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By a Reader who Wishes to Remain Anonymous

The idea of a universal auxiliary language was called for by Baha’u’llah:

It behoveth the sovereigns of the world — may God assist them — or the ministers of the earth to take counsel together and to adopt one of the existing languages or a new one to be taught to children in schools throughout the world, and likewise one script. Thus the whole earth will come to be regarded as one country. Well is it with him who hearkeneth unto His Call and observeth that whereunto he is bidden by God, the Lord of the Mighty Throne.  (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 22)

In 1887, Dr. Ludwik Lejzer Zamenhof, a Polish medical doctor, inventor, and writer, created Esperanto and it has become the most widely spoken constructed language in the world.  No doubt influenced by the teachings of Baha’u’llah, he was fascinated by the idea of a world without war and believed that this could happen with the help of a new international auxiliary language.  It’s now spoken by about 2 million people worldwide and is seen as an alternative or addition to the growing use of English throughout the world, because it is easier to learn than English.

Since then, all of the central figures have indicated the importance of studying Esperanto.  ‘Abdu’l-Baha said:

Now, praise be to God, that Dr Zamenhof has invented the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of becoming the international means of communication. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for this noble effort, for in this way he has served his fellow-men well. He has invented a language which will bestow the greatest benefits on all people. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees it will become universal. Therefore every one of us must study this language and spread it as far as possible so that day by day it may receive a broader recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world and become a part of the curriculum in all the public schools. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v6, p. 286)

Shoghi Effendi said:

Shoghi Effendi, as you know, has been invariable encouraging the believers, both in the East and in the West, to make an intensive study of that language, and to consider it as an important medium for the spread of the Cause in international circles. He has been specially urging the friends to have the Cause well represented in all Esperanto Congresses and associations, and by this means cultivate greater friendship and cooperation between them and the Esperantists.  (Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v II, p. 34)

The House of Justice said:

We feel that, within the framework of their efforts for the promotion of peace, the Bahá’ís of Europe would do well to increase their collaboration with the Esperanto Movement, and we encourage Bahá’ís who feel the urge to assist in this area, to learn Esperanto and take an active part in the activities of the Movement.  (Universal House of Justice, 17 September 1986 letter to NSAs in Europe)

Which Language You Say?

Therefore I hope that you will make the utmost effort, so that this language of Esperanto may be widely spread.   (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v6, p. 286)

All through America I have encouraged the Bahá’ís to study Esperanto and to the extent of my ability I will strive in its spread and promotion.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v3, p. 5)

We have commanded all the Bahá’ís in the Orient to study this language very carefully, and ere long it will spread all over the East. I pray you, Esperantists and non-Esperantists, to work with zeal for the spread of this language . . . (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v3, p. 35)

Bahá’ís shall consider the study of this language as an incumbent duty upon them and it will be to them a religious duty.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, quoted in Meyjes, Gregory P, The Greatest Instrument for Promoting Harmony and Civilization, p. 15)

It will interest you, I am sure, to learn, that as the result of the repeated and emphatic admonitions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá His many followers even in the distant villages and hamlets of Persia, where the light of Western civilization has hardly penetrated as yet, as well as in other lands throughout the East, are strenuously and enthusiastically engaged in the study and teaching of Esperanto, for whose future they cherish the highest hopes.  (Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i World Volumes, Volume 2, p. 269)

Now, praise be to God, that Dr Zamenhof has invented the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of becoming the international means of communication. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for this noble effort, for in this way he has served his fellow-men well. He has invented a language which will bestow the greatest benefits on all people. With untiring effort and self sacrifice on the part of its devotees it will become universal. Therefore every one of us must study this language and spread it as far as possible so that day by day it may receive a broader recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world and become a part of the curriculum in all the public schools. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v6, p. 286)

I hope that the language of all the future international conferences and congresses will become Esperanto, so that all people may acquire only two languages-one their own tongue and the other the international auxiliary language. Then perfect union will be established between all the people of the world.  (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v6, p. 286)

How Important Is It?  Will It Bring World Peace?  

The closing page of Bahá’u’lláh’s mother book, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, adjures the parliaments: O members of parliaments throughout the world! Select ye a single language for the use of all on earth, and adopt ye likewise a common script. God, verily, maketh plain for you that which shall profit you and enable you to be independent of others. He, of a truth, is the Most Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. This will be the cause of unity, could ye but comprehend it, and the greatest instrument for promoting harmony and civilization, would that ye might understand!  (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 88)

Therefore, the very first service to the world of man is to establish this auxiliary international means of communication. It will become the cause of the tranquillity of the human commonwealth. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 59)

A fundamental lack of communication between peoples seriously undermines efforts towards world peace. Adopting an international auxiliary language would go far to resolving this problem and necessitates the most urgent attention. (The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Oct, The Promise of World Peace, p. 3)

Can It Teach The Faith And Harmonize Religions Too?

I pray you, Esperantists and non-Esperantists, to work with zeal for the spread of this language, for it will hasten the coming of that day, that millennial day, foretold by prophets and seers, that day when, it is said, the wolf and the lamb shall drink from the same fountain, the lion and the deer shall feed in the same pasture. The meaning of this holy word is that hostile races, warring nations, differing religions, shall become united in the spirit of love.  (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, v3, p. 35-36)

What else will it achieve? 

Through it sciences and arts will be spread among the nations, and it will prove to be the means of the progress and development of all races. (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 59)

I repeat, the most important thing in the world is the realization of an auxiliary international language. Oneness of language will transform mankind into one world, remove religious misunderstandings, and unite East and West in the spirit of brotherhood and love. Oneness of language will change this world from many families into one family. This auxiliary international language will gather the nations under one standard, as if the five continents of the world had become one, for then mutual interchange of thought will be possible for all. It will remove ignorance and superstition, since each child of whatever race or nation can pursue his studies in science and art, needing but two languages-his own and the International. The world of matter will become the expression of the world of mind. Then discoveries will be revealed, inventions will multiply, the sciences advance by leaps and bounds, the scientific culture of the earth will develop along broader lines. Then the nations will be enabled to utilize the latest and best thought, because expressed in the International Language.  If the International Language becomes a factor of the future, all the Eastern peoples will be enabled to acquaint themselves with the sciences of the West, and in turn the Western nations will become familiar with the thoughts and ideas of the East, thereby improving the condition of both. In short, with the establishment of this International Language the world of mankind will become another world and extraordinary will be the progress. It is our hope, then, that the language Esperanto will soon spread throughout the whole world, in order that all people may be able to live together in the spirit of friendship and love. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, v3, p. 35-36)

 How will it come about?

We must endeavor with all our powers to establish this international auxiliary language throughout the world. It is my hope that it may be perfected through the bounties of God and that intelligent men may be selected from the various countries of the world to organize an international congress whose chief aim will be the promotion of this universal medium of speech.  (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 59)

For more information:

Baha’i Esperanto League

From Babel to Baha’i

Lidia: Life of Lidia Zamenhof, Daughter of Esperanto

Making World Peace Real: The Bahá’í Faith And Esperanto

The Greatest Instrument for Promoting Harmony and Civilization