Forum: “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizen”

The theme, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizen” will be the focus of a forum planned for 29 July at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Around 150 years ago, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith proclaimed: “It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.[1]  This reflects the fundamental conviction in the Bahá’í Faith that we all belong to one human family, while denouncing unbridled nationalism, as distinguished from a sane and legitimate patriotism, and emphasising a wider loyalty to love humanity as a whole.  According to  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  “This earth  is one  household and the native land of all humanity; therefore, the human race should ignore distinctions and boundaries which are artificial and conducive to disagreement and hostility.[2]

Development of science and technology since the time of Bahá’u’lláh has revolutionised communication and transportation across the globe, and has removed the physical barriers towards the realisation of such ideal. The world has become a global village and the society has reached a new stage of maturity. The forces of change in the world today reflect part of an organic process of social evolution that will ultimately lead to the unification of the human race into a single social order whose boundaries are those of the planet.  There are, however, many personal, social, cultural and political impediments that should be addressed before world citizenship becomes a reality.

The first step in this process is accepting the oneness of humanity.  This is a characteristic different from uniformity, resembling closely to the structure and functioning of the human body.  The millions diverse cells forming the body should function in perfect harmony and cooperation to ensure the wellbeing and health of the body. The same is true for the diverse people living on the planet and the state of the world. In fact, such diversity is a source of strength as the diversity of colours and fragrances of flowers in a garden add to its richness and beauty.

Acceptance of the oneness of humanity demands total elimination of all types of prejudice, whether racial, religious, or gender from people’s heart and minds as well as the social system. This will be inevitably followed by the emergence of a world federal system and its universally agreed and enforceable laws.

The profound statement of Bahá’u’lláh:  “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizen” will be discussed in forum planned for 29 July, 7.30 pm at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning. Everyone is welcome to attend.

 

[1]           Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh.

[2]           ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Forum: Bahá’u’lláh’s Teaching on the Equality of Men and Women

Copyright © Bahá’í International Community

The theme, “Bahá’u’lláh’s Teaching on the Equality of Men and Women” will be the focus of a forum planned for 24 June at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Men have traditionally assumed a superior station and role in society, and enforced this assumption by force, religious doctrines and legislation.  Hence, women have become the victims of inequality and injustice, and have suffered tremendously.  Unfortunately, this attitude has deeply influenced society and created subconscious feelings of superiority in men and inferiority in women.

For the first time in religious history, a Manifestation of God, Bahá’u’lláh, has emphatically proclaimed equality between the sexes.  He says “In this Day the Hand of divine grace hath removed all distinctions.  The servants of God and His handmaidens are regarded on the same plane.[1]

The equality of men and women and their complimentary roles in the family and society have been addressed in many Bahá’í Writings.  ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly indicates, “The happiness of mankind will be realized when women and men co-ordinate and advance equally, for each is the complement and helpmate of the other.”[2]  He also refers to men and women as the two wings of a bird:  “The world of humanity has two wings one is women and the other men.  Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly.  Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible.  Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.[3]

The Bahá’í teachings have placed great challenges on both men and women to establish equality of the sexes.  Women are expected to “… attain greater perfection, to be man’s equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality and capacity and attainment.”[4]

The equality of men and women as taught by Bahá’u’lláh nearly 150 years ago will be discussed in a forum planned for 24 June at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

  1. Bahá’u’lláh:  cited in The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II (Women), No. 2094, p. 358.
  2. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 182.
  3. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  Selection From the Writings, p. 301.
  4. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  Paris Talks, p. 162.

 

Forum: “Bahá’u’lláh’s Teaching on the Unity of Religion”

The theme,  “Bahá’u’lláh’s Teaching on the Unity of Religion” will be the focus of a forum planned for 27 May at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Religious truth has been manifested relative to time and location.  Whenever a society has become spiritually weak and has been inflicted by complex social problems, God has appointed a divine educator from among the people.  This educator breathes a new spiritual life into the society and gives guidance on how to deal with the social problems. That explains the large number of religions that exist in the world today and differences observed among them.

However, despite of such diversity, the divine educators or the Manifestations of God and the religions they reveal are one.  The Manifestations of God are like perfect mirrors that reflect the attributes of one God.  Such oneness does not, however, imply uniformity, as there are differences among the Manifestations of God and their revelations.

The Manifestations of God have three stations, namely that of the physical, the human and the divine.  “The physical station is phenomenal; it is composed of elements, and necessarily everything that is composed is subject to decomposition”.[1]  The second station is the rational soul or the human station.  “This also is phenomenal, and the Holy Manifestations share it with all mankind.[2]  In this station a Manifestation of God is an individual with His own unique combination of the genetic variations that characterise all other human individuals.  “The third station is that of the divine appearance and heavenly splendour: it is the Word of God, the Eternal Bounty, the Holy Spirit.  It has neither beginning nor end, for these things are related to the world of contingencies and not to the divine world.[3] This is the station common among all the Manifestations of God.

Generally the light of a religion is dimmed by man-made superstitions and ideas as it approaches its winter of despondency.  Hence, the religion assumes an appearance and a form radically different from its reality when it was originally revealed by the Manifestation of God.

The unity of religion as taught by Bahá’u’lláh nearly 150 years ago will be discussed in a forum planned for 27 May at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

  1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 151.
  2. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 151.
  3. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 152.

Sacred Moments: Honouring the 7 Imprisoned Innocent Baha’i Leaders in Iran

The seven imprisoned innocent Bahá’í leaders in Iran

Wollongong Bahá’í community will be holding a devotional meeting on Sunday 7th May, 11 am at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning to honour the seven imprisoned innocent Bahá’í leaders in Iran.

Nine years ago, seven innocent men and women were rounded up and thrown into Iran’s infamous Evin prison. After more than a year of illegal detention, they were put on trial, accused of espionage, “propaganda against the regime” and other alleged crimes that, in fact, related solely to their religious belief and practice.
The seven Baha’is – whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – were sadly convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In November, that term of imprisonment was reduced to 10 years, due to the very delayed application of a new national penal code adopted in 2013, which essentially states that sentences should be served concurrently instead of consecutively.

Under the terms of the new penal code, the seven are also now eligible for conditional release. Indeed, as with their reduction in sentence, this should have happened promptly. The seven must therefore, as a matter of justice and consistency with Iran’s own national laws, be released immediately.

On the 9th anniversary of their incarceration, the Bahá’í  International Community is launching a campaign on the theme: “Not Another Year“. It will call for their immediate release, as well as reminding everyone that their sentences will have been fully served by May 2018 and they should not be held for even a day longer than the ten years of their sentence.

Wollongong Bahá’í community will be holding a devotional meeting on Sunday 7th May, 11 am at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning to honour the seven imprisoned innocent Bahá’í leaders in Iran.

For more information please visit https://facebook.com/SituationBahaisIran

Community Delighted with Tribute Received from President of India

President of Inida, his excellency Pranab Mukherjee

Wollongong Bahá’í community was thrilled to learn of the moving tribute from the President of India, his excellency Pranab Mukherjee, honouring the Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. While conveying his greetings to the Bahá’í community of India in his message, President Mukherjee draws attention to the significance and relevance of the well known statement of Bahá’u’lláh, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” He calls on all Indians to reflect on the life, and vision of Bahá’u’lláh on the unity of mankind as well as “the monumental body of His Writings about the moral spiritual transformation of the individual and society.”

2017 marks the two hundred year anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh and Wollongong Bahá’í community in par with other Bahá’í communities around the world is preparing to commemorate this momentous occasion.

President Mukherjee’s message can be accessed here.

Forum on Bahá’u’lláh — The Divine Educator

In Acre in northern Israel, a former prison city of the Ottoman Empire, the barracks where Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned starting in 1868-Source: Bahá’í World Centre

The theme  “Bahá’u’lláhThe Divine Educator” will be the focus of a forum that is planned for 6th May at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre of Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The world of existence – embracing vegetable, animal and human kingdoms – is in need of education. The reality of the mineral kingdom is physical.  Hence, material education is sufficient.  A garden is merely created by removing the weeds, improving the soil, planting new flowers, etc.  These are all material education.

In the animal kingdom, it is possible to change the response and behaviour of the animals through education. For example, a wild animal can be domesticated.

Humans have a complex reality consisting of three components of physical, intellectual and spiritual. The human physical, intellectual and spiritual realities are endowed with predestined potentialities and capacities.  Education is the only means to discover and develop these capacities.  Each one of these human realities is in need of a specific education to acquire perfection.

Material education ensures the development, well-being and comfort of the human physical body.  Human or intellectual education aims to unveil and develop the capacities and powers of human intellect. Spiritual or divine education develops the divine qualities and gifts hidden in the human spiritual reality. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains that “Divine education is that of the Kingdom of God: it consists in acquiring divine perfections, and this is true education; for in this state man becomes the focus of divine blessings, …1

In every age, religions have provided spiritual or divine education together with material and intellectual education. For this reason, the Prophets and Manifestations of God are known as the divine educators and are in fact the true educators of humanity. The radiance and effulgence of the world of existence is dependent on divine education. “This is evident that, when the hearts are purified and through the divine education and heavenly teachings become the manifestators of infinite perfections, they are like clear mirrors and the Sun of Truth will reflect with might, power and omnipotence in such mirrors, and to such an extent that whatsoever is brought before them is illumined and ignited.2

Bahá’ís believe that Bahá’u’lláh (meaning the Glory of God), the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, who was born in 1817, is the divine educator for this age.   In the middle of the 19th century, God summoned Bahá’u’lláh to deliver a new Revelation to humanity. During forty years of His imprisonment, thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilisation which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life.

The theme “Bahá’u’lláh – The Divine Educator” will be the focus of a forum that is planned for 6th May at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

  1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 8.
  2. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 488.

Forum on Bahá’u’lláh –The Promise of All Ages

Approach to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh - Source: Source: Bahá’í World Centre

Approach to the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh – Source: Bahá’í World Centre

The theme “Bahá’u’lláh – The Promise of All Ages” will be the focus of a forum that will be held on 25th March at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre Learning, at 7:30 pm.

Bahá’ís believe that in every age God sends a Messenger to mankind. The great religious teachers such as Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Christ and Muḥammad are a few of those Messengers who appeared over the last 6000 years. The Messengers of God manifest the attributes of God and teach mankind how to live. That is why they are also referred to as the Manifestation of God.

Through successive revelations, each Manifestation of God has built upon the revelations delivered before Him, introducing social teachings pertinent to that age, and leading the humanity to new spiritual heights.

In the middle of the 19th century, God summoned Bahá’u’lláh, meaning the “Glory of God”, to deliver a new revelation to humanity as the Manifestation of God for this Age.  His message is the spirit of this Day.  During 40 years of His Ministry and through His writings, He outlined a spiritual framework to bring about the organic and spiritual unity of humankind on earth.

Bahá’ís also believe that the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is more than another message in the successive revelations from God.  Bahá’u’lláh has fulfilled the prophecies made in all the revelations of the past to the coming of the Promised One in this age.

Bahá’u’lláh Himself testifies: “The time foreordained unto the peoples and kindreds of the earth is now come. The promises of God, as recorded in the holy Scriptures, have all been fulfilled. Out of Zion hath gone forth the Law of God, and Jerusalem, and the hills and land thereof, are filled with the glory of His Revelation.1

In another of His Tablets, Bahá’u’lláh declares: “Verily I say, this is the Day in which mankind can behold the Face, and hear the Voice, of the Promised One. The Call of God hath been raised, and the light of His countenance hath been lifted up upon men. It behoveth every man to blot out the trace of every idle word from the tablet of his heart, and to gaze, with an open and unbiased mind, on the signs of His Revelation, the proofs of His Mission, and the tokens of His glory.2

The theme “Bahá’u’lláh – The Promise of All Ages” will be the focus of a forum that will be held on 25th March at Wollongong Bahá’í Centre Learning, at 7:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

  1. Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 12.
  2. Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 10.