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‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London

  • Author:
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1982 reprint
  • Pages:
  • 127
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Pages 68-71

Ideals of East and West

One of the organizers of the Races Congress present spoke of the Western ideals of Bahá’u’lláh 69 as differing from those of former prophets which were tinged with the ideas and civilization of the East. He then asked whether Bahá’u’lláh had made a special study of Western writings, and founded his teachings in accordance with them.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed heartily, and said that the books of Bahá’u’lláh, written and printed sixty years ago, contained the ideals now so familiar to the West, but, at that time, they had not been printed or thought of in the West. Besides, he continued, supposing that a very advanced thinker from the West had gone to visit Bahá’u’lláh and to teach Him, would the name of such a great man and the fact of his visit have been unknown and unrecorded? No! In former days, in the time of the Buddha and Zoroaster, civilization in Asia and in the East was very much higher than in the West and ideas and thoughts of the Eastern peoples were much in advance of, and nearer to the thoughts of God than those of the West. But since that time superstitions had crept into the religion and ideals of the East, and from many differing causes the ideals and characters of the Eastern peoples had gone down and down, lower and lower, while the Western peoples had been constantly advancing and struggling towards the Light. Consequently, in these days, the civilization of the West was much higher than that of the East, and the ideas and thoughts of the people of the West were much nearer to the thought of God than those of the East. Therefore, the ideals of Bahá’u’lláh had been more quickly realized in the West. 70
‘Abdu’l-Bahá showed further how Bahá’u’lláh had exactly described in one of his books what has since been carried out in the International Council of Arbitration, describing its various functions, some of which have not yet been realized and he (‘Abdu’l-Bahá) would describe them to us now, so that when they were fulfilled, as they would be in the near future, we might know that they had been prophesied by Bahá’u’lláh.
War was the greatest calamity that could overtake the nations, because the people usually employed in agriculture, trades, commerce, and other useful arts, were taken away from their various occupations and turned into soldiers, so that there was great waste and loss, in addition to the destruction and carnage of war.
Bahá’u’lláh had said that the functions of the International Court would be to settle disputes that arose from time to time between the nations; to define the exact boundaries of the different countries, and to decide what number of soldiers and guns should be maintained by each nation, according to its population, in order to preserve internal order. For instance, one country might have ten thousand soldiers, another twenty thousand, another fifteen thousand, and so on, in accordance with the size and population of the nation; also if any people rebelled against the decision of the Court and rejected it, the Court would empower the others to join their forces and to endorse their decision, if need be, by united action. 71
We had not seen any of these things actualized as yet, but we should do so in the future.