Bahai: One World, One Human Family, abiding in Peace

April 30

This week we are midway through the Bahai festival of Ridvan, which extends twelve days, from April 21 – May 2, in 2022. At one time in my life, I was afraid to listen to the Bahai message, feeling that I might get enticed away from my faith tradition. My faith at that time was untested and immature. As I mature in my spirituality, I become more and more assured that the Source of Life and Love includes all in Her, His, Its embrace; there is room for diversity in unity.

It would be superficial and disrespectful to assume an artificial unity. Interfaith dialogue accepts that we are different from one another. We don’t have to agree on everything to agree on the one-ness of the human family and to work together to nurture the conditions for real peace in our homes, communities, and world. Everything I have ever heard about the Bahai faith affirms what I have seen in those Bahai people that I knew, whom I esteem for their peaceful and community-minded living. 

The Bahai religion originated in 1863, in the cradle of Abrahamic religions: Iran, Iraq and Israel. Ridvan is the most important celebration in Bahai. It remembers the life events of Baha’u’llah and commemorates the origins of the Bahai mission. “Baha’u’llah” means glory or manifestation of God. Bahais honour many “prophets”, or “manifestations of God’s glory”, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster and Mohammed; Baha’u’llah was the latest and last with a message for his time, which is also our time.

This is Baha’u’llah’s message: “It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the tree of his care and loving kindness” “Baha’u’llah said, “every age hath its own problem, and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needs in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in.”

Generation following generation we look to spiritual leaders to show us how we are called to live in the present time. It seems to me that as humans we are good at recognizing and giving due honour, even venerating those “special” people. The Dali Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and many others are admired as special people who manifest the glory of God in our time. Unfortunately, we are all too content to say, “that’s OK for them, but I could never do that!”

Nelson Mandela made famous these words by Marianne Williamson: “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.” This sounds very much like Baha’u’llah’s message: “on this day his Mighty Grace has been infused into all created things.” We are each of us “special” people, (regardless of what we believe.)

The message of Baha’u’llah is that religions have a mandate to bring together people to participate in the birthing of a more just, compassionate and peaceful world, each one sharing their gifts and shining their lights and in the words of Marianne Williamson, “liberating others to do the same.”

Gratitude Prompt: Give thanks for glory of the Creator who shines in me, in others and in everything.

About Bahai Faith: https://news.bahai.org/media-information/
About Ridvan: https://theguibordcenter.org/faiths/bahai/bahai-holy-days/
Full Text of Marianne Williamson’s quote: https://explorersfoundation.org/glyphery/122.html