Wednesday, July 31, 2013

THE DAWN OF PEACE

Therefore we must follow and adore the virtues revealed in the messengers of God whether in Abraham, Moses, Jesus or other prophets but we must not adhere to and adore the lamp. We must recognize the sun no matter from what dawning-point it may shine forth, be it Mosaic, Abrahamic or any personal point of orientation whatever, for we are lovers of sunlight and not of orientation. We are lovers of illumination and not of lamps and candles. We are seekers for water no matter from what rock it may gush forth. We are in need of fruit in whatsoever orchard it may be ripened. We long for rain it matters not which cloud pours it down. We must not be fettered. If we renounce these fetters we shall agree, for all are seekers of reality. The counterfeit or imitation of true religion has adulterated human belief and the foundations have been lost sight of. The variance of these imitations has produced enmity and strife, war and bloodshed. Now the glorious and brilliant twentieth century has dawned and the divine bounty is radiating universally. The Sun of Truth is shining forth in intense enkindlement. This is verily the century when these imitations must be forsaken, superstitions abandoned and God alone worshiped. We must look at the reality of the prophets and their teachings in order that we may agree...

‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Foundations of World Unity 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Rejoice not in the things ye possess



Say: Rejoice not in the things ye possess; tonight they are yours, tomorrow others will possess them. Thus warneth you He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Informed. Say: Can ye claim that what ye own is lasting or secure? Nay! By Myself, the All-Merciful. The days of your life flee away as a breath of wind, and all your pomp and glory shall be folded up as were the pomp and glory of those gone before you. Reflect, O people! What hath become of your bygone days, your lost centuries? Happy the days that have been consecrated to the remembrance of God, and blessed the hours which have been spent in praise of Him Who is the All-Wise. By My life! Neither the pomp of the mighty, nor the wealth of the rich, nor even the ascendancy of the ungodly will endure. All will perish, at a word from Him. He, verily, is the All-Powerful, the All-Compelling, the Almighty. What advantage is there in the earthly things which men possess? That which shall profit them, they have utterly neglected. Erelong, they will awake from their slumber, and find themselves unable to obtain that which hath escaped them in the days of their Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised. Did they but know it, they would renounce their all, that their names may be mentioned before His throne. They, verily, are accounted among the dead.

Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, ...

The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, whose supreme mission is none other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful to its implications, be regarded as signalizing through its advent the coming of age of the entire human race. It should be viewed not merely as yet another spiritual revival in the ever-changing fortunes of mankind, not only as a further stage in a chain of progressive Revelations, nor even as the culmination of one of a series of recurrent prophetic cycles, but rather as marking the last and highest stage in the stupendous evolution of man’s collective life on this planet. The emergence of a world community, the consciousness of world citizenship, the founding of a world civilization and culture—all of which must synchronize with the initial stages in the unfoldment of the Golden Age of the Bahá’í Era—should, by their very nature, be regarded, as far as this planetary life is concerned, as the furthermost limits in the organization of human society, though man, as an individual, will, nay must indeed as a result of such a consummation, continue indefinitely to progress and develop.

EXTRACTS FROM THE WRITINGS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI

Saturday, July 20, 2013

... universal peace is impossible without ...

The most momentous question of this day is international peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible without universal suffrage. Children are educated by the women. The mother bears the troubles and anxieties of rearing the child, undergoes the ordeal of its birth and training. Therefore, it is most difficult for mothers to send to the battlefield those upon whom they have lavished such love and care. Consider a son reared and trained twenty years by a devoted mother. What sleepless nights and restless, anxious days she has spent! Having brought him through dangers and difficulties to the age of maturity, how agonizing then to sacrifice him upon the battlefield! Therefore, the mothers will not sanction war nor be satisfied with it.
So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace

Thursday, July 18, 2013

This is the century of light,

Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident that the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all humankind. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. Through the effulgent rays of divine illumination the capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality of man and woman is an established fact....
 In this day man must investigate reality impartially and without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed, especially the privilege of education....
It is my hope that the banner of equality may be raised throughout the five continents where as yet it is not fully recognized and established. In this enlightened world of the West woman has advanced an immeasurable degree beyond the women of the Orient. And let it be known once more that until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political progress here or anywhere will not be possible. For the world of humanity consists of two parts or members: one is woman; the other is man. Until these two members are equal in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be established, and the happiness and felicity of mankind will not be a reality. God willing, this is to be so.

‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BEAUTY AND HARMONY IN DIVERSITY

Consider the world of created beings, how varied and diverse they are in species, yet with one sole origin. All the differences that appear are those of outward form and colour. This diversity of type is apparent throughout the whole of nature.
Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth, in foliage—and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers, shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon them and the same clouds give them rain.
So it is with humanity. It is made up of many races, and its peoples are of different colour, white, black, yellow, brown and red—but they all come from the same God, and all are servants to Him. This diversity among the children of men has unhappily not the same effect as it has among the vegetable creation, where the spirit shown is more harmonious. Among men exists the diversity of animosity, and it is this that causes war and hatred among the different nations of the world.


`Abdu'l-Bahá, Paris Talks

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Baha'u'llah: A Glimpse Of His Life And Teachings


Published on Jul 11, 2013.
Produced by the Audio Visual Department of the Baha'i National Centre for broadcast on the anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah, November 12, 1988.
Copyright 1988 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Canada.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

... with unity of purpose and action ...

Words of Shoghi Effendi in a Letter, written in of April 9th, 1923.

Many and grave may be the obstacles, whether from within or from without, which we shall have to encounter in the days to come, but we feel sure that if we but maintain consistently before our eyes a broad and noble vision of its significance and vital necessity in these days, and above all of its universality and all-conquering power, we shall be enabled to surmount them, one and all, and by the Power of Faith, carry the Ark of the Covenant to its Haven of Safety and Triumph.
It is, I firmly believe, of the utmost urgent importance that, with unity of purpose and action firmly established in our midst, and with every trace of the animosity and mistrust of the past banished from our hearts, we should form one united front and combat, wisely and tactfully, every force that might darken the spirit of the Movement, cause division in its ranks, and narrow it by dogmatic and sectarian belief.

Shoghi Effendi

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Every era hath a spirit ...

For every era hath a spirit; the spirit of this illumined era lieth in the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. For these lay the foundation of the oneness of the world of humanity and promulgate universal brotherhood. They are founded upon the unity of science and religion and upon investigation of truth. They uphold the principle that religion must be the cause of amity, union and harmony among men. They establish the equality of both sexes and propound economic principles which are for the happiness of individuals. They diffuse universal education, that every soul may as much as possible have a share of knowledge. They abrogate and nullify religious, racial, political, patriotic and economic prejudices and the like. Those teachings that are scattered throughout the Epistles and Tablets are the cause of the illumination and the life of the world of humanity.


Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The Principle of Oneness ...

Let there be no mistake. The principle of the Oneness of Mankind – the pivot round which all the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh revolve – is no mere outburst of ignorant emotionalism or an expression of vague and pious hope. Its appeal is not to be merely identified with a reawakening of the spirit of brotherhood and goodwill among men, nor does it aim solely at the fostering of harmonious co-operation among individual peoples and nations. Its implications are deeper, its claims greater than any which the Prophets of old were allowed to advance. Its message is applicable not only to the individual, but concerns itself primarily with the nature of those essential relationships that must bind all the states and nations as members of one human family. It does not constitute merely the enunciation of an ideal, but stands inseparably associated with an institution adequate to embody its truth, demonstrate its validity, and perpetuate its influence. It implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced. It constitutes a challenge, at once bold and universal, to outworn shibboleths of national creeds–creeds that have had their day and which must, in the ordinary course of events as shaped and controlled by Providence, give way to a new gospel, fundamentally different from, and infinitely superior to, what the world has already conceived. It calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world–a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units. ...

 The principle of the Oneness of Mankind, as proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh, carries with it no more and no less than a solemn assertion that attainment to this final stage in this stupendous evolution is not only necessary but inevitable ...

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

Monday, July 8, 2013

The fourth Taráz concerneth trustworthiness. 2

One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its streams
flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud saying: “O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto My hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Bahá, and the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings.” Thus have We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of creation.’

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, TARAZÁT (Ornaments)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The fourth Taráz concerneth trustworthiness. 1

The fourth Taráz concerneth trustworthiness. Verily it is the door of security for all that dwell on earth and a token of glory on the part of the All-Merciful. He who partaketh thereof hath indeed partaken of the treasures of wealth and prosperity....
Trustworthiness is the greatest portal leading unto the tranquillity and security of the people. In truth the stability of every affair hath depended and doth depend upon it. All the domains of power, of grandeur and of wealth are illumined by its light. Not long ago these sublime words were revealed from the Pen of the Most High: ‘We will now mention unto thee Trustworthiness and the station thereof in the estimation of God, thy Lord, the Lord of the Mighty Throne....
O people of Bahá! Trustworthiness is in truth the best of vestures for your temples and the most glorious crown for your heads. Take ye fast hold of it at the behest of Him Who is the Ordainer, the All-Informed.

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, TARAZÁT (Ornaments)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

To the participants in the forthcoming 114 youth conferences throughout the world

Across the world are to be gathered, in scores of youth conferences sharing the same aim, tens of thousands who have much in common. Although your realities are shaped by a broad diversity of circumstances, yet a desire to bring about constructive change and a capacity for meaningful service, both characteristic of your stage of life, are neither limited to any race or nationality, nor dependent upon material means. This bright period of youth you share is experienced by all--but it is brief, and buffeted by numerous social forces. How important it is, then, to strive to be among those who, in the words of 'Abdu'l-Baha, "plucked the fruit of life"....

To follow a path of service, whatever form one's activity assumes, requires faith and tenacity. In this connection, the benefit of walking that path in the company of others is immense. Loving fellowship, mutual encouragement, and willingness to learn together are natural properties of any group of youth sincerely striving for the same ends, and should also characterize those essential relationships that bind together the components of society. Given this, we hope the bonds you develop through association with other conference participants will prove abiding. Indeed, long after the gatherings close, may these ties of friendship and common calling help keep your feet firm....

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

Bleeding Out



From: The Seven Valleys of Bahá'u'lláh "The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God. Labor is needed, if we are to seek Him; ardor is needed, if we are to drink of the honey of reunion with Him; and if we taste of this cup, we shall cast away the world." -Bahá'u'lláh

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

... abolition of fanaticism ...

Among the teachings of Baha'u'llah is one relative to the abolition of fanaticism that is based upon ignorance. Such fanaticism is destructive of the basis of humanity; it is a veil obscuring man's vision and preventing him from seeing reality aright, hindering him from seeking the spiritual development to which he should aspire and thereby attaining to the sublime virtues characterizing perfect manhood. The veils of such prejudice must be rent asunder in order that the light of reality may shine forth gloriously. So long as the world of humanity continues to be controlled by baseless prejudice it day by day becomes more degraded, more steeped in ignorance, until at last the human eye becomes as blind, the human ear as deaf, the human spirit as dead, and man becomes bereft of all the favors. But if this veil of prejudice and fanaticism should be rent asunder, then the light of reality would become effulgent. The light of reality is one, and it is the foundation of all the divine religions.

(Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, excerpt from a Talk at Theosophical Society, San Francisco, October 11, 1912; Unpublished Manuscript by Ella Cooper) (To read the entire talk please visit Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The real fruit of the human tree is ...

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is one relative to the fact that God has created man to yield some fruit from his being, or existence, an eternal fruit an everlasting result. If the world of humanity be confined to the short space of material life here, if man should devote his energies to temporary results for the life of this world is short, the blessings of this world are temporary, the verdures of the world of nature are temporary the happiness of the world of nature is temporary this cannot be called fruitage, because it is temporary and hence useless. Nay, rather, man, must be a blessed tree bearing eternal fruits Thus everlasting spirituality may be his.
 The real fruit of the human tree is everlasting, and that is the love for God, that is the knowledge of God, that is service to the world of humanity, that is kindness to all mankind, and that is endeavoring and striving for the material and spiritual — or ideal — development of the world of man. This is the everlasting fruit. This is the divine effulgence. This is the divine bestowal. This is the everlasting life.

(From a talk by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Oakland, California, at the home of Helen Goodall, October 3, 1912; Star of the West, vol. 4, no. 11, September 27, 1913)

Monday, July 1, 2013

The virtues and attributes pertaining unto God are ...

The first and foremost duty prescribed unto men, next to the recognition of Him Who is the Eternal Truth, is the duty of steadfastness in His Cause. Cleave thou unto it, and be of them whose minds are firmly fixed and grounded in God. No act, however meritorious, did or can ever compare unto it. It is the king of all acts, and to this thy Lord, the All-Highest, the Most Powerful, will testify….
The virtues and attributes pertaining unto God are all evident and manifest, and have been mentioned and described in all the heavenly Books. Among them are trustworthiness, truthfulness, purity of heart while communing with God, forbearance, resignation to whatever the Almighty hath decreed, contentment with the things His Will hath provided, patience, nay, thankfulness in the midst of tribulation, and complete reliance, in all circumstances, upon Him. These rank, according to the estimate of God, among the highest and most laudable of all acts. All other acts are, and will ever remain, secondary and subordinate unto them....

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh