July 28, 2015

Why Baha’u’llah bore all the ordeals and calamities – ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains

…the Blessed Perfection bore all these ordeals and calamities in order that our hearts might become enkindled and radiant, our spirits be glorified, our faults become virtues, our ignorance be transformed into knowledge; in order that we might attain the real fruits of humanity and acquire heavenly graces; in order that, although pilgrims upon earth, we should travel the road of the heavenly Kingdom, and, although needy and poor, we might receive the treasures of eternal life. For this has He borne these difficulties and sorrows. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, New York, 18 April 1912; ‘The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by 'Abdu'l-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912’)

July 27, 2015

The birth of Rúhu'lláh Varqa and Tablets from Baha’u’llah - by Martha Root

Alí Muhammad Varqá [who was later designated as one of the Apostles of Baha’u’llah] was an ardent Bahá'í of Tabríz, Persia, in the days when Bahá'u'lláh was a Prisoner in 'Akká, Palestine from 1868 until His passing in 1892. He was exiled and imprisoned because His Teachings which are now being studied by some rulers, many statesmen and millions of other people, were, like those of other World Teachers, very far ahead of His time.

To begin at the beginning, 'Alí Muhammad Varqá had one son, 'Azízu'lláh, two years old, when one day in April another little son was born in his home, and he and his wife named the child Rúhu'lláh which means "the Spirit of God".

There was glad rejoicing when Bahá'u'lláh from 'Akká sent these parents a Tablet (a letter) about this new babe and in it the reader with insight will discern the introduction to this thrilling story which follows. Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

"O Varqá! It is for thee to chant in both ears of this little one three times:

"Verily, thou hast come by the Command of God! Thou hast appeared to speak of Him, and thou hast been created to serve Him Who is the Dear, the Beloved!"

July 23, 2015

How to increase “one's ability and capacity” -- 'Abdu'l-Baha explains

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)

July 21, 2015

The “most beloved and acceptable deed” in the presence of Baha'u'llah

Today the most beloved and acceptable deed before His Highness, Bahá'u'lláh, is the union of the friends and the concord of men, and the most unacceptable is difference and disharmony. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet, Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 5, June 5, 1911)

July 18, 2015

1898: A group of early Baha'is in New York City

A group of early believers taken in 1898 in the studio of Arthur P. Dodge, in New York City. Left to right: Elizabeth Ann Dodge, Arthur P. Dodge, Ann Mason Hoar, W. H. Moar. (Paul Dodge on floor) (The Baha'i World 1940-1944)

July 13, 2015

A Tablet from Baha’u’llah “which causeth the souls of men to soar”

Baha’u’llah identifies this Tablet as “a door to the mercy of thy Lord.” 
We are called upon to “Commit it to memory, and recite it.” 

July 9, 2015

Similarities between Jesus Christ and the Báb

The passion of Jesus Christ, and indeed His whole public ministry, alone offer a parallel to the Mission and death of the Báb, a parallel which no student of comparative religion can fail to perceive or ignore. In the youthfulness and meekness of the Inaugurator of the Bábí Dispensation; in the extreme brevity and turbulence of His public ministry; in the dramatic swiftness with which that ministry moved towards its climax; in the apostolic order which He instituted, and the primacy which He conferred on one of its members; in the boldness of His challenge to the time-honored conventions, rites and laws which had been woven into the fabric of the religion He Himself had been born into; in the rôle which an officially recognized and firmly entrenched religious hierarchy played as chief instigator of the outrages which He was made to suffer; in the indignities heaped upon Him; in the suddenness of His arrest; in the interrogation to which He was subjected; in the derision poured, and the scourging inflicted, upon Him; in the public affront He sustained; and, finally, in His ignominious suspension before the gaze of a hostile multitude—in all these we cannot fail to discern a remarkable similarity to the distinguishing features of the career of Jesus Christ. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By)

July 5, 2015

“fundamental aspects of Baha’i community life intended for all” = “acts of service”

  • Teaching the Faith
  • Initiating Children’s Classes,
  • Initiating Junior Youth Groups
  • Initiating Study Circles
  • Hosting Devotional Gatherings
  • Undertaking Home Visits
(Adapted from a message dated 5 January 2015 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to American National Spiritual Assembly)