The Eighth Principle—Universal Language and Universal Peace

An excerpt from Paris Talks by 'Abdu'l-Baha. Talk dated November 13th, 1911 and presented at 4 Avenue de Camoëns, Paris.

One of the great steps towards universal peace would be the establishment of a universal language. Bahá’u’lláh commands that the servants of humanity should meet together, and either choose a language which now exists, or form a new one. - 'Abdu'l-Baha


‘ABDU’L‑BAHÁ said:


A SUPREME Tribunal shall be established by the peoples and Governments of every nation, composed of members elected from each country and Government. The members of this Great Council shall assemble in unity. All disputes of an international character shall be submitted to this Court, its work being to arrange by arbitration everything which otherwise would be a cause of war. The mission of this Tribunal would be to prevent war.


One of the great steps towards universal peace would be the establishment of a universal language. Bahá’u’lláh commands that the servants of humanity should meet together, and either choose a language which now exists, or form a new one. This was revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forty years ago. It is there pointed out that the question of diversity of tongues is a very difficult one. There are more than eight hundred languages in the world, and no person could acquire them all.


The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.


A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!


A third language would not be needed. To be able to talk with a member of any race and country without requiring an interpreter, how helpful and restful to all!


Esperanto has been drawn up with this end in view: it is a fine invention and a splendid piece of work, but it needs perfecting. Esperanto as it stands is very difficult for some people.

An international Congress should be formed, consisting of delegates from every nation in the world, Eastern as well as Western. This Congress should form a language that could be acquired by all, and every country would thereby reap great benefit.


Until such a language is in use, the world will continue to feel the vast need of this means of intercourse. Difference of speech is one of the most fruitful causes of dislike and distrust that exists between nations, which are kept apart by their inability to understand each other’s language more than by any other reason.


If everybody could speak one language, how much more easy would it be to serve humanity!

Therefore appreciate “Esperanto,” for it is the beginning of the carrying out of one of the most important of the Laws of Bahá’u’lláh, and it must continue to be improved and perfected.


READ > Selected speeches from Paris Talks

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