‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Unitarians

During his visit to the United States in 1912 `Abdu’l-Bahá addressed a number of Unitarian congregations on spiritual subjects. These teachings are as profound today as they were one hundred years ago when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expressed them. On 24th May 1912 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed an audience at the Free Religious Association, or Unitarian Conference in Boston, Massachusetts on the subject of the nature of creation and spiritual progress.

Creation is the expression of motion. Motion is life. A moving object is a living object, whereas that which is motionless and inert is as dead. All created forms are progressive in their planes, or kingdoms of existence, under the stimulus of the power or spirit of life. The universal energy is dynamic. Nothing is stationary in the material world of outer phenomena or in the inner world of intellect and consciousness.Religion is the outer expression of the divine reality. Therefore, it must be living, vitalized, moving and progressive. If it be without motion and non progressive, it is without the divine life; it is dead. The divine institutes are continuously active and evolutionary; therefore, the revelation of them must be progressive and continuous. All things are subject to reformation. This is a century of life and renewal…

The Promulgation of Universal Peace

This was followed on the 9th June 1912 by a talk at the Unitarian Church on Fifteenth Street and Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá presented was that that of the ‘Marriage of East and West.’

I have come from distant countries of the Orient where the lights of heaven have ever shone forth, from regions where the Manifestations of God have appeared and the radiance and power of God have been revealed to mankind. The purpose and intention of my visit is that, perchance, a bond of unity and agreement may be established between the East and West, that divine love may encompass all nations, divine radiance enlighten both continents and the bounties of the Holy Spirit revivify the body of the world. Therefore, I supplicate the threshold of God that the Orient and Occident may become as one, that the various peoples and religions be unified and souls be blended as the waves of one sea. May they become as trees, flowers and roses which adorn and beautify the same garden.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace

On 16th June 1912 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá  addressed a meeting at Fourth Unitarian Church Beverly Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York on the subject of the physical and spiritual oneness of humankind and the limitation of adhering to national, sectarian or political identities.

This is a Unitarian church, and in the Arabic tongue this day may well be called Yawm-al’Ittihád (“the Unitarian Day”). Therefore, I consider it appropriate to speak to you upon the subject of unity. What is real unity? When we observe the human world, we find various collective expressions of unity therein. For instance, man is distinguished from the animal by his degree, or kingdom. This comprehensive distinction includes all the posterity of Adam and constitutes one great household or human family, which may be 191 considered the fundamental or physical unity of mankind…The unity which is productive of unlimited results is first a unity of mankind which recognizes that all are sheltered beneath the overshadowing glory of the All-Glorious, that all are servants of one God; for all breathe the same atmosphere, live upon the same earth, move beneath the same heavens, receive effulgence from the same sun and are under the protection of one God. This is the most great unity, and its results are lasting if humanity adheres to it; but mankind has hitherto violated it, adhering to sectarian or other limited unities such as racial, patriotic or unity of self-interests; therefore, no great results have been forthcoming…

The Promulgation of Universal Peace

This theme of the oneness of humanity was further elaborated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on 14th July 1912 at All Souls Unitarian Church Fourth Avenue and Twentieth Street, New York.

Today I wish to speak to you upon the subject of the oneness of humanity, for in this great century the most important accomplishment is the unity of mankind. 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 has been continual warfare and strife among the various nations, peoples and sects; but now—praise be to God!—in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined toward agreement and fellowship, and minds are thoughtful upon the question of the unification of mankind. There is an emanation of the universal consciousness today which clearly indicates the dawn of a great unity.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace


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