Caodaism and Bahaism
ĐỀ TÀI LUẬN ÁN TIẾN SĨ CỦA MOHAMMAD JAHANGIR ALAM
VIỆN ĐẠI HỌC DHAKA, BANGLADESH
The Concept of Unity in Bahaism and Caodaism: A Comparative Study
Every religion has some basic principles and it is very interesting that we will have an excellent similarity among the principles of all religions, which easily prove a continuous chain of the presentation of these principles from the same source. Like other religions, Bahaism and Caodaism are also religions. Bahai faith has been spread across the length and breadth of the world. The Baha’is, like Caodaism, basically believe in three unity which are as follows:
The Unity of God
The Unity of Religion and
The Unity of Mankind
According to Baha’is the first two unity have been finally established. So they now pay their attention with much importance to the Unity of Mankind. Baha’is believe that Baha’u’llah is Manifestation of God for our age and God’s purpose for this age is unity of mankind. Baha’u’llah says, “religion is the greatest instrument for the safeguard of order and progress in the world.” Baha’is believe that there has only been one religion- the religion of God. They believe that there is only one God, though people may call Him by different names. According to the Baha’is, Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, Moses, Krishna, Bab and Baha’u’llah were all Messengers from God and all said basically the same thing- that we should love God and love one another, that we should be honest, truthful, kind, trustworthy, humble. Above all, Baha’is encourage world peace and for this purpose they give more emphasis upon the unity of mankind. There are many books of Bahai scripture but here I would like to quote a few lines from the Bahais Writings.
“The Earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”
“See Ye no strangers; rather see all men as friends”
“Think Ye at all times of rendering some service to every member of the human race.”
Baha’u’llah has taught the oneness of Mankind. All human beings are children of one God. Faith in the one Heavenly Father leads mankind to accept each other as brothers and sisters as members of one family- the family of man. Baha’u’llah emphasized his followers not to differ men because of their color. There were many causes which made men think they were different from others. Some people thought that because the color of their skin was white, they were better that those were black or yellow or brown. Baha’u’llah said this is not true. If they are different it is because they have received different degrees of education and not because they have different colors of skin. The different colored peoples of the world are like the different kinds of flowers of a garden. If all the flowers of a garden were of the same color, it would not be so beautiful. Baha’u’llah said God is like a kind shepherd for whom the white sheep are no better than the brown or the black. God loves us all no matter what the color of our skin may be or which part of the world we may come from. Baha’u’llah has kindled such love in the hearts of his followers that they feel like members of the same family even though they come from all the countries of the world. Here a prayer of Baha’u’llah should be quoted which is related to the Unity of Mankind.
“O my God, O my God! Unite the hearts of Thy Servants and reveal to them Thy great purpose. May they follow Thy commandments and abide in Thy law. Help them, O God, in their endeavor, and grant them strength to serve thee. O God, leave them not to themselves but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge and cheer their hearts by Thy love. Verity, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.”
Let’s now turn our attention to Caodaism. Caodaism believes that God has come and expressed Himself in a new way. The term Cao Dai literally means “High Tower or Palace”, that is the place where God reigns over the Universe. “Cao Dai” refers to God the Father (The Supreme Being, the Creator, the Ultimate Reality of the Universe). The followers of Duc Cao Dai are thus called Caodaists (Duc means Venerable). The Cao Dai religion’s official name is Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do. Directly it means The Third Great Universal Religious Amnesty. (Dai Dao- “Great Way”, Tam Ky- “Third Period” Pho- “to announce” and Do- “to save”).
The Third Great Universal Religious Amnesty (Dai Dao Tam Ky Pho Do) establishes a new Great Way for salvation. It deals with intense religious activity that will see God and Humanity united in ways not yet imagined. The fundamental objective of the Third Amnesty is the unity of all religions. Caodaism believes that throughout human history God the Father has revealed His Truth many times. His Divine Message has been translated through the mouths of many great prophets, but always these messages, have depended on human frailty (moral weakness).
Caodaists believe the previous two Religious Amnesties that saw the rise of Hinduism Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc. The Age has now come where Caodaism as the embodiment of the Third amnesty comes to unite the traditions of these two periods. Here I would like to quote a message which received from Duc Cao Dai runs as follows:
“Formerly people of the world lacked means of transportation, therefore they did not know each other. Nowadays, all parts of the world are explored: humanity, knowing itself better, aspires to real peace. But because of the very multiplicity of religions, humanity does not always live in harmony. That is why I decided to unite all these religions into one to bring them back to the primordial unity.” (1926)
Emphasizing this objective of unity is a representation of the Divine Contract of the Third Amnesty. The contract is written in English as: “God and Humanity (For) Love and Justice”.
As a religious synthesis, Caodaism aims to harmonize all human beings with the only Spiritual Laws of the Unique Creator. It constitutes a sincere and fraternal religious, philosophical, mystical, exoteric or esoteric. Love (God) is the central point of Caodaism. Like fruits of a single tree, flowers of a single garden, human beings are the beloved children of a Single Father whose name is Love. According to Caodaism, the religion of God must be the Unique Religion and all the Prophets have taught it, but it is alive and growing. The teaching of Moses is the bud; Christ’s is the flower and Cao Dai’s is the fruit. So there is no destruction but fulfillment.
From my elucidation of the concept of Unity in Bahaism and Caodaism, I may very well form an impression that both the religions are monotheistic in character. They emphasize the Unity of Mankind and they believe in the unity of God and the unity of religion. Bahaism and Caodaism are Great Houses of Faith that welcome in all peoples of the world for the establishment of a universal brother and sisterhood without distinction of creed, race, sex, social background or color. There seems to be striking similarity between Bahaism and Caodaism in point of taking men and women as an essential part in the administration. Bahaism and Caodaism present the world with a real chance for unity and understanding between the Great Cultures of East and West. By offering a way of life that concentrate on the harmony of all religions, they also offer harmony to a troubled world, providing spiritual solutions for significant world problems such as racism, intolerance and ignorance. As Great Houses of Faith, Bahaism and Caodaism combine the teachings of all the great religious traditions and open before mankind the Great Way to paradise.
Finally, the unity of God leads to the unity of religion and the unity of religion leads to the unity of mankind and this is the ultimate goal of Bahaism and Caodaism.
Purpose: As a student of World Religions, I have had an option to study all Semitic religions, Indian religions and all religious traditions of the World more or less. All of these religions say about the Unity, Unity through love. But it is remarkable that Bahaism and Caodaism are rapidly spreading to all corners of the world. Both religions have respect to all previous religions. Bahaism and Caodaism believe the unity of God, unity of religion and unity of mankind. Here it should be noted that they equally emphasize on the unity of mankind and the ultimate goal of Bahaism and Caodaism is to establish the unity of mankind in this unstable world. The same approach of two religions has made me curious to study Bahaism and Caodaism. Consequently I have determined this topic as the subject matter of my Master of Philosophy Research work.
Scope/Importance: Religion means almost everything because it deals with the whole of human life and death. Even the natural sciences were originally religious; only in the last 300 years have religion and science come apart as ways of exploration. We know that more than three-quarters of the world’s population consider that they belong to a religion, however little or much they do about it. And the rest one-quarter population is converting to different religions day by day. They are realizing the necessity of religion as the safest shelter. Today humanity lives in suffering. We are suffering as a result of heart breaking, ideological conflicts, cruel wars and it is our duty to seek peace by our all means until those sufferings end. In this respect only religion can be our supreme refuge and our safest recourse.
Research Methodology: The Methodology of my research work will be objective.
Proposed structure: My research work may be divided in the following chapters:
Introduction: Importance and Significance of the present study:
First Chapter: Concept of the Unity in Caodaism and Bahaism:
Second Chapter: Unity of Mankind from Bahai Perspective:
Third Chapter: Unity of ManFourth Chapter : Unity of Religions from Bahai Perspectve:
Fifth Chapter : Unity of Religions from Caodai Perspective:
Sources: I would like to collect information from two sources, Primary source and secondary source.
Primary Source: Different reference books on Caodaism and Bahaism related to my topic.
Secondary Source: Different journals, commentaries and research papers on Caodaism and Bahaism related to my topic.
Expected Research Time Frame: Two years or fixed time given by the University authority.
Dr. Kazi Nurul Islam
Designation-Professor and Chairman
Department of World Religions
University of Dhaka.
Mohammad Jahangir Alam
Dept. of World Religions
University of Dhaka