November 29, 2012

The example of our beloved Master – “the path of servitude … the way of holiness”

We can prove ourselves worthy of our Cause only if in our individual conduct and corporate life we sedulously imitate the example of our beloved Master, Whom the terrors of tyranny, the storms of incessant abuse, the oppressiveness of humiliation, never caused to deviate a hair’s breadth from the revealed Law of Bahá’u’lláh.

Such is the path of servitude, such is the way of holiness He chose to tread to the very end of His life. Nothing short of the strictest adherence to His glorious example can safely steer our course amid the pitfalls of this perilous age, and lead us on to fulfill our high destiny. (Shoghi Effendi, from a letter dated April 12, 1927 to the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada; ‘Baha’i Administration’)

November 27, 2012

“We must … try first to acquire the bounties of the Kingdom for ourselves and attain life everlasting, and then endeavor to quicken the nations and give life to the world.” – Prayer to recite every “night and day”

Unless a man acquires perfection for himself, he cannot teach others how to attain such perfection; and unless he gets life for himself, he cannot give life to others. We must therefore try first to acquire the bounties of the Kingdom for ourselves and attain life everlasting, and then endeavor to quicken the nations and give life to the world. Thus, we must constantly pray to His Holy Court and seek His eternal bounties. We must acquire pure hearts like unto mirrors, so that the lights of the Sun of Reality may shine.

Every night and day we must supplicate to Him and beg for His assistance, saying: `O Lord, we are weak, make us strong; we are ignorant, make us wise. O Lord, we are poor, give us the wealth of the Kingdom. O God, we are dead, bestow upon us everlasting life; we are in utter lowliness, exalt us in Thy Kingdom. Should Thy heavenly confirmations surround us, each one of us can be a luminous star, otherwise we become lower than dust. O God, help us; make us victorious; assist us to overcome self and desire; and deliver us from the world of nature. O God! Quicken us through the breaths of the Holy Spirit so that we may arise to serve Thee, engage ourselves in worshipping Thee and broadcast the signs of Thy Kingdom with utmost truthfulness and sincerity. Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Generous and the Compassionate. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, New York, December 3, 1912; Mahmud’s Diary)

November 25, 2012

Prayer offered by ‘Abdu’l-Baha at the grave of Thornton Chase

O my God! O my God! Verily, this is a servant of Thine, who did believe on Thee and in Thy signs; verily he hearkened to Thy summons, turned to Thy Kingdom, humbled himself at Thy holy threshold, was possessed of a contrite heart, arose to serve Thy cause, to spread Thy fragrances, to promote Thy word, and to expound Thy wisdom.

Verily he guided the people to Thine ancient pathway, and led them to Thy way of rectitude. Verily he held the chalice of guidance in his right hand and gave unto those athirst to drink of the cup of favour. He presented himself at Thy lofty threshold, where he laid his brow on the fragrant soil of Thy garden and circumambulated Thy all-glorious and sublime abode, the traces of which are wide-spread and the fragrances of whose loyalty are sensed everywhere. Later he returned to these vast and extensive countries and proclaimed Thy Name amongst the people, until his respiration ceased and his outward sensation was suspended, returning to Thee with a heart throbbing with Thy love and with an eye opened to Thy direction.

O Lord! O Lord! Submerge him in the ocean of Thy glory. O Lord! O Lord! Usher him into Thy delectable garden. O Lord! O Lord! Usher him into Thy lofty paradise and cause him to be present in Thy meeting of transfiguration. O Lord! Submerge him in the ocean of Thy lights.

Verily, Thou art the Clement! Verily, Thou are the Merciful, the Precious, the Omnipotent! (Abdu'l-Baha, Star of the West, vol.III, No. 13, November 4, 1912) (For a brief description about his life please visit 'Baha'i Heores and Heroines')

November 24, 2012

Feast given to the poor of Haifa , July 1932

Feast given to the poor of Haifa in memory of the passing of Bahiyyih Khanum, the Greatest Holy Leaf, July 1932. (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

November 22, 2012

The “essence of thanksgiving”

O thou handmaid of God! In this day, to thank God for His bounties consisteth in possessing a radiant heart, and a soul open to the promptings of the spirit. This is the essence of thanksgiving.

As for offering thanks by speaking out or writing, although this is indeed acceptable, yet when compared with that other thanksgiving, it is only a semblance and unreal; for the essential thing is these intimations of the spirit, these emanations from the deep recess of the heart. It is my hope that thou wilt be favoured therewith. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

November 11, 2012

We are dependent on God the same way that “the body is dependent upon the soul”

Furthermore, many say, `We have no need of divine Manifestations; we ourselves have direct communication with God.' They do not know that the divine Manifestations are the bright rays of the Sun of Truth and a means of educating the realities of man. Therefore, he who rejects the bounty of the Sun of Truth and thinks himself not in need of it is like the one who says he is not in need of God and rejects both God and reality, in spite of the fact that all creation is receiving incessant bounty from God and is dependent on Him, as the body is dependent upon the soul. (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, New York, November 26, 1912, Mahmud’s Diary)

November 8, 2012

Meaning of a passage in the Bible: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit"(John 3:6)

Christ announced, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," meaning that man must be born again. As the babe is born into the light of this physical world, so must the physical and intellectual man be born into the light of the world of Divinity. ('Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

November 6, 2012

Question: Do we know when the Lesser Peace will come about? Why did we think it would be by the year 2000?

Answer by ‘Ali Nakhjavani: When Shoghi Effendi was asked when exactly the Lesser Peace would be established, he wrote back saying that we did not know the exact time. The speculation about the year 2000 stems from the fifth candle of unity, which is “unity of nations”, and, as you recall, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá states in that Tablet that it is “a unity which in this century will be securely established”. Since this Tablet was revealed in 1906, it is obvious that “this century” means the twentieth century, especially since the recipient was one of the friends in the British Isles. The point that was missed was that the stage of the “unity of nations” is clearly defined by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself in the same Tablet. It is when “the peoples of the world [will] regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland”. This is a reference to an awareness in the peoples of the world that the world is really one world and the planet the home of the human race. This consciousness is, of course, an important step towards the Lesser Peace but not the Lesser Peace itself. (Ali Nakhjavani, ‘Towards World Order’, Acuto, Italy, 2004, a week-long course on the study of various aspects of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh)

November 3, 2012

1937: Baha'i pioneer teaches some under-privileged children in Brazil

Leonora Holsapple (upper left), the pioneer teacher of the Faith in Brazil, and Nelie French, on the occasion of the latter's visit to South America, March 1937. The children belong to Leonora's class for the under-privileged. (The Baha'i World 1936-1938)

November 1, 2012

Four qualities Baha’u’llah loves to see in people

The Blessed Beauty often remarked: 'There are four qualities which I love to see manifested in people: first, enthusiasm and courage; second, a face wreathed in smiles and a radiant countenance; third, that they see all things with their own eyes and not through the eyes of others; fourth, the ability to carry a task, once begun, through to its end.' (Stories of Baha’u’llah, compiled by Hand of the Cause Ali-Akbar Furutan)