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Ideals Of East And West

One of the organizers of the Races Congress present spoke of the Western
ideals of Baha'u'llah as differing from those of former prophets which
were tinged with the ideas and civilization of the East. He then asked
whether Baha'u'llah had made a special study of Western writings, and
founded his teachings in accordance with them.

'Abdu'l-Baha laughed heartily, and said that the books of Baha'u'llah,
written and printed sixty years ago, contained the ideals now so familiar
to the West, but, at that time, they had not been printed or thought of in
the West. Besides, he continued, supposing that a very advanced thinker
from the West had gone to visit Baha'u'llah and to teach Him, would the
name of such a great man and the fact of his visit have been unknown and
unrecorded? No! In former days, in the time of the Buddha and Zoroaster,
civilization in Asia and in the East was very much higher than in the West
and ideas and thoughts of the Eastern peoples were much in advance of, and
nearer to the thoughts of God than those of the West. But since that time
superstitions had crept into the religion and ideals of the East, and from
many differing causes the ideals and characters of the Eastern peoples had
gone down and down, lower and lower, while the Western peoples had been
constantly advancing and struggling towards the Light. Consequently, in
these days, the civilization of the West was much higher than that of the
East, and the ideas and thoughts of the people of the West were much
nearer to the thought of God than those of the East. Therefore, the ideals
of Baha'u'llah had been more quickly realized in the West.

'Abdu'l-Baha showed further how Baha'u'llah had exactly described in one
of his books what has since been carried out in the International Council
of Arbitration, describing its various functions, some of which have not
yet been realized and he ('Abdu'l-Baha) would describe them to us now, so
that when they were fulfilled, as they would be in the near future, we
might know that they had been prophesied by Baha'u'llah.

War was the greatest calamity that could overtake the nations, because the
people usually employed in agriculture, trades, commerce, and other useful
arts, were taken away from their various occupations and turned into
soldiers, so that there was great waste and loss, in addition to the
destruction and carnage of war.

Baha'u'llah had said that the functions of the International Court would
be to settle disputes that arose from time to time between the nations; to
define the exact boundaries of the different countries, and to decide what
number of soldiers and guns should be maintained by each nation, according
to its population, in order to preserve internal order. For instance, one
country might have ten thousand soldiers, another twenty thousand, another
fifteen thousand, and so on, in accordance with the size and population of
the nation; also if any people rebelled against the decision of the Court
and rejected it, the Court would empower the others to join their forces
and to endorse their decision, if need be, by united action.

We had not seen any of these things actualized as yet, but we should do so
in the future.

Next: Science And Faith

Previous: Notes Of A Conversation With 'abdu'l-baha

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