by Christine Nightingale
The Baha’i faith was founded about 155 years ago in what is now Iran. The founder of the faith, Bah’u’llah, born a Persian nobleman, was imprisoned in a notorious dungeon for being a follower of the Bab. While there he was visited by a being, The Maid of Heaven, who floated above him and informed him that he was the Promised one of all the religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.) He was to bring a new revelation which would eventually bring about the Most Great Peace on earth.
Baha’is believe in the unity of humanity, the equality of men and women, and that the foundation of all religions is one. Baha’ullah taught that nine manifestations of God (divine messengers) have taught the same message through progressive revelation-in other words, a little was added to the message according to the evolution of the human race and gradually developing capacity to understand. Any apparent inconsistency among religions is due to human interpretations, not to the actual teachings of the founders. Baha’is have no clergy. Each Baha’i has a responsibility for independent investigation of the truth. Religion and science must be in an agreement, and so it is essential that everyone be free to question. No Bah’is is more an expert on the faith than any other. But it is expected that all nbah’is be conversant with the teachings of previous religions, which are also part of the truth. Bahais meet in each other’s homes. There is a temple on each continent, such as the newest, built on Mount Carmel in Haifa, and the Lotus Temple in India. The Bah’ai faith is found in almost every country in the world, with 6,000,000 adherents.
(The author of this article has been a Baha’i since September 1997. She can be contacted at her website www.nightingalehealing.com for further information.)
The Revelation of Bah’u’llah, Volume One, Adib Taherzadeh, George Ronald, Oxford [ISBN 0-85398-057-8]