Three Principles to Unite the World
A Baha'i Perspective

(Published in the Times of India on May 23, 2003)

During the mid-19th century, Baha'u'llah proclaimed three cardinal principles: The oneness of mankind, oneness of God and oneness of religion. He provided the blueprint for a New World Order which would help reduce human suffering.

Baha'u'llah revealed: "The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy." The entire focus of Baha'u'llah's revelation is the well-being of humanity, mitigation of man's suffering in this world and the progress of his soul both in this world and in the world to come.

Born in 1817 in Nur, in Iran's Tihran province to a vazir in the court of the king, Baha'u'llah gave up most of his material wealth for the welfare of the poor early in his life. He declared his mission in 1863 and founded the principle of oneness of the world of humanity advocating equality and justice for all. "So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth," he proclaimed. "The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens." He further enunciated the principles of equality of men and women, scientific investigation of truth, universal education and abolition of extremes of wealth and poverty.

Baha'u'llah wrote to all kings and heads of state encouraging and advising them to establish universal peace through disarmament and arbitration. Not unexpectedly, the kings and clergy rose against Him for they did not find his teachings conducive to their narrow personal and national interests. Baha'u'llah answered all their questions. Yet, they persecuted him and sent him to prison. Then he was banished from Tihran to Baghdad, to Constantinople, to Adrionople and eventually confined in a fortress in Akka. He passed away in Bahji (Israel) in 1892.

What was the Baha'u'llah like in person? Edward Granville Browne, the renowned Orientalist from Cambridge University, who went to meet with Baha'u'llah in the Most Great Prison has left his account for posterity: "The face of him on whom I gazed I can never forget, though I cannot describe it. Those piercing eyes seemed to read one's very soul; power and authority sat on that ample brow... No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!"

"The winds of despair," writes Baha'u'llah, as he surveys the immediate destinies of mankind, "are, alas, blowing from every direction, and the strife that divides and afflicts the human race is daily increasing. The signs of impending convulsions and chaos can now be discerned, inasmuch as the prevailing order appears to be lamentably defective." He has also written, "all the governments on earth will change. Oppression will envelop the world. And following a universal convulsion, the sun of justice will rise from the horizon of the unseen realm."

Contemplating the distant future of mankind, he emphatically prophesied: "These fruitless strife, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace' shall come... This strife and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men are as one kindred and one family."

Baha'u'llah unequivocally upheld the principle of fundamental unity of all religions, so important for establishing communal harmony. Baha'u'llah taught that religion is the chief foundation of love and unity and the cause of Oneness. If a religion becomes the cause of hatred and disharmony, it would be better that it should not exist.  

(Written by Anil Sarwal. The Baha'i community is celebrating the Declaration of the Bab)