June 22, 2010

Purpose of Bahá'í Administration

As the administrative work of the Cause steadily expands, as its various branches grow in importance and number, it is absolutely necessary that we bear in mind this fundamental fact that all these administrative activities, however harmoniously and efficiently conducted, are but means to an end, and should be regarded as direct instruments for the propagation of the Bahá'í Faith. Let us take heed lest in our great concern for the perfection of the administrative machinery of the Cause, we lose sight of the Divine Purpose for which it has been created. Let us be on our guard lest the growing demand for specialization in the administrative functions of the Cause detain us from joining the ranks of those who in the forefront of battle are gloriously engaged in summoning the multitude to this New Day of God. This indeed should be our primary concern; this is our sacred obligation, our vital and urgent need. Let this cardinal principle be ever borne in mind, for it is the mainspring of all future activities, the remover of every embarrassing obstacle, the fulfillment of our Master's dearest wish.
(Letter written by Shoghi Effendi dated January 10, 1926 published in Baha'i Administration, p. 102)

June 16, 2010

Compiling about 12000 prophecies and traditions pertaining to the advent of the long awaited Promised One

Before the Advent of the Bab in 1844, “the eminent scholar, Mirza Ahmad-i-Azghandi, the most learned, the wisest and the most outstanding among the ulamas of Khurasan”, who later became an ardent believer, “… in anticipation of the advent of the promised Qá'im, had compiled above twelve thousand traditions and prophecies concerning the time and character of the expected Revelation, had circulated them among His fellow-disciples, and had encouraged them to quote them extensively to all congregations and in all meetings.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 12)

June 11, 2010

Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his great-grandfather, Bahá'u'lláh

Fine-boned, even as a mature man, shorter than his grandfather had been, Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his great-grandfather, Bahá'u'lláh. He told me himself that 'Abdu'l-Bahá's sister, the Greatest Holy Leaf, would sometimes take his hand in hers and say "These are like the hands of my father". They were what I call intellectual hands, more square than tapering, strong, nervous, the veins standing out, very expressive in their gestures, very assured in their motions. (Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Priceless Pearl, p. 6)

June 9, 2010

How humanity benefits from the Manifestations of God …

The Holy Manifestations of God come into the world in order to effect the disappearance of the physical, the animal, dark aspect of man, so that the darkness in him may be dispelled, his imperfections be eradicated, his spiritual, heavenly phase may become manifest, his God like aspect may become paramount and his perfections might become visible, his innate great power may become known, and that all the virtues of the world of humanity potential within him may come to life. Thus these Holy Manifestations of God are the educators and trainers of the world of existence and they are the teachers of the world of humanity.
These Holy Manifestations of God liberate men from the world of darkness and nature. They deliver him from gloom, from error, from hideousness, from ignorance, from imperfections, and likewise from all the evil qualities. Then they cause him to be clad in the garment of perfection and high virtues. Men are ignorant; the Manifestations of God make them wise. They are animalistic; the Manifestations make them human. They are ferocious; the Manifestations cause them to become kingdoms of light. They are unjust; the Manifestations cause them to be just. Man is selfish; they cause him to be severed from self and desire. Men are haughty; the Manifestations cause them to become meek and amiable. They are earthly; the Manifestations cause them to be heavenly. They are material; They cause them to become divine. They are immature children; the Manifestations cause them to become mature. Men are poor; They cause them to become wealthy. They are base; they cause them to become noble. Men are mean, and They cause them to become lofty.

To be brief, these Holy Manifestations liberate the world of humanity from the imperfections which beset it and cause men to appear in the garment of heavenly perfections. Were it not for the coming of these Holy Manifestations of God, all men would be found on the plane of the animal. They would be similar to ignorant individuals who have never seen a school, who have never had a trainer. For such individuals will undoubtedly remain ignorant. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, from an address given at the Theosophical Society, 2228 Broadway, New York City, December 4, 1912; Star of the West, vol. VII, no. 8, August 1, 1916)

June 8, 2010

One’s spiritual progress implies subordinating ego to the enlightened soul

… the complete and entire elimination of the ego would imply perfection -- which man can never completely attain -- but the ego can and should be ever-increasingly subordinated to the enlightened soul of man. This is what spiritual progress implies. (From a letter dated 14 December 1941 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 11)

June 1, 2010

The impact of the Advent of the Bab on many European writers in late 19th century

Writing in the American periodical Forum in 1925, the French literary critic Jules Bois remembered the extraordinary impact which the story of the Bab continued to have on educated opinion in Europe as the nineteenth century closed:

“All Europe was stirred to pity and indignation .... Among the litterateurs of my generation, in the Paris of 1890, the martyrdom of the Bab was still as fresh a topic as had been the first news of His death [in 1850]. We wrote poems about Him. Sarah Bernhardt entreated Catulle Mendes for a play on the theme of this historic tragedy.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 56 and The Baha'i World, vol. 9, 1940-1944, p. 588.)

Writers as-diverse as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, Edward Granville Browne, Ernest Renan, Aleksandr Tumanskiy, A.L.M. Nicolas, Viktor Rosen, Clement Huart, George Curzon, Matthew Arnold, and Leo Tolstoy were affected by the spiritual drama that had unfolded in Persia during the middle years of the nineteenth century. (Douglas Martin, The Mission of the Bab: Retrospective, 1944-1994, The Baha’i World, 1994-1995)

“A Russian poetess, member of the Philosophic, Oriental and Bibliological Societies of St. Petersburg, published in 1903 a drama entitled "The Báb," which a year later was played in one of the principal theatres of that city, was subsequently given publicity in London, was translated into French in Paris, and into German by the poet Fiedler, was presented again, soon after the Russian Revolution, in the Folk Theatre in Leningrad, and succeeded in arousing the genuine sympathy and interest of the renowned Tolstoy, whose eulogy of the poem was later published in the Russian press.” (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 56)