February 25, 2010

How to subdue one's ego ..

The ego is the animal in us, the heritage of the flesh which is full of selfish desires. By obeying laws of God, seeking to live the life laid down in our teachings, and pray and struggle, we can subdue our egos. We call people "saints" who have achieved the highest degree of mastery over their egos. (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian in Unfolding Destiny, p. 453)

February 24, 2010

Did Manifestations of God Perform Miracles?

Thus nations and states with all their strength could not resist Him [Baha’u’llah]. Verily, single and alone, imprisoned and oppressed, He accomplished whatever He desired.

I do not wish to mention the miracles of Bahá'u'lláh, for it may perhaps be said that these are traditions, liable both to truth and to error, like the accounts of the miracles of Christ in the Gospel, which come to us from the apostles, and not from anyone else, and are denied by the Jews. Though if I wish to mention the supernatural acts of Bahá'u'lláh, they are numerous; they are acknowledged in the Orient, and even by some non-Bahá'ís. But these narratives are not decisive proofs and evidences to all; the hearer might perhaps say that this account may not be in accordance with what occurred, for it is known that other sects recount miracles performed by their founders. For instance, the followers of Brahmanism relate miracles. From what evidence may we know that those are false and that these are true? If these are fables, the others also are fables; if these are generally accepted, so also the others are generally accepted. Consequently, these accounts are not satisfactory proofs. Yes, miracles are proofs for the eyewitness only, and even he may regard them not as a miracle but as an enchantment. Extraordinary feats have also been related of some conjurors.

February 23, 2010

Passages from the Baha’i Scriptures Inscribed Over the Nine Entrances of the Baha’i Temple in Wilmette, Illinois, USA.

The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.

The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.

My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure.

Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.

Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent.

I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve.

Make mention of Me on My earth, that in My heaven, I may remember thee.

O rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust.

The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory!
(The Baha’i Faith 1844-1963, Statistical and Comparative, Compiled by the Hands of the Cause Residing in the Holy Land)

February 22, 2010

Our Relation to God and His Manifestation

The connection between God and the creatures is that of the creator to the creation; it is like the connection between the sun and the dark bodies of contingent beings, and is the connection between the maker and the things that he has made. The sun in its own essence is independent of the bodies which it lights; for its light is in itself, and is free and independent of the terrestrial globe; so the earth is under the influence of the sun and receives its light, whereas the sun and its rays are entirely independent of the earth. But if there were no sun, the earth and all earthly beings could not exist.
The dependence through the creatures upon God is a dependence of emanation: that is to say, creatures emanate from God, they do not manifest Him. The relation is that of emanation and not that of manifestation. The light of the sun emanates from the sun, it does not manifest it. The appearance through emanation is like the appearance of the rays from the luminary of the horizons of the world: that is to say, the holy essence of the Sun of Truth is not divided, and does not descend to the condition of the creatures. In the same way, the globe of the sun does not become divided and does not descend to the earth: no, the rays of the sun, which are its bounty, emanate from it, and illumine the dark bodies.

February 19, 2010

Spiritual Virtues Needed for the Understanding and Comprehension of the Word of God

The understanding of His words and the comprehension of the utterances of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise dependent upon human learning. They depend solely upon purity of heart, chastity of soul, and freedom of spirit. (Baha’u’llah, the Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 211)

February 18, 2010

Attitude to have when explaining something ..

In accordance with the divine teachings in this glorious dispensation we should not belittle anyone and call him ignorant, saying: 'You know not, but I know’. Rather, we should look upon others with respect, and when attempting to explain and demonstrate, we should speak as if we are investigating the truth, saying: 'Here these things are before us. Let us investigate to determine where and in what form the truth can be found.’ (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, p. 30)

February 16, 2010

We Have No Priests in the Baha’i Faith

The believers must be encouraged to teach individually in their own homes. Baha’u’llah has enjoined upon the Baha'is the sacred obligation of teaching. We have no priests, therefore the service once rendered by priests to their religion is the service every single Baha'i is expected to render individually to his religion. He must be the one who enlightens new souls, confirms them, heals the wounded and the weary upon the road of life, and gives them to quaff from the chalice of everlasting life -- the knowledge of the Manifestation of God in His Day. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Benelux Countries, July 5, 1957; The Individual and Teaching compilation, Page 39)

February 15, 2010

The Cause Has the Spiritual Power to Re-Create Us

The believers, as we all know, should endeavour to set such an example in their personal lives and conduct that others will feel impelled to embrace a Faith which reforms human character. However, unfortunately, not everyone achieves easily and rapidly the victory over self. What every believer, new or old, should realize is that the Cause has the spiritual power to re-create us if we make the effort to let that power influence us, and greatest help in this respect is prayer. We must supplicate Baha’u’llah to assist us to overcome the failings in our own characters, and also exert our own will-power in mastering ourselves. (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer dated 27 January, 1945 in Compilation: Excellence in All Things, p. 16)

February 11, 2010

Purpose of this life

In considering the effect of obedience to the laws (of Bahá'u'lláh) on individual lives, one must remember that the purpose of this life is to prepare the soul for the next. Here one must learn to control and direct, one's animal impulses, not to be a slave to them. Life in this world is a succession of tests and achievements, of falling short and of making new spiritual advances. Sometimes the course may seem very hard, but one can witness, again and again, that the soul who steadfastly obeys the law of Bahá'u'lláh, however hard it may seem, grows spiritually, while the one who compromises with the law for the sake of his own apparent happiness is seen to have been following a chimera: he does not attain the happiness he sought, he retards his spiritual advance and often brings new problems upon himself. (The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 232)

February 10, 2010

The meaning of the Word of God can never be exhausted

“Know assuredly that just as thou firmly believest that the Word of God, exalted be His glory, endureth for ever, thou must, likewise, believe with undoubting faith that its meaning can never be exhausted. They who are its appointed interpreters, they whose hearts are the repositories of its secrets, are, however, the only ones who can comprehend its manifold wisdom.”  (Baha'u’llah, Gleanings LXXXIX)

February 8, 2010

Howard Colby Ives' explanation of the secret of power

"I think it is something like this … The Will of God and the will of individual man . . . may, nay must, become identified, become identical. . . . ‘Abdu'l-Baha speaks of losing the self in the Self of God. We must accustom ourselves to the actual doing of this. . . . We cannot think of God's Will as a passive thing any more than we can think of our own will as passive, inert. God's Will is evidenced in nature, in power, in action. To identify our will with His Will is partake of His activity, His Power, His effectiveness. To submit my will to His Will then, carries an implication of marching – wearing -- overcoming. But not marching alone; we march in step with Him. We throw our feeble wills in with His and so become all-conquering as He says we shall. How can the result be other than victory?" (Howard Colby Ives, The Baha’i World 1940-1944)

February 7, 2010

God, His Manifestations and the “Primal Will of God” – as explained by the Bab

If thou art sailing upon the sea of God's Names, which are reflected in all things, know thou that He is exalted and sanctified from being known through His creatures, or being described by His servants. Everything thou beholdest hath been called into being through the operation of His Will. How can such a created thing, therefore, be indicative of His essential oneness? God's existence in itself testifieth to His Own oneness, while every created thing, by its very nature, beareth evidence that it hath been fashioned by God. Such is the proof of consummate wisdom in the estimation of those who sail the ocean of divine Truth.

If, however, thou art sailing upon the sea of creation, know thou that 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.

February 4, 2010

How to view the understanding of other Baha’is with respect to the Faith

A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of, its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and - the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings. (The Universal House of Justice, Wellsprings of Guidance, pp .88-89)

February 3, 2010

Number of Prophets Raised by God

"God hath raised up Prophets and revealed Books as numerous as the creatures of the world, and will continue to do so to everlasting."
(The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 125)