The Promulgation of Universal Peace
5 July 1912
Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York
Notes by Emma C. Melick and Howard MacNutt
You are very welcome, very welcome, all of you! In the divine
Holy Books there are unmistakable prophecies giving the glad
tidings of a certain Day in which the Promised One of all the Books
would appear, a radiant dispensation be established, the banner of
the Most Great Peace and conciliation be hoisted and the oneness
of the world of humanity proclaimed. Among the various nations
and peoples of the world no enmity or hatred should remain. All
hearts were to be connected one with another. These things are recorded
in the Torah, or Old Testament, in the Gospel, the Qur'án,
the Zend-Avesta, the books of Buddha and the book of Confucius.
In brief, all the Holy Books contain these glad tidings. They announce
that after the world is surrounded by darkness, radiance
shall appear. For just as the night, when it becomes excessively
dark, precedes the dawn of a new day, so likewise when the darkness
of religious apathy and heedlessness overtakes the world,
when human souls become negligent of God, when materialistic
ideas overshadow spirituality, when nations become submerged in
the world of matter and forget God--at such a time as this shall the
divine Sun shine forth and the radiant morn appear.
Consider to what a remarkable extent the spirituality of people
has been overcome by materialism so that spiritual susceptibility
seems to have vanished, divine civilization become decadent, and
guidance and knowledge of God no longer remain. All are submerged
in the sea of materialism. Although some attend churches
and temples of worship and devotion, it is in accordance with the
traditions and imitations of their fathers and not for the investigation
of reality. For it is evident they have not found reality and are
not engaged in its adoration. They are holding to certain imitations
which have descended to them from their fathers and ancestors.
They have become accustomed to passing a certain length of time
in temple worship and conforming to imitations and ceremonies.
The proof of this is that the son of every Jewish father becomes a
Jew and not a Christian; the son of every Muslim becomes a follower
of Islám; the son of every Christian proves to be a Christian;
the son of every Zoroastrian is a Zoroastrian, etc. Therefore, religious
faith and belief is merely a remnant of blind imitations
which have descended through fathers and ancestors. Because this
man's father was a Jew, he considers himself a Jew. Not that he has
investigated reality and proved satisfactorily to himself that
Judaism is right--nay, rather, he is aware that his forefathers have
followed this course; therefore, he has held to it himself.
The purpose of this is to explain that the darkness of imitations
encompasses the world. Every nation is holding to its traditional
religious forms. The light of reality is obscured. Were these various
nations to investigate reality, there is no doubt they would attain
to it. As reality is one, all nations would then become as one
nation. So long as they adhere to various imitations and are deprived
of reality, strife and warfare will continue and rancor and
sedition prevail. If they investigate reality, neither enmity nor rancor
will remain, and they will attain to the utmost concord among
During the years when the darkness of heedlessness was most
intense in the Orient and the people were so submerged in imitations
that nations were thirsting for the blood of each other, considering
each other as contaminated and refusing to associate--at
such a time as this Bahá'u'lláh appeared. He arose in the Orient,
uprooting the very foundations of imitations, and brought the dawn
of the light of reality. Through Him various nations became united
because all desired reality. Inasmuch as they investigated reality
in religion, they found that all men are the servants of God, the
posterity of Adam, children of one household and that the foundations
of all the Prophets are one. For inasmuch as the teachings of
the Prophets are reality, Their foundations are one. The enmity and
strife of nations, therefore, are due to religious imitations and not
to the reality which underlies the teachings of the Prophets.
Through Bahá'u'lláh the nations and peoples grew to understand
and comprehend this. Therefore, hearts became united, and lives
were cemented together. After centuries of hatred and bitterness
the Christian, Jew, Zoroastrian, Muslim and Buddhist met in fellowship,
all of them in the utmost love and unity. They became
welded and cemented because they had perceived reality.
The divine Prophets are conjoined in the perfect state of love.
Each One has given the glad tidings of His successor's coming and
each successor has sanctioned the One Who preceded Him. They
were in the utmost unity, but Their followers are in strife. For instance,
Moses gave the message of the glad tidings of Christ, and
Christ confirmed the Prophethood of Moses. Therefore, between
Moses and Jesus there is no variation or conflict. They are in perfect
unity, but between the Jew and the Christian there is conflict.
Now, therefore, if the Christian and Jewish peoples investigate the
reality underlying their Prophets' teachings, they will become kind
in their attitude toward each other and associate in the utmost love,
for reality is one and not dual or multiple. If this investigation of
reality becomes universal, the divergent nations will ratify all the
divine Prophets and confirm all the Holy Books. No strife or rancor
will then remain, and the world will become united. Then will we
associate in the reality of love. We will become as fathers and sons,
as brothers and sisters living together in complete unity, love and
happiness; for this century is the century of light. It is not like former
centuries. Former centuries were epochs of oppression. Now
human intellects have developed, and human intelligence has increased.
Each soul is investigating reality. This is not a time when
we shall wage war and be hostile toward each other. We are living
at a time when we should enjoy real friendship.
Fifty years ago Bahá'u'lláh sent Epistles to all the kings and nations
of the world, at a time when there was no mention of international
peace. One of these Epistles was sent by Him to the president
of the American democracy. In these communications He summoned
all to international peace and the oneness of the human
world. He summoned mankind to the fundamentals of the teachings
of all the Prophets. Some of the European kings were arrogant.
Among them was Napoleon III. Bahá'u'lláh wrote a second
Epistle to him, which was published thirty years ago. The context
is this: "O Napoleon! Thou hast become haughty indeed. Thou
hast become proud. Thou hast forgotten God. Thou dost imagine
that this majesty is permanent for thee, that this dominion is abiding
for thee. A letter have we sent unto thee for acceptance with thy
greatest love; but, instead, thou hast shown arrogance. Therefore,
God shall uproot the edifice of thy sovereignty; thy country shall
flee away from thee. Thou shalt find humiliation hastening after
thee because thou didst not arise for that which was enjoined upon
thee, whereas that which was a duty incumbent upon thee was the
cause of life to the world. The punishment of God shall soon be
dealt out to thee."
This Epistle was revealed in the year 1869, and after one year
the foundations of the Napoleonic sovereignty were completely
Among these Epistles was a very lengthy one to the Sháh of Persia.
It was printed and spread broadcast throughout all the countries.
This Epistle was revealed in the year 1870. In it Bahá'u'lláh
admonished the Sháh of Persia to be kind to all his subjects, summoning
him to dispense justice, counseling him to make no distinction
between the religions, charging him to deal equally with
Jew, Christian, Muslim and Zoroastrian and to remove the oppression
prevailing in his country.
At that time the Jews were greatly oppressed in Persia. Bahá'u'lláh
especially recommended justice for them, saying that all
people are the servants of God, and in the eye of the government
they should be equally estimated. "If justice is not dealt out, if
these oppressions are not removed and if thou dost not obey God,
the foundations of thy government will be razed, and thou shalt become
evanescent, become as nothing. Thou shouldst gather all the
learned men, and then summon Me. There I shall be present. I will
then advance proofs and evidences as to My validity. I will manifest
My proof and anything that you may ask. I am ready. But if no
attention is paid to this book, thou, like unto the kings who became
nonexistent, shalt likewise become nonexistent." The Sháh did
not answer this Epistle of the Blessed Perfection. Then God destroyed
the foundations of his sovereignty.
Among those to whom Bahá'u'lláh wrote was the Sultán of
Turkey. In it He arraigned him, saying, "Verily, thou didst incarcerate
and make Me a prisoner. Dost thou imagine that imprisonment
is a loss to Me, that imprisonment is a humiliation for Me?
This imprisonment is a glory for Me because it is in the pathway of
God. I have not committed a crime. It is for the sake of God that I
have received this ordeal. Therefore, I am very happy; I am exceedingly
joyous. But thou must wait; God will send thee a punishment;
thou shalt receive retribution. Erelong thou shalt observe how
ordeals shall descend upon thee like rain, and thou shalt become
nonexistent." And even so it was.
Likewise, He sent messages to the other kings and crowned
heads of the earth, summoning all of them to love, equity, international
peace and the oneness of humanity in order that mankind
might become unified and agreed; that strife, warfare and sedition
should pass away; that bitterness and enmity might cease and all
arise to serve the one God.
In brief, two kings arose against Bahá'u'lláh: the Sháh of Persia
and the Sultán of Turkey. They imprisoned Him in the fortress of
Akká in order to extinguish His light and exterminate His Cause.
But Bahá'u'lláh while in prison wrote severe letters of arraignment
to them. He declared that imprisonment was no obstacle to Him.
He said, "This imprisonment will prove to be the means of the
promotion of My Cause. This imprisonment shall be the incentive
for the spreading of My teachings. No harm shall come to Me because
I have sacrificed My life, I have sacrificed My blood, I have
sacrificed My possessions, I have sacrificed all and for Me this imprisonment
is no loss." And just as He declared, so it came to pass.
In prison He hoisted His banner, and His Cause spread throughout
the world. It has reached America. Now the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
is extending to all nations of the earth. You go to Asia, and wherever
you travel you will find Bahá'ís. You go to Africa, Europe;
there you will find the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh. In America it is just
beginning to grow and spread.
These two kings could not do anything to withstand Bahá'u'lláh,
but God through Him was capable of destroying both of them. I,
too, was in prison. God removed the chains from my neck and
placed them around the neck of `Abdu'l-Hamíd. It was done suddenly--
not a long time, in a moment as it were. The same hour that
the Young Turks declared liberty, the Committee of Union and
Progress set me free. They lifted the chains from my neck and threw
them around the neck of `Abdu'l-Hamíd. That which he did to me
was inflicted upon him. Now the position is precisely reversed. His
days are spent in prison just as I passed the days in prison at Akká,
with this difference: that I was happy in imprisonment. I was in the
utmost elation because I was not a criminal. They had imprisoned
me in the path of God. Every time I thought of this, that I was a
prisoner in the pathway of God, the utmost elation overcame me.
`Abdu'l-Hamíd is now suffering punishment for his deeds. Because
of the sins he committed, he is now in prison. This is retribution
for his acts. Every hour he is mortified anew and his ignominy
revived. He is in the utmost sorrow and disappointment while I am
in perfect happiness. I was happy that--praise be to God!--I was
a prisoner in the Cause of God, that my life was not wasted, that it
was spent in the divine service. Nobody who saw me imagined that
I was in prison. They beheld me in the utmost joy, complete thankfulness
and health, paying no attention to the prison.