June 19, 2010

The Pitiful Causes of War and the Duty of Everyone to Strive for Peace

Paris, October 21st, 1912

I hope you are all happy and well. I am not happy, but very sad. The news of the Battle of Benghazi grieves my heart. I wonder at the human savagery that still exists in the world! How is it possible for men to fight from morning until evening, killing each other, shedding the blood of their fellow-men: And for what object? To gain possession of a part of the earth! Even the animals, when they fight, have an immediate and more reasonable cause for their attacks! How terrible it is that men, who are of the higher kingdom, can descend to slaying and bringing misery to their fellow-beings, for the possession of a tract of land!

The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man's home, but his tomb. It is for their tombs these men are fighting. There is nothing so horrible in this world as the tomb, the abode of the decaying bodies of men.

However great the conqueror, however many countries he may reduce to slavery, he is unable to retain any part of these devastated lands but one tiny portion -- his tomb! If more land is required for the improvement of the condition of the people, for the spread of civilization (for the substitution of just laws for brutal customs) -- surely it would be possible to acquire peaceably the necessary extension of territory.

June 10, 2010

Divinity, the Divine Sovereignty, the Manifestations of God & Our very dependence on the Manifestations of God

An Address by Abdul-Baha at the Theosophical Society,
2228 Broadway, New York City, December 4, 1912
(Taken stenographically by Miss Esther Foster from the interpretation of Ish’te’a’l-Ebn-Kalanter.

It is my hope that you are all well. It is my hope that you are happy, that you are in perfect health, in the utmost degree of joy and gladness.

Those who are uninformed of the world of reality, who do not comprehend the existent beings, who do not perceive the realities of things, who do not discover the real mysteries of the existent objects, and who have but a superficial grasp of things such persons are but embodiments of pure ignorance. They believe only in that which they have heard from their fathers and ancestors. They of themselves have no hearing, no sight, no reason, no intellect; they rely upon tradition. They are after the thoughts of their fathers and forebears. Such persons imagine that the dominion of God is an accidental dominion or kingdom.

For instance, they imagine that this world of existence was created but six or seven thousand years ago as though God did not reign before this period of seven thousand years, had no creation before this, had no world before this. They think that Divinity is accidental, for to them Divinity is dependent upon existent things, while, as a matter of fact, as long as there has been a God, he has had a creation. As long as there has been light, there have been recipients of that light, for the light does not have a manifestation unless there are those who perceive and appreciate it. The world of divinity presupposes creation, presupposes recipients of bounty, presupposes the existence of worlds.

No Divinity can be conceived as separate from creation, for otherwise it would be like imagining an empire without a people. A king must needs have a kingdom, must needs have an army, must needs have subjects. Is it possible to be a king and have no country, no army, no subjects? This is an absurdity. Were we to say that there was a time when there was no country, no army, and no subjects, how then could there be a king, a ruler? For a king must needs have a country, an army and subjects.

June 3, 2010

Whenever this world becomes dark and divided, God sends one of His Holy Messengers

London, at Miss E.J. Rosenberg’s unity meeting
September 8th, 1911

Praise be to God, that such a meeting of purity and steadfastness is being held in London. The hearts of those present are pure, and are turned towards the Kingdom of God. I hope that all that is contained and established in the Holy books of God may be realized in you. The Messengers of God are the principal and the first teachers. Whenever this world becomes dark, and divided in its opinions and indifferent, God will send one of His Holy Messengers.

Moses came during a time of darkness, when ignorance and childishness prevailed amongst the people, and they were waverers. Moses was the teacher of God; He gave the teachings of holiness and educated the Israelites. He raised up the people from their degradation and caused them to be highly honoured. He taught them Sciences and Arts, trained them in civilization and increased their human virtues. After a while, that which they had thus received from God was lost; the way was prepared for the return of evil qualities, and the world was oppressed by tyranny.

Then again the rumour of the Light of Reality and the breathing of the Holy Spirit became known. The cloud of Bounty showered, the Light of Guidance shone upon the earth. The world put on a new garment, the people became a new people, the oneness of humanity was proclaimed. The great unity of thought transformed humanity and created a new world. Again, after a time, all this was forgotten by the people. The teachings of God no longer influenced their lives. His prophecies and commandments became fainter and were finally obliterated from their hearts, and tyranny and thoughtlessness once more prevailed.

Bahá'u'lláh then came and once more renewed the foundation of Faith. He brought back the teachings of God, and the humane practices of the time of Christ. He quenched the thirst of the thirsty, He awakened the careless and called the attention of the heedless to the Divine secrets. He declared the unity of humanity, and spread abroad the teaching of the equality of all men.

Therefore, all of you ought with your hearts and minds to endeavour to win the people with kindness, so that this great Unity may be established, that childish superstitions may pass away, and all may become one. (Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, pp. 44-45)