Part 3 out of 3
On Saturday, Dec. 14, 1912, the Master--Abdul Baha--arrived in
Liverpool from New York. He stayed there for two days. On the
following Monday, Dec. 16, 1912, He arrived in London. There He stayed
till Jan. 21, 1913, when His Holiness went to Paris.
During His stay in London He visited Oxford (where He and His
party--of Persians mainly--were the guests of Professor and Mrs.
Cheyne), Edinburgh, Clifton, and Woking. It is fitting to notice here
that the audience at Oxford, though highly academic, seemed to be
deeply interested, and that Dr. Carpenter made an admirable speech.
On Jan. 6, 1913, Abdul Baha went to Edinburgh, and stayed at
Mrs. Alexander Whyte's. In the course of these three days He
addressed the Theosophical Society, the Esperanto Society, and many of
the students, including representatives of almost all parts of the
East. He also spoke to two or three other large meetings in the bleak
but receptive 'northern Athens.' It is pleasant to add that here, as
elsewhere, many seekers came and had private interviews with Him. It
was a fruitful season, and He then returned to London.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, 1912, He paid another visit to Clifton, and in
the evening spoke to a large gathering at 8.30 P.M. at Clifton Guest
House. On the following day He returned to London.
On Friday, Jan. 17, Abdul Baha went to the Muhammadan Mosque at
Woking. There, in the Muhammadan Mosque He spoke to a large audience
of Muhammadans and Christians who gathered there from different parts
of the world.
On Jan. 21, 1913, this glorious time had an end. He started by express
train for Paris from Victoria Station. He stayed at the French capital
till the middle of June, addressing (by the help of His interpreter)
'all sorts and conditions of men.' Once more Paris proved how
thoroughly it deserved the title of 'city of ideas.' During this time
He visited Stuttgart, Budapest, and Vienna. At Budapest He had the
great pleasure of meeting Arminius Vambery, who had become virtually a
strong adherent of the cause.
Will the Master be able to visit India? He has said Himself that some
magnetic personality might draw Him. Will the Brahmaists be pleased to
see Him? At any rate, our beloved Master has the requisite tact. Could
Indians and English be really united except by the help of the Bahais?
The following Tablet (Epistle) was addressed by the Master to the
Bahais in London, who had sent Him a New Year's greeting on March 21,
'HE IS GOD!
'O shining Bahais! Your New Year's greeting brought infinite joy and
fragrance, and became the cause of our daily rejoicing and gladness.
'Thanks be to God! that in that city which is often dark because of
cloud, mist, and smoke, such bright candles (as you) are glowing,
whose emanating light is God's guidance, and whose influencing warmth
is as the burning Fire of the Love of God.
'This your social gathering on the Great Feast is like unto a Mother
who will in future beget many Heavenly Feasts. So that all eyes may be
amazed as to what effulgence the true Sun of the East has shed on the
'How It has changed the Occidentals into Orientals, and illumined the
Western Horizon with the Luminary of the East!
'Then, in thanksgiving for this great gift, favour, and grace, rejoice
ye and be exceeding glad, and engage ye in praising and sanctifying
the Lord of Hosts.
'Hearken to the song of the Highest Concourse, and by the melody of
Abha's Kingdom lift ye up the cry of "Ya Baha-'ul-Abha!"
'So that Abdul Baha and all the Eastern Bahais may give themselves to
praise of the Loving Lord, and cry aloud, "Most Pure and Holy is the
Lord, Who has changed the West into the East with lights of Guidance!"
'Upon you all be the Glory of the Most Glorious One!'
Alas! the brightness of the day has been darkened for the Bahai
Brotherhood all over the world. Words fail me for the adequate
expression of my sorrow at the adjournment of the hope of Peace. Yet
the idea has been expressed, and cannot return to the Thinker void of
results. The estrangement of races and religions is only the fruit of
ignorance, and their reconciliation is only a question of
time. _Sursum corda._
A SERIES OF ILLUSTRATIVE STUDIES BEARING ON COMPARATIVE RELIGION
A SERIES OF ILLUSTRATIVE STUDIES BEARING ON COMPARITIVE RELIGION
EIGHTEEN (OR, WITH THE BAB, NINETEEN) LETTERS OF THE LIVING OF THE
The Letters of the Living were the most faithful and most gifted of
the disciples of the so-called Gate or Point. See _Traveller's
Narrative_, Introd. p. xvi.
A. Muhammad Hasan, his brother.
A. Muhammad Baghir, his nephew.
A. Mulla Ali Bustani.
Janabe Mulla Khodabacksh Qutshani.
Janabe Hasan Bajastani.
Janabe A. Sayyid Hussain Yardi.
Janabe Mirza Muhammad Ruzi Khan.
Janabe Sayyid Hindi.
Janabe Mulla Mahmud Khoyi.
Janabe Mulla Jalil Urumiyi.
Janabe Mulla Muhammad Abdul Maraghai.
Janabe Mulla Baghir Tabrizi.
Janabe Mulla Yusif Ardabili.
Mirza Hadi, son of Mirza Abdu'l Wahab Qazwini.
Janabe Mirza Muhammad 'Ali Qazwini.
TITLES OF THE BAB, ETC.
There is a puzzling variation in the claims of 'Ali
Muhammad. Originally he represented himself as the Gate of the City
of Knowledge, or--which is virtually the same thing--as the Gate
leading to the invisible twelfth Imam who was also regarded as the
Essence of Divine Wisdom. It was this Imam who was destined as
Ka'im (he who is to arise) to bring the whole world by force into
subjection to the true God. Now there was one person who was obviously
far better suited than 'Ali Muhammad (the Bab) to carry out the
programme for the Ka'im, and that was Hazrat-i'-Kuddus (to whom I
have devoted a separate section). For some time, therefore, before the
death of Kuddus, 'Ali Muhammad abstained from writing or speaking
_ex cathedra_, as the returned Ka'im; he was probably called
'the Point.' After the death of this heroic personage, however, he
undoubtedly resumed his previous position.
On this matter Mr. Leslie Johnston remarks that the alternation of the
two characters in the same person is as foreign to Christ's thought as
it is essential to the Bab's. [Footnote: _Some Alternatives to
Jesus Christ_, p. 117.] This is perfectly true. The divine-human
Being called the Messiah has assumed human form; the only development
of which he is capable is self-realization. The Imamate is little
more than a function, but the Messiahship is held by a person, not as
a mere function, but as a part of his nature. This is not an unfair
criticism. The alternation seems to me, as well as to Mr. Johnston,
psychologically impossible. But all the more importance attaches to
the sublime figure of Baha-'ullah, who realized his oneness with God,
and whose forerunner is like unto him (the Bab).
The following utterance of the Bab is deserving of consideration:
'Then, verily, if God manifested one like thee, he would inherit the
cause from God, the One, the Unique. But if he doth not appear, then
know that verily God hath not willed that he should make himself
known. Leave the cause, then, to him, the educator of you all, and of
the whole world.'
The reference to Baha-'ullah is unmistakable. He is 'one like thee,'
i.e. Ezel's near kinsman, and is a consummate educator, and
Another point is also important. The Bab expressed a wish that his
widow should not marry again. Subh-i-Ezel, however, who was not,
even in theory, a monogamist, lost no time in taking the lady for a
wife. He cannot have been the Bab's successor.
LETTER OF ONE EXPECTING MARTYRDOM
[Footnote: The letter is addressed to a brother.]
'He is the Compassionate [_superscription_]. O thou who art my
Kibla! My condition, thanks to God, has no fault, and "to every
difficulty succeedeth ease." You have written that this matter has no
end. What matter, then, has any end? We, at least, have no discontent
in this matter; nay, rather we are unable sufficiently to express our
thanks for this favour. The end of this matter is to be slain in the
way of God, and O! what happiness is this! The will of God will come
to pass with regard to His servants, neither can human plans avert the
Divine decree. What God wishes comes to pass, and there is no power
and no strength, but in God. O thou who art my Kibla! the end of the
world is death: "every soul tastes of death." If the appointed fate
which God (mighty and glorious is He) hath decreed overtake me, then
God is the guardian of my family, and thou art mine executor: behave
in such wise as is pleasing to God, and pardon whatever has proceeded
from me which may seem lacking in courtesy, or contrary to the respect
due from juniors: and seek pardon for me from all those of my
household, and commit me to God. God is my portion, and how good is He
as a guardian!'
THE BAHAI VIEW OF RELIGION
The practical purpose of the Revelation of Baha-'ullah is thus
described on authority:
To unite all the races of the world in perfect harmony, which can only
be done, in my opinion, on a religious basis.
Warfare must be abolished, and international difficulties be settled
by a Council of Arbitration. This may require further consideration.
It is commanded that every one should practise some trade, art, or
profession. Work done in a faithful spirit of service is accepted as
an act of worship.
Mendicity is strictly forbidden, but work must be provided for all. A
There is to be no priesthood apart from the laity. Early Christianity
and Buddhism both ratify this. Teachers and investigators would, of
course, always be wanted.
The practice of Asceticism, living the hermit life or in secluded
communities, is prohibited.
Monogamy is enjoined. Baha-'ullah, no doubt, had two wives. This was
'for the hardness of men's hearts'; he desired the spread of monogamy.
Education for all, boys and girls equally, is commanded as a religious
duty--the childless should educate a child.
The equality of men and women is asserted.
A universal language as a means of international communication is to
be formed. Abdul Baha is much in favour of _Esperanto_, the noble
inventor of which sets all other inventors a worthy example of
Gambling, the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage, the taking of
opium, cruelty to animals and slavery, are forbidden.
A certain portion of a man's income must be devoted to charity. The
administration of charitable funds, the provision for widows and for
the sick and disabled, the education and care of orphans, will be
arranged and managed by elected Councils.
THE NEW DISPENSATION
The contrast between the Old and the New is well exemplified in the
contrasting lives of Rammohan Roy, Debendranath Tagore, and Keshab
Chandra Sen. As an Indian writer says: 'The sweep of the New
Dispensation is broader than the Brahmo Samaj. The whole religious
world is in the grasp of a great purpose which, in its fresh unfolding
of the new age, we call the New Dispensation. The New Dispensation is
not a local phenomenon; it is not confined to Calcutta or to India;
our Brotherhood is but one body whose thought it functions to-day; it
is not topographical, it is operative in all the world-religions.'
[Footnote: Cp. Auguste Sabatier on the _Religion of the Spirit_,
and Mozoomdar's work on the same subject.]
'No full account has yet been given to the New Brotherhood's work and
experiences during that period. Men of various ranks came, drawn
together by the magnetic personality of the man they loved, knowing he
loved them all with a larger love; his leadership was one of love, and
they caught the contagion of his conviction.... And so, if I were to
write at length, I could cite one illustration after another of
transformed lives--lives charged with a new spirit shown in the work
achieved, the sufferings borne, the persecutions accepted, deep
spiritual gladness experienced in the midst of pain, the fellowship
with God realized day after day' (Benoyendra Nath Sen, _The Spirit
of the New Dispensation_). The test of a religion is its capacity
for producing noble men and women.
God Himself in His inmost essence cannot be either imagined or
comprehended, cannot be named. But in some measure He can be known by
His Manifestations, chief among whom is that Heavenly Being known
variously as Michael, the Son of man, the Logos, and Sofia. These
names are only concessions to the weakness of the people. This
Heavenly Being is sometimes spoken of allusively as the Face or Name,
the Gate and the Point (of Knowledge). See p. 174.
The Manifestations may also be called Manifesters or Revealers. They
make God known to the human folk so far as this can be done by
Mirrors, and especially (as Tagore has most beautifully shown) in His
inexhaustible love. They need not have the learning of the schools.
They would mistake their office if they ever interfered with
discoveries or problems of criticism or of science.
The Bab announced that he himself owed nothing to any earthly
teacher. A heavenly teacher, however, if he touched the subject, would
surely have taught the Bab better Arabic. It is a psychological
problem how the Bab can lay so much stress on his 'signs' (ayat) or
verses as decisive of the claims of a prophet. One is tempted to
surmise that in the Bab's Arabic work there has been collaboration.
What constitutes 'signs' or verses? Prof. Browne gives this answer:
[Footnote: E. G. Browne, _JRAS_, 1889, p. 155.] 'Eloquence of
diction, rapidity of utterance, knowledge unacquired by study, claim
to divine origin, power to affect and control the minds of men.' I do
not myself see how the possession of an Arabic which some people think
very poor and others put down to the help of an amanuensis, can be
brought within the range of Messianic lore. It is spiritual truth that
we look for from the Bab. Secular wisdom, including the knowledge of
languages, we turn over to the company of trained scholars.
Spiritual truth, then, is the domain of the prophets of Bahaism. A
prophet who steps aside from the region in which he is at home is
fallible like other men. Even in the sphere of exposition of sacred
texts the greatest of prophets is liable to err. In this way I am
bound to say that Baha-'ullah himself has made mistakes, and can we be
surprised that the almost equally venerated Abdul Baha has made many
slips? It is necessary to make this pronouncement, lest possible
friends should be converted into seeming enemies. The claim of
infallibility has done harm enough already in the Roman Church!
Baha-'ullah may no doubt be invoked on the other side. This is the
absolutely correct statement of his son Abdul Baha. 'He (Baha-'ullah)
entered into a Covenant and Testament with the people. He appointed a
Centre of the Covenant, He wrote with his own pen ... appointing him
the Expounder of the Book.' [Footnote: _Star of the West_, 1913,
p. 238.] But Baha-'ullah is as little to be followed on questions of
philology as Jesus Christ, who is not a manifester of science but of
heavenly lore. The question of Sinlessness I postpone.
GREAT MANIFESTATION; WHEN?
I do not myself think that the interval of nineteen years for the
Great Manifestation was meant by the Bab to be taken literally. The
number 19 may be merely a conventional sacred number and have no
historical significance. I am therefore not to be shaken by a
reference to these words of the Bab, quoted in substance by Mirza
Abu'l Fazl, that after nine years all good will come to his followers,
or by the Mirza's comment that it was nine years after the Bab's
Declaration that Baha-'ullah gathered together the Babis at
Baghdad, and began to teach them, and that at the end of the
nineteenth year from the Declaration of the Bab, Baha-'ullah
declared his Manifestation.
Another difficulty arises. The Bab does not always say the same
thing. There are passages of the Persian Bayan which imply an interval
between his own theophany and the next parallel to that which
separated his own theophany from Muhammad's. He says, for instance,
in _Wahid_ II. Bab 17, according to Professor Browne,
'If he [whom God shall manifest] shall appear in the number of Ghiyath
(1511) and all shall enter in, not one shall remain in the Fire. If He
tarry [until the number of] Mustaghath (2001), all shall enter in, not
one shall remain in the Fire.' [Footnote: _History of the
Babis, edited by E. G. Browne; Introd. p. xxvi. _Traveller's
Narrative_ (Browne), Introd. p. xvii. ]
I quote next from _Wahid_ III. Bab 15:--
'None knoweth [the time of] the Manifestation save God: whenever it
takes place, all must believe and must render thanks to God, although
it is hoped of His Grace that He will come ere [the number of]
Mustaghath, and will raise up the Word of God on his part. And the
Proof is only a sign [or verse], and His very Existence proves Him,
since all also is known by Him, while He cannot be known by what is
below Him. Glorious is God above that which they ascribe to Him.'
[Footnote: _History of the Babis_, Introd. p. xxx.]
Elsewhere (vii. 9), we are told vaguely that the Advent of the
Promised One will be sudden, like that of the Point or Bab (iv. 10);
it is an element of the great Oriental myth of the winding-up of the
old cycle and the opening of a new. [Footnote: Cheyne, _Mines of
Isaiah Re-explored_, Index, 'Myth.']
A Bahai scholar furnishes me with another passage--
'God knoweth in what age He will manifest him. But from the springing
(beginning) of the manifestation to its head (perfection) are nineteen
years.' [Footnote: Bayan, _Wahid_, III., chap. iii.]
This implies a preparation period of nineteen years, and if we take
this statement with a parallel one, we can, I think, have no doubt
that the Bab expected the assumption, not immediate however, of the
reins of government by the Promised One. The parallel statement is as
follows, according to the same Bahai scholar.
'God only knoweth his age. But the time of his proclamation after mine
is the number Wahid (=19, cabbalistically), and whenever he cometh
during this period, accept him.' [Footnote: Bayan, _Brit. Mus. Text_,
Another passage may be quoted by the kindness of Mirza 'Ali Akbar. It
shows that the Bab has doubts whether the Great Manifestation will
occur in the lifetime of Baha-'ullah and Subh-i-Ezel (one or other
of whom is addressed by the Bab in this letter). The following words
are an extract:--
'And if God hath not manifested His greatness in thy days, then act in
accordance with that which hath descended (i.e. been revealed),
and never change a word in the verses of God.
'This is the order of God in the Sublime Book; ordain in accordance
with that which hath descended, and never change the orders of God,
that men may not make variations in God's religion.'
NON-FINALITY OF REVELATION
Not less important than the question of the Bab's appointment of his
successor is that of his own view of the finality or non-finality of
his revelation. The Bayan does not leave this in uncertainty. The
Kur'an of the Babis expressly states that a new Manifestation takes
place whenever there is a call for it (ii. 9, vi. 13); successive
revelations are like the same sun arising day after day (iv. 12,
vii. 15, viii. 1). The Bab's believers therefore are not confined to a
revelation constantly becoming less and less applicable to the
spiritual wants of the present age. And very large discretionary
powers are vested in 'Him whom He will make manifest,' extending even
to the abrogation of the commands of the Bayan (iii. 3).
EARLY CHRISTIANITY AND BAHAISM AND BUDDHISM
The comparisons sometimes drawn between the history of nascent
Christianity and that of early Bahaism are somewhat misleading. 'Ali
Muhammad of Shiraz was more than a mere forerunner of the Promised
Saviour; he was not merely John the Baptist--he was the Messiah,
All-wise and Almighty, himself. True, he was of a humble mind, and
recognized that what he might ordain would not necessarily be suitable
for a less transitional age, but the same may be said--if our written
records may be trusted--of Jesus Christ. For Jesus was partly his own
forerunner, and antiquated his own words.
It is no doubt a singular coincidence that both 'Ali Muhammad and
Jesus Christ are reported to have addressed these words to a disciple:
'To-day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.' But if the Crucifixion is
unhistorical--and there is, I fear, considerable probability that it
is--what is the value of this coincidence?
More important is it that both in early Christianity and in early
Bahaism we find a conspicuous personage who succeeds in disengaging
the faith from its particularistic envelope. In neither case is this
personage a man of high culture or worldly position. [Footnote:
Leslie Johnston's phraseology (_Some Alternatives to Jesus
Christ_, p. 114) appears to need revision.] This, I say, is most
important. Paul and Baha-'ullah may both be said to have transformed
their respective religions. Yet there is a difference between
them. Baha-'ullah and his son Abdul-Baha after him were personal
centres of the new covenant; Paul was not.
This may perhaps suffice for the parallels--partly real, partly
supposed--between early Christianity and early Bahaism. I will now
refer to an important parallel between the development of Christianity
and that of Buddhism. It is possible to deny that the Christianity of
Augustine [Footnote: Professor Anesaki of Tokio regards Augustine as
the Christian Nagarjuna.] deserves its name, on the ground of the
wide interval which exists between his religious doctrines and the
beliefs of Jesus Christ. Similarly, one may venture to deny that the
Mahayana developments of Buddhism are genuine products of the religion
because they contain some elements derived from other Indian
systems. In both cases, however, grave injustice would be done by any
such assumption. It is idle 'to question the historical value of an
organism which is now full of vitality and active in all its
functions, and to treat it like an archaeological object, dug out from
the depths of the earth, or like a piece of bric-a-brac, discovered in
the ruins of an ancient royal palace. Mahayanaism is not an object of
historical curiosity. Its vitality and activity concern us in our
daily life. It is a great spiritual organism. What does it matter,
then, whether or not Mahayanaism is the genuine teaching of the
Buddha?' [Footnote: Suzuki, _Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism_, p. 15.]
The parallel between the developments of these two great religions is
unmistakable. We Christians insist--and rightly so--on the
'genuineness' of our own religion in spite of the numerous elements
unknown to its 'Founder.' The northern Buddhism is equally 'genuine,'
being equally true to the spirit of the Buddha.
It is said that Christianity, as a historical religion, contrasts with
the most advanced Buddhism. But really it is no loss to the Buddhist
Fraternity if the historical element in the life of the Buddha has
retired into the background. A cultured Buddhist of the northern
section could not indeed admit that he has thrust the history of
Gautama entirely aside, but he would affirm that his religion was more
philosophical and practically valuable than that of his southern
brothers, inasmuch as it transcended the boundary of history. In a
theological treatise called _Chin-kuang-ming_ we read as follows:
'It would be easier to count every drop of water in the ocean, or
every grain of matter that composes a vast mountain than to reckon the
duration of the life of Buddha.' 'That is to say, Buddha's life does
not belong to the time-series: Buddha is the "I Am" who is above
time.' [Footnote: Johnston, _Buddhist China_, p. 114.] And is
not the Christ of Christendom above the world of time and space?
Lastly, must not both Christians and Buddhists admit that among the
Christs or Buddhas the most godlike are those embodied in narratives
as Jesus and Gautama?
WESTERN AND EASTERN RELIGION
Religion, as conceived by most Christians of the West, is very
different from the religion of India. Three-quarters of it (as Matthew
Arnold says) has to do with conduct; it is a code with a very positive
and keen divine sanction. Few of its adherents, indeed, have any idea
of the true position of morality, and that the code of Christian
ethics expresses barely one half of the religious idea. The other half
(or even more) is expressed in assurances of holy men that God dwells
within us, or even that we are God. A true morality helps us to
realize this--morality is not to be tied up and labelled, but is
identical with the cosmic as well as individual principle of Love.
Sin (i.e. an unloving disposition) is to be avoided because it
blurs the outlines of the Divine Form reflected, however dimly, in
each of us.
There are, no doubt, a heaven where virtue is rewarded, and a hell
where vice is punished, for the unphilosophical minds of the
vulgar. But the only reward worthy of a lover of God is to get nearer
and nearer to Him. Till the indescribable goal (Nirvana) is reached,
we must be content with realizing. This is much easier to a Hindu than
to an Englishman, because the former has a constant sense of that
unseen power which pervades and transcends the universe. I do not
understand how Indian seekers after truth can hurry and strive about
sublunary matters. Surely they ought to feel 'that this tangible
world, with its chatter of right and wrong, subserves the intangible.'
Hard as it must be for the adherents of such different principles to
understand each other, it is not, I venture to think, impossible. And,
as at once an Anglican Christian and an adopted Brahmaist, I make the
attempt to bring East and West religiously together.
RELIGIOUS TEACHERS OF THE EAST
The greatest religious teachers and reformers who have appeared in
recent times are (if I am not much mistaken) Baha-'ullah the Persian
and Keshab Chandra Sen the Indian. The one began by being a reformer
of the Muhammadan society or church, the other by acting in the same
capacity for the Indian community and more especially for the Brahmo
Samaj--a very imperfect and loosely organized religious society or
church founded by Rammohan Roy. By a natural evolution the objects of
both reformers were enlarged; both became the founders of
world-churches, though circumstances prevented the extension of the
Brotherhood of the New Dispensation beyond the limits of India.
In both cases a doubt has arisen in the minds of some spectators
whether the reformers have anything to offer which has not already
been given by the Hebrew prophets and by the finest efflorescence of
these--Jesus Christ. I am bound to express the opinion that they have.
Just as the author of the Fourth Gospel looks forward to results of
the Dispensation of the Spirit which will outdo those of the Ministry
of Jesus (John xiv. 12), so we may confidently look forward to
disclosures of truth and of depths upon depths of character which will
far surpass anything that could, in the Nearer or Further East, have
been imagined before the time of Baha-'ullah.
I do not say that Baha-'ullah is unique or that His revelations are
final. There will be other Messiahs after Him, nor is the race of the
prophets extinct. The supposition of finality is treason to the ever
active, ever creative Spirit of Truth. But till we have already
entered upon a new aeon, we shall have to look back in a special
degree to the prophets who introduced our own aeon, Baha-'ullah and
Keshab Chandra Sen, whose common object is the spiritual unification
of all peoples. For it is plain that this union of peoples can only be
obtained through the influence of prophetic personages, those of the
past as well as those of the present.
QUALITIES OF THE MEN OF THE COMING RELIGION (Gal. v. 22)
1. Love. What is love? Let Rabindranath Tagore tell us.
'In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are
lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. Love must be
one and two at the same time.
'Only love is motion and rest in one. Our heart ever changes its place
till it finds love, and then it has its rest....
'In this wonderful festival of creation, this great ceremony of
self-sacrifice of God, the lover constantly gives himself up to gain
himself in love....
'In love, at one of its poles you find the personal, and at the other
the impersonal.' [Footnote: Tagore, _Sadhana_ (1913), p. 114.]
I do not think this has been excelled by any modern Christian teacher,
though the vivid originality of the Buddha's and of St. Paul's
descriptions of love cannot be denied. The subject, however, is too
many-sided for me to attempt to describe it here. Suffice it to say
that the men of the coming religion will be distinguished by an
intelligent and yet intense altruistic affection--the new-born love.
2 and 3. Joy and Peace. These are fundamental qualities in religion,
and especially, it is said, in those forms of religion which appear to
centre in incarnations. This statement, however, is open to
criticism. It matters but little how we attain to joy and peace, as
long as we do attain to them. Christians have not surpassed the joy
and peace produced by the best and safest methods of the Indian and
I would not belittle the tranquil and serene joy of the Christian
saint, but I cannot see that this is superior to the same joy as it is
exhibited in the Psalms of the Brethren or the Sisters in the
Buddhistic Order. Nothing is more remarkable in these songs than the
way in which joy and tranquillity are interfused. So it is with God,
whose creation is the production of tranquillity and utter joy, and so
it is with godlike men--men such as St. Francis of Assisi in the West
and the poet-seers of the Upanishads in the East. All these are at
once joyous and serene. As Tagore says, 'Joy without the play of joy
is no joy; play without activity is no play.' [Footnote: Tagore,
_Sadhana_ (1913), p. 131.] And how can he act to advantage who
is perturbed in mind? In the coming religion all our actions will be
joyous and tranquil. Meantime, transitionally, we have much need both
of long-suffering [Footnote: This quality is finely described in
chap. vi. of _The Path of Light_ (Wisdom of the East series).]
and of courage; 'quit you like men, be strong.' (I write in August
REFORM OF ISLAM
And what as to Islam? Is any fusion between this and the other great
religions possible? A fusion between Islam and Christianity can only
be effected if first of all these two religions (mutually so
repugnant) are reformed. Thinking Muslims will more and more come to
see that the position assigned by Muhammad to himself and to the
Kur'an implies that he had a thoroughly unhistorical mind. In other
words he made those exclusive and uncompromising claims under a
misconception. There were true apostles or prophets, both speakers and
writers, between the generally accepted date of the ministry of Jesus
and that of the appearance of Muhammad, and these true prophets were
men of far greater intellectual grasp than the Arabian merchant.
Muslim readers ought therefore to feel it no sacrilege if I advocate
the correction of what has thus been mistakenly said. Muhammad was
one of the prophets, not _the_ prophet (who is virtually = the
Logos), and the Kur'an is only adapted for Arabian tribes, not for
all nations of the world.
One of the points in the exhibition of which the Arabian Bible is most
imperfect is the love of God, i.e. the very point in which the
Sufi classical poets are most admirable, though indeed an Arabian
poetess, who died 135 Hij., expresses herself already in the most
thrilling tones. [Footnote: Von Kremer's _Herrschende Ideen des
Islams_, pp. 64, etc.]
Perhaps one might be content, so far as the Kur'an is concerned,
with a selection of Suras, supplemented by extracts from other
religious classics of Islam. I have often thought that we want both a
Catholic Christian lectionary and a Catholic prayer-book. To compile
this would be the work not of a prophet, but of a band of
interpreters. An exacting work which would be its own reward, and
would promote, more perhaps than anything else, the reformation and
ultimate blending of the different religions.
Meantime no persecution should be allowed in the reformed Islamic
lands. Thankful as we may be for the Christian and Bahaite heroism
generated by a persecuting fanaticism, we may well wish that it might
be called forth otherwise. Heroic was the imprisonment and death of
Captain Conolly (in Bukhara), but heroic also are the lives of many
who have spent long years in unhealthy climates, to civilize and
moralize those who need their help.
SYNTHESIS OF RELIGIONS
'There is one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all,
and in all.'
These words in the first instance express the synthesis of Judaism and
Oriental pantheism, but may be applied to the future synthesis of
Islam and Hinduism, and of both conjointly with Christianity. And the
subjects to which I shall briefly refer are the exclusiveness of the
claims of Christ and of Muhammad, and of Christ's Church and of
Muhammad's, the image-worship of the Hindus and the excessive
development of mythology in Hinduism. With the lamented Sister
Nivedita I hold that, in India, in proportion as the two faiths pass
into higher phases, the easier it becomes for the one faith to be
brought into a synthesis combined with the other.
Sufism, for instance, is, in the opinion of most, 'a Muhammadan
sect.' It must, at any rate, be admitted to have passed through
several stages, but there is, I think, little to add to fully
developed Sufism to make it an ideal synthesis of Islam and
Hinduism. That little, however, is important. How can the Hindu
accept the claim either of Christ or of Muhammad to be the sole gate
to the mansions of knowledge?
The most popular of the Hindu Scriptures expressly provides for a
succession of _avatars_; how, indeed, could the Eternal Wisdom
have limited Himself to raising up a single representative of
Messiahship. For were not Sakya Muni, Kabir and his disciple Nanak,
Chaitanya, the Tamil poets (to whom Dr. Pope has devoted himself)
Messiahs for parts of India, and Nisiran for Japan, not to speak here
of Islamic countries?
It is true, the exclusive claim of Christ (I assume that they are
adequately proved) is not expressly incorporated into the Creeds, so
that by mentally recasting the Christian can rid himself of his
burden. And a time must surely come when, by the common consent of the
Muslim world the reference to Muhammad in the brief creed of the
Muslim will be removed. For such a removal would be no disparagement
to the prophet, who had, of necessity, a thoroughly unhistorical mind
The 'one true Church' corresponds of course with the one true
God. Hinduism, which would willingly accept the one, would as
naturally accept the other also, as a great far-spreading caste. There
are in fact already monotheistic castes in Hinduism.
As for image-worship, the Muslims should not plume themselves too much
on their abhorrence of it, considering the immemorial cult of the
Black Stone at Mecca. If a conference of Vedantists and Muslims could
be held, it would appear that the former regarded image-worship (not
idolatry) [Footnote: Idols and images are not the same thing; the
image is, or should be, symbolic. So, at least, I venture to define
it.] simply as a provisional concession to the ignorant masses, who
will not perhaps always remain so ignorant. So, then, Image-worship
and its attendant Mythology have naturally become intertwined with
high and holy associations. Thus that delicate poetess Mrs. Naidu (by
birth a Parsi) writes:
Who serves her household in fruitful pride,
And worships the gods at her husband's side.
I do not see, therefore, why we Christians (who have a good deal of
myth in our religion) should object to a fusion with Islam and
Hinduism on the grounds mentioned above. Only I do desire that both
the Hindu and the Christian myths should be treated symbolically. On
this (so far as the former are concerned) I agree with Keshab Chandra
Sen in the last phase of his incomplete religious development. That
the myths of Hinduism require sifting, cannot, I am sure, be denied.
From myths to image-worship is an easy step. What is the meaning of
the latter? The late Sister Nivedita may help us to find an
answer. She tells us that when travelling ascetics go through the
villages, and pause to receive alms, they are in the habit of
conversing on religious matters with the good woman of the house, and
that thus even a bookless villager comes to understand the truth about
images. We cannot think, however, that all will be equally receptive,
calling to mind that even in our own country multitudes of people
substitute an unrealized doctrine about Christ for Christ Himself
(i.e. convert Christ into a church doctrine), while others
invoke Christ, with or without the saints, in place of God.
Considering that Christendom is to a large extent composed of
image-worshippers, why should there not be a synthesis between
Hinduism and Islam on the one hand, and Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and
Christianity on the other? The differences between these great
religions are certainly not slight. But when we get behind the forms,
may we not hope to find some grains of the truth? I venture,
therefore, to maintain the position occupied above as that to which
Indian religious reformers must ultimately come.
I do not deny that Mr. Farquhar has made a very good fight against
this view. The process of the production of an image is, to us, a
strange one. It is enough to mention the existence of a rite of the
bringing of life into the idol which marks the end of that
process. But there are many very educated Hindus who reject with scorn
the view that the idol has really been made divine, and the passage
quoted by Mr. Farquhar (p. 335) from Vivekananda [Footnote: Sister
Nivedita's teacher. ] seems to me conclusive in favour of the symbol
It would certainly be an aesthetic loss if these artistic symbols
disappeared. But the most precious jewel would still remain, the Being
who is in Himself unknowable, but who is manifested in the Divine
Logos or Sofia and in a less degree in the prophets and Messiahs.
There are some traces both in the Synoptics and in the Fourth Gospel
of a Docetic view of the Lord's Person, in other words that His
humanity was illusory, just as, in the Old Testament, the humanity of
celestial beings is illusory. The Hindus, however, are much more sure
of this. The reality of an incarnation would be unworthy of a
God. And, strange as it may appear to us, this Docetic theory involves
no pain or disappointment for the believer, who does but amuse himself
with the sports [Footnote: See quotation from the poet Tulsi Das in
Farquhar, _The Crown of Hinduism_, p. 431.] of his Patron. At
the same time he is very careful not to take the God as a moral
example; the result of this would be disastrous. The _avatar_ is
super-moral. [Footnote: See Farquhar, p. 434.]
What, then, was the object of the _avatar_? Not simply to
amuse. It was, firstly, to win the heart of the worshipper, and
secondly, to communicate that knowledge in which is eternal life.
And what is to be done, in the imminent sifting of Scriptures and
Traditions, with these stories? They must be rewritten, just as, I
venture to think, the original story of the God-man Jesus was
rewritten by being blended with the fragments of a biography of a
great and good early Jewish teacher. The work will be hard, but Sister
Nivedita and Miss Anthon have begun it. It must be taken as a part of
the larger undertaking of a selection of rewritten myths.
Is Baha-'ullah an _avatar_? There has no doubt been a tendency
to worship him. But this tendency need not be harmful to sanity of
intellect. There are various degrees of divinity. Baha-'ullah's
degree maybe compared to St. Paul's. Both these spiritual heroes were
conscious of their superiority to ordinary believers; at the same time
their highest wish was that their disciples might learn to be as they
were themselves. Every one is the temple of the holy (divine) Spirit,
and this Spirit-element must be deserving of worship. It is probable
that the Western training of the objectors is the cause of the
opposition in India to some of the forms of honour lavished, in spite
of his dissuasion, on Keshab Chandra Sen. [Footnote: _Life and
Teachings of Keshub Chunder Sen_, pp. III ff.]
IS JESUS UNIQUE?
One who has 'learned Christ' from his earliest years finds a
difficulty in treating the subject at the head of this section. 'The
disciple is not above his Master,' and when the Master is so far
removed from the ordinary--is, in fact, the regenerator of society and
of the individual,--such a discussion seems almost more than the human
mind can undertake. And yet the subject has to be faced, and if Paul
'learned' a purely ideal Christ, deeply tinged with the colours of
mythology, why should not we follow Paul's example, imitating a Christ
who put on human form, and lived and died for men as their Saviour and
Redeemer? Why should we not go even beyond Paul, and honour God by
assuming a number of Christs, among whom--if we approach the subject
impartially--would be Socrates, Zarathustra, Gautama the Buddha, as
well as Jesus the Christ?
Why, indeed, should we not? If we consider that we honour God by
assuming that every nation contains righteous men, accepted of God,
why should we not complete our theory by assuming that every nation
also possesses prophetic (in some cases more than prophetic)
revealers? Some rather lax historical students may take a different
view, and insist that we have a trustworthy tradition of the life of
Jesus, and that 'if in that historical figure I cannot see God, then I
am without God in the world.' [Footnote: Leslie Johnston, _Some
Alternatives to Jesus Christ_, p. 199.] It is, however, abundantly
established by criticism that most of what is contained even in the
Synoptic Gospels is liable to the utmost doubt, and that what may
reasonably be accepted is by no means capable of use as the basis of a
doctrine of Incarnation. I do not, therefore, see why the Life of
Jesus should be a barrier to the reconciliation of Christianity and
Hinduism. Both religions in their incarnation theories are, as we
shall see (taking Christianity in its primitive form), frankly
Docetic, both assume a fervent love for the manifesting God on the
part of the worshipper. I cannot, however, bring myself to believe
that there was anything, even in the most primitive form of the life
of the God-man Jesus, comparable to the _unmoral_ story of the
life of Krishna. Small wonder that many of the Vaishnavas prefer the
_avatar_ of Rama.
It will be seen, therefore, that it is impossible to discuss the
historical character of the Life of Jesus without soon passing into
the subject of His uniqueness. It is usual to suppose that Jesus,
being a historical figure, must also be unique, and an Oxford
theologian remarks that 'we see the Spirit in the Church always
turning backwards to the historical revelation and drawing only thence
the inspiration to reproduce it.' [Footnote: Leslie Johnston,
_op. cit._ pp. 200 f.] He thinks that for the Christian
consciousness there can be only one Christ, and finds this to be
supported by a critical reading of the text of the Gospels. Only one
Christ! But was not the Buddha so far above his contemporaries and
successors that he came to be virtually deified? How is not this
uniqueness? It is true, Christianity has, thus far, been intolerant of
other religions, which contrasts with the 'easy tolerance' of Buddhism
and Hinduism and, as the author may wish to add, of Bahaism. But is
the Christian intolerance a worthy element of character? Is it
consistent with the Beatitude pronounced (if it was pronounced) by
Jesus on the meek? May we not, with Mr. L. Johnston's namesake, fitly
say, 'Such notions as these are a survival from the bad old days'?
[Footnote: Johnston, _Buddhist China_, p. 306.]
THE SPIRIT OF GOD
Another very special jewel of Christianity is the doctrine of _the
Spirit_. The term, which etymologically means 'wind,' and in
Gen. i. 2 and Isa. xl. 13 appears to be a fragment of a certain
divine name, anciently appropriated to the Creator and Preserver of
the world, was later employed for the God who is immanent in
believers, and who is continually bringing them into conformity with
the divine model. With the Brahmaist theologian, P.C. Mozoomdar, I
venture to think that none of the old divine names is adequately
suggestive of the functions of the Spirit. The Spirit's work is, in
fact, nothing short of re-creation; His creative functions are called
into exercise on the appearance of a new cosmic cycle, which includes
the regeneration of souls.
I greatly fear that not enough homage has been rendered to the Spirit
in this important aspect. And yet the doctrine is uniquely precious
because of the great results which have already, in the ethical and
intellectual spheres, proceeded from it, and of the still greater ones
which faith descries in the future. We have, I fear, not yet done
justice to the spiritual capacities with which we are endowed. I will
therefore take leave to add, following Mozoomdar, that no name is so
fit for the indwelling God as Living Presence. [Footnote: Mozoomdar,
_The Spirit of God_ (1898), p. 64.] His gift to man is life, and
He Himself is Fullness of Life. The idea therefore of God, in the myth
of the Dying and Reviving Saviour, is, from one point of view,
imperfect. At any rate it is a more constant help to think of God as
full, not of any more meagre satisfaction at His works, but of the
most intense joy.
Let us, then, join our Indian brethren in worshipping God the
Spirit. In honouring the Spirit we honour Jesus, the mythical and yet
real incarnate God. The Muhammadans call Jesus _ruhu'llah_,
'the Spirit of God,' and the early Bahais followed them. One of the
latter addressed these striking words to a traveller from Cambridge:
'You (i.e. the Christian Church) are to-day the Manifestation
of Jesus; you are the Incarnation of the Holy Spirit; nay, did you but
realize it, you are God.' [Footnote: E.G. Browne, _A Year among the
Persians_, p. 492.] I fear that this may go too far for some, but
it is only a step in advance of our Master, St. Paul. If we do not yet
fully realize our blessedness, let us make it our chief aim to do
so. How God's Spirit can be dwelling in us and we in Him, is a
mystery, but we may hope to get nearer and nearer to its meaning, and
see that it is no _Maya_, no illusion. As an illustration of the
mystery I will quote this from one of Vivekananda's lectures.
[Footnote: _Jnana Yoga_, p. 154.]
'Young men of Lahore, raise once more that wonderful banner of
Advaita, for on no other ground can you have that all-embracing love,
until you see that the same Lord is present in the same manner
everywhere; unfurl that banner of love. "Arise, awake, and stop not
till the goal is reached." Arise, arise once more, for nothing can be
done without renunciation. If you want to help others, your own little
self must go.... At the present time there are men who give up the
world to help their own salvation. Throw away everything, even your
own salvation, and go and help others.'
CHINESE AND JAPANESE RELIGION
It is much to be wished that Western influence on China may not be
exerted in the wrong way, i.e. by an indiscriminate destruction
of religious tradition. Hitherto the three religions of
China--Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism--have been regarded as
forming one organism, and as equally necessary to the national
culture. Now, however, there is a danger that this hereditary union
may cease, and that, in their disunited state, the three cults may be
destined in course of time to disappear and perish. Shall they give
place to dogmatic Christianity or, among the most cultured class, to
agnosticism? Would it not be better to work for the retention at any
rate of Buddhism and Confucianism in a purified form? My own wish
would be that the religious-ethical principles of Buddhism should be
applied to the details of civic righteousness. The work could only be
done by a school, but by the co-operation of young and old it could be
Taoism, however, is doomed, unless some scientifically trained scholar
(perhaps a Buddhist) will take the trouble to sift the grain from the
chaff. As Mr. Johnston tells us, [Footnote: _Buddhist China_, p. 12.]
the opening of every new school synchronizes with the closing of a
Taoist temple, and the priests of the cult are not only despised by
others, but are coming to despise themselves. Lao-Tze, however, has
still his students, and accretions can hardly be altogether avoided.
Chinese Buddhism, too, has accretions, both philosophic and religious,
and unless cleared of these, we cannot hope that Buddhism will take
its right place in the China of the future. Suzuki, however, in his
admirable _Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism_, has recognized and
expounded (as I at least think) the truest Buddhism, and it is upon
him I chiefly rely in my statements in the present work.
There is no accretion, however, in the next point which I shall
mention. The noble altruism of the Buddhism of China and Japan must at
no price be rejected from the future religion of those countries, but
rather be adopted as a model by us Western Christians. Now there are
three respects in which (among others) the Chinese and Japanese may
set us an example. Firstly, their freedom from self, and even from
pre-occupying thoughts of personal salvation. Secondly, the
perception that in the Divine Manifestation there must be a feminine
element (_das ewig-weibliche_). And thirdly, the possibility of
vicarious moral action. On the first, I need only remark that one of
those legends of Sakya Muni, which are so full of moral meaning, is
beautified by this selflessness. On the second, that Kuan-yin or
Kwannon, though formerly a god, [Footnote: 'God' and 'Goddess' are of
course unsuitable. Read _pusa_.] the son of the Buddha Amitabha, is
now regarded as a goddess, 'the All-compassionate, Uncreated Saviour,
the Royal Bodhisat, who (like the Madonna) hears the cries of the
world.' [Footnote: Johnston, _Buddhist China_, pp. 101, 273.]
But it is the third point which chiefly concerns us here because of
the great spiritual comfort which it conveys. It is the possibility of
doing good in the name of some beloved friend or relative and to 'turn
over' (_parimarta_) one's _karma_ to this friend. The extent to which
this idea is pressed may, to some, be bewildering. Even the bliss of
Nirvana is to be rejected that the moral and physical sufferings of
the multitude may be relieved. This is one of the many ways in which
the Living Presence is manifested.
_Tablet of Ishrakat_ (p. 5).--Praise be to God who manifested the
Point and sent forth from it the knowledge of what was and is
(i.e. all things); who made it (the Point) the Herald in His
Name, the Precursor to His Most Great Manifestation, by which the
nerves of nations have quivered with fear and the Light has risen from
the horizon of the world. Verily it is that Point which God hath made
to be a Sea of Light for the sincere among His servants, and a ball of
fire for the deniers among His creations and the impious among His
people.--This shows that Baha-'ullah did not regard the so-called
Bab as a mere forerunner.
The want of a surely attested life, or extract from a life, of a
God-man will be more and more acutely felt. There is only one such
life; it is that of Baha-'ullah. Through Him, therefore, let us pray
in this twentieth century amidst the manifold difficulties which beset
our social and political reconstructions; let Him be the prince-angel
who conveys our petitions to the Most High. The standpoint of
Immanence, however, suggests a higher and a deeper view. Does a friend
need to ask a favour of a friend? Are we not in Baha'ullah ('the Glory
of God'), and is not He in God? Therefore, 'ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you' (John xv. 7). Far be it that we should
even seem to disparage the Lord Jesus, but the horizon of His early
worshippers is too narrow for us to follow them, and the critical
difficulties are insuperable. The mirage of the ideal Christ is all
that remains, when these obstacles have been allowed for.
We read much about God-men in the narratives of the Old Testament,
where the name attached to a manifestation of God in human semblance
is 'malak Yahwe (Jehovah)' or 'malak Elohim'--a name of uncertain
meaning which I have endeavoured to explain more correctly elsewhere.
In the New Testament too there is a large Docetic element. Apparently
a supernatural Being walks about on earth--His name is Jesus of
Nazareth, or simply Jesus, or with a deifying prefix 'Lord' and a
regal appendix 'Christ.' He has doubtless a heavenly message to
individuals, but He has also one to the great social body. Christ,
says Mr. Holley, is a perfect revelation for the individual, but not
for the social organism. This is correct if we lay stress on the
qualifying word 'perfect,' especially if we hold that St. Paul has the
credit of having expanded and enriched the somewhat meagre
representation of Christ in the Synoptic Gospels. It must be conceded
that Baha-'ullah had a greater opportunity than Christ of lifting both
His own and other peoples to a higher plane, but the ideal of both was
Baha-'ullah and Christ, therefore, were both 'images of God';
[Footnote: Bousset, _Kyrios-Christos_, p. 144. Christ is the
'image of God' (2 Cor. iv. 4; Col. i. 15); or simply 'the image'
(Rom. viii. 29).] God is the God of the human people as well as of
individual men, so too is the God of whom Baha-'ullah is the
reflection or image. Only, we must admit that Baha-'ullah had the
advantage of centuries more of evolution, and that he had also perhaps
more complex problems to solve.
And what as to 'Ali Muhammad of Shiraz? From a heavenly point of
view, did he play a great _role_ in the Persian Reformation? Let
us listen to Baha-'ullah in the passage quoted above from the Tablet
PRAYER TO THE PERPETUAL CREATOR
O giver of thyself! at the vision of thee as joy let our souls flame
up to thee as the fire, flow on to thee as the river, permeate thy
being as the fragrance of the flower. Give us strength to love, to
love fully, our life in its joys and sorrows, in its gains and losses,
in its rise and fall. Let us have strength enough fully to see and
hear thy universe, and to work with full vigour therein. Let us fully
live the life thou hast given us, let us bravely take and bravely
give. This is our prayer to thee. Let us once for all dislodge from
our minds the feeble fancy that would make out thy joy to be a thing
apart from action, thin, formless and unsustained. Wherever the
peasant tills the hard earth, there does thy joy gush out in the green
of the corn; wherever man displaces the entangled forest, smooths the
stony ground, and clears for himself a homestead, there does thy joy
enfold it in orderliness and peace.
O worker of the universe! We would pray to thee to let the
irresistible current of thy universal energy come like the impetuous
south wind of spring, let it come rushing over the vast field of the
life of man, let it bring the scent of many flowers, the murmurings of
many woodlands, let it make sweet and vocal the lifelessness of our
dried-up soul-life. Let our newly awakened powers cry out for
unlimited fulfilment in leaf and flower and fruit!--Tagore,
Sadhana (p. 133).
THE OPPORTUNENESS OF BAHAISM
The opportuneness of the Baha movement is brought into a bright light
by the following extract from a letter to the Master from the great
Orientalist and traveller, Arminius Vambery. Though born a Jew, he
tells us that believers in Judaism were no better than any other
professedly religious persons, and that the only hope for the future
lay in the success of the efforts of Abdul Baha, whose supreme
greatness as a prophet he fully recognizes. He was born in Hungary in
March 1832, and met Abdul Baha at Buda-Pest in April 1913. The letter
was written shortly after the interview; some may perhaps smile at its
glowing Oriental phraseology, but there are some Oriental writers who
really mean what they seem to mean, and one of these (an Oriental by
adoption) is Vambery.
'... The time of the meeting with your excellency, and the memory of
the benediction of your presence, recurred to the memory of this
servant, and I am longing for the time when I shall meet you
again. Although I have travelled through many countries and cities of
Islam, yet have I never met so lofty a character and so exalted a
personage as Your Excellency, and I can bear witness that it is not
possible to find such another. On this account I am hoping that the
ideals and accomplishments of Your Excellency may be crowned with
success and yield results under all conditions, because behind these
ideals and deeds I easily discern the eternal welfare and prosperity
of the world of humanity.
'This servant, in order to gain first-hand information and experience,
entered into the ranks of various religions; that is, outwardly I
became a Jew, Christian, Mohammedan, and Zoroastrian. I discovered
that the devotees of these various religions do nothing else but hate
and anathematize each other, that all these religions have become the
instruments of tyranny and oppression in the hands of rulers and
governors, and that they are the causes of the destruction of the
world of humanity.
'Considering these evil results, every person is forced by necessity
to enlist himself on the side of Your Excellency and accept with joy
the prospect of a fundamental basis for a universal religion of God
being laid through your efforts.
'I have seen the father of Your Excellency from afar. I have realized
the self-sacrifice and noble courage of his son, and I am lost in
'For the principles and aims of Your Excellency I express the utmost
respect and devotion, and if God, the Most High, confers long life, I
will be able to serve you under all conditions. I pray and supplicate
this from the depths of my heart.--Your servant, VAMBERY.'
(Published in the _Egyptian Gazette_, Sept. 24, 1913, by
Mrs. J. Stannard.)
BROWNE, Prof. E. G.--_A Traveller's Narrative_. Written to
illustrate the Episode of the Bab. Cambridge, 1901.
_The New History_. Cambridge, 1893.
_History of the Babis_. Compiled by Hajji Mirza Jani of
Kashan between the years A.D. 1850 and 1852. Leyden, 1910.
'Babism,' article in _Encyclopaedia of Religions_.
Two Papers on Babism in _JRAS_. 1889.
CHASE, THORNTON.--_In Galilee_. Chicago, 1908.
DREYFUS, HIPPOLYTE.--_The Universal Religion; Bahaism_. 1909.
GOBINEAU, M. LE COMTE DE.--_Religions et Philosophies dans l'Asie
Centrale_. Paris. 2nd edition, Paris, 1866.
HAMMOND, ERIC.--_The Splendour of God_. 1909.
HOLLEY, HORACE.--_The Modern Social Religion_. 1913.
HUART, CLEMENT.--_La Religion du Bab_. Paris, 1889.
NICOLAS, A. L. M.--_Seyy'ed Ali Mohammed, dit Le Bab_. Paris, 1905.
_Le Beyan Arabe_. Paris, 1905.
PHELPS, MYRON H.--_Life and Teachings of Abbas Effendi_. New
ROMER, HERMANN.--_Die Babi-Beha'i, Die jungste
muhammedanische Sekte._ Potsdam, 1912.
RICE, W. A.--'Bahaism from the Christian Standpoint,' _East and
West_, January 1913.
SKRINE, F. H.--_Bahaism, the Religion of Brotherhood and its place
in the Evolution of Creeds._ 1912.
WILSON, S. G.--'The Claims of Bahaism,' _East and West_, July
Works of the BAB, BAHA-'ULLAH, ABDUL BAHA, and ABU'L FAZL:
_L'Epitre au Fils du Loup._ Baha-'ullah. Traduction
francaise par H. Dreyfus. Paris, 1913.
_Le Beyan arabe._ Nicolas. Paris, 1905.
_The Hidden Words._ Chicago, 1905.
_The Seven Valleys._ Chicago.
_Livre de la Certitude._ Dreyfus. Paris, 1904.
_The Book of Ighan._ Chicago.
Works of ABDUL BAHA:
_Some Answered Questions._ 1908.
_Tablets._ Vol. i. Chicago, 1912.
Work by MIRZA ABU'L FAZL:
_The Brilliant Proof._ Chicago, 1913.