The baha’i world

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HE chemist who obtains a healing remedy by the combination of elements knows well that he himself has created nothing. He has but 

made it possible for certain powers inherent in the ingredients to work their beneficent force for the human system. The same elements 

which, in one combination, will heal disease, may, in a different blending, produce a most destructive explosion. What the chemist 

brings to his work is knowledge of the elements, but their vital powers and mysterious forces are part of the universal creation which 

utterly transcends the will of man.  

The greatest chemistry of all is that which deals with the union and order of human beings in the state of society. In human beings the 

Creator has deposited powers and forces which, on the physical plane, represent the highest expression of elemental life, but which, on 

the mental and spiritual planes, contain attributes raised as high above nature as electricity is raised above other forms of force. 

History is our record of this most potent chemistry—the laboratory notebook in which is preserved the results of many social 

experiments, some describing notable successes, others grimly depicting those wars, revolutions and other human explosions by which 

societies have been utterly destroyed. The ingredient which all experience proves to be essential to the preservation of civilization is 

mutual loyalty based upon the foundation of divine love. The ingredient invariably leading to social explosion is hate.  

So sinister have become the influences making for hatred today that the time has surely come to learn the laws of that spiritual 

chemistry which determines the outcome of all human relations. The world has become a laboratory in which the very powers of life 

and death are being manipulated by the ignorant, the evil, and the insane. 


The first principle of civilization is that no human being, however weak and lowly, can be regarded as a brute beast and outcast whose 

fate is a matter of indifference to his fellow men. Even though latent and undeveloped, the attributes of man are divinely created, and 

the abuse of human beings involves the sure movements of a guardian destiny. Nor can human association be founded on any social 

structure admitting or compelling servitude to an arbitrary authority or effecting involuntary cooperation among the people.  

Great emphasis has been given this fundamental matter of man’s spiritual endowment in the writings of Bahh’u’llhh. “Whatever is in 

the heavens and whatever is on the earth is a direct evidence of the revelation within it of the attributes and names of God, inasmuch 

as within every atom are enshrined the signs that bear eloquent testimony to the revelation of that Most Great Light.  

To a supreme degree is this true of man, who, among all created beings, hath been invested with the robe of such gifts, and hath been 

singled out for the glory of such distinction. For in him are potentially revealed all the attributes and names of God to a degree that no 

other created being hath excelled or surpassed. 

. . . 

Man, the noblest and most perfect of all created things, excelleth them all in the 

intensity of this revelation, and is a fuller expression of its glory.”  

In the light of this truth, it seems evident that altogether too much power is attributed to those human organizations which employ 

material might and ruthless coercion to attain their ends. At their very root lies a blight which sooner or later must carry death and 

disintegration to their branches, their twig  and their leaves. The following quotation indicates how fruitless are the ef‘Gleanings 

From the Writings of Bahd’n’lla’h. 








forts to establish the association of men on any other than a basis of spiritual truth:  

“Economic distress 


together with political confusion, financial upheavals, religious restlessness and racial animosities, seem to have 

conspired to add immeasurably to the burdens under which an impoverished, a war-weary world is groaning. Such has been the 

cumulative effect of these crises, following one another with such bewildering rapidity, that the very foundations of society are 

trembling. The world, to whichever continent we turn our gaze 

. . . 

is everywhere assailed by forces it can neither explain nor control. 

. . . 

Humanity, whether viewed in the light of man’s individual conduct or of the existing relationships between organized communities 

and nations, has, alas, strayed too far and suffered too great a decline to be redeemed through the unaided efforts of the best among its 

recognized rulers and statesmen—however disinterested their motives, however concerted their action, however unsparing in their 

zeal and devotion to its cause. No scheme which the calculations of the highest statesmanship may yet devise; no doctrine which the 

most distinguished exponents of economic theory may hope to advance; no principle which the most ardent of moralists may strive to 

inculcate, can provide, in the last resort, adequate foundations upon which the future of a distracted world can be built.”2  

If social policy, devoid of the higher powers of love, and consequently incapable of inspiring unity and cooperation, can not construct 

a true civilization, then has once and for all been demonstrated the vitality of our aspiration after truth. For it is evident that the 

inherent nature of truth as law, apart from mere opinion, is that law must be obeyed. We determine whether a given principle is law or 

mere opinion in two ways: by the reward that comes from obedience, and by the penalty involved in disobedience. Applying this test 

to present- day civilization, no argument is needed to prove that the entire world staggers under severe blows and suffers under a dire 

punishment that can not be attributed to any human power or source. It is the divine power of truth and love which has been left out- 


side our social theories and overlooked as the essential ingredient in the life of man.  

And yet this organized hatred appears to be so invincible, with its armaments hurling death from land, from sea, from air! ‘What forest 

can resist the devouring flame that grows what it feeds on? Here, indeed, we stand in need of a faith so firm and so assured that it can 

gaze clear-eyed upon this tragic array of destructive material power, and realize that it is impotent in comparison to truth. We need 

that conscious, that understanding faith which knows, and knows once for all, that hatred is not a positive force, an independent 

reality, but only the negative absence of love. Those who are lost in darkness fear the darkness and think it is an active evil, but 

darkness becomes nothing when light appears.  

The Bahã’i writings contain a passage which at this hour should be proclaimed to the far corners of the earth. This passage describes 

how the light of spiritual truth is arising in our age to banish hatred and fear from the souls of men.  

“In cycles gone by, though harmony was estabhshed, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been 

achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the people of one and the same continent, association and interchange 

of thought were well nigh impossible. Consequently, intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the 

earth were unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have 

virtually merged into one.  

In like manner, all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly 

interdependent. For none is self- sufficiency any longer possible, inasmuch as political ties unite all peoples and nations, and the bonds 

of trade and industry, of agriculture and education, are being strengthened every day. Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be 

achieved. Verily this is none other but one of the wonders of this wondrous age, this glorious century. Of this, past ages have been 

deprived, for this century—the century of light—has been  

Shoghi Effendi: The World Order of Bahd’u’lldh. 






endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and illumination.  

“Behold how its light is now dawning upon the world’s darkened horizon. The first candle is unity in the political 

realm, the early glimmerings of which can now be discerned. The second candle is unity of thought in world 

undertakings, the consummation of which will ere long be witnessed. The third candle is unity in freedom which will 

surely come to pass. The fourth candle is unity in religion which is the cornerstone of the foundation itself, and which, 

by the power of God, will be revealed in all its splendor. The fifth candle is unity of nations—a unity which in this 

century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one 

common fatherland. The sixth candle is unity of races, making of all that dwell on earth peoples and kindreds of one 

race. The seventh candle is unity of language, that is, the choice of a universal tongue in which all peoples will be 

instructed and converse. Each and every one of these will inevitably come to pass, inasmuch as the power of the 

Kingdom of God will aid and assist in their realization.”a  

The first principle of civilization has already been described as recognition of the spiritual nature of man. The second 

principle is recognition of the truth that a human society capable of solving its problems is no mere casual or artificial 

grouping of a large number of human beings, but the reflection and outworking 


a creative spirit. A civilization 

which has come to its decline, and entered its death-struggle, abandons all its external and materialistic trappings of 

false faith, and reaches up for a faith that is pure and sanctified from the stains of historical prejudice. When such a 

renewal of faith can be found, it releases the spirit by which a new and higher civilization can be gradually attained. 

The spirit that moves the minds and hearts today is a world spirit. 


Its necessary creation is a world society, and the path leading to that world society is the sincere acceptance of the oneness of 


We of today live in a transitional age, the “forty years of wilderness” that lie between the old world and the new. The part each man 

plays is determined by whether he looks forward or backward, whether he responds to materialism or spirituality, whether he is slave 

to the darkness or the servant of the light. As has been so poignantly expressed:  

“The whole of mankind is groaning, is dying to be led to unity, and to terminate its age-long martyrdom. And yet it stubbornly refuses 

to embrace the light and acknowledge the sovereign authority of the one Power that can extricate it from its entanglements, and avert 

the woeful calamity that threatens to engulf it.”4  

There appear to be three distinct periods in this new stage of world unity; first, that in which the need of the larger unity is denied and 

resisted; second, that when the need of unity is admitted, but substitutes for the true, organic unity are attempted; and third, the hour 

when all resistance and subterfuge are abandoned, and the spirit of unity is at last awakened among men. We have already passed 

through the first of these periods. At present we are still depending upon incomplete measures and half-hearted efforts. The signs are 

not lacking, however, that many individuals have begun to respond to the new world spirit, and are spiritually ready to serve its 

universal aim. For such, these words of Bahá’u’llhh will bring abundant confirmation: “Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, 

and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.”5  

‘Abdu’l-BaIsã, Tablets. Quoted in The World Order of Bahd’n’lldh.  

Sisoghi ElTendi: The World Order of Bahd’n’lldh.  

a Gleanings From the Writings of Bahd’n’lldh. 





towering grandeur and the tender beauty of the life of a Divine Manifestation cannot be comprehended by events 

usually associated with a saintly life. Its immensity presents itself in that mysterious influence which it exerts over 

countless lives  

—an influence which functions not through a vehicle of social status and prestige, wealth, secular power and worldly 

dominion; indeed, even not through a medium of mere superior knowledge and intellectual achievement.  

The Divine Manifestation is the Archetype, and His life is the Supreme Pattern. His vision, not arrested by time and 

space, encompasses the future as well as the past. He is the only and the necessary link between one period of social 

evolution and the other. Without Him co-ordination is impossible. Furthermore, the Divine Manifestation quickens the 

forces latent in humanity, and releases sweeping reservoirs of spiritual power.  

In every respect, the nineteenth century is one of the most outstanding periods in the history of mankind. Science, in 

this span of one hundred years, achieved tasks of stupendous consequences. Democracy and nationalism, ruthlessly 

suppressed by the statesmen of Europe in 1815, vindicated their claims in one country after another. Modes of thought 

underwent considerable change. The general outlook of human kind was transformed. We believe that this outburst 


of revolution in every sphere of activity was caused by the dawn of springtime in the world of spirit. Through the 

vibrations of their spiritual power, Bahá’u’lláh and his martyred predecessor, the youthful Bãb, imparted fresh energy 

and new impulse to the material plane.  

Mirzá usayn ‘All, later surnamed Bahá’ii’lláh, first saw light on November 12th, 1817. He was born in a family of 

noble rank. His father, Mirzá Buzurg of Nor, held a responsible post in the ministerial circle of the Shah’s Court. As a 

child, He showed remarkable faculties which endeared Him not only to His kinsmen and immediate entourage, but to 

strangers as well. At His father’s death,. M’irzá Husayn ‘All was offered the post left vacant in the Court, but he 

preferred to steer clear of the affairs of the State. The Grand Vizier, we are told, said that Mirzi Husayn ‘All was 

intended for a work of greater magnitude, and the arena of government was too small a field for His capacities.  

In those days, the nobility of tran cared little for the sciences and the arts of the learned. Beyond excellent calligraphy, a 

knowledge of the sacred scriptures of Islam, and acquaintance with the works of such prominent figures in Persian 

literature as ROmi, Sa’adi and Háfiz, they generally knew but little. There were notable exceptions of course, but that 

would not invalidate our statement. Mirzá IIusayn ‘All was 



B H. M. 


The humanitarian and spiritual principles enunciated decades ago in the darkest East by 

Bahd’u’lldh and moulded by Him into a coherent scheme are one after the other being taken by a 

world unconscious of their source as the marks of progressive civilization. And the sense that 

mankind has broken with the past and that the old guidance will not carry it through the 

emergencies of the present has filled with uncertainty and dismay all thoughtful men save those 

who have learned to find in the story of Bahd’u’lldh the meaning of all the prodigies and portents 









Library and reading room of the recently inaugurated  

Bahá’i Center in Mexico City, Mexico, 1939. 


more than an exception. Although untutored, He plunged freely and naturally into such discussions and talks that were 

earmarked for the theologian and the scholar. Time and again He astounded the doctors of religion and the learned of 

the land by His clear reasoning and His irrefutable logic. Oftentimes, a person encroaching upon precincts reserved to 

others becomes presumptuous, arrogant and haughy. Mirzá Iusayn ‘All was modest, genial and forbearing.  

This youthful scion of a house of nobility had an overwhelming passion for justice. No human association could be 

claimed to rest on a sound basis, were justice non-existent in its foundations, as well as in its fabric. Mirzf Ilusayn ‘All 

deserted the 


Court to tend the oppressed and the aggrieved. Not for once did He hesitate to champion the cause of the poor and the 

fallen who turned to Him for protection and support. None who deserved were refused. Thus passed His days of youth, 

until the very virtues that made Him a haven and a refuge, and raised Him in the esteem of His fellow men, convinced 

the bearer of a letter from the Bãb that this was the Exalted Person intended to receive that Message.  

On May 23rd, 1844, a young merchant of Shiráz, revealed Himself to a seeker, as that Deliverer whom the world of 

Islam anxiously awaited—an independent Manifestation of God, and the harbinger of a Greater Manifestation. He took 

upon Him- 














self the title of ‘Bib,’ meaning ‘Gate.’ His primary mission was to awaken the slumbering people of fran and warn the 

heedless followers of the Faith of Muhammad, then, alas, laden with abuses. The Bib sent the same first believer, Mulli 

Husayn, to the capital, entrusting him with a letter for an unnamed person high in heavenly rank. This emissary arrived 

at Tihrin with the determination to let Providence guide him to his goal. For a while he searched indomitably, but in 

vain. At last a visitor gave him the news of Mirzi Husayn ‘All of Nár. He knew instantly that he had realized the object 

of his quest. Mirzi Ijusayn ‘All received the Bib’s epistle in due course, and accepted the Truth that it contained. Thus, 

at the age of twenty-seven, the son of the 


minister, who had abandoned the Court and its vanities, the brilliant nobleman whose knowledge, eloquence, and 

lovable nature were exemplary, arrayed Himself on the side of a religious renaissance that was bound to excite the 

hatred and the enmity of the ruling classes of the realm—the corrupted clergy and the degenerate officialdom.  

Mirzi Husayn ‘All never met the Prophet of Shiriz, yet the Bib had the implicit assurance that the Nobleman of Nür 

would ultimately wield the sceptre of supreme authority. It was the Bib who assigned Him the designation of 

Bahi’u’llih—the Glory of God. One cannot fail to mark and underline the affection, the respect and the attachment 

which the Bib evinced towards Bahi’u’llih, sentiments which found no par- 



Lecture room of the recently inaugurated Bahi’i Center in Mexico City, Mexico, 1939. 










The Invitation issued by the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’Is of Mexico City, Mexico, to be present at the 

inauguration of the Bahá’i Center, the first of its kind in die Latin  

American Republics. 


allel in His regard for the rest of His able and devout followers.  

Soon after His conversion, Bahá’u’lláh travelled to His native province on the shores of the Caspian Sea, to promote 

the Message of the Báb. He was highly esteemed in Mázindarán, and therefore apt to arouse controversy in orthodox 

camps. He challenged a clergyman of considerable local standing to refute His proofs, but the latter, finding himself 

unequal to the task, evaded the issue.  

Then occurred the Conference of Badasht in the middle part of 1848. The followers of the Báb, harassed and 

persecuted, Witnessing their Master in prison and cruel detention, came to meet in a secluded part of Khurásán, and 

examine the problems facing them as a community. There were the learned and confident Quddüs, the silver- 


tongued and courageous poetess Qurratu’l_ ‘Ayn, heralds of a new order. Bahá’u’lláh, too, was there. He arrived with 

dignified silence, and when the conference was at an end, His was the decisive and the indisputable word.  

The Bábis had not yet fully grasped the significance of the Báb’s Revelation. Qurratu’l-’Ayn discarded her veil as a 

token of new birth, and raised her voice in defiance of superstition, prejudice and inertia. Quddiis, deeply versed in 

theology, and firm in his beliefs, could not sanction the advanced measures advocated by Quarratu’l‘Ayn. Now, 

]3ahá’u’lláh threw the weight of His innate wisdom into the balance. The Báb, he told the assemblage, was the Founder 

of a new Dispensation, and stood in the same heavenly lineage as Muhammad, Jesus and Moses. A few half-hearted 

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