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Wednesday, the Baha’is of Los Alamos will celebrate the birth of Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith. The celebration will consist of a talk, prayers, readings and music. It will take place at 505 Oppenheimer Drive in Ridge Park, #1306, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, and is open to all.
Baha’u’llah was born on Nov. 12, 1817, in Tehran, Persia (now Iran). Born into a noble family, Baha’u’llah’s destiny would seem to have been one of wealth and ease. Yet, from an early age, He showed little interest in following in His father’s footsteps at the court of the Shah, preferring to spend His time and resources in ministering the poor. Later, His recognition of the religion of His forerunner, the Bab, caused Him to be imprisoned and subsequently exiled.
During His initial imprisonment, according to His own account, Baha’u’llah first experienced divine revelation.
Of it, He wrote: “During the days I lay in the prison of Tehran, though the galling weight of the chains and the stench filled air allowed me but little sleep, still in those infrequent moments of slumber I felt as if something flowed from the crown of my head over my breast, even as mighty torrent that precipitateth itself upon the earth from the summit of a lofty mountain. Every limb of my body would, as a result, be set a fire. At such moments my tongue recited what no man could bear to hear.”
According to the local Baha’i group, throughout His long exile, Baha’u’llah revealed divinely inspired passages equivalent to more than 100 volumes. This revelation comprises mystical writings, social and ethical teachings, laws and ordinances and a fearless proclamation of His message to the kings and rulers of the world, including Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX, the Shah of Persia, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria.
In the 116 years since the ascension of Baha’u’llah, His faith has spread to all parts of the world and has become, according to United Nations statistics, the second most widespread religion in the world, second only to Christianity in its global extent.
Although Baha’is constitute the largest religious minority in Iran today, according to the local Baha’is, the Iranian Shi’ih clergy consider Baha’is as apostates, and they remain the objects of severe government persecution. Baha’is are, for instance, denied access to higher education and to all government employment, and even Baha’is as young as their early teens have been subject to arbitrary arrest, secret trial and imprisonment in efforts to force them to recant their faith and convert to Islam.
Baha’u’llah is recognized by Baha'is as the Manifestation of God, or Divine Teacher for this age. He taught that all of the Manifestations of God, which include Moses, Abraham, Christ, Muhammad, Krishna and Buddha have appeared at intervals throughout history to found the world’s great religions. They have been sent by a loving Creator to help us know and worship Him and bring human civilization to ever-higher levels of achievement.
Baha’u’llah’s central message for humanity in this day is one of unity and justice. In two oft-quoted passages He wrote, “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens,” and “The best beloved of all things in my sight is justice.” He also stated, “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”