Love of God
To know the Manifestation of God means also to love Him. One is impossible without the other. According to Bahá’u’lláh, the purpose of man’s creation is that he may know God and adore Him. He says in one of His Tablets:—
The cause of the creation of all contingent beings has been love, as it is said in the well-known tradition, “I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known. Therefore I created the creation in order to be known.”
And in the Hidden Words He says:—
O Son of Being!Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
O Son of the Wondrous Vision!I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. Why hast thou forsaken Me and sought a beloved other than Me?
To be God’s lover! That is the sole object of life for the Bahá’í. To have God as his closest companion and most intimate friend, his Peerless Beloved, in Whose Presence is fullness of joy! And to love God means to love everything and everybody, for all are of God. The real Bahá’í will be the perfect lover. He will love everyone with a pure heart, fervently. He will hate no one. He will despise no one, for he will have learned to see the Face of the Beloved in every face, and to find His traces everywhere. His love will know no limit of sect, nation, class or race. Bahá’u’lláh says:—“Of old it hath been revealed: ‘Love of one’s country is an element of the Faith of God.’ The Tongue of Grandeur hath … in the day of His manifestation proclaimed: ‘It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world.’”—Tablet of the World. And again:—“Blessed is he who prefers his brother before himself; such an one is of the people of Bahá.”—Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, Words of Paradise.
‘Abdu’l‑Bahá tells us we must be “as one soul in many bodies, for the more we love each other, the nearer we shall be to God.” To an American audience He said:—
Likewise the divine religions of the holy Manifestations of God are in reality one though in name and nomenclature they differ. Man must be a lover of the light no matter from what dayspring it may appear. He must be a lover of the rose no matter what soil it may be growing. He must be a seeker of the truth no matter from what source it come. Attachment to the lantern is not loving the light. Attachment to the earth is not befitting but enjoyment of the rose which develops from the soil is worthy. Devotion to the tree is profitless but partaking of the fruit is beneficial. Luscious fruits no matter upon what tree they grow or where they may be found must be enjoyed. The word of truth no matter which tongue utters it must be sanctioned. Absolute verities no matter in what book they be recorded must be accepted. If we harbor prejudice it will be the cause of deprivation and ignorance. The strife between religions, nations and races arises from misunderstanding. If we investigate the religions to discover the principles underlying their foundations we will find they agree, for the fundamental reality of them is one and not multiple. By this means the religionists of the world will reach their point of unity and reconciliation.
Again He says:—
Every soul of the beloved ones must love the others and withhold not his possessions and life from them, and by all means he must endeavor to make the other joyous and happy. But these others must also be disinterested and self-sacrificing. Thus may this Sunrise flood the horizons, this Melody gladden and make happy all the people, this divine Remedy become the panacea for every disease, this Spirit of Truth become the cause of life for every soul.
Excerpt from Baha'u'llah and the New Era.
Originally published in 1923, this book by Dr. John E. Esslemont—an early British Bahá’í—has been translated into numerous languages and remains a key introductory text to the Bahá’í religion.