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Baha’is consider the founder and prophet of their Faith, Baha’u’llah, as the architect of the new world order promised in all of the divine scriptures of the past.
In different Faiths, that order has various names — “the New Era,” “the Holy City,” “The Golden Age,” the “New World Order” — but they all promise a harmonious, peaceful future for a united humanity.
In that new world order, the lion will symbolically lie down with the lamb, the various races and religions will be reconciled, and human beings will belong to one global community.
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Baha’u’llah, in conjunction with that promise of a new world order, also prophesied the emergence of “a new race of men.” As the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, Shoghi Effendi, wrote in “The Advent of Divine Justice,” this revitalizing goal represents the supreme and distinguishing function of the Baha’i revelation: “… none other than the calling into being of a new race of men.”
What does that mean?
As Abdu’l-Baha explained in a speech he gave in Paris, it means working for a future state of society where:
… the darkness of hatred and difference will be entirely abolished, and the light of love and unity shall shine; this world shall become a new world; things material shall become the mirror of the divine; human hearts shall meet and embrace each other; the whole world become as a man’s native country and the different races be counted as one race.
Do we sit and pray for the arrival of this “new race of men,” or could we embody these attributes and become that new people ourselves? In “The Promised Day is Come,” Shoghi Effendi wrote:
A race of men … incomparable in character, shall be raised up which, with the feet of detachment … and will cast the sleeve of holiness over all that hath been created from water and clay.
Baha’u’llah’s writings include many passages delineating the characteristics of that new race of people. Certainly, it makes sense that a new world order demands a new kind of spiritual being compatible with the high standards and noble pursuits of unity, harmony, and peace among all nations.
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So let’s consider the following quotations from Baha’u’llah’s short mystical book “The Hidden Words” to pinpoint some of the character traits of this new race, in order to contextualize them in our modern-day society — and perhaps to begin personifying their attributes in our own individual lives:
O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.
O Son of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.
O Son of Being! How couldst thou forget thine own faults and busy thyself with the faults of others? Whoso doeth this is accursed of Me.
O Son of Being! Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it.
O Children Of Men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.
O Son of Being! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning; for death, unheralded, shall come upon thee and thou shalt be called to give account for thy deeds.
Given all this, we can each strive to perfect our characters, purify our hearts, spiritualize our lives, and bring ourselves to account each day, all in the hopes of becoming part of that new race of humanity.
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