August 31, 2013

“When there is a quarrel all are wrong. But when there is love all are right.”

Some years ago two believers became excited over a discussion as to the station of the Blessed Perfection. One of them declaring that Baha’u’llah was the holy identity of God. To settle the dispute they submitted the matter to the holy presence and the Blessed Perfection answered: “When there is a quarrel all are wrong. But when there is love all are right.” The Blessed Perfection said: the only thing that is not beloved is discord. And all that is beloved is love. The believers must love each other, and must reflect the love of God. Some may say the lamp is the light, others may say the lamp is the place of the manifestation of the light. Both statements are correct. But what is wrong is the quarrel. Because it is contrary to the foundation laid by God. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a table talk; excerpt from the transcript of a talk given by William Copeland Dodge relating the account of his pilgrimage to ‘Akka in 1901) (To listen to and read the entire talk please visit Baha’i Talks, Messages and Articles) 

August 22, 2013

What to do if one sees “fellow believers violating Bahá'í laws or engaging in conduct inimical to the welfare and best interests of the Faith”

While it can be a severe test to a Bahá'í to see fellow believers violating Bahá'í laws or engaging in conduct inimical to the welfare and best interests of the Faith, there is no fixed rule that a believer must follow when such conduct comes to his notice. A great deal depends upon the seriousness of the offence and upon the relationship which exists between him and the offender.

If the misconduct is blatant and flagrant or threatens the interests of the Faith the believer to whose attention it comes should immediately report it to the Local Spiritual Assembly. Once it is in the hands of the Assembly the believer's obligation is discharged and he should do no more than pray for the offender and continue to show him friendship and encouragement - unless, of course, the Spiritual Assembly asks him to take specific action.

Sometimes, however, the matter does not seem grave enough to warrant reporting to the Spiritual Assembly, in which case it may be best to ignore it altogether. There are also other things that can be done by the Bahá'í to whose notice such things come. For example he could foster friendly relations with the individual concerned, tactfully drawing him into Bahá'í activities in the hope that, as his knowledge of the teachings and awareness of the Faith deepens, he will spontaneously improve his patterns of conduct. Or perhaps the relationship is such that he can tactfully draw the offender's attention to the teachings on the subject - but here he must be very careful not to give him the impression of prying into a fellow-believer's private affairs or of telling him what he must do, which would not only be wrong in itself but might well produce the reverse of the desired reaction.

August 19, 2013

The Twentieth Century: ‘Abdu’l-Baha identifies it as “the miracle of centuries”

Praise be to God! The springtime of God is at hand. This century is, verily, the spring season. The world of mind and kingdom of soul have become fresh and verdant by its bestowals. It has resuscitated the whole realm of existence. On one hand, the lights of reality are shining; on the other, the clouds of divine mercy are pouring down the fullness of heavenly bounty. Wonderful material progress is evident, and great spiritual discoveries are being made. Truly, this can be called the miracle of centuries, for it is replete with manifestations of the miraculous. The time has come when all mankind shall be united, when all races shall be loyal to one fatherland, all religions become one religion, and racial and religious bias pass away. It is a day in which the oneness of humankind shall uplift its standard and international peace, like the true morning, flood the world with its light. Therefore, we offer supplications to God, asking Him to dispel these gloomy clouds and uproot these imitations in order that the East and West may become radiant with love and unity, that the nations of the world shall embrace each other and the ideal spiritual brotherhood illumine the world like the glorious sun of the high heavens. This is our hope, our wish and desire. We pray that through the bounty and grace of God we may attain thereto. I am very happy to be present at this meeting which has innate radiance, intelligence, perception and longing to investigate reality. Such meetings are the glory of the world of mankind. I ask the blessing of God in your behalf. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, excerpt from a talk, 28 May 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace’)(To read the entire talk please visit ‘Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

August 16, 2013

Nearness to God -- what a human being needs to do in order to attain it

But nearness to God is not an easy accomplishment. During the time Jesus Christ was upon the earth mankind sought nearness to God, but in that day no one attained it save a very few—His disciples. Those blessed souls were confirmed with divine nearness through the love of God. Divine nearness is dependent upon attainment to the knowledge of God, upon severance from all else save God. It is contingent upon self-sacrifice and to be found only through forfeiting wealth and worldly possessions. It is made possible through the baptism of water and fire revealed in the Gospels. Water symbolizes the water of life, which is knowledge, and fire is the fire of the love of God; therefore, man must be baptized with the water of life, the Holy Spirit and the fire of the love of the Kingdom. Until he attains these three degrees, nearness to God is not possible. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, excerpt from a talk, May 26, 1912, New York; ‘The Promulgation of the Universal Peace’) (To read the entire talk please visit ‘Talks of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

August 11, 2013

How we can help ourselves not to become angry or impatient with others – ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains

Be in perfect unity. Never become angry with one another. Let your eyes be directed toward the kingdom of truth and not toward the world of creation. Love the creatures for the sake of God and not for themselves. You will never become angry or impatient if you love them for the sake of God. Humanity is not perfect. There are imperfections in every human being, and you will always become unhappy if you look toward the people themselves. But if you look toward God, you will love them and be kind to them, for the world of God is the world of perfection and complete mercy. Therefore, do not look at the shortcomings of anybody; see with the sight of forgiveness. The imperfect eye beholds imperfections. The eye that covers faults looks toward the Creator of souls. He created them, trains and provides for them, endows them with capacity and life, sight and hearing; therefore, they are the signs of His grandeur. You must love and be kind to everybody, care for the poor, protect the weak, heal the sick, teach and educate the ignorant. (‘Abdu’l-Baha, from a talk, 5 May 1912, Chicago, Illinois; ‘The Promulgation of the Universal Peace’)

August 9, 2013

John Eichenauer - the youngest pioneer of the Baha'i Faith as of 1939

John Eichenauer, the youngest pioneer of the Baha'i Faith, who in 1939, at the age of seventeen, went to San Salvador to establish a Baha'i center. (The Baha'i World 1938-1940)

August 5, 2013

‘Abdu’l-Baha defines “Love”

Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God's holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven's kindly light, the Holy Spirit's eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God's revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation. ('Abdu'l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá)

August 1, 2013

An early view of the resting-place of Baha'u'llah at Bahji

An early view of the resting-place of Baha'u'llah at Bahji, Haifa (The Baha'i World 1936-1938)