Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, affirmed that there is one God who has progressively revealed His will to humanity through a series of Divine Messengers. These Messengers, Whom Baha’’u’llah called “Manifestations of God”, have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad.
“And since there can be no tie of direct intercourse to bind the one true God with His creation, and no resemblance whatever can exist between the transient and the Eternal, the contingent and the Absolute, He hath ordained that in every age and dispensation a pure and stainless Soul be made manifest in the kingdoms of earth and heaven.” ~ Bahá’u’lláh
It is the spirit released by the coming of these Manifestations, together with the influence of Their teachings and the social systems established by Their laws and precepts, that enable humankind to progress in its collective evolution.
Baha’is regard Bahá’u’lláh as the most recent of these Manifestations whose teachings address the ethical and spiritual challenges of the modern world. The challenge of maturity is to accept that we are one people, to free ourselves from the limited identities of the past, and to build together the foundations of a world civilization.
For more than a century, Baha’i communities around the globe have worked to dissolve prejudices based on nationality, race, religion and gender. They have collaborated with other like-minded organizations to promote social justice, world peace, and love for all humankind.
Representing a cross section of humanity, Baha’is come from more than 2,100 different ethnic and tribal groups living in over 100,000 localities throughout the world, numbering over five million. Because the Baha’i Faith is a single community, it comprises what is very likely the most diverse and widespread organized body of people on the planet.
The practical expression of the religious impulse in the modern age, Bahá’u’lláh says, is collective decision-making and collective action based on spiritual principles. To ensure that power is used as an instrument of justice, and that governance serves humanity’s true needs, decision-making authority, He insists, must rest with corporate bodies and not be left in the hands of individuals.
Bahá’í governing bodies, which are democratically elected, without nomination or electioneering, make decisions using a non-adversarial form of collective decision-making known as consultation.
Social and economic development is focused on increasing the capacity of individuals, communities, and institutions to take concrete steps that promote their spiritual and material well-being. This process of capacity building involves a global enterprise of learning in which people from virtually every cultural and ethnic background are working to apply the methods of science and the moral and spiritual insights found in the Bahá’í teachings to their particular local conditions. It is a process of action, evaluation, and adjustment; one in which local communities gradually improve their ability to define, analyze, and meet their own needs.
All human beings, Bahá’u’lláh states, “have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.” The creation of a peaceful global society that fosters both individual and collective well-being is at the heart of the Bahá’í vision of the future. Our development initiatives are designed to engage and benefit all the members of a community and not just Bahá’ís. Everyone is invited to join in this endeavor.
“The Earth Is But One Country and Mankind Its Citizens” ~ Bahá’u’lláh
(See Community Building Process of the Baha’i Community For Yellow Springs see: Programs for Spiritual Growth)
Quotations from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh
- O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart…
- Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.
- Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.
- The Prophets of God should be regarded as physicians whose task is to foster the well-being of the world and its peoples, that, through the spirit of oneness, they may heal the sickness of a divided humanity.
- For every age requireth a fresh measure of the light of God. Every Divine Revelation hath been sent down in a manner that befitted the circumstances of the age in which it hath appeared.
- Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench. The Hand of Divine power can, alone, deliver mankind from this desolating affliction.
- The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared.
- This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future.
- The utterance of God is a lamp whose light is these words: Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship.
- So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.
- Unity of God “He is a true believer in Divine unity who, far from confusing duality with oneness, refuseth to allow any notion of multiplicity to becloud his conception of the singleness of God who will regard the Divine Being as One Who, by His very nature transendeth the limitations of numbers.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Common Foundation of all Religions“…all the Prophets of God, His well-favoured, His holy and chosen Messengers are, without exception, the bearers of His names and the embodiments of His attributes.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Oneness of Humanity “Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Harmony of Science and Religion “Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth. Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man. ~‘Abdu’l-Baha
- Equality of Women and Men “The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.” ~’Abdu’l-Baha
- Elimination of All Prejudices “The followers of sincerity and faithfulness must consort with all the people of the world with joy and fragrance; for association is always conducive to union and harmony, and union and harmony are the cause of the order of the world and the life of nations.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Independent Investigation of Truth “Only when the lamp of search,…is kindled within the seeker’s heart…will…the mists of doubts and misgivings be dissipated, and the lights of knowledge and certitude envelop his being.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Elimination of Extremes of Poverty and Wealth “O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH!
The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.” ~Baha’u’llah
- Universal Education “Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.” ~Baha’u’llah
- World Peace Upheld by a World Commonwealth “We have enjoined upon all mankind to establish the Most Great Peace – the surest of all means for the protection of humanity. The sovereigns of the world should, with one accord, hold fast thereunto, for this is the supreme instrument that can ensure the security and welfare of all peoples and nations.” ~Baha’u’llah
Photos:Top 2 – Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, Illinois What the Baha’i Temple Reveals About the Baha’i Faith