What if we thought about a healthy, vibrant and balanced humanity as the wings of a bird — able to soar and fly at its full capacity?

Many of the basic principles of the Baha’i Faith reflect this health and balance. An overview of these principles highlights the emphasis on unity, balance and the betterment of society:

the oneness of God

the oneness of religion

the oneness of humanity

the independent investigation of truth

the elimination of all forms of prejudice

the importance of universal education

the achievement of full equality of men and women

a spiritual solution to the economic problem

the essential harmony of science and religion

the development of a universal auxiliary language

universal peace

In particular the principle that women and men being essential to human progress can be thought of as the two wings of a bird.

Over a century ago for the first time in religious history, Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i Faith, proclaimed this principle, saying: “Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God.”

Baha’is believe the establishment of equal rights and privileges for women and men is part of the foundation for world peace, understanding it as a precondition for the attainment of a wider unity that will ensure the well-being and security of all peoples.

According to the Bahá’í Writings:

“When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed.

“So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it.

“Imbued with the same virtues as man, rising through all the degrees of human attainment, women will become the peers of men, and until this equality is established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be facilitated.”

The Baha’i vision of equality rests on the central spiritual principle of the oneness of humankind. Regarding humanity as cells of a single organism, Baha’is believe that “if pain or injury afflicts any member of that body, it must inevitably result in suffering for all the rest.” Baha’u’llah teaches that the divine purpose of creation is the achievement of unity among all peoples.

“Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, and to walk with the same feet.”

Returning to our wish for a healthy, vibrant and balanced humanity as the wings of a bird, this quote from Abdu’l-Baha, the son of the prophet, says it best:

“And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”

Marcia Berry is a member of the Carlisle Baha’i Community. Comments are welcome at carlislebahai@yahoo.com and visit at www.bahai.us.

Marcia Berry is a member of the Carlisle Baha'i Community. Comments are welcome at carlislebahai@yahoo.com and visit at www.bahai.us.