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