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1 The Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Destiny of America 2 Century of Light.

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2 1 The Kitab-i-Aqdas and the Destiny of America

3 2 Century of Light

4 3 The Glory of God “What makes this insight possible for us is the light shed by the rising Sun of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation and the influence it has come to exercise in human affairs.” Century of Light, Introduction

5 4 Revelation of the Promised One of all ages “The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System - the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.” Bahá’u’lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas parag. 181

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17 16 The Remedy “That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.” Bahá’u’lláh (Century of Light, p. 144)

18 17 Political Peace -Symptom Therapy “Now that ye have refused the Most Great Peace, hold ye fast unto this, the Lesser Peace, that haply ye may in some degree better your own condition and that of your dependents.” (The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 120) (The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 120)

19 18 Twin Processes at work in the World The Major Plan of God Tumultuous in its progress Tumultuous in its progress Working through humanity as a whole Working through humanity as a whole Unconscious Unconscious Suffering and experience Suffering and experience Tearing down barriers towards unity Tearing down barriers towards unity Unified body without life Unified body without life The Lesser Peace The Lesser Peace The Minor Plan of God Working through the Bahá’í community Conscious of the Source Detailed instructions Continuing divine guidance Breathing life into body Creating true unity and spirituality The Most Great Peace

20 19 The Major Plan of God "Its agency for the most part is the people who are ignorant of its course and even antagonistic towards its aim." (Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1998) Shoghi Effendi declared that God's Major Plan uses "both the mighty and lowly as the pawns in His world-shaping game, for the fulfilment of His immediate purpose and the eventual establishment of His Kingdom on earth." (Shoghi Effendi, Citadel of Faith, p. 140)

21 20 Two Great Processes

22 21 Twin Processes Two Plans Two Plans Two Revolutions Two Revolutions World-shaking, world-embracing World-shaking, world-embracing Dialectic of crisis and victory Dialectic of crisis and victory

23 22 Major Plan of God - paradoxical quality Arouses hopes Rise of democracies Rise of democracies Emancipation of women Emancipation of women Abolition of slavery Abolition of slavery League of Nations League of Nations United Nations United Nations Technological and scientific advancement Technological and scientific advancement Peace movements Peace movements Creates fears First World War Second World War Weapons of mass destruction Neo-colonialism International terrorism AIDS epidemic Breakdown of family Environmental pollution

24 23 The Organic Evolution of Mankind Spiritual Evolution Infancy Infancy Childhood Childhood Adolescence Adolescence Adulthood Adulthood Social Evolution Family unit Tribes City states Nation states World unity

25 24 Sun of Truth Specific effect Minor Plan of God Individual transformation Conscious of Source New race of men Convergence The Most Great Peace Universal effect Major Plan of God Universal transformation Unconscious of Source Advances in social thought and sciences The Lesser Peace

26 25 1. Divine Revelation is the motive power of civilisation “There can be no doubt whatever, that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source and are the subjects of one God.” Bahá'u'lláh (Gleanings CXI)

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29 28 The testimony of Bahá'u'lláh “Know thou that when the Son of Man yielded up His breath to God, the whole creation wept with a great weeping. By sacrificing Himself, however, a fresh capacity was infused into all created things. Its evidences, as witnessed in all the peoples of the earth, are now manifest before thee...

30 29 “...The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive, and resplendent Spirit...” Bahá'u'lláh (Gleanings XXXVI)

31 30 Universal Effect of Divine Revelation “A new life is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth, yet none hath discovered its cause or perceived its motive.” (Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings XCVI)

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35 34 Divine Revelation is the Motive Power of Civilisation “Verily, We behold all created things moved to bear witness unto Us. Some know Us and bear witness, while the majority bear witness, yet know Us not.” (Lawh-i-Aqdas, Tablet to the Christians, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p15 )

36 35 The Minor Plan of God: Phenomenon of Sun Rise “In the East the light of His Revelation hath broken; in the West have appeared the signs of His dominion. Ponder this in your hearts, O people…Should they attempt to conceal its light on the continent, it will assuredly rear its head in the midmost heart of the ocean, and, raising its voice, proclaim:’I am the life- giver of the world.’” Bahá’u’lláh, World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p.78

37 36 East- West Phenomenon “From the beginning of time until the present day, the light of Divine Revelation hath risen in the East and shed its radiance upon the West. The illumination thus shed hath, however, acquired in the West an extraordinary brilliancy. Consider the Faith proclaimed by Jesus. Though it first appeared in the East, yet not until its light had been shed upon the West did the full measure of its potentialities become manifest…”

38 37 Sun Rise “The East hath verily been illumined with the light of the Kingdom. Ere long will this same light shed a still greater illumination upon the West. Then will the hearts of its peoples be vivified through the potency of the teachings of God and their souls be set aglow by the undying fire of His love.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p.79

39 38 Two parallel processes Closely interrelated developments Closely interrelated developments Associated with the dawn of world peace Associated with the dawn of world peace Will culminate in a single consummation Will culminate in a single consummation

40 39 Dawn of World Peace 1. The North American Bahá’í Community 2. The USA as a nation

41 40 Why America? 1 “ALL countries, in the estimation of the one true God, are but one country, and all cities and villages are on an equal footing. Neither holds distinction over another. All of them are the fields of God and the habitation of the souls of men…”

42 41 Why America? 2 “Through faith and certitude, and the precedence achieved by one over another, however, the dweller conferreth honor upon the dwelling, some of the countries achieve distinction, and attain a preeminent position…”

43 42 The Holy Land “…Palestine became the glory of all nations inasmuch as all the holy and divine Manifestations, from the time of Abraham until the appearance of the Seal of the Prophets (Muhammad), have lived in, or migrated to, or traveled through, that country. Likewise, Mecca and Medina have achieved illimitable glory, as the light of Prophethood shone forth therein. For this reason Palestine and Hijaz have been distinguished from all other countries.”

44 43 Why America? 3 “Likewise, the continent of America is, in the eyes of the one true God, in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be revealed, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of the Divine Plan, p.61

45 44 The North American Bahá’í Community A matchless and brilliant record of service A matchless and brilliant record of service Cradle and stronghold of the New World Order Cradle and stronghold of the New World Order

46 45 Historical Perspective Appreciation of west-ward expansion vital for present-day Bahá’ís: Appreciation of west-ward expansion vital for present-day Bahá’ís: Abstract ourselves from culture of coarse and intrusive communication Abstract ourselves from culture of coarse and intrusive communication Gentleness of the Master in teaching human nature and society Gentleness of the Master in teaching human nature and society His use of metaphors or historical examples His use of metaphors or historical examples Indirectness of His approach Indirectness of His approach His limitless patience His limitless patience The spiritual greatness of those who responded to Him The spiritual greatness of those who responded to Him Century of Light, p.17

47 46 The American Community 2 Lacking talent, rank or riches Lacking talent, rank or riches Tender age Tender age Tiny numbers Tiny numbers Limited experience Limited experience Grave crises Grave crises Inspired wisdom United will Incorruptible loyalty of its administrators and teachers

48 47 The American Community 3 “…Achieved the distinction of an undisputed leadership among its sister communities of East and West in hastening the advent of the Golden Age anticipated by Bahá’u’lláh.” Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 72

49 48 History of American Bahá’í Community Pilgrimages of American believers to the shrine of Bahá’u’lláh Pilgrimages of American believers to the shrine of Bahá’u’lláh Tests and trials Tests and trials ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to America ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to America Consolidation Consolidation Birth of Bahá’í Administration Birth of Bahá’í Administration Expansion of international activities Expansion of international activities Completion of Mashriqu’l-Adhkar Completion of Mashriqu’l-Adhkar

50 Epoch-making visit of first American pilgrims “fired the souls of its members with a love and zeal which no amount of adversity could quench” Epoch-making visit of first American pilgrims “fired the souls of its members with a love and zeal which no amount of adversity could quench”

51 50 Historic Pilgrimages 15 believers, 10 December believers, 10 December 1898 Intimate personal contact with ‘Abdu’l- Bahá Intimate personal contact with ‘Abdu’l- Bahá God-intoxicated pilgrims God-intoxicated pilgrims May Bolles returns to Paris - first European community May Bolles returns to Paris - first European community Others return to America Others return to America

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55 54 Crisis and Victory Defection of Ibrahim Khayru’llah Defection of Ibrahim Khayru’llah ‘Abdu’l-Bahá dispatched teachers ‘Abdu’l-Bahá dispatched teachers first council of 7 officers in Kenosha first council of 7 officers in Kenosha Bahá’í Publishing Society in Chicago Bahá’í Publishing Society in Chicago Publication of “Star of the West” Publication of “Star of the West” Translation & publication of literature in English Translation & publication of literature in English Emergence of travel teachers Emergence of travel teachers Preparation for erection of Mother Temple of the West Preparation for erection of Mother Temple of the West

56 Tests and trials - agitated, cleansed, energized believers Tests and trials - agitated, cleansed, energized believers ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s memorable visit -arrival in New York on 11 April 1912 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s memorable visit -arrival in New York on 11 April cities in North America 40 cities in North America 19 in Europe 19 in Europe

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58 57 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit to the West Proclamation of the oneness of mankind Proclamation of the oneness of mankind Proclamation of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh in New York City Proclamation of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh in New York City His personal example - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Bahá’í Cause His personal example - ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was the Bahá’í Cause

59 First World War First World War Tablets of the Divine Plan Tablets of the Divine Plan One of the 3 Charters of the Cause One of the 3 Charters of the Cause North American believers summoned to assume leadership in promoting the Cause North American believers summoned to assume leadership in promoting the Cause

60 present Completion of the Mother Temple of the West Completion of the Mother Temple of the West Defense of the rights of the oppressed Bahá’ís Defense of the rights of the oppressed Bahá’ís Fountainhead of travel teachers Fountainhead of travel teachers Cradle of Administrative Order Cradle of Administrative Order

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65 Abdu'l-Baha, Compilation on Women64 A special feature of the rise of the Cause in the West “In America the women have outdone the men in this regard and have taken he lead in this field. They strive harder in guiding the peoples of the world, and their endeavours are greater. They are confirmed by divine bestowals and blessings.”

66 Citadel of Faith, p Destiny of the North American Bahá’í Community “The moment this Divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America, and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australia, and as far back as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion. Then will all the peoples of the world witness that this community is spiritually illumined and divinely guided…”

67 66 Summons of the Lord of Hosts “Issue forth from your cities, O peoples of the West and aid God ere the Day when the Lord of mercy shall come down unto you in the shadow of the clouds with the angels circling around Him… Become as true brethren in the one and indivisible religion of God, free from distinction, for verily God desireth that your hearts should become mirrors unto your brethren in the Faith, so that ye find yourselves reflected in them, and they in you.” The Báb, Selection from the Writings, p.56

68 67 The American nation 1 Not “for some mysterious purpose or by any reason of inherent excellence or special merit” Not “for some mysterious purpose or by any reason of inherent excellence or special merit” “Precisely by reason of patent evils engendered by materialism”: “Precisely by reason of patent evils engendered by materialism”: A people immersed in a sea of materialism A people immersed in a sea of materialism A prey to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial prejudice A prey to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial prejudice Notorious for its political corruption, lawlessness and laxity in moral standards Notorious for its political corruption, lawlessness and laxity in moral standards

69 68 The American nation 2 “Virtues and qualities which the nation as a whole so conspicuously displays”: “Virtues and qualities which the nation as a whole so conspicuously displays”: High intelligence High intelligence Youthfulness Youthfulness Unbounded initiative Unbounded initiative Enterprise Enterprise Shoghi Effendi, ADJ p.16

70 69 The American nation 3 Process of unification of the United States Process of unification of the United States Intense opposition and skepticism Intense opposition and skepticism Apparently insuperable barriers Apparently insuperable barriers Achieved through intense suffering: civil war Achieved through intense suffering: civil war Establishment of the Federation of Mankind to follow same pattern as the federation of United States of America Establishment of the Federation of Mankind to follow same pattern as the federation of United States of America

71 70 The making of the Great Republic of the West Discovery and Colonization ( ) The Period of the Revolution ( ) The Making of the Constitution to the Civil War ( ) The Civil War and Our Own Times ( )

72 71 Bahá’u’lláh’s Mandate to the USA 1 “Hearken ye, O Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein, unto that which the Dove is warbling on the Branch of Eternity:’There is none other God but Me, the Ever-Abiding, the Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.’ Adorn ye the temple of dominion with the ornament of justice and of the fear of God, and its head with the crown of the remembrance of your Lord…”

73 72 Bahá’u’lláh’s Mandate to the USA 2 “…The Promised One hath appeared in this glorified station, whereat all beings, both seen and unseen, have rejoiced. Take ye advantage of the Day of God. Verily, to meet Him is better for you than all that whereon the sun shineth, could ye but know it…”

74 73 Bahá’u’lláh’s Mandate to the USA 3 “Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.” Kitab-i-Aqdas, para. 88

75 74 The destiny of the USA as the founder of Universal Peace ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s counsel: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s counsel: “You can best serve your country if you strive, in your capacity as a citizen of the world, to assist in the eventual application of the principle of federalism underlying the government of your own country to the relationships now existing between the peoples and nations of the world.” President Woodrow Wilson’s formulation of “Fourteen Points” President Woodrow Wilson’s formulation of “Fourteen Points”

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77 76 President Wilson’s Speech - 18 January 1918 “ It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind… The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments…”

78 77 “ What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression.”

79 President Wilson's 14 Points78 “ All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The programme of the world's peace, therefore, is our programme; and that programme, the only possible programme, as we see it, is this:

80 President Wilson's 14 Points79 President Wilson’s 14 Points I. Open covenants of peace…after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view. II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas

81 President Wilson's 14 Points80 III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety

82 President Wilson's 14 Points81 V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon… the principle that … the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the …claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

83 President Wilson's 14 Points82 VI. Evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia… VII. Belgium… must be evacuated and restored VIII. All French territory should be freed, and the wrong done to France by Prussia…, should be righted

84 President Wilson's 14 Points83 IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary… should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development. XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored… and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel…

85 President Wilson's 14 Points84 XII. The turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected

86 President Wilson's 14 Points85 XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

87 President Wilson's 14 Points86 “In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.”

88 President Wilson's 14 Points87 “ For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this programme does remove. We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this programme that impairs it…We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world - the new world in which we now live - instead of a place of mastery.”

89 88 League of Nations Stillborn: Stillborn: Untrammeled national sovereignty Untrammeled national sovereignty Excluded Germany and Russia Excluded Germany and Russia USA refused to join USA refused to join “Dawn of the Most Great Peace” “Dawn of the Most Great Peace”

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91 90 Second World War Untold suffering Untold suffering Perversion of human nature Perversion of human nature Establishment of the United Nations Establishment of the United Nations New York as the seat New York as the seat Increasing involvement of USA in world affairs Increasing involvement of USA in world affairs

92 91 The destiny of the USA “The world is moving on. Its events are unfolding ominously and with bewildering rapidity. The whirlwind of its passions is swift and alarmingly violent. The New World is insensibly drawn into its vortex… Dangers, undreamt of and unpredictable, threaten it both from within and from without. Its governments and peoples are being gradually enmeshed in the coils of the world’s recurrent crises and fierce controversies…”

93 Shoghi Effendi, Advent od Divine Justice92 The destiny of the USA “The world is contracting into a neighbourhood. America, willingly or unwillingly, must face and grapple with this new situation, For purposes of national security, let alone any humanitarian motive, she must assume the obligations imposed by this newly created neighbourhood. Paradoxical as it may seem, her only hope of extricating herself from the perils gathering around her is to become entangled in that very web of international association which the Hand of an inscrutable wisdom is weaving.”

94 Messages the Universal House of Justice, , p “…Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth…To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Baha'i, a vain waste of time and effort.”

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97 96 Twin Processes “None must contend with those who wield authority over the people; leave unto them that which is theirs, and direct your attention to men’s hearts.” Bahá’u’lláh, Kitab-i-Aqdas parg.95

98 97 The Ultimate Remedy “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” Bahá’u’lláh

99 98 “...The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today. The true cause of the ills of humanity is its disunity. No matter how perfect may be the machinery devised by the leaders of men for the political unity of the world, it will still not provide the antidote to the poison sapping the vigour of present-day society. These ills can be cured only through the instrumentality of God’s Faith.”

100 99 The Divine Remedy “ … There are many well-wishers of mankind who devote their efforts to relief work and charity and to the material well-being of man, but only Bahá’ís can do the work which God most wants done. When we devote ourselves to the work of the Faith we are doing a work which is the greatest aid and only refuge for a needy and divided world…” (Universal House of Justice letter to the National Spiritual Assemblies of Africa, February, 1970)

101 100 Prayer of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the standard of the Most Great Peace.”

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