BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — The remarkable period that just ended with sunset in Hawaii Wednesday opened a new window onto the world. Over the course of three rotations of the Earth, humanity on every land commemorated the anniversaries of the births of the Bab and Baha’u’llah.
These days of commemoration offer a glimpse into a humanity that is rarely, if ever, so profoundly depicted in its oneness. Neither borders, nor conflicts between nations, nor prejudices of class, race, religion, or culture, were able in the least to obscure the reality that all humanity is one.
The description below, from the message of the Universal House of Justice on the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab, was illustrated through the multitude of examples that flowed in over these days:
“… these are communities that define themselves by their commitment to the oneness of humanity. They value the rich diversity represented by all the world’s kindreds, while maintaining that one’s identity as a member of the human race has precedence before other identities and associations. They affirm the need for a global consciousness, arising from a shared concern for the well-being of humankind, and they count all the peoples of the earth as spiritual brothers and sisters. Not content with simply belonging to such communities, Bahá’u’lláh’s followers are making constant effort to invite like-minded souls to join them in learning how to put His teachings into effect.”
Two centuries ago during His brief and dramatic ministry, the Bab suffered exile, imprisonment, and martyrdom at the hands of a fanatical leadership that was determined to snuff out His light and keep the populace in darkness. He Himself during His imprisonment in the remote fortress of Mah-Ku was kept in darkness, denied even a candle at night. In contrast to that oppression, His Shrine on Mt. Carmel stands lit every evening as a reminder that His light, and indeed the light of Baha’u’llah for Whom He paved the way, cannot be put out.
The celebrations that encircled the planet brought to vivid life the well-known passage of Baha’u’llah: “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”In countless settings across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tens of thousands gather to mark the bicentenary. The arts effloresce in joyful celebrations characterized by an uplifting spirit of fellowship and harmony. Families open their homes to neighbors and friends, communities welcome chiefs and village elders, and many gather in cities to explore the teachings of the Faith and their implications for their society.
As bicentenary celebrations sweep across India, gatherings are taking place among families and in close-knit communities. These intimate celebrations are bringing together thousands of people to deepen their understanding of the life and mission of the Bab and steel their commitment to put into practice the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.
In the period leading up to and during the bicentenary, groups across the United Kingdom are paying homage to the Bab in diverse settings, including homes, community halls, and open-air gatherings. In many of these spaces they are coming together for prayer, to draw inspiration from the heroic lives of the early believers of the Bab, to reflect on the condition and needs of their society and to seek out ways to contribute to the upliftment of their communities.
In settings across Germany, communities commemorate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab and honor His sacred mission through the arts and uplifting community activities including interfaith concerts and theatrical performances.