On 10 November, 1911 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the first principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings: the Search after Truth. He explained the principle primarily in the context of religions claiming to be the exclusive keepers of truth and emphasized that we must let go of the external forms and practices of religion if we wish to start walking towards Divine Truth which is, in its Essence, One:
We must realize that these forms and practices, however beautiful, are but garments clothing the warm heart and the living limbs of Divine Truth… No one truth can contradict another truth. Light is good in whatsoever lamp it is burning! A rose is beautiful in whatsoever garden it may bloom! … Be free from prejudice, so will you love the Sun of Truth from whatsoever point in the horizon it may arise! You will realize that if the Divine Light of truth shone in Jesus Christ it also shone in Moses and Buddha. The earnest seeker will arrive at this truth.
When we look beyond the obvious ways in which we experience and live religion and examine all aspects of our lives, we must urgently ask ourselves, both individually and as a collective, “If all condemn one another; where shall we search for truth?” The Master defined the Search for Truth as a light journey. We are to leave behind several items if we want to reach our desired destiny: our own special conditions, preconceived ideas, prejudices, love, preferences, and sense of self. We should have an open, receptive mind, He said, letting go whatever we learnt before, and we must “not shrink if necessary from beginning our education all over again.”
The journey requires detachment, humility, emptiness and an openness towards fellow human beings and the Unknown. This may seem a tall order, yet it is the key to true freedom and true unity, and the prerequisites for finding The One Truth:
If our chalice is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we imagine ourselves to be right and everybody else wrong is the greatest of all obstacles in the path towards unity, and unity is necessary if we would reach truth, for truth is one.