The Promulgation of Universal Peace
2 December 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Kinney
780 West End Avenue, New York
Notes by Esther Foster
You are all welcome. This is a goodly assemblage. Praise be to
God! The hearts are directed to the Kingdom of Abhá, and souls
are rejoiced by the glad tidings of God.
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 Kitáb-i-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
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. 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 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.
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
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 is 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 was 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
Bahá'u'lláh, 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 anyone to create a new sect or faction of
belief. To ensure 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. Beware lest anyone
shall secretly question or deny this to you. There are some people
of self-will and desire who do not communicate their intentions
to you in clear language. They envelop their meanings in secret
statements and insinuations. For instance, they praise a certain
individual, saying he is wise and learned, that he was glorified
in the presence of Bahá'u'lláh, conveying this to you in an insidious
way or by innuendos. Be ye aware of this! Be awakened and
enlightened! For Christ has said that no one hides the lamp under a
bushel. The purport of my admonition is that certain people will
endeavor to influence you in the direction of their own personal
views and opinions. Therefore, be upon your guard in order that
none may assail the oneness and integrity of Bahá'u'lláh's Cause.
Praise be to God! Bahá'u'lláh left nothing unsaid. He explained
everything. He left no room for anything further to be said. Yet
there are some who for the sake of personal interest and prestige
will attempt to sow the seeds of sedition and disloyalty among you.
To protect and safeguard the religion of God from this and all other
attack, the Center of the Covenant has been named and appointed
by Bahá'u'lláh. Therefore, if anyone should set forth a statement
in praise or recognition of another than this appointed Center, you
must ask him to produce a written proof of the authority he follows.
Let him show you a trace from the pen of the Center of the Covenant
Himself, substantiating his praise and support of any other
than the rightful one. Inform him that you are not permitted to accept
the words of everyone. Say to him, "It is possible to love and
praise a person today, to accept and follow another tomorrow and
still another next day. Therefore, we cannot afford to listen to this
or that individual. Where are your proofs and writings? Where is
your authority from the pen of the Center of the Covenant?"
My purpose is to explain to you that it is your duty to guard the
religion of God so that none shall be able to assail it outwardly or
inwardly. If you find harmful teachings are being set forth by some
individual, no matter who that individual be, even though he
should be my own son, know, verily, that I am completely severed
from him. If anyone speaks against the Covenant, even though he
should be my son, know that I am opposed to him. Those who
speak falsehoods, who covet worldly things and seek to accumulate
the riches of this earth are not of me. But when you find a person
living up to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh, following the precepts
of the Hidden Words, know that he belongs to Bahá'u'lláh;
and, verily, I proclaim that he is of me. If, on the other hand, you
see anyone whose deeds and conduct are contrary to and not in
conformity with the good pleasure of the Blessed Perfection and
against the spirit of the Hidden Words, let that be your standard and
criterion of judgment against him, for know that I am altogether
severed from him no matter who he may be. This is the truth.
The teachings of Bahá'u'lláh are boundless and illimitable. You
have asked me what new principles have been revealed by Him. I
have mentioned a few only. There are many others, but time does
not permit their mention tonight. I, therefore, pray to God that you
may be strengthened in good deeds. I pray that God may confirm
you in order that you may live according to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh.
Upon ye be Bahá'u'l-Abhá!