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We talk a lot about unity – which means “the state of being united or joined as a whole” – but seldom achieve it. Humanity hasn’t reached that state, but the Baha’i teachings promise that one day we will.
In fact, achieving the eventual unity and oneness of humanity represents the central Baha’i principle and its ultimate goal. Abdu’l-Baha – the son and successor of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith – said in a talk he gave in New York in 1912 that:
The purpose of the creation of man is the attainment of the supreme virtues of humanity through descent of the heavenly bestowals. The purpose of man’s creation is, therefore, unity and harmony, not discord and separateness. It is so, likewise, in the spiritual world. That world is the Kingdom of complete attraction and affinity. It is the Kingdom of the One Divine Spirit, the Kingdom of God.
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So, the purpose of God in creating humanity is to develop and express the Godly perfections latent in our inner beings – love, kindness, compassion, service to others, and the development of all the higher human attributes.
The Baha’i teachings say that this attainment of spiritual virtues happens because of the descent of Divine bestowals flowing through the holy messengers of God to humanity. By orienting the mirror of our hearts and minds to God’s messengers – including Abraham, Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad and most recently Baha’u’llah – we can attempt to reflect the spiritual brilliance of these divine luminaries.
This process transforms us from a merely physical and animal existence to a spiritual one. Harmony, love and unity, seeing and preserving the oneness and wholeness of the human race, is the natural fruit of this spiritual transformation, the inevitable outcome of obedience to the Divine summons.
In fact, unity represents the Creator’s ultimate purpose for humanity – relationships animated by divine love and harmony, and the expression of the inherent oneness and wholeness of all humanity.
Like the human body, with its diversity of specialized cells and organs, all working together in perfect balance and cooperation to fulfill the common purpose of life, the human race is composed of individuals who collectively make up the body of humanity. If we live our lives contrary to the perfect design of God, if we have discord and conflict and the disease of disunity, we act like cancer cells in a human body. Just as cancer grows aggressively and completely out of harmony with the body, this unregulated and destructive behavior results in debilitating and often fatal illness.
Human behaviors like conflict, greed, destruction of our environment, war, prejudice, and injustice all destroy the body of humanity. These breaches of unity violate the law of God. In the same talk Abdu’l-Baha gave in New York, he said: “Whenever discord prevails instead of unity, wherever hatred and antagonism take the place of love and spiritual fellowship, Antichrist reigns instead of Christ.”
To counter these tendencies and set humanity’s course for the foreseeable future, Baha’u’llah wrote:
The Tabernacle of Unity has been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers .… Of one tree are all ye the fruit and of one bough the leaves.… The world is but one country and mankind its citizens .… Let not a man glory in that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.
Love ye all religions and races with a love that is true and sincere, and show that love through deeds and not through the tongue.
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This unity of humanity forms the modern imperative, conducive to the well-being and prosperity of ourselves, our families, our communities and the human race as a whole. Baha’u’llah’s call to unity states that:
The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. This unity can never be achieved so long as the counsels which the Pen of the Most High hath revealed are suffered to pass unheeded.
The summons of God in this day, through His messenger, Baha’u’llah, is really a life line being tossed to us by the Creator. An expression of perfect grace and bounty, it offers everyone an opportunity to be illumined with the most beautiful light of His holiness, attain the second birth stressed by Christ, and attain the purpose of our creation – entrance into the kingdom of God. In so doing, we all participate in the unfolding creative divine plan, radiating our light of love and fulfilling in our lives the sacred trust God has placed within us all.
This new Baha’i message changes the world in a meaningful and sustainable way. By aligning our lives with this sacred and divine plan for humanity, this renewal of the “changeless Faith of God,” we commit to an achievable vision of unity – and join with a spiritual global movement to build that unity. If we want to see justice, unity, peace and love, we must first manifest these qualities in our own lives. We can each attain these individual spiritual fruits through the divine bestowal, and receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.
So let us turn to this grace, this revelation of bounty and hope, of life and peace; let us respond to the sacred summons of God, and together establish peace and the oneness of humanity.
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