The Promulgation of Universal Peace
7 October 1912
Talk to Japanese Young Men's Christian Association
Japanese Independent Church, Oakland, California
Notes by Bijou Straun
It is a great happiness to be here this evening, especially for the
reason that the members of this Association have come from the
region of the Orient. For a long time I have entertained a desire to
meet some of the Japanese friends. That nation has achieved extraordinary
progress in a short space of time--a progress and development
which have astonished the world. Inasmuch as they have
advanced in material civilization, they must assuredly possess the
capacity for spiritual development. For this reason, I have an excessive
longing to meet them. Praise be to God! This pleasure is
now afforded me, for here in this city I am face to face with a revered
group of the Japanese. According to report the people of the
Japanese nation are not prejudiced. They investigate reality.
Wherever they find truth, they prove to be its lovers. They are not
attached tenaciously to blind imitations of ancient beliefs and dogmas.
Therefore, it is my great desire to discourse with them upon a
subject in order that the unity and blending together of the nations
of the East and the nations of the West may be furthered and accomplished.
In this way religious, racial and political prejudice,
partisan bias and sectarianism will be dispelled amongst men. Any
kind of prejudice is destructive to the body politic.
When we review history from the beginning of human existence
to the present age in which we live, it is evident all war and conflict,
bloodshed and battle, every form of sedition has been due to some
form of prejudice--whether religious, racial or national--to partisan
bias and selfish prejudice of some sort. Even today we witness
an upheaval in the Balkans, a war of religious prejudice. Some
years ago when I was living in Rumelia, war broke out among the
religious peoples. There was no attitude of justice or equity whatever
amongst them. They pillaged the properties of each other,
burning each others' homes and houses, slaughtering men, women
and children, imagining that such warfare and bloodshed was the
means of drawing near to God. This clearly proved that prejudice
is a destroyer of the foundations of the world of humanity, whereas
religion was meant to be the cause of fellowship and agreement.
Religion must be the cause of love. Religion must be the cause
of justice, for the wisdom of the Manifestations of God is directed
toward the establishing of the bond of a love which is indissoluble.
The bonds which hold together the body politic are not sufficient.
These bonds may be mentioned--for instance, the bond of patriotism.
This is evidently not a sufficient bond, for how often it happens
that people of the same nation wage civil war amongst themselves.
The bond of fellowship may be racial, but history proves this is not
sufficiently strong, for tremendous wars have broken out between
peoples of the same racial lineage. Again, the bond holding men
together may be political. How often it happens that the diplomacy
of nations makes a treaty of peace one day and on the morrow a
declaration of war! It is historically evident and manifest that these
bonds are not self-sufficient.
The real bond of integrity is religious in character, for religion
indicates the oneness of the world of humanity. Religion serves the
world of morality. Religion purifies the hearts. Religion impels men
to achieve praiseworthy deeds. Religion becomes the cause of love
in human hearts, for religion is a divine foundation, the foundation
ever conducive to life. The teachings of God are the source of illumination
to the people of the world. Religion is ever constructive,
The foundation of all the divine religions is one. All are based
upon reality. Reality does not admit plurality, yet amongst mankind
there have arisen differences concerning the Manifestations
of God. Some have been Zoroastrians, some are Buddhists, some
Jews, Christians, Muslims and so on. This has become a source of
divergence, whereas the teachings of the holy Souls Who founded
the divine religions are one in essence and reality. All these have
served the world of humanity. All have summoned souls to peace
and accord. All have proclaimed the virtues of humanity. All have
guided souls to the attainment of perfections, but among the nations
certain imitations of ancestral forms of worship have arisen.
These imitations are not the foundation and essence of the divine
religions. Inasmuch as they differ from the reality and the essential
teachings of the Manifestations of God, dissensions have arisen,
and prejudice has developed. Religious prejudice thus becomes the
cause of warfare and battle.
If we abandon these timeworn blind imitations and investigate
reality, all of us will be unified. No discord will remain; antagonism
will disappear. All will associate in fellowship. All will enjoy
the cordial bonds of friendship. The world of creation will then attain
composure. The dark and gloomy clouds of blind imitations
and dogmatic variances will be scattered and dispelled; the Sun of
Reality will shine most gloriously.
Verily, we should consider the divine Prophets as the intermediaries,
but mankind has made use of Them as causes of dissension
and pretexts for warfare and strife. In reality, They were the intermediaries
of love and reconciliation. If They were not sources of
love and fellowship amongst men, then undoubtedly They were
not true, for the divine wisdom and purpose in sending the Prophets
was the manifestation of love in human hearts. Therefore, we
must investigate reality. First of all, let us determine whether these
Prophets were valid or not by using rational proofs and shining arguments,
not simply by quoting traditionary evidences, because
traditions are divergent and the source of dissension.
Among the holy, divine Manifestations of God was Moses. The
sending of Prophets has ever been for the training of humanity.
They are the first Educators and Trainers. If Moses has developed
the body politic, there is no doubt that He was a true Teacher and
Educator. This will be proof and evidence that He was a Prophet.
We shall consider how He was sent to the children of Israel when
they were in the abyss of despair, in the lowest degree of ignorance
and heedlessness, degraded and under conditions of bondage.
Moses rescued these degraded people of Israel from that state of
bondage. He raised them from that condition of ignorance, saved
them from barbarism and led them into the Holy Land. He educated
them, endowed them with sagacious instincts, made them
worthy and honorable. He civilized them, raised them to a higher
plane of existence until they were enabled to establish a national
sovereignty, the great kingdom of Solomon. This proves that
Moses was a Teacher and an Educator. He had neither army nor
dominion; neither did He possess wealth. It was only through an
idealistic power that He cemented them together, proving that He
was a Prophet of God, an Educator and Trainer.
Likewise, must we set aside prejudice in considering other divine
Educators by investigating reality. For instance, let us take
Christ. He achieved results greater than Moses. He educated the
body politic, trained mighty nations. There is no doubt whatever
that such Souls were Prophets, for the mission of Prophethood is
education, and these wondrous Souls trained and educated mankind.
Christ was a unique Personage, without helper or assistant. Single
and solitary He arose to train great and mighty nations; the
Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Syrians, Chaldeans and Assyrians
came under His influence. He was able to bind together many nations,
melting them together, as it were, and pouring them into one
mold, changing their enmity into love, war into peace. Under His
influence satanic souls became veritable angels, tyrannical rulers
became just, the human moral standard was raised. This proves
that Christ was an Educator, a Teacher and Trainer of nations. If
we deny this, it is nought but injustice.
Blessed souls--whether Moses, Jesus, Zoroaster, Krishna,
Buddha, Confucius or Muhammad--were the cause of the illumination
of the world of humanity. How can we deny such irrefutable
proof? How can we be blind to such light? How can we dispute the
validity of Christ? This is injustice. This is a denial of reality. Man
must be just. We must set aside bias and prejudice. We must abandon
the imitations of ancestors and forefathers. We ourselves must
investigate reality and be fair in judgment.
The old nation of Persia denied all these facts, harboring the utmost
hatred and enmity toward other religious beliefs besides their
own. We have investigated reality and found that these holy souls
were all sent of God. All of them have sacrificed life, endured ordeals
and tribulations in order that They might educate us. How
can such love be forgotten? The light of Christ is evident. The candle
of Buddha is shining. The star of Moses is sparkling. The flame
ignited by Zoroaster is still burning. How can we deny Them? It is
injustice. It is a denial of complete evidence. If we forsake imitations,
all will become united, and no differences will remain to
We entertain no prejudice against Muhammad. Outwardly the
Arabian nation was instrumental in overthrowing the Pársí dominion,
the sovereignty of Persia. Therefore, the old Pársí nation manifested
the utmost contempt toward the Arabs. But we deal justly
and will never abandon the standard of fairness. The Arabians
were in the utmost state of degradation. They were bloodthirsty and
barbarous, so savage and degraded that the Arabian father often
buried his own daughter alive. Consider: Could any barbarism be
lower than this? The nation consisted of warring, hostile tribal peoples
inhabiting the vast Arabian peninsula, and their business consisted
in fighting and pillaging each other, making captive women
and children, killing each other. Muhammad appeared among such
a people. He educated and unified these barbarous tribes, put an
end to their shedding of blood. Through His education they reached
such a degree of civilization that they subdued and governed continents
and nations. What a great civilization was established in
Spain by the Muslims! What a marvelous civilization was founded
in Morocco by the Moors! What a powerful caliphate or successorship
was set up in Baghdád! How much Islám served and furthered
the cause of science! Why then should we deny Muhammad? If we
deny Him, we awaken enmity and hatred. By our prejudice we become
the cause of war and bloodshed, for prejudice was the cause
of the tremendous storm which swept through human history for
thirteen hundred years and still continues. Even now in the Balkans
a commotion is apparent, reflecting it.
The Christian people number nearly three hundred millions and
the Muslims about the same. It is no small task to do away with
such numbers. And furthermore, why should they be obliterated?
For these are all servants of the one God. Let us strive to establish
peace between Christians and Muslims. Is it not better? What is the
benefit of war? What is its fruitage? For thirteen hundred years
there has been warfare and hostility. What good result has been
forthcoming? Is it not folly? Is God pleased with it? Is Christ
pleased? Is Muhammad? It is evident that They are not. The Prophets
have extolled each other to the utmost. Muhammad declared
Christ to be the Spirit of God. This is an explicit text of the Qur'án.
He declared Christ to be the Word of God. He eulogized the disciples
of Christ to the utmost. He bestowed upon Mary, the mother
of Christ, the highest praise. Likewise, Christ extolled Moses. He
spread broadcast the Old Testament, the Torah, and caused the
name of Moses to reach unto the East and the West. The purpose is
this: that the Prophets Themselves have manifested the utmost love
toward each other, but the nations who believe and follow Them
are hostile and antagonistic among themselves.
The world was in this condition of darkness when Bahá'u'lláh
appeared upon the Persian horizon. He hoisted the banner of the
oneness of the world of humanity. He proclaimed international
peace. He admonished the Persian nation to investigate reality, announced
that religion must be the cause of unity and love, that it
must be the means of binding hearts together, the cause of life and
illumination. If religion becomes the cause of enmity and bloodshed,
then irreligion is to be preferred, for religion is the remedy for
every ailment, and if a remedy should become the cause of ailment
and difficulty, it is better to abandon it. Today in Persia you will
see the Muslims, Christians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists assembled
together in the same meeting, living in accordance with the teachings
of Bahá'u'lláh, manifesting utmost love and accord. Rancor,
hatred, antagonism and violence have disappeared; they live together
as one family.
And ye who are the people of the Orient--the Orient which has
ever been the dawning point of lights from whence the Sun of Reality
has ever shone forth, casting its effulgence upon the West--ye,
therefore, must become the manifestations of lights. Ye must become
brilliant lamps. Ye must shine as stars radiating the light of
love toward all mankind. May you be the cause of love amongst
the nations. Thus may the world become witness that the Orient
has ever been the dawning point of illumination, the source of love
and reconciliation. Make peace with all the world. Love everybody;
serve everybody. All are the servants of God. God has created
all. He provideth for all. He is kind to all. Therefore, must we be
kind to all.
I am greatly pleased with this meeting. I am joyous and happy,
for here in these western regions I find Orientals seeking education
and who are free from prejudice. May God assist you!