This document was originally published in Behai Quarterly magazine, digitally reproduced at these pages: 1, 2, 3. Minor changes have been made to the original text to modernize the spelling, capitalization, and word usage. These edits do not significantly alter the meaning of anything that was written. A descriptive title has been added to this originally untitled essay, and the opening caption is retained as a subtitle.
THE Fountainhead of Knowledge said: "O different creeds! Look forward to agreement and be enlightened by the light of concord. For the sake of God assemble together and remove from among you that which is the cause of conflict."
From where did these rare jewels of wisdom come? The speaker – who was he, and what was his object? Who are the different creeds, and what is it that must be removed before humankind may hope to live in harmony?
A voice arose from the ancient fortified city of Akka, in Palestine [Acre, Israel]. A voice of infinite wisdom and knowledge, patience and love for all humankind: our Master Bahaullah. One who gave freely of his great understanding, with no object save the elevation and progress of his fellow human beings.
"O different creeds," who are the cause of conflict in your midst? Are they not the religious leaders of the great nations and peoples, followed in kind by the religious leaders of smaller ones? We have but to recall the events of the last World War. With our own eyes and ears, we observed and heard the enslavement, martyrdom and suffering of countless souls in all parts of this globe, wrought in the name of the different creeds by the religious leaders, who misguided the innocent followers and used the inspired teachings for their personal desires and aims, causing conflict among the people of the world, dividing the brotherhood of humanity – and as in the innumerable wars of the past, destroyed life and property, cities and nations.
Religious conflict is like a blazing forest fire, which starts with a spark and ends, generally beyond control, destroying green and dead vegetation alike. To this the history of the world bears witness.
Although each different creed teaches unity, accusing others of dissension and strife, if they would observe with a keen eye and speak with the tongue of justice, they must testify that now, as in past ages, religious hatred is the foundation and cause of many unspeakable events.
The spiritual teachings given to humankind through the inspired sages, which are revealed for the purpose of enlightening the understanding and elevating the souls of humanity out of the mire of ignorance and superstition, became the whips of the leaders of the many creeds – whips that were used upon innocent, undeveloped and unenlightened individuals, exploiting and oppressing the people who sincerely followed them. Paying dearly with their lives and fortunes. Oh! Religion – what atrocious crimes have been committed in your name!
The result is here, as we observe today: Humanity en masse has rebelled against all the religious creeds, understanding them only as a medium through which the leaders receive benefit, elevating their status in life, fulfilling their desires and giving the right to rule over the oppressed masses.
Behold! – a great principle: religion without clergy. Bahaullah commanded that his teachings are our leaders, and we accept them as written without interpretation. Indeed by this command he released us from the bondage of the clergy.
In these days of fast material progress, modern scientific discoveries have proven to be of great service to the inhabitants of this world; humanity with its great unlimited power of thought has also advanced greatly, imaginations become realities, and the hidden mysteries are no longer hidden to those who understand. Yet in this age of fast progress with such advance in human development, it is pitiful to observe that the so-called intellectual people belittle their true station, that divinely endowed individuals lack confidence and self-understanding.
Free souls, yet remaining enslaved, allowing themselves and others to be caught in the meshes of religious superstition, to be ruled over by a small group of hand-picked leaders. O friends and brothers, withdraw from your deluded seclusion and become your noble selves. Arise with great energy and vigor and fly in the vast and unlimited space of freedom. Think, and allow not yourself or your fellows to become entangled in the cobwebs of imagination and religious intrigue.
The scripture of our Great Master quoted at the beginning of this essay was revealed for the elevation of all humankind, yet it behooves those of us who are endeavoring to follow his commands to be the first to eliminate the cause of conflict and all practices that are in violation of his teachings. We are in truth all members of one family and brothers and sisters in humanity. Be friendly with one another, and consider no one your enemy – especially those noble souls who traveled with you in the Valley of Knowledge, in search of truth, and received the spiritual food from the Fountainhead of Knowledge.
Should anyone be unfriendly, befriend him, and with the language of love and kindness guide him and bid him come and share with you the unlimited fruit of knowledge that you have attained.
In many of his holy writings Bahaullah repeatedly said that his only object in enduring untold hardships and calamities was to be able to reveal from his great understanding the way to extinguish the fires of hatred and animosity and to bring unity and harmony among people of the earth. O friends: Arise, noble souls and fulfill his commands! Become the shining stars of the heaven of kindness and reflect as such upon all beings. Follow his footsteps, and with united efforts, using only the weapons of his commands, endeavor to awaken and save your brothers and sisters in humanity from the ever renewed web of religious prejudice and its vicious corruption.
In this message I have no other motive but to awaken and elevate the thoughts of my brothers and sisters in humanity. THINK! my brothers; and may peace and happiness encompass you at all times.