Specimen Press Release – V1:

Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh – Oct. 22, 2017

“Tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch.” Bahá’u’lláh

In October of this year, over 6 million Bahá’ís all over the world—including India are celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Baha’i Faith.

In preparation for this momentous event, the Indian Baha’i community is preparing itself to celebrate this event in many creative ways and to reach out to the widest possible cross-section of society to join them in celebrating the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh who appeared, exactly two centuries ago, calling on all the peoples on the earth to recognize their common humanity in a world that is rapidly shrinking.

Messages conveying greetings and good wishes for this momentous occasion have poured in from all quarters – from the Office of the President of India, the Prime Minister of India, the Governors and Chief Ministers of many States and from many other prominent persons.

The global festivities involving people of thousands of ethnic backgrounds, in some 100,000 localities worldwide is demonstrative of a key message of Baha’u’llah’s life and teachings: that a special time has arrived for the entire human race as it gradually moves towards a stage of collective wholeness.

In ….(name your city), on the 22nd of October, the Bahai’s are celebrating this most auspicious occasion at… (place). The celebrations revolve around the life and teachings of Bahá’u’lláh – his message of unity of humankind. (Describe your programme)

Bahá’u’lláh was born in Tehran in 1817. Two centuries later His birth is celebrated around the world alongside the birth of His forerunner of His Revelation, the Báb, born in 1819 on the day before the birth of Baha’u’llah according to the calendar used in Persia. These Twin Holy Birthdays are celebrated by Bahai’s and their friends as one annual festival where the closely interwoven lives and missions of these two Luminaries are remembered together.

The essential teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve around the concept of the oneness of mankind, oneness of religions and oneness of God. Baha’is believe Bahá’u’lláh to be a Manifestation of God for this age continuing the line of the divine Manifestations who founded great religions such as Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad. Baha’u’llah’s writings are particularly fascinating because, in addition to restating the essential moral teachings of all the world’s major religions which have been the basis of the great civilizations past, He also wrote about global and societal issues such as statesmanship, science, collective security, the role of the news media, international language, economic issues, the environment, energy, global governance, agriculture, education and many others. Luis Gushiken, a member of Brazil’s parliament in 1992 when it held a special session to pay tribute to the life of Bahá’u’lláh, described His writings as “the most colossal religious work written by the pen of a single Man.”

Baha’is believe in the essential nobility of the human soul and that every human being must regard himself as a trust of the whole and work towards the betterment of humankind.They also believe that worship and service to society, go hand in hand and thus to achieve this the Baha’i communities worldwide, along with the two million Baha’is in India are engaged in many grass root programmes, aimed at raising the consciousness of young people and providing the youth with a strong sense of values and ethics. The programmes in India are carried out across states where trained youth work shoulder to shoulder with the wider community. Baha’is see these endeavours as one step in their humble contribution towards the betterment of the society.

In this turbulent period of human history, the world is in need of a unifying vision of our true nature as human beings and of the kind of world in which we would want to live. Bahá’ís believe that this vision is revealed in the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, whose life and teachings are the most compelling story of our time.

Press Release V2

Bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh – Oct. 22, 2017

On October 22, 2017, over 6 million Bahá’ís in some 100,000 localities worldwide, which includes over 2 million Indian Bahá’ís in over 10,000 localities, will celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh – the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

In ….(name your city), on the 22nd of October the Bahai’s are celebrating this most auspicious occasion at… (place). The celebrations revolve around the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah – his message of unity of humankind. (Describe your programme)

Baha’is believe religion is the driving force of the civilizing process and the primary agent of human development. It has the power both to nurture moral character and profoundly influence social relationships. Bahá’u’lláh says, “the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interest and promote the unity of the human race and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.”

Bahá’u’lláh’s vision of humanity as one people, and of the earth as a common homeland, is at the heart of the Baha’i teachings. His message of the ‘oneness of mankind’ resonates with the cultural ethos of India and our conviction that we belong to one human family {Vasudhaiva Kuttumbakam}.
The Bahá’í Faith is the youngest of the world’s independent religions. Its founder, Bahá’u’lláh (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahá’ís as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretch back beyond recorded time and include divine luminaries such as Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

Like all former Messengers of God, Bahá’u’lláh willingly bore extraordinary hardships so that humankind might be rescued from its confusion and suffering. He raised the banner of universal peace and brotherhood and revealed the Word of God

However His teachings were met with opposition and He and His family were exiled from their homeland first to Baghdád, then a city under the Ottoman Empire. Words cannot describe the sufferings endured as they walked on snow and ice-covered ground on their way to that fate-ladened city

During this time in Baghdád, He composed three of His most renowned works—The Hidden Words, the Seven Valleys, and the Kitáb-i-Íqán (the Book of Certitude). In His works, Bahá’u’lláh’s writings alluded to His Station, and to the spiritual advancement of humankind.

Continued agitations from His enemies saw Bahá’u’lláh and His family’s last exile to the prison-city of ‘Akká, which at the time was the worst penal colony in the entire Ottoman empire. Bahá’u’lláh was to spend the rest of His life in that fortified city, cut off from His followers.

It was here in ‘Akká that Bahá’u’lláh revealed His most important work, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas—the Most Holy Book—in which He outlined the essential laws and principles of His Faith, and established the foundations for a global administrative order.

The teachings of Bahá’u’lláh are vast in their scope, exploring themes such as the oneness of God and religion, the nature and purpose of Revelation, the station of the Manifestations of God, the inherent nobility of the human being, the cultivation of spiritual qualities, the oneness of humankind, humanity’s interactions with the natural world, and humanity’s coming- of-age. The Bahá’í Writings are also replete with references to universal peace—the supreme goal of all mankind—as well as explanations of the social principles with which this peace is associated.

The occasion of the 200th birth anniversary of Baha’u’llah is prompting people the world over to reflect on the life of a Figure Who accepted 40 years of imprisonment and exile to proclaim the oneness of humanity, inspiring generations to contribute to the construction of a peaceful and just world.

The conviction that we belong to one human family is at the heart of the Bahá’í Faith. The principle of the oneness of humankind is the “pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh revolve”. More than a vague and pious ideal, the oneness of humanity entails a transformation of human consciousness, along with organic changes in the structure of human society, that are beyond anything humanity has yet experienced. Translating the principle of oneness into a new social reality will require a process of systematic and purposeful learning about the harmonization of relationships between individuals, institutions, and communities—from the local to the global level. In this way humanity can learn how to face the challenges now confronting it in a more united, coordinated, and effective manner. This principle lends expression in the diversity of the worldwide Bahá’í community, whose members come from every ethnicity, nationality, tribe, age, racial group, religious background and socio-economic class, and in what Bahá’ís do to serve their communities.

Bahá’ís draw on the central teaching that refinement of one’s inner character and service to humanity are inseparable facets of life. Accordingly, Bahá’ís have come to appreciate the operation of a twofold purpose: to transform their own lives and to contribute to the transformation of society. This dual purpose helps to shape the endeavours of Bahá’ís in all areas. Thus, for example, they are not only expected to pray and reflect daily in their personal lives, but also to make efforts to infuse their neighbourhoods with a devotional spirit; they are asked, not only to deepen their own knowledge of the Faith, but also to share with others Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings for establishing the oneness of humanity.

Being mindful of Baha’u’llah’s exhortation “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and centre your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements” Bahá’ís throughout the world—both individually and collectively—strive to become involved in the life of society, working shoulder to shoulder with diverse groups to contribute to the advancement of material and spiritual civilization through two complementary areas of endeavour—social action and participation in the discourses of society.

For Bahá’ís, social change is not a project that one group of people carries out for the benefit of another. Social action is pursued with the conviction that every population should be able to trace the path of its own progress. They are usually carried out by small groups of individuals in a locality where the courses of the educational programme offered at the grassroots level are well-established. The service projects organized by the junior ia groups and Bahá’í children’s classes are some examples of grassroots initiatives. Whatever their nature, they aim at improving some aspect of the social and economic life in the community.

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” – Baha’i writings.

“The Baha’i Faith is a solace to humankind” -Mahatma Gandhi