The Promulgation of Universal Peace
19 May 1912
Talk at Church of the Divine Paternity
Central Park West, New York
Notes by Esther Foster
Religions are many, but the reality of religion is one. The days are
many, but the sun is one. The fountains are many, but the fountainhead
is one. The branches are many, but the tree is one.
The foundation of the divine religions is reality; were there no
reality, there would be no religions. Abraham heralded reality.
Moses promulgated reality. Christ established reality. Muhammad
was the Messenger of reality. The Báb was the door of reality.
Bahá'u'lláh was the splendor of reality. Reality is one; it does
not admit multiplicity or division. Reality is as the sun, which
shines forth from different dawning points; it is as the light, which
has illumined many lanterns.
Therefore, if the religions investigate reality and seek the essential
truth of their own foundations, they will agree and no difference
will be found. But inasmuch as religions are submerged in
dogmatic imitations, forsaking the original foundations, and as
imitations differ widely, therefore, the religions are divergent and
antagonistic. These imitations may be likened to clouds which
obscure the sunrise; but reality is the sun. If the clouds disperse, the
Sun of Reality shines upon all, and no difference of vision will
exist. The religions will then agree, for fundamentally they are the
same. The subject is one, but predicates are many.
The divine religions are like the progression of the seasons of
the year. When the earth becomes dead and desolate and because
of frost and cold no trace of vanished spring remains, the
springtime dawns again and clothes everything with a new garment
of life. The meadows become fresh and green, the trees are
adorned with verdure and fruits appear upon them. Then the winter
comes again, and all the traces of spring disappear. This is the continuous
cycle of the seasons--spring, winter, then the return of
spring. But though the calendar changes and the years move forward,
each springtime that comes is the return of the springtime
that has gone; this spring is the renewal of the former spring.
Springtime is springtime, no matter when or how often it comes.
The divine Prophets are as the coming of spring, each renewing
and quickening the teachings of the Prophet Who came before
Him. Just as all seasons of spring are essentially one as to newness
of life, vernal showers and beauty, so the essence of the mission
and accomplishment of all the Prophets is one and the same. Now
the people of religion have lost sight of the essential reality of the
spiritual springtime. They have held tenaciously to ancestral forms
and imitations, and because of this there is variance, strife and altercation
among them. Therefore, we must now abandon these imitations
and seek the foundation of the divine teachings; and inasmuch
as the foundation is one reality, the divergent religionists
must agree in it so that love and unity will be established among all
people and denominations.
At a time when the Orient was rent by religious dissension
Bahá'u'lláh appeared. He founded teachings which became the
means of uniting the various and divergent peoples. He promulgated
principles which removed the cause of their dissension, until
today in Persia those who had been constantly at war are united.
Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Jews--people of every belief
and denomination who have followed the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh--
have attained complete fellowship and spiritual agreement.
Former differences and dissensions have passed away entirely.
Some of the principles of Bahá'u'lláh's teaching are as follows:
First, that the oneness of humanity shall be recognized and established.
All men are the servants of God. He has created all; He is
the Provider and Preserver; He is loving to all. Inasmuch as He is
just and kind, why should we be unjust toward each other? As God
has quickened us with life, why should we be the cause of death?
As He has comforted us, why should we be the cause of anxiety
and suffering? Can humanity conceive a plan and policy better and
superior to that of God? It is certain that no matter how capable
man may be in origination of plan and organization of purpose, his
efforts will be inadequate when compared with the divine plan and
purpose; for the policy of God is perfect. Therefore, we must follow
the will and plan of God. As He is kind to all, we must be likewise;
and it is certain that this will be most acceptable to God.
Second, that truth or reality must be investigated; for reality is
one, and by investigating it all will find love and unity. Those who
are ignorant must be educated, the ailing must be healed, the undeveloped
must be brought to maturity. Shall we reject or oppose the
ignorant, sick or immature because of their incapacity? Is it not
better to be kind and gentle and to provide the means of remedy?
Therefore, under no circumstances whatsoever should we assume
any attitude except that of gentleness and humility.
Third, that religion is in harmony with science. The fundamental
principles of the Prophets are scientific, but the forms and imitations
which have appeared are opposed to science. If religion
does not agree with science, it is superstition and ignorance; for
God has endowed man with reason in order that he may perceive
reality. The foundations of religion are reasonable. God has
created us with intelligence to perceive them. If they are opposed
to science and reason, how could they be believed and followed?
Fourth, that religion must be conducive to love and unity among
mankind; for if it be the cause of enmity and strife, the absence of
religion is preferable. When Moses appeared, the tribes of Israel
were in a state of disunion as captives of the Pharaohs. Moses
gathered them together, and the divine law established fellowship
among them. They became as one people, united, consolidated,
after which they were rescued from bondage. They passed into the
promised land, advanced in all degrees, developed sciences and
arts, progressed in material affairs, increased in divine or spiritual
civilization until their nation rose to its zenith in the sovereignty of
Solomon. It is evident, therefore, that religion is the cause of unity,
fellowship and progress among mankind. The function of a
shepherd is to gather the sheep together and not to scatter them.
Then Christ appeared. He united varying and divergent creeds and
warring people of His time. He brought together Greeks and Romans,
reconciled Egyptians and Assyrians, Chaldeans and
Phoenicians. Christ established unity and agreement among
people of these hostile and warring nations. Therefore, it is again
evident that the purpose of religion is peace and concord.
Likewise, Muhammad appeared at a time when the peoples and
tribes of Arabia were divergent and in a state of continual warfare.
They killed each other, pillaged and took captive wives and children.
Muhammad united these fierce tribes, established a foundation
of fellowship among them so that they gave up warring against
each other absolutely and established communities. The result was
that the Arabian tribes freed themselves from the Persian yoke and
Roman control, established an independent sovereignty which
rose to a high degree of civilization, advanced in sciences and arts,
extended the Saracen dominion as far west as Spain and Andalusia
and became famous throughout the world. Therefore, it is proved
once more that the religion of God is intended to be the cause of
advancement and solidarity and not of enmity and dissolution. If it
becomes the cause of hatred and strife, its absence is preferable. Its
purpose is unity, and its foundations are one.
When Bahá'u'lláh appeared in Persia, violent strife and hatred
separated the peoples and tribes of that country. They would not
come together for any purpose except war; they would not partake
of the same food, or drink of the same water; association and intercourse
were impossible. Bahá'u'lláh founded the oneness of humanity
among these people and bound their hearts together with
such ties of love that they were completely united. He reestablished
the prophetic foundations, reformed and renewed the principles
laid down by the Messengers of God who had preceded
Him. And now it is hoped that through His life and teachings the
East and West shall become so united that no trace of enmity, strife
and discord shall remain.