December 31, 2010

The extent of future opposition

O maid-servant of God! The circumstances will be severe for every thankful servant (i. e., believer in the Teachings) in those boundaries and countries. The people shall arise against you with the most bitter hatred, opposition and envy. Swords of persecution and curses shall be thrown at you by all the nations. The wind of tests and trials shall fiercely blow and thereby the weak trees, which are not firmly rooted in this wonderful vineyard, shall be uprooted. But the trees which are strong, thriving and green will be strengthened, their branches extended, their leaves opened, their appearance beautified and their blossoms and fruits increased. I ask God to make thee one of those firmly rooted trees and an extended branch in this most great vineyard, and to make thy heart like unto a cup overflowing with His love in every assemblage. Verily He is the Powerful, the Generous! (‘Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of ‘Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 268)

December 30, 2010

The significance of Tablets and Addresses of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Verily know that the Tablets (Book) of Abdul-Baha and his address is a hidden mystery and concealed fact. No one is informed of its greatness and importance at these times, but in the course of time and future centuries the signs thereof will be manifested, the lights thereof will dawn forth, the fragrances thereof will be diffused and the greatness, the importance thereof will be known. The truth I say unto thee, that each leaflet from Abdul-Baha will be a wide-spread book, nay, rather, a glistening gem on the Glorious Crown. Know thou its value and hold great its station. (‘Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 267)

December 28, 2010

Spiritual Unity – a “unity” that is “greater than the unity of mankind”

Another unity is the spiritual unity which emanates from the breaths of the Holy Spirit. This is greater than the unity of mankind. Human unity or solidarity may be likened to the body whereas unity from the breaths of the Holy Spirit is the spirit animating the body. This is a perfect unity. It creates such a condition in mankind that each one will make sacrifices for the other and the utmost desire will be to forfeit life and all that pertains to it in behalf of another's good. This is the unity which existed among the disciples of His Holiness Jesus Christ and bound together the prophets and holy souls of the past. It is the unity which through the influence of the divine spirit is permeating the Bahá'ís so that each offers his life for the other and strives with all sincerity to attain his good-pleasure. This is the unity which caused twenty thousand people in Iran to give their lives in love and devotion to it. It made the Báb the target of a thousand arrows and caused Bahá'u'lláh to suffer exile and imprisonment forty years. This unity is the very spirit of the body of the world. It is impossible for the body of the world to become quickened with life without its vivification. His Holiness Jesus Christ -- may my life be a sacrifice to Him! -- promulgated this unity among mankind. Every soul who believed in Jesus Christ became revivified and resuscitated through this spirit, attained to the zenith of eternal glory, realized the life everlasting, experienced the second birth and rose to the acme of good fortune. (Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 258)

December 27, 2010

Did you know that the very first law that Baha’u’llah revealed in the Kitab-i-Aqdas is the obligatory prayer?

We have enjoined obligatory prayer upon you, with nine rak'ahs, to be offered at noon and in the morning and the evening unto God, the Revealer of Verses. We have relieved you of a greater number, as a command in the Book of God. He, verily, is the Ordainer, the Omnipotent, the Unrestrained. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 20)

December 26, 2010

‘Abdu’l-Baha compares the Baha’i Movement to other movements

In this world we judge a cause or movement by its progress and development. Some movements appear, manifest a brief period of activity, then discontinue. Others show forth a greater measure of growth and strength, but before attaining mature development, weaken, disintegrate and are lost in oblivion. Neither of these mentioned are progressive and permanent.

There is still another kind of movement or cause which from a very small, inconspicuous beginning goes forward with sure and steady progress, gradually broadening and widening until it has assumed universal dimensions. The Bahá'í Movement is of this nature. For instance, when Bahá'u'lláh was exiled from Persia with 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the rest of His family, they traveled the long road from Tihran to Baghdad, passing through many towns and villages. During the whole of that journey and distance they did not meet a single believer in the Cause for which they had been banished. At that time very little was known about it in any part of the world. Even in Baghdad there was but one believer who had been taught by Bahá'u'lláh Himself in Persia. Later on, two or three others appeared. You will see, therefore, that at the beginning the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh was almost unknown, but on account of being a divine Movement it grew and developed with irresistible spiritual power until in this day, wherever you travel -- East or West -- and in whatever country you journey, you will meet Bahá'í assemblies and institutions. This is an evidence that the Bahá'ís are spreading the blessings of unity and progressive development throughout the world under the direction of divine guidance and purpose, while other movements which are only temporary in their activities and accomplishments have no real, universal significance. (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 44)

December 22, 2010

Baha’u’llah in a Tablet had specifically referred to the one who would oppose His appointed Center of the Covenant

“Now Moses said that after Him should come Joshua. The Christ said, addressing Peter, 'Thou art the Rock, and I will build My temple upon this Rock.' Jesus spoke this to Peter by word of mouth. The Blessed Perfection did not appoint His successor by statement of tongue, but in the 'Book of Ahd' ('Book of the Covenant'), He wrote it with His own Hand, commanding therein that all the branches and relations should look toward the Center of the Covenant. Also, in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, revealed thirty years before His Ascension, it is mentioned in two places. During these thirty years these commands of the Blessed Perfection were known and clearly understood by all. Again, in a Tablet He refers specifically to this, naming one who would violate His Commands. This Tablet was dictated by the Blessed Perfection and written at His Command by the hand of Muhammad-‘Alí. Muhammad-‘Alí has made many copies of it. Therefore, we cannot deny what it says. If it was not so, Muhammad-‘Alí would be able to deny. When he violated the Covenant, he went out from the shadow of the Blessed Perfection. Bahá‘u’lláh also said in this Tablet mentioned, that if for an instant this one should disobey His Commands, he would become a 'fallen branch.' He mentioned this expressly for Muhammad-‘Alí, knowing that he would disobey and deny. He left no possibility for anyone to disobey or misunderstand what He commanded. If it were not so, Muhammad-‘Alí could do many things that would injure. As it is, he has appropriated many papers and Tablets written by the Blessed Perfection. It is possible for these writings to be altered, as the meanings in Persian are greatly changed by a single dot here and there. Before His Ascension, the Blessed Perfection said to me, 'I have given You all the papers.' He put them in two satchels and sent them to Me. After His Ascension, Muhammad-‘Alí said, 'You had better give me the two satchels to take care of.' He took them away and never returned them. He thought the Center of the Covenant would be helpless without these papers. But he did not realize that My strength is the assistance of the Blessed Perfection. If all the world combined against Me, I would still possess this power, and all the world could not take it away from Me. I can fight with this weapon forever and will always be victorious. It is a sword which can never be dulled, a magazine that is always filled.” (‘Abdu’l-Baha, notes of a table talk given in 1905, recorded by Julia M. Grundy, ‘Ten Days In the Light of ‘Akka’, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Ill., 1979)

December 21, 2010

“The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication”

Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him. (Words of Jesus.)

There is nothing sweeter in the word of existence than prayer.

Man must live in a state of prayer. The most blessed condition is the condition of prayer and supplication. Prayer is conversation with God. The greatest attainment or the sweetest state is none other than convention with God. It creates spirituality, creates mindfulness and celestial feelings, begets new attractions of the Kingdom and engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligence.

The highest attribute given to his holiness Moses is the following verse: "God carried along a conversation with Moses."

December 20, 2010

Question: “Are miracles performed in this Day?”

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s: “Miracles are constantly being performed in the material world about us, yet they make but little impression. Every Prophet has His own particular Mission and function. He does not come merely to perform miracles. People do not trouble themselves about the proof of miracles. The function of a physician is not to make a tree talk.” (Notes of a conversation with ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Julia M. Grundy, ‘Ten Days In the Light of ‘Akka’, Baha’i Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Ill., 1979)

December 14, 2010

A Baha’i is “recognized by his character, not by his person”

A Bahá'í is known by the attributes manifested by him, not by his name: he is recognized by his character, not by his person. ('Abdu'l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 60)

December 9, 2010

State of mind & heart to strive for when saying the Obligatory Prayer

O My brother! How great, how very great, can the law of obligatory prayer be, when, through His mercy and loving kindness, one is enabled to observe it. When a man commenceth the recitation of the Obligatory Prayer, he should see himself severed from all created things and regard himself as utter nothingness before the will and purpose of God, in such wise that he seeth naught but Him in the world of being. This is the station of God's well-favored ones and those who are wholly devoted to Him. Should one perform the Obligatory Prayer in this manner, he will be accounted by God and the Concourse on high among those who have truly offered the prayer. (Baha’u’llah, compilation on The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting)

December 8, 2010

“Service is the magnet which draws the divine confirmations.”

Service is the magnet which draws the divine confirmations. Thus, when a person is active, they are blessed by the Holy Spirit. When they are inactive, the Holy Spirit cannot find a repository in their being, and thus they are deprived of its healing and quickening rays. (From a letter dated 12 July 1952 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 23)

December 6, 2010

1965: First Conference of the Hands of the Cause for Africa, Board Members and two African NSA's

First Conference of the Hands of the Cause for Africa, their Board members, and members of two National Spiritual Assemblies of Africa [South-and-West, and South Central] held in Salisbury, Rhodesia in September 1965. Hands of the Cause Enoch Olinga and John Robarts are in the front row, third from left and third from right, respectively. (Baha'i News, January 19660)

December 5, 2010

Who is a “true Baha’i”?

He is a true Bahá'í who strives by day and by night to progress and advance along the path of human endeavor, whose most cherished desire is so to live and act as to enrich and illuminate the world, whose source of inspiration is the essence of Divine virtue, whose aim in life is so to conduct himself as to be the cause of infinite progress. Only when he attains unto such perfect gifts can it be said of him that he is a true Bahá'í. For in this holy Dispensation, the crowning glory of bygone ages and cycles, true Faith is no mere acknowledgement of the Unity of God, but rather the living of a life that will manifest all the perfections and virtues implied in such belief.... (‘Abdu’l-Baha, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 372)

December 4, 2010

Getting a glimpse of the “incomparable greatness of the Baha’i Revelation” –- through a Zoroastrian Prophecy

As a further testimony to the greatness of the Revelation identified with Bahá'u'lláh may be cited the following extracts from a Tablet addressed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to an eminent Zoroastrian follower of the Faith: "Thou hadst written that in the sacred books of the followers of Zoroaster it is written that in the latter days, in three separate Dispensations, the sun must needs be brought to a standstill. In the first Dispensation, it is predicted, the sun will remain motionless for ten days; in the second for twice that time; in the third for no less than one whole month. The interpretation of this prophecy is this: the first Dispensation to which it refers is the Muhammadan Dispensation during which the Sun of Truth stood still for ten days. Each day is reckoned as one century. The Muhammadan Dispensation must have, therefore, lasted no less than one thousand years, which is precisely the period that has elapsed from the setting of the Star of the Imamate to the advent of the Dispensation proclaimed by the Báb. The second Dispensation referred to in this prophecy is the one inaugurated by the Báb Himself, which began in the year 1260 A.H. and was brought to a close in the year 1280 A.H. As to the third Dispensation -- the Revelation proclaimed by Bahá'u'lláh -- inasmuch as the Sun of Truth when attaining that station shineth in the plenitude of its meridian splendor its duration hath been fixed for a period of one whole month, which is the maximum time taken by the sun to pass through a sign of the Zodiac. From this thou canst imagine the magnitude of the Bahá'í cycle -- a cycle that must extend over a period of at least five hundred thousand years. (Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 102)

December 3, 2010

Supplications may be addressed to ‘Abdu’l-Baha

With reference to the first of the two questions raised by the San Francisco Spiritual Assembly in connection with 'The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah,' he wishes me to explain that although 'Abdu'l-Baha's station is not that of a Manifestation of God, nevertheless supplications may be addressed to Him. It is essential, however, that every believer should realize that while doing so he is directing his thoughts towards the Master as an intermediary between him and the Manifestation, and not as the Source of Divine Revelation and Spiritual Guidance. Provided this distinction is clearly established there can be no harm or objection in addressing prayers to 'Abdu'l-Baha. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Baha’i News, January 1935)

December 1, 2010

A lesson on the seeing of a halo about the Master

The Master said there were four kinds of light: the light from the lamp was one; but because the face of a man does not give out light as the lamp does, is man less than the lamp or greater? Some worms give off a light -- is man or the worm greater? Man does not give out such a light, but man has the kingdom of the mind and it is the light of this kingdom which some see when they love a person very much, and they mistake it for a material light when it is not. This comes from the emotional nature and is an imagination. Then there is the Light of the Holy Spirit possessed by God's Chosen Ones. The minds of men cannot comprehend this Light -- thus they martyr those who come with this Light. But time proves that their Light was the true Light and that the light of the minds of the men of their time was limited. They comprehend the past, present and future and see things as they will be when accomplished. St. John, on the Isle of Patmos, seeing into the future, foretold what would come to pass in this present Day. There is no time to this Light -- it knows all things. (‘Abdu’l-Baha’s explanation as recorded by Corine True during her pilgrimage in 1907; ‘Notes Taken at Acca’, booklet published by Baha’i Publishing Society, Chicago 1907)