Appreciations of the Bahá'í Faithpublished in Bahá'í World, Vol. 8 (1938-1940)
Wilmette, IL: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1941
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THE Revelation proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh, His followers believe, is divine in origin, all-embracing in scope, broad in its outlook, scientific in its method, humanitarian in its principles and dynamic in the influence it exerts on the hearts and minds of men. The mission of the Founder of their Faith, they conceive it to be to proclaim that religious truth is not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is continuous and progressive, that the Founders of all past religions, though different in the non-essential aspects of their teachings, "abide in the same Tabernacle, soar in the same heaven, are seated upon the same throne, utter the same speech and proclaim the same Faith." His Cause, they have already demonstrated, stands identified with, and revolves around, the principle of the organic unity of mankind as representing the consummation of the whole process of human evolution. This final stage in this stupendous evolution, they assert, is not only necessary but inevitable, that it is gradually approaching, and that nothing short of the celestial potency with which a divinely ordained Message can claim to be endowed can succeed in establishing it.
The Bahá'í Faith recognizes the unity of God and of His Prophets, upholds the principle of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all forms of superstition and prejudice, teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand-in-hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis of a peaceful, an ordered and progressive society. It inculcates the principle of equal opportunity, rights and privileges for both sexes, advocates compulsory education, abolishes extremes of poverty and wealth, exalts work performed in the spirit of service to the rank of worship, recommends the adoption of an auxiliary international language, and provides the necessary agencies for the establishment and safeguarding of a permanent and universal peace.
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Alphabetical List of Authors
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APPRECIATIONS OF THE BAHÁ'Í FAITH
BY DOWAGER QUEEN MARIE OF RUMANIA
Indeed a great light came to me with the message of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It came as all great messages come at an hour of dire grief and inner conflict and distress, so the seed sank deeply.
My youngest daughter finds also great strength and comfort in the teachings of the beloved masters.
We pass on the message from month to month and all those we give it to see a light suddenly lighting before them and much that was obscure and perplexing becomes simple, luminous and full of hope as never before.
That my open letter was balm to those suffering for the cause is indeed a great happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God accepted my humble tribute.
The occasion given me to be able to express myself publicly, was also His Work-for indeed it was a chain of circumstances of which each link led me unwittingly one step further, till suddenly all was clear before my eyes and I understood why it had been.
Thus does He lead us finally to our ultimate destiny.
Some of those of my caste wonder at and disapprove my courage to step forward pronouncing words not habitual for Crowned Heads to pronounce, but I advance by an inner urge I cannot resist. With bowed head I recognize that I too am but an instrument in greater Hands and rejoice in the knowledge.
Little by little the veil is lifting, grief tore it in two. And grief was also a step leading me ever nearer truth, therefore do I not cry out against grief!
May you and those beneath your guidance be blessed and upheld by the sacred strength of those gone before you.
She gave it to me because she had learned I was in grief and sadness and wanted to help.... She put it into my hands saying: "You seem to live up to His teachings." And when I opened the Book I saw it was the word of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, prophet of love and kindness, and of his father the great teacher of international goodwill and understanding-of a religion which links all creeds.
Their writings are a great cry toward peace, reaching beyond all limits of frontiers, above all dissension about rites and dogmas. It is a religion based upon the inner spirit of God, upon the great, not-to-be-overcome verity that God is love, meaning just that. It teaches that all hatreds, intrigues, suspicions, evil words, all aggressive patriotism even, are outside the one essential law of God, and that special beliefs are but surface things whereas the heart that beats with divine love knows no tribe nor race.
It is a wondrous Message that Bahá'u'lláh and his son 'Abdu'l-Bahá have given us. They have not set it up aggressively, knowing that the germ of eternal truth which lies at its core cannot but take root and spread.
There is only one great verity in it: Love, the mainspring of every energy, tolerance toward each other, desire of understanding each other, knowing each other, helping each other, forgiving each other.
It is Christ's Message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies between the year one and today. No man could fail to be better because of this Book.
I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Bahá'u'lláh or 'Abdu'l-Bahá comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you. Search out their Books, and let their glorious, peace-bringing, love-creating words and lessons sink into your hearts as they have into mine.
One's busy day may seem too full for religion. Or one may have a religion that satisfies. But the teachings of these gentle, wise and kindly men are compatible with all religion, and with no religion.
Seek them, and be the happier.
(From the Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926.)-------
Miss Martha L. Root-Editor
Of course, if you take the stand that creation has no aim, it is easy to dismiss life and death with a shrug and a "that ends it all; nothing comes after."
But how difficult it is so to dismiss the universe, our world, the animal and vegetable world, and man. How clearly one sees a plan in everything. How unthinkable it is that the miraculous development that has brought man's body, brain and spirit to what it is, should cease. Why should it cease? Why is it not logical that it goes on? Not the body, which is only an instrument, but the invisible spark or fire within the body which makes man one with the wider plan of creation.
My words are lame, and why should I grope for meanings when I can quote from one who has said it so much more plainly, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, whom I know would sanction the use of his words:
"The whole physical creation is perishable. Material bodies are composed of atoms. When these atoms begin to separate, decomposition sets in. Then comes what we call death.
"This composition of atoms which constitutes the body or mortal element of any created being, is temporary. When the power of attraction which holds these atoms together is withdrawn, the body as such ceases to exist.
"With the soul it is different. The soul is not a combination of elements, is not composed of many atoms, is of one indivisible substance and therefore eternal.
"It is entirely out of the order of physical creation; it is immortal! The soul, being an invisible, indivisible substance, can suffer neither disintegration nor destruction. Therefore there is no reason for its coming to an end.
"Consider the aim of creation: Is it possible that all is created to evolve and develop through countless ages with merely this small goal in view-a few years of man's life on earth? Is it not unthinkable that this should be the final aim of existence? Does a man cease to exist when he leaves his body? If his life comes to an end, then all previous evolution is useless. All has been for nothing. All those eons of evolution for nothing! Can we imagine that creation had no greater aim than this?
"The very existence of man's intelligence proves his immortality. His intelligence is the intermediary between his body and his spirit. When man allows his spirit, through his soul, to enlighten his understanding, then does he contain all creation; because man being the culmination of all that went before, and thus
superior to all previous evolutions, contains all the lower already-evolved world within himself. Illumined by the spirit through the instrumentality of the soul, man's radiant intelligence makes him the crowning point of creation!"
Thus does 'Abdu'l-Bahá explain to us the soul-the most convincing elucidation I know.
(From the Toronto Daily Star, September 28, 1926.)
This is not so. We cannot, with our earthly faculties entirely grasp His meaning-no more than we can really understand the meaning of Eternity.
God is certainly not the old Fatherly gentleman with the long beard that in our childhood we saw pictured sitting amongst clouds on the throne of judgment, holding the lightning of vengeance in His hand.
God is something simpler, happier, and yet infinitely more tremendous. God is All, Everything. He is the power behind all beginnings. He is the inexhaustible source of supply, of love, of good, of progress, of achievement. God is therefore Happiness.
His is the voice within us that shows us good and evil.
But mostly we ignore or misunderstand this voice. Therefore did He choose his Elect to come down amongst us upon earth to make clear His word, His real meaning. Therefore the Prophets; therefore Christ, Muhammad, Bahá'u'lláh, for man needs from time to time a voice upon earth to bring God to him, to sharpen the realization of the existence of the true God. Those voices sent to us had to become flesh, so that with our earthly ears we should be able to hear and understand.
Those who read their Bible with "peeled eyes" will find in almost every line some revelation. But it takes long life, suffering or some sudden event to tear all at once the veil from our eyes, so that we can truly see....Sorrow and suffering are the surest and also the most common instructors, the straightest channel to God-that is to say, to that inner something within each of us which is God.
Happiness beyond all understanding comes with this revelation that God is within us, if we will but listen to His voice. We need not seek Him in the clouds. He is the All-Father whence we came and to whom we shall return when, having done with this earthly body, we pass onward.
If I have repeated myself, forgive me. There are so many ways of saying things, but what is important is the truth which lies in all the many ways of expressing it. (From the Philadelphia "Evening Bulletin," Monday, September 27, 1926.)
"It is like a wide embrace gathering together all those who have long searched for words of hope.
"It accepts all great prophets gone before, it destroys no other creeds and leaves all doors open.
"Saddened by the continual strife amongst believers of many confessions and wearied of their intolerance towards each other, I discovered in the Bahá'í teaching the real spirit of Christ so often denied and misunderstood:
"Unity instead of strife, hope instead of condemnation, love instead of hate, and a great reassurance for all men."
"To those in search of assurance the words of the Father are as a fountain in the desert after long wandering." 1934.
"To those searching for light, the Bahá'í Teachings offer a star which will lead them to deeper understanding, to assurance, peace and good will with all men."
BY PROFESSOR E. G. BROWNEI. Introduction to Myron H. Phelps' 'Abbas Effendi, pages xi-xx
1903 rev. 1912
I am not arguing that the Christian religion is true [sic], but merely that it is in manifest conflict with several other theories of life which practically regulate the conduct of all States and most individuals in the Western world, a world which on the whole, judges all things, including religions, mainly by material, or to use the more popular term, "practical," standards....
There is, of course, another factor in the success of the Bábí propagandist, as compared with the Christian missionary, in the conversion of Muhammadans to his faith: namely, that the former admits, while the latter rejects, the Divine inspiration of the Qur'an and the prophetic function of Muhammad. The Christian missionary must begin by attacking, explicitly or by implication, both these beliefs; too often forgetting that if (as happens but rarely) he succeeds in destroying them, he destroys with them that recognitions [sic] of former prophetic dispensations (including the Jewish and the Christian) which Muhammad and the Qur'an proclaim, and converts his Muslim antagonist not to Christianity, but to Skepticism or Atheism.
What, indeed, could be more illogical on the part of Christian missionaries to Muhammadan lands than to devote much time and labor to the composition of controversial works which endeavor to prove, in one and the same breath, first, that the Qur'an is a lying imposture, and, secondly, that it bears witness to the truth of Christ's mission, as though any value attached to the testimony of one proved a liar! The Bábí (or Bahá'í) propagandist, on the other hand, admits that Muhammad was the prophet of God and that the Qur'an is the Word of God, denies nothing but their finality, and does not discredit his own witness when he draws from that source arguments to prove his faith. To the Western observer, however, it is the complete sincerity of the Bábís, their fearless disregard of death and torture undergone for the sake of their religion, their certain conviction as to the truth of their faith, their generally admirable conduct towards mankind and especially towards their fellow-believers, which constitutes their strongest claim on his attention.
Introduction to Myron H. Phelps' 'Abbas Effendi, pages xii-xiv
A Traveller's Narrative, page 309
The appearance of such a woman as Qurratu'l-'Ayn is in any country and any age a rare phenomenon, but in such a country as Persia it is a prodigy-nay, almost a miracle. Alike in virtue of her marvelous beauty, her rare intellectual gifts, her fervid eloquence, her fearless devotion and her glorious martyrdom, she stands forth incomparable and immortal amidst her country-women. Had the Bábí religion no other claim to greatness, this were sufficient-that it produced a heroine like Qurratu'l-'Ayn.
Introduction to A Traveller's Narrative, pages ix, x
Though I dimly suspected whither I was going and whom I was to behold (for no distinct intimation had been given to me), a second or two elapsed ere, with a throb of wonder and awe, I became definitely conscious that the room was not untenanted. In the corner where the divan met the wall sat a wondrous and venerable figure, crowned with a felt head-dress of the kind called taj by dervishes, but of unusual height and make), round the base of which was wound a small white turban. 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; while the deep lines on the forehead and face implied an age which the jet-black hair and beard flowing down in indistinguishable luxuriance almost to the waist seemed to belie. 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.
A mild, dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued: "Praise be to God, that thou host attained!...Thou host come to see a prisoner and an exile.... 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.... Do not you in Europe need this also? Is not this that which Christ foretold?...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...."
Such, so far as I can recall them, were the words which, besides many others, I heard from Bahá. Let those who read them consider well with themselves whether such doctrines merit death and bonds, and whether the world is more likely to gain or lose by their diffusion.
Introduction to A Traveller's Narrative, pages xxxv, xxxvi
BY DR. J. ESTLIN CARPENTER
Excerpts from Comparative Religions, page 70, 71
BY THE REV. T. K. CHEYNE, D.LITT., D.D.Excerpts from The Reconciliation of Races And Religions, (1914)
The gentle spirit of the Báb is surely high up in the cycles of eternity. Who can fail, as Professor Browne says, to be attracted by him? "His sorrowful and persecuted life his purity of conduct and youth; his courage and uncomplaining patience under misfortune his complete self-negation; the dim ideal of a better state of things which can be discerned through the obscure mystic utterances of the Bayán; but most of all, his tragic death, all serve to enlist our sympathies on behalf of the young prophet of Shiraz."
"Il sentait le besoin d'une reform profond à introduire dans les moeurs publiques.... Il s'est sacrifié pour l'humanité; pour elle il a donné son corps et son âme, pour elle il a subi les privations, les affronts, les injures, la torture et le martyr." (Mons. Nicholas.)
If there has been any prophet in recent times, it is to Bahá'u'lláh that we must go. Character is the final judge. Bahá'u'lláh was a man of the highest class-that of prophets. But he was free from the last infirmity of noble minds [sic], and would certainly not have separated himself from others. He would have understood the saying: "Would God all the Lord's people were prophets!" What he does say, however, is just as fine: "I do not desire lordship over others; I desire all men to be even as I am."
The day is not far off when the details of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's missionary journeys will be admitted to be of historical importance. How gentle and wise he was, hundreds could testify from personal knowledge, and I, too, could perhaps say something.... I will only, however, glue here the outward framework of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's life, and of his apostolic journeys, with the help of my friend Lutfullah.
During his stay in London he visited Oxford (where he and his party-of Persians mainly-were the guests of Professor and Mrs. Cheyne), Edinburgh, Clifton and Woking. It is fitting to notice here that the audience at Oxford, though highly academic, seemed to be deeply interested, and that Dr. Carpenter made an admirable speech....
BY PROFESSOR VAMBERYTestimonial to the Religion of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
(Published in Egyptian Gazette, Sept. 24, 1913, by Mrs. J. Standard.)
The loving epistle which you have condescended to write to this servant, and the rug which you have forwarded, came safely to hand. The time of the meeting with your Excellency, and the memory of the benediction of your presence, recurred to the memory of this servant, and I am longing for the time when I shall meet you again. Although I have traveled through many countries and cities of Islam, yet have I never met so lofty a character and so exalted a personage as your Excellency, and I can bear witness that it is not possible to find such another. On this account, I am hoping that the ideals and accomplishments of your Excellency may be crowned with success and yield results under all conditions; because behind these ideals and deeds I easily discern the eternal welfare and prosperity of the world of humanity.
This servant, in order to gain first-hand information and experience, entered into the ranks of various religions, that is, outwardly, I became a Jew, Christian, Muhammadan and Zoroastrian. I discovered that the devotees of these various religions do nothing else but hate and anathematize each other, that all their religions have become the instruments of tyranny and oppression in the hands of rulers and governors, and that they are the causes of the destruction of the world of humanity.
Considering those evil results, every person is forced by necessity to enlist himself on the side of your Excellency, and accept with joy the prospect of a fundamental basis for a universal religion of God, being laid through your efforts.
I have seen the father of your Excellency from afar. I have realized the self-sacrifice and noble courage of his son, and I am lost in admiration.
For the principles and aims of your Excellency, I express the utmost respect and devotion, and if God, the Most High, confers long life, I will be able to serve you under all conditions. I pray and supplicate this from the depths of my heart.
BY HARRY CHARLES LUKACHQuotation from The Fringe of the East, (Macmillan & Co., London, 1913.)
BY SIR VALENTINE CHIROLQuotations from The Middle Eastern Question or Some Political Problems of Indian Defense, chapter XI, page 116. (The Revival of Babiism.)
Have they not seen the Atabak-i-A'zam twice hold sway as the Shah's all-powerful Vazir, and twice hurled down from that pinnacle by a bolt from the blue? How many other ministers and governors have sat for a time on the seats of the mighty and been swept away by some intrigue as sordid as that to which they owed their own exaltation? And how many in humbler stations have been in the meantime the recipients of their unworthy favors or the victims of their arbitrary oppression? A village which but yesterday was fairly prosperous is beggared today by some neighboring landlord higher up the valley, who, having duly propitiated those in authority, diverts for the benefit of his own estates the whole of its slender supply of water. The progress of a governor or royal prince, with all his customary retinue of ravenous hangers-on, eats out the countryside through which it passes more effectually than a flight of locusts. The visitation is as ruinous and as unaccountable. Is it not the absence of all visible moral correlation of cause and effect in these phenomena of daily life that has gone far to produce the stolid fatalism of the masses, the scoffing skepticism of the more educated classes, and from time to time the revolt of some nobler minds? Of such the most recent and perhaps the noblest of all became the founder of Babiism.
BY PROFESSOR JOWETT OF OXFORDQuotation from Heroic Lives, pages 305
BY ALFRED W. MARTINExcerpts from Comparative Religion and the Religion of the Future,
From its inception it has been identified with Bahá'u'lláh, who paid the price of prolonged exile, imprisonment, bodily suffering, and mental anguish for the faith he cherished-a man of imposing personality as revealed in his writings, characterized by intense moral earnestness and profound spirituality, gifted with the self same power so conspicuous in the character of Jesus, the power to appreciate people ideally, that is, to see them at the level of their best and to make even the lowest types think well of themselves because of potentialities within them to which he pointed, but of which they were wholly unaware; a prophet whose greatest contribution was not any specific doctrine he proclaimed, but an informing spiritual power breathed into the world through the example of his life and thereby quickening souls into new spiritual activity. Surely a movement of
which all this can be said deserves-nay, compels-our respectful recognition and sincere appreciation.
Taking precedence over all else in its gospel is the message of unity in religion.... It is the crowning glory of the Bahá'í movement that, while deprecating sectarianism in its preaching, it has faithfully practiced what it preached by refraining from becoming itself a sect.... Its representatives do not attempt to impose any beliefs upon others, whether by argument or bribery; rather do they seek to put beliefs that have illumined their own lives within the reach of those who feel they need illumination. No, not a sect, not a part of humanity cut off from all the rest, living for itself and aiming to convert all the rest into material for its own growth; no, not that, but a leaven, causing spiritual fermentation in all religions quickening them with the spirit of catholicity and fraternalism.
Who shall say but that just as the little company of the Mayflower, landing on Plymouth Rock, proved to be the small beginning of a mighty nation, the ideal germ of a democracy which, if true to its principles, shall yet overspread the habitable globe, so the little company of Bahá'ís exiled from their Persian home may yet prove to be the small beginning of the world-wide movement, the ideal germ of democracy in religion, the Universal Church of Mankind?
BY PROF. JAMES DARMESTETERExcerpt from Art in "Persia: A Historical and Literary Sketch" (translated by G. K. Nariman), and incorporated in Persia And Parsis, Part 1, edited by G. K. Nariman. Published under patronage of the Iran League, Bombay, 1925. (The Marker Literary Series for Persia, No. 2.)
by the yoke of a composite religion in which she believed just enough to persecute, by the enervating influence of a mystical philosophy which disabled men for action and divested life of all aim and objects, Persia has been making unexpected efforts for the last fifty five years to remake for herself a virile ideal. Babiism has little of originality in its dogmas and mythology. Its mystic doctrine takes its rise from Sufism and the old sects of the 'Aliides formed around the dogma of divine incarnation. But the morality it inculcates is a revolution. It has the ethics of the West. It suppresses lawful impurities which are a great barrier dividing Islam from Christendom. It denounces polygamy, the fruitful source of Oriental degeneration. It seeks to reconstitute the family and it elevates man and in elevating him exalts woman up to his level. Babiism which diffused itself in less than five years from one end of Persia to another, which was bathed in 1852 in the blood of its martyrs, has been silently progressing and propagating itself. If Persia is to be at all regenerate it will be through this new faith.
BY CHARLES BAUDOUINExcerpts from Contemporary Studies, Part 111, page 131. (Allen & Unwin, London, 1924.)
Nevertheless, the great cataclysm of 1914 is leading some of us to undertake a critical examination of the inviolable dogma that the European nations are the elect. Has there not been of late years a demonstration of the nullity of modern civilization-the nullity which had already been proclaimed by Rousseau, Carlyle, Ruskin, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche? We are now inclined to listen more attentively to whispers from the East. Our self-complacency has been disturbed by such utterances as that of Rabindranath Tagore, who,
lecturing at the Imperial University of Tokio on June 18, 1916, foretold a great future for Asia. The political civilization of Europe was "carnivorous and cannibalistic in its tendencies." The East was patient, and could afford to wait till the West, "hurry after the expedient," had to halt for want of breath. "Europe, while busily speeding to her engagements, disdainfully casts her glance from her carriage window at the reaper reaping his harvest in the field, and in her intoxication of speed, cannot but think him as slow and ever receding backwards. But the speed comes to its end, the engagement loses its meaning, and the hungry heart clamors for food, till at last she comes to the lonely reaper reaping his harvest in the sun. For if the office cannot wait, or the buying and selling, or the craving for excitement-love waits, and beauty, and the wisdom of suffering and the fruits of patient devotion and reverent meekness of simple faith. And thus shall wait the East till her time comes."
Being thus led to turn our eyes towards Asia, we are astonished to find how much we have misunderstood it; and we blush when we realize our previous ignorance of the fact that, towards the middle of the nineteenth century, Asia gave birth to a great religious movement-a movement signalized for its spiritual purity, one which has had thousands of martyrs, one which Tolstoy has described. H. Dreyfus, the French historian of this movement, says that it is not "a new religion," but "religion renewed," and that it provides "the only possible basis for a mutual understanding between religion and free thought." Above all, we are impressed by the fact that, in our own time, such a manifestation can occur, and that the new faith should have undergone a development far more extensive than that undergone in the same space of time nearly two thousand years ago, by budding Christianity.
.At the present time, the majority of the inhabitants of Persia have, to a varying extent, accepted the Babist faith. In the great towns of Europe, America, and Asia, there are active centers for the propaganda of the liberal ideas and the doctrine of human community, which form the foundations of Bahá'íst teaching.
We shall not grasp the full significance of this tendency until we pass from the description of Bahá'ísm as a theory to that of Bahá'ísm as a practice, for the core of religion is not metaphysics, but morality.
The Bahá'íst ethical code is dominated by the law of love taught by Jesus and by all the prophets. In the thousand and one details of practical life, this law is subject to manifold interpretations. That of Bahá'u'lláh is unquestionably one of the most comprehensive of these, one of the most exalted, one of the most satisfactory to the modern mind....
That is why Bahá'u'lláh is a severe critic of the patriotism which plays so large a part in the national life of our day. Love of our native land is legitimate, but this love must not be exclusive. A man should love his country more than he loves his house (this is the dogma held by every patriot); but Bahá'u'lláh adds that he should love the divine world more than he loves his country. From this standpoint, patriotism is seen to be an intermediate stage on the road of renunciation, an incomplete and hybrid religion, something we have to get beyond. Throughout his life Bahá'u'lláh regarded the ideal universal peace as one of the most important of his aims....
Bahá'u'lláh is in this respect enunciating a novel and fruitful idea. There is a better way of dealing with social evils than by trying to cure them after they have come to pass. We should try to prevent them by removing their causes, which act on the individual, and especially on the child. Nothing can be more plastic than the nature of the child. The government's first duty must be to provide for the careful and efficient education of children, remembering that education is something more than instruction. This will be an enormous step towards the solution of the social problem, and to take such a step will be the first task of the Baytu'l-'Ad'l (House of Justice). "It is ordained upon every father to rear his son or his daughter by means of the sciences, the arts, and all the commandments; and if any one should neglect to do so, then the members of the council, should the offender be a wealthy man, must levy from him the sum necessary for the education of his child. When the neglectful parent is poor, the cost of the necessary education must be borne by the council, which will provide a refuge for the unfortunate."
The Baytu'l-'Ad'l, likewise, must prepare the way for the establishment of universal peace, doing this by organizing courts of arbitration and by influencing the governments. Long before the Esperantists had begun their campaign, and more than twenty years before Nicholas II had summoned the first Hague congress, Bahá'u'lláh was insisting on the need for a universal language and courts of arbitration. He returns to these matters again and again: "Let all the nations become one in faith, and let all men be brothers, in order that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men may be strengthened.... What harm can there be in that? ... It is going to happen. There will be an end to sterile conflicts, to ruinous
wars; and the Great Peace will come!" Such were the words of Bahá'u'lláh in 1890, two years before his death.
While adopting and developing the Christian law of love, Bahá'u'lláh rejected the Christian principle of asceticism. He discountenanced the machinations which were a nightmare of the Middle Ages, and whose evil effects persist even in our own days....
Bahá'ísm, then, is an ethical system, a system of social morality. But it would be a mistake to regard Bahá'íst teaching as a collection of abstract rules imposed from without. Bahá'ísm is permeated with a sane and noble mysticism; nothing could be more firmly rooted in the inner life, more benignly spiritual; nothing could speak more intimately to the soul, in low tones, and as if from within....
Such is the new voice that sounds to us from Asia such is the new dawn in the East. We should give them our close attention; we should abandon our customary mood of disdainful superiority. Doubtless, Bahá'u'lláh's teaching is not definitive. The Persian prophet does not offer it to us as such. Nor can we Europeans assimilate all of it; for modern science leads us to make certain claims in matters of thought-claims we cannot relinquish, claims we should not try to forego. But even though Bahá'u'lláh's precepts (like those of the Gospels) may not fully satisfy all these intellectual demands, they are rarely in conflict with our scientific outlooks. If they are to become our own spiritual food, they must be supplemented, they must be relived by the religious spirits of Europe, must be rethought by minds schooled in the Western mode of thought. But, in its existing form, Bahá'íst teaching may serve, amid our present chaos, to open for us a road leading to solace and to comfort; may restore our confidence in the spiritual destiny of man. It reveals to us how the human mind is in travail; it gives us an inkling of the fact that the greatest happenings of the day are not the ones we were inclined to regard as the most momentous, not the ones which are making the loudest noise.
DR. HENRY H. JESSUP, D.D.From the World Parliament of Religion; Volume II, 13th Day, under Criticism and Discussion of Missionary Methods, page 1122. At the Columbian Exposition of 1893, at Chicago. Edited by the Rev. John Henry Barrows, D.D.(The Parliament Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893.)
rising gradually toward that image, and we owe to our fellow men to aid them in returning to it in the Glory of God and the Beauty of Holmes [sic]. It is a celestial privilege and with it comes a high responsibility, from which there is no escape.
In the Palace of Bahjí , or Delight, just outside the Fortress of 'Akká, on the Syrian coast, there died a few months since, a famous Persian sage, the Bábí Saint, named Bahá'u'lláh-the "Glory of God"-the head of that vast reform party of Persian Muslims, who accept the New Testament as the Word of God and Christ as the Deliverer of men, who regard all nations as one, and all men as brothers. Three years ago he was visited by a Cambridge scholar and gave utterance to sentiments so noble, so Christlike, that we repeat them as our closing words:
"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 religions 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. Do not you in Europe need this also? Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind."
BY THE RIGHT HON. THE EARL CURZONExcerpts from Persia, Vol. 1, pages 496-594. (Written in 1892.)
The lowest estimate places the present number of Bábís in Persia at half a million. I am disposed to think, from conversations with persons well qualified to judge, that the total is nearer one million. They are to be found in every walk of life, from the ministers and nobles of the Court to the scavenger or the groom, not the least arena of their activity being the Mussulman priesthood itself. It will have been noticed that the movement was initiated by Siyyids, Hajis and Mullas, i.e., persons who, either by descent, from pious inclination, or by profession, were intimately concerned with the Muhammadan creed; and it is among even the professed votaries of
the faith that they continue to make their converts.... Quite recently the Bábís have had great success in the camp of another enemy, having secured many proselytes among the Jewish populations of the Persian towns. I hear that during the past year (1891) they are reported to have made 150 Jewish converts in Tihran, 100 in Hamadan, 50 in Kashan, and 75 per cent of the Jews at Gulpayigan.... The two victims [sic], whose names were Haji Mirza Hasan and Haji Mirza Husayn, have been renamed by the Bábís- Sultanu'sh-Shuhada', or King of Martyrs, and Mahbubu'sh-Shuhada', or Beloved of Martyrs-and their naked graves in the cemetery have become places of pilgrimage where many a tear is shed over the fate of the "Martyrs of Isfahan."
It is these little incidents, protruding from time to time their ugly features, that prove Persia to be not as yet quite redeemed, and that somewhat staggers the tall talkers about Iranian civilization. If one conclusion more than another has been forced upon our notice by the retrospect in which I have indulged, it is that a sublime and unmurmuring devotion has been inculcated by this new faith, whatever it be. There is, I believe, but one instance of a Bábí having recanted under pressure of menace of suffering, and he reverted to the faith and was executed within two years. Tales of magnificent heroism illumine the bloodstained pages of Bábí history. Ignorant and unlettered as many of its votaries are, and have been, they are yet prepared to die for their religion, and fires of Smithfield did not kindle a nobler courage than has met and defied the more refined torture-mongers of Tihran. Of no small account, then, must be the tenets of a creed that can awaken in its followers so rare and beautiful a spirit of self-sacrifice. From the facts that Babiism in its earliest years found itself in conflict with the civil powers and that an attempt was made by Bábís upon the life of the Shah, it has been wrongly inferred that the movement was political in origin and Nihilist in character. It does not appear from a study of the writings either of the Báb or his successors, that there is any foundation for such a suspicion.... The charge of immorality seems to have arisen partly from the malignant inventions of opponents, partly from the much greater freedom claimed for women by the Báb, which in the oriental mind is scarcely dissociable from profligacy of conduct.... if Babiism continues to grow at its present rate of progression, a time may conceivably come when it will oust Muhammadanism from the field in Persia.... Since its recruits are won from the best soldiers of the garrison whom it is attacking, there is greater reason to believe that it may ultimately
prevail.... The pure and suffering life of the Báb, his ignominious death, the heroism and martyrdom of his followers, will appeal to many others who can find no similar phenomena in the contemporaneous records of Islam....
BY SIR FRANCIS YOUNGHUSBANDExcerpts from The Gleam. (1923.)
If a young man could, in only six years of ministry, by the sincerity of his purpose and the attraction of his personality, so inspire rich and poor, cultured and illiterate, alike, with belief in himself and his doctrines that they would remain staunch, though hunted down and without trial sentenced to death, sawn asunder, strangled, shot, blown from guns and if men of high position and culture in Persia, Turkey and Egypt in numbers to this day adhere to his doctrines, his life must be one of those events in the last hundred years which is really worth study. And that study fortunately has been made by the Frenchman Gobineau and by Professor E. G. Browne, so that we are able to have a faithful representation of its main features.... Thus, in only his thirtieth year, in the year 1850, ended the heroic career of a true God-man. Of the sincerity of his conviction that he was God-appointed, the manner of his death is the amplest possible proof. In the belief that he would thereby save others from the error of their present beliefs he willingly sacrificed
his life. And of his power of attaching men to him, the passionate devotion of hundreds and even thousands of men who gave their lives in his cause is convincing testimony....
He himself was but "a letter out of that most mighty book, a dewdrop from that limitless ocean." The One to come would reveal all mysteries and all riddles. This was the humility of true insight. And it has had its effect. His movement has grown and expanded, and it has yet a great future before it.
During his six years of ministry, four of which were spent in captivity, he had permeated all Persia with his ideas. And since his death the movement has spread to Turkey, Egypt, India and even into Europe and America. His adherents are now numbered by millions. "The Spirit which pervades them," says Professor Browne, "is such that it cannot fail to affect most powerfully all subject to its influence."
His body was dead. His spirit lived on. Husayn had been slain in battle. Quddus had been done to death in captivity. But Bahá'u'lláh lived. The One who shall be made manifest was alive. And in him and in others had been engendered such love for the Báb and what he stood for as, in the words of the chronicler, no eye had ever beheld nor mortal heart conceived: if branches of every tree were turned into pens, and all the seas into ink, and Earth and Heaven rolled into one parchment, the immensity of that love would still remain untold. This love for the Cause still survived. And it was sufficient. Bahá'u'lláh was, indeed, despoiled of his possessions, deserted by his friends, driven into exile from his native land and, even in exile, confined to his house. But in him the Cause was still alive- and more than alive, purified and ennobled by the fiery trials through which it had passed.
Under the wise control, and direction of Bahá'u'lláh from his prison-house, first at Baghdad and then at 'Akká in Syria, there grew what is now known as the Bahá'í Movement which, silently propagating itself, has now spread to Europe and America as well as to India and Egypt, while the bodily remains of the Báb, long secretly guarded, now find a resting-place on Mount Carmel in a Tomb-shrine, which is a place of pilgrimage to visitors from all over the world.
Excerpt from The Christian Commonwealth, January 22, 1913: "'Abdu'l-Bahá at Oxford"
BY REV. J. TYSSUL DAVIS, B.A.Quotation from A League of Religions. Excerpts from Chapter X: "Bahá'ísm-The Religion of Reconciliation."
(The Lindsey Press, London, England.)
liberality and toleration. It accepts all the great religions as true, and their scriptures as inspired. The Bahá'ísts bid the followers of these faiths disentangle from the windings of racial, particularist, local prejudices, the vital, immortal thread, the pure gospel of eternal worth, and to apply this essential element of life. Instances are quoted of people being recommended to work within the older faiths, to remain, vitalizing them upon the principles of the new faith. They cannot fear new facts, new truths as the Creed defenders must. They believe in a progressive revelation. They admit the cogency of modern criticism and allow that God is in His nature incomprehensible, but is to be known through His Manifestations. Their ethical ideal is very high and is of the type we Westerners have learnt to designate "Christlike." "What does he do to his enemies that he makes them his friends?" was asked concerning the late leader. What astonishes the student is not anything in the ethics or philosophy of this movement, but the extraordinary response its ideal has awakened in such numbers of people, the powerful influence this standard actually exerts on conduct. It is due to four things: (I) It makes a call on the Heroic Element in Man. It offers no bribe. It bids men endure, give up, carry the cross. It calls them to sacrifice, to bear torture, to suffer martyrdom, to brave death. (2) It offers liberty of thought. Even upon such a vital question as immortality it will not bind opinion. Its atmosphere is one of trust and hope, not of dogmatic chill. (3) It is a religion of love. "Notwithstanding the interminable catalogue of extreme and almost incredible sufferings and privations which this heroic band of men and women have endured-more terrible than many martyrdoms-there is not a trace of resentment or bitterness to be observed among them. One would suppose that they were the most fortunate of the people among whom they live, as indeed they do certainly consider themselves, in that they have been permitted to live near their beloved Lord, beside which they count their sufferings as nothing" (Whelps). Love for the Master, love for the brethren, love for the neighbors, love for the alien, love for all humanity, love for all life, love for God-the old, well-tried way trod once before in Syria, trodden again. (4) It is a religion in harmony with science. It has here the advantage of being thirteen centuries later than Islam. This new dispensation has been tried in the furnace, and has not been found wanting. It has been proved valid by the lives of those who have endured all things on its behalf. Here is something more appealing than its logic and rational philosophy. "To the Western observer" (writes Prof. Browne), "it is the complete sincerity of the
Bábís, their fearless disregard of death and torture undergone for the sake of their religion, their certain conviction as to the truth of their faith, their generally admirable conduct toward mankind, especially toward their fellow-believers, which constitute their strongest claim on his attention."
"By their fruits shall ye know them! " We cannot but address to this youthful religion an All Hail! of welcome. We cannot fail to see in its activity another proof of the living witness in our own day of the working of the sleepless spirit of God in the hearts of men, for He cannot rest, by the necessity of His nature, until He heath made in conscious reality, as in power, the whole world His own.
BY HERBERT PUTNAM Librarian of Congress
My regret is that my meetings with him were so few and that I could not benefit by a lengthier contact with a personality combining a dignity so impressive with human traits so engaging.
I wish that he could be multiplied!
BY LEO TOLSTOYTranslated from a letter to Mme. Isabel Grinevskaya, Oct. 22, 1903
I have known about the Bábís for a long time, and have always been interested in their teachings. It seems to me that these teachings,
as well as all the rationalistic social religious teachings that have arisen lately out of the original teachings of Brahmanism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam distorted by the priests, have a great future for this very reason that these teachings, discarding all these distorting incrustations that cause division, aspire to unite into one common religion of all mankind.
Therefore, the teachings of the Bábís, inasmuch as they have rejected the old Muhammadan superstitions and have not established new superstitions which would divide them from other new superstitions (unfortunately something of the kind is noticed in the exposition of the Teachings of the Báb), and inasmuch as they keep to the principal fundamental ideas of brotherhood, equality and love, have a great future before them.
In the Muhammadan religion there has been lately going on an intensive spiritual movement. I know that one such movement is centered in the French colonies in Africa, and has its name (I do not remember it), and its prophet. Another movement exists in India, Lahore, and also has its prophet and publishes its paper "Review of Religions."
Both these religious teachings contain nothing new, neither do they have for their principal object a changing of the outlook of the people and thus do not change the relationship between the people, as is the case with Babiism, though not so much in its theory (Teachings of the Báb) as in the practice of life as far as I know it. I therefore sympathize with Babiism with all my heart inasmuch as it teaches people brotherhood and equality and sacrifice of material life for service to God.
Translated from a letter to Frid ul Khan Wadelbekow (This communication is dated 1908 and is found among epistles written to Caucasian Muhammadans.)
In answer to your letter which questions how one should understand the term God. I send you a collection of writings from my literary and reading club, in which some thoughts upon the nature of God are included. In my opinion if we were to free ourselves from all false conception of God we should, whether as Christians or Muhammadans, free ourselves entirely from picturing God as a personality. The conception which then seems to me to be the best for meeting the requirements of reason and heart is found in 4th chap. St. John, 7-12-15 that means God is love. It therefore follows that God lives in us according to the measure or
capacity of each soul to express His nature. This thought is implicit more or less clearly in all religions, and therefore in Muhammadanism.
Concerning your second question upon what awaits us after death I can only reply that on dying we return to God from whose Life we came. God, however, being Love we can on going over expect God only.
Concerning your third question, I answer that so far as I understand Islam, like all other religions Brahmanism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc., it contains great basic truths but that these have become corrupted by superstitions, and coarse interpretations and filled with unnecessary legendic descriptions. I have had much help in my researches to get clear upon Muhammadanism by a splendid little book "The sayings of Muhammad."
The teachings of the Bábís which come to us out of Islam have through Bahá'u'lláh's teachings been gradually developed and now present us with the highest and purest form of religious teaching.
BY DR. EDMUND PRIVAT
Chez nous, en Perse, le Báb recut en saint et mourut en martyr à Tabriz, il y a près d'un siècle. Bahá'u'lláh lui succéda, exile de Perse emprisonné par le sultan turc. Il proclamait comme l'unité divine exclut les rivalités. La soumission à Dieu doit rapprocher les Hommes. Si la religion les sépare, c'est qu'elle a Perdu son principal sens.
En plein milieu du dix-neuvième siècle, au temps des Lamartine et des Victor Hugo, le grand saint musulman fixate au Bahá'í, ses disciples, un programme et des principes plus actuels que jamais....
L'Islam a toujours proclamé ce dogme avec majesté, mais les religions luttent en brandissant le nom d'un prophète où d'un autre, au lieu d'insister sur leur enseignement, qui pourrait les rapprocher. Bahá'u'lláh tachait de faire tombed les Paris, non pas Mahometisme avant tout, mais vraiment Islam, c'est-a-dire soumission commune à la volonté suprème.
On ne parlait alors ni d'un Wilson, ni d'un Zamenhof, mais l'exile de Bahá'í montrait aux genérations futures le chemin qu'elles devaient prendre. Son fils 'Abdu'l-Bahá repandit plus tard son message en Europe et en Amérique. Meme un libre penseur comme Auguste Forel s'y rallia de grand coeur. Le circle apical des Bahá'í s'étend autour du mode.
En Perse, un million d'entre eux soutiennent des écoles fameuses den le pays. (From La Sagelle de l'Orient, Chap. Ill)
BY DR. AUGUSTE FOREL
En 1920 seulement, j'ai appris à connâitre, a Karlsruhe, la religion supraconfessionnelle et mondiale des Bahá'ís fondue en Orient par le person Bahá'u'lláh, il y a 70 ans. C'est la vraie religion du bien social human, sans dogmes, ni prêtres, reliant entre eux tous les hommes sûr notre petit globe terrestre. Je suis devenu Bahá'í. Comme cette religion vive et prosper pour le bien de l'humanité c'est la mon voeux le plus ardent.... (Excerpt from Dr Auguste Forel's Will)
BY GENERAL RENATO PIOLA CASELLI
BY FREDERICK W. OAKES
BY RENWICK J. G. MILLAREditor of John O'Groat Journal, Wick, Scotland
Every day indeed was filled up with sightseeing and the enjoyment of lavish hospitality. One day, for example, I was entertained to lunch at the Illinois Athletic Club as the guest of Mr. Robert Black, a prosperous Scot belonging to Wigtonshire, who is in the building trade. He is an ex-president of the St. Andrew's Society. Mr. Falconer and other Scots friends were present, and they were all exceedingly kind and complimentary. I could not, in short, have been treated with more distinction if I had been a prominent Minister of State instead of a humble Scottish journalist out on a mission of fraternity and good will.
On the same day I met by appointment Mr. Albert R. Windust with whom I went out to see the Bahá'í Temple which is in course of being erected at Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan. It is about an hour's ride out on the elevated railway. Only the foundation and basement have so far been constructed, and the work was meanwhile stopped, but, we understand is now shortly to be resumed. I have no hesitation in saying that when completed this Temple will be one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the world. I had the privilege of an introduction to the architect, a Frenchman, M. Bourgeois, who speaks English fluently. We spent a considerable time with him in his beautiful studio overlooking the Lake, and he did me the honour of showing me the plans of the Temple, drawings which cost him years of toil, and they are far beyond anything I could have imagined in beauty and spiritual significance. M. Bourgeois, who is well advanced in years, is a genius and mystic-a gentleman of charming personality. In all that I had the pleasure of seeing in his studio I had a privilege that is given to few. My signature is in his personal book, which contains the names of some of the great ones of the earth! Mr. Windust, who is a leading Bahá'í in the city, is a quiet and humble man, but full of fine ideas and ideals. He treated me with
the utmost brotherly courtesy. How is it, I kept asking myself, that it should be mine to have all this privilege and honour? There was no reason save that they told me I had touched the chords of truth and sincerity in referring to and reviewing the Bahá'í writings and principles in a few short articles in this Journal. The Temple is designed to represent these principles-universal religion, universal brotherhood, universal education, and the union of science and religion. Meantime, the Chicagoans are seemingly indifferent to all its spiritual significance; but some day they will wake up to a realisation of the fact that its symbolism will mark the city as one of destiny in the world.
BY CHARLES H. PRISKEditor, Pasadena Star News
I am prompted thus to express myself because of what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have read of the results of the Movement founded by the Reverend Bahá'u'lláh. Embodied within that Movement is the spirit of world brotherhood; that brotherhood that makes for unity of thought and action.
Though not a member of the Bahá'í Faith, I sense its tremendous potency for good. Ever is it helping to usher in the dawn of the day of "Peace on Earth Good Will to Men." By the spread of its teachings, the Bahá'í cause is slowly, yet steadily, making the Golden Rule a practical reality.
With the high idealism of Bahá'u'lláh as its guide, the Bahá'í Faith is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Countless are its good works. For example, to the pressing economic problems it gives a new interpretation, a new solution. But above all else it is causing peoples everywhere to realize they are as one, by heart and spirit divinely united.
And so I find joy in paying this little tribute to a cause that is adding to the sweetness, the happiness, the cleanness of life.
BY PROF. HARI PRASAD SHASTRI, D.LITT.
appeal, and so spiritual in its advocacy of Truth, is sure to bring peace and joy to the hearts of millions.
Free from metaphysical subtleties, practical in its outlook, above all sectarianism, and based on God, the substratum of the human soul and the phenomenal world, the Bahá'í Movement carries peace and illumination with it.
As long as it is kept free from orthodoxy and church-spirit, and above personalities, it will continue to be a blessing to its followers.
BY SHRI PUROHIT SWAMI
BY PROF. HERBERT A. MILLERIn World Unity Magazine
Shoghi Effendi's statement cannot be improved upon. The Bahá'ís have had the soundest position on the race question of any religion. They not only accept the scientific conclusions but
they also implement them with spiritual force. This latter is necessary because there is no other way to overcome the emotional element which is basic in the race problem....
I have not said enough perhaps in the first paragraph. Please add the following: The task of learning to live together, though different, is the most difficult and the most imperative that the world faces. The economic problem will be relatively easy in comparison. There are differences in the qualities of cultures but there are no differences in qualities of races that correspond. This being recognized by minorities leads them to resist methods of force to keep them in subordination. There is no solution except cooperation and the granting of self-respect.
BY VISCOUNT SAMUEL, G.C.B., M.P.In John O'Lonlon's Weekly, March 2sth, 1933.
If one were compelled to choose which of the many religious communities of the world was closest to the aim and purpose of this Congress, I think one would be obliged to say that it was the comparatively little known Bahá'í Community. Other faiths and creeds have to consider, at a Congress like this, in what way they can contribute to the idea of world fellowship. But the Bahá'í Faith exists almost for the sole purpose of contributing to the fellowship and the unity of mankind.
Other communities may consider how far a particular element of their respective faith may be regarded as similar to those of other communities, but the Bahá'í Faith exists for the purpose of combining in one synthesis all those elements in the various faiths which are held in common. And that is why I suggest that this Bahá'í community is really more in agreement with the main idea which has led to the summoning of the Congress than any particular one of the great religious communities of the world.
Its origin was in Persia where a mystic prophet, who took the name of the Báb, the "Gate," began a mission among the Persians
in the earlier part of the nineteenth century. He collected a considerable number of adherents. His activities were regarded with apprehension by the Government of Persia of that day. Finally, he and his leading disciples were seized by the forces of the Persian Government and were shot in the year 1850. In spite of the persecution, the movement spread in Persia and in many countries of Islam. He was followed as the head of the Community by the one who has been its principal prophet and exponent, Bahá'u'lláh. He was most active and despite persecution and imprisonment made it his life's mission to spread the creed which he claimed to have received by direct divine revelation. He died in 1892 and was succeeded as the head of the Community by his son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, who was born in 1844. He was living in Haifa, in a simple house, when I went there as High Commissioner in 1920, and I had the privilege of one or two most interesting conversations with him on the principles and methods of the Bahá'í Faith. He died in 1921 and his obsequies were attended by a great concourse of people. I had the honour of representing His Majesty the King on that occasion.
Since that time, the Bahá'í Faith has secured the support of a very large number of communities throughout the world. At the present time it is estimated that there are about eight hundred Bahá'í communities in various countries. In the United States, near Chicago, a great Temple, now approaching completion, has been erected by American adherents of the Faith, with assistance from elsewhere. Shoghi Effendi, the grandson of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, is now the head of the community. He came to England and was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, but now lives in Haifa, and is the center of a community which has spread throughout the world. (Introductory address delivered at the Bahá'í session of the World Congress of Faiths, held in London, July, 1936.)
Letter from Lord Samuel of Carmel.-G.C.B., C.B.E.
I had for some time been interested in the Bahá'í Movement, and felt privileged by the opportunity of making the acquaintance of its head. I had also an official reason as well as a personal one. 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been persecuted by the Turks.
A British regime had now been substituted in Palestine for the Turkish. Toleration and respect for all religions had long been a
principle of British rule wherever it extended; and the visit of the High Commissioner was intended to be a sign to the population that the adherents of every creed would be able to feel henceforth that they enjoyed the respect and could count upon the good will of the new Government of the land.
I was impressed, as was every visitor, by 'Abdu'l-Bahá's dignity, grace and charm. Of moderate stature, his strong features and lofty expression lent to his personality an appearance of majesty. In our conversation he readily explained and discussed the principal tenets of Bahá'í, answered my inquiries and listened to my comments. I remember vividly that friendly interview of sixteen years ago, in the simple room of the villa, surrounded by gardens, on the sunny hillside of Mount Carmel.
I was glad I had paid my visit so soon, for in 1921 'Abdu'l-Bahá died. I was only able to express my respect for his creed and my regard for his person by coming from the capital to attend his funeral. A great throng had gathered together, sorrowing for his death, but rejoicing also for his life.
BY REV. K. T. CHUNG
My senior, Mr. Y. S. Tsao, is a well-read man. His mental capacity and deep experience are far above the average man. He often said that during this period of our country when old beliefs have lost their hold upon the people, it is absolutely necessary to seek a religion of all-embracing Truth which may exert its powerful influence in saving the situation. For the last ten years, he has investigated indefatigably into the teachings of the Bahá'í Cause. Recently, he has completed his translations of the book on the New Era and showed me a copy of the proof. After carefully reading it, I came to the full realization that the Truth as imparted to me by Mrs. Ransom-Kehler is veritable and unshakeable. This Truth of great value to mankind has been eminently translated by Mr. Tsao
and now the Chinese people have the opportunity of reading it, and I cannot but express my profound appreciation for the same.
Should the Truth of the Bahá'í Faith be widely disseminated among the Chinese people, it will naturally lead to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. Should everybody again exert his efforts towards the extension of this beneficent influence throughout the world, it will then bring about world peace and the general welfare of humanity. (From Rev. K. T. Chung's Preface to the Chinese version of Dr. Esslemont's Book.)
BY PROF. DIMITRY KAZAROVUniversity, Sofia Bulgaria
Le Bahá'ísme est un des enseignements qui cherche à éveiller chez nous n'importe à quelle religion nous appartenons justement cette conscience de notre nature spirituelle.
Il y a plus de 20 ans un groupe d'hommes et femmes de différentes nationalités et religions, animés par le désir de travailler pour l'union des peuples, ont commencé a publier un journal en esperanto sous le tître "Universala Unigo." Le premier article du premier numéro de ce journal était consacré au Bahá'ísme et a son fondateur. Il me semble que ce fait est une preuve éclatante de ce que je viens de dire sur le Bahá'ísme.
BY REV. GRIFFITH J. SPARHAMHighgate Hill Unitarian Christian Church, London, England
"The Bahá'í religion has made its way because it meets the need of the day. It fits the larger outlook of our time, better than the rigid older faiths. A characteristic is its unexpected liberality and toleration. It accepts all the great religions as true and their scriptures as inspired."
These, then, as he sees Bahá'ísm, are its essential features: liberality, toleration, the spirit of reconciliation; and that, not in the sense, as Mr. H. G. Wells has it in his "Soul of a Bishop," of making a "collection" of approved portions of the world's varied and differing creeds, but in the sense, as he also puts it in the same book, of achieving a great "simplification."
"Bahá'ísts," says Dr. Davis, "bid the followers of these (that is, the world's) faiths disentangle from the windings of racial, particularist,
local prejudices, the vital, immortal thread of the pure gospel of eternal worth, and to apply this essential element to life."
That is Dr. Davis's interpretation of the genius of Bahá'ísm, and that it is a true one, no one who has studied Bahá'ísm, even superficially, can question, least of all the outsider. Indeed one may go further and assert that no one who has studied Bahá'ísm, whether superficially or otherwise, would wish to question it; particularly if he approaches the subject from a liberal and unprejudiced point of view. In the last act of his "Wandering Jew," Mr. Temple Thurston puts into the mouth of Matteos, the Wandering Jew himself, the splendid line, "All men are Christians-all are Jews." He might equally well have written, "All men are Christians-all are Bahá'ís." For, if the sense of the Unity of Truth is a predominant characteristic of liberally-minded people, whatever may be their religious tradition, it is predominantly a characteristic of Bahá'ísm; since here is a religious system based, fundamentally, on the one, simple, profound, comprehensive doctrine of the unity of God, which carries with it, as its necessary corollary and consequence, the parallel doctrine of the unity of Man.
This, at all events, is the conviction of the present writer; and it is why, as a Unitarian, building his own faith on the same basic principles of divine and human unity, he has long felt sympathy with and good will toward a religious culture which stands on a foundation identical with that of the faith he holds. And a religion that affirms the unity of things must of necessity be a religion of reconciliation; the truth of which in the case of Bahá'ísm is clear.
BY ERNEST RENANPassage tiré de Renan "Les Apôtres, P." Edition Levy, Paris, 1866
Je ne parle pas des Mormons, secte à quelques égards si sotte et si abjecte que l'on hesite à la prendre au sérieux.
Il est instructif, cependant, de voir en plein 19ième siècle des milliers d'hommes de notre race vivant dans le miracle, croyant avec une foi aveugle des merveilles qu'ils disent avoir vues et touchées. Il y a déja toute une littérature pour montrer l'accord du mormonisme et de la science; ce qui vaut mieux, cette religion, fondée sur de niaises impostures, a su accomplir des prodiges de
patience et d'abnegation; dans cinq cents ans des docteurs prouveront sa divinité par les merveilles de son etablissement.
Le Babisme, en Perse, a été un phénomene autrement considerable. Un homme doux et sans aucune, prétention, une sorte de Spinoza modeste et pieux, s'est vu, presque malgré lui, élève au rang de thaumaturge d'incarnation divine, et est devenu le chef d'une secte nombreuse, ardente et fanatique, qui a failli amener une revolution comparable à celle de l'Islam. Des milliers de martyrs sont accourus pour lui avec l'allegresse audevant de la mort. Un jour sans pareil peut-etre dans l'histoire du monde fut celui de la grande boucherie qui se fit des Bábís, a Teheran. "On vit ce jourla dans les rues et les bazars de Teheran," dit un narrateur qui a tout su d'original, "un spectacle que la population semble devoir n'oublier jamais. Quand la conversation encore aujourd'hui se met sur cette matière, on peut juger l'admiration melée d'horreur que la foule éprouve et que les années n'ont pas diminuée. On voit s'avancer entre les bourreaux des enfants et des femmes les chairs ouvertes sur tout le corps, avec des meches allumees, flambantes, fichees dans les blessures. On trainait les victimes par des cordes et on les faisait marcher à coups de fouet. Enfants et femmes s'avancaient en chantant un verset qui dit: En verite nous venons de Dieu et nous retournons à Lui. Leurs voix s'élèvaient, éclatantes, au-dessus du silence profond de la foule. Quand un des supplicies tombait et qu'on le faisait relever a coups de fouet ou de baionnette, pour peu que la perte de son sang qui ruisselait sur tous ses membres lui laissat encore un peu de force, il se mettait a danser et criait avec un surcrol d'enthousiasme: "En verite nous sommes à Dieu et nous retournons à Lui." Quelques-uns des enfants expirerent pendant le trajet; les bourreaux jeterent leurs corps sous les pieds de leurs peres et de leurs soeurs, qui marcherent fièrement dessus et ne leur donnerent pas deux regards. Quand on arriva au lieu d'execution, on proposa encore aux victimes la vie pour leur abjuration. Un bourreau imagina de dire à un pere que, s'il ne cedait pas, il couperait la gorge à ses deux fils sur sa poitrine. C'etaient deux petits garcons dont l'ainé avait 14 ans et qui, rouges de leur sang, les chairs calcinées, écoutaient froidement le dialogue; le pere repondit, en se couchant par terre, qu'il etait pret et l'ainé des enfants, reclamant avec emportement son droit d'ainesse, demanda à être égorgé le premier.
Enfin tout fut acheve. La nuit tomba sur un amas
de chairs informés; les têtes étaient attachées en paquets au poteau justicier et les chiens des faubourgs se dirigeaient par troupes de ce côté.
Cela se passait en 1852. Le secte de Mozdak sous Chosroes Nousch fut etouffée dans un pareil bain de sang. Le devouement absolu est pour les nations naives la plus exquise des jouissances et une sorte de besoin. Dans l'affaire des Bábís, on vit des gens qui étaient à peine de la secte, venir se denoncer eux-memes afin qu'on les adjoignit aux patients. Il est si doux a l'homme de souffrir pour quelque chose, que dans bien des cas l'appat du martyre suffit pour faire croire.
Un disciple qui fut le campagnon de supplice du Báb, suspendu à côté de lui aux remparts de Tabriz et attendant le mort, n'avait qu'un mot à la bouche: "Es-tu content de moi, maître?"
BY HON. LILIAN HELEN MONTAGUE, J.P., D.H.L.
BY NORMAN BENTWICH
(From "Palestine," by Norman Bentwich, p. 235.)
BY EMILE SCHREIBERI.
Cette religion, de plus, est par essence antiraciste. Elle est née en Perse, vers 1840, et les trois prophètes successifs qui l'ont prechée sont des Persans, c'est-à-dire des musulmans de naissance.
Le premier, le createur, s'appelait le Báb. Il-precha vers 1850, et préconisa, outre la reconciliation des differents cultes qui divisent l'humanité, la liberation de la femme, réduite aujourd'hui encore à un quasi esclavage dans tout l'Islam.
Une Persane d'une rare beauté, et qui, chose rare chez les musulmanes, était douée d'un grand talent oratoire, repondant au nom difficile à prononcer de Qourratou-'l-'Ayn, l'accompagna dans ses réunions, n'hesitant pas, en donnant elle-meme l'exemple, à preconiser la suppression du voile pour les femmes.
Le Báb et elle reussirent à convaincre, à l'époque, des dizaines de milliers de Persans et le shah de Perse les emprisonna l'un et l'autre, ainsi que la plupart de leurs partisans. Le Báb fut pendu. Sa belle collaboratrice fut etranglée dans sa prison. Leurs disciples furent exilés à Saint-Jean-d'Acre, devenue temple du "Bahá'ísme." C'est ainsi que j'ai visite la maison du successeur du Báb, Bahá'u'lláh, transformée aujourd'hui en temple du "Bahá'ísme." C'est ainsi que s'intitule cette religion, qui est plutot une doctrine philosophique, car elle ne comporte ni culte defini, ni surtout de clergé. Les prêtres, disent les Bahá'ístes, sont tentés de fausser, dans un but de lucre, l'idealisme désinteressé des createurs de religions.
Bahá'u'lláh, le principal des trois prophetes, répandit sa doctrine non seulement en Orient, mais dans beaucoup de pays d'Europe, et surtout aux Etats-Unis ou son influence fut telle que le nombre des Bahá'ístes attient aujourd'hui plusieurs millions. Il fut persecuté par les Perses et mourut en exil.
Son fils, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, lui succeda et formula, d'apres les
principes de son pere, la doctrine économique du Bahá'ísme; elle indique une prescience étonnante des évenements qui se sont deroulés depuis: la guerre d'abord, la crise ensuite. Il mourut peu après la guerre, ayant vu la réalisation de la première partie de ses propheties.
L'originalité du Bahá'ísme est de chercher à faire passer dans le domaine pratique, et plus particulièrement dans le domaine social, les principes essentiels du juda-isme, du catholicisme et de l'islamisme, en les combinant et en les adaptant aux besoins de notre époque.
Le Bahá'ísme proclame que les rapports sociaux deviennent fatalement impossibles dans une societé ou l'idealisme individuel ne donne pas une base certaine aux engagements qui lient les hommes entre eux.
L'individu se sent de plus en plus isolé au milieu d'une jungle sociale qui ménace, à beaucoup d'égards, son bien-etre et sa sécurité. La bonne volonté et l'honnêteté, ne produisant plus dans sa vie et dans son travail le resultat qu'il attend, tendent à perdre pour lui toute valeur pratique. De la naissent, selon les caractères, l'indifférence et le découragement, ou l'audace, le manque de scrupules qui tendent à se procurer par tous les moyens, même les plus repréhensibles, les benefices materiels necessaires à l'existence.
La societé, n'étant plus soumise à aucun controle, ni politique ni moral, devient un vaisseau sans gouvernail ou personne ne peut plus rien prevoir et qui est sujet à des crises de plus en plus fréquentes et de plus en plus violentes. L'époque actuelle, déclarent les prophètes persans, marque la fin d'une civilisation qui ne sert plus les intérêts de l'humanité.
Elle aboutit a la faillité complete des institutions morales et materielles destinées à assurer le bien-etre et la sécurité des hommes, c'est-à-dire l'État, l'Église, le Commerce et l'Industrie. Le principe fondamental d'ou peut venir le salut de la civilisation engagé dans des voies qui conduisent à sa déstruction est la solidarité des nations et des races. Car l'interpenetration des peuples est devenue telle qu'il leur est impossible de trouver isolement la voie de la prospente.
Ces propheties, qui pouvaient paraître excessives et quelque peu pessimistes à l'époque ou elles ont été faites, vers 1890, ne sont pas, les évenements l'ont prouvé, de simples jeremiades. Il reste à examiner comment, partant de ces données, qui ne sont que trop exactes, le Bahá'ísme, concu dans la Perse lointaine et si arrièrée a
l'époque, aboutit aux mêmes conclusions que la plupart des économistes modernes qui, dans les différents pays de civilisation occidentale, proclament qu'en dehors d'une collaboration internationale il n'y a pas d'issue possible à la crise actuelle entrainant tous les peuples à une misére toujours plus grande. (From Les Echos, Paris, France, September 27, 1933.)
Une religion "economique"
Toute la question est de savoir si ceux qui sont en faveur aujourd'hui, dans tant de pays, sont susceptibles de resoudre le probleme non pas de la prosperité, mais simplement du logement et de la faim, dans les différentes nations qui nient par leurs théories et tous leurs actes la solidarité des peuples et des races.
Une nouvelle guerre mondiale sera sans doute necessaire pour que l'humanité, qui n'a pas encore compris la leçon de 1914, se rende enfin compte que les solutions de violence et de conquête ne peuvent engendrer que la ruine generale, sans profit pour aucun des bélligerants.
Quoi qu'il en soit, les principales pensées economiques de Bahá'u'lláh, telles qu'elles ont été formulées il y a un demisiecle, prouvent que la sagesse et le simple bon sens ont cela de commun avec les écrevisses, c'est qu'il leur arrive fréquemment de marcher a reculons.
Voici les principaux préceptes de ce moderne Marc-Aurele:
"L'evolution humaine se divise en cycles organiques, correspondant à la durée d'une religion, laquelle est d'environ un millier d'années. Un cycle social nouveau commence toutes les fois qu'apparaît un prophete dont l'influence et les enseignements renouvellent la vie interieure de l'homme et font deferler à travers le monde une nouvelle vague de progres.
"Chaque nouveau cycle détruit les croyances et les institutions usées du cycle précedent et fondé sur d'autres croyances, en étroite conformité, celles-la, avec les besoins actuels de l'humanité, une civilisation nouvelle.
"L'influence de chaque prophete s'est, dans le passé, limitée à une race ou a une religion, en raison de l'isolement géographique
des regions et des races, mais le siècle dans lequel nous entrons necessite la création d'un ordre organique s'etendant au monde entier. Si le vieil ésprit de tribu persiste, la science detruira le monde, ses forces destructrices ne pouvant être controlées que par une humanité unie travaillant pour la prosperité et le bien commun.
"La loi de la lutte pour la vie n'existe plus pour l'homme des qu'il devient conscient de ses pouvoirs spirituels et moraux. Elle est alors remplacée par la loi plus haute de la cooperation. Sous cette loi, l'individu jouira d'un statut beaucoup plus large que celui qui est accorde aux citoyens passifs du corps politique actuel. L'administration publique passera des mains de partisans politiques qui trahissent la cause du peuple aux mains d'hommes capables de considerer une charge publique comme une mission sacrée.
"La stabilité economique ne depend pas de l'application de tel plan socialiste ou communiste plus ou moins théorique, mais du sentiment de la solidarité morale qui unit tous les hommes et de cette conception que les richesses ne sont pas la fin de la vie, mais seulement un moyen de vivre.
"L'important n'est pas en une aveugle soumission generale à tel systeme politique, à tel reglement, qui ont pour effet de supprimer chez l'individu tout sentiment de responsabilité morale, mais en un esprit d'entr'aide et de cooperation. Ni le principe democratique, ni le principe aristocratique ne peuvent fournir séparement a la societé une base solide. La démocratie est impuissante contre les querelles intestines et l'aristocratie ne subsiste que par la guerre. Une combinaison des deux principes est donc necessaire.
"En cette periode de transition entre le vieil âge de la concurrence et l'ere nouvelle de la cooperation, la vie même de l'humanité est en péril. Les ambitions nationalistes, la lutte des classes, la peur et les convoitises économiques sont autant de forces qui poussent a une nouvelle guerre internationale. Tous les Gouvernements du monde doivent soutenir et organiser une assemblée dont les membres soient élus par l'élite des nations. Ceux-ci devront mettre au point, au-dessus des égoismes particuliers, le nouveau statut économique du monde en dehors duquel tous les pays, mais surtout l'Europe, seront conduits aux pires catastrophes."
'Abdu'l-Bahá, son successeur, reprenant la doctrine de son père, concluait dans un discours prononcé a New-York en 1912
"La civilisation materielle à atteint, en Occident, le plus haut degré de son développement. Mais c'est en Orient qu'a pris naissance et que s'est developpée la civilisation spirituelle. Un lien s'etablira
entre ces deux forces, et leur union est la condition de l'immense progres qui doit être accompli.
"Hors de la, la securité et la confiance feront de plus en plus defaut, les luttes et les dissensions s'accroltront de jour en jour et les divergences entre nations s'accentueront davantage. Les pays augmenteront constamment leurs armements; la guerre, puis la certitude d'une autre guerre mondiale angoisseront de plus en plus les esprits. L'unité du genre humain est le premier fondement de toutes les vertus."
Ainsi parla 'Abdu'l-Bahá en 1912, et tout se passa comme il l'avait predit.
Mais ces paroles n'ont pas vieilli; elles pourraient, sans le moindre changement, être repetées en 1933. Aujourd'hui, comme il y a vingt ans, la menace de la guerre est de nouveau suspendue audessus de nos têtes et les causes de haines et de conflits s'accumulent à tel point que, s'il existe vraiment un flux et un reflux des idées, on peut presque conclure, avec une certaine dose d'optimisme, que nous n'avons jamais été si près de venir aux idées de cooperation qui, seules, peuvent nous sauver.
(From Les Echos, Paris, France, September 28, 1933.)
Malgré les tristesses de notre époque et peut-etre même â cause d'elles, je reste convaincue que les idées â la fois divines et humaines qui sont l'essence du Bahá'ísme finiront par triompher, pourvu que chacun de ceux qui en comprennent l'immense intérêt continue quoi qu'il advienne â les defendre et a les propager. (Excerpt from a letter dated October 29, 1934.)
BY DR. ROKUICHIRO MASUJIMA
"The search for truth and universal education inculcated by the Bahá'í Teachings, if soundly conducted, cannot fail to interest the Japanese mind. Bahá'ísm is bound to permeate the Japanese race in a short time."
BY MISS HELEN KELLER
I take this opportunity to thank you for your kind thought of me, and for the inspiration which even the most cursory reading of Bahá'u'lláh's life cannot fail to impart. What nobler theme than the "good of the world and the happiness of the nations" can occupy our lives? The message of universal peace will surely prevail. It is useless to combine or conspire against an idea which has in it potency to create a new earth and a new heaven and to quicken human beings with a holy passion of service. (In a personal letter written to an American Bahá'í after having read something from the Braille edition of "Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era.")
BY SIR FLINDERS PETRIE
BY FORMER PRESIDENT MASARYK OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA
BY ARCHDUCHESS ANTON OF AUSTRIA
because it reconciles all Faiths, and teaches that science is from God as well as religion, and its ideal is peace."
BY DR. HERBERT ADAMS GIBBONS -American Historian
"The morals of humanity must undergo change. New remedy and solution for human problems must be adopted. Human intellects themselves must change and be subject to the universal reformation." In these three sentences we really have it all. (Excerpt from personal letter dated May 18, 1934.)
BY H. R. H. PRINCESS OLGA OF YUGOSLAVIA
"I like the Bahá'í Teachings for universal education and universal peace," said this gracious Princess in her charming villa on the Hill of Topcidor, Belgrade, on January 16, 1936, "I like the Bahá'í Movement and the Young Men's Christian Association, for both are programs to unite religions. Without unity no man can live in happiness." Princess though she is, she stressed the important truth that every man must do his job! "We are all sent into this world for a purpose and people are too apt to forget the Presence of God and true religion. I wish the Bahá'í Movement every success in the accomplishment of its high ideals."
BY EUGEN RELGISExcerpt from Cosmometapolis, 1935, pp. 108-109.
Nous avons tracé ces pages seulement la signification du Bahá'ísme, sans examiner tous ses principes et son programme pratique dans lequel sont harmonisées avec l'idéal religieux "les aspirations
et les objectifs de la science sociale." Mais on doit attirer l'attention de tous les esprits libres sur ce mouvement, dont les promoteurs ont le mérite d'avoir contribué à la clarification de l'ancienne controverse entre la religion et la science-et d'avoir donné 'a maint homme un peu de leur tolerance et de leur optimisme: "L'humanité était jusqu'ici restée dans le stade de l'enfance; elle approche maintenant de la maturité" ('Abdu'l-Bahá, Washington, 1912).
Qui osera repeter aujourd'hui, dans la melée des haines nationales et sociales, cette sentence de progres? C'est un Oriental qui nous a dit cela, à nous, orgueilleux ou sceptiques Occidentaux. Nous voudrions voir adjourd'hui, dans l'Allemagne hitleriste, dans les pays terrorisés par le fascisme, paralysés par la dictature politique, -un spectacle décrit par le suisse Auguste Forel d'après l'anglais Sprague qui a vue en Birmanie et en Inde, des bouddhistes, des mahometans, des Chrètiens et des juifs, qui allaient bras-dessus brasdessous, comme des frères, "au grand étonnement de la population qui n'a jamais vu une chose pareille!"
BY ARTHUR HENDERSONExcerpt from a letter dated January 26, 1935
BY PROF. DR. V. LESNY
I am still of the opinion that I had four years ago that the Bahá'í Movement can form the best basis for international goodwill, and that Bahá'u'lláh Himself is the Creator of an eternal bond between the East and the West.... The Bahá'í Teaching is a living religion, a living philosophy....
I do not blame Christianity, it has done a good work for culture in Europe, but there are too many dogmas in Christianity at the present time.... Buddhism was very good for India from the sixth century B.C. and the Teachings of Christ have been good for the whole world; but as there is a progress of mind there must be no stopping and in the Bahá'í Faith one sees the continued progress of religion.
BY PRINCESS MARIE ANTOINETTE DE BROGLIE AUSSENAC
L'angoisse religieuse aussi n'a jamais été plus intense.
Par sa grande evolution l'homme actuel est prêt à recevoir le grand message de Bahá'u'lláh dans son mouvement synthetique qui nous fait passer de l'ancienne comprehension des divisions à la comprehension moderne où nous cherchons à suivre les ondes qui se propagent traversant toute limitation humaine et de la création.
Chaque combat que nous livrons à nos penchants nous dégage des voiles qui séparent le monde visible du monde invisible et augmente en nous cette capacité de perception et de s'accorder aux longueurs d'ondes les plus variées, de vibrer au contact des rythmes les plus divers de la création.
Tout ce qui nous vient directement de la nature est toujours harmonie absolue. Le tout est de capter l'équilibre de toute chose et lui donner la voix au moyen d'un instrument capable d'émettre les mêmes harmonies que notre âme, ce qui nous fait vibrer et devenir le lien entre le passé et l'avenir en attaignant une nouvelle étape correspondant à l'évolution du monde.
En religion, la Cause de Bahá'u'lláh, qui est la grande revelation de notre époque, est la même que celle du Christ, son temple et son fondement les mêmes mis en harmonie avec le degré de maturité moderne.
BY DAVID STARR JORDANLate President of Stanford University
BY PROF. BOGDAN POPOVITCH
BY EX-GOVERNOR WILLIAM SULZER
(Excerpt from the Roycroft Magazine)
BY LUTHER BURBANK
BY PROF. YONE NOGUCHI
realism. There is nothing more real than His words on truth. His words are as simple as the sunlight; again like the sunlight, they are universal.... No Teacher, I think, is more important today than 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
BY PROFESSOR RAYMOND FRANK PIPER
BY ANGELA MORGAN
Every follower of this faith that I have ever met impressed me as a living witness to the glory at the heart of this universe. Each one seemed filled with a splendor of spirit so great that it overflowed all boundaries and poured itself out upon the world here in this moment of time, by some concentrated act of love toward another human being.
BY ARTHUR MOORE
BY PROF. DR. JAN RYPKA
The experience acquired in the West, for me was fully verified also in the Iranian Orient. The Bahá'í Faith is undoubtedly an immense cultural value. Could all those men whose high morality I admired and still admire have reached the same heights only in another way, without it? No, never! Is it based only on the novelty of the Teachings, and in the freshness of its closest followers?
BY A. L. M. NICOLAS
prechée. Citez-moi un autre exemple, semblable. Enfin, je puis mourir tranquille. Gloire à Shoghi Effendi qui a calmé mon tourment et mes inquietudes, gloire a lui qui reconnais la valeur de Siyyid 'Ali-Muhammad dit le Báb.
Je suis si content que je baise vos mains qui ont tracé mon adresse sur l'enveloppe qui m'apporte le message de Shoghi. Merci, Mademoiselle. Merci du fond du coeur.
BY PRESIDENT EDUARD BENES
The Bahá'í Cause is one of the great moral and social forces in all the world today. I am more convinced than ever, with the increasing moral and political crises in the world, we must have greater international co-ordination. Such a movement as the Bahá'í Cause which paves the way for universal organization of peace is necessary.
BY SIR RONALD STORRS, V.C., M.G., C.B.E.
When, a few years later, he was released and visited Egypt I had the honour of looking after Him and of presenting Him to Lord Kitchener who was deeply impressed by His personality, as who could fail to be? The war separated us again until Lord Allenby,
after his triumphant drive through Syria, sent me to establish the government at Haifa and throughout that district. I called upon 'Abbas Effendi on the day I arrived and was delighted to find Him unchanged.
I never failed to visit Him whenever I went to Haifa. His conversation was indeed a remarkable planning, like that of an ancient prophet, far above the perplexities and pettiness of Palestine politics, and elevating all problems into first principles.
He was kind enough to give me one or two beautiful specimens of His own handwriting, together with that of Mishkin-Qalam, all of which, together with His large signed photograph, were unfortunately burned in the Cyprus fire.
I rendered my last sad tribute of affectionate homage when in 1921 I accompanied Sir Herbert Samuel to the funeral of 'Abbas Effendi. We walked at the head of a train of all religions up the slope of Mount Carmel, and I have never known a more united expression of regret and respect than was called forth by the utter simplicity of the ceremony.
BY COL. RAJA JAI PRITHVI BAHADUR SINGH,Raja Of Bajang (Nepal)
When afterwards, in 1933, the Second Parliament of Religions or the World Fellowship of Faiths was held in Chicago, a conference inspired by the high ideals of mutual understanding, good-will, co-operation and peace and progress, and I went there to attend and participate in the conference, my attention was again drawn to the Bahá'í Faith by some of its followers there, who took me to their temple at Wilmette, Illinois, which was then under construction but was nearly finished, and showed me the nine gates and chambers of worship for the nine principal religions of the world. Naturally enough, I took it that Bahá'ísm was something like theosophy, which is interested in studying and comparing the respective merits of religions and in recognising their respective greatness, and which can therefore appeal only to the intellectual section of mankind and hardly appeal to the masses.
Later, in 1936, however, while I was in Rangoon, I had an opportunity-rather, the opportunity was thrust upon me-to acquaint myself more fully with the tenets and teachings of Bahá'ísm. Mr. S. Schopflocher, a Bahá'í from Canada, who was on a lecturing tour, was then in Rangoon, and I was asked to introduce him to the public and to preside over a lecture of his. Therefore I secured a few books on the subject, and on reading them, I was struck with the remarkable fact that Bahá'ísm is a faith, which not merely recognises the respective merits of the world religions, but goes a step further and teaches that all religions are One, all the religious seers, saints and prophets are the religious seers, saints and prophets of One religion only, that all mankind is One, and that we must think and feel and act in terms of brotherhood. "We must realise," as a Bahá'í very beautifully puts it, "that, as the aeroplane, radio and other instruments have crossed the frontiers drawn upon the map, so our sympathy and spirit of one-ness should rise above the influences that have separated race from race, class from class, nation from nation and creed from creed. One destiny now controls all human affairs. The fact of world-unity stands out above all other interests and considerations."
Sometime back, in this year, Mr. N. R. Vakil, a Bahá'í gentleman of Surat, gave me a copy of the book, "The Bahá'í World: 1936-1938. Though I have not been able to read the whole book through, I find it is a mine of information, a regular cyclopaedia on the subject. It is interesting to read that the origin of the faith was in Persia, where a mystic prophet who took the name of "Báb" (which means "gate") began the mission among the Persians in the
early part of the nineteenth century, that he and his disciples were persecuted by the Persian Government and were finally shot in 1850 that, notwithstanding the persecution, the movement spread under the able and inspiring leadership of Bahá'u'lláh, its principal prophet and exponent, that on his death in 1892 he was succeeded by his son, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, who continued the work till 1921, when, on his death his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, became the head of the community-a community now numbering nearly a million and spread in all the five continents of the world.
Though the traditionally orthodox Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc., may not agree to call themselves Bahá'ís or even to subscribe to its main tenet, viz., that all religions are One, I think that the really enlightened among them can have no conscientious objection and will indeed wholeheartedly subscribe to it.
Another important aspect of the Bahá'í Faith is its absolutely non-political nature. In the "Golden Age of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh" Shoghi Effendi categorically rules out any participation by adherents of the Faith, either individually or collectively, in any form of activity which might be interpreted as an interference in the political affairs of any particular government. So that, no government need apprehend any sort of danger or trouble from Bahá'ísm.
On the whole, the perusal of the book, "The Bahá'í World: 1936-1938, has deeply impressed me with the belief that the principles of Bahá'ísm, laying stress as they do on the One-ness of mankind, and being directed as they are towards the maintenance of peace, unity and co-operation among the different classes, creeds and races of people, will go a long way in producing a healthy atmosphere in the world for the growth of Fellowship and Brotherhood of Man. Further, I see no harm in the followers of other faiths accepting these main principles of Bahá'ísm, wherein, I think, they can find nothing against the teachings of their own prophets, saints and seers. I rather think that by accepting these main principles of Bahá'ísm they will help in hastening the establishment of a New World Order, an idea perhaps first clearly conceived by Bahá'u'lláh and which every thinking man will now endorse as a "consummation to be devoutly wished for."
Persia of one of the most notable of her children and the East of a remarkable personality, who has probably exercised a greater influence not only in the Orient but in the Occident, than any Asiatic thinker and teacher of recent times. The best account of him in English is that published in 1903 by G. P. Putnam's Sons under the title of the "Life and Teachings of 'Abbas Effendi" compiled by Myron H. Phelps chiefly from information by Bahiyyih Khanum. She states that her brother's birth almost coincided with the "manifestation" of Mirza 'Ali Muhammad the Báb (24th May, 1844), and that she was his junior by three years. Both dates are put three years earlier by another reputable authority, but in any case both brother and sister were mere children when, after the great persecution of the Bábís in 1852 their father Bahá'u'lláh and his family were exiled from Persia first to Baghdad (1852-63) then to Adrianople (1863-8), and lastly to 'Akká (St. Jean d'Acre) in Syria, where Bahá'u'lláh died on 28th May, 1892, and which his son 'Abdu'l-Bahá was only permitted to leave at will after the Turkish Revolution in 1908. Subsequently to that date he undertook several extensive journeys in Europe and America, visiting London and Paris in 1911, America in 1912, Budapest in 1913, and Paris, Stuttgart, Vienna, and Budapest in the early summer of 1914. In all these countries he had followers, but chiefly in America, where an active propaganda had been carried on since 1893 with very considerable success, resulting in the formation of important Bahá'í Centers in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities. One of the most notable practical results of the Bahá'í ethical teaching in the United States has been, according to the recent testimony of an impartial and qualified observer, the establishment in Bahá'í circles in New York of a real fraternity between black and white, and an unprecedented lifting of the "color bar," described by the said observer as "almost miraculous."
Ample materials exist even in English for the study of the remarkable personality who has now passed from our midst and of the doctrines he taught; and especially authoritative are the works of M. Hippolyte Dreyfus and his wife (formerly Miss Laura Clifford Barney), who combine intimacy and sympathy with their hero with sound knowledge and wide experience. In their works and in that of Mr. Myron H. Phelps must be sought those particulars which it is impossible to include in this brief obituary notice.
[The following passage may contain scanning errors]  Un autre détail que je tiens de source première est celui-ci. Quelques sectaires, qu'on voulait amener i retractation, furent attachés à la gueule de canons amorcea d'une mêche longue et brulant lentement. On leur proposait de couper la mêche, s'ils reniaient le Báb. Eux, les bras tendus n le f~u, lé suppliaient de hater et de venir bien vité consommer leur bonheur.