“The heart is like a box, and language is the key,” spoke the son of the Baha’i faith’s prophet in a talk he gave in 1912 during his travels in America.
The Baha’i holy writings are full of references to the word of God as the “master key” to understanding, as well as the importance of kindness and compassion in our speech. Baha’u’llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha’i faith urged us to relate to all “in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship,” saying that a kindly tongue is “the bread of the spirit,” that it clothes our words with meaning, and is “the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding.”
With teachings revolving around the oneness of humanity and bringing about a lasting universal peace, the Baha’i revelation also brought principles and practices for transforming society into a civilization based on divine justice. One of these principles is the need for a universal auxiliary language, in addition to one’s native language.
Here is the full excerpt from that 1912 talk on the need for a universal auxiliary language:
“Today the greatest need of the world of humanity is discontinuance of the existing misunderstandings among nations. This can be accomplished through the unity of language. Unless the unity of languages is realized, the ‘most great peace’ and the oneness of the human world cannot be effectively organized and established because the function of language is to portray the mysteries and secrets of human hearts. The heart is like a box, and language is the key. Only by using the key can we open the box and observe the gems it contains. Therefore, the question of an auxiliary international tongue has the utmost importance.”
In another talk he said:
“Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed the adoption of a universal language. A language shall be agreed upon by which unity will be established in the world. Each person will require training in two languages: his native tongue and the universal auxiliary form of speech. This will facilitate intercommunication and dispel the misunderstandings which the barriers of language have occasioned in the world. All people worship the same God and ... when they are able to communicate freely, they will associate in friendship and concord, and entertain the greatest love and fellowship for each other.”
In the future, as humanity matures, we will either choose a language or create a new one. This language and its common script could then be taught to children in all schools, along with their mother tongue. Having a common language will contribute to making the whole world as one home, and can become a strong impulse for human advancement. It will upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, while seeking to respect and protect the many existing cultures and languages by making this universal tongue everyone’s second language.
This preserves the multitudes of expressions of language, culture, identity and social histories while creating a bridge enabling us to communicate with our human family anywhere in the world.
Baha’u’llah has also proclaimed the principle of universal education, emphasizing the importance of worldwide literacy. These teachings—centered around peace, unity and justice—offer much needed remedies for our ailing world.