On 25 May 1912 the Master explained that historians perceive this radiant century as being equivalent to the previous one hundred centuries due to the exponential progress mankind has made and continues to make in all areas of life. While there is sure reason to celebrate these signs of progress, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá at the same time pointed out how there is still work to be done in regards to letting go of the scientific and ethical knowledge which does not sufficiently respond to the present needs of humanity. An impartial reflection upon what is useful and ‘true’ in this present age also pertains to old, man-made, religious ideas:
…. it is our duty in this radiant century to investigate the essentials of divine religion, seek the realities underlying the oneness of the world of humanity and discover the source of fellowship and agreement which will unite mankind in the heavenly bond of love. This unity is the radiance of eternity, the divine spirituality, the effulgence of God and the bounty of the Kingdom. We must investigate the divine source of these heavenly bestowals and adhere unto them steadfastly. For if we remain fettered and restricted by human inventions and dogmas, day by day the world of mankind will be degraded, day by day warfare and strife will increase and satanic forces converge toward the destruction of the human race[i].
It is crucial to realise that God is the Source of this radiance:
Indeed every light is generated by God through the power of His behest. He of a truth is the Light in the kingdom of heaven and earth and whatever is between them. Through the radiance of His light God imparteth illumination to your hearts and maketh firm your steps …[ii].
In April 1912, the Master gave clear guidance on how each one of us can and should contribute to spreading this light:
With hearts set aglow by the fire of the love of God and spirits refreshed by the food of the heavenly spirit you must go forth as the disciples nineteen hundred years ago, quickening the hearts of men by the call of glad tidings, the light of God in your faces, severed from everything save God. Therefore, order your lives in accordance with the first principle of the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you appreciate the Day in which you live?
This is the century of the Blessed Perfection!
This is the cycle of the light of His beauty!
This is the consummate day of all the Prophets!
…. you must without delay employ your powers in spreading the effulgent glow of the love of God and so order your lives that you may be known and seen as examples of its radiance. You must deal with all in loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your own heart[iii].
[i] ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, 25 May 1912. See also ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, pp. 105-106.
[ii] The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, pp.154-155.