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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
offers has not the power to make over the individual soul, much less the world he
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
CRISIS OF THE WORLD PSYCHE
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.
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
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
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?
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
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
CRISIS OF THE WORLD PSYCHE
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
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.
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.
Advent of Divine Justice, Shoghi Effendi, p. 68.
Bahá’u’llih—Tablet of the Branch (Bshâ’i Scriptures, p. 257).
THE NEW CITIZENSHIP
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
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
The feast of the New Year being celebrated by the Bahá’Is of Miami, Florida, on “Naw-Rüz,” March 21st, 1939.
THE NEW CITIZENSHIP
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?
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
“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
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
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
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