November 30, 2010

"Assemblies and not individuals constitute the bedrock on which the Administration is built"

Regarding the principle that the Cause must not be allowed to center around any Baha’i personality, the Guardian wishes to make it clear that it was never intended that well qualified individual teachers should not receive from local Assemblies every encouragement and facilities to address the public. What the Guardian meant was that the personality and popularity of such a speaker should never be allowed to eclipse the authority, or detract from the influence of the body of the elected representatives in every local community. Such an individual should not only seek the approval, advice and assistance of the body that represents the Cause in his locality, but should strive to attribute any credit he may obtain to the collective wisdom and capacity of the Assembly under whose jurisdiction he performs his services. Assemblies and not individuals constitute the bedrock on which the Administration is built. Everything else must be subordinated to, and be made to serve and advance the best interests of these elected custodians and promoters of the Laws of Baha'u'llah.(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, dated August 12 , 1933; Baha’i News, January 1934)

November 26, 2010

Divine versus Satanic attributes

The attributes of God are love and mercy; the attribute of Satan is hate. Therefore, he who is merciful and kind to his fellowmen is manifesting the divine attribute, and he who is hating and hostile toward a fellow creature is satanic. God is absolute love, even as Jesus Christ has declared, and Satan is utter hatred. Wherever love is witnessed, know that there is a manifestation of God's mercy; whenever you meet hatred and enmity, know that these are the evidences and attributes of Satan. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, excerpt from a talk given on 21 April 1912 in Washington D.C.; Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 39) (To read the entire talk please visits Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha)

November 24, 2010

The Incomparable Figure of Baha’u’llah

Let us fix our gaze in adoration upon that figure, so inimitably delineated by the Guardian: "the incomparable figure of Baha'u'llah, transcendent in His majesty, serene, awe-inspiring, unapproachably glorious." He Whom, He Himself testifies, the Prophets and Messengers addressed, on the eve of His Declaration as "O Most Great Mystery, O Tabernacle of Immortality!" He, but for Whom, in His own words, "no Divine Messenger would have been invested with the robe of prophethood, nor would any of the Sacred Scriptures have been revealed." Let us call to mind, in His own words, the period of His declaration in Baghdad, the centenary of which is so close upon us: "Arise, and proclaim unto the entire creation the tidings that He Who is the All-Merciful hath directed His steps towards the Ridvan and entered it. Guide, then, the people unto the Garden of Delight which God hath made the Throne of His Paradise . . ." "Rejoice, with exceeding gladness, O people of Baha! as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the entire creation the splendors of His Name, the All-Merciful."

November 22, 2010

God’s “most beauteous names,” and “most noble and sublime attributes” – as Revealed to humanity through His Manifestations

In the Long Healing prayer Baha’u’llah makes us aware of such “names” and “attributes” of God. ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains that the Manifestation of God is a “Perfect Man” Who like a “polished mirror reflecting the Sun of Truth, manifesting the attributes of God. The Lord Christ said, 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father' -- God manifested in man.” (‘Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 25) So, by studying the Lives and Teachings of the Manifestations of God we grow in our understanding and appreciation of such names and attributes of God. This appears to be part of our on-going, never-ending, process of spiritual transformation on this plane of existence. Let’s wish each other good-luck in this journey!

November 18, 2010

The Station of Mother, Sister and Brother of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

“… these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, Hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Baha'u'llah …” (Excerpt from a letter written by Shoghi Effendi, dated 21 December 1939; Messages to America, p, 32; The Compilation of Compilations, vol.1, p.338)

November 13, 2010

Creatures on other planets

Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 163)

"Regarding the passage on p. 163 of the 'Gleanings'; the creatures which Bahá'u'lláh states to be found in every planet cannot be considered to be necessarily similar or different from human beings on this earth. Bahá'u'lláh does not specifically state whether such creatures are like or unlike us. He simply refers to the fact that there are creatures in every planet. It remains for science to discover one day the exact nature of these creatures." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 9, 1937; Lights of Guidance, p. 478)

November 11, 2010

Imagine we had the inestimable privilege to be in the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and ask the following question:

'What is the purpose of our lives?'

'Abdu'l-Bahá. -- 'To acquire virtues. We come from the earth; why were we transferred from the mineral to the vegetable kingdom -- from the plant to the animal kingdom? So that we may attain perfection in each of these kingdoms, that we may possess the best qualities of the mineral, that we may acquire the power of growing as in the plant, that we may be adorned with the instincts of the animal and possess the faculties of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, until from the animal kingdom we step into the world of humanity and are gifted with reason, the power of invention, and the forces of the spirit.' (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 177)

November 10, 2010

“mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service” are strong in women

The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, quoted in ‘Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era; The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 369)

November 9, 2010

Question: What is the significance of the word "He is God" which appears as the heading of every tablet and letter [of ‘Abdu’l-Baha]?

Answer [by 'Abdu'l-Baha]: This is a usage of the people of the East; it is of Islam. Their purpose is that in every matter the commencement should be in the Name of God (i.e., everything we do must begin with the Name of God). As to its observance in the divine tablets, the purport is this: The reality of the Divine Entity is holy above comprehension, beyond definition, and far from the reach of imagination, for that which is imagined is finite, of man, and thereto man is infinite; and certainly the infinite is greater than the finite. Therefore, it is made evident that what is imagined is a creation and not the Creator, for the Essence of Divinity is beyond human imagination.

November 6, 2010

Jan. 1960: Horace Holley Left U.S. for Holy Land after Thirty-Six Years Service on U.S. National Spiritual Assembly

On March 12, 1923, the beloved Guardian addressed a letter to the Baha'is throughout America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, and Australia emphasizing the responsibility of believers in spreading the Teachings and in establishing local assemblies in all cities having nine or more adult Baha'is. In the same letter the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly was presented in detail.

During Ridvan of that year there were elected for the first time local and national institutions having the functions of spiritual assemblies as we now recognize them in East and West. Horace Holley was elected a member of the New York Local Spiritual Assembly and of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada that year. He has continued his services on the National Spiritual Assembly for thirty-six years without interruption, and has been its secretary since 1924. He has therefore been an active participant in the evolution of the Baha'i community throughout all its stages of administrative development following the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Baha, including the two seven-year teaching plans formulated by the Guardian, the celebration of tine Centenary of the Bab, the celebration of the Centenary of Baha'u'llah, and the Guardian's World Crusade up to the present hour.