By Martin Garang Aher
So far one has read more about most of the world’s top religions, commencing with Christianity, and down to minor ones such as Jainism and further to animism and totemism. The latter two are not believed by many theologians and sceptics on religious studies as religions. Perhaps, these two lean defiantly on Gnosticism and polytheism. They underscore religious worshipping processes seen in many major religions of the world. Even though the path of religiosity has often remained mystifying, attempt by human being to have someone in charge has never abated throughout the centuries.
Mankind’s desire for a complete and everlasting dependence on the dominance of a supreme in their midst is insurmountable. Every challenging situation in history had pushed man to the quest for introspection and meditative surrendering to the Higher Spirit in order to overcome the maladies of the changing time and ever occurring difficulties.
Christians and Jews would recall the action of Israelites in the Sinai Desert during the Exodus. Moses would not return from the mountain quickly and the people felt that they were abandoned by God of Moses and compelled Aaron to make them a god; a god they should pure their prayers to and who would redeliver them from the desert and probably take them back to Egypt where they had endured slavery and suffering but with full stomachs. Food was becoming scarce in the desert. We are told that Aaron was forced to make them a Golden Calf to worship. The presence of God was seen immediately Moses returned. People who were responsible for cajoling Aaron to make Israelites a god were summarily executed and God kept Israelite wandering in the desert for forty years as a consequence. God’s command was that no one from the age of 19 and above would enter the Promised Land except Aaron… (Exodus)
This adamant demand for ‘Superior Energy’ puts man in a situation where religion will always dominate the psyches of humankind.
It is whimsical, though, to note that all religions and beliefs that man embraces on earth have a similar confluence – the direction towards the Supreme Being. But they too miraculously fail to accommodate each other on the path to the ultimate knowledge, The Existence of An All-Powerful Energetic Being. One wonders why they do not harmonise and form a universal path of redemption that would be similar and straight forward for all to follow; and why is the Supreme so desired most of the times becomes illusive in the face of man’s dreadful acts and miseries on earth?
These are questions one intends to leave rhetorical. However, some things are obvious: that God the Supreme has manifested itself to man in so many ways in the past and continues to do so today; that man’s actions according to Christians and Jews led to the Original Sin; and that through each individual’s inner reforms, we may attain blissfulness in The Supreme Being. This is a known guess.
But is there any religion on earth, inching towards a universal re-evaluation of inner self by man for the purpose of tolerance, harmony and eventual peaceful coexistence which is an assumed prerequisite for a life of bliss? Yes. This religion is Baha’i Faith.
Baha’i is a faith that began in Persia, modern Iran, in 1844. Siyyid Ali Muhammad declared himself as the last prophet of God whom all Muslims expected before the end time, much to the astonishment of the Islamic world. His untimely appearance befuddled many believers of Islam, a religion in which many were trying to define themselves with it, and whom many saw as the ultimate guarantor of the Arabs unity. Popular discontent arose immediately after his prophetic self announcement and appointment as the head of the faith of Islam. Like the many unfortunate prophets of old who fell to furies of their flocks, he was executed in 1850 by a firing squad.
Baha’i is a religion that can impress any potential believer. It lacks ambiguity and it stipulates pragmatism in life and in areas of knowledge where human quest is unquenchable. The table below shows the twelve social principles of Baha’i.
The Twelve Social Principles
1. The Oneness of God
2. The Oneness of Religion
3. The Oneness of mankind
4. Equality of men and women
5. Elimination of all form of prejudice
6. World peace kept by a world body
7. Harmony of religion and science
8. Universal compulsory education
9. Obedience to government and non-involvement in politics
10. Independent investigation of truth
11. The need for a universal auxiliary language
12. Elimination of extreme of wealth and poverty and a spiritual solution to economic problems
Really Useful Map Company (2006)
Careful observers of the UN Charter on human Rights will find some interesting correlations between its contents and the twelve principles of Baha’i. Baha’i ought to be a UN religion.