November 29, 2015

To the First Universal Races Congress, London, England, July 26-29

When travelling about the world we observe an air of prosperity in any country, we find it to be due to the existence of love and friendship among the people. If, on the contrary, all seems depressed and poverty-stricken, we may feel assured that this is the effect of animosity, and of the absence of union among the inhabitants.

Notwithstanding that such a state of things is obvious to the passing traveller, how often the people themselves continue in the sleep of negligence, or occupy themselves in disputes and differences, and are even ready to slaughter their fellow-men!

Consider thoughtfully the continual integration and disintegration of the phenomenal universe... Unification and constructive combination is the cause of Life. Disunion of particles brings about loss, weakness, dispersion, and decay.

Consider the varieties of flowers in a garden. They seem but to enhance the loveliness of each other. When differences of colour, ideas, and character are found in the human Kingdom, and come under the control of the power of Unity, they too show their essential beauty and perfection.

Rivalry between the different races of mankind was first caused by the struggle for existence among the wild animals. This struggle is no longer necessary: nay, rather interdependence and co-operation are seen to produce the highest welfare in nations. The struggle that now continues is caused by prejudice and bigotry.

Today nothing but the power of the Divine Word, which embraces the Reality of all things, can draw together the minds, hearts, and spirits of the world under the shadow of the heavenly Tree of Unity.

The Light of the Word is now shining on all horizons. Races and nations, with their different creeds, are coming under the influence of the Word of Unity in love and in peace.

The Blessed One, Bahá'u'lláh, likens the existing world to a tree, and the people to its fruits, blossoms and leaves. All should be fresh and vigorous, the attainment of their beauty and proportion depending on the love and unity with which they sustain each other and seek the Life eternal. The friends of God should become the manifestors in this world of this mercy and love. They should not dwell on the shortcomings of others. Ceaselessly should they be thinking how they may benefit others and show service and co-operation. Thus should they regard every stranger, putting aside such prejudices and superstitions as might prevent friendly relations.

Today the noblest person is he who bestows upon his enemy the pearl of generosity, and is a beacon-light to the misguided and the oppressed. This is the command of Bahá'u'lláh.

O dear friends! the world is in a warlike condition, and its races are hostile one to the other. The darkness of difference surrounds them, and the light of kindness grows dim. The foundations of society are destroyed and the banners of life and joy are overthrown. The leaders of the people seem to glory in the shedding of blood -Friendship, straightness, and truthfulness are despised…

The call to arbitration, to peace, to love, and to loyalty is the call of Bahá'u'lláh. His standard floats since fifty years, summoning all of whatever race and creed.

O ye friends of God! acknowledge this pure light; direct the people who are in ignorance, chanting the melodies of the Kingdom of God, until the dead body of mankind quickens with a new life.

Guide the people of God. Inspire them to emulate the lives of the holy ones who have gone before. Be ye kind in reality, not in appearance only. Be ye fathers to the orphans, a remedy to the sick, a treasury of wealth to the poor, a protector of the unfortunate.

Where love dwells, there is light! Where animosity dwells, there is darkness!

O friends of God! strive to dissipate the darkness and reveal the hidden meanings of things, until their Reality becomes clear and established in the sight of all.

This Congress is one of the greatest of events. It will be forever to the glory of England that it was established at her capital. It is easy to accept a truth; but it is difficult to be steadfast in it; for the tests are many and heavy. It is well seen that the British are firm, and are not lightly turned aside, being neither ready to begin a matter for a little while, nor prone to abandon it for a little reason. Verily, in every undertaking they show firmness.

O ye people! cause this thing to be not a thing of words, but of deeds. Some congresses are held only to increase differences. Let it not be so with you. Let your effort be to find harmony.  Let Brotherhood be felt and seen among you; and carry ye its quickening power throughout the world. It is my prayer that the work of the Congress will bear great fruit.

(Signed) 'Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas
(Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 9, August 20, 1911)