8 Jan
Posted in: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, Peace, Spiritual Qualities
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Paris Talks Revisited: The Unity of Mankind

Following His address on the first principle of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, the Master then describes the second principle, namely the unity of mankind. He begins by stating how we are all equal: “All men are of one family; the crown of humanity rests on the head of every human being”. He then states that we only differ from one another in degree — for example in health, or in ignorance and schooling — but that no person is bad or evil while others are good.

When I read these statements superficially, I am not shocked and the idea that mankind is one does not seem revolutionizing considering both the violence and the oppression perpetrated in previous decades (apartheid, segregation, slavery, genocide and so on) and the advances we have made to rectify  and cease these wrongs (the civil rights movement, women’s suffrage, a world tribunal, and the list goes on). Upon deeper reflection, however, the Master’s talk offers something profound which I will be reflecting on for a long time to come: the idea that unity is essential to existence. This means, on a basic level, that we must all get along otherwise we’ll destroy one another, but also that on an atomic level unity is fundamental to creation. He states:

Consider: Unity is necessary to existence. Love is the very cause of life; on the other hand, separation brings death. In the world of material creation, for instance, all things owe their actual life to unity. The elements which compose wood, mineral, or stone are held together by the law of attraction. If this law should cease for one moment to operate these elements would not hold together, they would fall apart, and the object world in that particular form cease to exist. The law of attraction has brought together certain elements in the form of this beautiful flower, but when that attraction is withdrawn from this centre the flower will decompose, and, as a flower, cease to exist. 

So it is with the great body of humanity. The wonderful Law of Attraction, Harmony and Unity, holds together this marvellous Creation. 

I am not a physicist and only have an excruciatingly rudimentary scientific understanding of how this world works. This idea not only forms what I think about this world but it also affects my quotidian life. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá advises us with these words: “Therefore should every servant of the One God be obedient to the law of love, avoiding all hatred, discord, and strife.” This talk makes me vigilant of disunity and keen to uphold this universal law in all my interactions in order to do justice to the “crown of humanity” that rests upon my head.

Photo: Shahriar Erfanian, www.nineteenmonths.com

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