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Editor: Dianne Bradford, 5384 Tansas Ln., Hilliard, OH 43026

Vol. 1, No. 4

     Topic: The Three Onenesses                 Page 1
      This newsletter is dedicated to all seekers after the Eternal Truth.

      If asked to summarize Bahá'u'lláh's Mission in one word, that word would have to be: UNITY--the unity of the whole world, all its diverse peoples and kindreds, races and religions, nations and societies. Central to this theme is the teaching of Bahá'u'lláh which Bahá'ís refer to as the three onenesses--the oneness of God, the oneness of religion, and the oneness of mankind.

      The oneness of God
           Bear thou witness that verily He is God and there is no God but Him, the King, the Protector, the Incomparable, the Omnipotent.1 --Bahá'u'lláh

            As the preceding excerpt from a tablet revealed by Bahá'u'lláh clearly states, there is only one God, "there is no God but Him," whatever name He is called--God, the Father, the Lord, Alláh, Jehovah-- or whatever other name by which He has been called. The teaching of the oneness of God, that there is only Him to be worshipped, goes back at least as far as the Revelation of Moses, as shown in the command in Exodus 20:3: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." In addition, both Moses and Jesus Christ, spoke these exact same words when speaking of the oneness of God when, Moses, in Deuteronomy 6:4, and Christ, in Mark 12:29, stated: "...Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord." The Bab, in a prayer on page 192 of Selections from the Writings of the Bab, wrote, "All praise be unto Thee, O Thou besides Whom there is none other God." and again, on p. 61, the Báb unequivocally states, "Indeed God is but one God, and far be it from His glory that there should be aught else besides Him."
     Finally, in Gleanings From the Writings of Baha'u'llah, page 261, is this quote, "How wondrous is the unity of the Living, the Ever-Abiding God--a unity which is exalted above all limitations, that transcendeth the comprehension of all created things!"

The oneness of religion
      The oneness of religion stems directly from the oneness of God, because all of the Messengers which God has sent have come with God's Religion, His Faith, renewed and progressed with each appearance of one of His Manifestations. In short, there is ONE God and ONE continuous and continuing Revelation from God, though with more than one Revealer. This is where many of us seem to have a problem, as we can get so attached to the Messenger that we lose sight of the Message, part of which is always that He will return, clothed in new flesh, but animated by the same Holy Spirit. God has sent His Manifestations throughout the centuries each with God's Message for mankind's guidance for the time in which He appeared. The basic message of love for God and for each other and the means for attaining salvation are the same, forming the one same sure and strong foundation for all the peoples of the world. Another quote from Bahá'u'lláh is this: 'The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace, according to His (Muhammad's) saying, "His grace hath transcended all things; My grace hath encompassed them all," hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence. . . . By the revelation of these Gems of Divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty, and grace, are made manifest.' 2

     Since all of these "Gems of Holiness" came from the same place, "out of the realm of the spirit," and all "impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence," we can be certain that all came from God, all imparted God's Message and
brought God's Religion, the one same Religion In the words of Shoghi Effendi: "Bahá'u'lláh inculcates the basic principle of the relativity of religious truth, the continuity of Divine Revelation, the progressiveness ofreligious experience. His aim is to widen the basis of all revealed religions and to unravel the mysteries of their scriptures. He insists on the unqualified recognition of the unity of their purpose, restates the eternal verities they enshrine, coordinates their functions, distinguishes the essential and the authentic from the nonessential and spurious in their teachings, separates the God-given truths from the priest-prompted superstitions, and on this as a basis proclaims the possibility, and even prophecies the inevitability, of their unification, and the consummation of their highest hopes."3

          Another pertinent quote from the New Testament, in Luke 4:4, is: "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Since we "" every "word of God," how can we be honest with ourselves if we reject the "word of God" sent for own age and guidance? The following is another passage from the Baha'i Scriptures, this one from Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 28, which points out the true purpose of religion, a purpose we too often pervert or ignore because of hatred and/or bigotry: "The divine religions must be the cause of oneness among men, and the means of unity and love; they must promulgate universal peace, free man from every prejudice, bestow joy and gladness, exercise kindness to all men and do away with every difference and distinction. Just as Baha'u'llah addressing the world of humanity saith: 'O people! Ye are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.'" This last quotation leads in nicely into the theme of the oneness of mankind.

The oneness of mankind
           We, as members of humanity, need to recognize that we are all truly God's children and, therefore, all members of one (very large) family. Bahá'u'lláh tells us in the Tablet of Ishráqát, "Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean." 4 Bahá'u'lláh also stated: "The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established."5 It seems appropriate to close with a prayer for the unity of mankind.

           O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household. In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence.
           O God! Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all. Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.
           O Thou kind Lord! Unite all. Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home. May they all live together in perfect harmony.
      O God! Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.
      O God! Establish the Most Great Peace.
      Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.
      O Thou kind Father, God! Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love. Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance. Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.
      Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind. 6 --'Abdu'l-Bahá
1 Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed., Tablet of Ahmad, p. 210.
2 Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 47-48.
3 Shoghi Effendi, The Promised Day is Come, 1980, p. 107.
4 Bahá'u'lláh, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 129.
5 Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Introduction, p. 11.
6 Bahá'í Prayers, 1991 ed, pp. 101-102.

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