The Promulgation of Universal Peace
6 August 1912
Talk at Home of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur J. Parsons
Dublin, New Hampshire
Notes by Howard MacNutt
Today we are enjoying temperate weather. As there are many
strangers present, we will answer questions.
Question: Are not all Christians Bahá'ís? Is there any difference?
Answer: When Christians act according to the teachings of Christ, they are called Bahá'ís. For the foundations of Christianity
and the religion of Bahá'u'lláh are one. The foundations of all the
divine Prophets and Holy Books are one. The difference among
them is one of terminology only. Each springtime is identical with
the former springtime. The distinction between them is only one of
the calendar--1911, 1912 and so on. The difference between a
Christian and a Bahá'í, therefore, is this: There was a former
springtime, and there is a springtime now. No other difference exists
because the foundations are the same. Whoever acts completely
in accordance with the teachings of Christ is a Bahá'í. The
purpose is the essential meaning of Christian, not the mere word.
The purpose is the sun itself and not the dawning points. For
though the sun is one sun, its dawning points are many. We must
not adore the dawning points but worship the sun. We must adore
the reality of religion and not blindly cling to the appellation
Christianity. The Sun of Reality must be worshiped and followed.
We must seek the fragrance of the rose from whatever bush
it is blooming--whether oriental or western. Be seekers of light,
no matter from which lantern it shines forth. Be not lovers of the
lantern. At one time the light has shone from a lantern in the East,
now in the West. If it comes from North, South, from whatever
direction it proceeds, follow the light. Let me illustrate further. A
certain person bestowed a coin upon five beggars. They resolved to
spend it for food. The Englishman said, "Buy grapes." The Turk
wanted uzum, the Arab anáb, the Greek stafi'li, the Persian
angúr. Not understanding each other's language, they quarreled
and fought. A stranger came along. He was familiar with all five
languages. He said, "Give me the coin; I will buy what you wish."
When he brought them grapes, they were all satisfied. They
wanted the same thing but differed in the term only. Briefly, when
reality dawns in the midst of the religions, all will be unified and
Question: Does `Abdu'l-Bahá find Christianity is not lived up to
and carried out in America?
Answer: My meaning is that it should be completely carried out
and lived up to. Man needs eyes, ears, arms, a head, feet and various
other members. When he possesses all and all work together,
there is symmetry and perfection in him. So Christ said, "Be ye
therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,"
meaning that perfection is the requirement of Christianity.
Be the image and likeness of God. This is not easy. It necessitates
the focalization of all heavenly virtues. It requires that we become
recipients of all the perfections of God. Then we become His
image and likeness. For in the Bible it is stated, "Let us make man
in our image, after our likeness." The attainment of this is most
When Christ appeared with those marvelous breaths of the Holy
Spirit, the children of Israel said, "We are quite independent of
him; we can do without him and follow Moses; we have a book and
in it are found the teachings of God; what need, therefore, have we
of this man?" Christ said to them, "The book sufficeth you not."
It is possible for a man to hold to a book of medicine and say, "I
have no need of a doctor; I will act according to the book; in it every
disease is named, all symptoms are explained, the diagnosis of
each ailment is completely written out, and a prescription for each
malady is furnished; therefore, why do I need a doctor?" This is
sheer ignorance. A physician is needed to prescribe. Through his
skill the principles of the book are correctly and effectively applied
until the patient is restored to health. Christ was a heavenly Physician.
He brought spiritual health and healing into the world. Bahá'u'lláh
is, likewise, a divine Physician. He has revealed prescriptions
for removing disease from the body politic and has remedied
human conditions by spiritual power.
Therefore, mere knowledge is not sufficient for complete
human attainment. The teachings of the Holy Books need a
heavenly power and divine potency to carry them out. A house is
not built by mere acquaintance with the plans. Money must be
forthcoming; volition is necessary to construct it; a carpenter must
be employed in its erection. It is not enough to say, "The plan and
purpose of this house are very good; I will live in it." There are no
walls of protection, there is no roof of shelter in this mere statement;
the house must be actually built before we can live in it.
Briefly, the teachings of the Holy Books need a divine potency
to complete their accomplishment in human hearts. In Persia
Bahá'u'lláh reared and taught souls, established a bond of affiliation
among various peoples and united divergent religious beliefs
to such an extent that twenty thousand devoted ones sacrificed
themselves for the Cause of God in the glorious unity of martyrdom.
No differences whatever remained among these blessed
souls--Christians, Jews, Muslims, Zoroastrians, all blended,
unified and agreed through the potency of His heavenly power, not
by mere words, not by merely saying, "Unity is good, and love is
Bahá'u'lláh not only proclaimed this unity and love; He established
it. As a heavenly Physician He not only gave prescriptions
for these ailments of discord and hatred but accomplished the
actual healing. We may read in a medical book that a certain form
of illness requires such and such a remedy. While this may be
absolutely true, the remedy is useless unless there be volition and
executive force to apply it. Every man in the king's army can give a
command; but when the king speaks, it is carried out. This one,
that one, may say, "Go conquer a country"; but when the king
says, "Go!", the army advances. Therefore, it is evident that the
confirmation of the Holy Spirit and impelling influence of a
heavenly power are needed to accomplish the divine purpose in
human hearts and conditions. Jesus Christ, single, solitary and
alone, accomplished what all the kings of the earth could not have
carried out. If all the kingdoms and nations of the world had combined
to effect it, they would have failed.
It is, therefore, evident and proved that an effort must be put forward
to complete the purpose and plan of the teachings of God in
order that in this great Day of days the world may be reformed,
souls resuscitated, a new spirit of life found, hearts become illumined,
mankind rescued from the bondage of nature, saved from
the baseness of materialism and attain spirituality and radiance in
attraction toward the divine Kingdom. This is necessary; this is
needful. Mere reading of the Holy Books and texts will not suffice.
Many years ago in Baghdád I saw a certain officer sitting upon
the ground. Before him a large paper was placed into which he was
sticking needles tipped with small red and white flags. First he
would stick them into the paper, then thoughtfully pull them out
and change their position. I watched him with curious interest for a
long time, then asked, "What are you doing?" He replied, "I have
in mind something which is historically related of Napoleon I during
his war against Austria. One day, it is said, his secretary found
him sitting upon the ground as I am now doing, sticking needles
into a paper before him. His secretary inquired what it meant.
Napoleon answered, `I am on the battlefield figuring out my next
victory. You see, Italy and Austria are defeated, and France is
triumphant.' In the great campaign which followed, everything
came out just as he said. His army carried his plans to a complete
success. Now, I am doing the same as Napoleon, figuring out a
great campaign of military conquest." I said, "Where is your
army? Napoleon had an army already equipped when he figured
out his victory. You have no army. Your forces exist only on
paper. You have no power to conquer countries. First get ready
your army, then sit upon the ground with your needles." We need
an army to attain victory in the spiritual world; mere plans are not
sufficient; ideas and principles are helpless without a divine power
to put them into effect.
Aside from all this, there is need of the stimulus of the joy of
glad tidings in human hearts. Certain spiritual attraction is requisite
in order that hearts may willingly take the step forward in the
divine Cause. We must become attracted to God. The breaths of
the Holy Spirit must take effect. Unless this is so, it is impossible
for the teachings of God to accomplish in us. An ideal power is
necessary. The people of America have remarkably quick perception,
intelligence and understanding. Their thoughts are free and
not fettered by the yoke of governmental tyranny. They should investigate
reality and not be occupied with ancestral forms and imitations.
Consider what Christ accomplished. He caused souls to
attain a station where with complete willingness and joy they laid
down their lives. What a power! Thousands of human souls, in the
utmost joy because of their spiritual susceptibilities, were so attracted
to God that they were dispossessed of volition, deprived of
will in His path. If they had been told simply that sacrifice in the
path of God was good and praiseworthy, this would never have
happened. They would not have acted. Christ attracted them,
wrested the reins of control from them, and they went forth in
ecstasy to sacrifice themselves.
Qurratu'l-`Ayn was a Persian woman without fame and importance--
unknown, like all other Persian women. When she
saw Bahá'u'lláh, she changed completely, visibly, and looked
within another world. The reins of volition were taken out of her
hands by heavenly attraction. She was so overcome that physical
susceptibilities ceased. Her husband, her sons and her family arose
in the greatest hostility against Bahá'u'lláh. She became so attracted
to the divine threshold that she forsook everything and went
forth to the plain of Badasht, no fear in her heart, dauntless, intrepid,
openly proclaiming the message of light which had come to
her. The Persian government stood against her. They made every
effort to quiet her, they imprisoned her in the governor's house, but
she continued to speak. Then she was taken and killed. To her very
last breath she spoke with fervid eloquence and so became famous
for her complete attraction in the path of God. If she had not seen
Bahá'u'lláh, no such effect would have been produced. She had
read and heard the teachings of scriptures all her life, but the action
and enkindlement were missing. All women in Persia are
enveloped in veils in public. So completely covered are they that
even the hand is not visible. This rigid veiling is unspeakable.
Qurratu'l-`Ayn tore off her veils and went forth fearlessly. She was
like a lioness. Her action caused a great turmoil throughout the
land of Persia. So excessive and compulsory is the requirement for
veiling in the East that the people in the West have no idea of the
excitement and indignation produced by the appearance of an unveiled
woman. Qurratu'l-`Ayn lost all thought of herself and was
unconscious of fear in her attraction to God.
Question: Do the Bahá'í women go without veils in the East?
Answer: It is not possible for them to do so universally yet, but
the conditions are not nearly so restrictive as they were. The Bahá'í
men and women meet together. This is the beginning of woman's
emancipation from the thralldom of centuries. Qurratu'l-`Ayn was
really the liberator of all Persian women.