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THE NEW DAY
THE BAHAI REVELATION
A Brief Statement of its History and Teachings
CHARLES MASON REMEY
BAHAI PUBLISHING SOCIETY
P. O. Box 283, Chicago, Ill.
This pamphlet, compiled from previously approved and circulated articles, is published in order to meet the present increasing need for propaganda literature in the field of Bahai teaching. Its contents summarizes information which can be found in a less abridged form in the standard literature of this movement.
C. M. R.
Washington, D. C.,
May 28, 1919.
By Abdul Baha
Upon THE NEW DAY
“Do you know in what day you are living? Do you realize in what dispensation you are alive? Have you not read in the holy scriptures that the consummation of the ages there shall appear a day which is the sun of all the past days?
“This is the day in which the Lord of Hosts has come down from heaven on the clouds of glory! This is the day in which the inhabitants of all the world shall enter under the tent of the word of God. This is the day whose real sovereign is His Highness, The Almighty. This is the day when the East and the West shall embrace each other like unto two lovers. This is the day in which war and contention shall be forgotten. This is the day in which nations and governments will enter into an eternal bond of amity and conciliation. This century is the fulfillment of the Promised Century.
“The East shall become illumined, the West perfumed and the children of men shall enter beneath the all-embracing canopy of the oneness of the world of humanity.
“The foundation of divine religion is love, affinity and concord. Praise God that this cycle is the period of illumination! Minds have made great progress; intelligences have been unfolded; the means of unity and agreement are brought about; communication between the races of men is rapidly established. Now is the time that all of us may embrace the law of peace and treat each other with honesty and straightforwardness. Let the religious prejudices be wiped away. Let the law of racial supremacy be discontinued. Let political expediencies
be done away with. Let the love of country be superseded by the love of the world. Let us all deal with each other with infinite kindness. We are all the servants at the one Divine Threshold. We are all receiving the rays of truth from the same Sun of Reality. We must all believe in all of the prophets. We must all acknowledge the divine authority of all the heavenly books. We must wash our hearts free of all human prejudices. We must serve God. We must propagate the oneness of the realm of humanity. We must be the cause of the appearance of the perfections of the world of man. We must not be like the beasts of prey. We must not allow carnage and bloodshed. We must regard the blood of man as sacred. We must not shed the holy blood of man for the paltry earth. We must all agree upon one fundamental principle — that principle is the oneness of the kingdom of humanity.
“In this age, Baha’o’llah has breathed the Holy Spirit into the dead body of the world. Consequently every weak soul is strengthened by these fresh divine outbreathings. Every poor man will become rich, every darkened soul will become illumined, every ignorant one will become wise, because the confirmations of the Holy Spirit are descending like unto torrents. A new era of divine consciousness is upon us. The world of humanity is going through a process of transformation. A new race is being developed. The thoughts of human brotherhood are permeating all regions. New ideals are stirring the depths of hearts and a new spirit of universal consciousness is being profoundly felt by all men.”
THE BAHAI REVELATION
by C. M. Remey
THE RELIGIOUS NEED OF THE TIME.
In this day the religious formulae of the past — superstitions, creeds and dogmas — no longer ease the conscience of the world nor bring satisfaction to the mind of the individual adherent of these systems of thought. Humanity is in need of a spiritual power and knowledge with which to meet and solve the problems and conditions of this new day and age. Hence, the general changing and unsettled condition of the religious world which is causing a large and an increasing number of progressive people to quit thinking within the prescribed limits of the religious thought of the past, and to search diligently for those universal fundamental truths of the spiritual realm of life and being, the knowledge of which truths is the religion of God.
The Bahai Movement offers to the world an all-inclusive, universal, spiritual teaching, so broad that people of all races and of all creeds find place therein. It is essentially a religious
movement, a spiritual teaching, free from the limitations of sect and “ism,” and constructive in its building upon the true faith of the individual and upon the pure teachings of the past, thus increasing love and devotion to God and creating within each soul the desire to manifest the light of these divine attributes through brotherly service to one’s fellowmen.
The object of the Bahai Revelation is the religious unification of all people. The teaching has come into the world to fulfill all divine teaching of the past. It stands as the goal toward which truth has always worked, through its appearance in the prophets sent unto various peoples of the past ages, and it is the beginning of that age of divine enlightenment and peace, the coming of which has been the theme of all revelations of the past — The Kingdom of God on earth. Thus the Bahai Movement establishes the universal religion which is the foundation of inter-religious, inter-racial and international brotherhood and peace. It offers to mankind a practi-
cal basis of unity, one which is in direct line with the great world needs of this age, and it is paving the way for the great universal civilization which will evolve as people of all religions, races and nations unite both spiritually and materially into one great world people.
Man, being finite, can not comprehend the essence of the Infinite God, which is beyond any and all human conception. However, through the manifestation of the Spirit of God or “The Word,” that power which has spoken to the world through the Prophets and Chosen Ones of the past, humanity learns of God, knows His attributes, and is quickened by His Spirit.
Mankind needs and seeks spiritual guidance. This divine guidance has come to humanity through the instrumentality of the manifestations of God or the Prophets or Revealers of Truth. These chosen souls have been the founders of the great religious world-movements. They have manifested the spirit of God to the people of the world, and through them men have known God and have become quickened by the life of The Kingdom.
THE ONENESS OF THE MANIFESTATIONS.
Though the personalities of the Prophets differed, yet the divine power which spoke through each one was the same in spirit and reality. Each Prophet revealed God and the law of the divine kingdom in proportion to the needs of the age to which He ministered, and in terms and parables familiar to its people.
In their purity, all religious teachings are in perfect accord; all teach the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Human differences, imaginations and superstitions have been the causes of religious division, dissension and disintegration, but true spirituality has ever been the source and mainspring of man’s unity in religion and advancement in civilization. Each of the great world civilizations has had its conception and birth in a spiritually active religion, and the downfall of civ-
ilizations has been brought about by spiritually lifeless religions, shrouded in forms and in superstitions.
THE NEW REVELATION.
As the former ages have had certain spiritual or religious needs, so this present and coming universal age, upon the threshold of which the world now stands, has its own peculiar spiritual and religious needs. The world is now ready for the spiritual unity and harmony of its people. The universal religion now comes, in order that the universal civilization may be realized.
The Prophets of the past foresaw this latter-day religious need, and They also foresaw the coming of two great teachers and Prophets Who would minister to the whole world, and fulfill the covenant of God in establishing the universal religion or The Kingdom upon earth.
The Hebrew prophets dwelt at length upon the coming of the “Ancient of Days,” and the glory of His epoch; Jesus, the Christ, spoke many times of His second coming and the establishment of His Father’s Kingdom upon earth; the Prophet Mohammed taught that the Mahdi would come, followed by the Manifestation of God Who would establish the Kingdom; Zoroaster taught of the triumph of light over darkness, of truth over ignorance, and His followers expect The Promised One Whom they call Shah Bahram, to accomplish this victory; Gautama, The Buddha, foretold the coming of the great Fifth Buddha, Who would bring enlightenment to all the world; the Hindu holy books mention another incarnation of Krishna, or the Divine Spirit, Whose mission would be universal enlightenment; while the poets and prose writers of all times have depicted the beauty and the perfection of the Utopian or millennial age, to be realized when The Great World Master appeared on earth to establish God’s rule among the nations. In reality all testified to One Who was to come. These promises of the Prophets of old are now realized in the coming of the Bahai Revelators and in the movement which They have established, the people of the various religions find the fulfillment of the sacred teachings of the past, and also the solution of the
great latter day problem of religious unity. The Bahai Teaching confirms and completes all religious teachings which have gone before, and offers a practical philosophy which meets the present day spiritual needs of humanity.
On May 23, 1844, there arose in Shiraz, Persia, a young man, Ali Mohammed by name, who declared Himself to be The *Bab, or the forerunner of “He whom God would ManiFest” — a great teacher, Who was soon to appear with manifest signs of divine power, through Whose teachings the religious unity of all peoples would be accomplished.
Through His purity of soul and spiritual wisdom The Bab drew unto Himself many followers who in turn promulgated His doctrines with so much fervor that within a short time many believed and joined His ranks.
The Bab was met early in His career of teaching by great opposition on the part of the Mussulman clergy, and at their instigation, was placed under military surveillance. In spite of this He continued His teaching, exhorting the people to holiness and sanctity of living, in order that they might be fitted to meet the Promised One, shortly to appear, and to become as mirrors which would reflect His spiritual perfection. Thus the first two years of His ministry passed, at the end of which time, He was seized, by the order of the opposing clerical authorities, and thrust into prison.
The Bab’s imprisonment lasted four years, during which time He taught His followers through letters and epistles smuggled by faithful friends past the guards of the prison. This was followed by a trial in which He was condemned to death upon the charge of heresy. With one of His followers, He suffered martyrdom in the cause of truth in the city of Tabriz, Persia, on July 9, 1850.
The mission of The Bab being that of precursor of “He whom God would Manifest,” the institutions and ordinances which He established were for the time being only. With the
* “Bab” is the Arabic word for door or gate.
appearance of the Promised One, the followers (Babis), were commanded to turn their faces unto Him, when He, who was to come, would reveal His teachings, divine laws and ordinances, thus completing the foundation of The Kingdom on earth.
The Bab was not alone in being persecuted by the Mussulmans, for with His martyrdom came upon His followers troubles of the most dire nature. Over twenty thousand of these willingly gave up property, family and life rather than deny or recant their faith. As late as 1901, there were one hundred and seventy souls martyred in this cause at one time in Persia.
During the days of The Bab’s ministry, while His cause was being promulgated by His followers throughout Persia, there were many believers who never met with Him in person. Among these was Baha’o’llah, a young man of noble family, who warmly espoused the cause, publicly upholding and teaching it in Teheran. In 1852, shortly after The Bab’s martyrdom, when the persecution of the Babis was at its height, Baha’o’llah, with others of the new faith, was imprisoned in Teheran, and later on with a number of the followers was sent in exile to Baghdad in Irak-Arabi.
During the exile in Baghdad Baha’o’llah, through His teachings and spiritual insight, gradually brought calmness and assurance to the believers. As the movement gained strength the clerical authorities began to show fear. This led to an international arrangement made between the Turkish and Persian governments by which Baha’o’llah with a band of the followers was ordered to a more distant exile in Constantinople. In April, 1863, on the eve of His departure from the land of Irak, Baha’o’llah declared Himself to be The One whose coming The Bab had foretold, “He whom God would Manifest.”
From Constantinople the exiles were sent to Adrianople, where they remained until 1868, when they were finally sent to the fortified town of Akka (Acre), a penal colony on the Mediterranean just north of Mt. Carmel in Syria. There in
the land of Carmel, where “the coming of the Lord” in this latter day had been foretold by the prophets, Baha’o’llah lived and taught; many traveling from great distances to receive instructions from Him, while others received teaching through His writings.
With the coming of Baha’o’llah the mission and teachings of The Bab were fulfilled and completed; so from that time on the movement became known as the Bahai Movement, and the believers, hitherto called Babis, became known as Bahais, this new name being a derivative of Baha. In the spring of 1892 the mission of Baha’o’llah being finished, He passed quietly from this world.
During Baha’o’llah’s ministry His revelation was complete, yet His cause was not explained nor established in the world in general. To this end He, in His testament, as well as in various parts of His teachings, commanded His followers upon His departure to turn their faces toward His eldest son, Abbas, more widely known by this title, “Abdul Baha,” whom He had chosen as their spiritual guide: “The Center of The Covenant” of God to the people of the world, the expounder of His teachings, the one who would establish this great movement and to explain and demonstrate it before the world — the one upon whose shoulders His mantle would fall.
Abdul Baha was born in Teheran, Persia, on the 23rd of May, 1844, the day upon which The Bab first declared His message. During all the trials and vicissitudes of the mission of Baha’o’llah, Abdul Baha was at His right hand promulgating His cause and serving His followers. He was the first of all to recognize Baha’o’llah as The Promised One and to voice the Mighty Message of the coming mission of the “Lord of The Ages.”
Abdul-Baha wishes to be known as the servant of humanity. He seeks no higher station than this, yet when one understands all that this means one realizes the combination of humility and exaltation which it implies. He makes but one claim for himself, as to his spiritual station, that of service in the path
of God. He signs himself “Abdul-Baha Abbas,” which, being
translated, is “Abbas, the Servant of God.” Abdul-Baha is acknowledged by the Bahais as their spiritual leader, and the one to be emulated in the teaching of this great faith in the world. He, through his example, is bringing the spiritual life of Baha’o’llah within the reach of his followers, the Bahais. He is the first fruit of the consummation of God’s Latter Day promise to the world, and he is the center from which the light is now being radiated to the world; therefore he in his mission lives and exemplifies his title of “The Center of The Covenant.”
Abdul-Baha’s life is one of active service to humanity. There is no element in the daily life of this world too small to receive his attention. The great motive power manifesting through him is not of this world but is of God. He is working to serve God, yet by serving God he serves mankind. From his early childhood until his 64th year he was an exile and a prisoner; yet the light of his life and teachings has reached and penetrated to the far corners of the earth. For forty years Abdul-Baha was a prisoner in the fortress of Akka — held there by the Sultan of Turkey for no other reason than that his teaching was bringing enlightenment and freedom of thought to all who came within the radius of its power. With the fall of the old despotic regime of Turkish government and the establishment of a constitutional rule, which occurred in the summer of 1908, Abdul-Baha was liberated from prison, and now is free to come and go as he wills. During the summer and fall he visited England and France, where he spent some months in teaching; and in 1912 he spent eight months in America, traveling and teaching from coast to coast, visiting many cities and towns where he had friends and where there were those to listen to his explanations of religious questions and seeking that vitalizing spiritual force which so characterizes his presence.
Upon this tour, in both America and Europe, the pulpits of many Christian churches of various sects and cults, institutions of learning, and the platforms of philosophical and humanitarian movements of various types sought Abdul Baha and welcomed his message of the Oneness of the World of Humanity. The people who heard him were rejoiced by the spirit which he radiated, and those who came within the field
of his spiritual love and power, were strengthened and inspired.
Abdul Baha has the power of really penetrating the souls of men, of understanding the needs of each individual soul, and of ministering to them in the most beneficial manner. He is the spiritual physician who is treating humanity. Many beautiful and touching incidents are related in the East of the way in which, through long suffering and kindness, he has won the hearts of those who, because of their prejudices, formerly were his enemies. Caring for the sick and protecting the oppressed form a large part of his daily duties. One of the titles applied to him in the Orient is “father of the poor.”
Abdul-Baha’s power is that of love. In going into his presence something within one’s soul seems to respond to his soul. Thus a spiritual bond is made which is most far-reaching, for it is of the nature of divine love and always remains with one. Through his life and example, he is teaching people the life and the way of The Kingdom. He has a message for every one, and as one meets and contacts with him in spirit it is as if a new force were added to one’s nature. The power of the love of God is brought very close to those who come in contact with Abdul-Baha.
At the present time, Abdul-Baha is in Palestine, where, during the past years of war, he has been serving and relieving the sufferings and misery of the people brought about by this great world calamity of war. His friends in various parts of the world are now awaiting the time when travel will again be possible between the Orient and the Occident in the hope that they, and others, may be able to go to him and receive that divine love which he gives so freely to humanity.
From many countries have gone to Abdul-Baha people of different beliefs to receive spiritual help, and upon leaving him they have returned to their various homes to share with others the joy and assurance of his spiritual message and to follow in his path of service. His is the perfect life, and as the people contact with him they find in him the center of this spiritual light of this new day and age. From this center is flowing the regenerative Bahai spirit, which is making things anew, re-establishing religion, reviving faith in God and uniting humanity in the one universal brotherhood of God’s kingdom.
THE BAHAI WRITINGS.
The collective writings of The Bab are known as “The Beyan.” These treat chiefly of the coming of Baha’o’llah, containing exhortations to the people calling them to purify themselves and prepare to meet the Promised One that they might be fitted to serve Him.
Baha’o’llah wrote many treatises in the form of books and epistles, in which He demonstrates the oneness of the spirit of all of the former religious teachings; also treating of the present teachings in its relations to the religions of the past. A number of these writings were in reply to special questions asked by men of learning and were therefore written from various points of thought, Moslem, Jewish, Christian, etc.
The writings of Abdul-Baha are many and are chiefly in the form of letters, explanatory of the spirit and the teachings of Baha’o’llah. In Abdul-Baha’s life of service to humanity is his method of teaching, through which means he gives life, vigor and a penetrative force to his words. His verbal teaching, much of which is reported and circulated in manuscript and in printed form, consists of explanations, given to various inquirers, regarding the cause and its doctrines, together with exhortations to the followers and certain principles and truths the pursuance of which is conducive to the best secular as well as spiritual welfare of mankind.
Eternal life is the state of soul of spiritually-quickened man. All souls exist as entities after the separation from the material body. However, from the spiritual standpoint, this mere existence is not “life.” Only those souls who are awake to the glory of God can be said to be divinely awake and alive and of the life eternal. This spiritual awakening is from God. It is His gift and greatest bounty to man. By virtue of the truth and spirit revealed to humanity through the Prophets and manifestations, man’s soul is awakened from slumber, and, though in the world, yet he lives in a higher realm from which he receives divine strength and force.
According to the Bahai Teaching heaven and hell are conditions of the soul. The soul which lives in God is in that divine state called heaven, while one not yet awakened to the glory of God is in a state of darkness, or hell. The coming of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth has been the one theme of Christ and the Prophets. All have spoken of this epoch in different terminology, but in reality They all spoke of the one great age of divine enlightenment — a time when faith should replace unbelief, and when divine knowledge should replace ignorance and superstition, and the Bahai Cause teaches that the world is now in the early dawn of that new day and age.
SOCIAL REFORMS, LAWS AND ORDINANCES.
In addition to the purely spiritual teachings of Baha’o’llah He ordered certain changes in the manners and customs of people, through the observance of which the world in general will be helped both materially and spiritually. He exhorts the Bahais to be tolerant, and in no way to separate themselves from other people, nor denounce those of other beliefs. All men are free to believe as they wish, but all are advised to unite in faith and to lay aside the prejudices and superstitions of past ages. Warfare should be abolished and international questions settled by arbitration. A universal language is favored as a means of bringing people together in unity. Legislation should be representative. The Bahais should be peaceful and law-abiding citizens. Their thought should be humanitarian before all else. Faith without works is not acceptable. One’s worship should be supplemented by a pure and useful life in the world. Men and women should marry. Asceticism is discouraged. Monogamy is taught. Harshness and hatred are to be overcome by gentleness and love. Man should not use intoxicants as a beverage. Opium and kindred drug habits are denounced, as is also gambling.
Baha’o’llah forbade mendacity, slavery, cruelty to animals and many other abuses which our western civilization has already remedied, so it is hardly necessary here to mention them. The following of these ordinances is already producing its good effect in the many Bahai centers throughout the world, and good fruits are coming therefrom.
Prayer supplemented by a pure and useful life in this world form the elements of true worship. Faith without works is not acceptable. Every man should have an occupation which conduces to the welfare of humanity, the diligent pursuance of which is in itself an act of worship.
In this cause there is no priesthood nor clergy. Each soul approaches God in prayer without sacred rite nor ceremony. Temples open to all people of all religions are to be provided for reading, meditation and prayer. These are to be surrounded by hospices, hospitals, asylums, schools, universities, etc., the whole group of buildings to be known as a “Mashrak-El-Azkar,” which translated from the Persian literally means “The dawning point of the mentions of God.” In these institutions is symbolized both the spiritual worship and the humanitarian service as taught by Baha’o’llah.
A few years ago in the city of Echkabad [Ashkhabad] in Russian Turkistan a Mashrak-El-Azkar was built. At present the Bahais throughout the world are uniting in the work of building the first Mashrak-El-Azkar in America, which is to be erected upon the shore of Lake Michigan near the city of Chicago.
Of the Mashrak-El-Azkar to be built in Chicago, Abdul Baha has spoken as follows:
“Now the day has arrived in which the edifice of God, the divine sanctuary, the spiritual temple, shall be erected in America.”
“The accessories of the Mashrak-El-Azkar are numerous. Among them are the school for orphans, the great college for the higher arts, hospital, home for the cripples and hospice. The doors of these places are to be opened to all sects — no differentiations. When these accessories are completed, and, by God’s help and aid, the departments fully systematized, it will be proved that the Mashrak-El-Azkar is to human society a great bounty and a great blessing.
“In brief, through the unlimited bounties of God, I am hopeful that the beloved ones of God in America may be aided and confirmed in founding this mighty and solid foundation and gradually annex thereto its accessories.”
“When these institutions, college, hospital, hospice and establishments for the incurables, university for the study of higher sciences and giving post-graduate courses, and other philanthropic buildings are built, its doors will be opened to all the nations and religions. There will be absolutely no line of demarcation drawn. Its charities will be dispensed irrespective of color or race. Its gates will be flung wide open to mankind; prejudice toward none, love for all. The central building will be devoted to the purpose of prayer and worship. Thus, for the first time, religion will become harmonized with science, and science will be the handmaid of religion, both showering their material and spiritual gifts on ALL humanity. In this way the people will be lifted out of the quagmires of slothfulness and bigotry.”
Through a broad and liberal education along scientific, material and intellectual lines, balanced by a knowledge of man’s moral and spiritual duties and relation to God, the Bahais believe that the superstitions of the past will disappear and with them the prejudice and ignorance which have always made for man’s limitation. The Bahai Movement stands strongly for the freedom and education of woman, even going so far as to teach that it is more necessary for parents to educate their girls, than their boys. Women being the mothers and the early teachers of the children of the race, it is more necessary that they be educated than men. In the Orient, where the condition of ignorance and general degradation among the women is so widespread, the condition of the Bahai women is so far superior to that of the women in general in the countries in which they live as to be one of the clear demonstrations of the awakening of these peoples and their freedom from their former religious institutions which denied educational advantages to women. Particularly in the Moslem countries are the women denied culture and education by the established rule of theology, but now through the dawn of this new day and age all these limitations of the past are disappearing before the light of Truth.
Religious differences have been the chief cause of warfare, while religious sympathy and understanding have always made for peace and prosperity. Prior to the beginning of the Bahai Movement, little or nothing was being taught nor written about peace, arbitration, universal language, suffrage nor other universal institutions. During the past three-quarters of a century, however, the world has awakened to the necessity for all of these institutions for which the Bahai Cause stands; and now the most enlightened people are realizing that the lack of spiritual or religious understanding, with the accompanying lack of moral perception, is the real cause of our human ills and the cataclysmic conditions through which the world is now passing.
While Baha’o’llah’s teaching was ahead of the world of His day, the world of today is realizing more and more the value of that teaching. The supply and the demand are now meeting, from which better conditions will result.
The Bahais believe in a federation of all the nations, both large and small, and the establishment of a world parliament for the judicial settlement of international disputes. In treating of this matter of peace between the nations, Abdul Baha says:
“A tribunal will be under the power of God, and under the protection of all men. Each one must obey the decisions of this tribunal, in order to arrange the difficulties of every nation.
“About fifty years ago in the Book of Akdas, Baha’o’llah commanded the people to establish the Universal Peace and summoned all the nations to the Divine Banquet of international arbitration so that the questions of boundaries, of national honor and property and of vital interests between nations might be decided by an arbitral court of justice.
“Remember these precepts were given more than half a century ago — at that moment no one spoke of universal peace — nor of any of these principles, but Baha’o’llah proclaimed them to all the sovereigns of the world. * * * They are the spirit of this age; the light of this age; they are the well-being of this age.”
SCIENCE AND RELIGION.
The imaginations and superstitions of the religious systems of the past, are against common sense and science, for these are but the thoughts of men of the ages. The universal basic spiritual truths of religion, upon the contrary, accord with science. When men understand the true principles of religion no conflict will be found between them and the material sciences.
EVOLUTION OF MAN.
According to the Bahai teaching spirit or life force is of five kinds: vegetable, animal, human, the divinely spiritual life of the soul, and the Infinite unknowable spirit of God. Man was created man, a species apart and above the vegetable and animal conditions. Through the spiritual influences of the manifestations of God’s Word, or the Prophets, man becomes characterized by the divinely spiritual qualities, and adds to his human nature the spiritual nature, or the life eternal.
The Bahais see true religion itself as a scientific fact, for to them the true philosophy of religion is the statement or the science of the higher spiritual laws of that plan of being known as The Kingdom of God. Through the working of these divine laws and a knowledge thereof, humanity arises from the state of spiritual ignorance which characterizes the so-called “natural” or savage man, and becomes quickened by the process of the higher life. Thus, through a knowledge of the basis principles of religion, and through the wisdom which the living spirit of religion instills into the soul, the true religious man is freed from the thraldom of ignorance and superstition, which imprisons the soul, and he finds ample opportunity and scope for the development of the highest and noblest virtues peculiar to that plane of being known as The Kingdom of God.
One of the greatest obstacles to overcome before universal brotherhood and peace can come is the natural lack of confidence and understanding between the oriental and occidental
peoples. The Orient has always been the source of the world’s spiritual inspiration, while in the Occident has appeared the fruition of this inspiration in the form of a highly evolved civilization. Through the Bahai Teachings this chasm between the East and the West is bridged, and for the first time in history oriental and occidental are meeting on a common ground of sympathy and understanding.
Co-operation is the basic principle upon which all institutions should be founded. The co-operation of all for the good of all. Laws should be so regulated that it will be impossible for one man to enrich himself at the expense of another. Through the proper adjustment of political and commercial relations between individuals and nations all will live in harmony, happiness and in plenty.
THE HOUSE OF JUSTICE.
Baha’o’llah arranged for the guidance and the welfare of His cause by appointing Abdul Baha “The Center of His Covenant,” to whom the people were to turn for guidance. After Abdul Baha all matters are to be referred to “The House of Justice,” a body of men to be chosen from the believers because of their spiritual qualifications for wisdom and divine knowledge.
The business affairs of the Bahai Movement are conducted by these assemblies of consultation. In addition to the local Houses of Justice, there will be a general assembly of consultation composed of representatives from all parts of the world. This will be known as “The Universal House of Justice.”
THE METHOD OF TEACHING.
The teaching is given without money and without price. Teachers are usually self-supporting, giving their time and services, the recompense for which is the joy and satisfaction of serving in the cause of Truth, but in rare instances persons of means have been known to provide traveling and living ex-
penses enabling certain speakers and teachers for a time to extend the field of their labors. Teaching consists of first living the principles of the cause in one’s inner life and then speaking to others. Unless a teacher lives the life of which he preaches his words will have no effect upon the hearts of others.
All Bahais are servants of the cause and are supposed to promulgate the teachings, each in his own sphere — each working according to his ability. Some are able to go about through the world teaching and preaching, while others carry on their religious work in conjunction with their material affairs. The Bahais in no way form a close sect or cult. They do not separate themselves from other people. Their work is ever outward and in the world where they are diffusing spiritual knowledge and serving humanity.
In the following words of Abdul Baha he instructs teachers how they should teach:
“The intention of the teacher must be pure, his heart independent, his spirit attracted, his thought at peace, his resolution firm, his magnanimity exalted and in the love of God a shining torch.
“Should he become as such, his sanctified breath will even affect the rock; otherwise there will be no result whatsoever. As long as a soul is not perfected, how can he efface the defects of others?
“Unless he is detached from aught else save God, how can he teach severance to others?”
GROWTH OF THE MOVEMENT.
The movement under The Bab was practically confined to the Islamic countries. During the ministry of Baha’o’llah the message was taken to various other countries of the Orient and now under the ministration of Abdul Baha it has spread the world around. There are not only centers of Bahai teaching in China, Japan, Burma, India, Persia, Turkistan, Caucasia, the Turkish countries and in Egypt, but there are strong Bahai centers in France, Germany, England and throughout the United States and Canada. This growth has been a comparatively
slow but a steady one. It is not limited by religious nor racial conditions, which is proven by the many heterogeneous elements which this cause is assimilating and fusing into one element, which is the world type of man.
The universal principles of Truth which the Bahai Movement is teaching are already clearly seen in the way in which this teaching appeals to people of all religions, races, and nationalities. When a soul becomes touched by the Bahai Spirit he becomes a citizen of the world, quite freed from the limitations of his former environment, while his social and religious prejudices inherited from forebears and environment are changed into a desire to do something toward world brotherhood through tangible service to his fellow men. In the Bahai meetings — notably those in the East — one sees Christians, Jews, Moslems, Zoroastrians, Hindus and Buddhists mingling as brothers and eating at the same tables. It has been the writer’s privilege to travel extensively and to attend many such reunions. He has spent much time in the oriental countries and has seen the spiritual blending of the Orient and Occident, which process is being brought about by the love and devotion of the Bahais one for another. These people are really demonstrating the power of divine love, for with them it is so powerful as to overcome all religious and racial antipathy and is producing real brotherhood and peace.