Jul 09, 2019, 15:13 IST


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Sacred scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith are replete with warnings of the grave consequences of excessive materialism and point out that “irreligion has conquered religion. The cause of the chaotic condition lies in the differences among the religions and finds its origin in the animosity and hatred existing between sects and denominations…” Therefore, the central issue facing all peoples of the world regardless of their nationality, religion, ethnic group, class and creed is that of striking a right balance between the material and spiritual aspects of life on earth. To this end, the Baha’is believe, the martyrdom of the Báb and the death of thousands of early Baha’is has a relevance even today. The universal crisis affecting present-day society is essentially spiritual in its causes. In the supreme sacrifice of the Báb humanity shall discover the truth of its collective coming-of-age, capable of seeing the entire panorama of its development as a continuum. The process of awakening began in 1844 when the Báb declared that He was the One foretold who had come to usher in a new era. The reaction on the part of the people of Iran was a mixed one. He suffered exile and imprisonment whilst His disciples travelled the length and breadth of the country and other territories in the Middle East as well as parts of India to spread the new message. It roused the bitter and savage resentment of the mullahs and state authorities who resorted to extreme violence culminating in His martyrdom by a firing squad in a public square in Tabriz, northern Iran, in 1850. The Báb was only 31 years and his execution was witnessed by some 10,000 people.

The Báb proclaimed the unity and truth of all the great religions, enjoined upon His disciples to break with past rites and ways of worship and to live in harmony with men of all beliefs, and to await the coming of Bahá’u’lláh, the Promised One all Ages. He called upon His followers to stay united and be prepared for many sacrifices because of the stranglehold of the orthodox religious leaders and the highly corrupt government. “The days when idle worship was deemed sufficient are ended. The time is come when naught but the purest motive, supported by deeds of stainless purity, can ascend to the throne of the Most High and be acceptable unto Him…,” He asserted. Only a renaissance of religious values can provide the impetus to present-day society to accept the fact that our planet is our only homeland, and together we have to lay the foundations of global civilization. Neither contemporary political arrangements nor popular faith in situational or consensus ethics offers a basis upon which the system of values required by an emerging planetary society can be erected.

Indeed, every generation, every century, every age, every nation, every religion, every great movement has its martyrs—great men or women—who lay down their lives for a great cause. The Bahá’í Faith is no exception, 10th July this year is the 169th martyrdom anniversary of their Martyr-Prophet. Through travail and suffering the peoples of the world are being purged of anachronistic habits and attitudes and awakened to the possibilities that their common humanity confers. Truly, the unifying impact of His revolutionary message is nowhere more readily apparent than in the implications of changes that have taken place in the scientific and technological life.

- On the occasion of the martyrdom of the Bab, the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith, 10 July 1850

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