A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Esperanto

A friend enquired concerning Bahá’u’lláh’s prophecy in the Words of Paradise, that a universal language would be formed, and desired to know if Esperanto would be the language chosen. “The love and effort put into Esperanto will not be lost,” he answered, “but no one person can construct a Universal Language. It must be made by a Council representing all countries, and must contain words from different languages. It will be governed by the simplest rules, and there will be no exceptions; neither will there be gender, nor extra and silent letters. Everything indicated will have but one name. In Arabic there are hundreds of names for the camel! In the schools of each nation the mother tongue will be taught, as well as the revised Universal Language.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 93)


Almost from his infancy, the ideal of a universal language became a dominant motive in Zamenhof’s life, and the result of his devoted labors was the invention and widespread adoption of the language known as Esperanto, which has now stood the test of many years and has proved to be a very satisfactory medium of international intercourse. It has the great advantage that it can be mastered in about a twentieth part of the time required to master such languages as English, French or German.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 163-164)


As early as 1925, communities in a number of cities had instituted classes in Esperanto, in response to their awareness of the Bahá’í teaching that some form of auxiliary international language must be adopted.
(Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 10)


As to your suggestion regarding a more widespread use of the Esperanto among the Bahá’ís as a medium of correspondence. 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. But in this connection, he feels, he must make it clear that although the Cause views with much sympathy and appreciation the activities which the Esperantists are increasingly initiating for the spread of their language, yet it considers that the adoption of the Esperanto by the entire world is by no means an inevitable fact. Neither Bahá’u’lláh, nor even ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ever stated that Esperanto will be the international auxiliary language. The Master simply expressed the hope that it may, provided certain conditions were fulfilled, develop into such a medium.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v II, p. 33-35)


Consider how difficult it is today to communicate with various nations. If one studies fifty languages one may yet travel through a country and not know the language. Therefore I hope that you will make the utmost effort, so that this language of Esperanto may be widely spread.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 165-166)


Dr. Zamenhof, the inventor of Esperanto, had to battle for his wonderful international language against the same sort of ridicule, contempt, and stupid opposition which greeted Columbus, Galvani, and Stephenson. Even Esperanto, which was given to the world so recently as 1887, has had its martyrs.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 199)


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.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 156)


Esperanto has been in wide use, more so than any similar language, all over the world, and the Bahá’ís have been encouraged by both the Master and the Guardian to learn it and to translate Bahá’í literature into it. We cannot be sure it will be the chosen language of the future; but as it is the one which has spread most, both East and West, we should certainly continue to co-operate with its members, learn to speak it, and translate Bahá’í literature into it.
(Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 27)


He feels that the subject of the Bahá’í work in Esperanto in Germany is a matter for you to take up with the National Spiritual Assembly; we Bahá’ís do not claim Esperanto will be the auxiliary language of the future - but, as we firmly believe in the necessity of an auxiliary language we are glad to support this work by publishing books in Esperanto and encouraging the Bahá’ís to learn it, if they wish to. Cooperation with this society is an excellent means of spreading the Cause, as Martha Root demonstrated in her travels. However, all details in this matter must be decided by the N.S.A. You can contact Bahá’í Esperantists in England and the U.S.A. through their respective N.S.As.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v II, p. 50)


He feels that this is a very important opportunity which you have now obtained of teaching the Faith to the Eskimo people, and he hopes your efforts will be crowned with success. He would not advise you to teach them Esperanto, as we have no way of knowing whether it will ultimately be chosen as the auxiliary language of the world. He thinks the most direct and quickest way of communicating with them in a common tongue should be chosen; in other words either you should learn their language or they yours, whichever will yield the quickest results.
(Shoghi Effendi, High Endeavours - Messages to Alaska, p. 6)


He wishes me particularly to convey to you his most genuine appreciation of your services in connection with the publication of “La Nova Tago” which he hopes will, through your efforts and those of the Esperanto-speaking Bahá’ís both in Germany and abroad, develop gradually into a leading Esperanto review, and thus become an effective medium for the spread of Teachings in Esperantist circles throughout the world. It is in view of the far-reaching possibilities which this publication can have as a teaching organ, that he has urged the German N.S.A. to resume its publication when, a few months ago, they had almost decided to discontinue printing it.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v II, p. 33)


His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh, many years ago, wrote a book called The Most Holy Book, one of the fundamental principles of which is the necessity of creating an auxiliary language, and he makes clear the good and profit which will come because of its use. Now let us thank the Lord because this language, Esperanto, has been created. We, therefore, have commanded all Bahá’ís in the East to study this language very carefully, and ere long it will be spread through the entire East. I also beg of you all, Esperantists and non-Esperantists, to work energetically for the spread of this language, for it will hasten the coming of that day, that millennial day, foretold by prophets and seers, in which it is said that 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 writing is that hostile races, warring nations and differing religions shall become united in the spirit of love, and will become bound together, one with the other.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, v6, p. 287)


His Honor, Dr. Fareed – Upon him be Bahá-el-Abhá! O servant of the Holy Threshold! You have written in regard to Esperanto and your speech before the Congress. It was appropriate and acceptable. If possible meet with Dr. Zamenhof and show him the Kitáb-el-Aqdas (Book of Laws) and translate the verse which concerns the Universal Language and tell him: This clear verse, which was revealed forty-five years ago, will prove the cause of spreading your Universal Language in all the East. The Bahá’ís shall consider the study of this language as an incumbent duty upon them, and it will be to them a religious duty. Therefore, men, women, and children, all will acquire it.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s
letter to Dr. Ameen Fareed based on the original as published in The British Esperantist, Dec. 1911)


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-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 339)


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 most 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 ...
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, p. 125)


May it be promulgated rapidly; then the world of humanity will find eternal peace; all the nations will associate with one another like mothers and sisters, fathers and brothers, and each individual member of the community will be fully informed of the thoughts of all.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 146)


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 fellowmen well. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees Esperanto 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. I hope that Esperanto will be adopted as the language of all the future international conferences and congresses, so that all people need acquire only two languages—one their own tongue and the other the international language. Then perfect union will be established between all the people of the world.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 165-166)


Now, praise be to God, that language has been created—Esperanto. This is one of the special gifts of this luminous century, one of the most remarkable achievements of this great age. His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh many years ago wrote a book called “The Most Holy Book,” one of the fundamental principles of which is the necessity of creating an International Language, and He explains the great good and advantage that will result from its use. Now let us thank the Lord because the Esperanto language has been created. 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, 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-Bahá, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 339)


On March 14, 1932, Shoghi Effendi, through his secretary, wrote the following letter to Mr. Winthrop Lee, one of the officers of Esperanto Informo: “The Bahá’ís have always considered with deep interest and esteem the wonderful work of the Esperantists are achieving in putting into practise one of the foremost principles of their Faith. Many of their numbers have been encouraged to study that language and participate in promoting its many interests. They would therefore be very willing to cooperate with you in matters that are of mutual interest… . May God hasten the day when your hopes as well as ours will be realized.”
(Shoghi Effendi, Extracts from the USBN)


One sign of unity is the construction of an international auxiliary language, Esperanto. Let us strive untiringly to spread this language.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 172)


Please send some teachers to Persia so that they may teach Esperanto to the younger generation. I have written asking some of them to come here to study it.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 145-146)


Praise be to God, that Dr. Zamenhof has constructed the Esperanto language. It has all the potential qualities of universal adoption. All of us must be grateful and thankful to him for his noble effort, for in this matter he has served his fellow-man well. He has done a service which will bestow divine benefits on all peoples. With untiring effort and self-sacrifice on the part of its devotees it holds a promise of universal acceptance. Therefore every one of us must study this language and make every effort to spread it, so that each day it may receive a wider recognition, be accepted by all nations and governments of the world and become a part of the curriculum of all the public schools. I hope that the business of the future international conferences and congresses will be carried on in Esperanto.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 145)


Regarding the subject of Esperanto; it should be made clear to the believers that while the teaching of that language has been repeatedly encouraged by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, there is no reference either from Him or from Bahá’u’lláh that can make us believe that it will necessarily develop into the international auxiliary language of the future. Bahá’u’lláh has specified in His writing that such a language will have either to be chosen from one of the existing languages, or an entirely new one should be created to serve as a medium of exchange between nations and peoples of the world. Pending this final choice, the Bahá’ís are advised to study Esperanto only in consideration of the fact that the learning of this language can facilitate inter-communication between individuals, groups and Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world in the present stage of the evolution of the Faith.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 339)


Regarding the whole question of an International Language and its relation to the Faith: We, as Bahá’ís, are very anxious to see a universal auxiliary tongue adopted as soon as possible; we are not the protagonists of any one language to fill this post. If the governments of the world agree on an existing language, or a constructed, new tongue, to be used internationally, we would heartily support it because we desire to see this step in the unification of the human race take place as soon as possible.
Esperanto has been in wide use, more so than any similar language, all over the world, and the Bahá’ís have been encouraged by both the Master and the Guardian to learn it and to translate Bahá’í literature into it. We cannot be sure it will be the chosen language of the future; but as it is the one which has spread most, both East and West, we should certainly continue to cooperate with its members learn to speak it, and translate Bahá’í literature into it.
(Shoghi Effendi, Directives from the Guardian, p. 40-41)


Several questions were asked by Her Majesty [Queen Marie of Rumania] concerning the Bahá’í Movement for world peace. She was interested in all the Principles and in the teachings for the inner progress of the soul. Seeing the writer’s Esperanto pin she asked about the progress of Esperanto in the different lands. It was explained that the five pointed star stands for the light to the five continents. The white background is the colour of peace; the green is the Esperanto colour of hope and the word, “Esperanto” means “one who hopes”. The little star was presented to Her Majesty and she is wearing it. She was delighted to hear that a new clubhouse has just been presented to the Esperantists of Bucharest by Mr Henry Fisher, one of the great promoters of Esperanto in Europe. She also said: “Esperanto has my greatest sympathy, and although I am so busy I do hope I shall have time to study Esperanto.” She was greatly interested in all plans for the Eighteenth Universal Esperanto Congress which is to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland the first week in August. Her Majesty, before her marriage was the Princess of Edinburgh.
(Star of the West, v9)


The publication of “La Nova Tago” the first International Esperanto Gazette, has given me genuine and deep satisfaction and I trust that this promising Magazine, properly directed and nurtured, will achieve great things for the Cause in future. I strongly urge you to support it, guide it and direct it along the most profitable channels, and make of it in time a true mirror reflecting the world-wide activities of the Bahá’í Cause. May it achieve its great and laudable purpose!
(Shoghi Effendi, The Light of Divine Guidance v I, p. 27)


The teaching of Esperanto, for instance, has been a very useful way of presenting the Cause indirectly to many people. It has opened many doors of contact for the believers, and has lately proved to be of tremendous help in introducing the Teachings into important social and intellectual circles.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 598)


Then the president of the Esperantists of England called, bringing with him the first translation of the New Testament in Esperanto, which he offered to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Master spoke a great deal of the necessity of an international language, that the nations must organize an International Congress of Language, ratify it and then let it be studied in all the schools. He said: “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)


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.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 157)


Thou hast written regarding the language of Esperanto. This language will be spread and universalized to a certain degree, but later on a language more complete than this, or the same language will undergo some changes and alterations and will be adopted and become universal.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 691)


Which language to adopt, and whether it is to be a natural or constructed one, is a decision which the nations of the world will have to make.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 165-166)


While these allusions to Esperanto are specific and encouraging, it remains true that until the House of Justice has acted on the matter in accordance with Bahá’u’lláh’s instruction the Bahá’í Faith is not committed to Esperanto nor to any other living or artificial tongue. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself said: “The love and effort put into Esperanto will not be lost, but no one person can construct a Universal Language.”—‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 95.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 165-166)


With Esperanto the case is different as it is an easy language in both its written and spoken forms. Were the friends to learn this language the result would be to engender a greater feeling of love and unity amongst them and to facilitate the promotion of the Teachings revealed for the New Age by the Glorious King. Exert your utmost endeavor, then, in this praiseworthy undertaking, so that you may be instrumental in scattering abroad the fragrances of God’s Manifestation and that you may impart joy and gladness to the hearts of the friends.
(on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual, 30 January 1926, and translated from the Persian original by Dr. Gregory P. Meyjes for his superb work of 2015 in collaboration with Dr. Wendi Momen, The Greatest Instrument for Promoting Harmony and Civilization)