Living the Principle of Oneness

The following article is from bahai.org.


Today, the human race is passing through a period of turbulent adolescence, moving towards the next stage in its life—a stage of maturity characterized by the emergence of a united, global civilization. Our well-being, our peace and security are all dependent upon the firm establishment of unity.

To create this new world, many patterns of behaviour that characterized earlier phases of our existence must be put aside. “We must strive unceasingly and without rest to accomplish the development of the spiritual nature in man,” wrote ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “and endeavor with tireless energy to advance humanity toward the nobility of its true and intended station.”1

[W]e must all strive with heart and soul until we have the reality of unity in our midst.”2

The fundamental principle of the oneness of humankind requires a profound development in our thinking: “If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.”3

Noble thoughts in themselves, however, are not enough. They must be translated into action. The truth that humanity is one must today be constantly asserted and taught to all.

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2019 in review – A year of historic developments

The following article is from The Bahá’í World News Service. Photo copyright © Bahá’í World News Service


December 31, 2019

The Baha’i World News Service, reflecting on 2019, provides a brief overview of stories in the past year about developments in the global Baha’i community and a glimpse of the extraordinary worldwide celebrations that took place in honor of the second historic bicentenary.

200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab

October 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Báb, as the forerunner and herald of the Baha’i Faith, whose dramatic ministry paved the way for the appearance of Baha’u’llah. The bicentenary was celebrated worldwide at every level, from the grassroots to the international.

In villages and neighborhoods across the globe, bicentenary preparations began months in advance, prompting an unprecedented intensification of community building activities and an outpouring of artistic works to mark the occasion, reflect on its significance, and recall the momentous life of the Bab. In the lead-up to the anniversary, the News Service reported on these preparations and celebrations in each continent: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia, and Europe. Based on what had been learned in 2017, the celebrations were much more broadly based on this occasion at the grassroots of society.

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National bicentenary gatherings shine light on social themes

The following article is from The Bahá’í World News Service. Photo above: The celebration held in New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings included a presentation about this artistic Tapa cloth made in honor of the bicentenary that depicts the Shrine of the Bab amid 19 terraces on Mount Carmel. Photo copyright © Bahá’í World News Service


November 29, 2019 from WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Recent bicentenary commemorations for societal leaders were celebratory occasions as well as moments of reflection on the challenges of our time.

In some communities, leaders were moved to express their appreciation of the Baha’i community’s contributions to society during this special period. For example in Wellington, New Zealand, Member of Parliament Priyanca Radhakrishnan hosted a bicentenary celebration in the country’s Parliament Buildings. “I can see that the work that you do in Aotearoa is rooted in the values and beliefs of the Faith,” MP Radhakrishnan said, “for example inculcating values of love, unity, and kindness amongst children, encouraging young people to be constructive agents of change, and contributing to discussions across New Zealand on some of the challenges that face us as a nation.”

A conference organized last month in Kyiv, Ukraine, brought together religious scholars, representatives of different Faith communities, students, and others to explore how the common underlying values of religion can contribute to societal progress.

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Development of the Bahá’í Community Since 1963

The following article is from bahai.org.Photo of Delegates to the first International Bahá’í Convention in Haifa, in front of the International Archives Building, May 1963 © 2019 Bahá’í International Community


In April 1963, the centenary of Bahá’u’lláh’s public declaration was marked by two auspicious events: the first election of the Universal House of Justice—the highest institution of Bahá’u’lláh’s Administrative Order; and, a few days afterward, the holding of the first Bahá’í World Congress in London, at which its 7,000 participants demonstrated by their very presence just how dramatically the Bahá’í world community had grown during the preceding decade.

The community that the Universal House of Justice inherited had expanded rapidly as a result of Shoghi Effendi’s first global plan for the growth and consolidation of the Bahá’í Faith. Bahá’ís now resided in more than 14,000 localities in some 259 sovereign states, dependencies and major islands. Some 56 countries had National Spiritual Assemblies. Though still relatively small, the Bahá’í Faith was assuming the characteristics of a world religion. The cultural adaptability of the Faith and its potential to attract a wide diversity of peoples were increasingly visible; its collective life was also beginning to manifest some of the society-building potentialities enshrined in Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation.

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A message from The Universal House of Justice on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb

This month we are featuring the message from The Universal House of Justice on the occasion of the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb. Photo © 2019 Bahá’í International Community: Shrine of the Báb viewed in between the colonnade of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice


October 2019

To all who have come to honour the Herald of a new Dawn

Dearly loved Friends,

Consider with us. Whenever a divine Educator appears in the world, a Figure Whose teachings will come to shape human thought and action for centuries thereafter—at such a dramatic, seismic moment, what would we expect?

The appearance of every such Educator, as recorded in the Sacred Texts of the world’s great faiths, is a pivotal event that propels the advancement of civilization. The spiritual stimulus each has provided throughout history has enabled the radius of human cooperation to extend from the clan, to the tribe, to the city-state, and to the nation. And each of these great Teachers promised that, in time, another divine Figure would appear, Whose advent should be anticipated and Whose influence would reform the world. No wonder, then, that the coming of the Báb, Whose Birth two centuries ago we now honour, gave rise to unprecedented ferment in the country where He was born. The moment of His appearance, like the appearance of all such Figures, precipitated the release of powerful spiritual forces—but there was no accompanying spectacle. There was instead a late evening conversation, in a modest Persian dwelling, between a student of religion and his youthful Host, during which that Host revealed that He was the Promised One, the divine Educator His guest had been seeking. “Observe attentively,” He remarked, “Might not the Person intended … be none other than I?” It is this Youth, the Báb, that we acclaim as the One Whose coming—after an interval of a thousand years—shed the light of divine guidance once again upon the human world.

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Bicentenary website to reflect worldwide celebrations

The following article is from The Bahá’í World News Service.


September 5, 2019 from the BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — A new international website for the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Bab was launched today.

The website will unfold in stages over the next eight weeks. Currently featuring artistic endeavors created for the occasion, and articles on the lives and teachings of the Bab and Baha’u’llah, the site will expand dynamically over time. A special letter from the Universal House of Justice about the historic anniversary will be published. Dawn of the Light, a feature film commissioned for this upcoming bicentenary, will also be released by the end of this month. The website is available in 10 languages—Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili.

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Walking a Spiritual Path

The following article is from bahai.org.


The Bahá’í teachings emphasize that each person is in charge of his or her own spiritual development. While institutions exist to guide and release energies, and Bahá’í community life is to be characterized by an atmosphere of cordial consultation and encouragement, the responsibility for spiritual growth ultimately rests with each individual. Indeed, there is no clergy in the Bahá’í Faith; the Bahá’í community can neither be described in terms of a pastor and congregation, nor as that of a body of believers led by learned individuals endowed with authority to interpret scriptures.

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The Shrine of the Báb

The following article is from bahai.org. Photo of the Shrine of the Báb copyright © Bahá’í International Community


During the darkest nights of His incarceration, bereft of contact with His devoted followers, the Báb was refused even a lamp by His captors. Today, however, hundreds of thousands of visitors a year are able to view the luminous Shrine that encloses His earthly remains. Bathed in light, each and every night, the Shrine of the Báb is a singular point of attraction on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. The building’s location and harmonious blend of Eastern and Western architectural styles have made it a familiar and well-loved landmark on the Mediterranean coast.

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Art: A Gift of the Holy Spirit

This month we are featuring an article by Jennifer Campbell from BahaiTeachings.org.


Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Pablo Picasso

My paternal grandmother gave neighborhood piano lessons; my paternal grandfather taught art in high school, and painted, sculpted, and played French horn. That’s why my sister and I grew up learning about art and music–and we also enjoyed making pots in Grandpa’s kiln. My family is full of artists, musicians, and educators; so the arts have always played an important part in my life.

Before I studied psychology, I majored in art (because I wanted to be an art teacher like my grandpa). Before that, I majored in English (because I wanted to be a writer, too). Like a typical college student, I changed my mind a few times about my future goals and major course of study. Despite my changing college majors, the arts were always part of my studies.

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Youth

The following article is from bahai.org.


“Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all—but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘plucked the fruit of life’.”

— The Universal House of Justice

Youth have played a vital role in Bahá’í history. The Báb Himself declared His mission when He was but twenty-five years old and so many among the band of His followers were in the prime of their youth when they embraced His Revelation. During the ministries of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, young people were at the forefront of efforts to proclaim the message of the new Faith and to share its teachings with others.

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