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Introduction to Reform Bahai Faith, A Talk Presented to the Troy Interfaith Group
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Jenabe Fazel Mazandarani was commissioned by Abdul-Baha to speak on his behalf throughout North America, largely during the year prior to his own death in 1921. His speeches are, therefore, especially representative of Abdul-Baha's Interpretation of Baha'u'llah's Teachings. Mirza Ahmad Sohrab accompanied and translated for him during much of Jenabe Fazel's speaking tour.

"His honor Fazel, in reality, is perfect in all grades—in knowledge and virtue, in sincerity of intention, in beauty of character, in severance from aught else save God and attraction with the fragrances of God." —Abdul-Baha to Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, July 1920.

"His honor Fazel is a revered person. He has been growing for a long time in the Cause. Next to his honor, Mirza Abul Fazel, he is the best informed of his contemporaries. He has no aspiration save service to the Cause of God. He is a scholar." —Abdul-Baha to Roy C. Wilhelm, August 9, 1920.


Although inevitably somewhat dated in approach, compared with contemporary interfaith dialogue and scholarship, Jenabe Fazel's early 1920s addresses exhibit the universality of interpretation that Abdul-Baha emphasized throughout his life, in both word and example.

1921

"All these physical and outward improvements in the realm of science and industry whisper into our ears that we are living in an age of Universal Religion. They convince us that just as the physical globe in its material aspect has become more and more united, likewise the endless realms of the hearts must be swayed and conquered by dynamic spiritual force which may bring into the higher consciousness of man that Universal faith, that world religion, of which men and women have been dreaming for ages and ages. We are in need of a Universal Religion today which may act as the light in the globe of material civilization; a Universal Religion which may function as spirit in the body politic, in the commonwealth of humanity; a Universal Religion which may bring under its tabernacle all the faiths of the world, melting them into one, and enabling them to enter into the realm of unity." "The Elements of Universal Religion." New Thought Auditorium, Seattle, Washington. January 23, 1921.

"Universal religion, therefore, is in need of a universal temple, not a temple where only rites and ceremonies are performed but a temple which is the home of universal love and service, dedicating all energies to the work of human salvation. The real temple is the heart of man...."
"In truth, when we listen with the ear of the spirit today, we hear the people of all religions crying at the top of their voices that the spirit has left their temples. What was the cause of the banishment of the Spirit from these temples? Because the leaders of the church wanted to organize the Spirit, they wanted to institutionalize the Holy Ghost, and thus they lost the great boon of spiritual spontaneity and unification. God, therefore, has a great gift for the world of humanity today. He has freed the spirit of worship from the chains and fetters of ecclesiasticism so that mankind may grow in this immensity of God's love, with the greatest freedom, with the greatest liberty, and with the greatest joy and happiness." "The Temple of Universal Religion: The Fundamental Oneness of all Existing Faiths." April 24, 1921. Bahai Congress. Auditorium Hotel, Chicago.

"These Bahais in all their talks, in all their conversations, have no other aim but this great universal aim of universal love. Is there, indeed, a greater reality in the world of humanity than love? A thousand times no. Love is the spirit of this universe. Love is the cause of the creation of phenomena. Love is the foundationof all our social and ethical activities. God has created His world through love. He has kept it in cohesion through love and He is creating constantly all things through the law of love...."
"This is the century of international justice. This is the era of love. This is the cycle of friendship. This is the time in which the power of universal religion must be revealed. This is the hour in which all the children of men must forget their past differences and live peacefully under the tent of universal love, being the members of one family, the stars of one heaven, the fingers of one hand, and the flowers of one rose-garden." "Religion Must Be the Cause of Love and Unity." Bahai Congress. Auditorium Hotel, Chicago. April 25, 1921.

"Baha'u'llah, consequently, brought to us the essence of religion which is the reality of science and he gave to us the quintessence of signs which is the jewel of religion and thus united and harmonized the religions of the world and removed all signs and theories of conflicts and turmoils."
"This is the age of illumination, this is the cycle of light, this is the era of human brotherhood, this is the time for universal peace, and we cannot—and will never—have the realities of these principles until all of us will arise and conform all our religious ideas to scientific principles. Thus these two blessings of God will transform the surface of the earth into the paradise of glory." "The Conformity of Science and Religion: The Universal Education of the Future." Bahai Congress. Auditorium Hotel, Chicago. April 26, 1921.

"What did Baha'u'llah accomplish? He simply washed the slate of the religions of the world clean from all caste, creeds and dogmas. He attracted the attention of mankind from exterior sanctimony to interior devotion and worship. He suggested to them to ascend to the top of the mountain where he had given his divine sermons, and once the people of the world gather on the summit of that mountain with those beatitudes, there are no differences, there are no creeds, there are no traditions." "The Dawn of the Sun of Reality and the Power of the Influence of Baha'u'llah." Bahai Congress. Auditorium Hotel, Chicago. April 27, 1921.

"We are living at the dawn of this great divine age; at the dawn of such an international cycle where all the constructive and humanitarian forces are working for the betterment of the world, so that we may have one United States of the World; one Universal God; one great family of nations; one language; and one shepherd of one flock." "Bible Prophecies Fulfilled in this Age." Reality June 1921.

1920

"These catastrophies and calamities that have occurred in the world have opened the eyes of the people." First Public Address in USA. Bahai Congress. New York. April 27, 1920.

"All the Manifestations of God appeared in this world only that love and unity should prevail among mankind. The prophets of the world had no other aim except love and unity amongst humankind." "The Bahai Revelation." Bahai Congress. New York. April 27, 1920.

"Although the Mohammedan priests and kings undertook to banish Baha'u'llah—they did not know that they were in reality assisting him in every possible way." "The Investigation of Truth." Bahai Congress. New York. April 28, 1920.

Bahai democratic elections of local spiritual assemblies: "Bahais chosen as members of the House of Spirituality should be firm in the Covenant and well known for their steadfastness." "The House of Spirituality in Persia." Bahai Congress. New York. April 29, 1920.

"The world will become, in the course of time, like one home. There will be one United States of the world, one international auxiliary language, one parliament, one universal religion." A partial Itinerary of his lectures throughout the United States and Canada, during 1920 to 1921, which conveys the scope and importance that Abdul-Baha placed on his tour.

In turn, one man's attempt to understand Abdul-Baha's Interpretation of Baha'u'llah's Teachings. "The Message of Jenabe Fazel." Harrison G. Dyar, in Short Talks Practical Application of the Bahai Revelation, 1922.