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‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Teacher of Religion, Devotes His Life to Humanity and a New Faith

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Abdul Baha, Teacher of Religion, Devotes His Life to Humanity and a New Faith
Omaha Nebraska Bee
April 22, 1912

By ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.

America has entertained many native and foreign teachers of religion and philosophy. It has entertained two remarkable masters - selfish, simple, earnest, profound souls who came with great messages.

These two were Vivakananda and Anna Besant.

They came filled with a love for all religions and hate for none. With no self-interest, with no desire to proselyte. Only a desire to help. With no egoistical assertion of having discovered a truth, but with humble gratitude that they were able to promote an eternal one. Now comes another great teacher like unto these two.

Abdul-Bahá, the Persian philosopher.

Abdul-Bahá’s life is one of active service to humanity.

He is working to serve God, yet by serving God he serves mankind.

From his early childhood until his sixty-fourth year he was an exile and a prisoner, yet the light of his life and teachings has reached to the far corners of the earth.

From many countries have gone to him people of different beliefs to receive spiritual help, and upon leaving him they have returned to their various homes to share with others the joy and assurance of his spiritual message and to follow in his path of service.

Some of the ordinances of the Bahá’í faith touch upon the following subjects:

Religious Unity - All men are free to believe and to worship as they will, but they are exhorted to unite in the universal faith of Bahá, for only through spiritual unity will mankind attain the highest development.

Tolerance - The Bahá’ís should not separate themselves from people who are not of their belief, nor should they denounce or antagonize those holding views other than their own.

The Church - In this Cause there is no priesthood apart from the laity. Each one who receives the spirit should share it with those whom he meets in daily life. Teaching is given without money and without price. Teachers are generally self-supporting, but occasionally they are sent forth to teach provided with the necessaries of life by those who are desirous and able in this way to serve the Cause. Places of worship are to be provided for meeting and prayer.

Marriage - Celibacy and asceticism are discouraged. Man should marry and create a family and live in the world where he can show forth in his daily life the spirit which is in his soul. Monogamy as the highest expression of justice is taught.

Resistance - Harshness should be met with goodness and hatred with love. With these weapons the Bahá’ís will overcome all opposition.

Worship - Prayer supplemented by a pure and useful life in this world forms the elements of true worship. Faith without works is not acceptable. Every man should have an occupation which conduces to the welfare of humanity, the diligent pursuance of which is in itself an act of worship.

This is what ‘Abdul-Bahá says are signs of servants of God:

To live the life. To be no cause of grief to any one.

To love each other very much.

To be kind to all people and to love them with a pure spirit.

Should opposition or injury happen to us, we must bear it, and be as kind as ever we can be, and, through all, we must love the people. Should calamity exist in the greatest degree, we must rejoice, for these things are the gifts and favors of God.

To be silent concerning the faults of others, to pray for them and help them - through kindness - to correct their faults.

To look always at the good and not at the bad.

If a man has ten good qualities and one bad one, we must look at the ten and forget the one. And if a man has ten bad qualities and one good one, we must look at the one and forget the ten.

To never allow ourselves to speak one unkind word about another, even though that other be our enemy.

To rebuke those who speak to us of the faults of others.

All of our deeds must be done in kindness.

To cut our hearts from ourselves and from the world.

To be humble.

To be servants of each other, and to know that we are less than any one else.

To be as one soul in many bodies, for the more we love each other the nearer we will be to God; but that our love, our unity, our obedience must not be by confession, but of reality.

To act with cautiousness and wisdom.

To be truthful.

To be hospitable.

To be reverent.

To be a cause of healing for every sick one; a pleasant water for every thirsty one; a heavenly table for every hungry one; a guide for every seeker; rain for cultivation; a star to every horizon; a light for every lamp; a herald to every yearning one for the Kingdom of God.

He that knows not and knows
not that he knows not -
He is a fool, shun him!
He that knows not and knows
that he knows not -
He is ignorant, instruct him!
He that knows and knows not
that he knows -
He is asleep, awake him!
He that knows and knows that
he knows -
He is wise, follow him!”

Abdul-Bahá belongs to the latter class, even as do Vivakananda and Anna Besant - follow them!