April / May 1992
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There are many different calendars used throughout the world today, none corresponding completely with the other. Baha’is living in countries scattered over the globe make use of a new calendar that was inaugurated by the Bab in 1844, the forerunner of the Baha’i Faith. The calendar starts with New Year; it is astronomically fixed and begins with the March equinox (usually March 21), which many cultures celebrate as the first day of Spring. There are 19 months, each having nineteen days; community gatherings called Nineteen Day Feasts are held on the first day of each month. The months are named with titles such as: Splendour, Glory, Beauty, Mercy, Light, Will and Dominion.
There are nine Holy Days, on which work is suspended and commemorations or festivities take place. In addition, Baha’is celebrate a period of four days (five in Leap years), known as Ayyam-i-Ha or Intercalary Days, a period of hospitality and sharing, as preparation for the annual fast.
During the month of March each year, for a period of nineteen days, Baha’is are enjoined to observe a fast from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. The fast permits a periodic cleansing of the body which is a healthy practice providing it is not carried to excess. March is a time of year when the fast period, approximately twelve hours per day, is most equivalent all over the world. Baha’is who are sick or old, women who are pregnant or nursing, children and those who are travelling do not need to observe the fast.
Although fasting benefits the body, it is essentially intended as a spiritual discipline. Abstinence makes one appreciate the things he has all the more, and also helps one understand the condition of those who do not have basic needs. Fasting requires a change of habit and assists us to realize how much we are bound by our own ideas and customs; when we experience our capacity to break our traditional way of doing things, we learn that the changes needed in an ever-advancing society are possible. Fasting, which begins as sacrifice, becomes hope.
The Fast ends at sunset on March 20th, the beginning of a new Baha’i year. Baha’is around the world celebrate the breaking of the fast at the festival Naw Ruz or New Day.
It is especially appropriate, to Baha’is who hold that humanity is one single race, that this important Baha’i Holy Day has been designated by the United Nations as: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The Baha’i Calendar and the Feast
June / July 1992
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The Baha’i Calendar dates from the declaration of the Bab, the Herald of the Baha’i faith, on March 22/23, in 1844, which marks the beginning of the Baha’i era. The calendar is based on the solar year, beginning on the March Equinox, and is divided into nineteen months, each of nineteen days, with four Intercalary days to make up the year, except in leap years when a fifth Intercalary day is added. Each day begins at sunset at any location on the globe. The months have spiritual attributes with names such as: Splendour, Will, Glory, Light, Mercy, Knowledge, Questions, Speech, Honour, Loftiness ..
The calendar exemplifies the Baha’i belief to “tread the spiritual path with practical feet”. Incorporated within the Baha’i ear are special dates which provide for the four aspects of humanity: the physical and emotional, the spiritual and the social being. For instance, every nineteen days, at the beginning of each Baha’i month, the community gathers to celebrate the Nineteen Day Feast. All Baha’is participate in the same three components in their feasts: spiritual, administrative or consultative, and social nurturing.
Since there is no clergy in the Baha’i faith, the host or hostess (or sometimes a committee) for each feast, chooses the readings. Individuals, young and old, may add prayers relevant to their own spiritual, physical or social concerns that may be read, recited from memory, chanted or sung in a variety of languages. They are taken from writings by the Bab, Baha’u’llah, founder of the faith, and Abdu’l-Baha, his son and sole interpreter.
The community then discusses its business and consults on matters to be presented to its Assembly – an elected Baha’i administrative body. The secretary shares correspondence. Every person is encouraged to contribute to the discussion.
The final part of the Nineteen Day Feast, is a time for informal socializing. The host/ess personally serves the friends food and drink. There is no ritual, so each host/ess may be as creative as he/she wishes. Feasts throughout the world occur on the same days but may be as varied as the cultures in which they take place – customs, music, arts, language, food, location and hospitality. Unity in diversity is emphasized.
There are nine Holy days in each year when Baha’is refrain from work. Two days commemorate the passing of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, while the other seven days are times of celebration and joy, and they are:
* New Year’s day, the first day of each Baha’i year (the feast of Naw Ruz on March 21st), marking the end of the fasting period that takes place between dawn and sundown during the last month in the Baha’i year (nineteen days between March 2 – 21) and is preceded by intercalary days on which social gatherings and visits take place
* The Period of Ridvan which includes the most important dates on the Baha’i calendar: April 21, April 29 and May 2; remembering Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Mission in the Garden of Ridvan (Paradise), near Baghdad, in 1863. Similarly, the Bab’s Declaration in Shiraz, Persia, 1844, is celebrated May 23rd
* The Ascension of Baha’u’llah,1892, is commemorated May 29th
* The Martyrdom of the Bab in 1850 is honoured each July 9th
* The birth of the Bab in 1819 and of Baha’u’llah in 1817 are celebrated on October 20th and November 12th respectively
The gatherings for several of these celebrations are held at times during the day that reflect the time of the actual event they commemorate.
There are two other anniversaries in the calendar which are not treated as days when work should be suspended:
The Day of the Covenant, November 26,
The passing of Abdu’l-Baha, November 28th
In recent years many Baha’i communities around the globe also observe: World Religion Day, International Women’s Day, Race Unity Day, International Day of Peace, Universal Children’s Day, United Nation’s Day, and Human Rights Day; and this is because they wish to abolish prejudice and to establish oneness of humanity and world peace.
Unity in Diversity Week : Sharing a Timely Principle
October / November 1992
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Niels Hodsman is a national award winning writer-producer and freelance writer, who has done ground-breaking work in racial equity, family violence and sexual harassment projects. He holds a BA in Philosophy and a second one pending in Psychology.
Unity in Diversity Week is a Canada-wide observance, presently before Federal Parliament in a private member’s bill for official national recognition. The idea derived from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, who felt, it seems, that there is no more timely principle than the one embodied in this well known but less understood phrase.
Unity in Diversity Week falls on the second week of November each year or in 1992, November 8-14th. Going well beyond mere tolerance of others different from ourselves, surpassing the notions of multiculturalism and a pluralistic society as such, Unity in Diversity implies, beyond the passive acceptance of the status quo, an active and conscious embracing of the oneness and wholeness of humanity.
It would be no exaggeration to say that many of today’s controversial and problematic issues, both within Canada and without, are tied directly to what both sides recognize of this principle. In the 1860’s, Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i world community, was imprisoned for offering this principle of the oneness of humanity to the world. He wrote to all the great heads of state and religious leaders of His time, making clear the benefits of carrying out what He called the pivot of His Dispensation, at that time, the world-at-large could not understand and accept the relevance of this principle. Today, however, many leaders and people are becoming convinced that besides working together in some form of unity, while preserving human diversity, we have very few options.
Similarly in the 16th century, when the idea that the earth circled around the sun was introduced, society rejected it outright. However, as the idea was gradually absorbed, it dramatically changed our conception of the world we live in. The oneness of humanity is also proceeding through stages of acceptance, and when humanity rises to embrace and cherish this fundamental principle of unity in diversity, to enact it as an attitude, human relationships between people on this planet will change dramatically for the better.
When a value or way of seeing or doing things is incorporated into one’s way of life, it is said to be part of our culture. In short, culture is what we have and what we do about it. The idea that culture can take on universal values is certainly not foreign to most of us. Its adoption, far from suppressing present cultures, would add a quality of action that reflects and actualizes this universality. For example, my Danish heritage, my love of family reunions every 5 years in Denmark, of songs, traditions, of my family tree and ancestry … none of this contradicts my love for humanity, my identification with the planetary human situation. Conversely, having my own roots complements but does not contradict my loyalty to mankind. In short, there is no ‘them’ in my conception, less worth consideration than any ‘us’ in which I have roots. It is this conception of unity in diversity which will dramatically improve the human condition world wide.
Let us consider the reverse for one moment. Consider the conflicts, bloodshed, indifference to suffering, and general destruction caused by asserting privileges, rights to judge, or neglecting others for reasons of religion, race, nation, culture, sex, class, economic status, or situation. If we were to liken human differences to the various cells in a body, if for example, liver cells, muscle and hair cells attacked each other, or rejected other cells unlike themselves, we would have a sick organism. Now an auto-immune disease is defined as a condition wherein cells within a body attack other cells of its own. Thus, could we not say that the human species on this planet is suffering from an auto-immune disease, because component cell groups are ideationally, (instead of genetically) programmed to neglect or attack so called foreign cells? Could we possibly change this behaviour over time ?
There are also some who might feel the status quo is not so bad, or doesn’t have much need to improve. If you know someone like that paint these two pictures. Imagine 100 years in the future first of all. Our descendants learn that our century spent untold trillions on military arms, and squandered huge efforts for personal profit on trivial products, while allowing billions of people to go undernourished and millions to starve to death, without taking any significant steps to wipe out world hunger once and for all. They might find this to be barbaric – and when seeking a reason they will sooner or later have to accept the fact that somewhere between political leaders and the man in the street, a racial, religious, political or national ‘them’ just didn’t matter to a pre-occupied ‘us’.
The second picture reflects only the present cost of racial discrimination in Canada from a government ministry speech given in 1989 by Gerry Weiner. At that time he listed the toll this way, and this again applies only to racism.
“What does racism cost a society such as ours ? It costs us young people, who turn to the illusory opportunity of drugs and crime, because they cannot see or find other opportunities or expectations for their future.
We pay the cost in alcoholism; in lost productivity; in family violence; in the trivialization of human life, others and our own, born of the endless and ultimately overwhelming frustration of never belonging.
The cost is in increased welfare and social services; in increased health care and mental health care; on the resources that must be spent on law enforcement and incarceration, instead of on universities and libraries.
The cost is in decaying and neglected neighbourhoods; in downtown cores which lose their vitality and dynamism.
But most of all, the cost of racism is in people who no longer talk to each other, or even to begin to work on problems they share in common. It becomes the destruction of trust and respect for one another which in the final analysis, is what binds and holds together a community”
We might ask whether these costs have gone up or down in the last 3 years and several riots later. This aspect of unity in diversity refers to both sides not solely to the perpetrator or the victim.
It appears that with the growth of human interaction and technology, the arrival of a world which embraces all humanity in principle is inevitable over time. Our period was to do with bringing it about, with making it a common heritage of all cultures. It involves drawing on the good hearts of so many, the better thoughts and attitudes. It includes letting youth know about it, demonstrating it in action to those who haven’t thought about it. Unity in Diversity Week is about all these things we can do to educate and demonstrate its importance, and best of all, to have fun doing it !
What Unites and What Divides
February / March 1993
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Unity in Diversity week has come and gone: last November 9-15th. Yet most significant is that the commitment to action went past that week in the Wellington County area – people responded not to time-based programs but to vital issues, irrespective of time.
For example, on the first day of Unity in Diversity week 350,000 German citizens took to the streets to protest race hate in their country. Finding this to be a significant event, we arranged with the German Embassy and several High Schools in the Guelph-Elora-Fergus-Arthur areas to send telegrams to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, congratulating the German people for their confrontation with racism in their country, and giving our support, towards a racism-free world.
For my part, I met with a student group called The Rainbow Coalition, who were to formulate the telegram on behalf of Centre Wellington District Secondary School. Arriving for lunch I met with five young women, all alert and full of intelligent and concerned questions. At one point I remarked to my new friends that there were no young men among them, and I told them not to be concerned by that because most all the improved social changes in this century have been initiated by women.
These same young women committed themselves to a fund-raising campaign for Somalia – later in early December. This is the kind of response we received everywhere, and it was found that when time or work constraints held back a teacher’s ability to act, that a conscientious awareness was often committed elsewhere, in their school schedules. The same willingness was found among members of the business community.
My own efforts and thoughts were rewarded by a deeper insight into the crux of this principle of unity in diversity. It is this: the essential aspects and qualities are common to all. The differences among humanity are secondary and non-essential.
More specifically, we all hurt when mistreated, enjoy friends and kind treatment, starve when not fed; we all need shelter, a social milieu, have a need and a capacity to learn, have spiritual capacities; we all suffer when physical pain or illness visits us; we all benefit from justice and fairness, etc… On the other hand colour of skin, pigment, land boundaries, habitual cultural practices, social class and so forth are secondary and non-essential.
The problems of our world come into play when in the minds of some group a secondary aspect is either the focus or the cause of a conflict or issue. The outcome, as we know, can be devastating, and can be easily exemplified by surveying the world news on any given day. Sometimes the cause is purely prejudice itself, as with Canada’s traditional treatment of Aboriginals, or the South African legacy. In these cases, problems accumulate around the given separative idea. In other cases strong emotions use prejudices as a scapegoat; for example, two years ago in Toronto the ‘increased racial tensions’ were fed in part by low employment; an equity official commenting on the blame of foreigners for ‘taking our jobs’ stated: “it is easy to have racial equity when there’s work for all”. Many signs of ‘increasing racism’ are caused by this scapegoating today. Equally strong are lingering grievance over past and present exploitations.
Lastly, there is sheer selfish brutality and ignorance, which will use any excuse to attain its aims. We see this in Somalia – where the term “warlord” apparently justifies the actions causing death by starvation to unnumbered countrymen, women and children. To the fair minded, “warlord” is just another word for criminal, but the lingering romance of humanity’s most totally destructive practice, is supposed to make it justifiable. Such conditions recall the analogy by Baha’i world community’s exemplary figure Abdu’l Baha who likened ignorance for the mind to the desert’s effect on the body.
It is undeniable that specific causes for the progress and chaos in daily life stem directly from how each one of us views humanity. Hence the principle of unity in diversity makes a vital difference, and its realization or neglect has everything to do with what shows up on our TV screen each night.
Recently, as a result of reading and thinking about these criteria of present progress, it has become clear to me that the most essential commonalities of humankind are the moral-ethical virtues or spiritual-material codes of excellence in our conduct. In fact, the moral and ethical dimension is as much a natural part of the human environment as the sun and oxygen are natural to the vegetative environment of the planet.
I began to rethink older ideas of justice; that aside from cases where cultural significances are too obscure to understand – that justice is our understanding of what is fair in a collective social context. The context may change but the concept is a constancy. For example in North American Native societies, the notion of ownership and property makes not much sense. If I have a chainsaw, and my neighbour wants to use it he does, then maybe a second party might want to use it .., and I look for it a month later and find it in the hands of a third person. This form of sharing, in white society, is called theft, and has been often so judged by us. However, when contexts are clear, we can respect the element of fairness in both systems.
The appearance of justice in the human sphere can be squelched by ignorance, oppression, or blindness to true causes of a situation. As an example of progress, it is a significant sign that 50 years later a people who bought into the policies of Hitler can assemble over a third of a million people to confront fascism in their midst. It exemplifies that what takes place in the moral intellectual environment affects what follows in the collective world.
Finally, how do we reconcile that religion, supposedly the source of human excellence and virtue in the moral-social ethical milieu, is equally culpable in its history for oppression and injustice ? Research shows that all the religious founders exemplified justice and fairness and exhorted us to these and many other spiritual qualities and social virtues. If anyone should directly read their writings and not take hearsay for an answer, they would be astonished by the consummate beauty, spirituality, call to virtue and conduct common to all, and to the loftiness and divine connection of their claims. Their persons first hand don’t seem that different in topic and insight, yet each is claimed exclusive (not by themselves) but by their followers. Evidently selfish motives, limitations, and ignorance obscure this primal luminosity. The true university of human understanding is, I feel, not expressed in dogmatic strictures, but rather in the practice of the virtues and qualities these founders showed us.
We need only ask what would have happened if any of the religions of our past peoples had concentrated on practice of virtuesand refrained from attempting to dictate the meaning of things beyond the limited court of human judgement. In short, to have believed in a Divine Teacher, then to have pronounced on things divine, while neglecting to act virtuously toward all, is the principle area of failure to reach universality in religious history. Conversely, restraint from dogmatic pronouncement, and channelling one’s faith through the practice of virtuous actions taught by the founders, has been and will continue to be the greatest source of spiritual authenticity, social well-being and intellectual balance.
As a Baha’i commemorating the 100th anniversary of the passing of Baha’u’llah, whom I believe to be the latest of humanity’s God-sent teachers, and who has made it absolutely clear that today the covenant of God with humanity is to be expressed through an unity of all humanity, destined to emerge by the common will of all peoples … I can only pray that faith in our modern world will be expressed of genuine magnanimity of spirit. For, how in a world where the physical sciences exhibit a unity beyond human tampering, can we believe that spiritual reality, more primary than the physical, can condone divisions and conflict? I am convinced that a great change in our conceptions of religion will be part of the process of the maturing of humanity.
I believe that we have been given everything we need, from divine guidance to physical resources, and that our creator then leaves the rest up to us. It is what we believe and understand, then what we do, that determine our progress. We have much reason to expect visible changes for the better, even in our own lifetime.
Baha’is Recognize Importance of Religious Accord
Volume 3 #4 1994
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World Religion Day falls annually on the third Sunday of January. In Guelph area, this year’s host, the Baha’i Community, invited special guests Mayor John Counsell and University of Guelph Director, Dr. John Black, as well as representatives from academic and religious circles, and the public-at-large. In all, about one hundred people attended.
The event began with a presentation covering three themes: it showed the underlying oneness of humanity on our ever-shrinking planet; next, quotations from the Founders of the world’s religions were movingly narrated by children. This section illustrated quite clearly the common spiritual and moral themes of the world’s great spiritual Teachers. Finally, one young narrator concluded his presentation with a closing paragraph around the statement that world peace is not only possible but inevitable.
The common ground among the world’s religions is still generally not recognized, because most of us have inquired no further than the usual stereotypical statements made about other religions from our own background. When the writings of the Founders are read consecutively, the similarity is surprisingly obvious. That night it caused Mayor John Counsell to remark in his closing comments, “I never knew that the religions of the world were so close”.
To exemplify this common ground the following are excerpts from more lengthy quotations of the world’s scriptures, quoted that evening:
From the Hindu writings:
“Do not to others what you would not wish done to yourself; and wish for others too, what ye long for and desire for yourself. This is the whole of the Sharma, heed it well”
From the Jewish teachings:
“What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour .. Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together”
From the Buddhist teachings:
“In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends … By generosity, courtesy, and benevolence … By treating them as he treats himself, and by being as good as his word”
From the Christian teachings:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commands hang all the law of the prophets”
From the Islamic teachings:
“Whatever you abhor for yourself, abhor it also for others .. and whatever you desire for yourself, desire also for others .. and whose maketh efforts forUs, in Our ways will We guide them: For God is assuredly with those who do righteous deeds”
From the Baha’i teachings:
“Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not .. Oh my friend, listen with heart and soul to the songs of the Spirit, and treasure them as thine own eyes”
And from North American Native teachings:
“Grandfather, Great Spirit. All over the world the faces of living ones are alike. With tenderness they have come out of the ground. Look upon Your children that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the Day of Quiet … So, live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart”
These quotes are mostly concerned with how we treat each other. But if we were to compare statements about our relation to God, or about the nature of these Wise Ones, themselves, we would find more similarity.
During the reception, Joseph Woods, a local Baha’i working towards a Masters in religious studies, said “The underlying unity of the world’s religions is still not known by most people. We have a tradition of opposing each other and finding difference, but first hand investigation shows this is not the whole truth”
This common ethical and spiritual foundation was, officially recognized last summer by theologians and religious leaders attending the World Parliament of Religions, convened one hundred years after its incepetion in 1893. They drafted a statement pointing out the common ethical and spiritual foundations upon which the world’s religions rest. In my personal view, I find the utter exclusivity of Divine primacy, ascribed by the followers of each world religion to its own Founder, difficult to believe. I seriously doubt that They would agree with Their own followers’ claims of secondary or false status for other Great Teachers.
In any case, increased accord among the world’s various believers means a better respect and mutuality, much needed as we advance into the years ahead. It will make fighting for religious motives less easy to accept on the part of bystanders, and harder to justify on the part of perpetrators. Of more enduring importance, it strengthens the ties between all peoples.
If we look at the cause of conflicts large or small, we will find a self-centered viewpoint or prejudice supporting that stand, be it political, national, racial, ethnic, economic, religious and so forth. It seems no area of human awareness is exempt from this distortion. Conversely, when we look at the origin of all advances towards equity, peace and stability made in this century, we find them based on the belief in a justice and equity founded on our common humanity.
Doesn’t that tell us something as we move into the 21st century? It seems to me that separative and self-centered collective ideas are the true enemies of humanity, long before we reach the battlefield or draw blood in the streets. On the other hand, ideas which promote human unity at this crucial time in our history are the creative foundation of novel and stable solutions to collective life. Far from being a vague idea, the oneness of humanity is the working notion behind actual progress.
There is a second aspect to working with differences and with commonality. This as the habit of force and violence over the habit of dialogue and consultative discussion. Though I know that self-centered prejudice feeds abuse and violence, I feel that violence is a separate issue, at the very least an immature, and otherwise a perverse habit which we must outgrow.
This point is well illustrated by the findings of Freedom House, a New-York based research company. They tell us that in 1991, for the first time in this century, half the world’s governments were democratic, with 31 more nations in the process of transformation to democracy. Their point was not that democracy itself is the ideal form of government or that it is perfect. Rather, they point out that no two democratic countries have ever gone to war with each other in this century. The reason, they say, is that they prefer to talk things through, to listen to one another.
This seems important. It dramatically demonstrates that speaking and listening to each other is the key to working through the many transitions which a more unified planetary civilization will have to face. Economic restructuring, environmental balance and social evolution are crying out for more co-operation and action on a global scale. Obviously, if we combine a conviction of human commonality, with a commitment to co-operative consultation, the process will accelerate. This is to say that the world needs a new spiritual awakening, for to see humanity as one people and eschew violence is basically to adopt an expansive open or spiritual attitude.
In this light, it is tragic that the source of human moral and spiritual motivation, the earth’s religious heritage, lags behind the world it so desperately need to inspire. Hence, a closer tie among religions is heartening. As a Baha’i, I believe it is another step on the road to a golden age, when the essential oneness of existence. reflecting the oneness of God, enshrined within moral precepts for the individual, finds expression in collective institutions which will banish war, suffering and conflicts, and foster a unified stability that will release the many potentials which human co-operation is able to generate. World Religion Day was made to help inspire a more unified spirit toward this, our brightest future together
Inspired by the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh
millions of people worldwide will celebrate the 200th anniversary
of His birth on the 21st and 22nd of October 2017
Bah’u’llah was born in Tehran 1817.Two centuries later,the day of His birth is celebrated around the world alongside the birth of the forerunner of His Revelation, the Báb, born in 1819 on the day before the birth of Baha’u’llah. These twin twin holy birthdays are celebrated by Baháis and their friends as one annual festival where the closely interwoven lives and missions of these two divine lights are remembered together. This October launches a 2-year period of enriched Baha’i activities, culminating with the 200th anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, the forerunner and herald of Baha’u’llah, in October of 2019. Baháis around the world are expressing spirituality through thousands of service projects, the arts, and coming together with friends and neighbours.
This is the essence of Baha’u’llah’s teachings:
“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men”– Baha’u’llah
Bahá’ís believe that all humanity is one family; that men and women are equal; all prejudices must be extinguished; individuals must investigate truth independently; science and religion are in harmony; economic problems are linked to spiritual problems, the family and its unity are crucial; there is one God and all major religions are sent from God and World peace is vital!
The mightiest proof of the greatness of Bahá’u’lláh and His divine mission lies in His hundreds of Writings which streamed from His Pen like a torrential rain during a period of no less than forty years of uninterrupted revelation.
The Universal House Justice to the Baháis, explains the significance of this day for the Baháis around the world in the following statement:
“In every era of history, that unknowable Reality has opened the gates of grace to the world by sending an Emissary charged with providing the moral and spiritual stimulus that human beings need to cooperate and advance. Many of the names of these great Lights to humankind are lost. But some shine out from the annals of the past as having revolutionized thought, unlocked stores of knowledge, and inspired the rise of civilizations, and Their names continue to be honoured and praised. Each of these spiritual and social visionaries, stainless mirrors of virtue, set out teachings and truths that answered the urgent needs of the age. As the world now faces its most pressing challenges yet, we acclaim Bahá’u’lláh, born two hundred years ago, as such a Figure—indeed, as the One Whose teachings will usher in that long-promised time when all humanity will live side by side in peace and unity. From His early youth, Bahá’u’lláh was regarded by those who knew Him as bearing the imprint of destiny. Blessed with saintly character and uncommon wisdom, He seemed to be touched by heaven’s kindly light. Yet He was made to endure forty years of suffering, including successive exiles and incarcerations at the decree of two despotic monarchs, campaigns to vilify His name and condemn His followers, violence upon His Person, shameful attempts on His life—all of which, out of a boundless love for humanity, He bore willingly, with radiance and forbearance, and with compassion for His tormentors. Even the expropriation of all His worldly possessions left Him unperturbed. An observer might wonder why One Whose love for others was so complete should have been made the target of such hostility, given that He had otherwise been the object of universal praise and admiration, famed for His benevolence and high-mindedness, and had disavowed any claim to political power. To anyone who is familiar with the pattern of history, the reason for His ordeals is, of course, unmistakable. The appearance of a prophetic Figure in the world has invariably given rise to ferocious opposition from wielders of power. But the light of truth will not be put out. And so, in the lives of these transcendent Beings one finds sacrifice, heroism and, come what may, deeds that exemplify Their words. The same is evident in each phase of the life of Bahá’u’lláh. In spite of every hardship, He was never silenced, and His words retained their compelling potency — words spoken with the voice of insight, diagnosing the world’s ills and prescribing the remedy”
Baháis around the world are learning how to give effect to His teachings. The youth are becoming ever more conscious of their spiritual identity and are directing their energies towards the advancement of their societies. From villages, neighbourhoods, towns and cities communities, and individuals are dedicated to working together. On this two hundredth anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s appearance, Baháis have a simple invitation: seize this opportunity to find out who He was and what He represents.
The Baháis in The Waterloo Region are celebrating this event with many different large and small gatherings in their homes and communities, from Oct. 20 to 22 this month.
For more information about this sacred celebration and the Bahái faith, please visit the following sites:
There have been many tributes for this event, from many world leaders for this occasion
This is a 30 minute presentation of Bahá’u’llah’s life:
For local events email: