UNITY : THE NEED OF THE HOUR
"THE LOVERS OF MANKIND, THESE ARE
OF WHATEVER NATION, CREED OR COLOUR, THEY MAY BE."
We are all familiar with the story of the old Farmer who on his death bed taught the importance Of unity to his disunited sons through a bundle of Sticks. The story still occupies an important place in our society and has rather gained in popularity Because discord, disunity, strife and warfare have assumed unprecedented proportions in the modern world. "The recrudescence of religious intolerance, of racial animosity, and of patriotic arrogance; the Increasing evidences of selfishness, of suspicion, of fear and of fraud; the spread of terrorism, of lawless- ness, of drunkenness and of crime; the unquenchable Thirst for, and the feverish pursuit after, earthly vanities, riches and pleasures; the weakening of family solidarity; the laxity in parental control; the lapse into luxurious indulgence; the irresponsible attitude to- wards marriage and the consequent rising tide of divorce; the degeneracy of art and cusec, the infection of literature and the corruption of the press; the extension of the influence of those prophets of decadence who advocate companionate marriage, who preach the philosophy of nudity, who call modesty an intellectual fiction, who refuse to regard the procreation of children as sacred and primary purpose of marriage, who denounce religion as an opiate of the people, who would, if given free reign, lead back the human race to barbarism, chaos and ultimate extinction these appear as the outstanding characteristics of a decadent society, a society that must be either reborn or perish."
Thus it would not be wrong if we conclude that In the living history of making there has never been A time so fraught with political, religious and social Strife, economic instability and general insecurity.
Would leaders get together every day; ad minis- Traitors and people's representatives worry their heads In conferences for days and months but the solutions Arrived at hardly help to contain the strife amongst the Warring groups. The schemes devised by the calculations of the highest statesmen, the doctrines ad- Vance by the most distinguished exponents of economic theory, the principles inculcated by the most ardent of moralists have one and all failed to provide adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world may be built "Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man's individual conduct or in the existing relationships between organized com- mutinies and nations, has, alas, Strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its rulers and statesmen-however disinterested their motives, how- ever concerted their action, however unsparing in their zeal and devotion to its cause."
In these circumstances, it is indeed reassuring to Come across the following lines from the writings of Bahà'u'llàh :
"The All-knowing physician hath his finger on the pulse of Mankind. He perceiveth the disease and prescribeth, in his unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem and every soul its Particular aspiration. The remedy world needed in Its present day afflictions can never be the same as That which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations in its exigencies and requirements.
"We can well perceive how the whole human race is encompassed with great, with incalculable afflictions. We see it langue shying on its bed of sick- ness, sore - tried and disillusioned. They that are intoxicated by self conceit have interposed themselves between it and the Divine and infallible physician. Witness how they have entangled all men, themselves included, in the mesh of their devices. They can neither discover the cause of the disease, Nor have they any knowledge of the remedy.
"That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its people in one Universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired physician. This verily, is the truth and all else naught but error……"
"Bestir yourselves, O people," exhorts Bahà'u'llàh, in anticipation of the days of Divine justice, for the promised hour is now come, Abandon that which ye possess and seize that which God hath brought. Know ye of certainty that if ye turn not back from that which ye have committed, chastisement will overtake you on every side……." "We have fixed a tome for you, O people ! If ye fail at the appointed hour, to turn towards God, He verily, will lay violent hold on you and will cause grievous afflictions to assail you from every direction." "Leaders of religion, exponents of political the- orgies, governors of human institutions, who at present are witnessing with perplexity and dismay the bankruptcy of their ideas and the disintegration of their handiwork would do well to turn their gaze to the Revelation of Bahà'u'llàh and to meditate upon the World Order which, lying enshrined in His teachings is slowly and imperceptibly rising amid the welter and chaos of present day civilization."
"The call of Bahà'u'llàh is primarily directed against all forms of provincialism, all insularities and prejudices. If long cherished ideals and time honored institutions, if certain social assumptions and religious formulas have ceased to promote the welfare of the generality of making, if they no-longer minister to the needs of a continually evolving humanity, let them be swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines. Why should these, in a world subject to the immutable law of change and decay be exempt from the deterioration that must needs overtake every human institution ? For legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whaled and not humanity to be crucified for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine."
"There should, however, be no misgivings as to the animating purpose of the world wide law of Bahà'u'llàh. Far from aiming at the subversion of The existing foundations of society, it seeks to Broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a Manner constant with the needs of an ever-changing World, it can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, Nor can it undermine the essential loyalties. Its Purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and
Intelligent patriotism in men's hearts, nor to abolish The system of national autonomy so essential if the Evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, The diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration Then any that has animated the human race. It in- sits upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a united world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watch word is unity in diversity…….."
Bahà'u'llàh advises the people of the world to Have faith in three essential One nesses to begin with- Oneness of Man, Oneness of Religions and Oneness of God.
"The principle of Oneness of Mankind- the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahà'u'llàh revolve is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. Its appeal is not to be merely identified with a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and good - will among men, nor does it aim solely at fostering of harmonious co-operation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greeter …….. Its massage is applicable not only to the individual but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all the states and nations members of one human family ……… It implies an organic change in the structure of present day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn shibboleths of national creeds-creeds that have had their day and which must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different from and infinitely superior to, what the world has already conceived. It calls for no less than the reconstruction and demilitarization of the whole civilized world-a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units……….
"The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahà'u'llàh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable, that its realization is fast approaching, and that nothing short of a power that is born of God can succeed in establishing it. "
Never, perhaps, has the world seemed farther From religious unity than in these times. For many Centuries have the great religious communities- the Hindu, Zoroastrian, Mosaic, Buddhist, Christian, Moslem and other- been existing side by side, but Instead of blending together into a harmonious whole they have been at constant enmity and strife, each against the others. 'Abdu'l-Bahà the eldest son of Bahà'u'llàh', His successor and the sole interpreter of his Writings says, "From the beginning of human history down to the present time various religions of the world have anathematized one another and accused one another of flashy ….. They shunned each other most rigidly, exercising mutual animosity and rancor. Consider the history of religious warfare. How many languished in prisons ? How merciless the treatment of the captives ? All in the name of religion ?" Not only so, but each religion became split up, by division after division, into an increasing number of sects which were often bitterly opposed to each other. And yet it was revealed to all the followers of all religions, "This your religion is the one religion ……. To you hath God prescribed the faith which he commanded unto Noah, and which We commanded unto Abraham and Moses and Jesus saying : 'Observe this faith, and be not divided into sects therein !' The Founder of everyone of the great religions had called His followers to love and unity, but in every case the aim of the Founder was to a large extent lost sight of in a welter of intolerance and bigotry, formalism and hypocrisy, corruption and misrepresentation, schism and contention Bahà'u'llàh explains :' Religion is the greatest instrument for the order of the world and the tranquility of all existent beings. The weakening of the pillars of religion has encouraged the ignorant and rendered them audacious and arrogant. Truly I say, whatever lowers the lofty station of religion will in- crease heedlessness in the wicked, and finally result in anarchy ………….
Consider the civilization of the people of the Occident-how it has occasioned commotion and agitation to the people of the world. Infernal instruments have been devised and such atrocity is displayed in the destruction of life as has not been seen by the eyes of the world, nor heard by the ears of the
nations. It is impossible to reform these violent, overwhelming evils, except the peoples of the world become united upon a certain issue or under the shadow of One Religion……."
'Abdu'l-Bahà writes "All must abandon prejudices and must even go to each others' Churches and Mosques, for, in all of these worshipping places, the Name of God is mentioned. Since all gather to Worship God, what difference is there ?" During his life time, 'Abdu'l-Bahà visited the various places of worship-churches, Mosques and Synagogues and spoke about the one foundation of all the divine religions. He encouraged the leaders to go to each others' Churches and advised them to worship God in the utmost unity and harmony in the worshiping places of one another abandoning fanaticism.
In one of his talks in Paris, ' Abdu'l-Bahà said, "Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth ; it should give birth to spirituality and bring light and life to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division it would be better to be without it and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure, but if the remedy aggravates the complaint, it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not the cause of love and unity is no religion" Bahà'u'llàh warns his followers, "Beaver, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of his Cause or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and pro- claimed their revelation."
Of the Oneness of God, Bahà'u'llàh has reveal- ed, "God testified to the unity of his Godhood and to the singleness of his own Being. On the throne of eternity, form the inaccessible heights of his station. His tongue proclaimed that there is none other God but him. He himself, independently of his own essence ……." The followers of Bahà'u'llàh-the Bahá'ís-thus believe that there is but one God, though known by different names who has from eternity been exalted above the praise of any of his creatures and shall continue for ever, in his transcendent singleness and glory, sanctified from the glorification of anyone except his own self. There is, thus, none other God but him. He has no peer nor partner and there is none to equal or rival him.
"Surely the world, contracted and transformed into a single highly complex organism by the marvellous progress achieved in the realm of physical science, by the world wide expansion of commerce and industry, and struggling, under the pressure of world economic forces, admits the pitfalls of a materialistic civilization stands in dire need of restatement of the truth underlying all the Revelations of the past in a language suited to its essential requirements. And what voice other than that of Bahà'u'llàh - the Mouthpiece of God for this age - is capable of effecting a transformation of society as radical as that which he has already accomplished in the hearts of those men and women, so diversified and seemingly irreconcilable who constitute the body of his declared followers throughout the world ?
"That such a mighty conception is fast budding out in the minds of men, that voices are being raised in its support, that its salient features must fast crystallize in the consciousness of those who are in authority, few indeed can doubt."
"O ye children of men !" writes Bahà'u'llàh "the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and his Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship among men. Suffer it not to become a source of dissension and discord, of hate and enmity. This is the straight path, the fixed and immovable foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure."
(Compiled and presented by : Prof. Anil Sarwal)
1) Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
2) Shoghi Effendi.
3) Bahà'u'llàh, the Founder-Prophet of the Bahá'í Faith
5) Shoghi Effendi
6) Shoghi Effendi
7) Shoghi Effendi
8) Shoghi Effendi
10) Shoghi Effendi