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