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Why do Baha’is make merry tonight and tomorrow? When Baha’u’llah was born at the hour of dawn on this day in 1817, Baha’is believe, the means for the establishment of the long-awaited unity of the entire human race came into being. Baha’u’llah wrote:
The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System – the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.
Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths.
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When Baha’u’llah began teaching the new spiritual truths of the Baha’i Faith in the spring of 1863, he promised that the religious, racial, class-based, and nationalistic hatreds dividing the peoples of the world would ultimately be overcome. He proclaimed that the fanaticism which separates human beings was now annulled. He asked humanity to transcend their prejudices and forget the things that kept them apart. He opened the way for lasting world peace based on a new spiritual foundation of global democracy. He raised the great call for the unity of all peoples and cultures, all nations and religions, promoting the message of love and unity which all the prophets of old had promised would one day appear.
For those profound reasons, and many more, the global Baha’i community enthusiastically and joyously celebrates this day, the birth of Baha’u’llah.
In the same way that Buddhists celebrate the birth of Prince Siddhartha every year; 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 their prophet 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.
Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah’s birth represents hope, and joy, and the coming of a spiritual springtime, when the whole world awakens to the beautiful, powerful message he brought. Baha’u’llah, the most recent messenger and founder of a global Faith, provides the latest channel of God’s grace to humanity. He brings the unity of all peoples, the fulfillment of the age-old promise of the Kingdom of God come to Earth.
Who Was Baha’u’llah?
Born in Tehran, the capital city of Persia, Baha’u’llah grew up as the son of a government minister and nobleman, but rather than pursuing his father’s career, Baha’u’llah turned to a life of service to the poor and needy. He sought no position or prominence, and accepted the 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 long-awaited messenger who would usher in humanity’s golden age of unity and peace, foretold in all the world’s scriptures.
For proclaiming his message of peace, racial harmony, the equality of the sexes, and world unity, Baha’u’llah was repeatedly exiled, imprisoned, and tortured. Despite that vicious persecution, his teachings spread around the world and ignited a major global movement.
Baha’u’llah taught the essential unity of all religions – that no distinction of station exists between any of the prophets of God. No Baha’i claims that the stations of the Bab or Baha’u’llah are superior to the stations of any of God’s messengers. In fact, Baha’is view all of the messengers and prophets of God as one.
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Baha’is believe, as well, that the coming of age of the human species, the time when the human race might recognize itself as one, has arrived. One Baha’i book about the birthday of these two divine messengers, called Twin Holy Days, says:
… the Twin Holy Days – that are accounted as one in God’s eyes – mark the first world holy day to be vouchsafed to us by a loving God. Here is the first day in human history which can be celebrated as sacred by all peoples, no matter what their background. Equally here, the Jew may discover the birth of the Messiah and the Christian the Return of Christ. The Muslim might celebrate the reappearance of the Hidden Imam or the birth of the promised Qa’im. The Zoroastrians can rejoice at the birth of their king, the Shah Bahram; the Buddhist can find the Maitreya Buddha, the supremely enlightened One; the Hindu recognize the reincarnation of Krishna, born to reestablish righteousness on earth.
As such, this day might be seen as the first event in human history which can be claimed as their own by people of all traditions and all cultures.
Happy Birthday of Baha’u’llah!