During the Master’s travel to the West a war was devastating the Balkans. Succinctly, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá commented how war is “the outcome of hostility and hatred between nations and peoples of religion who imitate and adhere to the forms and violate the spirit and reality of the divine teachings.[i]” He also noted, however, how war actually contributes to the establishment of universal peace: as much as we may perceive something to be destructive for the well-being of mankind, it is always part of a bigger movement towards Peace through God’s mysterious Workings – a Movement that human actions cannot divert or change[ii].
This does not mean that one should passively accept wars and other situations which contribute to disunity. Not only must the rulers of the world establish “a vast, an all-embracing assemblage” and “should resolve, for the sake of the tranquility of the peoples of the earth, to be fully reconciled among themselves[iii],” but each one of us needs to fight the “good war” through the Knowledge and the Love of God:
…. that which is the cause of everlasting life, eternal honor, universal enlightenment, real salvation and prosperity is, first of all, the knowledge of God.[…] [It is] the cause of spiritual progress and attraction, and through it the perception of truth, the exaltation of humanity, divine civilization, rightness of morals and illumination are obtained.
Second, comes the love of God[…] if the love of God did not exist, the light of unity would not illuminate humanity; if the love of God did not exist, the East and West, like two lovers, would not embrace each other; if the love of God did not exist, division and disunion would not be changed into fraternity; if the love of God did not exist, indifference would not end in affection; if the love of God did not exist, the stranger would not become the friend. The love of the human world has shone forth from the love of God and has appeared by the bounty and grace of God.
It is clear that the reality of mankind is diverse, that opinions are various and sentiments different; and this difference of opinions, of thoughts, of intelligence, of sentiments among the human species arises from essential necessity; for the differences in the degrees of existence of creatures is one of the necessities of existence, which unfolds itself in infinite forms. Therefore, we have need of a general power which may dominate the sentiments, the opinions and the thoughts of all, thanks to which these divisions may no longer have effect, and all individuals may be brought under the influence of the unity of the world of humanity. It is clear and evident that this greatest power in the human world is the love of God. It brings the different peoples under the shadow of the tent of affection; it gives to the antagonistic and hostile nations and families the greatest love and union[iv].
[i]Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p.439.
[ii]Mahmud’s Diary. Saturday, September 21, 1912 [Omaha — Lincoln] http://bahai-library.com/books/mahmud/index.html#section181 accessed 10 September 2012.
[iii]Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXVII, p.248
[iv]Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, pp.300-301.
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