“The Earth Is But One Country, And Mankind Its Citizens”
A fundamental teaching of Baha’u’llah is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind He says, “Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch”. By this it is meant that the world of humanity is like a tree, the nations or peoples are the different limbs or branches of that tree and the individual human creatures are as the fruits and blossoms thereof.
Although in former centuries and times this subject received some measure of mention and consideration, it has now become the paramount issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world. History shows that throughout the past there have been continual warfare and strife among the various nations, peoples and sects, but now, in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined toward agreement and fellowship, and minds are thoughtful upon the question of the unification of mankind.
What incalculable benefits and blessings would descend upon the great human family if unity and brotherhood were established! In this century when the beneficent results of unity and the ill effects of discord are so clearly apparent, the means for the attainment and accomplishment of human fellowship have appeared in the world.
Excerpts from talk of ‘Abdu’l-Baha at the Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois, 30th day of April, 1912.
Each Kingdom of creation is endowed with its necessary complement of attributes and power. The mineral possesses inherent virtues of its own kingdom in the scale of existence. The vegetable possesses the qualities of the mineral plus an augmentative virtue, or power of growth. The animal is endowed with the virtues of both the mineral and the vegetable plane plus the power of the intellect. The human kingdom is replete with the perfections of all the kingdoms below it with the addition of powers peculiar to man alone. Man is, therefore, superior to all the creatures below him, the loftiest and most glorious being of creation.
Every man imbued with divine qualities, who reflects heavenly moralities and perfections, who is the expression of ideal and praiseworthy attributes, is, verily, in the image and likeness of God. If a man possesses wealth, can we call him an image and likeness of God? Or is human honor and notoriety the criterion of divine nearness? Can we apply the test of racial color and say that man of a certain hue – white, black, brown, yellow, red – is the true image of his creator? We must conclude that color is not the standard and estimate of judgement and that it is of no importance, for color is accidental in nature.
The spirit and intelligence of man is the essential; and that is the manifestation of divine virtues, the merciful bestowals of God, the life eternal and baptism through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, be it known that color or race is of no importance. He who is the image and likeness of God, who is the manifestation of the bestowals of God, is acceptable at the threshold of God – whether his color be white, black, or brown, it matters not. Man is not man simply because of bodily attributes. The standard of divine measure and judgement is his intelligence and spirit.
Excerpts from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha at the Church of the Ascension at Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street, New York, New York, 14th day of April, 1912.
Today the world of humanity is in need of international unity and conciliation. To establish these great fundamental principles a propelling power is needed. It is self-evident that the unity of the human world and the Most Great Peace cannot be accomplished through material means. They cannot be established through political power, for the political interests of nations are various and the policies of peoples are divergent and conflicting. They cannot be founded through racial or patriotic power, for these are human powers, selfish and weak.
The very nature of racial differences and patriotic prejudices prevents the realization of this unity and agreement. Therefore, it is evidenced that the promotion of the oneness of the kingdom of humanity, which is the essence of the teachings of all the Manifestations of God, is impossible except through the divine power and breaths of the Holy Spirit. Other powers are too weak and are incapable of accomplishing this.
For man two wings are necessary. One wing is physical power and material civilization; the other is spiritual power and divine civilization. With one wing only, flight is impossible. Two wings are essential. Therefore, no matter how much material civilization advances, it cannot attain to perfection except through the uplift of spiritual civilization.