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





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