The Promulgation of Universal Peace
27 August 1912
Talk at Metaphysical Club
Notes by Edna McKinney
Upon the faces of those present I behold the expression of
thoughtfulness and wisdom; therefore, I shall discourse upon a
subject involving one of the divine questions, a question of religious
and metaphysical importance--namely, the progressive and
perpetual motion of elemental atoms throughout the various degrees
of phenomena and the kingdoms of existence. It will be
demonstrated and become evident that the origin and outcome of
phenomena are identical and that there is an essential oneness in all
existing things. This is a subtle principle appertaining to divine
philosophy and requiring close analysis and attention.
The elemental atoms which constitute all phenomenal existence
and being in this illimitable universe are in perpetual motion, undergoing
continuous degrees of progression. For instance, let us
conceive of an atom in the mineral kingdom progressing upward to
the kingdom of the vegetable by entering into the composition and
fibre of a tree or plant. From thence it is assimilated and transferred
into the kingdom of the animal and finally, by the law and process
of composition, becomes a part of the body of man. That is to say,
it has traversed the intermediate degrees and stations of phenomenal
existence, entering into the composition of various organisms
in its journey. This motion or transference is progressive
and perpetual, for after disintegration of the human body into
which it has entered, it returns to the mineral kingdom whence it
came and will continue to traverse the kingdoms of phenomena as
before. This is an illustration designed to show that the constituent
elemental atoms of phenomena undergo progressive transference
and motion throughout the material kingdoms.
In its ceaseless progression and journeyings the atom becomes
imbued with the virtues and powers of each degree or kingdom it
traverses. In the degree of the mineral it possessed mineral
affinities; in the kingdom of the vegetable it manifested the augmentative
virtue or power of growth; in the animal organism it
reflected the intelligence of that degree; and in the kingdom of man
it was qualified with human attributes or virtues.
Furthermore, the forms and organisms of phenomenal being
and existence in each of the kingdoms of the universe are myriad
and numberless. The vegetable plane or kingdom, for instance, has
its infinite variety of types and material structures of plant life--
each distinct and different within itself, no two exactly alike in
composition and detail--for there are no repetitions in nature, and
the augmentative virtue cannot be confined to any given image or
shape. Each leaf has its own particular identity--so to speak, its
own individuality as a leaf. Therefore, each atom of the innumerable
elemental atoms, during its ceaseless motion through the kingdoms
of existence as a constituent of organic composition, not only
becomes imbued with the powers and virtues of the kingdoms it
traverses but also reflects the attributes and qualities of the forms
and organisms of those kingdoms. As each of these forms has its
individual and particular virtue, therefore, each elemental atom of
the universe has the opportunity of expressing an infinite variety of
those individual virtues. No atom is bereft or deprived of this
opportunity or right of expression. Nor can it be said of any given
atom that it is denied equal opportunities with other atoms; nay, all
are privileged to possess the virtues existent in these kingdoms and
to reflect the attributes of their organisms. In the various transformations
or passages from kingdom to kingdom the virtues expressed
by the atoms in each degree are peculiar to that degree. For
example, in the world of the mineral the atom does not express the
vegetable form and organism, and when through the process of
transmutation it assumes the virtues of the vegetable degree, it
does not reflect the attributes of animal organisms, and so on.
It is evident, then, that each elemental atom of the universe is possessed
of a capacity to express all the virtues of the universe. This
is a subtle and abstract realization. Meditate upon it, for within it
lies the true explanation of pantheism. From this point of view and
perception pantheism is a truth, for every atom in the universe possesses
or reflects all the virtues of life, the manifestation of which is
effected through change and transformation. Therefore, the origin
and outcome of phenomena is, verily, the omnipresent God; for the
reality of all phenomenal existence is through Him. There is
neither reality nor the manifestation of reality without the instrumentality
of God. Existence is realized and possible through the
bounty of God, just as the ray or flame emanating from this lamp is
realized through the bounty of the lamp, from which it originates.
Even so, all phenomena are realized through the divine bounty,
and the explanation of true pantheistic statement and principle is
that the phenomena of the universe find realization through the one
power animating and dominating all things, and all things are but
manifestations of its energy and bounty. The virtue of being and
existence is through no other agency. Therefore, in the words of
Bahá'u'lláh, the first teaching is the oneness of the world of humanity.
When the man who is spiritually sagacious and possessed of insight
views the world of humanity, he will observe that the lights of
the divine bounty are flooding all mankind, just as the lights of the
sun shed their splendor upon all existing things. All phenomena of
material existence are revealed through the ray emanating from the
sun. Without light nothing would be visible. Similarly, all
phenomena in the inner world of reality receive the bounties of
God from the source of divine bestowal. This human plane, or
kingdom, is one creation, and all souls are the signs and traces of
the divine bounty. In this plane there are no exceptions; all have
been recipients of their bestowals through the heavenly bounty.
Can you find a soul bereft of the nearness of God? Can you find one
whom God has deprived of its daily sustenance? This is impossible.
God is kind and loving to all, and all are manifestations of the
divine bounty. This is the oneness of the world of humanity.
But some souls are weak; we must endeavor to strengthen them.
Some are ignorant, uninformed of the bounties of God; we must
strive to make them knowing. Some are ailing; we must seek to restore
them to health. Some are immature as children; they must be
trained and assisted to attain maturity. We nurse the sick in tenderness
and the kindly spirit of love; we do not despise them because
they are ill. Therefore, we must exercise extreme patience, sympathy
and love toward all mankind, considering no soul as rejected.
If we look upon a soul as rejected, we have disobeyed the
teachings of God. God is loving to all. Shall we be unjust or unkind
to anyone? Is this allowable in the sight of God? God provides
for all. Is it befitting for us to prevent the flow of His merciful provisions
for mankind? God has created all in His image and likeness.
Shall we manifest hatred for His creatures and servants? This
would be contrary to the will of God and according to the will of
Satan, by which we mean the natural inclinations of the lower nature.
This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan--the evil
ego within us, not an evil personality outside.
Bahá'u'lláh teaches that the foundations of the divine religion
are one reality which does not admit of multiplicity or division.
Therefore, the commandments and teachings of God are one. The
religious differences and divisions which exist in the world are due
to blind imitations of forms without knowledge or investigation of
the fundamental divine reality which underlies all the religions. Inasmuch
as these imitations of ancestral forms are various, dissensions
have arisen among the people of religion. Therefore, it is
necessary to free mankind from this subjection to blind belief by
pointing the way of guidance to reality itself, which is the only
basis of unity.
Bahá'u'lláh says that religion must be conducive to love and
unity. If it proves to be the source of hatred and enmity, its absence
is preferable; for the will and law of God is love, and love is the
bond between human hearts. Religion is the light of the world. If it
is made the cause of darkness through human misunderstanding
and ignorance, it would be better to do without it.
Religion must conform to science and reason; otherwise, it is
superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the
verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover
truth. Therefore, scientific knowledge and religious belief
must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.
Prejudices of all kinds--whether religious, racial, patriotic or
political--are destructive of divine foundations in man. All the
warfare and bloodshed in human history have been the outcome of
prejudice. This earth is one home and native land. God has created
mankind with equal endowment and right to live upon the earth. As
a city is the home of all its inhabitants although each may have his
individual place of residence therein, so the earth's surface is one
wide native land or home for all races of humankind. Racial prejudice
or separation into nations such as French, German, American
and so on is unnatural and proceeds from human motive and
ignorance. All are the children and servants of God. Why should
we be separated by artificial and imaginary boundaries? In the animal
kingdom the doves flock together in harmony and agreement.
They have no prejudices. We are human and superior in intelligence.
Is it befitting that lower creatures should manifest virtues
which lack expression in man?
Bahá'u'lláh has proclaimed and promulgated the foundation of
international peace. For thousands of years men and nations have
gone forth to the battlefield to settle their differences. The cause of
this has been ignorance and degeneracy. Praise be to God! In this
radiant century minds have developed, perceptions have become
keener, eyes are illumined and ears attentive. Therefore, it will be
impossible for war to continue. Consider human ignorance and inconsistency.
A man who kills another man is punished by execution,
but a military genius who kills one hundred thousand of his
fellow creatures is immortalized as a hero. One man steals a small
sum of money and is imprisoned as a thief. Another pillages a
whole country and is honored as a patriot and conqueror. A single
falsehood brings reproach and censure, but the wiles of politicians
and diplomats excite the admiration and praise of a nation. Consider
the ignorance and inconsistency of mankind. How darkened
and savage are the instincts of humanity!
Bahá'u'lláh has announced that no matter how far the world of
humanity may advance in material civilization, it is nevertheless in
need of spiritual virtues and the bounties of God. The spirit of man
is not illumined and quickened through material sources. It is not
resuscitated by investigating phenomena of the world of matter.
The spirit of man is in need of the protection of the Holy Spirit. Just
as he advances by progressive stages from the mere physical world
of being into the intellectual realm, so must he develop upward in
moral attributes and spiritual graces. In the process of this attainment
he is ever in need of the bestowals of the Holy Spirit. Material
development may be likened to the glass of a lamp, whereas divine
virtues and spiritual susceptibilities are the light within the glass.
The lamp chimney is worthless without the light; likewise, man in
his material condition requires the radiance and vivification of the
divine graces and merciful attributes. Without the presence of the
Holy Spirit he is lifeless. Although physically and mentally alive,
he is spiritually dead. Christ announced, "That which is born of
the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,"
meaning that man must be born again. As the babe is born into the
light of this physical world, so must the physical and intellectual
man be born into the light of the world of Divinity. In the matrix of
the mother the unborn child was deprived and unconscious of the
world of material existence, but after its birth it beheld the wonders
and beauties of a new realm of life and being. In the world of the
matrix it was utterly ignorant and unable to conceive of these new
conditions, but after its transformation it discovers the radiant sun,
trees, flowers and an infinite range of blessings and bounties
awaiting it. In the human plane and kingdom man is a captive of
nature and ignorant of the divine world until born of the breaths of
the Holy Spirit out of physical conditions of limitation and deprivation.
Then he beholds the reality of the spiritual realm and Kingdom,
realizes the narrow restrictions of the mere human world of
existence and becomes conscious of the unlimited and infinite
glories of the world of God. Therefore, no matter how man may
advance upon the physical and intellectual plane, he is ever in need
of the boundless virtues of Divinity, the protection of the Holy
Spirit and the face of God.