Greetings, splendid friends, and welcome to today’s episode of Vegetarian Elite on Supreme Master Television. Today, November 12 we celebrate the birth of Bahá'u'lláh, the holy and Enlightened Master who inspired the Bahá’í Faith, the fastest growing religion in the world with over six million adherents now in all corners of the world.

The Bahá’í Faith was born in the mid-19th century in what is now Iran. And it was established by an individual, his name was Mírzá Hussein-`Alí. And when he was in his 20s, he turned his back on a life of wealth and privilege and devoted himself to serving the poor. And when he was in his late 20s he announced that he was a messenger of God, that he came bearing a message from God to humanity at this day. And he took the title Bahá’u’lláh, which means “The Glory of God” in Arabic.

Bahá’í faithfuls recognize their founder, Bahá'u'lláh as a divine messenger who fulfilled and perfected the messages of the Masters who preceded him. His ancestry can be traced back to Persian royalty, as well as to the prophet Abraham and the ancient Persian spiritual master, Zoroaster, and so it is noted that in his person, he united two branches of the Aryan and Semitic religions.

The term we use is called Manifestation of God. That's what Bahá’u’lláh said. He was a manifestation of God. And we consider that all of the founders of the major religions, so that's Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and Jesus Christ and Moses and Krishna and Buddha, that all of them were Manifestations of God.

He used many sort of allegories to explain to us who he was, and what his spiritual nature was. And he said one example is a mirror, that we can't see God directly, but that he's like a perfect mirror, that through him we can understand the nature of God. And so, all of the attributes and qualities of God are perfectly reflected in his being. So that the way we can draw closer to God is by studying the lives and the teachings of these messengers.

As the son of a wealthy government minister, Bahá’u’lláh was well learned in literature and the highly regarded artform of calligraphy. He studied the Qur'an and the works of classic Persian poets. Bahá’u’lláh loved nature and spending time outdoors, and once remarked, “The country is the world of the soul, the city is the world of bodies.”

Even in his early youth, Bahá’u’lláh astounded those around him with his ability to converse on subjects beyond his years. Leading religious figures of the times listened with great interest as he offered pure and lucid explanations to intricate religious questions. As Bahá’u’lláh grew older, he was offered a ministerial career in the government but declined in favor of philanthropic activities. At age 18, he was married to the daughter of a nobleman and she fully supported his spiritual inclination. While in his early 20s, he was given the title “father of the poor” for his loving ministry to those he saw in need.

In 1844, Bahá'u'lláh learned of a holy man called “the Báb,” which in Arabic means “the Gate.” The Báb was actively proclaiming that the great day of divine manifestation that all religions waited for had arrived and his teachings were disseminated rapidly throughout Iran. Noting that the writings of the Báb stirred his soul in the same way as did the Qur’an, Bahá’u’lláh readily accepted the teachings and began to share them.

But by 1848 the community had come to the attention of the authorities, who, perceiving a threat, began to persecute followers of the Báb. Bahá’u’lláh was imprisoned and tortured. At the young age of 31, the Báb lost his life in 1850, as did almost all the leaders of the faith. Bahá’u’lláh, however, was miraculously spared, despite being detained on false charges.

It was during this time when God revealed to him through mystical experiences, his divine mission. In much the same way as John the Baptist had heralded the coming of Jesus, the Báb, in his writings had alluded to a “Promised One” who he commonly referred to as “Him whom God shall make manifest.” God revealed to Bahá’u’lláh that he was that very one, but the time to make this public would not come for more than a decade.

After being released from prison, Bahá’u’lláh was banished from his native land and thus began 40 years of exile for him and his family throughout the extensive Ottoman Empire. Though his life was often in upheaval, Bahá’u’lláh wrote over a hundred volumes that contain the divinely revealed messages he received.

We consider Bahá’u’lláh’s writings as Divine scripture, as the word of God for this day. And Bahá’u’lláh revealed dozens of major works and prayers and meditations.

So we have a practice of reading from those writings every morning and every evening, as a way of being mindful and continually deepening our understanding of God and feeling God’s presence in our lives, in a very real way that we’re connecting with God on a daily basis. We also have a practice of obligatory prayer. So there’s actually three prayers that we can choose from.

Bahá’u’lláh eventually came to share with his fellow Babis that he was the one who had been heralded. Bahá’u’lláh also shared the news in a series of writings to world leaders, who included Pope Pius IX, Emperor Napoleon III of France, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, Sultan ‘Abdu’l-‘Azíz of the Ottoman Empire, Násiri’d-Dín Sháh of the Persian Empire, as well as presidents in America. Bahá’u’lláh asked rulers to emphasize the well-being of their citizens over material possessions, and to work together to settle disputes, and endeavor toward the betterment of the world as a whole.

The letters that he wrote at that time – this was about 1878, ’68 to ’78 – he laid down the foundations of world peace. He said to all these grand people who had so much power, “Now is the time to come together, to sit together, to reduce your armament, and to have a binding treaty for peace.”

In His Letter to Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland, Bahá’u’lláh noted that humanity would find unity through religion and a divinely inspired teacher.

“O Queen in London... That which the Lord hath ordained as the sovereign remedy and mightiest instrument for the healing of all the world is the union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith. This can in no wise be achieved except through the power of a skilled, an all-powerful and inspired Physician.”

On numerous occasions, Supreme Master Ching Hai has addressed the importance of spiritual practice, especially for leaders. During a teleconference with the staff of Supreme Master Television in August 2010, Supreme Master Ching Hai spoke about the power of love, the elevation of humanity’s consciousness, and the role of leaders to support this evolution.

We must know the Truth, the universal principle of love, to stay in the right path. If everybody acts in accordance with the principle of love, then everything can change, overnight even. It’s just people’s concept has to change, and the will to change. But, of course, you see leaders and organization heads have a big responsibility and a big role to play, because they can help people to elevate or they can hinder people. You see what I mean? They can control and corner people so that they cannot rise up. It is bad – bad for humanity as a whole. Right now, humanity is ready, actually. They are ready in their consciousness to be better, to jump into a higher level of evolution.

Bahá'u'lláh wrote about the unifying religion of God.

“O ye that dwell on Earth! The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity or dissension. ...”

The purpose of religion is to bring unity, and if it doesn’t make people love each other, it’s better to be without it. I was amazed when I read this the first time.

I had never heard a leader of religion saying, if it doesn’t work, throw it away. If a car doesn’t work, you don’t go on painting it; you throw it away and get a new one. The same with religion: religion is to produce peace and unity, and if it doesn’t work, forget it.

We believe in one all-powerful, all-loving Creator that has created humanity and sends Divine teachers to guide and educate us. And so that leads to this concept of the oneness of religion, that basically there is only one religion and the various religions that we know of can be thought of chapters in the unfoldment of that one religion. And then this idea of the oneness of humanity.

He basically said the Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens. So that was Bahá’u’lláh’s vision, that we’re ready as a human race to establish our oneness at the planetary level.

Bahá’u’lláh stated that humanity must strive together to achieve the betterment of all.

“… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind.”

As a divinely Enlightened Master, Bahá'u'lláh was able to offer insights into the topics pertinent to that time.

Bahá’u’lláh said each age has its own special needs and its own special teachings. This age is the age of the maturity of mankind; we’ve been growing up in different parts of the world.

People are meeting everywhere, and we’ve suddenly realized we are all talking about the same God, different names, but the same God. And we need to work together.

And this is what Bahá’u’lláh and the Bahá’í Faith says, that we must have one God, one People, and one Religion.

If we’re trying to stop war, we are trying to deal with the climate, we’re trying to be kind to animals, we can work together on this – and we must, because if we don’t work together, then materialism will take over, and materialism as you know leads to greed and a lot of fighting. So we have to overcome that with the spiritual teachings.

Bahá’u’lláh brought a set of teachings that’ll guide people for this time. And so I think that’s what’s special, because the teachings are just a renewal of the eternal teachings of God that have been brought by various teachers in the past. But, they’re just right for today.

Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed the equality of women and men, saying that this would lead to the well-being and security of all peoples. The Bahá'í Scripture therefore notes that women will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace.

“So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease…”

So he started teaching us the very simple fundamentals of how we must break down all the barriers between different colors, different men and women, between science and religion – a huge barrier, so that we can have peace. And this is what the Bahá’ís are still working on.

Bahá'u'lláh embraced animals as part of God’s creation and stated that humans should treat them with exemplary compassion:

“Burden not an animal with more than it can bear. We, truly, have prohibited such treatment through a most binding interdiction in the Book. Be ye the embodiments of justice and fairness amidst all creation.”

Before Bahá'u'lláh’s ascension from this world in 1892, he designated his eldest son `Abdu'l-Bahá as the successor and interpreter of the faith. Repeatedly, `Abdu'l-Bahá noted the compassionate vegetarian diet as the only food suitable for humanity.

“Regarding the eating of animal flesh and abstinence therefrom, know thou of a certainty that, in the beginning of creation, God determined the food of every living being, and to eat contrary to that determination is not approved. Now coming to man, we see he hath neither hooked teeth nor sharp nails or claws, nor teeth like iron sickles. From this it becometh evident and manifest that the food of man is cereal and fruit.

Some of the teeth of man are like millstones to grind the grain, and some are sharp to cut the fruit. Therefore he is not in need of meat, nor is he obliged to eat it. Even without eating meat he would live with the utmost vigor and energy … Truly, the killing of animals and the eating of their meat is somewhat contrary to pity and compassion, and of one can content oneself with cereals, fruit, oil and nuts, such as pistachios, almonds and so on, it would undoubtedly be better and more pleasing.”

Bahá’í devotees also believe: “As humanity progresses, meat will be used less and less, for the teeth of man are not carnivorous. … The human teeth, the molars, are formed to grind grain. The front teeth, the incisors, are for fruits, etc. It is, therefore, quite apparent according to the implements for eating that human's food is intended to be grain and not meat. When humankind is more fully developed, the eating of meat will gradually cease.”

`Abdu'l-Bahá explained that vegetarianism really is the natural diet for humanity. And that little by little, gradually, as we mature and develop, that we will eventually reach a fully vegetarian diet; and that that is the healthiest for individual and for society and for the planet, for the environment, that eventually humanity will adopt the vegetarian diet.

If we don’t preserve the animals, and we don’t preserve nature, we will not have any place to live. We are treating the world like a rubbish dump. Now, science is a wonderful thing, and Bahá’u’lláh praised science very highly. It is based on truth, but physical, material truth. We must also have spiritual truth; these 2 things must go hand in hand.

So we have to protect the Earth, and we have to live with great respect towards the Earth. Bahá’u’lláh said even when you walk on the Earth, say “thank you,” because the Earth is providing this base for everything for us. So, yes, very much, we must love the world and the nature that we live in.

“[T]o blessed animals the utmost kindness must be shown, the more the better. Tenderness and loving-kindness are basic principles of God's heavenly Kingdom. Ye should most carefully bear this matter in mind.”

Bahá'u'lláh referred to the spiritual community as the people of Bahá, meaning the people of splendor, and until now, they continue to share God’s glorious message. Today on the anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh’s birth, we remember with reverence and gratitude his indescribable love for humanity.

The message of Bahá’u’lláh is that we are all one, and that peace is our destiny. It’s ours to work on. It is the promise of the Bahá’í Faith.

We can all embrace each other, and say, “Hey, we are part of one global community, and we can really make the world an Earthly paradise. We have the capacity to turn the world into something very, very beautiful.

Shining viewers, we thank you for joining us on Supreme Master Television for Vegetarian Elite. Please stay tuned for Between Master and Disciples. May your day be imbued with God’s radiant presence on this auspicious day in commemorating the birth of the great Bahá'u'lláh.