Friday, December 31, 2010

True security for the people of Bahá will necessitate opposition, .....

  .... The vibration of the sound of that same soul-burning cry gradually noised abroad the call of this world-illuminating Great Announcement and the ringing notes of that call resounded in all regions of the world, and now too, the beloved friends in Irán, who are the devoted dwellers in the courtyard of the Beloved, stand firm in the same Covenant and Testament. Behold the courage, firmness, detachment, unity, co-operation, zeal, and enthusiasm with which these loyal lovers of the Beloved daily face their tests and prove and demonstrate to the world, with radiant and shining faces, their purity, their heritage, their quality, and their virtue. With the utmost meekness, truthfulness, wisdom, and courage they meet the challenges presented to them, the challenge of defying the enemies, dispelling misunderstandings which are a result of the proliferation of calumnies and false accusations. They have met their fate with acquiescence, have bowed their heads in the valley of submission and resignation, and have borne every tribulation with radiance, for they know with absolute certainty that the fulfilment of divine prophecies will coincide with dire events and the bearing of innumerable afflictions. The beloved Guardian says: "If in the days to come, adversities of various kinds should encircle that land and national upheavals should further aggravate the present calamities, and intensify the repeated afflictions," the dear friends in that country should not feel "sorrowful and grieved" and must not be deflected "from their straight path and chosen highway." He then continues to address the dear friends in these words:

The liberation of this meek and innocent band of His followers from the fetters of its bondage and the talons of the people of tyranny and enmity must needs be preceded by the clamour and agitation of the masses. The realization of glory, of tranquility, and of true security for the people of Bahá will necessitate opposition, aggression and commotion on the part of the people of malevolence and iniquity. Therefore, should the buffeting waves of the sea of tribulation intensify and the storms of trials and tribulations assail that meek congregation from all six sides, know of a certainty and without a moment's hesitation that the time for their deliverance has drawn nigh, that the age-old promise of their assured glory will soon be fulfilled, and that at long last the means are provided for the persecuted people of Bahá in that land to attain salvation and supreme triumph. A firm step and an unshakeable resolve are essential so that the remaining stages may come to pass and the cherished ideals of the people of Bahá may be realized on the loftiest summits, and be made manifest in astounding brilliance. "Such is God's method, and no change shalt thou find in His method."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering some of the Martyrs



Dec. 27th 1981, the 8 members of National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of Iran, were executed without trial in Evin prison, Tehran Iran.


  Kamran Samimi, Sirus Rawshani Uskui, Qudratu'llah Rawhani, Mahmud Majdhub, Izzat’u’llah Furuhi, Jalal Azizi, Mehdi Amin Amin and Jinus Ni'mat Mahmudi


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gems of Divine Mysteries

In this journey the seeker becometh witness to a myriad changes and transformations, confluences and divergences. He beholdeth the wonders of Divinity in the mysteries of creation and discovereth the paths of guidance and the ways of His Lord. Such is the station reached by them that search after God, and such are the heights attained by those who hasten unto Him.

When once the seeker hath ascended unto this station, he will enter the City of Love and Rapture, whereupon the winds of love will blow and the breezes of the spirit will waft. In this station the seeker is so overcome by the ecstasies of yearning and the fragrances of longing that he discerneth not his left from his right, nor doth he distinguish land from sea or desert from mountain. At every moment he burneth with the fire of longing and is consumed by the onslaught of separation in this world.  He speedeth through the Párán of love and traverseth the Horeb of rapture. Now he laugheth, now he weepeth sore; now he reposeth in peace, now he trembleth in fear. Nothing can alarm him, naught can thwart his purpose, and no law can restrain him. He standeth ready to obey whatsoever His Lord should please to decree as to his beginning and his end. With every breath he layeth down his life and offereth up his soul.

He bareth his breast to meet the darts of the enemy and raiseth his head to greet the sword of destiny; nay rather, he kisseth the hand of his would-be murderer and surrendereth his all. He yieldeth up spirit, soul, and body in the path of his Lord, and yet he doeth so by the leave of his Beloved and not of his own whim and desire. Thou findest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea, abiding in every land and treading every path. Whosoever toucheth him in this state will perceive the heat of his love. He walketh the heights of detachment and traverseth the vale of renunciation. His eyes are ever expectant to witness the wonders of God’s mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty. Blessed indeed are they that have attained unto such a station, for this is the station of the ardent lovers and the enraptured souls.
And when this stage of the journey is completed and the wayfarer hath soared beyond this lofty station, he entereth the City of Divine Unity, and the garden of oneness, and the court of detachment. In this plane the seeker casteth away all signs, allusions, veils, and words, and beholdeth all things with an eye illumined by the effulgent lights which God Himself hath shed upon him. In his journey he seeth all differences return to a single word and all allusions culminate in a single point. Unto this beareth witness he who sailed upon the ark of fire and followed the inmost path to the pinnacle of glory in the realm of immortality: “Knowledge is one point, which the foolish have multiplied.”

This is the station that hath been alluded to in the tradition: “I am He, Himself, and He is I, Myself, except that I am that I am, and He is that He is.”
In this station, were He Who is the Embodiment of the End to say: “Verily, I am the Point of the Beginning”, He would indeed be speaking the truth. And were He to say: “I am other than Him”, this would be equally true. Likewise, were He to proclaim: “Verily, I am the Lord of heaven and earth”, or “the King of kings”, or  “the Lord of the realm above”, or Muḥammad, or ‘Alí, or their descendants, or aught else, He would indeed be proclaiming the truth of God. He, verily, ruleth over all created things and standeth supreme above all besides Him. Hast thou not heard what hath been said aforetime: “Muḥammad is our first, Muḥammad our last, Muḥammad our all”? And elsewhere: “They all proceed from the same Light”?





Bahá'u'lláh

Study Circle part 3.

Implementing a Program for the Spiritual Empowerment of Junior Youth
A set of branch courses following Book 5

Drawing on the Power of the Word Walking the Straight Path Breezes of Confirmation Courses for implementing a program for junior youth will form a specialized branch. They will complement, and eventually merge with, the branch courses for teaching Bahá’í children’s classes. Referred to as “animators”, those who enter this path of service will be helped to prepare themselves to work with young people between the ages of 12 to 15 and to familiarize themselves with the materials recommended by the Ruhi Institute for use with this age group, which currently include items with content inspired by the Bahá’í Faith, as well as those which treat specifically Bahá’í subjects.
More info at Ruhi.org

 

Teaching the Cause
Book 6

People from every walk of life are welcome to explore the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and learn how they can apply them to better their lives. All Bahá’ís, then, share liberally and unconditionally the teachings and precepts of their Faith. Although the propagation of Bahá’u’lláh’s message is one of the most essential services to be rendered, teaching is also a state of being—a state of being in which one is constantly sharing with others that which one has been so bountifully blessed. This concept is explored in the first unit of Book 6, “The Spiritual Nature of Teaching”. The next two units, “The Qualities and Attitudes of the Teacher” and “The Act of Teaching”, examine various notions about the nature of teaching in light of the Bahá’í writings and how it should be approached, emphasizing the importance of adopting a posture of learning. Of particular significance is the example offered in the third unit of how to introduce the Faith to a seeker through the story of Anna and Emilia.

Walking Together on a Path of Service
Book 7

Book 7 is dedicated to an act of service crucial to the functioning of the Ruhi Institute itself, namely, helping a group of individuals go through the initial six courses in the sequence. That individuals accompany one another on a path of service to their communities is central to the process of capacity building set in motion by the courses. The first unit of the book, “The Spiritual Path,” raises awareness of the spiritual dynamics of advancing along a path of service and increases understanding of the forces at work. The second unit, “Becoming a Tutor of Books 1-6,” examines some of the concepts, attitudes, skills and abilities that contribute to the capability of helping a group of friends to go through the earlier courses. This is generally done by bringing together eight or ten people in what is termed a “study circle”. The third unit, “Promoting the Arts at the Grassroots,” is designed to create appreciation for the role of artistic endeavors in the activity of a study circle.
book 7 “Thousands upon thousands, embracing the diversity of the entire human family, are engaged in systematic study of the Creative Word in an environment that is at once serious and uplifting.” 21 April 2008 message from the
Universal House of Justice

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Study circle part 2.

Arising to Serve
Book 2

Book 2 of the main sequence explores the nature of a path of service and the manner in which it is to trodden. An essential feature of community life is unity and fellowship. Visiting people in their homes—family and friends, neighbors and acquaintances—and talking with them about themes central to spiritual and social existence is the first conscious act of service carried out by those engaged in building such communities. The book helps participants acquire the skills and abilities, knowledge and qualities, needed to enter into conversations with others that are uplifting to the mind and spirit. Participants also think about the nature of the joy one derives from service. There are three units in the book: “The Joy of Teaching”, “Deepening Themes”, and “Introducing Bahá’í Beliefs”.
 

Teaching Children’s Classes, Grade 1
Book 3

The second act of service addressed by the Institute is in the area of the spiritual education of children. The education of children is essential to the transformation of society. Book 3 focuses on some of the knowledge, skills and qualities necessary for those wishing to enter this important field of service. The first unit, “Some Principles of Bahá'í Education”, briefly examines certain principles and concepts inherent to education from a Bahá’í point of view. It does this in the context of character development, as preparation for the next unit, “Lessons for Children’s Classes, Grade 1”, which offers fifteen lessons intended to foster the development of spiritual qualities in small children. The third unit, “Conducting Classes for Children”, seeks to develop the skills and abilities needed to manage a class with a great deal of love and understanding and, at the same time, with the discipline necessary to create a proper learning environment.

“Aware of the aspirations of the children of the world and their need for spiritual education, they extend their efforts widely to involve ever-growing contingents of participants in classes that become centres of attraction for the young and strengthen the roots of the Faith in society.” 21 April 2008 message from the Universal House of Justice 

The Twin Manifestations
Book 4

Book 4 in the main sequence returns to the question of identity, the “I” in the statement “I walk a path of service”. History shapes much of the identity of individuals, as well as entire peoples. The second and third units in the book are dedicated to the study of the life history of Bahá’u’lláh, the Author of the Bahá’í Faith, and His Forerunner, the Báb. In the first unit, the significance of this Day is briefly examined. Seeing clearly the elements that characterize the past enables individuals to contribute more effectively to shaping the future.

Releasing the Powers of Junior Youth
Book 5

This book, still in the process of development, but being made available for limited use in pre-publication form, has a special place in the sequence of the Ruhi Institute. According to the Bahá’í teachings, an individual reaches the age of maturity at 15, when spiritual and moral obligations become binding. The years immediately before this age, then, take on special significance. This is the time when fundamental concepts about individual and collective life are formulated in the mind of an adolescent struggling to leave behind the habits of childhood. Youth between the ages of 12 to 15 have much to say, and whoever treats them as children misses the opportunity to help them form a proper identity. The three units that will make up Book 5 focus on some of the concepts, skills, qualities, and attitudes that experience has shown are required by those wishing to implement a program for the spiritual empowerment of junior youth.

“They assist junior youth to navigate through a crucial stage of their lives and to become empowered to direct their energies toward the advancement of civilization.”
21 April 2008 message from the Universal House of Justice

More to follow ....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Study circle

The term study circle has become common terminology in the Bahá’í Faith to describe a specific type of gathering for the study of the Bahá’í teachings, with an emphasis on "promoting the well-being of humanity.

Study circles are a form of distance learning designed to systematically bring education about spiritual concepts to the grassroots level. Because they are intended to be sustainable and reproducible on a large scale, study circles shy away from formally taught classes, opting instead for participatory methods. They are usually led by a tutor whose role is not to act as an expert but rather to facilitate the rhythm and pace of the study circle. In this way, attendees of study circles are expected to become active participants in their own learning process.
Another foundational principle of study circles is a heavy emphasis on the Writings as a means of finding unity of vision and action by focusing on the essentials of Bahá’í belief.
The most common curriculum used in study circles was originally developed at the Ruhi Institute in Colombia but is now used in Bahá’í communities all over the world.

The curriculum of the Ruhi Institute aims, in its entirety, at achieving three overall objectives: providing insights into spiritual matters, imparting knowledge about the Bahá’í Faith, and helping to develop specific acts of service. There are currently seven books in the first sequence of courses, with two more in development. Each book is broken up into 3 units comprised of many sections. Tutors are encouraged to apply the arts, using music, games, crafts, and such during the training. Each book has one or more practices that can be done outside of the training. For example, the third book trains people to give children's classes, and the practice is to give an actual class. Also encouraged throughout the books is the practice of memorizing passages and prayers.

Reflections on the Life of the Spirit
Book 1

The first book in the sequence of courses is largely concerned with the question of identity. What is the real identity of the “I” in the sentence “I walk a path of service”? Three aspects of identity from a Bahá’í perspective are explored in the book: “The reality of my existence is my soul which passes through this world to acquire the attributes it needs for an eternal and glorious journey towards God. My most cherished moments are those spent in communion with God, for prayer is the daily nourishment that my soul must receive if it is to accomplish its exalted purpose. One of my principal concerns in this life is to study the writings of Bahá’u’lláh, strive to increase my understanding of His teachings, and learn to apply them to my own daily life and to the life of the community.” The book consists of the units “Understanding the Bahá’í Writings”, “Prayer”, and “Life and Death”.

More  to follow ......

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unity of the Prophets.

The Bahá’í Faith teaches that the Messengers from God come from the same source, God, to deliver God's Teachings, while also mirroring forth His attributes. In this light, the Bahá’í writings state that the reality of these Messengers of God is the same reality.
Bahá’u’lláh explains the essential nature of the Manifestations of God as twofold: they are at once human and divine. They are divine in that they all come from the same God and expound His teachings (and can thus be seen in the same light), but at the same time they are separate individuals known by different names, who fulfill definite missions, and who are entrusted with particular revelations.
Regarding the relationships of these prophets Bahá’u’lláh writes:
"God hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God, and whoso testifieth to the truth of their Revelation, hath testified to the truth of God Himself. Whoso turneth away from them, hath turned away from God, and whoso disbelieveth in them, hath disbelieved in God . . . They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory."
Bahá’u’lláh on the oneness of the prophets:
"The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace... hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence.
"These sanctified Mirrors, these Day Springs of ancient glory, are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose. From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory."
Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p 99.
Concerning their twofold station, Bahá’u’lláh has written:
"These Manifestations of God have each a twofold station. One is the station of pure abstraction and essential unity. In this respect, if thou callest them all by one name, and dost ascribe to them the same attributes, thou hast not erred from the truth. ... It is clear and evident to thee that all the Prophets are the Temples of the Cause of God, Who have appeared clothed in divers attire. If thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold Them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendor! Wherefore, should one of these Manifestations of Holiness proclaim saying: "I am the return of all the Prophets," He, verily, speaketh the truth. ...
"The other station is the station of distinction, and pertaineth to the world of creation, and to the limitations thereof. In this respect, each Manifestation of God hath a distinct individuality, a definitely prescribed mission, a predestined revelation, and specially designated limitations. Each one of them is known by a different name, is characterized by a special attribute, fulfils a definite mission, and is entrusted with a particular Revelation.
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 50. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Progressive revelation

Progressive revelation is a core teaching in the Bahá’í Faith that suggests that religious truth is revealed by God progressively and cyclically over time through a series of divine Messengers, and that the teachings are tailored to suit the needs of the time and place of their appearance. Thus, the Bahá’í teachings recognize the divine origin of several world religions as different stages of in the history of one religion, while believing that the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh is the most recent (though not the last), and therefore the most relevant to modern society.

Bahá’ís believe God to be generally regular and periodic in revealing His will to mankind through messengers/prophets, which are named Manifestations of God. Each messenger in turn establishes a covenant and founds a religion. This process of revelation, according to the Bahá’í writings, is also never ceasing, which is contrary to many other belief systems that believe in a finality of their prophet/messenger. The general theme of the successive and continuous religions founded by Manifestations of God is that there is an evolutionary tendency, and that each Manifestation of God brings a larger measure of revelation (or religion) to humankind than the previous one The differences in the revelation brought by the Manifestations of God is stated to be not inherent in the characteristics of the Manifestation of God, but instead attributed to the various worldly, societal and human factors, these differences are in accordance with the "conditions" and "varying requirements of the age" and the "spiritual capacity" of humanity. These differences are seen to be needed since human society has slowly and gradually evolved through higher stages of unification from the family to tribes and then nations.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Backbiting "Quencheth the Light of the Heart"

"… Backbiting quencheth the light of the heart, and extinguisheth the life of the soul.
"Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner. Shouldst thou transgress this command, accursed wouldst thou be, and to this I bear witness."

Bahá’u’lláh

 Backbiting—The Most Great Sin
"…Thou hast written regarding aims. How blessed are these aims, especially the prevention of backbiting! I hope that you may become confirmed therein, because the worst human quality and the most great sin is backbiting; more especially when it emanates from the tongues of the believers of God. If some means were devised so that the doors of backbiting could be shut eternally and each one of the believers of God unsealed his tongue in the praise of the other, then the teachings of His Holiness Baha'o'llah (Bahá’u’lláh) would be spread, the hearts illuminated, the spirits glorified and the human world would attain to everlasting felicity.
"I hope that the believers of God will shun completely backbiting, each one praising the other cordially and believe that backbiting is the cause of Divine wrath, to such an extent that if a person backbites to the extent of one word, he may become dishonored among all the people, because the most hateful characteristic of man is fault-finding. One must expose the praiseworthy qualities of the souls and not their evil attributes. The friends must overlook their shortcomings and faults and speak only of their virtues and not their defects.
"It is related that His Holiness Christ—May my life be a sacrifice to Him!—one day, accompanied by His apostles, passed by the corpse of a dead animal. One of them said: 'How putrid has this animal become!' The other exclaimed: 'How it is deformed!' A third cried out: 'What a stench! How cadaverous looking!' But His Holiness Christ said: 'Look at its teeth! How white they are!' Consider, that He did not look at all at the defects of that animal; nay, rather, He searched well until He found the beautiful white teeth. He observed only the whiteness of the teeth and overlooked entirely the deformity of the body, the dissolution of its organs and the bad odour.
"This is the attribute of the children of the Kingdom. This is the conduct and the manner of the real Bahais (Bahá’ís). I hope that all the believers will attain to this lofty station." ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Saturday, November 27, 2010

مقام حضرت عبدالبهاء

حضرت عبدالبهاء شخصیتی بی مثیل در تاریخ بشریّت اند و هیچ یک از ادیان گذشته از موهبت داشتن این چنین شخصیّتی برخوردار نبوده است. فضل و عنایت حضرت بهاءالله که جامعه بهائی را پس از صعود در ظلّ حمایت غصن اعظم، حضرت عبدالبهاء قرار داده ، قابل وصف نیست. حضرت بهاءالله نه تنها ظهور مبارک خود را به عالمیان ارزانی داشته اند؛ بلکه فرزند خود را نیز تقدیم نموده اند که با علم و حکمت وی عالم انسانی منوّر خواهد شد. مشکل بتوان حتّی ذرّه ای از عظمت این ظهور را بدون آگاهی از مقام فرید حضرت عبدالبهاء درک نمود.
اولاً: حضرت عبدالبهاء مرکز عهد و پیمان حضرت بهاءالله می باشند. قوّه میثاق جامعه بهائی را متّحد ساخته، از تعدّی دشمنان حفظ خواهد نمود. قوّه میثاق است که ضامن فتح و ظفر محتوم است. اساساً پیمانی که حضرت بهاءالله با پیروان خود بسته اند، لازمه اش این است که قلبهای خود را به مرکز عهد متوجّه ساخته و به آن وفادار باشیم. حضرت عبدالبهاء مرکز عهد الهی هستند و طبق الواح مبارکه وصایا بعد از آن حضرت شوقی افندی ولی امر و مرکزی هستند که باید به ایشان توجّه نماییم. الیوم مرکز عهد بیت العدل اعظم است که بنا به دستورات صریحه حضرت بهاءالله و تعلیمات واضحه عبدالبهاء و حضرت ولی امرالله تشکیل گشته است.
ثانیاً: حضرت عبدالبهاء مبیّن مصون از خطای حضرت بهاءالله می باشند. ظهور حضرت بهاءالله و آثار منزله چنان وسیع است و معانی مکنونه در هر یک از بیانات نازله چنان عمیق که حضرتشان لازم دانستند بعد از خود مُبیّنی جهت این آثار به جا گذارند و حضرتشان مُلهِمِ ایشان باشند و بدین ترتیب نسلهای آینده بشر می توانند تعالیم مبارکه حضرت بهاءالله را از طریق تبیینات حضرت عبدالبهاء در الواح و خطب عدیده ادراک نمایند و بعد از حضرت عبدالبهاء شوقی افندی مُبیّن آیات الله بوده و با صعودشان وظیفه تبیین تا ابد و تا انتهای دور بهائی خاتمه یافت. همچنین باید بدانیم که با تعیین مُبیّن آیات، حضرت بهاءالله فضل عظیمی شامل جامعه بهائی نمودند. در گذشته هر یک از ادیان به طُرُق متعدّد منقسم شدند؛ زیرا از داشت مرکزی که یاران بتوانند در حین اختلاف نظر درباره معانی کلمات مُنزِله در کتب مقدسه بدان مراجعه نمایند، محروم بودند. ولی در این ظهور چنانچه معنی و مفهوم بیانات حضرت بهاءالله برای یاران روشن نباشد به تبیینات حضرت عبدالبهاء و حضرت ولی امرالله مراجعه می نمایند و چنانچه مطلب واضح نگردد، به بیت العدل اعظم توجّه می کنند و بدین ترتیب فرصتی برای اختلاف در تعالیم مبارکه باقی نمی ماند و وحدت امر الهی محفوظ می گردد.
ثالثاً: حضرت عبدالبهاء مَثَلِ اعلای تعالیم مبارکه پدر بزرگوارشان می باشند. هر چند ما هیچگاه نمی توانیم به آن مرحله از کمال واصل شویم ولی باید همیشه آن حضرت را مَطمَحِ نظر داشته و سعی نماییم در اثر اقدام حضرتشان مشی نماییم. وقتی عشق و مهربانی را مشاهده می نمائیم، وقتی درباره تنزیه و تقدیس، عدالت و انصاف، راستی و صداقت، فرح و سرور، جود و سخاوت می خوانیم، به حضرتش توجّه نموده و در حیات مبارک این صفات را که به حدّ کمال در آن حضرت تجلّی نموده، خواهیم دید. امّا اساس حیات مبارک عبودیّت است... بیان ذیل از حضرت عبدالبهاء نشانه آرزوی مبارک به خدمت است:
« نام من عبدالبهاءست؛ صفت من عبدالبهاءست؛ حقیقت من عبدالبهاءست؛ نَعت من عبدالبهاءست؛ رقیّت به جمال قدم، اکلیل جلیل و تاج وَهّاج من است و خدمت به نوع انسان آئین قدیم من ... نه اسمی دارد نه لقبی؛ نه ذکری خواهد نه نَعتی جز عبدالبهاء. این است آرزوی من. این است اعظم آمال من. این است حیات ابدی من. این است عزّت سرمدی من.»

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ascension of Abdu'l-Baha

Abdul Baha
Each year Baha’is observe the anniversary of the death of Abdu'l-Baha, son of Baha'u'llah and His appointed succesor. He died at his home in Haifa, in what is now northern Israel, on Nov 28, 1921 at approximately 1:00 a.m., at age 77.

Abdu'l-Baha
Abdu’l-Baha, leader of the Baha'i Faith from 1892 to 1921, was known as an ambassador of peace, a champion of justice and the leading exponent of the new religion.

The funeral of `Abdu'l-Bahá, "a funeral the like of which Palestine had never seen," drew "no less than ten thousand people...representing every class, religion and race in that country." "A great throng," the British High Commissioner wrote, "had gathered together, sorrowing for His death, but rejoicing also for His life." The Governor of Jerusalem at the time also wrote in describing the funeral: "I have never known a more united expression of regret and respect than was called forth by the utter simplicity of the ceremony."1
`Abdu'l-Bahá's funeral, Haifa, Israel.
`Abdu'l-Bahá's funeral, Haifa, Israel.
"The coffin containing the remains of `Abdu'l-Bahá was borne to its last resting-place on the shoulders of His loved ones.... The long train of mourners, amid the sobs and moans of many a grief-stricken heart, wended its slow way up the slopes of Mt. Carmel to the Mausoleum of the Báb... Close to the eastern entrance of the Shrine, the sacred casket was placed upon a plain table, and, in the presence of that vast concourse, nine speakers, who represented the Muslim, the Jewish and Christian Faiths...delivered their several funeral orations. The coffin was then removed to one of the chambers of the Shrine, and there lowered, sadly and reverently, to its last resting-place in a vault adjoining that in which were laid the remains of the Báb."2

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Powers and blessings manifested through the Baha’i Covenant

It is indubitably clear, that the pivot of the oneness of mankind is nothing else but the power of the Covenant…. The power of the Covenant is as the heat of the sun which quickeneth and promoteth the development of all created things on earth. The light of the Covenant, in like manner, is the educator of the minds, the spirits, the hearts and souls of men.
‘Abdu’l-Baha, cited in “God Passes By”, pp. 238-39

Today the pulsating power in the arteries of the body of the world is the spirit of the Covenant — the spirit which is the cause of life. Whosoever is vivified with this spirit, the freshness and beauty of life become manifest in him, he is baptized with the Holy Spirit, he is born again, is freed from oppression and tyranny, from heedlessness and harshness which deaden the spirit, and attains to everlasting life. Praise thou God that thou art firm in the Covenant and the Testament and art turning thy face to the Luminary of the world, His Highness Baha’u’llah.
’Abdu’l-Baha, cited in “Star of the West, vol. 14, No. 7 (October 1923), p. 225









Baha’i children at a Naw-Ruz (New Year) celebration in Equatorial Guinea. The diversity of Baha’i gatherings is a clear demonstration of the ability of the Covenant of Baha’u'llah to bind together the hearts of the peoples of the world.


 ..the Covenant of Bahá’u'lláh…is, indeed, the potent instrument by which individual belief in Him is translated into constructive deeds. The Covenant comprises divinely conceived arrangements necessary to preserve the organic unity of the Cause. It therefore engenders a motivating power which, as the beloved Master tells us, “like unto the artery, beats and pulsates in the body of the world”. “It is indubitably clear”, He asserts, “that the pivot of the oneness of mankind is nothing else but the power of the Covenant.” Through it the meaning of the Word, both in theory and practice, is made evident in the life and work of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the appointed Interpreter, the perfect Exemplar, the Centre of the Covenant. Through it the processes of the Administrative Order — “this unique, this wondrous System” — are made to operate.
The Universal House of Justice, 1988 Dec 29

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh

"So powerful is the light of unity," Bahá'u'lláh declared, "that it can illuminate the whole earth."1 "We, verily," He further stated, "have come to unite and weld together all that dwell on earth."2 Bahá'u'lláh made the oneness of humankind the central principle and goal of His Faith, an emphasis that implies the organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations and signalizes the "coming of age of the entire human race."3
Humanity's evolution has been marked by such progressive stages of social organization as family, tribe, city-state and nation. Bahá'u'lláh's express purpose was to usher in the next and ultimate stage, namely, world unity -- the harbinger of the Great Peace foretold in the world's religions. As the Word of God as revealed by Bahá'u'lláh is the source and impetus of the oneness of humankind, so the Covenant He has established is the organizing principle for its realization.
Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant guarantees both unity of understanding of His Faith's fundamental doctrines and actualization of that unity in the Bahá'í community's spiritual and social development. It is distinguished by its provision for authentic interpretation of the sacred texts and for an authorized system of administration, at the apex of which is an elected legislative body empowered to supplement the laws revealed by Bahá'u'lláh.
This Covenant is the most remarkable feature of His Revelation, for it is designed, unlike any religious system of the past, to preserve the unity of all humanity through the organic workings of a social order based on spiritual principles. "So firm and mighty" is this Covenant, Bahá'u'lláh's son `Abdu'l-Bahá has affirmed, "that from the beginning of time until the present day, no religious Dispensation hath produced its like."4
The Bahá'í Faith is thus the first religion in history that has survived its critical first century with its unity firmly established. "Were it not for the protecting power of the Covenant to guard the impregnable fort of the Cause of God," said `Abdu'l-Bahá, "there would arise among the Bahá'ís, in one day, a thousand different sects as was the case in former ages."5 But in this Revelation, Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant is the magnet that draws the hearts of its followers together.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baha’is to observe two significant holy days

http://www.bahai.us/two-holy-days
Baha’is will commemorate the Day of the Covenant on Nov. 26, and the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha on Nov. 28.  The Day of the Covenant commemorates Baha’u’llah’s appointment of His eldest son, Abdu’l-Baha, as the protector of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, which was established to ensure the unity of the Baha'i Faith. The Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha marks the anniversary of his death in 1921.

As protector of the Covenant, Abdu’l-Baha, (sometimes referred as the Center of the Covenant), was charged with safeguarding and protecting the Faith against differences and schisms, making it impossible for anyone to create a new sect or faction of belief.

The Covenant of Baha’u’llah is unique in religious history: No other world religion’s sacred scriptures provide such explicit instructions for the organization of the community of believers after the founder’s passing. The Baha'i Faith is thus the first religion in history that has survived its critical first century with its unity firmly established —and ultimately with a blueprint for a divinely ordered global civilization to bring unity to the world.

After the death of Baha’u’llah in 1892, Abdu’l-Baha carried forth his father’s mission until he died in 1921 at age 77. Abdu’l-Baha was known as an ambassador of peace, a champion of justice and the leading exponent of the new religion.

During visits to Europe in 1911 and more than 40 cities in the United States and Canada in 1912, he was greeted with respect and acclaim by believers and non-believers. In city after city, he was invited to speak at churches and synagogues, and before distinguished groups and organizations. The net effect was to establish the Baha'i Faith as a major new force for social reform and religious renewal.

Affirming that "Love is the most great law" and that the "supreme need of humanity is cooperation and reciprocity" among all its peoples, Abdu'l-Baha reached out to leaders and the public – indeed, to every soul who crossed his path.

Abdu’l-Baha’s funeral on Mt. Carmel was attended by 10,000 mourners from all persuasions and denominations. He is buried in a vault on the north side of the Shrine of the Bab

Life of the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith:


A short video presentation on the Life of the Prophet-Founder of the newest Independent World Religion: The Baha'i Faith. Baha'u'llah's appearance signals the prophetic fulfillment of the world's major religions as the Promised One of All Ages. Baha'u'llah's message continues to touch hearts around the world - and despite opposition from dogmatic religious institutions, the Baha'i Faith's progressive teachings are increasingly becoming recognised as a spiritual balm to the world's increasing socio-economic, political and moral afflictions.

Bahá'u'lláh: His Teachings

Baha'u'llah presents a vision of life that insists upon a fundamental redefinition of all human relationships--among human beings themselves, between human beings and the natural world, between the individual and society, and between the members of society and its institutions. Each of these relationships must be reassessed in light of humanity's evolving understanding of God's will and purpose. New laws and concepts are enunciated by Bahá'u'lláh so that human consciousness can be freed from patterns of response set by tradition, and the foundations of a global civilization can be erected. "A new life", Bahá'u'lláh declares, "is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth."1 Because the implications of Bahá'u'lláh's message are both social and spiritual, His teachings redefine the very concept of religion. He is not the Founder of a religion as religion is conventionally understood, but rather the Prophet of civilization and collective transformation--the "Originator of a new universal cycle" in human history.2 His message transcends all religious categories. His vision of the oneness of humankind involves not just the deepening of human solidarity, the safeguarding of human rights, or the establishment of an enduring peace, but rather "an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced."3 His prescriptions for the moral reformation of human nature are unique in their approach and universal in their applicability.

For more information, please visit
http://www.bahaullah.org/.
http://info.bahai.org/

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What is the station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá?

He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as the Center and Pivot of Bahá’u'lláh’s peerless and all-enfolding Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá’í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá’í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being “round Whom all names revolve,” the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation — styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond these appellations, the “Mystery of God” — an expression by which Bahá’u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.
Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Bahá’u'lláh, paragraph 75

 Though moving in a sphere of His own and holding a rank radically different from that of the Author and the Forerunner of the Bahá’í Revelation, He, by virtue of the station ordained for Him through the Covenant of Bahá’u'lláh, forms together with them what may be termed the Three Central Figures of a Faith that stands unapproached in the world’s spiritual history. He towers, in conjunction with them, above the destinies of this infant Faith of God from a level to which no individual or body ministering to its needs after Him, and for no less a period than a full thousand years, can ever hope to rise. To degrade His lofty rank by identifying His station with or by regarding it as roughly equivalent to, the position of those on whom the mantle of His authority has fallen would be an act of impiety as grave as the no less heretical belief that inclines to exalt Him to a state of absolute equality with either the central Figure or Forerunner of our Faith. For wide as is the gulf that separates ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from Him Who is the Source of an independent Revelation, it can never be regarded as commensurate with the greater distance that stands between Him Who is the Center of the Covenant and His ministers who are to carry on His work, whatever be their name, their rank, their functions or their future achievements. Let those who have known ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who through their contact with His magnetic personality have come to cherish for Him so fervent an admiration, reflect, in the light of this statement, on the greatness of One Who is so far above Him in station.
Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Bahá’u'lláh, paragraph 69

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bahá'u'lláh -- Announcement to Humanity

The Revelation which, from time immemorial, hath been acclaimed as the Purpose and Promise of all the Prophets of God, and the most cherished Desire of His Messengers, hath now, by virtue of the pervasive Will of the Almighty and at His irresistible bidding, been revealed unto men. The advent of such a Revelation hath been heralded in all the sacred Scriptures. Behold how, notwithstanding such an announcement, mankind hath strayed from its path and shut out itself from its glory.
This is the Day in which God's most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember, and blessed are those men whose names, by virtue of Our inscrutable decree, We have preferred to conceal. Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

“Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality; that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man is the end of the night and the beginning of day, meaning that he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees of perfection. He has the animal side as well as the angelic side; and the aim of an educator is to so train human souls, that their angelic aspect may overcome their animal side. Then, if the divine power in man which is his essential perfection, overcomes the satanic power, which is absolute imperfection, he becomes the most excellent among the creatures; but if the satanic power overcomes the divine power, he becomes the lowest of the creatures. That is why he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection.”
(Abdu’l-Bahia, Baha’i World Faith - Abdu’l-Bahia Section, p. 331-332)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Words of Paradise

The word of God which the Abhá Pen hath revealed and inscribed on the
first leaf
of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: Verily I say: The fear of God hath ever been a sure defence and a safe stronghold for all the peoples of the world. It is the chief cause of the protection of mankind, and the supreme instrument for its preservation. Indeed, there existeth in man a faculty which deterreth him from, and guardeth him against, whatever is unworthy and unseemly, and which is known as his sense of shame. This, however, is confined to but a few; all have not possessed and do not possess it.

The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the
second leaf
of the Most Exalted Paradise is the following: The Pen of the Most High exhorteth, at this moment, the manifestations of authority and the sources of power, namely the kings, the sovereigns, the presidents, the rulers, the divines and the wise, and enjoineth them to uphold the cause of religion, and to cleave unto it. Religion is verily the chief instrument for the establishment of order in the world and of tranquillity amongst its peoples. The weakening of the pillars of religion hath strengthened the foolish and emboldened them and made them more arrogant. Verily I say: The greater the decline of religion, the more grievous the waywardness of the ungodly. This cannot but lead in the end to chaos and confusion. Hear Me, O men of insight, and be warned, ye who are endued with discernment!

The word of God which the Supreme Pen hath recorded on the
third leaf
of the Most Exalted Paradise is this: O son of man! If thine eyes be turned towards mercy, forsake the things that profit thee and cleave unto that which will profit mankind. And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. Humility exalteth man to the heaven of glory and power, whilst pride abaseth him to the depths of wretchedness and degradation.
 .......

Bahá'u'lláh. KALÍMÁT-I-FIRDAWSÍYYIH (Words of Paradise)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Universal peace and concord will be realized .....

Now consider, in this great century which is the cycle of Bahá’u’lláh, what progress science and knowledge have made, how many secrets of existence have been discovered, how many great inventions have been brought to light and are day by day multiplying in number. Before long, material science and learning, as well as the knowledge of God, will make such progress and will show forth such wonders that the beholders will be amazed. Then the mystery of this verse in Isaiah, “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,” will be completely evident.
One of the great events which is to occur in the Day of the manifestation of that Incomparable Branch (Bahá’u’lláh) is the hoisting of the Standard of God among all nations. By this is meant that all nations and kindreds will be gathered together under the shadow of this Divine Banner, which is no other than the Lordly Branch itself, and will become a single nation. Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race, and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself. Universal peace and concord will be realized between all the nations, and that Incomparable Branch will gather together all Israel, signifying that in this cycle Israel will be gathered in the Holy Land, and that the Jewish people who are scattered to the East and West, South and North, will be assembled together. 

`Abdu'l-Bahá  Some Answered Questions.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

World Unity the Goal

Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation-building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life.
“A new life,” Bahá’u’lláh proclaims, “is, in this age, stirring within all the peoples of the earth; and yet none hath discovered its cause, or perceived its motive.” “O ye children of men,” He thus addresses His generation, “the fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race… This is the straight path, the fixed and immovable foundation. Whatsoever is raised on this foundation, the changes and chances of the world can never impair its strength, nor will the revolution of countless centuries undermine its structure.” “The well-being of mankind,” He declares, “its peace and security are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.” “So powerful is the light of unity,” is His further testimony, “that it can illuminate the whole earth. The one true God, He Who knoweth all things, Himself testifieth to the truth of these words… This goal excelleth every other goal, and this aspiration is the monarch of all aspirations.” “He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful,” He, moreover, has written, “cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body. Haste ye to win your share of God’s good grace and mercy in this Day that eclipseth all other created days.”


Shoghi Effendi: The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Valley of Knowledge

The wayfarer in this Valley (The Valley of Knowledge) seeth in the fashionings of the True One nothing save clear providence, and at every moment saith: “No defect canst thou see in the creation of the God of Mercy: Repeat the gaze: Seest thou a single flaw?” He beholdeth justice in injustice, and in justice, grace. In ignorance he findeth many a knowledge hidden, and in knowledge a myriad wisdoms manifest. He breaketh the cage of the body and the passions, and consorteth with the people of the immortal realm. He mounteth on the ladders of inner truth and hasteneth to the heaven of inner significance. He rideth in the ark of “we shall show them our signs in  the regions and in themselves,” and journeyeth over the sea of “until it become plain to them that (this Book) is the truth.” And if he meeteth with injustice he shall have patience, and if he cometh upon wrath he shall manifest love.

There was once a lover who had sighed for long years in separation from his beloved, and wasted in the fire of remoteness. From the rule of love, his heart was empty of patience, and his body weary of his spirit; he reckoned life without her as a mockery, and time consumed him away. How many a day he found no rest in longing for her; how many a night the pain of her kept him from sleep; his body was worn to a sigh, his heart’s wound had turned him to a cry of sorrow. He had given a thousand lives for one taste of the cup of her presence, but it availed him not. The doctors knew no cure for him, and companions avoided his company; yea, physicians have no medicine for one sick of love, unless the favor of the beloved one deliver him.
 At last, the tree of his longing yielded the fruit of despair, and the fire of his hope fell to ashes. Then one night he could live no more, and he went out of his house and made for the marketplace. On a sudden, a watchman followed after him. He broke into a run, with the watchman following; then other watchmen came together, and barred every passage to the weary one. And the wretched one cried from his heart, and ran here and there, and moaned to himself: “Surely this watchman is Izrá’íl, my angel of death, following so fast upon me; or he is a tyrant of men, seeking to harm me.” His feet carried him on, the one bleeding with the arrow of love, and his heart lamented. Then he came to a garden wall, and with untold pain he scaled it, for it proved very high; and forgetting his life, he threw himself down to the garden.
Indeed, his words were true, for he had found many a secret justice in this seeming tyranny of the watchman, and seen how many a mercy lay hid behind the veil. Out of wrath, the guard had led him who was athirst in love’s desert to the sea of his loved one, and lit up the dark night of absence with the light of reunion. He had driven one who was afar, into the garden of nearness, had guided an ailing soul to the heart’s physician.
Now if the lover could have looked ahead, he would have blessed the watchman at the start, and prayed on his behalf, and he would have seen that tyranny as justice; but since the end was veiled to him, he moaned and made his plaint in the beginning. Yet those who journey in the garden land of knowledge, because they see the end in the beginning, see peace in war and friendliness in anger.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Seven Valleys

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baha'is to mark Birth of the Bab

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, close to one hundred people will gather in a local hall on October 20th where a beautiful program has been prepared to commemorate one of the most important of Baha’i Holy Days. A Chinese guitarist will perform, prayers will be said and the life of one of humanity’s most fascinating spiritual teachers, known to history as the Bab, will be remembered. In Moncton, New Brunswick and Red Deer, Alberta, more modest celebrations are being organized in people’s homes with a potluck supper and devotional program. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, two neighbourhood observances are taking place. At each one, the story of the Bab will be presented by some young adolescents. In larger cities, events will occur with several hundred Baha’is and their friends coming together at commemorations in Baha’i centres in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto or Ottawa, or in large rented facilities.
More and more of the public are coming to know that Baha’u’llah is the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith. Fewer know that there was a second Prophet, or what Baha’is understand to be a Manifestation or Messenger of God, who is also closely associated with the emergence of the Baha’i Faith in Iran in the nineteenth century.
The Bab was born in Shiraz, Iran, in 1819 as Siyyid ‘Ali-Muhammad. He was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad through both His father and mother. 1n 1844, He announced that He was the Promised One foretold in the world’s religions and that His mission was to prepare people for the imminent coming of the Divine Messenger, Baha’u’llah. In 1863, Baha’u’llah announced that He was that new messenger of God whose central teachings focus on the principle of the oneness of humanity. Thus their respective births, October 20th and November 12th, in the case of Baha’u’llah, are two of the nine Baha’i holy days.
In 1850, by order of the government, the Bab was executed in the public square of Tabriz, in northern Iran. The story of his execution and events surrounding the Bab’s short, but extraordinary life, were told in news reports that reached Europe. His remains were later brought to Mount Carmel, in Haifa in the Holy Land, where a beautiful Shrine was constructed that is now a place of pilgrimage for followers of the Baha’i Faith, and the centre of an exquisite series of gardens and buildings that form the administrative and spiritual World Centre of the Baha'i Faith. More information on the Bab’s life can be found at: The Bab, Forerunner of Baha’u’llah.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A GOD-GIVEN MANDATE

“May America become the distributing center of spiritual enlightenment, and all the world receive this heavenly blessing! For America has developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations… May the inhabitants of this country … rise from their present material attainments to such a height that heavenly illumination may stream from this center to all the peoples of the world.” And again: “O ye apostles of Bahá’u’lláh! May my life be sacrificed for you!… Behold the portals which Bahá’u’lláh hath opened before you. Consider how exalted and lofty is the station you are destined to attain; how unique the favors with which you have been endowed… The full measure of your success is as yet unrevealed, its significance still unapprehended. Ere long ye will, with your own eyes, witness how brilliantly every one of you, even as a shining star, will radiate in the firmament of your country the light of Divine Guidance, and will bestow upon its people the glory of an everlasting life…. The range of your future achievements still remains undisclosed. I fervently hope that in the near future the whole earth may be stirred and shaken by the results of your achievements. The Almighty will no doubt grant you the help of His grace, will invest you with the tokens of His might, and will endue your souls with the sustaining power of His Holy Spirit.” And again: “Be not concerned with the smallness of your numbers, neither be oppressed by the multitude of an unbelieving world… Exert yourselves; your mission is unspeakably glorious. Should success crown your enterprise, America will assuredly evolve into a center from which waves of spiritual power will emanate, and the throne of the Kingdom of God will, in the plenitude of its majesty and glory, be firmly established. The hope which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá cherishes for you is that the same success which has attended your efforts in America may crown your endeavors in other parts of the world, that through you the  fame of the Cause of God may be diffused throughout the East and the West and the advent of the Kingdom of the Lord of Hosts be proclaimed in all the five continents of the globe…. Thus far ye have been untiring in your labors. Let your exertions henceforth increase a thousandfold. Summon the people in these countries, capitals, islands, assemblies and churches to enter the Abhá Kingdom. The scope of your exertions must needs be extended. The wider its range, the more striking will be the evidence of Divine assistance.” And finally, this apocalyptic vision of the consummation of the task entrusted to the American Bahá’í community, as evoked by that same Pen in those same Tablets: “The moment this Divine Message is carried forward by the American believers from the shores of America, and is propagated through the continents of Europe, of Asia, of Africa and of Australasia, and as far as the islands of the Pacific, this community will find itself securely established upon the throne of an everlasting dominion. Then will all the peoples of the world witness that this community is spiritually illumined and divinely guided. Then will the whole earth resound with the praises of its majesty and greatness.” 

Shoghi Effendi Messages to America Page 98-99

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thoughts on the power of Love, Light and Peace

"I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a
thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and
content.
Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness. When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other's hands! So may all the savagery of man disappear by the Mercy of God, working through the pure in heart and the sincere of soul. Do not think the peace of the world an ideal impossible to attain!
Nothing is impossible to the Divine Benevolence of God. If you desire with all your heart, friendship with every
race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.
Do not despair! Work steadily. Sincerity and love will conquer hate. How many seemingly impossible events are
coming to pass in these days! Set your faces steadily towards the Light of the World. Show love to all; `Love
is the breath of the Holy Spirit in the heart of Man'.
Take courage! God never forsakes His children who strive and work and pray! Let your hearts be filled with the
strenuous desire that tranquillity and harmony may encircle all this warring world. So will success crown your efforts, and with the universal brotherhood will come the Kingdom of God in peace and goodwill."

Baha'i: Abdu'l-Baha: Paris Talks, Written in 1912 (pp 29-30)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

SUMMONS TO THE WORLD’S RELIGIOUS LEADERS

O LEADERS of religion! Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it.
The eye of My loving-kindness weepeth sore over you, inasmuch as ye have failed to recognize the One upon Whom ye have been calling in the daytime and in the night season, at even and at morn. Advance, O people, with snow-white faces and radiant hearts, unto the blest and crimson Spot, wherein the Sadratu’l-Muntahá is calling: ‘Verily, there is none other God beside Me, the Omnipotent Protector, the Self-Subsisting!’
O ye leaders of religion! Who is the man amongst you that can rival Me in vision or insight? Where is he to be found that dareth to claim to be My equal in utterance or wisdom? No, by My Lord, the All-Merciful! All on the earth shall pass away; and this is the face of your Lord, the Almighty, the Well-Beloved.
We have decreed, O people, that the highest and last end of all learning be the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge; and yet, behold how ye have allowed your learning to shut you out, as by a veil, from Him Who  is the Dayspring of this Light, through Whom every hidden thing hath been revealed. Could ye but discover the source whence the splendour of this utterance is diffused, ye would cast away the peoples of the world and all that they possess, and would draw nigh unto this most blessed Seat of glory.
Say: This, verily, is the heaven in which the Mother Book is treasured, could ye but comprehend it. He it is Who hath caused the Rock to shout, and the Burning Bush to lift up its voice, upon the Mount rising above the Holy Land, and proclaim: ‘The Kingdom is God’s, the sovereign Lord of all, the All-Powerful, the Loving!’
We have not entered any school, nor read any of your dissertations. Incline your ears to the words of this unlettered One, wherewith He summoneth you unto God, the Ever-Abiding. Better is this for you than all the treasures of the earth, could ye but comprehend it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

“THIS is the Day in which God’s most excellent favours…”

This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember, and blessed are those men whose names, by virtue of Our inscrutable decree, We have preferred to conceal.
Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.


~ Bahá’u’lláh

Monday, October 11, 2010

"If thine aim be to cherish thy
life, approach not our court; but if sacrifice be thy heart's
desire, come and let others come with thee. For such is the
way of faith, if in thy heart thou seekest reunion with Baha;
Shouldst thou refuse to tread this path, why trouble us?
Begone!"
"No man shall attain the shores of the ocean of true under-standing except he be detached from all that is in heaven and on earth. Sanctify your souls, O ye peoples of the world, that haply ye may attain that station which God hath destined for you and enter thus the tabernacle which, according to the dispensations of Providence, hath been raised in the firmament of the Bayan.

THE essence of these words is this: they that tread the path of faith, they that thirst for the wine of certitude, must cleanse themselves of all that is earthly -- their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth. They should put their trust in God, and, holding fast unto Him, follow in His way. Then will they be made worthy of the effulgent glories of the sun of divine knowledge and understanding, and become the recipients of a grace that is infinite and unseen, inasmuch as man can never hope to attain unto the knowledge of the All-Glorious, can never quaff from the stream of divine knowledge and wisdom, can never enter the abode of immortality, nor partake of the cup of divine nearness and favour, unless and until he ceases to regard the words and deeds of mortal men as a standard for the true understanding and recognition of God and His Prophets.

Consider the past. How many, both high and low, have, at all times, yearningly awaited the advent of the Manifestations of God in the sanctified persons of His chosen Ones. How often have they expected His coming, how frequently have they prayed that the breeze of divine mercy might blow, and the promised Beauty step forth from behind the veil of concealment, and be made manifest to all the world. And whensoever the portals of grace did open, and the clouds of divine bounty did rain upon mankind, and the light of the Unseen did shine above the horizon of celestial might, they all denied Him, and turned away from His face -- the face of God Himself. Refer ye, to verify this truth, to that which hath been recorded in every sacred Book."

-- Bahá'u'lláh, The Kitab-i-Iqan (The Book of Certitude), p. 3