Bahai Faith the Quest for Order and Contentment

Bahá’u’lláh presented a blueprint that calls for the establishment of new socio-economic Order, the reconstruction and demilitarization of the whole world and complete abolition of war.

Bahai Faith the Quest for Order and Contentment
Bahai Faith the Quest for Order and Contentment

A.K. Merchant* :

Often times in human history some of the most momentous happenings go unnoticed by the generality of the human race. And so it was, when in April 1863, Bahá’u’lláh, founder of the Bahá’í Faith, announced that humanity was entering a new era in its collective evolution. He declared: “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens,” and “all things had been immersed in a sea of purification. All who responded would become the quickeners of humankind and the prophecies and predictions made by past Spiritual Luminaries known variously as Avatars, Prophets, the Tathagatas, the Tirthankaras, divine Educators, including some sages, saints and mystic poets would be fulfilled. Recognizing that the world’s “prevailing order” was “lamentably defective,” Bahá’u’lláh, said that the solution to the world’s problems would be found only in an ethical approach as expressed in the spiritual principles of the world’s religions, the most important of which would be recognition of the “oneness of humankind”. Dharma and Religion mean the same thing. It is an outpouring of spiritual guidance from one Divine Source. Bahá’u’lláh described religion as “the greatest of all means for the establishment of order in the world and for the peaceful contentment of all that dwell therein. He further wrote: “The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the hands of the ignorant and made them bold and arrogant…”   

In January 1853 Bahá’u’lláh and his family were exiled from Tehran, Iran to the city of Baghdad. It was the middle of winter and they suffered all through the long cold journey through snowy mountains since the authorities did not provide adequately to face the harsh weather conditions. Thus began Bahá’u’lláh’s 39-year long period of imprisonment, exile and brutal incarceration.  After being kept in Baghdad for 11 years he was summoned by the Sultan of Turkey to Constantinople, now Istanbul.  He was granted a short stay in a garden in the outskirts of Baghdad to prepare for the travel with his family. Therefore, chose this time to declare his mission, which later became known the Festival of Ridván for the entire Bahá’í world.   

Numbering over one million in India and nearly seven million worldwide, the Bahá’í community will be celebrating the 160th Anniversary of the Festival of Ridván (Paradise) that coincides with the 13th International Bahá’í Convention that is being held in Haifa, Israel, the Bahá’í World Centre. Bahá’u’lláh presented a blueprint that calls for the establishment of new socio-economic Order, the reconstruction and demilitarization of the whole world and complete abolition of war. As we contemplate upon the staggering weight of the clarion of Bahá’u’lláh in contrast to the confusion and chaos that has engulfed present-day humanity, the reader is urged to reflect upon these words: “…this is the Day in which humankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice of the Promised One…” Here lies the significance of the religious importance of the Ridván Festival, spanning 12 days of which the 1st, 9th, and 12th are observed as Holy Days. 

Although outwardly cataclysms or catastrophes are difficult to understand and hard to endure, yet there is hidden wisdom which becomes evident later on. We all speak of the web of life; all visible events in life are interconnected by invisible spiritual forces. Like the links of a chain the infinite phenomena of are interdependent. When certain links become rusty or weakened, they are broken by the unseen forces, to be replaced by newer and better ones. Today the break-down of institutions of global community, collapse of an obsolete and defective economic and political Order are a direct manifestation of this phenomena.   

Civilization, as we know it, is disintegrating and we are, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, just 90 seconds from Doomsday. All of us are responsible and must get our act together if we are to avert complete self-annihilation. In terms of mitigation and relief to the suffering masses, we in India can take some credit for doing much better than many countries around the world especially with our motto of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam-One Planet, One Family, One Future.  Let’s hope the writing on the wall becomes obvious to the rest of the world. There is an urgent need for greater cooperation, better understanding of the reciprocal relationships among the three protagonists that compose our society namely, the individuals, the institutions and the diverse communities.    

The appearance of every divine Educator, as recorded in the Sacred Texts of the world’s great faiths, is a pivotal event that propels the advancement of civilization. Living in a world disoriented and adrift, followers of Bahá’u’lláh, mindful of the powerful forces that are transforming present-day global community. They are pressing onward with their services, in tandem with all people of goodwill, focused on building positive capacities, instilling hope and spiritually empowering the masses. What else will rescue the world but the efforts of countless souls who each make the welfare of humanity their principal, their dominating concern? 


*The author is General Secretary, Temple of Understanding India Foundation; Joint Secretary, Shanti Sahyog-Centre for Nonviolence; Secretary-General, Global Warming Reduction Centre, and an active member of Bahá’í Community of India. Views expressed are personal.