Saturday, May 22, 2010

Celebrating the Declaration of the Báb, herald of Bahá'u'lláh

At approximately two hours after sunset on May 22, 1844, the Báb—born Siyyid `Alí-Muhammad in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran)—announced that He was the bearer of a Divine Revelation which would prepare humanity for the advent of the Promised One of all religions.

 The Báb’s announcement in the middle of the 19th century came at a time when many Christians were expecting the return of Christ based on their reading of Biblical prophecy. Simultaneously, half way around the world, in the Middle East, many followers of Islam were also expecting their Promised One to appear.

Those who had met the Báb were struck by the beauty of His being and grace. His voice, particularly, when chanting the tablets and prayers He revealed, possessed a sweetness that captivated the heart.
Against the backdrop of widespread moral breakdown in Persian society, the Báb's assertion that He was the Bringer of a new Revelation from God and His call for spiritual and social renewal aroused both hope and excitement among the masses and hostility among the religious and political leaders of His day.

He quickly attracted thousands of followers. Soon the Báb and His followers were persecuted by the religious and political leaders. The Bab was imprisoned, exiled, beaten and finally executed. The followers, by the thousands, were tortured and martyred.

Their extraordinary moral courage in the face of persecution was noted by a number of Western observers, such as Leo Tolstoy and Sarah Bernhardt, who were deeply affected by the spiritual drama that was unfolding in what was regarded as a darkened land.  Despite the opposition, the Báb's religion survived. Most of the Báb's followers embraced Bahá'u'lláh's announcement that He was the One promised by the Báb. The religion, known as the Bahá'í Faith after Bahá'u'lláh's declaration, continued to expand although persecutions also continued

.

Bahá'ís celebrate the anniversary of the Báb’s declaration through prayers and programs where the story of His declaration may be retold. Because the Bahá'í day lasts from sunset to sunset, celebrations are usually held after sunset on May 22 or during the day on May 23.

Bahá’u’lláh’s tribute to Bab.

Of all the tributes which Bahá’u’lláh’s unerring pen has chosen to pay to the memory of the Báb, His “Best-Beloved,” the most memorable and touching is this brief, yet eloquent passage which so greatly enhances the value of the concluding passages of that same epistle. “Amidst them all,” He writes, referring to the afflictive trials and dangers besetting Him in the city of Baghdád, “We stand life in hand wholly resigned to His Will, that perchance through God’s loving kindness and grace, this revealed and manifest Letter (Bahá’u’lláh) may lay down His life as a sacrifice in the path of the Primal Point, the most exalted Word (the Báb). By Him, at Whose bidding the Spirit hath spoken, but for this yearning of Our soul, We would not, for one moment, have tarried any longer in this city.”

The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Covenant

"So firm and mighty is this Covenant,” He Who is its appointed Center has affirmed, “that from the beginning of time until the present day no religious Dispensation hath produced its like.” “It is indubitably clear,” He, furthermore, has stated, “that the pivot of the oneness of mankind is nothing else but the power of the Covenant.” “Know thou,” He has written, “that the ‘Sure Handle’ mentioned from the foundation of the world in the Books, the Tablets and the Scriptures of old is naught else but the Covenant and the Testament.” And again: “The lamp of the Covenant is the light of the world, and the words traced by the Pen of the Most High a limitless ocean.” “The Lord, the All-Glorified,” He has moreover declared, “hath, beneath the shade of the Tree of Anísá (Tree of Life), made a new Covenant and established a great Testament… Hath such a Covenant been established in any previous Dispensation, age, period or century? Hath such a Testament, set down by the Pen of the Most High, ever been witnessed? No, by God!” And finally: “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.” To this same Covenant He has in His writings referred as the “Conclusive Testimony,” the “Universal Balance,” the “Magnet of God’s grace,” the “Upraised Standard,” the “Irrefutable Testament,” “the all-mighty Covenant, the like of which the sacred Dispensations of the past have never witnessed” and “one of the distinctive features of this most mighty cycle.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahia, cited in “God Passes By”, pp. 238-39

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We're "broke" &  "can't" help our own--we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds or affordable housing, and mentally ill without treatment. So we should ignore it when the world has its troubles, like in Haiti, right???

WRONG!!!
We are all ONE world, but the problem begins with ourselves.  First, we need to
change each of our hearts to not only see each human is a brother or sister, but ACT in that manner:
'It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love, rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So intense must be the spirit of love and loving-kindness, that the stranger may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all limitations earthly.'
 (Baha'i Scriptures: Baha'i World Faith- Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 445)
Next, we need to enlighten our governments to change our governing to a consultative model, rather than the adversarial model now used. Imagine our representatives not representing parties, but representing IDEAS, where the majority vote compels ALL to support it in unity, and if the decision is wrong, that will soon become apparent, and the original decision revisited.  Far more can be accomplished from consultation and upholding a decision in unity:  
'Though one of the parties may be in the right and they disagree that will be the cause of a thousand wrongs, but if they agree and both parties are in the wrong, as it is in unity the truth will be revealed and the wrong made right.'
(Baha'i Scriptures:'
Abdu'l-Bahá, Individual Rights and Freedoms in the World Order
of Bahá'u'lláh, pp. 13-14)
 
'Consultation must have for its object the investigation of truth. He who expressesan opinion should not voice it as correct and right but set it forth as a contribution to the consensus of opinion, for the light of reality becomes apparent when two opinions coincide...Man should weigh his opinions with the utmost serenity, calmness and composure. Before expressing his own views he should carefully consider the views already advanced by others. If he finds that a previously expressed opinion is more true and worthy, he should accept it immediately and not willfully hold to an opinion of his own. By this excellent method he endeavors to arrive at unity and truth...Parliamentary procedure should have for its object the attainment of the light of truth upon questions presented and not furnish a battleground for opposition and self-opinion. Antagonism and contradiction are unfortunate and always destructive to truth...Therefore true consultation is spiritual conference in the attitude and atmosphere of love. Members must love each other in the spirit of fellowship in order that good results may be forthcoming. Love and fellowship are the foundation.'
(Baha'i Scriptures: 'Abdu'l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 72) 
'The honored members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another...The second principle is that of detachment in consultation. The members of an Assembly must learn to express their views frankly, calmly, without passion or rancor. They mustalso learn to listen to the opinions of their fellow members without taking offenseor belittling the views of another...They must learn to forget personalities and to overcome the desire -- so natural in people -- to take sides and fight about it.'
(Baha'i Scriptures: Shoghi Effendi, Consultation: A Compilation, p. 19)
Our world has lost its connection with God, as it is only His Will that changes  hearts.  We are, indeed, a global village, and, as such, must re-evaluate the  decaying systems we now have, and act and react as "O people of the world, ye are all the fruit of one tree and the leaves of one branch."
 (Baha'i Scriptures: Abdu'l-Baha, A Traveller's Narrative, p. 42)