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"Is not the object of every Revelation to effect a transformation in the whole character of mankind, a transformation that shall manifest itself, both outwardly and inwardly, that shall affect both its inner life and external conditions?"

~Bahá'u'lláh

Bahá’í World News Service
The Bahá’í World News Service reports on current Bahá’í activity around the world.

Youth Conferences

Message from The Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha’i’s,addressed to the 114 Youth Conferences throughout the World, dated 1 July 2013.

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The Baha'i House of Worship of India

The Baha'i House of Worship in New Delhi, which is considered as India’s symbol of communal harmony by the Government of India, was dedicated to the people of India and all humanity in December 1986.

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News

Ridvan – The New Dawn

Ridvan is a twelve-day religious festival celebrated each year between 21 April and 2 May, in 120,000 centres around the globe with participants from every conceivable background of ethnicity, race, language, colour and nationality, speaking some 800 languages. It is claimed to be the most widely celebrated religious festival in the farthest corners and remotest islands on earth. Who are these celebrants, and what is this festival about?

 

All Holy Scriptures have predicted the general decline of faith, leading to darkened spiritual horizons, with related adverse consequences for all mankind. Scriptures have also held out the definite promise of a new awakening, with the divine bestowal of a new religious dispensation. This promise that has kept alive the flickering flame of faith in the hearts of men. This is the infinitely precious, divinely-ordained revelation vouchsafed to humanity by a benevolent Creator, to re-create and redeem the spiritual character of man. This new dawn, typified as a fresh natural spring-time, endowed with the potential to renew and revitalize all creation, and usher in a season of warmth and growth, has been prayerfully awaited since centuries by devout souls in all religious communities. That spring-time had dawned, believe members of the Baha’i Faith. Its illumination and warmth not yet fully recognized and acknowledged by a still dormant humanity, is spreading across the religious spectrum. Vigilant souls among mankind have awakened and responded to the new dawn.

A competition organized some years ago to select the single most outstanding announcement that could hold world attention awarded the prize to an American journalist for his three-word banner head  – “Christ has Returned”. And indeed such a news item would create world-wide stir and attention, whether to prove or disprove the event. World interest, breaching national and religious boundaries, would suddenly shift from every important national and international issue and focus sharply on the momentous “return” fore-ordained in the Bible. Similar would be world arousal and interest in announcements of the advent of Shahbahram of Zoroastrians, Maitrya Amitabha of Buddhists, Jehovah of Jews, Kalki Avatar of Hindus and Imam Mehdi of Muslims – all unequivocally predicted and recorded in Holy Scriptures and destined to be fulfilled. The ecstasy, rapture, and resurgence of faith ignited by such an event, awaited and anticipated by generations, would of a certainty rejuvenate and galvanize the world.  A study of these scriptural prophecies pin-points the appearances to be from the East and in the mid-19th century. Many claimants to that august station have arisen and faded into ignominy. The single claim that has survived and attracted devout hearts from around the globe is that of Baha’u’llah, Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Born Mirza Husayn Ali Nuri into a noble Iranian family, he rejected the offer of the lofty position of a vazir in the court of the Shah of Iran in order to be free to follow his spiritual pursuits. Opposed by the clergy and government, Baha’u’llah, was shorn of his extensive properties, persecuted, imprisoned, and eventually exiled with his family to Iraq in 1853.

Alarmed by Baha’u’llah’s growing popularity and veneration among Iraqis, and increasing numbers of devout Iranian Muslims traveling to Baghdad to seek his presence and guidance from his teachings and writings, the Iranian government conspired to have him sent away to a more distant, inaccessible location. He was exiled, still as a prisoner, to Constantinople in Turkey. In preparation for his departure from Baghdad   Baha’u’llah shifted to tents pitched on the banks of the Tigris River, on the outskirts of Baghdad, on 21st April 1863, in a garden called Ridvan – in Persian meaning Paradise -  from where he departed on 2nd May. The twelve days spent in the Garden of Ridvan became the most momentous event in his life. During this period he made public declarations of his divine mission. It is this historic event that is celebrated by the ever-growing numbers of his followers throughout the world.

The persecution of Baha’u’llah did not cease with banishment to Turkey. Further detention took him to the prison city of Akka in Palestine. During the forty years of persecution and imprisonment, a flood of revelation flowed from his inspired pen, including messages to kings and rulers and religious leaders of the world with clear warnings of impending catastrophic wars. He promoted the unification of mankind and  universal peace. Baha’u’llah passed away in 1892 and is laid to rest in Bahji, now Israel, to which shrine flow millions of pilgrims from the remotest corners of the globe. The Ridvan period is the most auspicious time for devotees to celebrate the momentous occasion of the declaration of Baha’u’llah at what Baha’is consider the holiest spot on earth.

The central theme of the teachings of Baha’u’llah being  the unity of God and His Manifestations, and the unity of religion through progressive revelations, envisages the eventual confluence and convergence of belief systems, not conversion from or abandonment of one belief for another. This is evident in the far-flung, culturally diverse, spiritually united members of the Baha’i world family.

- Sheriar Nooreyezdan