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Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith, came into this world at the hour of dawn on this day in 1817, bringing the means for the establishment of the long-awaited unity of the entire human race.
When he began teaching his new Faith in the spring of 1863, Baha’u’llah promised that the religious, racial, and nationalistic hatreds dividing the world’s peoples would soon be overcome.
He promised, as well, that the war and fanaticism which separates human beings was now annulled.
Baha’u’llah challenged all people to transcend their prejudices and the things that keep them apart as one human family.
He brought a blueprint for a new international order, which opens the way for lasting world peace based on a deeply spiritual foundation.
He raised the great call for the unity of all peoples and cultures, all nations and religions, which the prophets of old had promised would one day appear:
We desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations …. That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease, and differences of race be annulled … Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come …. These strifes and this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family …. Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind …. –
Every one of those profound reasons, and many more, inspire the global Baha’i community to enthusiastically and joyously celebrate this holy day — the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the second of the Baha’i Twin Holy Days.
The Birth of Baha’u’llah
Every year Baha’is anticipate this day with great joy. In the same way that Buddhists annually celebrate Vesak, the birth of Gautama Buddha; in the same way that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus every year on Christmas; in the same way that every great Faith annually commemorates the birth of its founder, Baha’is view the advent of Baha’u’llah as a major turning point in the world’s evolution:
The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures.
To Baha’is, Baha’u’llah’s birth represents hope and joy and the advent of a spiritual springtime, when the whole world awakens to his hopeful, beautiful message of love, peace, and unity. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah, the most recent messenger and founder of a global Faith, has provided humanity with the latest channel of God’s grace.
How the Baha’i Faith Began
Born in 1817 in Tehran, the capital city of Persia, Baha’u’llah grew up as the son of a government minister and nobleman. Rather than pursuing his father’s career as expected, early in his adulthood Baha’u’llah began devoting his life to the service of the poor and needy.
He sought no position or prominence and accepted the new religion of the Bab — which subjected Baha’u’llah and his family to terrible privation, persecution, and imprisonment. Thirteen years after the government’s execution of the Bab in 1850, Baha’u’llah announced that he was the one heralded by the Bab, God’s messenger for humanity’s golden age of unity and peace, foretold in all of the world’s scriptures:
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 Oneness of All the Messengers of God
Among his teachings on unity and harmony, Baha’u’llah taught that no distinction of station exists between any of the prophets of God — in fact, Baha’is view all of the messengers and prophets of God as one. Baha’u’llah’s message is intended not for one people or culture, one language or nation, but is meant for all peoples.
The Baha’i teachings say that the coming of age of the human species, the time when the human race can recognize itself as one, discover its fullness and its common humanity, has arrived.
So this day — the birthday of Baha’u’llah — is holy because it marks the first day in human history, which can be celebrated as sacred by all peoples, no matter what their background. In it, Jewish people have discovered the birth of the Messiah, and Christians recognized the return of Christ, while Muslims celebrate the reappearance of the Hidden Imam or the birth of the promised Qa’im. Zoroastrians rejoice at the birth of their king, the Shah Bahram; Buddhists can find in Baha’u’llah the Maitreya Buddha, the supremely enlightened One; and Hindus can recognize the reincarnation of Krishna, born to reestablish righteousness on Earth.
Happy Birthday of Baha’u’llah!