When we consider life in all its aspects, we see that invariably, there is need for an educator. If a man is left alone in the wilderness, he will take on the ways of the animal. If he is educated, he can reach the greatest heights of accomplishment. Were it educators, there would be no civilization.
Education is three kinds: material, human and spiritual. Material education is concerned with the development of the body. Human education is about civilization and progress. It deals with government, administration, charitable work, trades, arts and handicrafts, science, great inventions and discoveries. Spiritual education consists in acquiring divine perfections. This is true education, for by its aid the spiritual, the higher nature of the human being is developed.
In order to progress, humanity needs an educator who has a clear authority as a material human and spiritual educator. If someone should say, “I possess perfect intelligence, and I have no need for such an educator,” he would be denying that which is clear and evident. It would be like a child saying, “I have no need for education; I will act according to my reason and intelligence, and will reach perfections by myself.”
Humanity has always been in need of such a perfect educator, one who can help it organize matters related to the nourishment and health of the body, inspire it to advance in knowledge, invention and discovery and most importantly breathe into it the real life of the spirit. No ordinary human being can achieve these formidable tasks. Only those who are chosen souls have the power to accomplish them from time to time to build the Universal Education.
The promotion of education is a most urgent requirement of our time. No nation can achieve prosperity unless it makes education one of its central concerns. The primary reason for the decline of people is ignorance. Education brings honor, prosperity, independence and freedom to a government and its people.
Education must begin at infancy. It is the duty of the father and mother to strive with every means to educate their children, refine their characters according to spiritual and moral laws and train them in the arts and sciences. Mothers are the first educator of humankind; they watch over the child in the cradle and nurse him at the breast of knowledge. Every child must be educated; this is not a matter that can be neglected. If the parents are able to take care of the expense, they must do so. Otherwise the community must provide the means for the education of the child.
Education should develop in every human being the desire to achieve excellence. Men and women should become enamored of human perfection and pursue it with passion. He should aspire to distinction, to become known for the virtues of the human world – for sincerity, loyalty, service to human, love and justice. He or she must seek to be distinguished by efforts to promote peace and unity and foster learning. To guide people on such a path is the real task of education.
Today there is no greater challenge to humanity than the establishment of peace. Peace is light; war is darkness. Peace is life, war is death. More than a century ago our communities have been divided apart. It is therefore now important to bring teachings to make the establishment of peace possible.
Among these teachings is the independent investigation of reality. If people are allowed to investigate life’s reality, they will come to see the oneness of humanity. Truth is one and by its means the unity of the world can be realized. Prejudices of all kinds – race, class, color, creed, nation, sex and degree of material civilization; are causes of strife. If we accept to investigate reality rather than blindly imitate the beliefs of the past, we will arise to abolish every form of prejudice.
We should start making clear distinction between true religion and superstition. True religion must be in harmony with science and reason. Religion must be the cause of fellowship and love. If it becomes the cause of discord and hatred, then it is better to be without it. Also, the equality of men and women, we may think of the world of humanity as a bird – one wing is women and the other men; both wings have to be developed for the bird to fly. In addition to the importance of universal education, the benefit of adapting a universal language and the necessity of seeking spiritual solutions to economic problems.
A garden in which all the plants are of the same shape and color lacks in beauty; it is dull and monotonous. The garden that is pleasing to the eye is one in which flowers of every color and fragrance grows side by side. It is the joyous contrast of colour that gives the garden its beauty and charm. Though different, each flower is refreshed by the same rain and receives the warmth of the sun. This is also true humanity. It is made up of many races and colours. But all comes from the same God, and all have the same origin. The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music; different notes blend together to make a perfect chord.
Unity is necessary to existence. Love is the very cause of life. In the material world, all things owe their existence to unity. Their elements are held together by the law of attraction. The law of attraction brings together certain elements in the form of a beautiful flower. But when the attraction is taken away, the flower will decompose and cease to exist. So it is with Unity of Humanity. Attraction, harmony and unity are that hold humanity together.
When we meet people of different races, nationalities, religions and opinions, we should not allow these differences to become barriers between us. We should think of them as different coloured roses growing in the beautiful garden of humanity, and be glad to be among them.
Difference of capacity in individuals is fundamental to human existence. It is not possible for all to be alike, for all to be equal. Yet, human affairs in their entirety should be governed by the principle of justice.
Justice is not limited; it is a universal quality. It must operate at all levels of society. Justice must be sacred and the rights of all people must be guarded. The laws of society must be formulated and enforced in such a way that it is not possible for a few to amass wealth and for others to destitute. These include elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty.
Each member of society should enjoy the benefits of civilization because every individual is a member of the body of humanity. If one member of this body is in anguish or distress, all the other members must necessarily suffer. How can one member be afflicted and the others be at ease? Yet today because of the lack of harmonious relations, some members of society are satisfied living in the utmost comfort and luxury, while others are in want of food and shelter. Today’s society lacks the necessary reciprocity and symmetry; it is not well arranged. Laws and principles are needed that will ensure the wellbeing and happiness of all the members of the human family.
Justice is established on the pillars of reward and punishment. People are motivated to be just by the hope for reward and the fear of punishment. These two sentiments are necessary if oppression is to prevented. The legislators and administrators of the laws must be aware of the spiritual consequences of their decisions. When a person knows that he will be held responsible for his actions beyond this earthly life, he will be inspired to act with justice.
The physical sun through its light and heat reveals the reality of all things on earth. Without its rays, these realities would be shrouded in in darkness. Likewise, the sun shining in full splendor over an individual’s sky has manifest realities that were not apparent in the past. One such reality is the equality of men and women. Through the rays of the sun of truth, the capacities of women have been so illumined that the equality of men and women is now an established fact. In the sight of God there is no distinction between men and women. The condition of equality that has existed throughout the ages is not the result of the superiority of men; it is simply that women have not been given the same opportunities to develop all their potentialities. In spite of the prejudice against them, however history records the lives of numerous women who have achieved the greatest of accomplishments. These women fully aware of the realities of the equality of men and women and dedicated her energies to proclaiming this truth with their knowledge and eloquence baffled the most learned men during their time.
To believe in that which God has not intended is ignorance and superstition. Today, women should be allowed every opportunity to become educated and to assume a position of equality with men in all fields of human endeavor. Until the equality of men and women becomes a reality in this world, as it is the real progress of humankind is not possible.
Every living thing in this world passes through different stages. Each stage has its own conditions present its own requirements. In the life of the human being, the conditions and requirements of infancy, of childhood, of adolescence, of youth and maturity are not the same. Each stage prepares us for the next, sharpening our faculties and training our intelligence.
Similarly there are periods and stages in life of humanity as a whole. Humanity is now leaving behind its childhood and entering the long-awaited period of maturity. That which could meet the needs of its early history does not satisfy the demands of this day. The playthings of infancy and childhood no longer satisfy the adult mind.
Every standpoint the world of humanity is undergoing revolutionary change, whether in government or law, in science or industry. Old standards of ethics, moral codes and methods of living in the past are not adequate for the present age of advancement and progress.
This is the time of maturity and reformation in life. Bigotry and dogmatic imitations of ancient beliefs have become the source animosity. They must pass and give way heavenly teachings which have been revealed for the advancement of humanity in this age. This reformation and renewal of the fundamental reality of change constitute the true spirit of modernism, the unmistakable light of the world, and the divine remedy for all the ills of humanity.
We must be lovers of light no matter what lamp it appears. We must be lovers of the rose no matter in what garden it blooms. We must be seekers of truth no matter what source it comes. Attachment to one lamp can prevent us from appreciating the light when it shines in another. Attachment to outer forms and practice of religion can deprive of understanding the truth of all religious. We must abandon prejudice and outmoded traditions if we are to succeed in finding the truth. There is difference between dogma, superstition and prejudice on the one hand, and the truth on the other. If we understand this, we will be able to see the truth shone in all the mankind.
In seeking the truth, we must free ourselves off all our opinions and preconceived ideas. We must give up our prejudices and trivial notions. An open receptive mind is needed. If our cup is full of self, there is no room in it for the water of life. The fact that we think we are right and everyone else is wrong is the greatest obstacle in the path to unity. And unity is necessary if we are to reach the truth, for truth is unity and unity is one.
Photo credit: Nancy Paul