Saturday, August 10, 2002
Baha’i: A universal religion
Also as per the tenets of it’s founder Baha’u’llah, it’s a religion that emphasises the modern-day needs of a society; it tells it’s followers to treat everyone equally and to work towards creating a universal language. It therefore tries to lay down a foundation on which a peaceful world can be build tomorrow.
The Baha’is observe July 8 as a day to remember the martyrdom of the Bab. A day to be spent in introspection.
‘‘Baha’i founder Baha’u’llah asserted that His message is a revelation direct from God and that he always sought to establish a universal religion. Founded in the late 19th century, the religion was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Mirza Ali Muhammad, known as the Bab. Baha’u’llah became a follower of the Bab, and in 1850, upon the martyrdom of the Bab, became the leader of one of the Babi factions.’’
He taught his followers to ‘‘abolish racial and religious prejudice, to work for equality, universal education, a universal faith founded on the assumption of the essential identity of the great religions, and a universal representative government.”
Followers believe that the religion’s emphasis on social justice is what attracts so many to it. In fact, it has it’s largest followers in the United States. Maybe because it essentially believes in the oneness of God, in the essential oneness of all religions, and in the oneness of humanity.
As One Baha’i says, “We, give reverence to the past Prophets, including Moses, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Christ and Muhammad. Baha’is believe that each of these “Manifestations” of God appeared at a time when the human race was in particular need of spiritual guidance.’’
All those who pray for peace, should condemn all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class-based or nationalistic as the Baha’i do. The faith’s unforgettable message is the teaching that Science and religion must go hand in hand to create harmony.
As a Baha’i prayer goes: “O my God! O my God! Unite the hearts of thy servants, and reveal to them thy great purpose. May they follow thy commandments and abide in thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavour, and grant them strength to serve thee. O God! Leave them not to themselves, but guide their steps by the light of thy knowledge, and cheer their hearts by thy love. Verily, thou art their Helper and their Lord. ’’
©Copyright 2002, Mumbai Newsline (Indian Express Newspapers, Bombay, India)