears, the spiritual hearing is deaf; although they possess conscious
hearts they are without illumination; and the bounties of His Holiness
Christ save souls from these conditions. It is evident then that the
manifestation of the Messiah was synonymous with universal mercy. His
providence was universal and his teachings were for all. His lights were
not restricted to a few. Every “Christ” came to the world of mankind.
Therefore we must investigate the foundation of divine religion, discover
its reality, re-establish it and spread its message throughout the world
so that it may become the source of illumination and enlightenment to
mankind, the spiritually dead become alive, the spiritually blind receive
sight and those who are inattentive to God become awakened.



CONTINUITY OF REVELATION


Those who are uninformed of the world of reality, who do not comprehend
existing things, who are without perception of the inner truth of
creation, who do not penetrate the real mysteries of material and
spiritual phenomena and who possess only a superficial idea of universal
life and being are but embodiments of pure ignorance. They believe only
that which they have heard from their fathers and ancestors. Of themselves
they have no hearing, no sight, no reason, no intellect; they rely solely
upon tradition. Such persons imagine that the dominion of God is an
accidental dominion or kingdom.

For instance they believe that this world of existence was created six or
seven thousand years ago; as if God did not reign before that time and had
no creation before that period. They think that divinity is accidental,
for to them divinity is dependent upon existing things whereas in reality
as long as there has been a God there has been a creation. As long as
there has been light, there have been recipients of that light, for light
cannot become manifest unless those things which perceive and appreciate
it exist. The world of divinity presupposes creation, presupposes
recipients of bounty, presupposes the existence of worlds. No divinity can
be conceived as separate from creation, for otherwise it would be like
imagining an empire without a people. A king must needs have a kingdom,
must needs have an army and subjects. Is it possible to be a king and have
no country, no army, no subjects? This is an absurdity. If we say that
there was a time when there was no country, no army and no subjects, how
then could there have been a king and ruler? For these things are
essential to a king.

Consequently just as the reality of divinity never had a beginning,—that
is, God has ever been a creator, God has ever been a provider, God has
ever been a quickener, God has ever been a bestower,—so there never has
been a time when the attributes of God have not had expression. The sun is
the sun because of its rays, because of its heat. Were we to conceive of a
time when there was a sun without heat and light, it would imply that
there had been no sun at all and that it became the sun afterward. So
likewise if we say there was a time when God had no creation or created
beings, a time when there were no recipients of His bounties and that His
names and attributes had not been manifested, this would be equivalent to
a complete denial of divinity, for it would mean that divinity is
accidental. To explain it still more clearly, if we think that fifty
thousand years ago or one hundred thousand years ago there was no
creation, that there were then no worlds, no human beings, no animals,
this thought of ours would mean that previous to that period there was no
divinity. If we should say that there was a time when there was a king but
there were no subjects, no army, no country for him to rule over, it would
really be asserting that there was a time when no king existed and that
the king is accidental. It is therefore evident that inasmuch as the
reality of divinity is without a beginning, creation is also without a
beginning. This is as clear as the sun. When we contemplate this vast
machinery of omnipresent power, perceive this illimitable space and its
innumerable worlds it will become evident to us that the lifetime of this
infinite creation is more than six thousand years; nay, it is very, very
ancient.

Notwithstanding this, we read in Genesis in the Old Testament that the
lifetime of creation is but six thousand years. This has an inner meaning
and significance; it is not to be taken literally. For instance it is said
in the Old Testament that certain things were created in the first day.
The narrative shows that at that time the sun was not yet created. How
could we conceive of a day if no sun existed in the heavens; for the day
depends upon the light of the sun? Inasmuch as the sun had not been made,
how could the first day be realized? Therefore these statements have
significances other than literal.

To be brief; our purpose is to show that the divine sovereignty, the
Kingdom of God, is an ancient sovereignty; that it is not an accidental
sovereignty; just as a kingdom presupposes the existence of subjects, of
an army, of a country; for otherwise the state of dominion, authority and
kingdom cannot be conceived of. Therefore if we should imagine that the
creation is accidental we would be forced to admit that the creator is
accidental whereas the divine bounty is ever flowing and the rays of the
Sun of Truth are continuously shining. No cessation is possible to the
divine bounty, just as no cessation is possible to the rays of the sun.
This is clear and obvious.

Thus there have been many holy Manifestations of God. One thousand years
ago, two hundred thousand years ago, one million years ago the bounty of
God was flowing, the radiance of God was shining, the dominion of God was
existing.

Why do these holy Manifestations of God appear? What is the wisdom and
purpose of their coming? What is the outcome of their mission? It is
evident that human personality appears in two aspects,—the image or
likeness of God and the aspect of Satan. The human reality stands between
these two,—the divine and the satanic. It is manifest that beyond this
material body, man is endowed with another reality which is the world of
exemplars constituting the heavenly body of man. In speaking, man says, “I
saw,” “I spoke,” “I went.” Who is this “I”? It is obvious that this “I” is
different from this body. It is clear that when man is thinking, it is as
though he were consulting with some other person. With whom is he
consulting? It is evident that it is another reality or one aside from
this body with whom he enters into consultation when he thinks, “Shall I
do this work or not?” “What will be the result of my doing this?” Or when
he questions the other reality, “What is the objection to this work if I
do it?” And then that reality in man communicates its opinion to him
concerning the point at issue. Therefore that reality in man is clearly
and obviously other than his body, an ego with which man enters into
consultation and whose opinion man seeks.

Often a man makes up his mind positively about a matter; for instance he
determines to undertake a journey. Then he thinks it over, that is, he
consults his inner reality and finally concludes that he will give up his
journey. What has happened? Why did he abandon his original purpose? It is
evident that he has consulted his inner reality which expresses to him the
disadvantages of such a journey, therefore he defers to that reality and
changes his original intention.

Furthermore man sees in the world of dreams. He travels in the East, he
travels in the West, although his body is stationary, his body is here. It
is that reality in him which makes the journey while the body sleeps.
There is no doubt that a reality exists other than the outward, physical
reality. Again for instance a person is dead, is buried in the ground.
Afterward you see him in the world of dreams and speak with him although
his body is interred in the earth. Who is the person you see in your
dreams, talk to and who also speaks with you? This again proves that there
is another reality different from the physical one which dies and is
buried. Thus it is certain that in man there is a reality which is not the
physical body. Sometimes the body becomes weak but that other reality is
in its own normal state. The body goes to sleep, becomes as one dead but
that reality is moving about, comprehending things, expressing them and is
even conscious of itself.

This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal
form which corresponds to this body. This is the conscious reality which
discovers the inner meaning of things, for the outer body of man does not
discover anything. The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of
existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical
application. It discovers electricity, produces the telegraph, the
telephone and opens the door to the world of arts. If the outer material
body did this, the animal would likewise be able to make scientific and
wonderful discoveries, for the animal shares with man all physical powers
and limitations. What then is that power which penetrates the realities of
existence and which is not to be found in the animal? It is the inner
reality which comprehends things, throws light upon the mysteries of life
and being, discovers the heavenly Kingdom, unseals the mysteries of God
and differentiates man from the brute. Of this there can be no doubt.

As we have before indicated, this human reality stands between the higher
and the lower in man, between the world of the animal and the world of
divinity. When the animal proclivity in man becomes predominant, he sinks
even lower than the brute. When the heavenly powers are triumphant in his
nature, he becomes the noblest and most superior being in the world of
creation. All the imperfections found in the animal are found in man. In
him there is antagonism, hatred and selfish struggle for existence; in his
nature lurk jealousy, revenge, ferocity, cunning, hypocrisy, greed,
injustice and tyranny. So to speak, the reality of man is clad in the
outer garment of the animal, the habiliments of the world of nature, the
world of darkness, imperfections and unlimited baseness.

On the other hand, we find in him justice, sincerity, faithfulness,
knowledge, wisdom, illumination, mercy and pity coupled with intellect,
comprehension, the power to grasp the realities of things and the ability
to penetrate the truths of existence. All these great perfections are to
be found in man. Therefore we say that man is a reality which stands
between light and darkness. From this standpoint of view, his nature is
threefold, animal, human and divine. The animal nature is darkness; the
heavenly is light in light.

The holy Manifestations of God come into the world to dispel the darkness
of the animal or physical nature of man, to purify him from his
imperfections in order that his heavenly and spiritual nature may become
quickened, his divine qualities awakened, his perfections visible, his
potential powers revealed and all the virtues of the world of humanity
latent within him may come to life. These holy Manifestations of God are
the educators and trainers of the world of existence, the teachers of the
world of humanity. They liberate man from the darkness of the world of
nature, deliver him from despair, error, ignorance, imperfections and all
evil qualities. They clothe him in the garment of perfections and exalted
virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They
are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are savage and
cruel; the Manifestations lead them into kingdoms of light and love. They
are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to become just. Man is selfish;
they sever him from self and desire. Man is haughty; they make him meek,
humble and friendly. He is earthly; they make him heavenly. Men are
material; the Manifestations transform them into semblance divine. They
are immature children; the Manifestations develop them into maturity. Man
is poor; they endow him with wealth. Man is base, treacherous and mean;
the Manifestations of God uplift him into dignity, nobility and loftiness.

These holy Manifestations liberate the world of humanity from the
imperfections which beset it and cause men to appear in the beauty of
heavenly perfections. Were it not for the coming of these holy
Manifestations of God all mankind would be found on the plane of the
animal. They would remain darkened and ignorant like those who have been
denied schooling and who never had a teacher or trainer. Undoubtedly such
unfortunates will continue in their condition of need and deprivation.

If the mountains, hills and plains of the material world are left wild and
uncultivated under the rule of nature, they will remain an unbroken
wilderness; no fruitful tree to be found anywhere upon them. A true
cultivator changes this forest and jungle into a garden, training its
trees to bring forth fruit and causing flowers to grow in place of thorns
and thistles. The holy Manifestations are the ideal gardeners of human
souls, the divine cultivators of human hearts. The world of existence is
but a jungle of disorder and confusion, a state of nature producing
nothing but fruitless, useless trees. The ideal gardeners train these wild
uncultivated human trees, cause them to become fruitful, water and
cultivate them day by day so that they adorn the world of existence and
continue to flourish in the utmost beauty.

Consequently we cannot say that the divine bounty has ceased, that the
glory of divinity is exhausted or the Sun of Truth sunk into eternal
sunset, into that darkness which is not followed by light, into that night
which is not followed by a sunrise and dawn, into that death which is not
followed by life, into that error which is not followed by truth. Is it
conceivable that the Sun of Reality should sink into an eternal darkness?
No! the sun was created in order that it may shed light upon the world and
train all the kingdoms of existence. How then can the ideal Sun of Truth,
the Word of God, set forever? For this would mean the cessation of the
divine bounty, and the divine bounty by its very nature is continuous and
ceaseless. Its sun is ever shining, its cloud is ever producing rain, its
breezes are ever blowing, its bestowals are all-comprehending, its gifts
are ever perfect. Consequently we must always anticipate, always be
hopeful and pray to God that he will send unto us his holy Manifestations
in their most perfect might, with the divine penetrative power of his
Word, so that these heavenly ones may be distinguished above all other
beings in every respect, in every attribute, just as the glorious sun is
distinguished above all stars.

Although the stars are scintillating and brilliant, the sun is superior to
them in luminous effulgence. Similarly these holy divine Manifestations
are and must always be distinguished above all other beings in every
attribute of glory and perfection, in order that it may be proven that the
Manifestation is the true teacher and real trainer; that he is the Sun of
Truth endowed with a supreme splendor and reflecting the beauty of God.
Otherwise it is not possible for us to train one human individual and then
after training him, believe in him and accept him as the holy
Manifestation of divinity. The real Manifestation of God must be endowed
with divine knowledge and not dependent upon learning acquired in schools.
He must be the educator, not the educated; his standard intuition instead
of tuition. He must be perfect and not imperfect, great and glorious
instead of being weak and impotent. He must be wealthy in the riches of
the spiritual world and not indigent. In a word, the holy divine
Manifestation of God must be distinguished above all others of mankind in
every aspect and qualification, in order that he may be able to
effectively train the human body politic, eliminate the darkness
enshrouding the human world, uplift humanity from a lower to a higher
kingdom, be able through the penetrative power of his Word to promote and
spread broadcast the beneficent message of universal peace among men,
bring about the unification of mankind in religious belief through a
manifest divine power, harmonize all sects and denominations and convert
all nativities and nationalities into one nativity and fatherland.

It is our hope that the bounties of God will encompass us all, the gifts
of the divine become manifest, the lights of the Sun of Truth illumine our
eyes, inspire our hearts, convey to our souls cheerful glad-tidings of
God, cause our thoughts to become lofty and our efforts to be productive
of glorious results. In a word, it is our hope that we may attain to that
which is the summit of human aspirations and wishes.



FOOTNOTES


    1 1912.

    2 New York Peace Society.

    3 1912.

    4 1912.

    5 The members of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, The
      Hague; to whom this Tablet was sent in reply to several letters.

    6 Howard University.

    7 1911.

    8 Columbia University, New York City.

    9 The congregation of Eighth Street Temple, Washington, D.C.

   10 Theosophical Society.





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