Of the more than 200 talks ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave during His visit in North America, the word “unity” appears in almost all of them. As a matter of fact, the three topics He spoke on most often were World Unity, Race Unity and Unity of Sexes.
During one of these talks on June 16, at the Fourth Unitarian Church in New York, He gave a detailed account of what the word unity meant and the different levels of it. At the church, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began His talk by calling the day, “the Unitarian Day” or “Yawm-al’Ittihád” in honor of the name of the church.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke about the two types of unity; limited and unlimited. Examples of limited unity were described as the unity of language among those who speak in the same tongue or the unity of governments where a certain group of people have the same political unity. He explained this as a physical unity and while helpful at times, it is temporary and has limited results.
There are four levels of unlimited unity according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Those are unity of mankind, spiritual unity, unity of manifestations and divine unity.
He described the unity of mankind as, “The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing glory of the All-Glorious, that all are servants of one God.”
The second unlimited unity is spiritual unity which comes from the Holy Spirit alone and is greater than the unity of mankind. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explained this as the unity that existed among the disciples of Christ or the kind of unity that is seen in sacrifices in the path of a higher spiritual being. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “This unity is the very spirit of the body of the world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become quickened with life without its vivification.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá described the next unity as another one in the World of God: the oneness of the Manifestations of God. Speaking to a church audience, He said, “This is a unity divine, heavenly, radiant, merciful—the one reality appearing in its successive Manifestations.”
The highest level of unlimited unity is divine unity. This unity is the ultimate Unity of God and incomprehensible. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said, “It cannot be comprehended nor conceived because it is infinite reality and cannot become finite. Human minds are incapable of surrounding that reality because all thoughts and conceptions of it are finite, intellectual creations and not the reality of Divine Being which alone knows itself.”
In his diary, Mahmud said that they were pleasantly surprised that the pastor had placed an announcement at the door of the church saying, “The Great Persian Prophet, His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, will speak at 11 a.m. in this church.” He further said, “At the close of His talk, He chanted, with His hands uplifted and in a melodious tone, a prayer in eloquent Arabic that was translated sentence by sentence…“
Promulgation of Universal Peace, pgs 190-194
Photo by Leila, www.nineteendays.wordpress.com