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Persian Indicts the Futility of War

Persian Indicts the Futility of War
The Daily Palo Alto (Stanford University Student Newspaper)
October 8, 1912
Palo Alto, CA

Abdu’l-Bahá Declares International Strife Unscientific and Contrary to Nature.

An aged man, with a long white beard and a benign and saintly race, stood on the platform of the Assembly hall this morning and demonstrated the utter uselessness of war and its waste, with all the poetic beauty of oriental philosophy.

In a simple and dignified manner, with no more evidence of embarrassment that if he were addressing an assemblage of his native Persians, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, or Abbas Effendi, brought the arguments of science, nature and philosophy together to show the universal brotherhood of man and the necessity for universal peace.

In the garb of his own country, a long brown toga which harmonized modestly with his dark complexion and the white turban, Sir Abbas presented a picturesque figure. Speaking quietly in Persian, his expressive features and gestures made the services of his interpreter seem at times almost superfluous.

The greatest attainments of the world ever have been scientific in nature,” declared Sir Abbas in opening his address. “Always the greatest body of learned men are devoting themselves to science, and I feel a sense of great joy to be here in one of the great educational centers of the world.”

I wish to speak now of the Fundamental Oneness of Phenomena. You will agree that all phenomena is more or less the aggregate expressions of constant metabolism.

All cellular elements that make up the human organisms passed through the same stage. Take the hand of man. It was once mineral, then vegetable, finally animal, and part of the great human structure. So you see the existence of all things in nature is fundamentally one.”

Mankind, as the noblest creature of nature, has been endowed with the greatest of qualities by God, a sound mind,” continued Sir Abbas. “He is possessed with every other faculty in nature, and alone enjoys this extraordinary human quality, the mind.

Is it behooving that man should think of strife, wage war? All the other elements of nature are at peace. Is it meet that man, the noblest creature of all, should alone remain ferocious? God forbid such a state!

Peace is freshness, it is radiance, comfort, and composure conducive to life. All the phenomena of nature is at peace. Do the zephyrs of the air or waves of the ocean war among themselves? If nature gets into discord what happens? The San Francisco earthquake!

But all the elements are beneath the tyrannical law of nature. They do not deviate a hair’s-breadth from the postulates of their mistress. The sun, the planets, the earth itself are all the captives and subjects of nature. The elephant, large as he is, can’t deviate from the regulations of nature.

Yet man, with his small stature, himself the Effulgence of Divine Effulgence, breaks all the laws of nature because God has endowed him with a mind. He becomes a bird, in the

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Persian Speaks.

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aeroplane, a fish, in the submarine and thus breaks nature’s inexorable law.

He draws out of the plane of the invisible to the plane of the invisible all nature’s secrets. He subserves electricity, the most rebellious force in nature, to his will and puts the East and West momentarily beyond nature’s laws.

How can a being of such majestic intellect remain a ferocious animal? Like a wolf killing his fellow wolf. It is contrary to nature for man to kill man. Wolf kills wolf because of hunger. Wolves have no ideas of justice and are excusable. But man kills man only for greed. Is it behooving that such a noble, delightful creation, with a sound mind, lofty thoughts and great scientific achievements should kill another of the same kind for greed?

God has given man perception, memory, discrimination, the five senses, all manifestations of virtue, in order that he may be a radiant candle, a source of life and an agency of constructiveness. Shall he spill the blood of his fellowman on the battlefield and destroy this great edifice of God? If you destroy the edifice of man you bring down his wrath. How much more would destroying the edifice of God be potent in arousing the wrath of God!

Shall we wrest the sword of nature from nature’s hand and use it on Nature? Man’s extraordinary qualities have been given him to meet the exigencies of Nature’s defects. There is no greater degradation or worse debasement than the battlefield. It is the cause of destruction of the foundations of man.”

If religion is the cause of difference and sedition we would be better without it,” declared Sir Abbas in concluding his address. “But differences in religion are due to the imitations of dogma. If the reality behind all religions should be investigated they all would be unified.

We are all the progeny of one man, Adam. All are of one family, one lineage. Everything on this earth is dust. Must we behead our fellowman for dust? Earth merely is a graveyard for all Eternity. Shall we fight over our own graveyard? What ignorance!”