Bahá'í World Faith (`Abdu'l-Bahá's Section Only)
TEACHINGS OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH
I will speak to you concerning the special teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
All the divine principles announced by the tongue of the
prophets of the past are to be found in the words of Bahá'u'lláh;
but in addition to these, He has revealed certain new teachings
which are not found in any of the sacred books of former times.
I shall mention some of them; the others which are many in number
may be found in the books, tablets and epistles written by
Bahá'u'lláh, such as the Hidden Words, the Glad-Tidings, the
Words of Paradise, Tajallíyát, Tarazát and others. Likewise in the
Book of Aqdas there are new teachings which cannot be found in
any of the past books or epistles of the prophets.
A fundamental teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the oneness of the
world of humanity. Addressing mankind, He says: "Ye are all
leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch." By this it is
meant that the world of humanity is like a tree, the nations or
peoples are the different limbs or branches of that tree and the
individual human creatures are as the fruits and blossoms thereof.
In this way His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh expressed the oneness of
humankind whereas in all religious teachings of the past, the human
world has been represented as divided into two parts, one known
as the people of the Book of God or the pure tree and the other
the people of infidelity and error or the evil tree. The former
were considered as belonging to the faithful and the others to the
hosts of the irreligious and infidel; one part of humanity the recipients
of divine mercy and the other the object of the wrath of
their Creator. His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh removed this by proclaiming
the oneness of the world of humanity and this principle is
specialized in His teachings for He has submerged all mankind in
the sea of divine generosity. Some are asleep; they need to be
awakened. Some are ailing; they need to be healed. Some are immature
as children; they need to be trained. But all are recipients
of the bounty and bestowals of God.
Another new principle revealed by His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh is
the injunction to investigate truth; that is to say, no man should
blindly follow his ancestors and forefathers. Nay, each must see
with his own eyes, hear with his own ears and investigate the
truth himself in order that he may follow the truth instead of
blind acquiescence and imitation of ancestral beliefs.
His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh has announced that the foundation of
all the religions of God is one; that oneness is truth and truth is
oneness which does not admit of plurality. This teaching is new
and specialized to this Manifestation.
He sets forth a new principle for this day in the announcement
that religion must be the cause of unity, harmony and agreement
among mankind. If it be the cause of discord and hostility, if it
leads to separation and creates conflict, the absence of religion
would be preferable in the world.
Furthermore He proclaims that religion must be in harmony
with science and reason. If it does not conform to science and
reconcile with reason it is superstition. Down to the present day
it has been customary for man to accept a religious teaching even
though it were not in accord with human reason and judgment.
The harmony of religious belief with reason is a new vista which
Bahá'u'lláh has opened for the soul of man.
He establishes the equality of man and woman. This is peculiar
to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, for all other religions have placed
man above woman.
A new religious principle is that prejudice and fanaticism
whether sectarian, denominational, patriotic or political are destructive
to the foundation of human solidarity; therefore man
should release himself from such bonds in order that the oneness
of the world of humanity may become manifest.
Universal Peace is assured by Bahá'u'lláh as a fundamental accomplishment
of the religion of God; that peace shall prevail
among nations, governments and peoples, among religions, races
and all conditions of mankind. This is one of the special characteristics
of the Word of God revealed in this Manifestation.
Bahá'u'lláh declares that all mankind should attain knowledge
and acquire an education. This is a necessary principle of religious
belief and observance characteristically new in this dispensation.
He has set forth the solution and provided the remedy for the
economic question. No religious books of the past Prophets speak
of this important human problem.
He has ordained and established the House of Justice which is
endowed with a political as well as a religious function, the consummate
union and blending of church and state. This institution
is under the protecting power of Bahá'u'lláh Himself. A universal
or international House of Justice shall also be organized. Its
rulings shall be in accordance with the commands and teachings of
Bahá'u'lláh, and that which the universal House of Justice ordains
shall be obeyed by all mankind. This international House of Justice
shall be appointed and organized from the Houses of Justice
of the whole world, and all the world shall come under its administration.
As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Baha'u'llah--
a specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the
past--it is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the
Covenant. By this appointment and provision He has safeguarded
and protected the religion of God against differences and schisms,
making it impossible for any one to create a new sect or faction
of belief. To insure unity and agreement He has entered into a
Covenant with all the people of the world including the Interpreter
and Explainer of His teachings so that no one may interpret
or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion
and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding
of the divine words. The Book of the Covenant or Testament of
Bahá'u'lláh is the means of preventing such a possibility, for whosoever
shall speak from the authority of himself alone shall be
degraded. Be ye informed and cognizant of this.