Introducing The Principal Theme
Although we already have some understanding of what it means that Bahá’u’lláh has come to unite the human family, this lesson should help us deepen our awareness of His purpose for humankind. Let us begin by reviewing what we have learned in the preceding lesson.
We know that God created us out of His infinite love, and all the love we have in our hearts for our families and friends and for humanity is a sign of this limitless love. For forty years Bahá’u’lláh revealed the Word of God, which, like the life-giving warmth of the sun, enables us to grow and develop.
The Word of God has the power to transform us.
The theme of this lesson:
Just as the Word of God can transform each of us, it also has the power to make this world a new world, one in which human beings can live together in unity and harmony. All the people of the world desire to live in peace, but they do not seem to be able to settle their disagreements. The result is a world filled with suffering. Bahá’u’lláh is the Divine Physician. He has told humanity that the remedy for the ills that afflict it is to recognize that we are all the children of one God and belong to one single family.
Without unity, it is not possible to solve the problems that face humankind. Imagine two people who have bad feelings towards one another. If they do not become friends and learn to love each other, how are they going to work out their differences? They may decide not to fight because they do not want to get hurt. But is this what peace means?
In the quotation that you will memorize today, Bahá’u’lláh tells us that the time has come for people to resolve their differences, to live in peace, and to work for the happiness of everyone. For centuries the peoples of the world have waited for such a Day. Now Bahá’u’lláh has shown the way that will lead to the unification of the human race.
Bahá’u’lláh wishes us to show love and goodwill towards all of humanity—every race, every nationality, and every religion. So, when we meet people of different races, nationalities, and religions, we should think of them, not as strangers, but as brothers and sisters. We should remember that God loves all of us equally, cares for us, and wishes us to grow together in harmony.
MEMORIZATION AID FOR 3 PRAYERS HERE
“I implore Thee, O my God and my Master, by Thy word through which they who have believed in Thy unity have soared up into the atmosphere of Thy knowledge, and they who are devoted to Thee have ascended into the heaven of Thy oneness, to inspire Thy loved ones with that which will assure their hearts in Thy Cause. Endue them with such steadfastness that nothing whatsoever will hinder them from turning towards Thee.” PRAYER 2 “O my Lord and my Hope! Help Thou Thy loved ones to be steadfast in Thy mighty Covenant, to remain faithful to Thy manifest Cause, and to carry out the commandments Thou didst set down for them in Thy Book of Splendors; that they may become banners of guidance and lamps of the Company above, wellsprings of Thine infinite wisdom, and stars that lead aright, as they shine down from the supernal sky. Verily, art Thou the Invincible, the Almighty, the All-Powerful.”
PRAYER 3 “O my Lord! O my Lord! This is a lamp lighted by the fire of Thy love and ablaze with the flame which is ignited in the tree of Thy mercy. O my Lord! Increase his enkindlement, heat and flame, with the fire which is kindled in the Sinai of Thy Manifestation. Verily, Thou art the Confirmer, the Assister, the Powerful, the Generous, the Loving.”
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.Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh,
Meaning Of Words In Quote
Write any words you don’t know and look them up. Use this PDF
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This historical episode describes Edward Granville Browne’s visit to Bahjí and the fate of the kings and rulers of the time who ignored Bahá’u’lláh’s call to put aside their differences. The episode might well be divided into a few stories, narrated over two or more sessions.
In listening to the account of the historical episode, you will recognize a pattern with which you may already be familiar from the lessons in Grade 3, for example, in the stories of Abraham and Moses, that the Will of God will always prevail.
You know that Bahá’u’lláh raised the banner of universal peace and revealed the Word of God to humanity for some forty years. We have seen how His Message revived the hearts of thousands of people in the East. By the end of His earthly life, despite the efforts of the most powerful kings of the region, Bahá’u’lláh was held in esteem and veneration by people of all backgrounds. The prestige of the community of His followers was well established in the Holy Land, and the number of believers continued to multiply in Persia. Communities had begun to emerge as far east as India and Burma, and the Faith had been carried all the way to China.
As for the Western world, you know that Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed His Message to its kings and rulers. But there were others who, during His lifetime, became aware of the Prisoner of ‘Akká and the great influence He had on all those with whom He came into contact. One of these was Edward Granville Browne, who was mentioned in an earlier class. He was a well-known British scholar. In 1890, he visited Bahjí and was granted four interviews with Bahá’u’lláh. Professor Browne has left us a description of his historic first meeting. Here is what he said.
Professor Browne tells us that, when he reached the Holy Land, he spent the first night in ‘Akká. He was taken to Bahjí the next day, where he passed the evening. In the morning, one of Bahá’u’lláh’s younger sons entered the room where Professor Browne was sitting. He asked the Professor to accompany him and led him to the entrance of a room, in front of which was hanging a large curtain. Professor Browne was not told what to expect
However, he removed his shoes as was the custom at the time. Then Bahá’u’lláh’s son pointed to the curtain, encouraging the Professor to enter.
Professor Browne now found himself in a large room. Immediately opposite the entrance, he saw two or three empty chairs. But, along the wall on the other side, was a long couch. Suddenly he became aware that he was not alone. His heart throbbed with wonder and awe. In the corner on the couch sat the most majestic Personage. He was wearing a felt headdress called a “táj”, round the base of which was wound a small white turban. Professor Browne tells us that he could never forget the face he saw, but he found it impossible to describe it in words. Power and authority radiated from this face, and the eyes, he said, seemed to read his very soul. He did not need to ask in Whose presence he stood. The Professor knew in an instant that he had attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh, and he bowed before Him as before a king or an emperor.
Professor Browne recorded some of the words spoken to him by Bahá’u’lláh during his interviews. There is one passage, in particular, that is now well-known among Bahá’ís everywhere:
“A mild dignified voice bade me be seated, and then continued:—‘Praise be to God that thou hast attained! . . . Thou hast come to see a prisoner and an exile. We
desire but the good of the world and the happiness of the nations; yet they deem us a stirrer up of strife and sedition worthy of bondage and banishment That all
nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that the bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease and differences of race be annulled—what harm is there in this? Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away,
and the “Most Great Peace” shall come. Don’t you in Europe need this also?
Is not this that which Christ foretold? . . . Yet do we see your kings and rulers lavishing their treasures more freely on means for the destruction of the human race than on that which would conduce to the happiness of mankind? These strifes and
this bloodshed and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory
in this, that he loves his kind. “
The words recorded by Professor Browne soon began to reach the ears of many in the West. There was one particularly important meeting where the words of Bahá’u’lláh were read: the World’s Parliament of Religions. It was held in the city of Chicago, in the United States, a few years after Professor Browne visited the Holy Land. The meeting was attended by a few thousand people, and some two hundred speakers from around the world were invited to give presentations. Most of the speakers were Christian ministers, but several other religions were also represented. A paper written by a Christian missionary in Syria was read there, and it made mention of Bahá’u’lláh. This passage was quoted for all to hear:
“That all nations should become one in faith and all men as brothers; that bonds of affection and unity between the sons of men should be strengthened; that diversity of religion should cease and differences of race be annulled— what harm is there in this? Yet so it shall be; these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”
Regrettably, the kings and rulers at the time of Bahá’u’lláh, many of whom had received Tablets from Him, did not follow His guidance to set aside their differences. Each thought only of his own power, and they persisted in their divisive and destructive ways. Eventually, almost all of them lost their power and glory, while wars and revolutions multiplied.
The fate of the Persian king, Náṣiri’d-Dín Sháh, was already mentioned in an earlier class. It was he, of course, who had ordered the execution of the Báb, who had imprisoned Bahá’u’lláh in the Síyáh-Chál, and who had banished Him from His homeland and urged that He be sent farther and farther away, eventually to ‘Akká. It was he who, together with the religious leaders, had tried to wipe out the Faith in Persia. And it was he who, having received from the hand of the heroic Badí‘ a Tablet addressed to him by Bahá’u’lláh, chose to ignore it and to arrest instead its bearer, who was tortured mercilessly and finally slain. What became of this despotic king? We know that the night before the celebration of the anniversary of his rise to the throne, he was shot by one of his own people, and his sons soon lost the throne and their family name faded into history.
The Sulṭán of the Ottoman Empire, the other ruler who, in collaboration with Náṣiri’d- Dín Sháh, rose to oppose Bahá’u’lláh, sending Him to Constantinople, Adrianople and then to ‘Akká, had a similar end. He lost his throne in a palace revolution and four days later was killed. The throne was given to his nephew, but he could not hold the Ottoman Empire together. Once the mightiest power in the region, the empire fell apart and soon disappeared, and new countries and nations arose in its place.
Meanwhile, in the West, many of the kings, too, lost their thrones in the upheavals and conflicts that persisted. One of these was Napoleon III of France. He was considered the most powerful ruler of the time in Europe. A proud and ambitious man, Napoleon sent troops to seize other lands in order to increase the size of his dominion. Thousands upon
thousands of young men died on the battlefield because of his ambition and hunger for greatness. When he received the Tablet from Bahá’u’lláh, he showed little respect and sent an irreverent reply. In a second Tablet addressed to him, Bahá’u’lláh predicted his downfall. Not long after Napoleon was defeated in battle and lost his throne. He had no other choice but to go into exile.
Of course, the other kings in the region were equally proud and ambitious. William I of Prussia greatly benefited from the fall of Napoleon. He consolidated his power and grew stronger, creating the German Empire. Bahá’u’lláh warned, however, that he not make the same mistake as Napoleon, to think that he was more powerful than God’s Manifestation and, because of his own folly and greed, bring suffering to his people. Needless to say, in the end, two attempts were made on his life by his own subjects, and though he survived them, the German Empire did not. It was taken apart, following a most terrible war, the First World War.
During that war, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire, whose rulers had also failed to respond to Bahá’u’lláh, came to an end. In Russia, tired of conflicts and bloodshed, the people rose up in revolution against the royal family that had ruled the masses like slaves for some three hundred years. They were swept forever from power.
Sadly, the First World War took the lives of millions of people. It left great destruction, but there was also the hope that the rulers and leaders of the world would come together in peace once and for all. Yet it was not to be so. Soon the Second World War broke out. Nations took sides against nations, and again millions were killed. After several bitter years, the war ended, but distrust between nations did not. And so governments used their resources and the benefits of modern science to build up stores of weapons. To this day, governments and rulers cannot seem to put aside their disagreements and recognize that the earth is, in truth, one country and we are all its citizens. Conflicts continue in different parts of the world, and the ills of humanity are multiplying everywhere. Even within nations, groups of people are pitted one against another.
It would be truly sad if this was the whole story. But we know that however dark the world looks, humanity’s future is bright. Though the leaders of the world are still struggling to establish true peace, the spirit of loving solidarity that Bahá’u’lláh breathed into the world has continued to spread. His call for humanity to unite as one family is penetrating the hearts and minds of people. Some are fortunate enough to recognize Him as God’s Manifestation for this new Age and to work directly for His Cause. But even those who are not yet aware of His teachings are affected by the forces released by His Revelation. More and more people are beginning to appreciate one another and to see that we are children of one God, that we are all drops of the same ocean. Their hearts are warmed by the Sun of Truth and their minds are illuminated by its rays. Such is the power of the Word of God to make the world anew. No matter how long it takes for the leaders to come together, humanity will be united as God has so willed.
“Yet so it shall be,” Bahá’u’lláh declares, “these fruitless strifes, these ruinous wars shall pass away, and the ‘Most Great Peace’ shall come.”
For any of the figures we heard about, use the biography page to write down the information you would like to remember
- Professor Edward Granville Browne had his historic interviews with Bahá’u’lláh in April 1890.
- The first mention of the name of Bahá’u’lláh at a public gathering in the West took place on 23 September 1893 at the World’s Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago in the United States.
YOU ARE A WRITER/REPORTER AND YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO INTERVIEW AN IMPORTANT FIGURE IN HISTORY OR MESSENGER OF GOD
( remember we do not portray the Messengers of God)
Retell what happened in your meeting to a coworker/friend/family.
Take turns being the reporter/writer and coworker/friend/family
YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT FIGURE RULER WHO ACCEPTED / REJECTED THE LETTER FROM BAHA’U’LLAH
IMAGINE WHAT THE RULER MAY SAY OR DO IF THEY REALIZED THAT THIS LETTER COULD HAVE CHANGED THEIR PATH IN HISTORY.
OUR CRAFT IS ABOUT TRANSFORMING PAPER INTO POPUPS AND OTHER 3D OBJECTS.
1. Matthew Reinhart: These pop-up cards are actual transformers. Great to make and give to a fan.
2. Rob Ives is one of my favorite paper engineers and he turns flat paper into working models and toys
His free designs to print, cut and glue are here
3. Simple paper toys like airplanes and fidget spinners here
4. Make a flipbook to “transform” the robots. A free printable to cut, colour, and staple together. Download here
Turn Milk into Plastic
This project takes one to two days and can be done after the lesson and shown in the next class
TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS
Like Professor Browne, we can also interview people we know. The “All about me” resources from Teachers Pay Teachers can help get you started – download and use it to interview someone.
I like the iPhone to fill in info about a person: here
Draw a picture of the Mansion of Bahjí. Here is a drawing of the corner windows of Bahá’u’lláh’s blessed room—Can you do a similar drawing? Do not depict any images related to war as we would like to focus on peace.
“The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”
Download the memorization PDF (as seen above) HERE
Have a resource? Message me and I would love to add it here on the blog