World Peace is defined as “an idea of planetary non-violence by which nations willingly cooperate, either voluntarily or by virtue of a system of governance that prevents warfare”. How narrow is our vision of such a noble goal, the mission behind the teachings of each Manifestation of God?
Throughout the pages of human history, so much blood has been shed in wars as a result of our own “ignorance, misunderstanding and lack of education” and because of differences that we have created that only exist in our minds.
Every Manifestation of God, be it Moses, Jesus Christ or Muhammad, has brought messages of love, and in the regions blessed by Their teachings, people from different tribes accustomed to fighting each other were gathered in unity. Every religion has been “founded upon the reality of love and unity” and wars among the religous “have been due to imitation and superstitions which arose later”.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s main message throughout His journey was that of love, unity and peace. During His talk at the meeting of the International Peace Forum, He used lovely examples from nature in order to bring to our attention how all these “boundaries and distinctions are human and artificial, not natural and original”. I personally like the example of the birds — how in spite of coming from different countries they “mingle in friendliness” and how different species of birds are “peaceful in flocks”. They do not fight with each other because of the color of their feathers, or because some come from the north and the others from the south. We are the only ones to battle because of unimportant differences that we have created.
Some may argue that some animals are ferocious, but this is due to the fact that it is the only way they can get food for themselves. When one of these animals kills, it takes one prey at a time. Humans are the only ones to kill “a number of his fellow creatures” because of “greed, hatred and selfishness”.
A few years after His talks of peace in the United States and after His warning that “Europe is a battlefield of ammunition ready for a spark, and one spark will set aflame the whole world”, the First World War exploded. The 20th century included some of the most violent wars known to humanity owing to the creation of the deadliest weapons.
Now at the beginning of this new century, are we going to continue adding blood red pages to our history, or are we finally ending this chapter of war and starting a new chapter with the construction of universal peace?
Promulgation of Universal Peace
Photo: the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church where the Master addressed the International Peace Forum, from www.centenary.bahai.us