May 31, 2012

International Deputization Fund can be used on national level

We announced at the Conference that the International Deputization Fund, so far used to aid pioneering and travel teaching on an international level, will henceforth be available to assist such projects on the national level in those areas where support is vitally important to the winning of the goals of the Nine Year Plan. (The Universal House of Justice, 8 September 1968 To the Bahá'ís of the world, Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986, pp. 140-141)

May 29, 2012

Haifa 1928 -- Looking up Carmel Ave. toward the Shrine of the Bab

Haifa 1928: looking up Carmel Ave. toward the Shrine of the Bab. (Star of the West, vol. 19, no. 3, June 1928) 

May 27, 2012

In the Bahá'í Faith “marriage, and family life, in particular”, are viewed as “a social function of highest and indeed vital importance”

He has noted the question you had asked concerning the problem of marriage, and its infrequency among the believers in general. It is indeed a matter of deep regret to him that some of our young believers do not attach due importance to the question of marriage, and seem, as you state, to be under the impression that marital life has been discouraged in the Cause. This is certainly an erroneous conception, and whosoever takes the pain to carefully and intelligently read the words of Bahá'u'lláh, and to ponder over their implications, cannot but be convinced of the truth that in the Bahá'í Faith marriage, and family life, in particular, are both not only commendable, but constitute a social function of highest and indeed vital importance, as through them alone the human race is perpetuated.

The believers should well know that whereas Bahá'u'lláh has not made marriage a binding obligation, He has nevertheless attributed to it such spiritual and social significance as no individual believer, under normal circumstances, can well be justified in disregarding it. In fact, in His Book of Laws (the "Kitáb-i-Aqdas") He emphatically stresses its importance, and defines its essential purpose, namely the procreation of children and their training in the Religion of God, that they may know and adore Him, and mention and praise His Name. (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, dated 17 February 1940; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Preserving Baha’i Marriages)

May 25, 2012

How to “derive fresh inspiration and added sustenance” as we labor for the Cause

To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Bahá’u’lláh’s stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavor of each one of its loyal adherents. An exact and thorough comprehension of so vast a system, so sublime a revelation, so sacred a trust, is for obvious reasons beyond the reach and ken of our finite minds. We can, however, and it is our bounden duty to seek to derive fresh inspiration and added sustenance as we labor for the propagation of His Faith through a clearer apprehension of the truths it enshrines and the principles on which it is based. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah)

May 23, 2012

How we can increase our “ability and capacity”

During thy supplications to God and thy reciting, “Thy Name is my healing," consider how thine heart is cheered, thy soul delighted by the spirit of the love of God, and thy mind attracted to the Kingdom of God! By these attractions one's ability and capacity increase. When the vessel is enlarged the water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man. This is the mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one's wants. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, quoted by J.E. Esslemont in ‘Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era’; The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude)

May 20, 2012

Fifth Continental Indegenous Council, South Dakota, USA, August 1-5, 1988

Counsellors Jacqueline Delahunt (left) and Lauretta King congratulate Lakota hoop dancer Dallas Chief Eagle, who declared his belief in Baha'u'llah shortly after performing at the fifth Continental Indegenous Council which was held in South Dakota, USA, during August 1-5, 1988. 

May 18, 2012

Lua presented a petition to the Shah of Persia in 1902

Lua Getsinger (sitting) with Mariam Haney in Paris in 1902, when Lua presented a petition to the Shah of Persia pleading the cause of the persecuted Baha'is in that country.

May 16, 2012

The “most distinctive feature of the Bahá'í Dispensation” – the “twofold station ordained for the Báb by the Almighty”

There can be no doubt that the claim to the twofold station ordained for the Báb by the Almighty, a claim which He Himself has so boldly advanced, which Bahá'u'lláh has repeatedly affirmed, and to which the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá has finally given the sanction of its testimony, constitutes the most distinctive feature of the Bahá'í Dispensation. It is a further evidence of its uniqueness, a tremendous accession to the strength, to the mysterious power and authority with which this holy cycle has been invested. Indeed the greatness of the Báb consists primarily, not in His being the divinely-appointed Forerunner of so transcendent a Revelation, but rather in His having been invested with the powers inherent in the inaugurator of a separate religious Dispensation, and in His wielding, to a degree unrivaled by the Messengers gone before Him, the scepter of independent Prophethood. (Shoghi Effendi, ‘The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah)

May 14, 2012

Becoming aware of an amazing spiritual principle: how a small number of believers could have an “influence over all the earth”

One consecrated soul is preferable to a thousand other souls. If a small number of people gather lovingly together, with absolute purity and sanctity, with their hearts free of the world, experiencing the emotions of the Kingdom and the powerful magnetic forces of the Divine, and being at one in their happy fellowship, that gathering will exert its influence over all the earth. The nature of that band of people, the words they speak, the deeds they do, will unleash the bestowals of Heaven, and provide a foretaste of eternal bliss. The hosts of the Company on high will defend them, and the angels of the Abhá Paradise, in continuous succession, will come down to their aid. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá’; compilation: ‘Baha’i Meetings’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

May 12, 2012

The Faith’s statement on nature

In September 1986 the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) launched its Network on Conservation and Religion, bringing religious leaders representing Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims together with environmental leaders in Assisi, Italy. Each of the five religions represented there issued a declaration on nature. In October 1987 the Baha’i’ Faith became the sixth major religion to join the new alliance, and put forward this statement in support of the Network’s goals.

“Nature in its essence is the embodiment of My Name, the Maker, the Creator. Its manifestations are diversified by varying causes, and in this diversity there are signs for men of discernment. Nature is God’s Will and is its expression in and through the contingent world. It is a dispensation of Providence ordained by the Ordainer, the All-Wise.”

With those words, Baha’u’llah, the Prophet-Founder of the Baha’i Faith, outlines the essential relationship between man and the environment: that the grandeur and diversity of the natural world are purposeful reflections of the majesty and bounty of God. For Baha’is, there follows an implicit understanding that nature is to be respected and protected, as a divine trust for which we are answerable.

May 11, 2012

The Shrine of the Bab on Mt. Carmel and a part of the beautiful terraced gardens, 1928

The Shrine of the Bab on Mt. Carmel and a part of the beautiful terraced gardens, 1928 (Star of the West, vol. 19, no. 3, June 1928)

May 10, 2012

Divine verses to recite 19 times daily when seeking God’s assistance to solve a personal problem

While Baha’u’llah was in Baghdad, in about 1861, the Governor was wrongfully dismissed from his position, placed under house-arrest and cut off from all association with anyone outside. A personal friend of the dismissed Governor (Vali) by the name 'Abdu'llah Pasha, found himself prevented from meeting him. As he too was threatened, he realized that he stood in great danger. He had no one to turn to but Bahá'u'lláh, Who received him graciously and kindly, advising him not to grieve. He instructed him on how to go about seeing the Vali. 'Go and tell the Vali from Us,' He told 'Abdu'llah Pasha, 'to put his trust wholly in God, and repeat every day, nineteen times, these two verses: "He who puts his trust in God, God will suffice him" and "He who fears God, God will send him relief."' This, the Vali did, and after three days the conditions in the Ottoman Capital changed drastically, and the Governor of Baghdad was returned to his position.

This Governor, Mustafa Nuri Pasha, who owed his rescue from disgrace to Bahá'u'lláh, remained firmly devoted to Him to the end of his life, although in Baghdad he had not been able to attain His presence. When Bahá'u'lláh reached Constantinople in 1863, Mustafa Nuri Pasha was also there. Ignoring all restraints, he had his respects conveyed to Bahá'u'lláh, Who sent the Most Great Branch and Aqay-i-Kalim to meet the Pasha. After that, Mustafa Nuri Pasha himself came several times, and his heart's desire was fulfilled. (Adapted from ‘Baha'u'llah -The King of Glory’, by Balyuzi)

May 7, 2012

‘Abdu’l-Baha explains that there is “a Universal Power” -- a “Director”, or a “Coordinator” – that directs and regulates “all the parts of this infinite creation”, “this endless universe”

It is obvious that all created things are connected one to another by a linkage complete and perfect, even, for example, as are the members of the human body. Note how all the members and component parts of the human body are connected one to another. In the same way, all the members of this endless universe are linked one to another. The foot and the step, for example, are connected to the ear and the eye; the eye must look ahead before the step is taken. The ear must hear before the eye will carefully observe. And whatever member of the human body is deficient, produceth a deficiency in the other members. The brain is connected with the heart and stomach, the lungs are connected with all the members. So is it with the other members of the body.

And each one of these members hath its own special function. The mind force -- whether we call it pre-existent or contingent -- doth direct and co-ordinate all the members of the human body, seeing to it that each part or member duly performeth its own special function. If, however, there be some interruption in the power of the mind, all the members will fail to carry out their essential functions, deficiencies will appear in the body and the functioning of its members, and the power will prove ineffective.

Likewise, look into this endless universe: a universal power inevitably existeth, which encompasseth all, directing and regulating all the parts of this infinite creation; and were it not for this Director, the Coordinator, the universe would be flawed and deficient. It would be even as a madman; whereas ye can see that this endless creation carrieth out its functions in perfect order, every separate part of it performing its own task with complete reliability, nor is there any flaw to be found in all its workings. Thus it is clear that a Universal Power existeth, directing and regulating this infinite universe. Every rational mind can grasp this fact. (‘Abdu’l-Baha,’Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá’; compilation ‘Nature’, prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice)

May 4, 2012

Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926, prints Queen Marie’s testimony concerning the Baha’i Faith

“It is a wondrous Message that Baha’u’llah and his son 'Abdu'l-Baha have given us. . . . It is Christ's Message taken up anew, in the same words almost, but adapted to the thousand years and more difference that lies between the year one and today. . . . I commend it to you all. If ever the name of Baha’u’llah or 'Abdu'l-Baha comes to your attention, do not put their writings from you. (Toronto Daily Star, May 4, 1926; quoted in ‘The Baha’i Faith, the Emerging World Religion’, by William Hatcher and Douglas Martin)