Bicentenary Celebration of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh
Great Russian writer and philosopher Count Leo Tolstoy wrote about Bahá’u’lláh, ‘We spend our lives trying to unlock the mystery of the universe, but there was a Turkish Prisoner, Bahá’u’lláh, who had the key!’
In a world convulsed by religious, economic, ethnic rivalries and religious extremism, where age old religious, economic and political systems have utterly failed, Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed this challenging analysis of the situation and its solutions. He says, ‘The All-knowing Physician hath His finger on the pulse of mankind. He perceiveth the disease and prescribeth, in His unerring wisdom, the remedy. Every age hath its own problem and every soul its particular aspiration. The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require.’
Throughout history God has sent a series of divine Messengers, each of whom has founded a great religion. The most recent of these messenger is Bahá’u’lláh the Glory of God who arose to proclaim a new revelation from God and deliver the vision of His Cause- “My object is none other than the betterment of the world and tranquility of its peoples.”
Today the Baha’is of Bangladesh with over 6 million Baha’is all over the world are celebrating the bicentennial of the birth of Baha’u’llah. His vision of humanity as one people and of the earth as a common homeland inspires a dual process of individual and collective transformation through selfless acts of service to society. On this auspicious occasion, we revisit Bahá’u’lláh’s life, His teachings, His legacy – the Bahá’í Community.
Born in the year 1817 into a noble family in Persia (Iran). Bahá’u’lláh’s destiny would seen to have been one of wealth and ease. Yet from an early age He showed little interest in following in His father’s footsteps at the Shah’s court, preferring to spend His time and resources in ministering the poor. Bahá’u’lláh suffered 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile at the hands of Monarchy and Religious Heads blinded by ignorance and fanaticism towards God’s Message to humanity. In the course of His exile from his home in Tehran to the prison city of Akka, He revealed divinely inspired passages which comprises of mystical writings, social and ethical teachings, laws and ordinances and a fearless proclamation of His message to the kings and rulers of the world.
Bahá’u’lláh passed away from His earthly world on 29 May 1892. The Baha’i Community grew gradually from a handful of believers to a global community of millions today. Living in virtually every country and territory around the world, collectively working towards Bahá’u’lláh’s vision for a united world.
One of the principles that Bahá’u’lláh expounded on was that in an age of universal education, there was no longer a need for a special class clergy or elaborate rituals, thus Bahá’í faith is a religion without priests and practically no rituals.
Instead of priest, He has provided a framework for the governance of the affairs of the Faith and its community through a distinctive and democratic system of elected institutions at local, regional, national and international levels where decision-making process based on consultation which is inspired by prayer, where diversity of opinion is encouraged and building of consensus encouraged. An Administrative Order that protects personal freedom and safeguards the interests of the community as a whole, thereby striking an extraordinary balance between individual initiative and common good.
The Message of Bahá’u’lláh reached our beloved Bangladesh during His lifetime and by 1920s there was a small but vibrant Baha’i community in Bangladesh. Today the Baha’i Community of Bangladesh reflects the full diversity of the land, Bahá’ís of Bangladesh come from all walks of life, and from different social, religious, ethnic and economic background, mirroring the fundamental principle of Bahá’u’lláh’s teaching-oneness of mankind.
Bahá’u’lláh who gave the mankind the divine prescription of transformation of the world, taught that world cannot be changed unless, we as an individual change ourselves. He advises us to …”Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face…… Be fair in thy judgment and guarded in thy speech. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful….. an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression…”.