Baha'u'llah's growing public popularity was perceived as a threat to the Shah's sovereignty, resulting in young Abdu'l-Baha enduring stoning and then, in company with his family, a succession of exiles from Iran the first whilst His mother was heavily pregnant , over snow-covered mountains during which the boy suffered frostbite. It was from here that Abdu'l-Baha achieved recognition from Queen Victoria with the granting of a Knighthood, for His farsighted services in alleviating a terrible drought then ravaging the people.
The midth century was a time when many people of various beliefs were awaiting a divine messenger. In there appeared in Persia a dignified young man, twenty-four years of age, claiming to be a messenger of God. The influence of the Bab spread so rapidly that the Muslim authorities became alarmed. More than 20, Babi followers were killed, many by gruesome methods, and His immediate imprisonment was decreed.
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The banishments that followed served to extend His influence amongst even wider populations. By the time of His subsequent execution on July 9, the event was considered of such significance that it attracted representatives of the crowned heads of Europe. Rather than silencing His teachings, it had promoted their global spread. In His followers convened in Badasht Persia to consult on freeing Baha'u'llah from what would become only the first of successive places of imprisonments.
During this conference Tahirehone of the first followers of the Bab and a poet much admired by the Shahannounced before the assemblage of men that the time had come for the emancipation of women. She accompanied her proclamation with the dramatic gesture of removing her veil, an act so profoundly shocking to many of those present that one man cut his own throat. Barely half a century later, as a result of landmark legislation, my own nation of New Zealand became the first self-governing country in the world in which all women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
From this point the power of unity spread exponentially. The growing influence of Women's suffrage energised the labour movement.
Change was afoot throughout the world. The process of unity was beginning to exert an ever greater effect upon the nations of the world. The first candle is unity in the political realm, the early glimmerings of which can now be discerned. The second candle is unity of thought in world undertakings, the consummation of which will ere long be witnessed. The third candle is unity in freedom which will surely come to pass. The fourth candle is unity in religion which is the corner-stone of the foundation itself, and which, by the power of God, will be revealed in all its splendor.
The fifth candle is the unity of nations—a unity which in this century will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland. The sixth candle is unity of races, making of all that dwell on earth peoples and kindreds of one race. The seventh candle is unity of language, i.
Each and every one of these will inevitably come to pass, inasmuch as the power of the Kingdom of God will aid and assist in their realization. Until the midth century, most of the world was just a sprawl of empires, of unclaimed land, city-states and principalities, which travellers freely crossed without any checks or passports.
Then, those who were most able to unify and coordinate their activities - their physical regions, languages, records, economies and actions - slowly grew more powerful than their neighbours. However, as industrialisation made societies more complex, larger and more appropriate systems of governance became required in order to manage them. Our world slowly transformed into nation-states, populated by people with common attributes and characteristics, with organised political systems exerting sovereignty over their defined spaces, and borders being agreed upon by other nation-states.
Greater association and communication produced a unification of language, culture and identity. Gradually the nation-state model spread worldwide; there are now countries in the world today.
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Try to imagine a world without 'countries' today — tricky, isn't it? Our whole sense of who we are, our loyalties, our rights and obligations, is bound up in them. However, this nation-state with its borders, centralised governments, common people and sovereign authority has been growing increasingly out of step with the world. That seemingly invincible rule of the past is rapidly changing. The case against the nation-state is hardly new. And then, seemingly without warning, the appearance of an exciting new internet seemed to herald a borderless future.
Suddenly our friends and trading partners and learning communities were situated all over the planet. The world would never be the same again. Suddenly it became more essential than ever, that mankind must learn to live together on this shared planet with cooperation and harmony. It is through love for all people, and by subordinating lesser loyalties to the best interests of humankind, that the unity of the world can be realized and the infinite expressions of human diversity find their highest fulfilment.
His core Teachings address such essential themes as the oneness of God and religion, and the oneness of humanity, stating:. When Baha'u'llah appeared in the world advocating new teachings, these brought the light of unity to shine upon the realms of politics, thought, freedom, religion, nations, races and language. Enunciation of the principles of unity, oneness and justice began to generate a succession of movements that would continue through to the present day and evolve into a distant future In retrospect, some key moments in the process of the unification of mankind stand out.
Its limitations heightened the need for a yet greater association amongst countries, resulting in the formation of the United Nations on 24 October On August 15, Imperial Japan surrendered, effectively brought World War 2 to an end and spawned a process of decolonization resisting further development of European colonial empires. Despite that, a growing process of 'westernization' began to affect most of the peoples and nations of the earth.
The United States' Apollo 11 moon landing was the first manned mission to land on the Moon, on 20 July As astronaut Neil Armstrong famously observed; "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. However, exactly 58 years ago this week as I write, and in denial of earlier impulses toward unity, construction began on the Berlin Wall to separate the Eastern side of Berlin from the Western side.
People trying to get from east to west were regarded as traitors, and guards were instructed to shoot but not kill, if they attempted to cross. At least did die. The Wall became an international symbol of The Cold War until it fell in However, the similarly divisive Demilitarised Zone separating north and south Korea remains, and has been followed by similar walls in Jerusalem and currently U.
The power of unity also impacted the world of popular music. This very week 50 years ago a music festival, held on a dairy farm in northwest New York city attracted an unequalled audience of over , However, internal national unity was still being tested. The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations held in Tiananmen Square in Beijing during They went on to inspire a popular national movement, highlighting the growing power and influence of youth which would become a prevalent aspect of future international events even to the present day, as evidenced today in HongKong.
Due in large part to the appearance of the Internet , political and social movements became increasingly global. By 9 October, Occupy protests had taken place or were ongoing in over cities across 82 countries, and over communities in the United States.
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By October there had been Occupy protests and occupations in dozens of other countries across every inhabited continent. The MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault began to spread virally in October as a hashtag on social media to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace and retains a lesser influence to the present day. These movements, springing up with unprecedented swiftness, serve to underscore the unique capacity of our age to communicate, collaborate and make the formerly impossible possible.
Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were well nigh impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable.
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In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one. For none is self-sufficiency any longer possible, inasmuch as political ties unite all peoples and nations, and the bonds of trade and industry, of agriculture and education, are being strengthened every day.
Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be achieved. Verily this is none other but one of the wonders of this wondrous age, this glorious century.
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Of this past ages have been deprived, for this century—the century of light—has been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and illumination. Hence the miraculous unfolding of a fresh marvel every day. Eventually it will be seen how bright its candles will burn in the assemblage of man.
Both songs highlighted common fears of the age. As we are increasingly drawn together as a global family, will it create a boring sameness? Will we lose our unique flavours and identities?
The era known as the Age of Exploration began in the early 15th century, creating unprecedented exposure to human differences. It resulted in much conflict as people found themselves confronted by a growing variety of choices and options for which they were ill prepared. Challenges caused by extremes of diversity will potentially grow ever more pronounced as we more further into the age of Space Exploration. People are torn between valuing individuality on the one hand and embracing diversity on the other.
Growing fears of what this could involve were expressed in those two popular songs of the 60's. The first, hit 'Little Boxes' expressed concern about housing, and suburban sprawl. In it only the word of God may be read or chanted in a way that will exhilarate the ears and uplift the souls. He also counsels parents to teach their children the words of God revealed by Him, so that they may chant them in the Houses of Worship.
And having entered therein, let him sit in silence to hearken unto the verses of God, the Sovereign, the Almighty, the All-praised. Thus hath it been named before His Throne; would that ye know it. And those who chant the verses of the Merciful in most melodious tones will attain thereby unto that with which the kingdoms of earth and heaven can never compare. And they will inhale therefrom the fragrance of My realms which none discerneth in this day save those who.
Say, verily, the verses of the Merciful uplift the stainless hearts unto those realms of the spirit which cannot be described in words or expressed in symbols. Blessed are they that hearken!
Verily, he who hath been drawn by the magnet of the love of My Name, the Merciful, will recite the verses of God in such wise as to enrapture the hearts of those who are fast asleep.