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Introduction






_We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet
they deem Us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and
banishment.... That all nations should become one in faith and all men as
brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men
should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and
differences of race be annulled--what harm is there in this?... Yet so it
shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and
the 'Most Great Peace' shall come.... Yet do We see your kings and rulers
lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the
human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of
mankind.... These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and
all men be as one kindred and one family.... Let not a man glory in this,
that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his
kind...._

One hundred years ago, Baha'u'llah, Founder of the Baha'i Faith,
proclaimed in clear and unmistakable language, to the kings and rulers of
the world, to its religious leaders, and to mankind in general that the
long-promised age of world peace and brotherhood had at last dawned and
that He Himself was the Bearer of the new message and power from God which
would transform the prevailing system of antagonism and enmity between men
and create the spirit and form of the destined world order.

At that time the splendour and panoply of the monarchs reflected the vast
power which they exercised, autocratically for the most part, over the
greater portion of the earth. Baha'u'llah, an exile from His native Persia
for His religious teaching, was the prisoner of the tyrannical,
all-powerful Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. In such circumstances He
addressed the rulers of the world. His Tablets to particular kings and to
the Pope, although delivered, were either ignored or rejected, their wise
counsels and dire warnings went unheeded, and in one instance the bearer
was cruelly tortured and killed.

Baha'u'llah, viewing that old world and seeing it 'at the mercy of rulers
so drunk with pride that they cannot discern clearly their own best
advantage' declared that '...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.' Although painting in sombre tones the 'divine
chastisement' which would assail most of those rulers and engulf in ruin
the peoples of the world, He nevertheless left no doubt about the outcome.
'Soon', He declared, 'will the present day order be rolled up and a new
one spread out in its stead.' Since the ascension of Baha'u'llah in 1892,
in the Holy Land, the rolling up of the old order has become the daily
experience of mankind and no abatement of this process is discernible. The
essence of Baha'u'llah's World Order is the unity of the human race. 'O ye
children of men', He writes, '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 He warns, 'The well-being of mankind, its
peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly
established.' The achievement of this unity is Baha'u'llah's declared
mission and the aim of all Baha'i activity. Its outline and structure are
indicated in the following passage from the writings of Shoghi Effendi,
great-grandson of Baha'u'llah and Guardian of the Baha'i Faith:


The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Baha'u'llah, implies
the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations,
races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and
in which the autonomy of its state members and personal freedom
and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely
and completely safeguarded. This commonwealth must, as far as we
can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members
will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control
the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact
such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the
needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. A
world executive, backed by an international Force, will carry out
the decisions arrived at, and apply the laws enacted by, this
world legislature, and will safeguard the organic unity of the
whole commonwealth. A world tribunal will adjudicate and deliver
its compulsory and final verdict in all and any disputes that may
arise between the various elements constituting this universal
system. A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised,
embracing the whole planet, freed from national hinderances and
restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and
perfect regularity. A world metropolis will act as the nerve
centre of a world civilization, the focus towards which the
unifying forces of life will converge and from which its
energizing influences will radiate. A world language will either
be invented or chosen from among the existing languages and will
be taught in the schools of all the federated nations as an
auxiliary to their mother tongue. A world script, a world
literature, a uniform and universal system of currency, of weights
and measures, will simplify and facilitate intercourse and
understanding among the nations and races of mankind. In such a
world society, science and religion, the two most potent forces in
human life, will be reconciled, will co-operate, and will
harmoniously develop. The press will, under such a system, while
giving full scope to the expression of the diversified views and
convictions of mankind, cease to be mischievously manipulated by
vested interests, whether private or public, and will be liberated
from the influence of contending governments and peoples. The
economic resources of the world will be organized, its sources of
raw materials will be tapped and fully utilized, its markets will
be co-ordinated and developed, and the distribution of its
products will be equitably regulated.

National rivalries, hatreds and intrigues will cease, and racial
animosity and prejudice will be replaced by racial amity,
understanding and co-operation. The causes of religious strife
will be permanently removed, economic barriers and restrictions
will be completely abolished, and the inordinate distinction
between classes will be obliterated. Destitution on the one hand,
and gross accumulation of ownership on the other, will disappear.
The enormous energy dissipated and wasted on war, whether economic
or political, will be consecrated to such ends as will extend the
range of human inventions and technical development, to the
increase of the productivity of mankind, to the extermination of
disease, to the extension of scientific research, to the raising
of the standard of physical health, to the sharpening and
refinement of the human brain, to the exploitation of the unused
and unsuspected resources of the planet, to the prolongation of
human life, and to the furtherance of any other agency that can
stimulate the intellectual, the moral, and spiritual life of the
entire human race.

A world federal system, ruling the whole earth and exercising
unchallengeable authority over its unimaginably vast resources,
blending and embodying the ideals of both the East and the West,
liberated from the curse of war and its miseries, and bent on the
exploitation of all the available sources of energy on the surface
of the planet, a system in which Force is made the servant of
Justice, whose life is sustained by its universal recognition of
one God and by its allegiance to one common Revelation--such is the
goal towards which humanity, impelled by the unifying forces of
life, is moving.


Baha'u'llah's message is one of hope, of love, of practical
reconstruction. Today we reap the appalling results of our forebears'
rejection of His divine call; but today there are new rulers, new people,
who perchance may hear and avoid or mitigate the severity of impending
catastrophe. It is with this hope and believing it to be its sacred duty,
that the Universal House of Justice, the international governing body of
the Baha'i Faith, proclaims again, through publication of these selected
passages, the essence of that mighty call of a century ago. In the same
hope and belief the Baha'is throughout the world will do their utmost
during this centenary period to bring to the attention of their fellow-men
the redeeming fact of this new outpouring of divine guidance and love. We
believe they will not labour in vain.

Haifa, 1967





Next: O Kings Of The Earth! He Who Is The Sovereign




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