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31 October 2008

Explosive times

DIWALI, THE most important national festival in India, ended this week with murderous blasts in the northeastern state of Assam. The explosions follow a series of terrorist attacks that have rocked India since 2005. This year, they are particularly unabated and more precise and intense than ever. Even more appalling is that the recent attacks have occurred in places—Ahmadabad, Delhi, Malegaon, Surat, now Assam—where ethnic conflicts exist. The perpetrators are obviously inciting sectarian violence amongst the townsfolk, whose leaders have failed to extinguish enmities. Worst, the tragedies come at these troubled financial times, when the least privileged members of society are the first to bear the bitter brunt of political instability.

What troubled times indeed. I'm reminded of what Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, wrote in 1941 in his landmark book, "The Promised Day is Come". Here he analyzes what happens with the world's refusal to accept the message of Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá'í Faith. What he writes on page 16 is disturbing, as it seems to accurately describe the world that we NOW live in.

A world convulsed by the agonies of contending systems, races and nations, entangled in the mesh of its accumulated falsities, receding farther and farther from Him Who is the sole author of its destinies, and sinking deeper and deeper into a suicidal carnage which its neglect and persecution of Him Who is its Redeemer have precipitated . . .

A world spiritually destitute, morally bankrupt, politically disrupted, socially convulsed, economically paralyzed, writhing, bleeding and breaking up beneath the avenging rod of God . . .

We are indeed living in an age which, if we would correctly appraise it, should be regarded as one which is witnessing a dual phenomenon. The first signalizes the death pangs of an order, effete and godless, that has stubbornly refused, despite the signs and portents of a century-old Revelation, to attune its processes to the precepts and ideals which that Heaven-sent Faith proffered it. The second proclaims the birth pangs of an Order, divine and redemptive, that will inevitably supplant the former, and within Whose administrative structure an embryonic civilization, incomparable and world-embracing, is imperceptibly maturing. The one is being rolled up, and is crashing in oppression, bloodshed, and ruin. The other opens up vistas of a justice, a unity, a peace, a culture, such as no age has ever seen. The former has spent its force, demonstrated its falsity and barrenness, lost irretrievably its opportunity, and is hurrying to its doom. The latter, virile and unconquerable, is plucking asunder its chains, and is vindicating its title to be the one refuge within which a sore-tried humanity, purged from its dross, can attain its destiny.


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