The teachings of the Founders of the world’s religions have inspired breath-taking achievements in literature, architecture, art, and music. They have fostered the promotion of reason, science, and education. Their moral principles have been translated into universal codes of law, regulating and elevating human relationships. These uniquely endowed individuals are referred to as “Manifestations of God” in the Bahá’í writings, and include (among others) Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Báb, and Bahá’u’lláh. History provides countless examples of how these Figures have awakened in whole populations capacities to love, to forgive, to create, to dare greatly, to overcome prejudice, to sacrifice for the common good, and to discipline the impulses of humanity’s baser instincts. These achievements can be recognized as the common spiritual heritage of the human race.
Bahá’u’lláh—as the latest in the series of divinely inspired moral educators who have guided humanity from age to age—has proclaimed that humanity is now approaching its long-awaited stage of maturity: unity at the global level of social organization. He provides a vision of the oneness of humanity, a moral framework, and teachings that, founded on the harmony of science and religion, directly address today’s problems. He points the way to the next stage of human social evolution. He offers to the peoples of the world a unifying story consistent with our scientific understanding of reality. He calls on us to recognize our common humanity, to see ourselves as members of one family, to end estrangement and prejudice, and to come together. By doing so, all peoples and every social group can be protagonists in shaping their own future, and, ultimately, a just and peaceful global civilization.
Film clip: Thoughts on one unfolding religion and the maturation of the human race
The collected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh are considered by His followers to be Revelation from God. They form the foundation of the Bahá’í Faith. Throughout the long years of His exile, Bahá’u’lláh revealed passages, equivalent to more than 100 volumes. Below are extracts from this vast ocean.
The door of the knowledge of the Ancient Being hath ever been, and will continue forever to be, closed in the face of men. No man’s understanding shall ever gain access unto His holy court. As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Daystars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)
These sanctified Mirrors…are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. (The Kitáb-i-Íqán)
Led by the light of unfailing guidance, and invested with supreme sovereignty, They are commissioned to use the inspiration of Their words, the effusions of Their infallible grace and the sanctifying breeze of Their Revelation for the cleansing of every longing heart and receptive spirit from the dross and dust of earthly cares and limitations. (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)
This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas)
The All-Knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease, and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements. (Tabernacle of Unity)
This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)
That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. (Summons of the Lord of Hosts)
“Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship. He Who is the Daystar of Truth beareth Me witness! So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.” (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)
“The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Lawḥ-i-Maqsúd)
“They that are endued with sincerity and faithfulness should associate with all the peoples and kindreds of the earth with joy and radiance, inasmuch as consorting with people hath promoted and will continue to promote unity and concord, which in turn are conducive to the maintenance of order in the world and to the regeneration of nations.” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Ṭarázát)
“Shut your eyes to estrangement, then fix your gaze upon unity. Cleave tenaciously unto that which will lead to the well-being and tranquillity of all mankind. (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Kalimát-i-Firdawsíyyih)
“He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfil.” (Kitáb-i-Íqán)
“Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Lawḥ-i-Maqsúd)
“Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.” (Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Tajallíyát)
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbour, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face. Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer to the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts. Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility. (Epistle to the Son of the Wolf)
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