The Promulgation of Universal Peace
3 May 1912
Talk at Hotel Plaza
Notes by Marzieh Moss
According to the statement of philosophers the difference in degree
of humankind from lowest to highest is due to education. The
proofs they advance are these. The civilization of Europe and America
is an evidence and outcome of education, whereas the semicivilized
and barbarous peoples of Africa bear witness in their condition
that they have been deprived of its advantages. Education
makes the ignorant wise, the tyrant just, promotes happiness,
strengthens the mind, develops the will and makes fruitless trees of
humanity fruitful. Therefore, in the human world some have attained
lofty degrees, while others grope in the abyss of despair.
Nevertheless, the highest attainment is possible for every member
of the human race even to the station of the Prophets. This is the
statement and reasoning of the philosophers.
The Prophets of God are the first Educators. They bestow universal
education upon man and cause him to rise from the lowest levels
of savagery to the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The
philosophers, too, are educators along lines of intellectual training.
At most, they have only been able to educate themselves and a limited
number about them, to improve their own morals and, so to
speak, civilize themselves; but they have been incapable of universal
education. They have failed to cause an advancement for any
given nation from savagery to civilization.
It is evident that although education improves the morals of
mankind, confers the advantages of civilization and elevates man
from lowest degrees to the station of sublimity, there is, nevertheless,
a difference in the intrinsic or natal capacity of individuals.
Ten children of the same age, with equal station of birth, taught in
the same school, partaking of the same food, in all respects subject
to the same environment, their interests equal and in common, will
evidence separate and distinct degrees of capability and advancement;
some will be exceedingly intelligent and progressive, some
of mediocre ability, others limited and incapable. One may become
a learned professor, while another under the same course of
education proves dull and stupid. From all standpoints the opportunities
have been equal, but the results and outcomes vary from
the highest to lowest degree of advancement. It is evident, therefore,
that mankind differs in natal capacity and intrinsic intellectual
endowment. Nevertheless, although capacities are not the
same, every member of the human race is capable of education.
Jesus Christ was an Educator of humanity. His teachings were
altruistic; His bestowal, universal. He taught mankind by the power
of the Holy Spirit and not through human agency, for the human
power is limited, whereas the divine power is illimitable and infinite.
The influence and accomplishment of Christ will attest this.
Galen, the Greek physician and philosopher who lived in the second
century A.D., wrote a treatise upon the civilization of nations.
He was not a Christian, but he bore testimony that religious beliefs
exercise an extraordinary effect upon the problems of civilization.
In substance he said, "There are certain people among us, followers
of Jesus, the Nazarene, who was killed in Jerusalem. These
people are truly imbued with moral principles which are the envy
of philosophers. They believe in God and fear Him. They have
hopes in His favors; therefore, they shun all unworthy deeds and
actions and incline to praiseworthy ethics and morals. Day and
night they strive that their deeds may be commendable and that
they may contribute to the welfare of humanity; therefore, each
one of them is virtually a philosopher, for these people have attained
unto that which is the essence and purport of philosophy.
These people have praiseworthy morals, even though they may be
The purpose of this is to show that the holy Manifestations of
God, the divine Prophets, are the first Teachers of the human race.
They are universal Educators, and the fundamental principles they
have laid down are the causes and factors of the advancement of
nations. Forms and imitations which creep in afterward are not
conducive to that progress. On the contrary, these are destroyers of
human foundations established by the heavenly Educators. These
are clouds which obscure the Sun of Reality. If you reflect upon the
essential teachings of Jesus, you will realize that they are the light
of the world. Nobody can question their truth. They are the very
source of life and the cause of happiness to the human race. The
forms and superstitions which appeared and obscured the light did
not affect the reality of Christ. For example, Jesus Christ said,
"Put up thy sword into the sheath." The meaning is that warfare is
forbidden and abrogated; but consider the Christian wars which
took place afterward. Christian hostility and inquisition spared not
even the learned; he who proclaimed the revolution of the earth
was imprisoned; he who announced the new astronomical system
was persecuted as a heretic; scholars and scientists became objects
of fanatical hatred, and many were killed and tortured. How do
these actions conform with the teachings of Jesus Christ, and what
relation do they bear to His own example? For Christ declared,
"Love your enemies, ... and pray for them which ... persecute
you; that you may be the children of your Father which is in
heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,
and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." How can hatred,
hostility and persecution be reconciled with Christ and His teachings?
Therefore, there is need of turning back to the original foundation.
The fundamental principles of the Prophets are correct and
true. The imitations and superstitions which have crept in are at
wide variance with the original precepts and commands. Bahá'u'lláh
has revoiced and reestablished the quintessence of the teachings
of all the Prophets, setting aside the accessories and purifying
religion from human interpretation. He has written a book entitled
the Hidden Words. The preface announces that it contains the essences
of the words of the Prophets of the past, clothed in the garment
of brevity, for the teaching and spiritual guidance of the
people of the world. Read it that you may understand the true
foundations of religion and reflect upon the inspiration of the Messengers
of God. It is light upon light.
We must not look for truth in the deeds and actions of nations;
we must investigate truth at its divine source and summon all mankind
to unity in reality itself.