Cel­e­bra­tions for the bi­cen­te­nary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh

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THE Bahá’í Com­mu­ni­ties in Le­sotho join mil­lions of peo­ple world­wide to cel­e­brate the 200 year an­niver­sary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh in Oc­to­ber. The cel­e­bra­tions in Maseru and the other Bahá’í com­mu­ni­ties in Le­sotho will take place on 21 and 22 Oc­to­ber.

Th­ese are fes­ti­vals to cel­e­brate the trans­for­ma­tive im­pact of Bahá’u’lláh’s teach­ings on the lives of fam­i­lies, neigh­bor­hoods and com­mu­ni­ties around Le­sotho and all over the world.

The world­wide cel­e­bra­tions to mark this sig­nif­i­cant his­toric oc­ca­sion are not only a se­ries of events. They in­clude ac­tivties gen­er­ated at the grass­root level, which re­in­force Bahá’u’lláh’s vi­sion of the one­ness of hu­man­ity and em­power the par­tic­i­pants in such ac­tivties to con­trib­ute to­wards build­ing up­right, united and peace­ful com­mu­ni­ties.

The Faith re­vealed by Bahá’u’lláh, be­gan in 1844, when a young man, known as the Báb, an­nounced that He was a Man­i­fes­ta­tion of God, whose spe­cial mis­sion was to pre­pare the peo­ple for the com­ing of Bahá’u’lláh, Who would es­tab­lish an era of right­eous­ness and peace on earth.

Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), whose name means “The Glory of God,” is re­garded by Bahá’ís as the Man­i­fes­ta­tion of God and the Divine Ed­u­ca­tor for this age. As in the case of the other Man­i­fes­ta­tions of God, Bahá’u’lláh was the di­rect re­cip­i­ent of Rev­e­la­tion from God. Thou­sands of verses, let­ters and books flowed from His pen. As the creative Word of God, His Writ­ings have the power to touch the hu­man hearts and trans­form us and the world around us. His Writ­ings con­sti­tute over a hun­dred vol­umes – which to­day form the core of the Sa­cred Scrip­ture of the Bahá’í Faith.

Teach­ings for so­cial trans­for­ma­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing

The teach­ings of Bahá’u’lláh ad­dress the needs of the age. They have now spread all around the world, form­ing the ba­sis of a process of so­cial trans­for­ma­tion and com­mu­nity build­ing, which is unique in its scope and in the di­ver­sity of its par­tic­i­pants.

In His Writ­ings, Bahá’u’lláh out­lined a frame­work for the re­con­struc­tion of hu­man so­ci­ety at all lev­els. His Writ­ings cover a vast range of sub­jects from so­cial is­sues such as the one­ness of hu­man­ity, racial in­te­gra­tion, the equal­ity of men and women, uni­ver­sal ed­u­ca­tion, dis­ar­ma­ment, to those ques­tions that af­fect the in­ner­most life of the hu­man soul.

As the Uni­ver­sal House of Jus­tice, the gov­ern­ing coun­cil of the Bahá’í In­ter­na­tional Com­mu­nity states: “Baha’u’llah’s teach­ings tes­tify to the no­bil­ity of the hu­man spirit. The so­ci­ety He en­vi­sions is one wor­thy of that no­bil­ity and founded on prin­ci­ples that guard and re­in­force it. The one­ness of the hu­man fam­ily He places at the core of col­lec­tive life; the equal­ity of women and men He un­equiv­o­cally as­serts. He rec­on­ciles the seem­ingly coun­ter­act­ing forces of our own age-sci­ence and re­li­gion, unity and di­ver­sity, free­dom and or­der, in­di­vid­ual rights and so­cial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties”.

Prin­ci­ples for a new world civ­i­liza­tion

Bahá’u’lláh out­lined cer­tain fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples upon which a new world civ­i­liza­tion should be

founded. “Of th­ese prin­ci­ples the most vi­tal of them all is the prin­ci­ple of the one­ness and whole­ness of the hu­man race, which may well be re­garded as the hall­mark of Bahá’u’lláh’s Rev­e­la­tion and the pivot of his teach­ings. Of such car­di­nal im­por­tance is this prin­ci­ple of unity that … he un­re­servedly pro­claims it as the cen­tral pur­pose of his Faith. We, ver­ily,’ he de­clares, ‘have come to unite and weld to­gether all that dwell on earth.’ ‘So po­tent is the light of unity,’ he fur­ther states, ‘that it

can il­lu­mi­nate the whole earth.’.

Bahá’u’lláh com­pared the world to the hu­man body, to which we can look as a model. The same way as the per­fect func­tion­ing of the hu­man body is due to the unity of di­verse cells and or­gans, so the well-be­ing and well func­tion­ing of body of mankind is de­pen­dent on the unity of its di­verse el­e­ments – of all races, na­tion­al­i­ties, re­li­gions and eth­nic back­grounds.

Bahá’u’lláh, in His Writ­ings, ad­dresses other es­sen­tial themes such as the free­dom from all types of prej­u­dice, the es­sen­tial one­ness of the world’s great re­li­gions and the pro­gres­sive rev­e­la­tion of re­li­gious truth; the cru­cial need for devel­op­ment of spir­i­tual qual­i­ties; uni­ver­sal ed­u­ca­tion; the elim­i­na­tion of ex­tremes of poverty and wealth; the im­por­tance of in­te­grat­ing wor­ship and ser­vice, the cen­tral­ity of jus­tice to all hu­man en­deav­ours, and the dy­nam­ics of the re­la­tion­ships that are to bind to­gether in­di­vid­u­als, com­mu­ni­ties, and in­sti­tu­tions as hu­man­ity ad­vances to­wards its col­lec­tive ma­tu­rity.

In­sti­tu­tions es­tab­lished by Bahá’u’lláh – to fos­ter univer- sal par­tic­i­pa­tion and to dif­fuse knowl­edge, love, and unity – ad­min­is­ter the af­fairs of the Bahá’í Com­mu­ni­ties world­wide. Th­ese in­clude both elected and ap­pointed in­sti­tu­tions at lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional lev­els. Non­par­ti­san elec­tions and col­lec­tive de­ci­sion-mak­ing are char­ac­ter­is­tics of Bahá’í ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Prayer and med­i­ta­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Writ­ings of Bahá’u’lláh, are es­sen­tial tools for our spir­i­tual devel­op­ment. The Bahá’í Writ­ings also el­e­vate work done in the spirit of ser­vice to hu­man­ity to the rank of wor­ship. “…work is wor­ship when per­formed in a spirit of ser­vice, and can se­cure the means of ex­is­tence with dig­nity and hon­our,” state the Bahá’í Writ­ings and fur­ther as­sert that: “all ef­fort and ex­er­tion put forth by man from the full­ness of his heart is wor­ship, if it is prompted by the high­est mo­tives and the will to do ser­vice to hu­man­ity”. For feed­back or fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the cel­e­bra­tion and the ac­tiv­i­ties lead­ing to the cel­e­bra­tion please con­tact: ba­haile­[email protected]; or call +266 56715009 Web­site: www.ba­hai.org

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