Bahá'í Publishing Trust Wilmette, Illinois
Copyright 1950, 1970, 1976, 1980 by the|
National Spiritual Assembly of the
Bahá'ís of the United States
All rights reserved
Library of Congress
Esslemont, John Ebenezer, 1874-1925.
Bahá'u'lláh and the new era.
1. Bahá'ísm. 2. Bahá Ullah, 1817-1892.
BP365.E8 1980 ..................297'.89..................80-24305
First edition, George Allen Unwin Ltd., London, 1923
First revised edition, Bahá'í Publishing Committee, New York, 1937
Second revised edition, Bahá'í Publishing Committee, Wilmette, 1950
Third revised edition, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1970
Fourth revised paper edition, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1976
Fourth revised cloth edition, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1980
Fifth revised paper edition, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 1980
Printed in the United States of America
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In December 1914, through a conversation with friends who had met Abdu'l-Bahá, and the loan of a few pamphlets, I first became acquainted with the Bahá'í teachings. I was at once struck by their comprehensiveness, power and beauty. They impressed me as meeting the great needs of the modern world more fully and satisfactorily than any other presentation of religion which I had come across -- an impression which subsequent study has only served to deepen and confirm.
In seeking for fuller knowledge about the movement I found considerable difficulty in obtaining the literature I wanted, and soon conceived the idea of putting together the gist of what I learned in the form of a book, so that it might be more easily available for others. When communication with Palestine was reopened after the war, I wrote to Abdu'l-Bahá and enclosed a copy of the first nine chapters of the book, which was then almost complete in rough draft. I received a very kind and encouraging reply, and a cordial invitation to visit Him in Haifa and bring the whole of my manuscript with me. The invitation was gladly accepted, and I had the great privilege of spending two and a half months as the guest of Abdu'l-Bahá during the winter of 1919-1920. During this visit Abdu'l-Bahá discussed the book with me on various occasions. He gave several valuable suggestions for its improvement and proposed that, when I had revised the manuscript, He would have the whole of it translated into Persian so that He could read it through and amend or correct it where necessary. The revisal and translation were carried out as suggested, and Abdu'l-Bahá found time, amid His busy life, to correct some three and a half chapters (Chapters I, II, V and part of III) before He passed away. It is a matter of profound regret to met that Abdu'l-Bahá was not able to complete the correction of the manuscript, as the value of the book would thereby have been greatly enhanced. The whole of the manuscript has been carefully revised, however, by a committee of the National Bahá'í Assembly of England1, and its publication approved by that Assembly.
I am greatly indebted to Miss E. J. Rosenberg, Mrs. Claudia S. Coles, Mirza Lutfu'llah S. Hakim, Messrs. Roy Wilhelm and Mountfort Mills and many other kind friends for valuable help in the preparation of the work.
As regards the transliteration of Arabic and Persian names and words, the system adopted in this book is that recently recommended by Shoghi Effendi for use throughout the Bahá'í World.
J. E. ESSLEMONT
1 The first publication of Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era was in 1923, and at that time there was a National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of England; however, the name of the institution was subsequently changed in 1930 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles, and more recently to its present designation of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom.