On the 19th of January, as calculated by the Gregorian calendar in use in the western world, members of the Baha’i Faith in Topeka and elsewhere marked the beginning of the month of Sovereignty or Sultan. It is the seventeenth month of the year. As each of the nineteen months of this calendar, it has nineteen days. The months are named after attributes of God, therefore this new month refers to the sovereignty of God, the Creator, over all of creation.
According to Baha’i teachings the Creator has no physical form, the Creator is a spiritual being or force beyond human comprehension. How could it be otherwise? How can we comprehend that which created us? That would be the same as a wooden table being able to comprehend the carpenter who cut down the tree and shaped the wood and assembled pieces into the table. it’s just not possible.
Because we humans cannot comprehend our Creator, our Creator created special beings to be intermediaries to convey information between the Creator and humans. Humans have started religions based on these messages. Some of these messages came in the early stages of human development and are unknown to us now, but the story of Adam may be an instructive example. In Genesis it is related that Adam named the animals. You can only name things separate from yourself. Might it have been possible that, up to that time, humans did not know they were different from animals? Adam made the distinction clear.
So, why do some humans still think we are animals? Some people just don’t get it!
Some of these Messengers have appeared in more historical times, such as Jesus and Buddha. Their times are close enough to us that literacy was prevalent enough that people wrote down Their words that they remembered and have saved them since. Those words have changed human history and promoted our development of civilization.
And we have continued to develop. Our societies have expanded to the point were we are living on top of each other. The teachings of Jesus or Buddha, or even Muhammad do not address the problems we now face. International terrorism is not a subject any of them addressed, neither is global pollution, global collective security, space travel (what nation owns the moon?), etc.
To address those issues a more recent Messenger appeared: Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Confronting the fractured nature of our times, He stated that our most pressing need is unity. One element for building that unity is the nineteen month calendar. It is a calendar that no oppressive culture has ever used, so it can be adopted by everyone without reminders of former oppression.
And on Jan 19 Baha’is of Topeka gathered to observe the beginning of the month of Sovereignty, to pray and consult about affairs of the Topeka Baha’i community and socialize.