January 16, 2019

1953: Baha’i delegation met with India’s Vice-President

Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Vice-President of India, with some members of the Baha'i delegation, New Delhi, October 5, 1953 
(The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

January 14, 2019

Baha’u’llah identifies “the cornerstone of statesmanship and the essence thereof”

The Great Being saith: The heaven of statesmanship is made luminous and resplendent by the brightness of the light of these blessed words which hath dawned from the dayspring of the Will of God: It behoveth every ruler to weigh his own being every day in the balance of equity and justice and then to judge between men and counsel them to do that which would direct their steps unto the path of wisdom and understanding. This is the cornerstone of statesmanship and the essence thereof. From these words every enlightened man of wisdom will readily perceive that which will foster such aims as the welfare, security and protection of mankind and the safety of human lives. Were men of insight to quaff their fill from the ocean of inner meanings which lie enshrined in these words and become acquainted therewith, they would bear witness to the sublimity and the excellence of this utterance. If this lowly one were to set forth that which he perceiveth, all would testify unto God’s consummate wisdom. The secrets of statesmanship and that of which the people are in need lie enfolded within these words. This lowly servant earnestly entreateth the One true God—exalted be His glory—to illumine the eyes of the people of the world with the splendour of the light of wisdom that they, one and all, may recognize that which is indispensable in this day. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

January 11, 2019

To “become 100 percent Bahá'ís”

Indeed if the friends could seek, and exert themselves, to become 100 percent Bahá'ís they would see how greatly their influence over others would be increased, and how rapidly the Cause would spread. The world is seeking not a compromise but the embodiment of a high and shining ideal. The more the friends live up to our teachings in every aspect of their lives, in their homes, in business, in their social relationships, the greater will be the attraction they exercise over the hearts of others. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 23 January 1945 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Living the Life)

January 9, 2019

A task every Baha’i should “concentrate on”

We must concentrate
  • on perfecting our characters as individual Baha'is, and
  • on maturing our still embryonic, and as yet improperly understood World Order,
  • on spreading the Message, according to the provisions of the Divine Plan; and
  • on building a tightly knit worldwide Baha'i Community.
We are relatively few in numbers, and have such a precious, unique and responsible task to carry out. We must concentrate our full forces upon it. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated May 9, 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada; Compilation of Compilations vol. 2)

January 6, 2019

Baha’u’llah is “the Primal Veil of God” – The Báb explains

Say, He Whom God shall make manifest is indeed the Primal Veil of God. Above this Veil ye can find nothing other than God, while beneath it ye can discern all things emanating from God. He is the Unseen, the Inaccessible, the Most Exalted, the Best-Beloved.

If ye seek God, it behooveth you to seek Him Whom God shall make manifest, and if ye cherish the desire to dwell in the Ark of Names, ye will be distinguished as the guides to Him Whom God shall make manifest, did ye but believe in Him. Verily then make your hearts the daysprings of His exalted Names as recorded in the Book, and ye shall, even as mirrors placed before the sun, be able to receive enlightenment. 
- The Báb  (From Kitáb-i-Asmá’ [The Book of Names]; ‘Selections from the Writings of the Báb’)

January 4, 2019

Rendering into simple English quotes from the Writings in English

The Universal House of Justice, in response to your letter of 20 April concerning translations into French or Creole using simpler words than the original text, has requested us to send the following three quotations. These make it clear that a quotation in English may be rendered into simple English in order to facilitate its translation into another language or dialect. However, it is not permissible to publish simplifications and paraphrased extracts of Bahá'í Writings as Bahá'í Scripture.

We have noticed a tendency in a number of countries to attempt to translate Bahá'í literature into the current, easy, everyday language of the country. This, however, should not be an overriding consideration. Many of the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá are in exalted and highly poetic language in the original Persian and Arabic and you will see, for example, that when translating Bahá'u'lláh's Writings into English the beloved Guardian did not use present-day colloquial English but evolved a highly poetic and beautiful style, using numbers of archaic expressions reminiscent of the translations of the Bible.  
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 7 October 1973 to a National Spiritual Assembly; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

January 2, 2019

To view our hearts as “the treasuries of His [God’s] love and remembrance and the repositories of His knowledge and wisdom”

That which God — glorified be His Name! —hath desired for Himself is the hearts of His servants, which are the treasuries of His love and remembrance and the repositories of His knowledge and wisdom. It hath ever been the wish of the Eternal King to cleanse the hearts of His servants from the things of the world and all that pertaineth thereunto, that they may be made worthy recipients of the effulgent splendours of Him Who is the King of all names and attributes.  Wherefore must no stranger be allowed in the city of the heart, that the incomparable Friend may enter His abode. By this is meant the effulgence of His names and attributes, and not His exalted Essence, inasmuch as that peerless King hath ever been, and shall eternally remain, sanctified above ascent and descent. 
- Baha'u'llah  (Tablet to Nasiri’d-Din Shah, Suriy-i-Haykal [Tablet of Temple]; ‘The Summons of the Lord of Hosts’)

December 31, 2018

The Essence and Reality of God is beyond the comprehension of human beings & His Manifestations (Prophets, Messengers)

In every age and cycle He hath, through the splendorous light shed by the Manifestations of His wondrous Essence, recreated all things, so that whatsoever reflecteth in the heavens and on the earth the signs of His glory may not be deprived of the outpourings of His mercy, nor despair of the showers of His favors. How all-encompassing are the wonders of His boundless grace! Behold how they have pervaded the whole of creation. Such is their virtue that not a single atom in the entire universe can be found which doth not declare the evidences of His might, which doth not glorify His holy Name, or is not expressive of the effulgent light of His unity. So perfect and comprehensive is His creation that no mind nor heart, however keen or pure, can ever grasp the nature of the most insignificant of His creatures; much less fathom the mystery of Him Who is the Day Star of Truth, Who is the invisible and unknowable Essence. The conceptions of the devoutest of mystics, the attainments of the most accomplished amongst men, the highest praise which human tongue or pen can render are all the product of man's finite mind and are conditioned by its limitations. Ten thousand Prophets, each a Moses, are thunderstruck upon the Sinai of their search at His forbidding voice, "Thou shalt never behold Me!"; whilst a myriad Messengers, each as great as Jesus, stand dismayed upon their heavenly thrones by the interdiction, "Mine Essence thou shalt never apprehend!" From time immemorial He hath been veiled in the ineffable sanctity of His exalted Self, and will everlastingly continue to be wrapt in the impenetrable mystery of His unknowable Essence. Every attempt to attain to an understanding of His inaccessible Reality hath ended in complete bewilderment, and every effort to approach His exalted Self and envisage His Essence hath resulted in hopelessness and failure. 
- Baha’u’llah  ('Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah')

December 29, 2018

Some references about Baha’u’llah by Jesus Christ and His Apostles

To Him Jesus Christ had referred as the "Prince of this world," as the "Comforter" Who will "reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment," as the "Spirit of Truth" Who "will guide you into all truth," Who "shall not speak of Himself, but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak," as the "Lord of the Vineyard," and as the "Son of Man" Who "shall come in the glory of His Father" "in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory," with "all the holy angels" about Him, and "all nations" gathered before His throne. To Him the Author of the Apocalypse had alluded as the "Glory of God," as "Alpha and Omega," "the Beginning and the End," "the First and the Last." Identifying His Revelation with the "third woe," he, moreover, had extolled His Law as "a new heaven and a new earth," as the "Tabernacle of God," as the "Holy City," as the "New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." To His Day Jesus Christ Himself had referred as "the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory." To the hour of His advent St. Paul had alluded as the hour of the "last trump," the "trump of God," whilst St. Peter had spoken of it as the "Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." His Day he, furthermore, had described as "the times of refreshing," "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets since the world began."
- Shoghi Effendi  ('God Passes By')

December 28, 2018

April 1953: National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States of America

Left to right: H. B. Kavelin, Mrs. Mamie L. Seto, W. Kenneth Christian, Miss Elsie Austin, Paul E. Haney, Miss Edna M. True, Horace Holley, Mrs. Dorothy Baker, Matthew Bullock. (The Baha’i World 1950-1954)

December 27, 2018

Baha’u’llah explains what “rendering assistance unto God” means - “in this day”

…rendering assistance unto God, in this day, doth not and shall never consist in contending or disputing with any soul; nay rather, what is preferable in the sight of God is that the cities of men’s hearts, which are ruled by the hosts of self and passion, should be subdued by the sword of utterance, of wisdom and of understanding.  Thus, whoso seeketh to assist God must, before all else, conquer, with the sword of inner meaning and explanation, the city of his own heart and guard it from the remembrance of all save God, and only then set out to subdue the cities of the hearts of others. 
- Baha'u'llah  (Tablet to Nasiri’d-Din Shah, Suriy-i-Haykal [Tablet of Temple]; ‘The Summons of the Lord of Hosts’)

December 26, 2018

Baha’u’llah’s hope and prayer for the King of Persia - Nasiri’d-Din Shah

This is an Epistle, O My God, which I have purposed to send unto the King.  Thou knowest that I have wished of him naught but that he should show forth justice to Thy servants and extend his favours unto the people of Thy kingdom. For Myself I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and through Thy succour I wish for naught save that which Thou wishest. Perish the soul that seeketh from Thee aught save Thyself!  I swear by Thy glory! Thy good pleasure is my dearest wish, and Thy purpose My highest hope. Have mercy, O My God, upon this poor creature Who hath clung unto the hem of Thy riches, and this suppliant soul Who calleth upon Thee, saying, “Thou art, verily, the Lord of might and glory!” Assist Thou, O My God, His Majesty the Sháh to keep Thy statutes amidst Thy servants and to manifest Thy justice amongst Thy creatures, that he may treat this people [Baha’is] as he treateth others.  Thou art, in truth, the God of power, of glory and wisdom. 
- Baha'u'llah  (From a Tablet to Nasiri’d-Din Shah, Suriy-i-Haykal [Tablet of Temple]; ‘The Summons of the Lord of Hosts’)

December 20, 2018

Baha’i Knowledge Hunt – some questions & answers about the Báb & the Bábi Dispensation

  • As remarked by His mother, what was so unusual about the Báb during His very early childhood?  -->Answer
  • What was the five- year-old Syyid Ali-Muhammad’s (the Báb) response when during His first day at school His teacher asked Him to recite this verse from the Qur’an: “He is the Deliverer, the All-Knowing.”  -->Answer
  • Can you give a couple of examples of the extraordinary qualities that the Báb exhibited when He was about 5 years old?  -->Answer
  • Did anyone from the West meet the Báb?  -->Answer
  • How old was Nabil, the author of Dawn-Breakers, when he recognized the Báb?  -->Answer
  • In what year did the Baha’i world receive the first authorized source of the Báb's Writings in English?  -->Answer
  •  This disciple accompanied the Báb on His pilgrimage to Mecca in 1845.  -->Answer
  • ·We know that during the Bábi Dispensation the believers were allowed to defend themselves. What were the circumstances under which Mulla Husayn and seventy of his companions were attacked by a mob near a northern Persian city?  -->Answer
Baha'i Knowledge Hunt

December 18, 2018

Baha’u’llah cites an Islamic tradition that foretold the Advent of the Báb and the plight of His followers

…it hath been recorded in the “Káfí,” in the tradition of Jabír, in the “Tablet of Fátimih,” concerning the character of the Qá’im:

“He shall manifest the perfection of Moses, the splendour of Jesus, and the patience of Job. His chosen ones shall be abased in His day. Their heads shall be offered as presents even as the heads of the Turks and the Daylamites. They shall be slain and burnt. Fear shall seize them; dismay and alarm shall strike terror into their hearts. The earth shall be dyed with their blood. Their womenfolk shall bewail and lament. These indeed are my friends!”

Consider, not a single letter of this tradition hath remained unfulfilled. In most of the places their blessed blood hath been shed; in every city they have been made captives, have been paraded throughout the provinces, and some have been burnt with fire. And yet no one hath paused to reflect that if the promised Qá’im should reveal the law and ordinances of a former Dispensation, why then should such traditions have been recorded, and why should there arise such a degree of strife and conflict that the people should regard the slaying of these companions as an obligation imposed upon them, and deem the persecution of these holy souls as a means of attaining unto the highest favour? 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)

December 16, 2018

How to measure one’s nearness to God

Whatsoever driveth thee away from the one true God and shutteth thee out from the Best-Beloved is blameworthy and reprehensible, whilst everything that draweth thee nigh unto Him is acceptable and praiseworthy. One must consider matters with the eye of discernment, shun whatsoever may be the cause of remoteness from God, and awaken to all that is the source of nearness and illumination. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a Tablet of 'Abdu'I-Baha; Compilation: ‘Give Me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones’, prepared by the International Teaching Centre for the Continental Counsellors and their Auxiliaries, May 2018)

December 13, 2018

The essence of the Manifestations of God is the same before and after their Declarations

…the Manifestations of God have ever been and will ever be luminous Realities, and no change or alteration ever takes place in Their essence. At most, before Their revelation They are still and silent, like one who is asleep, and after Their revelation They are eloquent and effulgent, like one who is awake. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

December 12, 2018

Human reason “which comprehends (or detects) the realities of things, is a spiritual reality, not physical (or material)”

That matter (or substance) which is the cause of the moderation and perfection of the body is that perfect moderate temperament which is produced by the organization and admixture of constituent elements; that matter (or substance) is material (or physical) not spiritual. But reason, which comprehends (or detects) the realities of things, is a spiritual reality, not physical (or material). Therefore the animal is deprived of reason, and it (reason) is specialized to mankind. The animal feeleth realities which are perceptible to the senses, but man perceiveth intellectual realities (or things perceptible to reason). Consequently, it hath become evident that reason is a spiritual faculty, not physical (or material). 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, vol. 1)

December 10, 2018

The Primal Will of God has been “manifested in every Dispensation” - “from the beginning that hath no beginning”

…the First Remembrance, which is the Primal Will of God, may be likened unto the sun. God hath created Him through the potency of His might, and He hath, from the beginning that hath no beginning, caused Him to be manifested in every Dispensation through the compelling power of His behest, and God will, to the end that knoweth no end, continue to manifest Him according to the good-pleasure of His invincible Purpose.

And know thou that He indeed resembleth the sun. Were the risings of the sun to continue till the end that hath no end, yet there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun; and were its settings to endure for evermore, still there hath not been nor ever will be more than one sun. It is this Primal Will which appeareth resplendent in every Prophet and speaketh forth in every revealed Book. It knoweth no beginning, inasmuch as the First deriveth its firstness from It; and knoweth no end, for the Last oweth its lastness unto It.

In the time of the First Manifestation the Primal Will appeared in Adam; in the day of Noah It became known in Noah; in the day of Abraham in Him; and so in the day of Moses; the day of Jesus; the day of Muhammad, the Apostle of God; the day of the 'Point of the Bayan'; the day of Him Whom God shall make manifest; and the day of the One Who will appear after Him Whom God shall make manifest. Hence the inner meaning of the words uttered by the Apostle of God, 'I am all the Prophets', inasmuch as what shineth resplendent in each one of Them hath been and will ever remain the one and the same sun.
- The Báb  (‘Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

December 7, 2018

The effects of the “light of faith…kindled in the lamp of the heart and soul”

When the light of faith is kindled in the lamp of the heart and soul, its spreading rays illumine every limb of the body. When this resplendent light shineth forth through the medium of the tongue, it is made manifest in the powers of speech and utterance. When its beams fall upon the eyes, insight and true vision are revealed, and when it stirreth the ear, it bestoweth attentive hearing. When this light sheddeth its radiance upon the mind, it leadeth to the recognition of the All-Merciful, and when it setteth aglow the limbs, it findeth expression in purity and the worship of God. Otherwise, all physical powers, all limbs and members would remain useless and futile and their actions would fade like a mirage in the desert. 
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Compilation: ‘Give Me Thy Grace to Serve Thy Loved Ones’, prepared by the International Teaching Centre for the Continental Counsellors and their Auxiliaries, May 2018)

December 6, 2018

The Báb’s “rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones” – Baha’u’llah explains

[Imam] Sádiq, son of Muhammad... spoke these words:

“Knowledge is twenty and seven letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. No man thus far hath known more than these two letters. But when the Qá’im shall arise, He will cause the remaining twenty and five letters to be made manifest.”

Consider; He hath declared Knowledge to consist of twenty and seven letters, and regarded all the Prophets, from Adam even unto the “Seal,” as Expounders of only two letters thereof and of having been sent down with these two letters. He also saith that the Qá’im [the Báb] will reveal all the remaining twenty and five letters. Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station! His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones. A Revelation, of which the Prophets of God, His saints and chosen ones, have either not been informed, or which, in pursuance of God’s inscrutable Decree, they have not disclosed… 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)

December 5, 2018

Baha’u’llah cites some Islamic traditions concerning Mihdí - the Báb

Among the utterances that foreshadow a new Law and a new Revelation are the passages in the “Prayer of Nudbih”: “Where is He Who is preserved to renew the ordinances and laws? Where is He Who hath the authority to transform the Faith and the followers thereof?” He hath, likewise, revealed in the Zíyárat: [Visiting Tablet revealed by ‘Alí] “Peace be upon the Truth made new.” Abú-‘Abdi’lláh, questioned concerning the character of the Mihdí, answered saying: “He will perform that which Muhammad, the Messenger of God, hath performed, and will demolish whatever hath been before Him even as the Messenger of God hath demolished the ways of those that preceded Him.” …

In the “Aválím,” an authoritative and well-known book, it is recorded: “A Youth from Baní-Háshim shall be made manifest, Who will reveal a new Book and promulgate a new law;” then follow these words: “Most of His enemies will be the divines.” In another passage, it is related of Sádiq, son of Muḥammad, that he spoke the following: “There shall appear a Youth from Baní-Háshim, Who will bid the people plight fealty unto Him. His Book will be a new Book, unto which He shall summon the people to pledge their faith. Stern is His Revelation unto the Arab. If ye hear about Him, hasten unto Him.”…

December 2, 2018

God’s “Name”

…Thy [God’s] Name which no scroll can bear, which no heart can imagine and no tongue can utter—a Name which will remain concealed so long as Thine own Essence is hidden, and will be glorified so long as Thine own Being is extolled… 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah’)

November 30, 2018

The benefits of including memorized “phrases and passages” from the “heavenly Scriptures” in our teaching efforts

The sanctified souls should ponder and meditate in their hearts regarding the methods of teaching. From the texts of the wondrous, heavenly Scriptures they should memorize phrases and passages bearing on various instances, so that in the course of their speech they may recite divine verses whenever the occasion demandeth it, inasmuch as these holy verses are the most potent elixir, the greatest and mightiest talisman. So potent is their influence that the hearer will have no cause for vacillation. I swear by My life! This Revelation is endowed with such a power that it will act as the lodestone for all nations and kindreds of the earth. Should one pause to meditate attentively he would recognize that no place is there, nor can there be, for anyone to flee to. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, The Importance of Deepening our Knowledge of the Faith)

November 28, 2018

November 19, 2018

Duties of the International Teaching Centre

The duties of the International Teaching Centre, including those announced previously and those now being assigned to it, are as follows:
  • To assume full responsibility for co-ordinating, stimulating and directing the Continental Boards of Counsellors, acting also as liaison between them and the Universal House of Justice.
  • To be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in all parts of the world and, from this knowledge, to make reports and recommendations to the Universal House of Justice and give advice to the Continental Boards of Counsellors.
  • To watch over the security and ensure the protection of the Faith of God.
  • To be alert to possibilities for the extension of the teaching work and the development of economic and social life both within and without the Baha'i community, and to draw the attention of the Universal House of Justice and the Continental Boards of Counsellors to such possibilities, making recommendations for action.
  • To determine and anticipate needs for literature, pioneers and travelling teachers and to work out teaching plans, both regional and global, for the approval of the Universal House of Justice.
  • To direct the work of the Continental Pioneer Committees.
  • To administer the expenditure of the International Deputization Fund.
  • To administer an annual budget that will be provided from the Baha'i International Fund, allocating therefrom to the Continental Boards of Counsellors monies for special teaching projects and literature subvention, and, when necessary, contributions to the Continental Funds. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 19 May 1983, addressed to the followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the world; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

November 18, 2018

“Bahá'ís may take an oath, if required, on any sacred book”

In reply to your letter of September 12th the Universal House of Justice asked us to refer you to a letter on this subject written on behalf of the beloved Guardian on July 11th, 1956 to your National Spiritual Assembly:

"Regarding taking oaths, there is nothing in the Teachings on this subject. As a Bahá'í is enjoined by Bahá'u'lláh to be truthful, he would express his truthfulness, no matter what the formality of the law in any local place required of him. There can be no objection to Bahá'ís conforming to the requirements of the law court whatsoever they may be in such matters, as in no case would they constitute in any way a denial of their own beliefs as Bahá'ís.”

The above decision makes it clear that Bahá'ís may take an oath, if required, on any sacred book. The Universal House of Justice considers that it may be preferable for them to do so on a Bahá'í book, if possible. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual of the United Kingdom, September 20, 1973; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

November 15, 2018

Baha’u’llah praises Prophet Muhammad

Blessing and peace be upon Him [Muhammad] through Whose advent Bathá [Mecca] is wreathed in smiles, and the sweet savours of Whose raiment have shed fragrance upon all mankind—He Who came to protect men from that which would harm them in the world below. Exalted, immensely exalted is His station above the glorification of all beings and sanctified from the praise of the entire creation. Through His advent the tabernacle of stability and order was raised throughout the world and the ensign of knowledge hoisted among the nations. May blessings rest also upon His kindred and His companions through whom the standard of the unity of God and of His singleness was uplifted and the banners of celestial triumph were unfurled. Through them the religion of God was firmly established among His creatures and His Name magnified amidst His servants. I entreat Him—exalted is He—to shield His Faith from the mischief of His enemies who tore away the veils, rent them asunder and finally caused the banner of Islám to be reversed amongst all peoples. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

November 12, 2018

“…participating in the courses of an institute is not a requirement to be fulfilled by all believers.”

It is natural that any given educational program would not appeal to everyone, and clearly participating in the courses of an institute is not a requirement to be fulfilled by all believers. In no way, then, should those who do not wish to take part feel that they are disobeying the directives of the Universal House of Justice. It does ask, however, that everyone, even those not involved, support the institute process and not impede its steady progress. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 26 June 2002 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

November 10, 2018

November 9, 2018

A “feature of Baha'i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past”

The existence of institutions of such exalted rank, [Hands, Counsellors, Auxiliary Boards]  comprising individuals who play such a vital role, who yet have no legislative, administrative or judicial authority, and are entirely devoid of priestly functions or the right to make authoritative interpretations, is a feature of Baha'i administration unparalleled in the religions of the past. The newness and uniqueness, of this concept make it difficult to grasp; only as the Baha'i Community grows and the believers are increasingly able to contemplate its administrative structure uninfluenced by concepts from past ages, will the vital interdependence of the "rulers" and "learned" in the Faith be properly understood, and the inestimable value of their interaction be fully recognized. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 24 April 1972; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

November 8, 2018

The station of the Letters of the Living

…the Letters of the Living, the Báb’s chosen disciples, whose station is ten thousand times more glorious than any which the apostles of old have attained… 
- Baha’u’llah  (Quoted by Shoghi Effendi in a message dated 8 February 1934, printed as ‘The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah’ in ‘The World Order of Baha'u'llah’)

November 5, 2018

Will “human souls continue to be conscious one of another after their separation from the body?” – Baha’u’llah explains

And now concerning thy question whether human souls continue to be conscious one of another after their separation from the body. Know thou that the souls of the people of Bahá, who have entered and been established within the Crimson Ark, shall associate and commune intimately one with another, and shall be so closely associated in their lives, their aspirations, their aims and strivings as to be even as one soul. They are indeed the ones who are well-informed, who are keen-sighted, and who are endued with understanding. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

The people of Bahá, who are the inmates of the Ark of God, are, one and all, well aware of one another’s state and condition, and are united in the bonds of intimacy and fellowship. Such a state, however, must depend upon their faith and their conduct. They that are of the same grade and station are fully aware of one another’s capacity, character, accomplishments and merits. They that are of a lower grade, however, are incapable of comprehending adequately the station, or of estimating the merits, of those that rank above them. Each shall receive his share from thy Lord. Blessed is the man that hath turned his face towards God, and walked steadfastly in His love, until his soul hath winged its flight unto God, the Sovereign Lord of all, the Most Powerful, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.

November 4, 2018

Circa 1953 - The group that formed the second Local Spiritual Assembly in Japan in 1954

Baha'i Group in Hyogo-ken, Osaka, Japan, in front of their Baha'i Hall, the gift of Mr. Nonreddin Momtazi, second from right, front row. Miss Agnes Alexander, early pioneer to Japan, seated third from right. This group formed the second Local Spiritual Assembly in Japan on April 21, 1954. 
(The Baha'i World 1950-1954)

November 2, 2018

Prophets before Adam; changes in language, speech, and writing; God’s creation and His Manifestations; ancient natural disasters – Baha’u’llah explains

And now regarding thy question, “How is it that no records are to be found concerning the Prophets that have preceded Adam, the Father of Mankind, or of the kings that lived in the days of those Prophets?” Know thou that the absence of any reference to them is no proof that they did not actually exist. That no records concerning them are now available, should be attributed to their extreme remoteness, as well as to the vast changes which the earth hath undergone since their time.

Moreover such forms and modes of writing as are now current amongst men were unknown to the generations that were before Adam. There was even a time when men were wholly ignorant of the art of writing, and had adopted a system entirely different from the one which they now use. For a proper exposition of this an elaborate explanation would be required.

Consider the differences that have arisen since the days of Adam. The divers and widely-known languages now spoken by the peoples of the earth were originally unknown, as were the varied rules and customs now prevailing amongst them. The people of those times spoke a language different from those now known. Diversities of language arose in a later age, in a land known as Babel. It was given the name Babel, because the term signifieth “the place where the confusion of tongues arose.”

October 31, 2018

The “very essence of the principle of independent investigation of truth”

It is hoped that all the Bahá'í students will ... be led to investigate and analyse the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science. Every intelligent and thoughtful young Bahá'í should always approach the Cause in this way, for therein lies the very essence of the principle of independent investigation of truth. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 6 August 1933, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; compilation: ‘Science and Technology’, compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice and attached to a Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, dated 13-August 1997)   

October 26, 2018

A major objective of training institutes

A major object of the recent emphasis on establishing training institutes is to increase the capacity of individuals to teach the Cause effectively. Study circles, which are local extensions of an institute, are intended to serve this purpose. While it is highly desirable to include seekers in study circles wherever possible, the individual believer retains the inescapable duty to teach the Faith on his or her own initiative. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 31 October 2002 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

October 23, 2018

To aim for “unanimity in all things” during decision-making consultations of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies

Indeed it has ever been the cherished desire of our Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá that the friends in their councils, local as well as national, should by their candour, their honesty of purpose, their singleness of mind, and the thoroughness of their discussions achieve unanimity in all things. Should this in certain cases prove impracticable the verdict of the majority should prevail, to which decision the minority must under all circumstances gladly, spontaneously and continually submit. 
 - Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 29 January 1925 written to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in 'Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932'; also in The Compilation of Compilations vol. II)

October 22, 2018

2016: Features of “an evolving framework for action” – identified by the Universal House of Justice

During this period, the adoption of an evolving framework for action has enabled the friends to
  • progressively nurture and refine essential capacities, giving rise to 
    • simple acts of service at first,
    • leading to more elaborate patterns of action, which in turn demanded
    • the development of capacities still more complex. 
  • In this way, a systematic process of human resource development and community building has been started in thousands of clusters—and, in many of them, become far advanced.
  • The focus has not been solely on the individual believer, or the community, or the institutions of the Faith; all three inseparable participants in the evolution of the new World Order are being stimulated by the spiritual forces released through the unfoldment of the Divine Plan.
  • The signs of their progress are more and more apparent:
    • in the confidence that countless believers have acquired to share accounts of Bahá’u’lláh’s life and discuss the implications of His Revelation and peerless Covenant;
    • in the growing contingents of souls who, as a result, have been attracted to His Cause and are contributing to the achievement of His unifying vision;
    • in the ability of Bahá’ís and their friends, at the very grassroots of the community, to describe in eloquent terms their experience of a process capable of transforming character and shaping social existence;
    • in the significantly larger numbers of those indigenous to a country who, as members of Bahá’í institutions and agencies, are now guiding the affairs of their communities;

October 19, 2018

The effect of the love of God on the world of humanity

Were it not for the love of God, the contingent world would be plunged in darkness. Were it not for the love of God, the hearts of men would be bereft of life and deprived of the stirrings of conscience. Were it not for the love of God, the perfections of the human world would entirely vanish. Were it not for the love of God, no real connection could exist between human hearts. Were it not for the love of God, spiritual union would be lost. Were it not for the love of God, the light of the oneness of mankind would be extinguished. Were it not for the love of God, the East and the West would not embrace as two lovers. Were it not for the love of God, discord and division would not be transmuted into fellowship. Were it not for the love of God, estrangement would not give way to unity. Were it not for the love of God, the stranger would not become the friend. Indeed, love in the human world is a ray of the love of God and a reflection of the grace of His bounty. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

October 17, 2018

“The source of all evil”

The source of all evil is for man to turn away from his Lord and set his heart on things ungodly. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)