August 27, 2015

Conduct of Spiritual Assembly members

But regarding teaching the Truth: One must teach with wisdom, amiability, good-naturedness and kindness. And should anyone circumscribe conditions (for teaching the Truth) it will become rare.

But concerning the established (organized assemblies), altogether outside conversation must not be introduced therein. Nay, rather, conversation must be limited to the reading of verses, the perusing of Words and affairs which pertain to the Cause of God, such as explaining proofs and evidences, delivering clear and irrefutable arguments and announcing the signs of the Beloved of the creatures.

Those souls who are in that assembly before their entrance therein must be adorned with utmost purity, turn their faces toward the Kingdom of Abha and enter with infinite humility and meekness, and when someone reads Tablets they must be silent and attentive.  Should anyone desire to speak, he must do it with the utmost courtesy and with perfect eloquence and fluency by the consent and permission of the people of the assembly.

Upon thee be greeting and praise!

(Signed) 'Abdu'l-Baha Abbas
(Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 6, June 24, 1911)

August 26, 2015

Teachings and Instructions of Baha’u’llah – a summary by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Thou hast inquired regarding the teachings and instructions of Baha'u'llah! Thou must instruct the people of the world in the Love of God, that they may eradicate the foundation of warfare and strife, be attracted by the Glad-tidings of the kingdom of Abha, lay the basis of love and amity, raise the melody of affinity, and the oneness of the Kingdom of humanity; transmute tyranny and persecution into love and faithfulness, efface the traces of bloodshed and carnage; construct the edifice of reconciliation, dispel the darkness of estrangement, diffuse the light of unity; change the poison of animosity into the honey of sympathetic affection; destroy the religious, national and social prejudices from the individuals of humanity; live and act, with and toward each other as though they were from one race, one country, one religion, and one kind.
- 'Abdu'l-Baha Abbas  (Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 6, June 24, 1911)

August 24, 2015

The “divine perfections are manifested and reflected” in “the most perfect being” --> “the Divine Manifestations of God”

Man… on the plane of the contingent world is the most perfect being. By man is meant the perfect individual, who is like unto a mirror in which the divine perfections are manifested and reflected. But the sun doth not descend from the height of its sanctity to enter into the mirror, but when the latter is purified and turned towards the Sun of Truth, the perfections of this Sun, consisting of light and heat, are reflected and manifested in that mirror. These souls are the Divine Manifestations of God. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

August 20, 2015

There are “stages of mortality” in the world of existence

In the world of existence—that which is comprehensible—there are stages of mortality: the first stage is the mineral world, next is the vegetable world. In the latter world the mineral doth exist but with a distinctive feature which is the vegetable characteristic. Likewise in the animal world, the mineral and vegetable characteristics are present and in addition the characteristics of the animal world are to be found, which are the faculties of hearing and of sight. In the human world the characteristics of the mineral, vegetable and animal worlds are found and in addition that of the human kind, namely the intellectual characteristic, which discovereth the realities of things and comprehendeth universal principles. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

August 18, 2015

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice – “a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh”

…a building that will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative centre but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 5 June, 1975; Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

August 16, 2015

“Existence is of two kinds: one is the existence of God… The second kind of existence is the human existence.”

Existence is of two kinds: one is the existence of God which is beyond the comprehension of man. He, the invisible, the lofty and the incomprehensible, is preceded by no cause but rather is the Originator of the cause of causes. He, the Ancient, hath had no beginning and is the all-independent. The second kind of existence is the human existence. It is a common existence, comprehensible to the human mind, is not ancient, is dependent and hath a cause to it. The mortal substance does not become eternal and vice versa; the human kind does not become a Creator and vice versa. The transformation of the innate substance is impossible. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

August 14, 2015

International Deputization Fund

We renew our plea to individual believers, as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, to give generous support to the International Deputization Fund, which will not only be an essential factor in the speedy settlement of this urgently needed army of pioneers, but will also stimulate and assist the flow of travelling teachers, whose labours will provide strong reinforcement to the work of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in all parts of the world.
-The Universal House of Justice (From a message dated 13 January 1975 to the Baha’is of the World; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

August 12, 2015

Democratic principles embedded in the Baha’i system versus those exhibited in modern democracies – an explanation by the Universal House of Justice

In general one can say that modern democracies have been established as the outcome of attempts to limit the power of absolute monarchy, of dictatorships, or of certain dominant classes. This may have come about gradually through the centuries, or tumultuously by a series of revolutions. Thus, even when democratic constitutions and structures have been established, there remains a suspicion of authority as such, and a tension between the degree of freedom accorded to individual citizens and the imposition of sufficient public discipline to protect the weak against the selfish pursuits of the strong among the citizenry. The operation of transparency, accountability, freedom of the press and critical dialogue is thus imbued with a spirit of partisanship that easily descends into the merciless invasion of personal privacy, the dissemination of calumny, the exaggeration of mistrust, and the misuse of the news media at the hands of vested interests. The reaction of those who attempt to protect themselves against such distortions of the system produces secretiveness, concealment of uncomfortable facts, and reciprocal misuse of the media—in all, a perpetuation of disharmony in the social fabric.

August 10, 2015

The association of the resting-places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Purest Branch and Navvab with the “emergence… of some of the brightest gems of Baha’u’llah’s World Order”

“For it must be clearly understood, nor can it be sufficiently emphasized, that the conjunction of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot which, under the wings of the Báb's overshadowing Sepulchre, and in the vicinity of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar which will be reared on its flank, is destined to evolve into the focal centre of those world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions, ordained by Bahá'u'lláh and anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and which are to function in consonance with the principles that govern the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. Then, and then only, will this momentous prophecy which illuminates the concluding passages of the Tablet of Carmel be fulfilled: ‘Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee (Carmel), and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names.’”

“To attempt to visualize, even in its barest outline, the glory that must envelop these institutions, to essay even a tentative and partial description of their character or the manner of their operation, or to trace however inadequately the course of events leading to their rise and eventual establishment is far beyond my own capacity and power. Suffice it to say that at this troubled stage in world history the association of these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, in such a potentially powerful spiritual and administrative Centre, is in itself an event which will release forces that are bound to hasten the emergence in a land which, geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet, of some of the brightest gems of that World Order now shaping in the womb of this, travailing age. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a message dated December 21, 1939; ‘Messages to America’)

August 7, 2015

An example of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s packed daily schedule while in USA in 1912

An example of a day’s diverse activities is April 23, in Washington, D.C. ‘Abdu’l-Baha addressed a gathering of parents and children at Studio Hall concerning the education of children; attended a reception in His honor and addressed government officials and international representatives at the home of the socially prominent Parsons family; spoke on the “nature of life and death” in one of the ghetto areas of the city; and proceeded about 9:00 p.m. to address an audience of scientists and friends personally invited by Alexander Graham Bell to his home, where, after speaking and answering questions until midnight, ‘Abdu’l-Baha remained as a guest. 
- Allan Ward  (‘Abdu’l-Baha: Speaking in America; World Order magazine, Winter, 1971-72)

August 5, 2015

We are “better known to the inmates of the Kingdom on high” than we are known to our own selves – Baha’u’llah affirms

I swear by Him Who hath caused Me to reveal whatever hath pleased Him! Ye are better known to the inmates of the Kingdom on high than ye are known to your own selves. Think ye these words to be vain and empty? Would that ye had the power to perceive the things your Lord, the All-Merciful, doth see—things that attest the excellence of your rank, that bear witness to the greatness of your worth, that proclaim the sublimity of your station! God grant that your desires and unmortified passions may not hinder you from that which hath been ordained for you. 
- Baha'u'llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah’)

August 3, 2015

Man “is not in need of meat, nor is he obliged to eat it”

Regarding the eating of animal flesh and abstinence therefrom, know thou of a certainty that, in the beginning of creation, God determined the food of every living being, and to eat contrary to that determination is not approved. For instance, beasts of prey, such as the wolf, lion and leopard, are endowed with ferocious, tearing instruments, such as hooked talons and claws. From this it is evident that the food of such beasts is meat. If they were to attempt to graze, their teeth would not cut the grass, neither could they chew the cud, for they do not have molars. Likewise, God hath given to the four-footed grazing animals such teeth as reap the grass like a sickle, and from this we understand that the food of these species of animal is vegetable. They cannot chase and hunt down other animals. The falcon hath a hooked beak and sharp talons; the hooked beak preventeth him from grazing, therefore his food also is meat.

August 1, 2015

Health and sickness are both contagious

…in reality both health and sickness are contagious. The contagiousness of disease is rapid and violent, whereas that of health is exceedingly slow and weak. If two bodies are brought into contact with each other, it is certain that microbial particles will be transmitted from one to the other. In the same way that disease is rapidly and violently transmitted from one body to another, the strong health of a healthy person may also alleviate a very slight condition in a sick person. Our meaning is that the contagiousness of disease is rapid and violent, while that of health is very slow and of limited effect, and it is only in minor ills that this modest effect can be felt. In such cases, the strength of the healthy body overcomes the slight weakness of the sick body and brings about its health. This is one kind of healing. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)