December 26, 2009

Distinction between the statements issued by the Guardian and those written on his behalf by his secretaries

I wish to call your attention to certain things in "Principles of Bahá'í Administration" which has just reached the Guardian; although the material is good, he feels that the complete lack of quotation marks is very misleading. His own words, the words of his various secretaries, even the Words of Bahá'u'lláh Himself, are all lumped together as one text. This is not only not reverent in the case of Bahá'u'lláh's Words, but misleading. Although the secretaries of the Guardian convey his thoughts and instructions and these messages are authoritative, their words are in no sense the same as his, their style certainly not the same, and their authority less, for they use their own terms and not his exact words in conveying his messages. He feels that in any future edition this fault should be remedied, any quotations from Bahá'u'lláh or the Master plainly attributed to them, and the words of the Guardian clearly differentiated from those of his secretaries.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, published in The Unfolding Destiny of the British Baha'i Community, p. 259)

December 10, 2009

A Message from an Enlightened Queen - Queen Marie of Rumania

A woman [Martha Root] brought me the other day a Book. I spell it with a capital letter because it is a glorious Book of love and goodness, strength and beauty. She gave it to me because she had learned I was in grief and sadness and wanted to help. . . . She put it into my hands saying: "You seem to live up to His teachings." And when I opened the Book I saw it was the word of ‘Abdu'l-Baha, prophet of love and kindness, and of his father the great teacher of international good-will and understanding -- of a religion which links all creeds.

Their writings are a great cry toward peace, reaching beyond all limits of frontiers, above all dissension about rites and dogmas. It is a religion based upon the inner spirit of God, upon the great, not-to-be-overcome verity that God is love, meaning just that. It teaches that all hatreds, intrigues, suspicions, evil words, all aggressive patriotism even, are outside the one essential law of God, and that special beliefs are but surface things whereas the heart that beats with divine love knows no tribe nor race.

December 8, 2009

Which One Is More Important: Teaching Work or Family Responsibilities?

"Therefore it is not so much a matter of which is more important, the teaching work or family and personal responsibilities, but how we can seek a balance in our lives to accomplish both of these sacred tasks. But in addition to the progress and development of the spiritual life of each believer, individually and as a member of a family unit, the foundations of the administrative institutions of the Faith must likewise be continually strenghtened. ..these two goals go hand in hand. .." (Excerpt of a letter from the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, dated April 19, 1979; printed in Duties of an Assembly Member prepared by the Canadian National Spiritual Assembly)

December 5, 2009

Did The Bab and Baha’u’llah Physically Meet?

En route to Tihran, the Bab spent three nights in the city of Kashan, located between Isfahan and Tihran, in the home of a believer who had realized in a dream that the Bab would be his guest. The Bab and His escort then arrived at the fortress of Kinar-Gird located about 45 kilometers from Tihran. There, the head of the escort received a message from the Persian prime minister telling him to transfer the Bab to the village of Kulayn and to wait there for further instructions. This village was owned by the prime minister and was located about 30 some kilometers south of Tihran. The Bab stayed in Kulayn for 20 days. During His stay there, the Bab received a letter and gifts from Baha’u’llah Who was in Tihran. The letter apparently cheered His heart, which had been despondent since His arrest and departure from Shiraz. One night the Bab disappears and is found the next morning on the road coming from the direction of Tihran. A look of confidence had settled on Him and His words had a new power.
(Adapted and obtained from A Basic Baha’i Chronology, Dawn-Breakers, God Passes By, A Traveller’s Narrative, and The Bab by Balyuzi)

November 30, 2009

Cities of Europe and North America Visited by ‘Abdu’l-Baha during 1911-1913

Thonon-les-Bains, Switzerland
Paris, France
Stuttgart, Germany
Budapest, Hungary
London, England
Clifton, England
Byfleet, England
Oxford, England
Edinburgh, Scotland

November 26, 2009

There are Three Versions of the Torah

“ …the Torah, held to be the most ancient of histories, existeth today in three separate versions: the Hebrew, considered authentic by the Jews and the Protestant clergy; the Greek Septuagint, which was used as authoritative in the Greek and other eastern churches; and the Samaritan Torah, the standard authority for that people. These three versions differ greatly, one from another, even with regard to the lifetimes of the celebrated figures.

November 23, 2009

The Greatest Divine Institute – the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar

"The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar [Baha’i temple] is the most important matter and the greatest divine institute. Consider how the first institute of his holiness Moses, after his exodus from Egypt was the 'Tent of Martyrdom' which he raised and which was the traveling temple. It was a tent which they pitched in the desert wherever they abode, and worshipped in it. Likewise, after his holiness Christ-May the spirit of the world be a sacrifice to Him-the first institute by the disciples was a temple. They planned a church in every country. Consider the Gospel, (i. e., read it), and the importance of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar will become evident. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, quoted in Baha’i Year Book 1925-1926, p. 65)

November 20, 2009

We can’t be too exemplary

“The eyes of the people of the world are beginning to be focused on us; and, as humanity's plight goes from bad to worse, we will be watched ever more intently by non-Baha'is, to see whether we do uphold our own institutions whole-heartedly; whether we are the people of the new creation or not; whether we live up to our beliefs, principles and laws in deed as well as word. We cannot be too careful. We cannot be too exemplary.” (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 350)

November 16, 2009

How early Eastern believers viewed birthday celebrations

It is interesting to note that the early believers in the East during the days of Bahá'u'lláh and ‘Abdu'l-Bahá never celebrated their own birthdays. They considered that such an act would imply self-glorification, a means of boosting one's ego. It never crossed their minds that a certain day was their birthday. So real and genuine was this attitude that a great many individuals did not know the exact date of their birth. In the absence of birth certificates, some parents would record the date of the birth of their children in a certain book, much as Westerners used the family Bible for the same purpose. Even then an individual would be deeply insulted if someone wanted to celebrate his birthday, [1] for the only persons whose birthday merited celebration were the Prophets and Chosen Ones of God. Instead of celebrating birthdays, however, these people held regular annual memorial meetings, inviting their friends to join in remembering one of their loved ones who had passed away. In such a meeting, they prayed for the progress of his soul, recounted his services to the Cause, described his qualities, recited Tablets revealed in his honour, if any, and offered charitable donations on his behalf. This practice of annual remembrance of the departed, which is not a binding obligation in the Bahá'í Faith, is now followed by many Bahá'í families. The organisation of such meetings is not usually the responsibility of the institutions of the Faith. They are arranged by individuals on the anniversaries of the passing of their loved ones.

[1 It must be noted that there is nothing in the Bahá'í writings either to condemn the celebration of one's birthday or to encourage it. ] (Adib Taherzadeh, The Covenant of Baha'u'llah, p. 16)

November 13, 2009

Professor E.G. Browne’s view of the Advent of the Bab

 "I am very anxious to get as accurate an account of all the details connected with the [faith of the Bab] as possible, for in my eyes the whole [story] seems one of the most interesting and important events that has occurred since the rise of Christianity -- and I feel it my duty, as well as my pleasure, to try as far as in me lies to bring the matter to the notice of my countrymen -- for suppose anyone could tell us more about the childhood and early life and appearance of Christ, for instance, how glad we should be to know it. Now it is impossible to find out much -- but in the case of the Báb it is possible -- So let us earn the thanks of posterity, and provide against that day now." (E.G. Browne of Cambridge University, quoted in The Chosen Highway)

November 7, 2009

The Highest Station for a Woman

The Greatest Holy Leaf was elevated by Baha’u’llah to “a ‘station such as none other woman hath surpassed,’ and comparable in rank to those immortal heroines such as Sarah, Asiyih, the Virgin Mary, Fatimih and Tahirih, each of whom has outshone every member of her sex in previous Dispensations.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 347)

November 5, 2009

The Heart of the Planet

The World Center of the Faith located in Israel “.. geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet..”. (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, 32; the Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, p.338)

November 2, 2009

Who is the "archetype" of the people of Baha?

Did you know that the Guardian referred to the Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum, who was the daughter of Baha’u’llah, as “that archetype of the people of Baha”? (Shoghi Effendi, Bayiyyih Khanum, p. 30). Archetype is defined in the dictionary as: (1) The original pattern, or model, from which all other things of the same kind are made; a prototype; and (2) a perfect example of a type or group. Notice that the reference from the Guardian doesn’t have a gender distinction.

Here are some of her qualities that the Guardian highlighted:

October 31, 2009

Heart of the Arc on Mount Carmel

Did you know that the “far-flung arc” on mount Carmel that accommodates the buildings of the Universal House of Justice, the International Teaching Center, the Center for the Study of the Text, and the International Archives, “surround(s) the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, ranking as foremost among the members of her sex in the Bahá'í Dispensation,

Significant Ages ...

* The Bab was 25 years old when He declared His Mission.
* Baha’u’llah was 27 years old when He embraced the religion of the Bab.
* ‘Abdu’l-Baha was 9 years old when He recognized Baha’u’llah’s station.
* Shoghi Effendi was 23 years old when he became the Guardian.

Good Deeds to be Distinguished By

Did you know that there are 22 “good deeds” that the beloved Guardian summarized from the Kitab-i-Aqdas – deeds by which “one's self” should be distinguished? They are:
To be truthful; To be trustworthy; To be faithful; To be righteous and fear God; To be just and fair; To be tactful and wise; To be courteous; To be hospitable ; To be persevering; To be detached; To be absolutely submissive to the Will of God; Not to stir up mischief; Not to be hypocritical; Not to be proud; Not to be fanatical; Not to prefer one's self to one's neighbour; Not to contend with one's neighbour; Not to indulge one's passions; Not to lament in adversity; Not to contend with those in authority; Not to lose one's temper; and Not to anger one's neighbour. (Shoghi Effendi, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 49; also on p. 160 of the Kitab-i-Aqdas)

Who is a "saint"?

We call people "saints" who have achieved the highest degree of mastery over their egos.
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 453)

Why do Baha'i Temples have nine sides?

Nine is the highest digit, hence symbolizes comprehensiveness, culminations; also, the reason it is used in the Temple's form is because 9 has exact numerical value of ' Baha' (in the numerology connected with the Arabic alphabet) and ' Baha' is the name of the Revealer of our Faith, Bahá'u'lláh.

'Abdu'l-Baha had 13 grandchildren

To catch even a glimpse of what must have transpired in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's heart when this first grandson (Shoghi Effendi) was born to Him at the age of fifty-three,

Heart of the Planet

The World Center of the Faith located in Israel “.. geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet..”. (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, 32; the Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, p.338)

Did anyone from the West meet the Bab

The only known record of the Báb's having been seen by a European belongs to the period of His persecution when an English physician resident in Tabriz, Dr. Cormick, was called in by the Persian authorities to pronounce on the Báb's mental condition.