The baha’i world


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Pp. 266, 267.  

Idem, 


p. 237. 

 


825 

 

826 



 

THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living 



religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook. 

This of course has nothing whatever to do with a particular creed or membership of a church.”3 And then again— “It seems to me, 

that, side by side with the decline of religious life, the neuroses grow noticeably more frequent.”4  

It is because the present-day religions are inadequate to cope with the innate religious needs of modern man that the psychic balance 

has been upset. Religion, whose function it has always been to endue man’s life with direction, meaning, and purpose, has ceased, in 

any of its recognized contemporary forms, to exert an appreciable influence upon the progress of the world. Quite to the contrary—

religion, through its corruption with superstition and human conceptions, and its entanglement in mundane and materialistic interests, 

has become a cause of human degradation. Intelligent and sensitive minds perceive this, and there is a consequent and ever-increasing 

dissociation of the lives of such individuals—the truly moderns—from organized religion. In the case of those who have not openly 

broken with the church, their loyalty remains either lukewarm or fanatical. In no case does the church today adequately satisfy man’s 

spiritual needs. The version of religion which 

it 

offers has not the power to make over the individual soul, much less the world he 

inhabits.  

DECL5NE ov THE CHURCH  

Within the bounds of the major religious systems at the present time, as has just been intimated, the decline of power has manifested 

itself in fanaticism, on the one hand, and in lukewarmness and indifference on the other. The former attitude applies chiefly to the 

orthodox branches of present-day religious bodies, whether Jewish, Muhammadan, or Christian, Protestant or Catholic. The latter 

attitude applies to the so-called liberal religionists. The fanaticism of the orthodox religionist consists, of course, in his rigid 

adherence, in complete disregard of the dictates of reason and established 

 

scientific truth, to a literal interpretation of the scriptures of his particular religion. The lukewarmness of the liberalist’s belief arises 



from the inroads made upon his faith by the prodigious advance of scientific knowledge chiefly within the last century. Science has 

gradually knocked one prop after another from under his religious creed, reducing it to little more than a shadow of its former self. 

Progress in the scientific realm has also helped to open wide the door of individual interpretation, which has perhaps liberated the 

human mind from a blind and servile subjection to dogmatism but has also robbed religion of that authority from above which is its 

mainstay. The liberalist attitude, under existing conditions, tends more and more to take the God out of religion and to reduce religion 

to the status of a purely human philosophy. It is not surprising, therefore, that such a diluted form of faith is incapable of satisfying the 

spiritual needs of the individual and of building a new social order.  

But since the characteristically modern man has for the most part left the Church because his spiritual needs have not been satisfied 

there, the religious aspect of his nature has poured itself into other channels. The “psychological” interest of the present time which 

Jung mentions is one of the forms which this expression has taken. Not merely in scientific psychology, however, but in all manner of 

psychic and occult phenomena does this spiritual element seek satisfaction. To what, for example, may we attribute the origin and 

popularity of such movements as Astrology, Theosophy, Christian Science, New Thought, Rosicrucianism, Buchmanism, 

Spiritualism, The Great I Am and countless others? There is no doubt but that these movements provide outlets for vital psychic needs 

which can no longer be satisfactorily met within the Church. Thus the vogue of such movements is at once an indication of the effete 

condition of organized religion and of an increased capacity on the part of man for a higher measure of spiritual truth and 

understanding. A new age has dawned for the human psyche. New spiritual needs have become realized. And  

Idem, 

p. 264.  



Idem, 

p. 266. 


 

CRISIS OF THE WORLD PSYCHE 

 

827 


 

the world spirit of man is seeking in any number of ways to satisfy these new-found needs.  

Under the same heading as the spiritual movements just mentioned may be classed those types of mysticism, the aberrant offshoots of 

revealed religion, which, not recognizing the necessity of a prophetic intermediary, seek directly and by divers methods to realize in 

the individual soui unity with the Divine Essence. These, too, may be regarded as attempts of the human soul to fulfill its spiritual 

needs through other than the established channels of organized religion.  

PHILOSOPHIC MATERIALISM  

Then we turn to philosophy. Like mysticism, philosophy also attempts to solve man’s spiritual problem, the main distinction being 

that whereas in mysticism the approach is through intuition, in philosophy reason is the determining factor. Though philosophy exists 

as a discipline separate and distinct from religion and may therefore, like those forms of mysticism just referred to, be regarded as a 

substitute for or alternative to religion (in the sense of prophetic revelation), both fields are nevertheless closely related and have, 

down through the ages, constantly interacted upon each other. When religion is a potent force in society, philosophy tends to be 

infused with its influence. On the other hand, a decline of religious power is accompanied by a corresponding increase of materialism 

in philosophic thought. Thus the philosophy of a given period is a good index of the religious temper of the age. In our own time the 

dying out of faith in God is attended with a powerful trend toward a purely materialistic philosophy. Humanism has taken precedence 

over deism as the fashionable philosophy of modern man. Recognizing no higher authority than that of the individual conscience, the 

modern tendency is characteristically amoral and hedonistic. The inevitable outcome is havoc and chaos as far as man’s spiritual life is 


concerned.  

It is in the political realm, however, in the movements associated with the intensification of the spirit of nationalism on the one hand 

and in the Communist movement on the other, that the materialism permeat in 

 

modern thought has received its most forceful expression. By reason of the fact that these movements do not consist simply in their 



materialistic premises but in the projection of these ideas into the plane of action in the outer world, their influence is all the more far-

reaching and pernicious. In the passionate devotion and loyalty which they command they are absorbing the psychic energies of the 

continually-augmenting body of their followers, thereby threatening to completely destroy and supplant the influence of religion in the 

world. On the one hand, the trend toward an intolerant and self-contained nationalism, though apparently reconciling itself with 

established religion and even, in some cases, upheld by its exponents, in reality foster the evils of violent racial and political prejudices 

so destructive of human solidarity and world peace and naturally quite antithetical to the aim and purpose of religion itself. On the 

other hand, Communism, far from making any pretense at preserving moral values, claims openly to be based upon a purely atheistic 

and thoroughgoing materialism.  

THE SPIRITUAL CRISIS  

To sum up, then, the spiritual crisis of modern man is to be understood in terms of a profound disturbance of the religious 

consciousness of mankind. This disturbance reflects itself on the right hand in the predicament of orthodox religion with its fanatical 

adherence to literal scriptural interpretation and man-made dogma in opposition to science. On the far left is the atheistic- materialistic 

group representing the complete revolt from religion. Midway between these two extremes lie the vast number of spiritual movements 

more or less religious in character, representing that liberalist frame of mind, which, while dissociating itself from orthodox religion, 

seeks nevertheless to preserve by human invention those idealistic elements which a downright materialism lacks.  

Of all three of these types of spiritual consciousness, however 

— 

the orthodox, atheist, and middle-of-the-road liberalist— it may be 



said that they possess in common the inability to cope adequately with the 

 

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THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

spiritual problem of modern man. The orthodox religionist, through his failure to reconcile his dogmas with natural science, has lost 



the support of a vast number of intelligent and perhaps, under normal conditions, genuinely religious persons. The atheistic class

since it confines its attention to the material world, either ignores or denies the existence of a specifically spiritual problem, and 

therefore offers nothing to a solution. Such an attitude, moreover, if consistently applied, can have only one outcome—the subjection 

of the nature of the man to its animal propensities. For when we subtract God from human life, there is nothing left to distinguish it 

substantially from that of the animal. And finally the liberalist, no matter with which one of the above-mentioned spiritual cults or 

groups he may be associated, since his faith, such as it may be, rests upon a basis of humanism rather than of divine authority, loses 

the dynamic force which only a God-inspired religion has shown itself capable of imparting. In attempting to straddle the fence 

between religion and materialism the liberalist can subscribe positively and wholeheartedly to neither. The inevitable result is both an 

impotent faith and a psychic void waiting, and indeed requiring, to be filled. What, then, is the way out of this dilemma?  

REVIVAL OF RELIGION  

Nothing short of a revival of the religious consciousness of mankind would seem capable of resolving the problem. Equally plausible 

is the idea that such a revival can come about only through the appearance of a Prophet or Manifestation of God with a new revelation 

of Divine Truth directly applicable to present conditions. Every great spiritual rebirth of human society traces its origin to the 

teachings of a Prophet of God. Other revivals of a more or less religious or spiritual character there have been, to be sure, apparently 

stemming from purely human origins. But these movements, at best, constitute a rediscovery of certain verities implicit in the words 

of the Prophets and can not of themselves lay claim to any novelty. At their worst they represent a gross perversion and corruption of 

those same 

 

teachings. The human mind, when it attempts to create in the realm of religious or spiritual values, and no matter whether the 



approach be through philosophy or mysticism, necessarily impresses upon the products of its labors the character of its own inherent 

limitations. That is to say, man can know only what he imagines, not God. The effort of man to solve such questions unaided by God 

creates a vicious circle from which there is no escape—unless we wish to consider the maze of imagination an escape. That is why a 

solution of man’s spiritual problem from any purely human source is impossible.  

It should therefore be clear that man, being innately limited, can not create his own spiritual life but must depend for it upon some 

unlimited Source. The most he can do in this respect is to pass judgment upon moral values which are already presented to his 

consciousness. But the presentation itself is an act of grace from this higher Source. Being ignorant, man must have One to educate 

him. Being helpless, he must rely upon the assistance of an All- Powerful One. But direct access to God, as we see, is impossible. 

Consequently it is to the Prophets, who are the Manifestations of God, that man must go for guidance, for the knowledge of God, and 

for the basis of his spiritual life. The Prophet or Manifestation of God is, by definition, a unique order of human being chosen by God 

to be the source of enlightenment and progress for the race. Historically the appearance of a Manifestation of God has always 

coincided with a rebirth of the spiritual life of the society in which He appeared. Such a rebirth is necessary in the world today, and 

one is forced to conclude that only the appearance of a Manifestation of God can bring it. For the religions of the past, as we have 

seen, are decadent; their force is spent. It is due to their weakness that the psychic energies of mankind have been driven into all sorts 

of barren or destructive channels precipitating the present profound crisis. Only a new Revelation can restore this life that has been 

lost, build a new consciousness and a new world order. Only the “return” of a Christ can resuedy the ills from which humanity now 

suffers. 

 

CRISIS OF THE WORLD PSYCHE 



 

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BAHA’U’LLAH  

The answer which the Bahã’is have to offer to this question is that this remedy is at hand. Bahã’u’lláh, founder of the Bahã’i Faith, 

they regard as God’s chosen Manifestation for this Day and as the sole instrument for the spiritual rehabilitation of human society. 

They believe that only through a complete and thoroughgoing reliance upon God is it possible to attain spiritual health, poise, and 

development. Reliance upon God is indeed the essence of the teachings of all the prophets of the past. But whenever, at any stage in 

history, this reality underlying all religion becomes obscured by false, man-made conceptions and its true meaning disregarded and 

forgotten, a re-statement of Divine Truth becomes necessary. God sends another Manifestation to earth. His teaching renews the 

spiritual life of man and provides all the requisite means and agencies for his further development. It sets the standard by which alone 

the proper course for the life and progress of the human psyche can be determined.  

This, therefore, is the message of the Bahá’i Faith—that in these troubled times, when the light of religion has become darkened and is 

threatened with complete extinction, God has not left His creatures without the means of extricating themselves from this danger but, 

on the contrary has, through the Manifestation of Bahá’u’lláh (i.e., the Glory of God), breathed a new Spirit into the world capable of 

entirely dispelling this darkness and of transforming the world into a veritable paradise. The Bahá’is recognize in the convulsions now 

agitating human society the beginnings of that period of intense suffering and tribulation which must necessarily precede the 

establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. They consider that the Prophets of the past have referred directly to this period when 

speaking of “the latter days” and “the time of the end.” By these and other terms numerous references have been made to it, not only 

in the Hebraic Scriptures but in the Christian and Muhammadan writings as well. For example, in the book of Zephaniah the following 

passage is recorded concerning it: “The great day of Jehovah is near, it is near and hasteth greatly, even the voice 

 

of the day of Jehovah; the mighty man crieth there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness 



and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm, against the 

fortified cities, and against the high battlements. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they 

have sinned against Jehovah; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. Neither their silver nor their gold 

shall be able to deliver them in the day of Jehovah’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy; for he will 

make an end, yea, a terrible end of all them that dwell in the land.” The Prophet Joel says, “for the day of Jehovah is great and very 

terrible; and who can abide it?” Bahá’u’lláh, reiterating these sentiments, utters the following words: “The days are approaching their 

end, and yet the peoples of the earth are seen sunk in grievous heedlessness, and lost in manifest error.” “Say; 0 concourse of the 

heedless! I swear by God! The promised day is come, the day when tormenting trials will have surged above your heads, and beneath 

your feet, saying:  

‘Taste ye what your hands have wrought!’” “The time for the destruction of the world and its people bath arrived. He Who is the Pre-

existent is come, that He may bestow everlasting life, and grant eternal preservation, and confer that which is conducive to true 

living.”5  

The fortunes of mankind, impelled by the inexorable forces of Destiny, are being rapidly driven to the point where nothing on earth 

will avail man or offer him the promise of security. If all his temporal attachments are cut from him one by one, upon what may he 

then rely save God? No inference could be more clear or simple than this. The final hour, as promised in all the prophetic books, has 

not yet struck. Its full implications we can not even at present realize. But no one with that keen awareness of the present already 

referred to can deny that such an “end” is the goal toward which all the forces of the contemporary world are moving. No doubt the  

Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi, p. 68. 

 

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THE BAHA’I WORLD 

 

general run of mankind, in their heedlessness and sense of self-sufficiency, will ignore these prophetic warnings until the last hour is 



upon them—and then it may be too late. But for those of us who, we may thank God, have not fallen heir to this delusion and have 

realized our dependence and helplessness, would it not be well for us to sever ourselves from dependence upon earthly things and to 

fix our hearts upon that which alone is imperishable—the love of God? To do this, of course, we must turn to the Manifestation of 

God. The voice of God, represented by the pen of Bahâ’u’lláh, speaks to man in the following words: “0 My Servant! Free thyself 

from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.”6 “0 ye 

that are bereft of understanding! A severe trial pursueth 

 

you, and will suddenly overtake you. Bestir yourselves, that haply it may pass and inflict no harm upon you.”7 “Cl the yourselves, 0 



people, with the garment of assurance, in order that He may protect you from the dart of doubts and superstitions, and that ye may be 

of those who are assured in those days wherein none shall ever be assured and no one shall be firmly established in the Cause, except 

by severing himself from all that is possessed by the people and turning unto the Holy and Radiant Outlook. 

. . . 


Say, in that Day there is 

no refuge for any one save the Command of God, and no salvation for any soul but God.”8  

Hidden Words (Persian) —No. 

40.  


Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi, p. 68.  

Bahá’u’llih—Tablet of the Branch (Bshâ’i Scriptures, p. 257). 

 

8. 


 

THE NEW CITIZENSHIP  

BEATRICE IRWIN 

 

CITIZENSHIP, like all other institutions, is in process of revaluation. History shows that humanity has a tendency to 



group itself around both ideas and ideals. The former relate to material development, the latter to moral and spiritual 

progress. Citizenship partakes of the nature of both, and one may say it came into existence when masses of mankind 

graduated from nomadic and tribal into community methods of living.  

Out of these conditions, grew the idea of the relationship of the unit to the whole; of the man who would subordinate 

his personal interests and welfare to that of the community. The citizen, then, was one who through ability and 

unselfishness built up those cities of antiquity which have bequeathed their rich legacies of education, culture and 

morality to our day.  

The molds of citizenship have varied, like the molds of religion, to meet the needs of the times and lands that have 

given them birth, and the authority to impose themselves on world consciousness by reason of their excellence.  

For purposes of the present discussion, we will glance back no further than to those periods in Egyptian civilization 

when under leadership of the high priests and the Pharaohs a pattern of citizenship was evolved which was dominated 

by spiritual ideals. (1500-1300 B.C.). Their aim was to cultivate man, even beyond morality, into a mysterious realm of 

kinship with the Power “that rules the planets and stars in their courses”! Egypt was inspired for many centuries by her 

priests and king astronomers, who between them influenced the mind of the people, and left the seals of their faith to 

posterity, in the shape of those temple ruins that are still reckoned among the wonders of the world.  

At a later date, Greece and Rome contributed their share. The former stressed philosophic and aesthetic, the latter civic 

 

values. In Greece, the most honored citizen was the philosopher, artist, or orator. Such men and women (for women 



had a high station in the Greek democracy) educated the masses through their orations in public places, and through 

festivals in which philosophy and beauty were honored. The building of such cities as Athens, Ephesus, etc., also 

accorded to their artists an exalted station of enduring reverence, and such cities were magnets of enlightenment to a 

semi-barbaric world.  

Rome swung the glory of citizenship to another angle, for though the orator was still valued, it was the successful 

soldier, senator, and Roman matron who held first place, impressing their martial, judicial and domestic prestiges upon 

the public. The specialized idealism of these patterns were well adapted to times, in which travel and communication 

were so restricted, but they were only stepping-stones in the march of progress.  

Then came the tidal waves of three great movements of world significance—the Crusades, Chivalry, and the 

Renaissance! From the tenth to the sixteenth centuries their influence inspired citizenship on broader lines, which was 

the logical result of the intermingling of races, creeds and classes that their accomplishment had involved. This fourth 

pattern again exalting the individual, rather than the State, demanded fresh feats of personal courage and skill, 

combined with a broader mental scope that included the beginnings of a racial and cultural tolerance hitherto unknown.  

The citizen of value, was one who was aware of the fine possibilities of human relationship as expressed through art, 

religion and travel. For at this point, travel and inter-communication became a vital factor in citizenship. Up to this 

date, the institution was still limited to aristocratic conceptions. But the conflagration of the French Revolution, and the 

declaration of American Independence again expanded the mold, dis 831 

 

I- 



 

 



 



 

 



‘ 

‘4  


The feast of the New Year being celebrated by the Bahá’Is of Miami, Florida, on “Naw-Rüz,” March 21st, 1939. 

 

 



 

pict261.jpg

 

THE NEW CITIZENSHIP 



 

833 


 

‘V 


 

A Group of South American Bahã’i Pioneers  

Seated (left to right) Mrs. Caswell and Mrs. Oliver, Panama. Standing (left to right) Mr. Wantok, first Panamaian to 

accept the Faith. Mr. Eichenauer, San Salvador.  

Mr. Kaszab, Nicaragua. 

 

carding many constitutional traditions and class restrictions. This departure created an interim ideal of human rights, 



which was voiced in “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” Out of this historic slogan, has grown our sixth and modern pattern 

of citizenship. Humanitarian freedom and equality are its keynotes, coupled with the abolition of 

 

prejudice of all kinds. But as these keynotes are being challenged, the structure of citizenship in all lands is tottering, 



and calling for new standards of security.  

If humanitarian freedom is insufficient, then what can meet the needs of this grim hour in which the destiny of a planet 

rocks in the balance? 

 

‘ 

 



• IA  

 



 

:4 



 

V  


 

 



 

pict262.jpg

 


 

pict263.jpg

 

834 


 

THE BAHA’i WORLD 

 

It seems that through the ages citizenship has been only a progressive course of education for the race, directed, 



enjoyed, betrayed, and superseded by evolution’s decree! For some, this decree constitutes both the horror and the 

wonder of civilization, but for others it represents the rhythmic law of God, as expressed through prophets who come at 

stated intervals to bring us new designs for living. These are controversial points outside the scope of the present 

article, but it is obvious that humanity is struggling through blood and tears to define a seventh pattern of citizenship 

which shall ameliorate its present ills. There is every indication that the new pattern is not to be after the manner of any 

one land, but fashioned to meet the need of all lands. It is to be a world-citizenship which has stepped up from 

humanitarian into spiritual ideals. This new freedom will be forged by the vastly expanded good will of the human unit. 

Such an achievement demands more spiritual investigation and tolerance than has yet been practiced. With pain man 

has renounced many physical, mental and moral limitations, and now we stand at a transcendant moment in history

when the patriotism of lands is being expanded into a patriotism of humanity, when man is progressing from self-

consciousness into that scientific recognition of a unity of life that means soul_consciousness. This state demands the 

re-birth of both faith and free will, and it is the urgent problem that the present chaos is solving.  

The goal of this seventh pattern of citizenship has been summed up as follows by the Persian prophet, Bahá’u’lláh 

(1863- 1892),  

“Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country but let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”  

“Ye are all the leaves of one tree, the drops of one sea.”  

The coming of this great soul was heralded in 1844 in Persia, by one who became known to his followers as the “Báb.” 

And for announcing himself as the fore-runner of “one whom God would make manifest,” the 

 

“Báb,” after being branded as a heretic by the priests, received a mock trial and was shot to death in the public square 



of Tabriz.  

At a later date, Bahá’u’lláh addressed letters to the Shah and the crowned heads of Europe, warning them that if they 

did not curb the growing corruptions of their countries and adopt His teachings of reform, that they would reap the 

whirlwind of disillusion in which the world finds itself today. The nine principles underlying the new pattern of 

citizenship proclaimed by Bahá’u’llãh contain the seeds of a spiritual democracy, and though the instruction of them 

permeates the best thought of our day we must not forget that they originated as long ago as 1866 and that for these 

principles Bahã’u’llih forfeited His large fortune and estates, and endured forty years of imprisonment, in Oriental 

prisons.  

These facts give authority to His claim that He is the next in the succession of the prophets, and the promised 

Manifestation of God for this day. The basic principles:  

1. Recognition of the oneness of mankind.  

2. Independent investigation of reality.  

3. Universal religious tolerance.  

4. Union of science with religion.  



5. Equality of the sexes in education and opportunity.  

6. Abolition of prejudices of creed, caste and color.  

7. Use of a universal auxiliary language.  

8. Foundation of international Parliaments.  

9. Abolition of war and foundation of universal peace.  

From an analysis of these objectives, it is obvious that the world citizen of the near future must demand more of 

himself as well as others. A greater mental independence, freedom from traditional outlook, the establishment of 



universal institutions representative of all lands, and a broader and more loving communication with his fellow 

creatures, form the requisites of his capacity to fulfill the call of Bahá’u’lláh, Who has said—  

“I come to found a race of men, not  

slaves.” 

 

9. 


 



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