January 31, 2012

world peace.. "Baha'u'llah: The Prince of Peace"

Baha'u'llah has proclaimed the Oneness of Humanity.  he proclaimed this Truth, this fundamental verity, over 150 years ago when the world still had slavery, in a land steeped in religious fanaticism and political corruption.  His Message brought a new Spirit into the world.  He asserted,
"O ye children of men, the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race.."
this stupendous and immeasurable Message is a most brilliant light for the world -- both individually, as a guide for a high standard of moral conduct, and collectively, providing a plan and order for a world federation with every possible stipulation for the establishment of world peace.

David Hoffman, former member of the Universal House of Justice, wrote a book called, "Baha'u'llah, The Prince of Peace, A Portrait."  it is a wonderfully written book about the life and station of Baha'u'llah, as well as a comprehensive overview of what Baha'u'llah stipulates as the necessary conditions for the permanent establishment of world peace.  he draws upon the Baha'i Writings in a full yet succinct manner to explain the steps and details of a world system that will be established at the international level.  this is called the Lesser Peace, whereby laws are firmly in place to create order, justice and peace.  when the qualities of the human heart evolve to eliminate prejudice of all kinds, and a high standard of moral conduct is demonstrated in the character of humanity, then will the Most Great Peace be established sometime in the future..

 it was written in the 1992 so he often refers to the 20th Century.  this Message is just as valid and essential now,in the 21st Century:
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'The Kingdom of heaven is within you' is just as true today and forever as when Jesus taught it. The foundation of peace is in the human heart, whence it will spread out to all mankind.

As with everything to do with man, the solution to all his problems is spiritual. Baha'u'llah states that the first effulgence from the Book of God
is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth him to loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement, wealth or poverty.  Having attained the stage of fulfillment and reached his maturity, man standeth in ned of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom, and especially in the eyes of servants who dedicate themselves to the education of the world and to the edification of its peoples.
A world economy is essential to a world society.  Baha'u'llah does not lay down any detailed system of world economics but does prescribe a few basic principles which economists may mould into a world pattern which would ameliorate the struggle for existence, lessen the huge gap between destitution and inordinate personal wealth, remove the constant recurrent crises in the world's economy and provide a just and satisfying distribution of the vast wealth available to man's cooperative ingenuity.

Baha'u'llah's economic principles include the following:
  • The greatest achievements of science and technology should be available to everyone.
  • All must work: no idle rich, no idle poor
  • Limitations of wealth and poverty: a basic minimum standard of living below which no one should recede and limitation of individual wealth.  We may comment on this that no individual should have to spend long hours of toil in return for an inadequate subsistence for himself and his dependents; no individual should be burdened with the administration and worry of inordinate wealth.  Human beings were created for higher and nobler pursuits.  Degrees of wealth are necessary and must be maintained.
  • The contest between capital and labour could be solved by all employees receiving, in addition to agreed wages, shares in the company for which they work.  They would then become part owners and strikes would be obviated.
Beyond these practical considerations which may inspire economists to devise good housekeeping arrangements for a world society, Baha'u'llah has elevated every individual's contribution tot he work of the world to the status of worship of God.  This vision of the human race, rising every day, first to remember God and pray and then to set about the day's work with a zeal impelled by the knowledge that dedication to that work is worship of God, is beyond the imagination of twentieth century minds to conceive.  Yet so it shall be, for the power of the Holy Spirit will accomplish it.

The Lesser Peace must not only calm the raging fury of the present time but must pave the way for the initiation of those processes which will, with the help of God, eventually and inevitably lead to the Most Great Peace.  In His reply to a letter which the Executive Committee of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, The Hague, wrote to Him during World War 1, Abdu'l-Baha pointed out that world peace was not a simple or a single subject, and that if they concentrated solely on the cessation of fighting, they could not achieve more than a temporary result.  He referred them to Baha'u'llah's teachings on universal peace, given 'fifty years ago' and sent to 'the great sovereigns of the world'.  He enumerated, with comment, many other considerations which would fill out the structure of the Most Great Peace.

Education is a vital part of the Baha'i peace programme -- education, universal and compulsory.  A universal curriculum must contain some obligatory items and also be adaptable to differing needs.  For instance, everyone must learn two languages, the mother tongue and an international language to be chosen from among the existing ones or a new one to be invented.  Reading and writing in both will not only preserve local culture and the rich literatures of the world, but use of the universal language will greatly help to demolish age-old barriers to friendship and understanding and to foster a sense of world citizenship.  The oneness of mankind must be taught in all the schools of the world; likewise the nature of man and 'those things which lead to loftiness and honour', the eternal verities of religion.  Not the creeds and rituals and invented dogmas and doctrines, but reverence for God, uprightness, truthfulness, honesty, trustworthiness, fortitude, courtesy nad modesty, all those divine characteristics which are at such discount today.  Baha'u'llah's Tablet Words of Paradise contains the following:
'Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion, so that the Promise and the Threat recorded in the Books of God  may prevent them from the things forbidden and adorn them with the mantle of the commandments; but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry.'
With the will to do it and with funds available from former defence budgets it would be possible to eliminate illiteracy by the end of this century and instill into new generations the elements of good character.

Baha'u'llah disclosed three essential unities which embrace and sustain all those principles which constitute World Order, the final shape of mankind's ordered life on this planet.  Within that Order humanity may make infinite progress, towards the image of God individually and the Kingdom of God socially.  Both processes envision a never-ending refinement of the soul of man as he penetrates ever more deeply the mystery of his own nature and his society reflects ever more brilliantly the grandeur, the vitality, the felicity of the Most Great Peace.

The three unities stressed by Baha'u'llah are
The oneness of God
The oneness of mankind
The oneness of religion
About the first unity there can be little or no discussion.  If God exists there is only one.  If there were more neither would be God.  Men's ideas and concepts inevitably vary...but these do not affect the reality of the First Cause, the Primal Will, the Pre-Existent Creator.

About the second and third unities there is a great deal of misapprehension, disunity, conflict, prejudice, bitterness and all uncharitableness.  Yet Baha'u'llah has been able to inculcate in His followers an abiding and joyful recognition of them both.  As His Cause grows in numbers and influence there is hope that the most inveterate barriers to human unity may be overcome, not alone by dread of the dire consequences which result from persistence in them, but more positively by the increasing spread of the knowledge of divine love, poured out in overflowing measure by Baha'u'llah as attested by the sufferings which He willingly accepted and the infinite compassion of His revelation.  He wrote that He had
'consented to be bound with chains that mankind may be released from its bondage, and hath accepted to be made a prisoner within this most mighty Stronghold that the whole world may attain unto true liberty.  He hath drained to its dregs the cup of sorrow, that all the peoples of the earth may attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness.  This is of the mercy of your Lord, the Compassionate, the Most Merciful.  We have accepted to be abased, O believers in the Unity of God, that ye may be exalted, and have suffered manifold afflictions that ye might prosper and flourish.'

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