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Today marks the 197th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith. Baha’is believe that the advent of Baha’u’llah marks the return of the prophets of old, the renewal of religion and the revelation of a new, divine cycle destined to spread peace and unity around the globe.
The Baha’is view Baha’u’llah as the promised Lord of Hosts of the Jews; the reincarnation of Krishna and the Tenth Avatar to the Hindus; the fifth Buddha, named Maitreye, the Buddha of universal fellowship to the Buddhists; the return of Christ “in the glory of the Father” to the Christians; the return of the Imam Husayn to the Shi’a Muslims; the descent of the “Spirit of God” to the Sunnis.
Baha’is see the appearance of Baha’u’llah as the return of the spiritual springtime, revivifying the souls and establishing a new Faith, a new reality and a new spiritual oneness among all humanity.
This passage from the Baha’i writings announces the revelation of Baha’u’llah, referred to here as “the Blessed Beauty:”
O peoples of the world! The Sun of Truth hath risen to illumine the whole earth, and to spiritualize the community of man. Laudable are the results and the fruits thereof, abundant the holy evidences deriving from this grace. This is mercy unalloyed and purest bounty; it is light for the world and all its peoples; it is harmony and fellowship, and love and solidarity; indeed it is compassion and unity, and the end of foreignness; it is the being at one, in complete dignity and freedom, with all on earth.
The Blessed Beauty saith: ‘Ye are all the fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch.’ Thus hath He likened this world of being to a single tree, and all its peoples to the leaves thereof, and the blossoms and fruits. It is needful for the bough to blossom, and leaf and fruit to flourish, and upon the interconnection of all parts of the world-tree, dependeth the flourishing of leaf and blossom, and the sweetness of the fruit.
For this reason must all human beings powerfully sustain one another and seek for everlasting life; and for this reason must the lovers of God in this contingent world become the mercies and the blessings sent forth by that clement King of the seen and unseen realms. Let them purify their sight and behold all humankind as leaves and blossoms and fruits of the tree of being. Let them at all times concern themselves with doing a kindly thing for one of their fellows, offering to someone love, consideration, thoughtful help. Let them see no one as their enemy, or as wishing them ill, but think of all humankind as their friends; regarding the alien as an intimate, the stranger as a companion, staying free of prejudice, drawing no lines.
In this day, the one favoured at the Threshold of the Lord is he who handeth round the cup of faithfulness; who bestoweth, even upon his enemies, the jewel of bounty, and lendeth, even to his fallen oppressor, a helping hand; it is he who will, even to the fiercest of his foes, be a loving friend.…
The Faith of the Blessed Beauty is summoning mankind to safety and love, to amity and peace; it hath raised up its tabernacle on the heights of the earth, and directeth its call to all nations. Wherefore, O ye who are God’s lovers, know ye the value of this precious Faith, obey its teachings, walk in this road that is drawn straight, and show ye this way to the people. Lift up your voices and sing out the song of the Kingdom. Spread far and wide the precepts and counsels of the loving Lord, so that this world will change into another world, and this darksome earth will be flooded with light, and the dead body of mankind will arise and live; so that every soul will ask for immortality, through the holy breaths of God. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 1.