Saturday, 9 April 2022

It just isn’t fair

 


Peninsular and Orient, known now as P&O, operates ferries from Britain to various countries in Europe. Recently, eight hundred of their experienced and loyal staff were dismissed without notice, so that the company could employ staff from other countries, and pay them at a lower rate. Many other companies have taken similar action – transferring the jobs to other countries, but paying people less. This is a complete travesty of all that seems fair and right. Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, and speaking as the mouthpiece of God, wrote: “The best beloved of all things in My sight is justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me… Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee.” As Bahá’u’lláh tells us that justice is the best-beloved of all things in the sight of God, we need to consider some of the implications of the word. Surely, justice requires fair and compassionate treatment of those whose lives are affected by your actions – chiefly, in this instance, your employees.

Apart from the loss of income, the role of work in a person’s life should also be taken into consideration. Work is seen by Bahá’ís as a way of dedicating your life to the service of others, and is therefore a form of worship. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Bahá’u’lláh’s son) said: “All effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity.” The ferry company removed that avenue of service from its employees at a stroke. It was not just their livelihood that was taken from them, it was their whole sense of worth, their role in society. In the Bahá’í view, employees of a company are entitled to a share in the profits of that company. This reinforces the idea that this is an enterprise in which owners, managers and workers share. Success for one is success for all. Unfortunately, this is not always seen to be the case.

Shipping has often been the setting for questionable practices. Every ship is registered in one country or another. But some countries are thought to have lax inspection procedures (or none at all). It suits unscrupulous shipping companies to register their old, rusting vessels in one of these countries, as a “flag of convenience”. They get few (or no) inspections. It is an income for the government of such a country, and a way for the companies to get away with poor (or no) maintenance or safety practices. The situation is then compounded by the complicated way in which the companies themselves are set up, whereby the company named on the shipping register then belongs to another company, in another country, which in turn belongs to another company… Prosecuting those responsible for a shipping disaster can be very difficult.

So we have a situation in which crew members speaking eight different languages are working on a ship docked in Country A, with a flag from Country B, owned by a company registered in Country C, which belongs to another company in Country D… And we are dealing here with people’s lives, and shipments of food and goods between countries. My point is that in the case of shipping, which usually involves visiting ports in different countries and travelling over vast distances of sea which “belong” to nobody, there should be a world body in control, ensuring safety, respect for the marine environment, and fair treatment for everyone. The laws on commerce, financial transactions, safety and employment should be the same everywhere. The shipping industry clearly shows the need for some form of world administration, with the power to enforce basic procedures. 

P&O’s change of crew members has had far-reaching consequences. It has meant that their ships need fresh safety clearance, which has led to some of them being out of service. This, together with other problems, has led to long delays at the port of Dover, not just disrupting people’s Easter holidays, but causing huge backlogs for lorries and their goods. This is not a good outcome for anybody, including P&O.

Respect for the law should be underlying the actions of all the stakeholders. P&O’s Chief Executive Officer admitted to a Parliamentary Committee that he broke the law, treating the workers unfairly by sacking them without any sort of prior consultation with the unions. He knew that they would not agree to his proposals, but he seemed to think that it did not matter. According to the Bahá’í teachings, which urge obedience to the laws of a just government, it does matter. There need to be consequences. Otherwise, it just isn’t fair.


Saturday, 12 February 2022

It doesn’t have to be like this…

 


Once again, the prospect of a war between nations in Europe seems possible. In recent years, there have been armed struggles in Eastern Europe and nearby, in the Middle East. But there has been no direct conflict between states in Europe.

In the Bahá’í view, war, as a concept and process, should already have been left behind – consigned to the history books. We should have progressed beyond this. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (Bahá’u’lláh’s son) was saddened by the wars which were happening in the early 20th century and foresaw and warned everyone of the First World War. He asked: “How is it possible for men to fight from morning until evening, killing each other, shedding the blood of their fellow-men: and for what object? To gain possession of a part of the earth! … The highest of created beings fighting to obtain the lowest form of matter, earth! Land belongs not to one people, but to all people. This earth is not man's home, but his tomb.”
Most individuals do not want war. They realise that it only produces suffering. Unfortunately, not all people are able to make their voices heard.

All the human beings on this planet are inter-related, inter-connected. Bahá’u’lláh offered us the vision of re-creating the human race as one family. Love for our fellow-man, love for the world, should be a greater love than for our own country. He said: “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” If we really understood this, there would be no more wars.

In the 1860s, Bahá’u’lláh, writing from a Turkish prison, addressed the most powerful rulers of the time, both collectively and individually, and urged them to organise a universal peace conference. He told them that they should attend in person, or at the very least send their chief ministers. At this conference, they should fix all the boundary disputes, set up rules for behaviour between states, and agree armament levels - sufficient to keep order, but insufficient for aggression. Once these had been agreed upon, the entire world would then have a system designed to prevent any aggression in the future: “Should any king take up arms against another, all should unitedly arise and prevent him. If this be done, the nations of the world will no longer require any armaments, except for the purpose of preserving the security of their realms and of maintaining internal order within their territories.”

Unfortunately, those rulers took no notice, many wars resulted and they still continue to be fought. At the present time, the world is grappling with a disease pandemic. At the same time, problems such as climate change and loss of biodiversity seem to be getting more urgent. This is a time when we really should be working together as a species, not bringing about destruction. Although most of us are unable to directly affect the immediate political crisis, we can all play a part in improving the world through the way we treat other people - our individual actions, the things we say, our example and the things we write. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said: “Peace must first be established among individuals, until it leadeth in the end to peace among nations.” There is no need for the world to stay as it is: it is up to us to help move the world forward.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

A hundred years since he passed away


‘Abdu’l-Bahá was a kindly man. He was generous, loving and caring, like his Father. He lived a life of service to mankind, visiting the sick, feeding the poor and encouraging the downtrodden, just as His Father had done. His Father was Bahá’u’lláh, Whom Bahá’ís believe was the Messenger of God for this age. Bahá’u’lláh Himself suffered imprisonment, torture and exile for forty years, in order to proclaim His message - that all religions are from God, that all human beings are one family and that all mankind should be in unity. From an early age, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá shared many of his Father’s sufferings. Bahá’u’lláh designated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the one who, after His own passing, would be the point of unity for all the Bahá’ís, the Interpreter of His teachings and as the Example of how a Bahá’í should live.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was living in Haifa when he passed away. One little story will suffice to show how the poor people of Palestine regarded ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. In the early years of the twentieth century, some Bahá’í pilgrims were on their way to visit him. Their carriage was stopped by a gang of robbers, who demanded that the pilgrims hand over whatever money they had. They were carrying a bag of money which was to be given to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, so they, very sadly, handed it over. But when one of the pilgrims said, “That money is for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”, the robbers stopped, stated that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had helped them and their families, and handed the bag of money back!

Between 1911 and 1913, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was able to leave Palestine, and he visited Europe, Britain and North America. He was already well into his sixties, and not in good health, due to the conditions which he had endured for much of his life. He had never given a public talk in his life, but suddenly he was being invited to speak to large audiences in churches, synagogues and universities, as well as talking to smaller groups of people who came to hear him in the houses where he stayed. His visits attracted a great deal of interest, with extensive newspaper coverage at the time. He explained his Father’s message that all religions and all people were from the same one God, and stressed the things which should be done in order to bring about oneness. Those who heard him were urged to promote the unity of the races and the equality of the sexes and to work towards peace. He also warned of an impending war, and when the First World War broke out, the resulting conditions prevented him from travelling abroad again.

During this war, the British Army was advancing through Palestine, and pushing back the Turkish forces. The Turkish commander in Haifa announced that if he had to retreat from Haifa, he would have ‘Abdu’l-Bahá crucified, as his last act in charge. Special instructions came to the British Army from London, telling them to make sure that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was safe. General Allenby despatched some Indian cavalry with orders to do exactly that. They galloped straight into Haifa, found out where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was living, and then mounted guard around his house. Later, the General’s telegram to London read, “Have today taken Palestine. Notify the world that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is safe.” General Allenby then made a point of visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in person, and was amazed to find that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had arranged for enough food to be stockpiled to feed everyone in Haifa and also had enough to feed the British troops! For his humanitarian work during the war, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was knighted by the British government.


‘Abdu’l-Bahá passed away on 28th November, 1921, leaving behind clear instructions as to how to keep the Bahá’í Faith united. It is estimated that ten thousand people were present at his funeral (shown above, as it left his house) – Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druze and Bahá’ís. A century later, Bahá’ís around the world have been commemorating his passing in various ways – both among themselves and with the public at large. This commemoration has included special acts of service in his name. In fact, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s work can be summarised as service to humanity, and Bahá’ís continue to try to follow his example. One aspect of this service was that of bringing Bahá’u’lláh’s message of peace, oneness and unity to all of mankind. That task is carried on by the Bahá’ís of today, one hundred years after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá himself passed away. 

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A 55-minute film, “Exemplar”, has recently been released, designed to present ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His life to the public. It can be watched at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXc0cOhrcW4

 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Hope for the future


Recently, the COP26 conference was held in Glasgow, Scotland. The goal was to agree changes in human activity which would restrict the global temperature rise to no more than 1.5°C. (At present, the world is about 1.2°C warmer than it was before industrialisation.) The power to decide what to do resides in the sovereign states - in other words, the individual governments - as we do not yet have one government for the whole world. The ordinary citizen, the concerned activist, the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), can all try to influence governments, but none of them has any power to actually make the decisions which are necessary.

The Bahá’ís of the world, like every other community on the planet, have no control over the COP26 process. But the Bahá’ís collectively are represented at such conferences by an NGO called the “Bahá’í International Community” (BIC) which is accredited to the United Nations. The BIC send a Bahá’í team to each event, usually including individuals with specialist knowledge. At Glasgow, the BIC delegation included a team of young Bahá’ís from Kazakhstan, Kenya and the Netherlands. Their aim was to exchange positive ideas for the betterment of the climate situation with the other bodies present. (A link to one of their news reports can be found at the end of this blog.)

The local Bahá’í community in the area, led by the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Glasgow, was also very active during COP26. The Local Spiritual Assembly, working with a small number of partner organisations, set out to support the goals of the conference. Together they organised a period of intense activity during the period of COP26, including devotional meetings (prayers and readings) every morning and evening, panel discussions, prayer vigils, talks, public discussions, online presentations, musical events and children’s classes. They also produced a helpful and widely-publicised pledge for individuals to investigate how they could modify their lives in order to help reduce global warming (see link at the end of this blog). Bahá’ís also offered accommodation in their homes to visitors from elsewhere.

One of the Bahá’ís living in Glasgow also happens to be the Director of InterFaith Scotland. Among other things, InterFaith Scotland organised a march to show that religious leaders support the effort to rein in global warming (pictured above).

There were a number of other Bahá’ís present at the conference, apart from the BIC representatives previously mentioned. My own brother is chair of the Trustees of the International Tree Foundation (ITF), and was part of a delegation from that body. They were involved in negotiations and co-operation with other NGOs alongside the main conference. ITF was also involved in various tree-planting initiatives, including the Clyde Climate Forest, and agreed an arrangement with Glasgow Clyde College to begin planting trees on all properties owned by them. The photos below show some ITF members planting trees in the Clyde Forest and my brother planting the first tree at the college, alongside the Principal of the College.



A number of the Bahá’ís who were present at the conference are members of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum, which co-operates with and spreads ideas from a wide variety of other bodies. Down To Earth Carbon Ltd was also represented. This organisation is dedicated to helping smallholder farmers and indigenous communities to find more sustainable ways to grow crops. Forest Trends is another Bahá’í-inspired body which sent representatives. Each of these bodies concentrates on one particular aspect of the current situation, and they work co-operatively to achieve the best they can for the planet and for the whole of mankind.

Meanwhile, in the main conference hall, an agreement was reached – at the last minute, as usually happens. Significant goals were set and commitments made by many countries. The governments at the conference, however, still did not succeed in making sufficient pledges to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees. This was particularly disappointing to the small island states, some of which are only a few feet above present sea level, and are therefore at severe risk of being flooded due to sea level rises caused by the melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps. Interestingly, the Bahá’í Faith is well established in many of these island nations. The first Bahá’í House of Worship in the Pacific was built in Western Samoa. By chance, the lady who is the director of InterFaith Scotland was at one time a Bahá’í pioneer in the Pacific, and was involved in activities at the Bahá’í House of Worship in Samoa.

Also co-incidentally, just as the conference was coming to a close, a local Bahá’í House of Worship for the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, was being officially opened. This is the first local House of Worship in the Pacific region. About three thousand people from across Vanuatu attended the ceremony. These Houses of Worship are open for use by people of all religions or none, and serve to bring the local community together in many ways.


Despite the difficulties currently being brought by man-made climate change, the Bahá’ís are not despairing. We still have time to make a difference, especially if humanity can learn to work together as one. Bahá’ís are building up communities because they have hope for the future.

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A link to the Eco Pledge can be found here:

http://www.glasgowbahais.org.uk/Cop26

A link to one of the BIC reports can be found here:

https://www.bic.org/news/bic-delegation-joins-climate-discussions-cop-26-0

[Photo credits:
IFS march: Sean Miller for Digital Chameleon Studios
Tree-planting: Esther Spencer (International Tree Foundation)
Tanna House of Worship: Bahá'í World News Service]

  

Thursday, 21 October 2021

COP26: It’s Time to Play Our Part

 


(this is a guest blog by my wife, Ann)

The COP26 conference in Glasgow starts at the end of this month. At present, the hopes of the world rest on this conference, where the leaders of the world should be making commitments in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

Just recently, the Environment Agency in England published a report giving dire warnings about the dangers of floods and droughts in this country, plus a rise in sea levels around the coast (and Britain has a lot of coast!). The report said that we need to do more as individuals to protect ourselves and our property, playing our own part, while at the same time the government agencies will restore areas to their natural state to better hold back water, for instance. Governments and individuals both need to act, one can’t solve the global warming problem without the other.

We each have our own part to play in a more general way too. Bahá’u’lláh (the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith) said about 150 years ago, “Take from this world only to the measure of your needs, and forego that which exceedeth them.” Unfortunately, many of us in the developed world have been taking more than we need. More than our fair share, in fact. Sadly, it seems that many people do not realise that we are spiritual beings living in a  material world, and that it is our spiritual development which matters, not accumulating material things. In the Bahá’í Writings it says, “Man is in reality a spiritual being and only when he lives in the spirit is he truly happy.” Everything in the world can be lost, but spiritual happiness is eternal. All of the religions have taught us to concentrate on improving our spiritual life – loving and serving others, for example. None of them has told us to be greedy! If we really care for one another we will not take everything for ourselves. In any case, common sense should tell us that the good of the individual is found in the good of the whole.

So what can we do to ensure that there is enough of everything for everybody, now and in the future? How can we avoid climate change bringing disaster to us all? I’m sure we all know many ways we can make a difference. A “make do and mend” approach is a good start, not buying things we don’t really need. There are many changes which don’t cost anything – like planning meals ahead so as not to waste food, eating less meat, switching off unnecessary lights, using low-energy bulbs, walking or cycling instead of driving. Other things are more expensive, like insulation, electric or hybrid cars, or heat pumps. We need to do whatever we can to play our part.

The Bahá’í Writings say that the inner life of each person must change, as well as the outward environment, if we are to save humanity. If we concentrate on the spiritual aspects of life – on kindness, empathy, honesty, generosity – we will not be wishing for material things. It is only by a change of heart that we can avoid the disaster of overwhelming climate change.

On a personal note, I tend to do a check every 6 to 12 months to see where else I could use less, save energy or reduce my carbon footprint. These small changes add up over time.

Maybe, with COP26 coming up, it is time for us all to look again at our lifestyles and see what is really necessary and how we could make a difference to the future of the world.

And if we can change the world for the better, on both a spiritual and a physical level, the sum total of human happiness will be so much greater.

 

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Paddy and I have recently edited a book on climate change for a Buddhist friend. It is called “The Climate Emergency and Green Spirituality Activism – a last chance to change our values?” It has just been published and is available on Amazon as a paperback or e-book. The views expressed in the book are not necessarily the same as ours, but it has lots of information on how climate change is affecting us now and on how it will do so in the future. It also has collections of inspiring quotations from all major faith traditions (including Bahá’í) on the subject of looking after the earth, maintaining a balance and avoiding greed and materialism. The third part of the book suggests ways in which we can help reduce climate change by our own actions - in our own personal lives or by supporting various groups. At 300 pages it is an interesting read!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=the+climate+emergency+and+green+spirituality+activism&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss

Saturday, 12 June 2021

We can make it go away

 


In the United Kingdom, a number of major sporting bodies, such as the Premier league, the English Football League and others, recently organised a boycott of the leading “social” media, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. This is because they feel that these social media organisations are not putting enough effort into preventing racist attacks on sports personalities from random members of the public. At the same time, footballers themselves have been “taking the knee” to show their rejection of racism. The start of the Euro competition is only likely to highlight these issues.

Why is overt racist antagonism so manifest in football (soccer) in particular? Racist thinking – “we” are different from “them”; “they” do not belong “here” – is found in many places in the general population anyway. Perhaps the very fact of supporting one team against all other teams makes this “us” and “them” more apparent. Also, football, being a popular sport producing many celebrities, provides the trolls with names – instantly available famous names. It is also an arena which many people care about. Trolls on social media target all kinds of people – ruining other people’s lives in doing so. But only when they target, and name, a well-known person do others know who they mean, and it achieves notoriety. Do they think that this is not the real world, so it doesn’t matter – that they are not really hurting anyone?

Who are these individuals who post obnoxious opinions about people they have never met? They are probably people who are ignorant in the sense of lacking social graces or empathy. Maybe they lack self-esteem, feel under-valued, and feel that they have little to give. Perhaps people in this state of mind, themselves suffering in some way, hit out at others, to make them suffer, and hope to get some kind of emotional gratification from it. Maybe they are jealous of those who are popular and are looked up to. Whatever the motive, this sort of unkind behaviour is completely wrong, and also counter-productive. Happiness comes not from making others feel miserable or vulnerable, but quite the opposite. Making someone else happy is the most cheering and confirming thing we can do.

It is crucial that self-worth and positive relationships with others should become part of the education of every child. Everybody should be valued, and this is vital if we wish to create a world in which everybody is able to make a worthwhile contribution to society. Bahá’u’lláh tells us to: “Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbour, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face… Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men.” If people followed any part of this teaching it would prevent them from making hostile tweets.

In 1985, the Universal House of Justice (the Bahá’í world body) announced to the world in its message about peace: “Racism, one of the most baneful and persistent evils, is a major barrier to peace. Its practice perpetrates too outrageous a violation of the dignity of human beings to be countenanced under any pretext. Racism retards the unfoldment of the boundless potentialities of its victims, corrupts its perpetrators, and blights human progress. Recognition of the oneness of mankind, implemented by appropriate legal measures, must be universally upheld if this problem is to be overcome.”

Around the world, there are now several million Bahá’ís, taking Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings as a guide for both their social goals and their personal behaviour. In the Bahá’í writings it says: “In the sight of God colour makes no difference at all, He looks at the hearts of men.” Bahá’u’lláh also specifically spoke of the special role that black people will play in the spiritualisation of the world. Speaking in London, His son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá said that Bahá’u’lláh once compared black people to the pupil of the eye and said that through this black pupil the light of the Spirit shines forth.

All the while, the Bahá’ís world-wide are working to build up communities free from prejudice. These  communities include people from many different racial, social and cultural backgrounds. The elected Bahá’í bodies are often composed of people from several different national and racial backgrounds, and include many people from minority groups. Bahá’ís see this as a pattern for the future.

Part of this community-building effort is the development of classes for children, and of socially active groups for youth, both of which are dedicated to instilling self-worth and fostering spiritual and social development in every child, regardless of background. In the Bahá’í view, mankind has a glorious future ahead of it, in which all these divisions between different groups of human beings will simply be left behind. Bahá’u’lláh proclaimed that we are all one human family. His son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, gave lectures on this teaching when He toured the West: “All humanity are the children of God; they belong to the same family, to the same original race.” One of the most popular Bahá’í prayers begins: “O Thou kind Lord! Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock. Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household.”

We need to see past differences of colour. We need to look to the wider picture of one humanity, and consider the feelings of every human being. As Bahá’u’lláh expressed it: “…strifes and discord must cease, and all men be as one kindred and one family… Let not a man glory in this, that he loves his country; let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind…” Prejudice of all forms can breed in a divided world, but in a united world where people are brought up to respect everybody, and to reject prejudice, we can make it go away.

(picture courtesy of Getty Images)


Saturday, 10 April 2021

He lived a life of service

 


The death has been announced of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the consort of Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth. Although he was born a prince in Greece, he spent most of his life in the United Kingdom, became an officer in the Royal Navy, and went on to marry Princess Elizabeth, the heir to the throne. When his father-in-law died, Philip became the consort to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. So many tributes have called to mind his more than 70 years of service to the Queen, to the country and to the world. The Bahá’í view is that: “work done in the spirit of service is the highest form of worship” and he exemplified that.

One particular type of service for which Prince Philip will be remembered is his “Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme”. In the Bahá’í writings it states that, “Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children.” More than sixty years ago, the prince saw that children were being educated, but were not universally being trained in useful skills and self-reliance. His scheme sought to offer self-improvement exercises, including an element of volunteering, some physical training, development of personal skills and participation in an expedition. This scheme, to add a wide range of training to the academic learning usually offered by schools, has spread to 144 different countries, and has had about seven million participants to date.

Prince Philip was a servant of humanity. His family background included relatives from both Eastern and Western Europe. With his broad vision, he served the Commonwealth for many years. The Commonwealth is a family of very diverse nations, and through his involvement with it, he routinely mixed with people of all colours and religions. He was well aware of the Bahá’í Faith, as the Malietoa Tanumafili II, the Head of State of Samoa, was known to him personally. The Malietoa was universally known as a Bahá’í.

He also routinely met Bahá’ís through their involvement with the World Wildlife Fund, now known as the World Wide Fund for Nature.  Prince Philip was one of the founders of this movement, and his own views on the interdependence of all life mirrored what has been clearly set out in the Bahá’í writings:  “Reflect upon the inner realities of the universe, the secret wisdoms involved, the enigmas, the inter-relationships, the rules that govern all. For every part of the universe is connected with every other part by ties that are very powerful and admit of no imbalance…”  Prince Philip’s efforts to get society to recognise this principle gradually met with some success.

Bahá’u’lláh, Who lived in the nineteenth century, was a great lover of nature, and the Bahá’í writings frequently refer to our need to properly understand the place of humanity within nature as a whole: “… even as the human body in this world, which is outwardly composed of different limbs and organs, is in reality a closely integrated, coherent entity, similarly the structure of the physical world is like unto a single being whose limbs and members are inseparably linked together.” Issues espoused in the twentieth century by the prince were often not taken up by society at large until many years later. For example, he was keenly aware of the pollution of the world’s rivers, and argued that something should actually be done about it!

Bahá’u’lláh’s son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, lived an exemplary life of service which Bahá’ís try to follow. It is for service of all kinds that Prince Philip will be remembered. As Bahá’u’lláh put it: “Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches.” Although Prince Philip lived a life surrounded by possessions and privilege, he did not connect the pomp and pageantry with his own self. That all came with the role into which his wife happened to have been born. His was a life of service, and surely exemplified this from the Bahá’í Writings: “That one indeed is a man who, today, dedicateth himself to the service of the entire human race.”