November 27, 2011

Question: Having lived in the spiritual center can you give us a clear definition of spirituality? – Answer by Ruhiyyih Khanum, given during the question and answer portion of a talk on June 5, 1960 to the Baha’is of New York

Well, we of the West, have an image of spirituality, and mystic and metaphysical phenomena. I don’t know. You see, I wasn’t there in the days of the Master or Baha’u’llah. I was only there in the days of the Guardian…which of course itself was a bounty beyond words. All I know is that Shoghi Effendi’s spirituality came out in action. Now when I was a girl I was very dreamy. I use to love to write poetry and meditate and sit on the fence and look at the moon and think how beautiful everything was and go into all of these abstractions. I loved them. And my whole mind and temperament lay along those lines; and I found that wasn’t the least interesting to Shoghi Effendi, that he’d never even go on subjects like that. [Audience laughs.] He was too busy. All he wanted was work. Because he had a plan to accomplish and he had to get it done. And I learned from Shoghi Effendi how to work. I must have had perhaps some initial capacity for work but believe me he changed me very, very deeply. And I got away from all of that. And I, I don’t know, to me the essence of spirituality…perhaps spirituality can best be expressed at different times in different ways. But surely the most spiritual thing is to do what God wants you to. Wouldn’t you think that that was the best spiritual answer? Wouldn’t you think that perhaps you were the most spiritual when you were doing the most of what God desired of you? And there’s no mystery of what Shoghi Effendi—the sign of God—desired of us. He wanted us to go ahead and conquer this world spiritually and bring it to a certain point in view of the situation humanity finds itself in. And I believe that every time that we do that we are more spiritual and attracting to ourselves greater blessings.

November 23, 2011

The Covenant of Baha’u’llah concerning ‘Abdu’l-Baha was established at the very early stage in the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh – three examples from the Hidden Words

There are a few passages in The Hidden Words which refer implicitly to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh -- a Covenant which later became explicit with the revelation of the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh, designated by Him the Kitáb-i-'Ahdi (The Book of My Covenant).

'Abdu'l-Bahá, Who is the Centre of that same Covenant and the appointed Interpreter of the words of Bahá'u'lláh, has explained the meaning of some of these passages. One instance is the following:

O My Friends!
Have ye forgotten that true and radiant morn, when in those hallowed and blessed surroundings ye were all gathered in My presence beneath the shade of the tree of life, which is planted in the all-glorious paradise? Awestruck ye listened as I gave utterance to these three most holy words: O friends! Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings. Would ye but sanctify your souls, ye would at this present hour recall that place and those surroundings, and the truth of My utterance should be made evident unto all of you.(Baha’u’llah, Persian Hidden Words, no. 19)

The 'true and radiant morn', 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated, refers to the Revelation of the Báb, the 'tree of life' to Bahá'u'lláh, and the 'hallowed and blessed surroundings' to the heart of the individual. He further explained that the gathering referred to in this verse was not a physical but a spiritual one. The call of God was raised within the sanctuary of their hearts; but they did not respond and were bewildered and awestruck.

In other Tablets, 'Abdu'l-Bahá interpreted the meaning of the gathering beneath the shade of the 'tree of life' as the establishment of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh. 'The Lord, the All-Glorified,' in the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, 'hath, beneath the shade of the Tree of Anisa [tree of life], made a new Covenant and established a great Testament...'(Shoghi Effendi, ‘God Passes By’) That this Covenant was established at so early a stage in the ministry of Bahá'u'lláh is one of the mysteries of Divine Revelation. Indeed, in a Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá stated that when the day-star of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh dawned upon humanity, the first ray which shed its light upon those gathered beneath the 'tree of life' was that of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh.

November 21, 2011

Prayer by 'Abdu'l-Baha for Lua Getsinger on her passing ...

Supplication for the attracted maid-servant of God, Lua, who ascended to the Supreme Concourse--Upon her be greeting and praise!

He is God!

0 Lord! 0 Lord! Verily Thy maid-servant who was attracted with the fragrances of Thy Holiness, enkindled with the fire of Thy Love, the herald of Thy Name, the spreader of Thy Signs among Thy people, ascended to Thee with humility and lowliness, trusting in Thee with all her heart, liberated from all worldly ties and attractions, hoping for Thy Universal Favour and Mercy, desiring to enter Thy radiant Presence, supplicating Thy all-encircling Bounty, and begging for the descent of Thy glorious Bestowals!

0 Lord! Exalt her station, submerge her in the ocean of Thy Compassion and establish her in the midst of the Paradise of Immortality, in the Universe of Lights, the Centre of the Beatific Mysteries.

0 Lord! She believed in Thee, chanted Thy verses, turned her face toward Thee with all her heart; her spirit was rejoiced through Thy glad tidings and her soul was purified through the fire of Thy Love. Then amidst the concourse of humanity, she arose in the promotion of Thy Word, suffered every thirsty one to drink from the goblet of Thy Guidance and healed every sick one with the antidote of Thy Knowledge. In Thy Path she travelled to distant countries and remote regions and gave the good-news of Thy Kingdom throughout vast and spacious continents -- until through the difficulties that she endured in Thy Path, her very flesh and bones were melted, diseases and sicknesses attacked her, her frail body failed her, her nerves and muscles weakened their functions and her heart became the target of conflicting ailments. Then while hoping for the immortal life, the eternal existence, she abandoned this mortal, ephemeral world.

November 12, 2011

Some of the titles of Baha’u’llah – compiled by the Guardian

He was formally designated Bahá'u'lláh, an appellation specifically recorded in the Persian Bayan, signifying at once the glory, the light and the splendor of God, and was styled

• the "Lord of Lords,"
• the "Most Great Name,"
• the "Ancient Beauty,"
• the "Pen of the Most High,"
• the "Hidden Name,"
• the "Preserved Treasure,"
• "He Whom God will make manifest,"
• the "Most Great Light,"
• the "All-Highest Horizon,"
• the "Most Great Ocean,"
• the "Supreme Heaven,"
• the "Pre-Existent Root,"
• the "Self-Subsistent,"
• the "Day-Star of the Universe,"
• the "Great Announcement,"
• the "Speaker on Sinai,"
• the "Sifter of Men,"
• the "Wronged One of the World,"
• the "Desire of the Nations,"
• the "Lord of the Covenant,"
• the "Tree beyond which there is no passing."
(Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By)

November 8, 2011

Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and Dr. Furutan

Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and Dr. Furutan with Mr. and Mrs. Nakhjavani and Mrs. Furutan

November 4, 2011

The only prayer from the Guardian currently available in English

He is God

O mighty Lord! Thou seest what hath befallen Thy helpless lovers in this darkest of long nights; Thou knowest how, in all these years of separation from Thy Beauty, the confidants of Thy mysteries have ever been acquainted with burning grief.

O Powerful Master! Suffer not Thy wayfarers to be abased and brought low; succour this handful of feeble creatures with the potency of Thy might. Exalt Thy loved ones before the assemblage of man, and grant them strength. Allow those broken-winged beings to raise their heads and glory in the fulfilment of their hopes, that we in these brief days of life may gaze with our physical eyes on the elevation and exaltation of Thy Faith, and soar up to Thee with gladdened souls and blissful hearts.

Thou knowest that, since Thy ascension, we seek no name or fame, that in this swiftly passing world we wish henceforth no joy, no delight and no good fortune.

Then keep Thy word, and exhilarate once more the lives of these, Thy sick at heart. Bring light to our expectant eyes, balm to our stricken breasts. Lead Thou the caravans of the city of Thy love swiftly to their intended goal. Draw those who sorrow after Thee into the high court of reunion with Thee. For in this world below we ask for nothing but the triumph of Thy Cause. And within the precincts of Thy boundless mercy we hope for nothing but Thy presence.

Thou art the Witness, the Haven, the Refuge; Thou art He who rendereth victorious this band of the innocent. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘Fire and Light: Excerpts from the Bahá'í Sacred Writings by Báb, The, Bahá'u'lláh, Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi’ Compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice; The Baha’i World 1979-1983, p. 35)