February 27, 2013

“The state in which one should be to seriously search for the truth”

The state in which one should be to seriously search for the truth is the condition of the thirsty, burning soul desiring the water of life, of the fish struggling to reach the sea, of the sufferer seeking for the true doctor to obtain the divine cure, of the lost caravan endeavoring to find the right road, of the lost and wandering ship striving to reach the shore of salvation.

Therefore, the seeker must be endowed with certain qualities. First of all, he must be just and severed from all else save God; his heart must be entirely turned to the supreme horizon; he must be free from the bondage of self and passion, for all these are obstacles. Furthermore, he must be able to endure all hardships. He must be absolutely pure and sanctified, and free from the love or the hatred of the inhabitants of the world. Why? because the fact of his love for any person or thing might prevent him from recognizing the truth in another, and, in the same way, hatred for anything might be a hindrance in discerning truth. This is the condition of seeking, and the seeker must have these qualities and attributes. Until he reaches this condition, it is not possible for him to attain to the Sun of Reality. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Some Answered Questions’)

February 23, 2013

A prayer revealed and chanted by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in Montreal, Canada, September 1, 1912

O Thou kind Lord! These people have turned to Thee in prayer. With utmost humility and sincerity they have raised their voices to Thy Kingdom to beg Thy forgiveness.

O God! Make this assemblage noble and these persons holy. Enkindle the lights of guidance, illumine the hearts, bring joy to the souls, admit them into Thy Kingdom and enable them to attain felicity in both worlds.

O God! We are abased, glorify us; we are poor, make us rich from the treasury of Thy Kingdom; we are sick, grant us health; we are weak, give us power. O God, guide us to Thy good-pleasure and make us free from self and desire. O God, make us firm in Thy love and assist us to be kind to all creatures. Help us to render service to humanity so that we may serve all Thy servants, love all Thy creatures, be kind to all mankind. O God, verily Thou art the Powerful, the Merciful, the Forgiving and the Omnipotent. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Mahmud’s Diary’)

February 19, 2013

The Nature of God from the Baha’i perspective – from a memorandum of the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice

- the "Essence" of God is "unknowable".

- The "Reality of Divinity ... is invisible, incomprehensible, inaccessible, a pure essence which cannot be described ..."

- God is "exalted beyond every human attribute, such as corporeal existence..."

- "God is never flesh". The Godhead has no physical form and does not in any way resemble a human being, male or female.

- The "attributes" of the Manifestations of God are the means by which the "Divine characteristics and perfections" of God are made known to humanity. (From a Memorandum of the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, dated February 23, 1992)

February 17, 2013

How to view all the peoples of the world -- 'Abdu'l-Baha explains

The Blessed Beauty said: “All are the fruits of one tree and the leaves of one branch.” He likened the world of existence to one tree and all the souls to leaves, blossoms and fruits. Therefore all the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits must be in the utmost of freshness, and the bringing about of this delicacy and sweetness depends upon union and fellowship. Therefore they must assist each other with all their power and seek everlasting life. Thus the friends of God must manifest the mercy of the Compassionate Lord in the world of existence and must show forth the bounty of the visible and invisible King. They must purify their sight, and look upon mankind as the leaves, blossoms and fruits of the tree of creation, and must always be thinking of doing good to someone, of love, consideration, affection and assistance to somebody. They must see no enemy and count no one as an ill wisher. They must consider every one on the earth as a friend; regard the stranger as an intimate, and the alien as a companion. They must not be bound by any tie, nay, rather, they should be free from every bond. In this day the one who is favored in the threshold of grandeur is the one who offers the cup of faithfulness and bestows the pearl of gift to the enemies, even to the fallen oppressor, lends a helping hand, and considers every bitter foe as an affectionate friend. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, ‘Baha’i World Faith’)

February 16, 2013

The World Council of Youth, California, 1932

The World Council of Youth, California, 1932
Held in Pasadena, California, in August 1932. Many of the younger members of various Baha'i Communities were in attendance at the Conference and rendered valuable services in the interest of World Peace and World Understanding. (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

February 14, 2013

The “fountain-head of all calamities”, and man’s “supreme affliction”

And among the teachings of His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh is man's freedom, that through the ideal power he should be free and emancipated from the captivity of the world of nature; for as long as man is captive to nature he is a ferocious animal, as the struggle for existence is one of the exigencies of the world of nature. This matter of the struggle for existence is the fountain-head of all calamities and is the supreme affliction. (Abdu'l-Baha, Tablet to the Hague)

February 11, 2013

Three types of marriage – a pilgrim’s recollection

There are three types of marriage being practiced in the world today. None of them conforms to the Baha’i principles of marriage. The first is the so-called “romantic” marriage of the west. This is the least successful type of marriage. The second is the marriage of convenience practiced in Europe – in which the marriage is intended to benefit the social or financial position of the partners and there is usually a mistress in the background. The third is the arranged marriage of the east – of which there are several kinds. In the Baha’i marriage the two people must choose each other, and the four parents must given their consent to the marriage. The two people study each other’s character before deciding to marry – to make sure that there are no character traits in the other person which would in time become intolerable and become the cause of separation. (Reported words of Shoghi Effendi to a Baha’i pilgrim: Isobel Sabri of Kampala Uganda, April 1957)

February 8, 2013

God’s redemptive grace is flowing through “His faithful servants”

God's redemptive grace, flowing through the small yet infinitely resourceful band of His faithful servants will, as in the days past, gradually permeate the world, and infuse into the consciousness of peoples and nations alike the realization that nothing short of the divine panacea He Himself has prescribed can cure the ills now so sadly afflicting the whole of mankind. What a higher privilege therefore than to be the instrument, the channel for the transmission of such divine grace. (The Universal House of Justice; from a letter to all pioneers, dated 29 November 1970; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986) (To see the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)

February 6, 2013

Examples of individual teaching goals

It is now imperative for every Bahá'í to set for himself individual teaching goals. The admonition of 'Abdu'l-Bahá to lead at least one new soul to the Faith each year and the exhortation of Shoghi Effendi to hold a Bahá'í fireside in one's home every Bahá'í month are examples of individual goals. (The Universal House of Justice, from a message to the Baha’is of the world dated 16 November 1969; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986) (To see the entire message please visit Messages to the Baha’i World Community – by the Universal House of Justice)

February 3, 2013

The verse to say at the time of “the appearance of fearful and natural events”

On the appearance of fearful natural events call ye to mind the might and majesty of your Lord, He Who heareth and seeth all, and say “Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation”. (Baha’u’llah, ‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

February 2, 2013

January 2001: Special gathering in Holy Land

Hand of the Cause of God 'Ali-Akbar Furutan (front row, center) with members of the Universal House of Justice, International Teaching Centre, and Continental Counsellors standing on the stairs in front of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice, January 2001 (The Baha'i World 2000-2001)