Compiled by Marlene Macke, St Marys, ON, Canada
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. – Universal House of Justice, To the Peoples of the World, A Baha’i Statement on Peace
One Step Towards World Peace
One of the great steps towards universal peace would be the establishment of a universal language. Bahá’u’lláh commands that the servants of humanity should meet together, and either choose a language which now exists, or form a new one. This was revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas forty years ago [circa 1873]. It is there pointed out that the question of diversity of tongues is a very difficult one…
The races of mankind are not isolated as in former days. Now, in order to be in close relationship with all countries it is necessary to be able to speak their tongues.
A universal language would make intercourse possible with every nation. Thus it would be needful to know two languages only, the mother tongue and the universal speech. The latter would enable a man to communicate with any and every man in the world!
A third language would not be needed. To be able to talk with a member of any race and country without requiring an interpreter, how helpful and restful to all!
… Until such a language is in use, the world will continue to feel the vast need of this means of intercourse. Difference of speech is one of the most fruitful causes of dislike and distrust that exists between nations, which are kept apart by their inability to understand each other’s language more than by any other reason.
If everybody could speak one language, how much more easy would it be to serve humanity! – Paris Talks, 155-156
And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the origination of one language that may be spread universally among the people. This teaching was revealed from the pen of Bahá’u’lláh in order that this universal language may eliminate misunderstandings from among mankind. – Selections from the Writings of Ábdu’l-Bahá, 301
Language a Key to Progress and Development
No man of wisdom can demonstrate his knowledge save by means of words. This showeth the significance of the Word as it is affirmed in all the Scriptures, whether of former times or more recently. – Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, 172
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 the 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. Through this means international education and training become possible, the evidence and history of the past can be acquired. The spread of the known facts of the human world depends upon language… 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 human commonwealth. Through it science and arts will be spread among the nations, and it will prove to be the means of the progress and development of all races. We must endeavor with all our powers to establish this international auxiliary language throughout the world. – Promulgation of Universal Peace, 60-61
How to Achieve a Universal Auxiliary Language
O members of parliaments throughout the world! Select ye a single language for the use of all on earth… 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! – Kitáb-i-Aqdas, K189
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. – Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, 181
A Divine Obligation
The day is approaching when all the peoples of the world will have adopted one universal language and one common script. When this is achieved, to whatsoever city a man may journey, it shall be as if he were entering his own home. These things are obligatory and absolutely essential. It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action. – Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, 253
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 Ábdu’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. – Shoghi Effendi, cited in Bahá’í News, No. 109, July 1937, 1
Technical Requirements in the Auxiliary Language
A friend enquired concerning Bahá’u’lláh’s prophecy in the Words of Paradise, taht 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.” – Ábdu’l-Bahá in London, 94
 From Ábdu’l-Bahá’s reply to a letter addressed to Him by the Executive Committee of the Central Organization for a Durable Peace. This Tablet dated 17 December 1919 was described by Shoghi Effendi as having ‘far reaching importance’. It was despatched to the Committee at The Hague by the hands of a special delegation.