December 30, 2017

Teaching the Cause is disseminating the power of the Holy Spirit

Teaching the Cause is disseminating the power of the Holy Spirit, and when you become a teacher of the Cause you become a channel through which the Holy Spirit descends into the world and goes out to those to whom you teach. So actually, the teacher secures greater benefit than the one whom he teaches, because he is then in contact with the power of the Holy Spirit.

December 28, 2017

Baha’i House of Worship in Chicago “marks the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth.”

“A most wonderful and thrilling motion will appear in the world of existence,” are ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s own words, predicting the release of spiritual forces that must accompany the completion of this most hallowed House of Worship [Baha’i House of Worship in Chicago]. “From that point of light,” He, further glorifying that edifice, has written, “the spirit of teaching ... will permeate to all parts of the world.” And again: “Out of this Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, without doubt, thousands of Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs will be born.” “It marks the inception of the Kingdom of God on earth.” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated April 11, 1949; ‘Citadel of Faith’)

December 27, 2017

The “attributes of the exalted” - “the hall-mark of the spiritually-minded” – “the requirements of the wayfarers that tread the Path of Positive Knowledge” - identified by Baha’u’llah

…O my brother, when a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading to the knowledge of the Ancient of Days,
  • he must, before all else, cleanse and purify his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. 
  • He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. 
  • He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error. 
  • That seeker must at all times put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords. 
  • He must never seek to exalt himself above any one, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride and vainglory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence, and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smouldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endure a century.

December 25, 2017

The “historic and heroic services of Ireland in spreading the divine religion throughout pagan Europe” and the challenge Baha’is face now

The holding of this Conference in Dublin calls to mind the historic and heroic services of Ireland in spreading the divine religion throughout pagan Europe.  Europe's response was to develop, through many vicissitudes, the most widespread and effective civilization known. That civilization, together with all other systems in the world, is now being rolled up, and Europe's plight in proportion to her former pre-eminence, is desperate indeed. By the same token her opportunity is correspondingly great. The challenges to her resilience, to her deep-seated spiritual vitality, nourished over the centuries by the Teachings of Christ -- now, alas, neglected and even contemned -- can and must call forth a more magnificent response than was ever made by the divided and contending peoples of olden times. Yours is the task to arouse that response. The power of Baha'u'llah is with you and this Day, as attested by the Bab, is "immensely exalted ... above the days of the Apostles of old." 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 2 June 1982 addressed to the friends gathered at the International Conference in Dublin; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 22, 2017

The European potentates whom Baha'u'llah addressed

Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Napoleon III of France, Czar Alexander II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, and Pope Pius IX.  
(Footnote to June 2, 1982 message from the Universal House of Justice published in ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 20, 2017

December 19, 2017

“…some of the processes that the Universal House of Justice follows when legislating.”

It may help the friends to understand this relationship if they are aware of some of the processes that the Universal House of Justice follows when legislating. First, of course, it observes the greatest care in studying the Sacred Texts and the interpretations of the Guardian as well as considering the views of all the members. After long consultation the process of drafting a pronouncement is put into effect. During this process the whole matter may well be reconsidered. As a result of such reconsideration the final judgement may be significantly different from the conclusion earlier favoured, or possibly it may be decided not to legislate at all on that subject at that time...." 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, December 7, 1969: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973; Compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

December 17, 2017

Broad list of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s accomplishments – summarized by the Guardian

  • Through Him the Covenant, that “excellent and priceless Heritage” bequeathed by the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation, had been proclaimed, championed and vindicated.
  • Through the power which that Divine Instrument had conferred upon Him the light of God’s infant Faith had penetrated the West, had diffused itself as far as the Islands of the Pacific, and illumined the fringes of the Australian continent.
  • Through His personal intervention the Message, Whose Bearer had tasted the bitterness of a life-long captivity, had been noised abroad, and its character and purpose disclosed, for the first time in its history, before enthusiastic and representative audiences in the chief cities of Europe and of the North American continent.
  • Through His unrelaxing vigilance the holy remains of the Báb, brought forth at long last from their fifty-year concealment, had been safely transported to the Holy Land and permanently and befittingly enshrined in the very spot which Bahá’u’lláh Himself had designated for them and had blessed with His presence.
  • Through His bold initiative the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of the Bahá’í world had been reared in Central Asia, in Russian Turkistán, whilst through His unfailing encouragement a similar enterprise, of still vaster proportions, had been undertaken, and its land dedicated by Himself in the heart of the North American continent.

December 14, 2017

“Just as there are laws governing our physical lives… there are laws governing our spiritual lives.”

Just as there are laws governing our physical lives, requiring that we must supply our bodies with certain foods, maintain them within a certain range of temperatures, and so forth, if we wish to avoid physical disabilities, so also there are laws governing our spiritual lives. These laws are revealed to mankind in each age by Manifestation of God, and obedience to them is of vital importance if each human being, and mankind in general, is to develop properly and harmoniously. Moreover, these various aspects are interdependent. If an individual violates the spiritual laws for his own development he will cause injury not only to himself but to the society in which he lives. Similarly, the condition of society has a direct effect on the individuals who must live within it. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; excerpts to all National Spiritual Assemblies, February, 1973: Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973’; Compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

December 12, 2017

Options open to a believer when facing a problem that requires action

Your letter of 14 February 1973 enquiring about the uses of Bahá'í consultation has been received. This is, of course, a matter in which rigidity should be avoided.

When a believer has a problem concerning which he must make a decision, he has several courses open to him. If it is a matter that affects the interests of the Faith he should consult with the appropriate Assembly or committee, but individuals have many problems which are purely personal and there is no obligation upon them to take such problems to the institutions of the Faith; indeed, when the needs of the teaching work are of such urgency it is better if the friends will not burden their assemblies with personal problems that they can solve by themselves.

A Bahá'í who has a problem may wish to make his own decision upon it after prayer and after weighing all the aspects of it in his own mind; he may prefer to seek the council of individual friends or of professional counsellors such as his doctor or lawyer so that he can consider such advice when making his decision; or in a case where several people are involved, such as a family situation, he may want to gather together those who are affected so that they may arrive at a collective decision. There is also no objection whatever to a Bahá'í asking a group of people to consult together on a problem facing him.

December 10, 2017

Prophecies of ‘Abdu’l-Baha – summarized by Shoghi Effendi

the prophecies which the unerring pen of the appointed Center of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant has recorded.
  • These foreshadow the fierceness of the onslaught that the resistless march of the Faith must provoke in the West, in India and in the Far East when it meets the time-honored sacerdotal orders of the Christian, the Buddhist and Hindu religions.
  • They foreshadow the turmoil which its emancipation from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will cast in the American, the European, the Asiatic and African continents.
  • They foreshadow the gathering of the children of Israel in their ancient homeland;
  • the erection of the banner of Bahá’u’lláh in the Egyptian citadel of Sunní Islám;
  • the extinction of the powerful influence wielded by the Shí’ah ecclesiastics in Persia;
  • the load of misery which must needs oppress the pitiful remnants of the breakers of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant at the world center of His Faith;
  • the splendor of the institutions which that triumphant Faith must erect on the slopes of a mountain, destined to be so linked with the city of Akká that a single grand metropolis will be formed to enshrine the spiritual as well as the administrative seats of the future Bahá’í Commonwealth;
  • the conspicuous honor which the inhabitants of Bahá’u’lláh’s native land in general, and its government in particular, must enjoy in a distant future;
  • the unique and enviable position which the community of the Most Great Name in the North American continent must occupy, as a direct consequence of the execution of the world mission which He entrusted to them;
  • finally they foreshadow, as the sum and summit of all, the “hoisting of the standard of God among all nations” and the unification of the entire human race, when “all men will adhere to one religion ... will be blended into one race, and become a single people.” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

December 8, 2017

The plight of humanity & our response

Humanity is beaten almost to its knees, bewildered and shepherdless, hungry for the bread of life. This is our day of service; we have that heavenly food to offer. The peoples are disillusioned with deficient political theories, social systems and orders; they crave, knowingly or unknowingly, the love of God and reunion with Him. Our response to this growing challenge must be a mighty upsurge of effective teaching, imparting the divine fire which Baha'u'llah has kindled in our hearts until a conflagration arising from millions of souls on fire with His love shall at last testify that the Day for which the Chief Luminaries of our Faith so ardently prayed has at last dawned. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (Ridvan 1982)

December 7, 2017

"Essential virtues" that the American Baha’is are called upon to “increasingly exemplify”

…men and women who, as time goes by, will increasingly exemplify those essential virtues, of self-renunciation, of moral rectitude, of chastity, of undiscriminating fellowship, of holy discipline, and of spiritual insight that will fit them for the preponderating share they will have in calling into being that World Order and that World Civilization of which their country, no less than the entire human race, stands in desperate need." 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 25 December 1938, published as ‘The Advent of Divine Justice’)

December 6, 2017

How to gain “divine knowledge and recognition” – starting with “rational and authoritative arguments”

O thou seeker of the True One! If thou wishest the divine knowledge and recognition, purify thy heart from all beside God, be wholly attracted to the ideal, beloved One; search for and choose Him and apply thyself to rational and authoritative arguments. For arguments are a guide to the path and by this the heart will be turned unto the Sun of Truth. And when the heart is turned unto the Sun, then the eye will be opened and will recognize the Sun through the Sun itself. Then (man) will be in no need of arguments (or proofs), for the Sun is altogether independent, and absolute independence is in need of nothing, and proofs are one of the things (of which absolute independence has no need). Be not like Thomas; be thou like Peter. I hope you will be healed physically, mentally and spiritually. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  ('Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, vol. 1')

December 4, 2017

The “way of the saints, the emblem of those who believe in the unity of God, and the raiment of the people of Bahá”

Hold thou fast to the Covenant of thy Lord, and as the days go by, increase thy store of love for His beloved ones. Bend thou with tenderness over the servitors of the All-Merciful, that thou mayest hoist the sail of love upon the ark of peace that moveth across the seas of life. Let nothing grieve thee, and be thou angered at none. It behoveth thee to be content with the Will of God, and a true and loving and trusted friend to all the peoples of the earth, without any exceptions whatever. This is the quality of the sincere, the way of the saints, the emblem of those who believe in the unity of God, and the raiment of the people of Bahá. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

December 1, 2017

Purpose of Baha’i Administration

We urge you ever to bear in mind that the purpose of Bahá'í administration is primarily to lend strength and directive to the teaching work and to promote the establishment of the Faith. It should never be regarded as an end in itself but purely as a means to canalize and make effective a spiritual vitality generated by the Word of God in the hearts of the believers. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Australia, November 12, 1973; Compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

November 28, 2017

“The personality and activity of the body are due to the individuality of the soul.”

The personality and activity of the body are due to the individuality of the soul. Thus the soul is the cause of the life of the body, and the body, with all its organs, is but the vehicle of its expression. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, quoted by Lua Getsinger in her talk in San Francisco on December 17, 1911)
(To see the transcript of the entire talk please visit Baha’i Talks, Messages and Articles)

November 26, 2017

‘Abdu’l-Baha – “…in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.”

He [‘Abdu’l-Baha] is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as
  • the Center and Pivot of Bahá'u'lláh's peerless and all-enfolding Covenant,
  • His most exalted handiwork,
  • the stainless Mirror of His light,
  • the perfect Exemplar of His teachings,
  • the unerring Interpreter of His Word,
  • the embodiment of every Bahá'í ideal,
  • the incarnation of every Bahá'í virtue,
  • the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root,
  • the Limb of the Law of God,
  • the Being "round Whom all names revolve,"
  • the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity,
  • the Ensign of the Most Great Peace,
  • the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation –
  • styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
  • He is, above and beyond these appellations, the "Mystery of God" -- an expression by which Bahá'u'lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of 'Abdu'l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter of 8 February 1934, published in "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh - Selected Letters")

November 24, 2017

A “faint reflection” of God’s “Reality” within Baha’u’llah was revealed to humanity during Baha’u’llah’s Ministry

O My Well-Beloved! Thou hast breathed Thy Breath into Me, and divorced Me from Mine own Self. Thou didst, subsequently, decree that no more than a faint reflection, a mere emblem of Thy Reality within Me be left among the perverse and envious. Behold, how, deluded by this emblem, they have risen against Me, and heaped upon Me their denials! Uncover Thy Self, therefore, O My Best-Beloved, and deliver Me from My plight.

Thereupon a Voice replied: “I love, I dearly cherish this emblem. How can I consent that Mine eyes, alone, gaze upon this emblem, and that no heart except Mine heart recognize it? By My Beauty, which is the same as Thy Beauty! My wish is to hide Thee from Mine own eyes: how much more from the eyes of men!”

I was preparing to make reply, when lo, the Tablet was suddenly ended, leaving My theme unfinished, and the pearl of Mine utterance unstrung.
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah’)

November 23, 2017

Knowledge – some traditions about, quoted and confirmed by Baha’u’llah

  • Knowledge is a light which God sheddeth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth. (A tradition quoted and confirmed  by Baha’u’llah in ‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)
  • Knowledge is one point, which the foolish have multiplied. (A saying quoted and confirmed by Baha’u’llah in ‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)
  • Knowledge is all that is knowable; and might and power, all creation. (A tradition quoted and confirmed  by Baha’u’llah in ‘The Kitab-i-Iqan’)
  • All human attainment moveth upon a lame ass, whilst Truth, riding upon the wind, darteth across space. (A statement by Muhammad quoted and confirmed by Baha’u’llah in the Kitab-i-Iqan’)

November 21, 2017

The book of "Gleanings" – gives us a “true and adequate knowledge of the Cause”

A true and adequate knowledge of the Cause is, indeed, indispensable to every one who wishes to successfully teach the Message. The book of "Gleanings" gives the friends a splendid opportunity to acquire this necessary knowledge and understanding. It gives them, in addition, that inspiration and spiritual fervour which the reading of the Holy Words can alone impart. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 2 December 1935 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Guidelines for Teaching)

November 16, 2017

The “body is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit”

He is delighted to hear you are now fully recovered and again active in your important work for the Cause. However, you should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It -- the body -- is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation. We don't have to pray and meditate for hours in order to be spiritual. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 23 November 1947 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and the Devotional Attitude)

November 14, 2017

The “curtain of greed”

O ye Sons of Intelligence! The thin eyelid prevents the eye from seeing the world and what is contained therein. Then think of the result when the curtain of greed covers the sight of the heart. Say, O People! The darkness of greed and envy obscures the light of the soul as the cloud prevents the penetration of the sun's rays. Should one listen with the ear of intelligence to this Utterance, he shall spread the wings of freedom and soar with great joy toward the heaven of understanding. 
- Baha’u’llah  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 1, no. 1, March 21, 1910)

November 11, 2017

An obelisk marking the site of the future House of Worship on Mount Carmel

A Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is to be raised on a site Shoghi Effendi described as “the head of the Mountain of God, in close proximity to the Spot hallowed by the footsteps of Bahá'u'lláh, near the time-honoured Cave of Elijah, and associated with the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel” (Footnote to a message from the Universal House of Justice dated 5 June, 1975; Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1863-1986’). The Universal House of Justice had earlier announced the erection of an obelisk marking the site of the future House of Worship in its cable of 13 December 1971.

November 8, 2017

The Institution of the Mashriqu’l- Adhkár: “the Dawning-place of the Praise of God” -- some insights from ‘Abdu’l-Baha

The Baha'i House of Worship in Battambang, 
Cambodia dedicated in September 2017
‘Abdu’l-Bahá elaborates on the importance of this institution, referring to the Mashriqu’l- Adhkár as “the lodestone of divine confirmations” and “the mighty foundation of the Lord, the firm pillar of the Faith of God”. In the same Tablet, He states that the establishment of the House of Worship “is a means for the exaltation of the Word of God” and that the “praise and glorification emanating from it cheereth the heart of every righteous soul”. He thus exhorts the friends to “be occupied therein with prayer and the worship of God, the recitation of the verses and words of God, and the chanting of heavenly odes in glorification of the All-Merciful”.

Elsewhere, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes the House of Worship as “a centre wherein the spirits are gladdened and the hearts attracted to the Abhá Kingdom” and avers that it has “a powerful influence on every phase of life”, awakening the friends and promoting the oneness of humankind. By gathering together in this edifice to make mention of the Lord, “bonds of unity” are forged while affection grows and flourishes “in the human heart”. Indeed, through the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which “causeth hearts to be illumined, souls to become spiritual, and the fragrances of the Kingdom of Glory to be inhaled”, the world of humanity is “transformed into another world, and the susceptibilities of the heart are heightened to such a degree that they encompass the entire creation”. 
(The Institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár: A Statement Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, September 2017)

November 3, 2017

“We should speak in the language of heaven -- in the language of the spirit”

We should speak in the language of heaven -- in the language of the spirit -- for there is a language of the spirit and heart. It is as different from our language as our own language is different from that of the animals, who express themselves only by cries and sounds. It is the language of the spirit which speaks to God. When, in prayer, we are freed from all outward things and turn to God, then it is as if in our hearts we hear the voice of God. Without words we speak, we communicate, we converse with God and hear the answer. ... All of us, when we attain to a truly spiritual condition, can hear the Voice of God. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk reported by Ethel J. Rosenberg; ‘Baha'u'llah and the New Era’, by Dr. J.E. Esslemont)   

November 1, 2017

How does Prophet “know” about immortality? – ‘Abdu’l-Baha was asked

Question: "Science denies immortality. How does the prophet know the contrary?"

The Master said: "Science does not know; but the Manifestation makes discoveries with the power of the Spirit. For instance: a philosopher with induction finds out a way. But the prophet discerns with sight. A blind man has to find his way with a stick from point to point; so a philosopher through arguments from premises goes to conclusions, and not by sight. But the Manifestations see with their inner eye (own eye); they do not go from premises to conclusions. The prophets see many things with their inner eye. They do not need to go by discoveries. The scientist with induction is like a blind man who cannot see two steps ahead of him. The prophet sees a long distance.''
- 'Abdu'l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, recorded by Ann Kunz, Haifa, 1921; Star of the West, vol. 13, no. 6, September 1922)

October 30, 2017

“regard for the rights that are due to one’s parents”

The fruits that best befit the tree of human life are trustworthiness and godliness, truthfulness and sincerity; but greater than all, after recognition of the unity of God, praised and glorified be He, is regard for the rights that are due to one’s parents. This teaching hath been mentioned in all the Books of God, and reaffirmed by the Most Exalted Pen. Consider that which the Merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur’án, exalted are His words: “Worship ye God, join with Him no peer or likeness; and show forth kindliness and charity towards your parents...” Observe how loving-kindness to one’s parents hath been linked to recognition of the one true God! Happy they who are endued with true wisdom and understanding, who see and perceive, who read and understand, and who observe that which God hath revealed in the Holy Books of old, and in this incomparable and wondrous Tablet. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Questions and Answers’; ‘The Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

October 27, 2017

Personal growth & development - the transformative effect of the Word of God

Need for “regular reading and study of the Holy Word”
Transformation is the essential purpose of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, but it lies in the will and effort of the individual to achieve it… Necessary to the progress of this life-fulfilling transformation is knowledge of the will and purpose of God through regular reading and study of the Holy Word. (The Universal House of Justice, Ridván 1989, message to the Bahá'ís of the World; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Cultural Diversity in the Age of Maturity)

“converting satanic strength into heavenly power”
…the… task of converting satanic strength into heavenly power… The Word of God, alone, can claim the distinction of being endowed with the capacity required for so great and far-reaching a change. (Baha'u'llah, ‘Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah’)

“As the light of spirituality penetrates deep into the hearts…”
The absence of spiritual qualities, like darkness, has no existence in itself. As the light of spirituality penetrates deep into the hearts, this darkness gradually dissipates and is replaced by virtue. Understanding this, and that the believers are encouraged to be loving and patient with one another, it will be clear that you too are called upon to exercise patience with the friends who demonstrate immaturity, and to have faith that the power of the Word of God will gradually effect a transformation in individual believers… (The Universal House of Justice, From a letter dated 23 October 1994 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

October 25, 2017

The crystallization of “forces so miraculously released” through Baha’u’llah and the Báb into “institutions that will come to be regarded as the hallmark and glory of the age we are called upon to establish”

The onrushing forces so miraculously released through the agency of two independent and swiftly successive Manifestations are now under our very eyes and through the care of the chosen stewards of a far-flung Faith being gradually mustered and disciplined. They are slowly crystallizing into institutions that will come to be regarded as the hallmark and glory of the age we are called upon to establish and by our deeds immortalize. For upon our present-day efforts, and above all upon the extent to which we strive to remodel our lives after the pattern of sublime heroism associated with those gone before us, must depend the efficacy of the instruments we now fashion -- instruments that must erect the structure of that blissful Commonwealth which must signalize the Golden Age of our Faith. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 8 February 1934, printed as ‘The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh’ in ‘The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh’)

October 23, 2017

Prayer “to be freed from affliction”

If thou desirest to be freed from affliction, recite thou this prayer which hath been revealed by the Pen of the All-Merciful:

“O God, my God! I testify to Thy unity and to Thy oneness. I beseech Thee, O Thou Possessor of names and Fashioner of the heavens, by the pervasive influence of Thine exalted Word and the potency of Thy supreme Pen, to aid me with the ensigns of Thy power and might, and to protect me from the mischief of Thine enemies who have violated Thy Covenant and Thy Testament. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.”

This invocation is an impregnable stronghold and an indomitable army. It conferreth protection and ensureth deliverance. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Tablet of the Seven Questions [Lawḥ-i-Haft Pursish], published in ‘The Tabernacle of Unity’)

October 21, 2017

The process of mankind’s coming of age and proceeding to maturity

The first sign of the coming of age of humanity referred to in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh is the emergence of a science which is described as that “divine philosophy” which will include the discovery of a radical approach to the transmutation of elements. This is an indication of the splendours of the future stupendous expansion of knowledge.

Concerning the “second” sign which Bahá’u’lláh indicates to have been revealed in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Shoghi Effendi states that Bahá’u’lláh, “ His Most Holy Book, has enjoined the selection of a single language and the adoption of a common script for all on earth to use, an injunction which, when carried out, would, as He Himself affirms in that Book, be one of the signs of the ‘coming of age of the human race’”.

Further insight into this process of mankind’s coming of age and proceeding to maturity is provided by the following statement of Bahá’u’lláh:

"One of the signs of the maturity of the world is that no one will accept to bear the weight of kingship. Kingship will remain with none willing to bear alone its weight. That day will be the day whereon wisdom will be manifested among mankind."

The coming of age of the human race has been associated by Shoghi Effendi with the unification of the whole of mankind, the establishment of a world commonwealth, and an unprecedented stimulus to “the intellectual, the moral and spiritual life of the entire human race”. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (The “Notes” section of the ‘Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

October 19, 2017

Happiness from the Baha’i Point of View – by Martha Root

A nice, brief compilation by Martha Root containing fascinating insights from ‘Abdu’l-Baha.

It is reported to have first appeared in the June issue of the Roycroft magazine in 1922.

October 17, 2017

The “Most outstanding achievement… associated with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry”

The establishment of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh in the Western Hemisphere -- the most outstanding achievement that will forever be associated with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry -- … 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

October 16, 2017

“Imitation… kills the spirituality of the human world”

Imitation destroys the foundation of religion. Imitation kills the spirituality of the human world. Imitation has changed into darkness the heavenly illumination. Imitation has deprived man of the knowledge of God. Imitation is the cause of victory of irreligion over religion. Imitation is the cause of the denial of divinity. Imitation refuses the law of revelation. Imitation sets aside the prophethood. Imitation denies the Kingdom of God. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, at Fanwood, New Jersey, published in Fanwood Newspaper, June 1, 1912; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 11, September 27, 1914)

October 14, 2017

1993: Baha’i communities of Papua New Guinea celebrate the arrival of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

The Baha'is of Goodenough Island, Papua New Guinea, celebrate the arrival of the Kitab-i-Aqdas by carrying it to the Baha'i Center on a bed of flowers.

October 12, 2017

“…to let the spirit of Baha'u'llah flow into the entire community”

When we see the condition the world is in today, we must surely forget these utterly insignificant internal disturbances, and rush, unitedly, to the rescue of humanity. You should urge your fellow-Baha'is to take this point of view, and to support you in a strong effort to suppress every critical thought and every harsh word, in order to let the spirit of Baha'u'llah flow into the entire community, and unite it in, His love and in His service. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 16, 1951; compilation: Living the Life; compilation: ‘Lights of Guidance’)

October 10, 2017

To “study profoundly the revealed utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and the discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá…”

The youthful and eager workers for the Cause in Montreal occupy a warm place in my heart. I will remember their hopes, their plans, their activities in my hours of prayer at the Holy Shrines. I urge them to study profoundly the revealed utterances of Bahá’u’lláh and the discourses of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and not to rely unduly on the representation and interpretation of the Teachings given by the Bahá’í speakers and teachers. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 20 March 1929 to an individual believer; ‘Messages to Canada’)

October 7, 2017

A “World Civilization and a World Culture”

... the World Civilization which will follow upon the Most Great Peace will unfold and evolve and gradually perfect itself during following Dispensations; in other words, a World Civilization and a World Culture, which will reach its ascendancy in the distant future and is something that will require many thousands of years to mature. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 23 April 1954, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Cultural Diversity in the Age of Maturity)

October 5, 2017

Would “an innate sense of human dignity… prevent man from committing evil actions”?

There are some who imagine that an innate sense of human dignity will prevent man from committing evil actions and insure his spiritual and material perfection. That is, that an individual who is characterized with natural intelligence, high resolve, and a driving zeal, will, without any consideration for the severe punishments consequent on evil acts, or for the great rewards of righteousness, instinctively refrain from inflicting harm on his fellow men and will hunger and thirst to do good. And yet, if we ponder the lessons of history it will become evident that this very sense of honor and dignity is itself one of the bounties deriving from the instructions of the Prophets of God. We also observe in infants the signs of aggression and lawlessness, and that if a child is deprived of a teacher's instructions his undesirable qualities increase from one moment to the next. It is therefore clear that the emergence of this natural sense of human dignity and honor is the result of education. Secondly, even if we grant for the sake of the argument that instinctive intelligence and an innate moral quality would prevent wrongdoing, it is obvious that individuals so characterized are as rare as the philosopher's stone. An assumption of this sort cannot be validated by mere words, it must be supported by the facts. Let us see what power in creation impels the masses toward righteous aims and deeds! Aside from this, if that rare individual who does exemplify such a faculty should also become an embodiment of the fear of God, it is certain that his strivings toward righteousness would be strongly reinforced. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  ('The Secret of Divine Civilization’; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Baha’i Education)

October 3, 2017

Táhirih – a description by Shoghi Effendi

A poetess, less than thirty years of age, of distinguished birth, of bewitching charm, of captivating eloquence, indomitable in spirit, unorthodox in her views, audacious in her acts, immortalized as Táhirih (the Pure One) by the “Tongue of Glory,” and surnamed Qurratu’l-‘Ayn (Solace of the Eyes) by Siyyid Kázim, her teacher, she had, in consequence of the appearance of the Báb to her in a dream, received the first intimation of a Cause which was destined to exalt her to the fairest heights of fame, and on which she, through her bold heroism, was to shed such imperishable luster. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

September 28, 2017

“…mental faculties... are in truth of the inherent properties of the soul...”

Now concerning mental faculties, they are in truth of the inherent properties of the soul, even as the radiation of light is the essential property of the sun. The rays of the sun are renewed but the sun itself is ever the same and unchanged. Consider how the human intellect develops and weakens, and may at times come to naught, whereas the soul changeth not. For the mind to manifest itself, the human body must be whole; and a sound mind cannot be but in a sound body, whereas the soul dependeth not upon the body. It is through the power of the soul that the mind comprehendeth, imagineth and exerteth its influence, whilst the soul is a power that is free. The mind comprehendeth the abstract by the aid of the concrete, but the soul hath limitless manifestations of its own. The mind is circumscribed, the soul limitless. It is by the aid of such senses as those of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch, that the mind comprehendeth, whereas the soul is free from all agencies. The soul as thou observest, whether it be in sleep or waking, is in motion and ever active. Possibly it may, whilst in a dream, unravel an intricate problem, incapable of solution in the waking state. The mind, moreover, understandeth not whilst the senses have ceased to function, and in the embryonic stage and in early infancy the reasoning power is totally absent, whereas the soul is ever endowed with full strength. In short, the proofs are many that go to show that despite the loss of reason, the power of the soul would still continue to exist. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablet to August Forel’)

September 25, 2017

What is 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)

September 22, 2017

Teachers of the Cause of God – “they must attain to the station of rebirth”

As regards the teachers, they must completely divest themselves from the old garments and be invested with a new garment. According to the statement of Christ, they must attain to the station of rebirth—that is, whereas in the first instance they were born from the womb of the mother, this time they must be born from the womb of the world of nature. Just as they are now totally unaware of the experiences of the fetal world, they must also forget entirely the defects of the world of nature. They must be baptized with the water of life, the fire of the love of God and the breaths of the Holy Spirit; be satisfied with little food, but take a large portion from the heavenly table. They must disengage themselves from temptation and covetousness, and be filled with the spirit. Through the effect of their pure breath, they must change the stone into the brilliant ruby and the shell into pearl. Like unto the cloud of vernal shower, they must transform the black soil into the rose garden and orchard. They must make the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, the extinguished one enkindled and set aglow, and the dead quickened. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of the Divine Plan’)

September 18, 2017

1995: Baha'i music institute in Vanuatu

Participants in an eight-day music institute on Tanna Island, Vanuatu, in January 1995, studied Baha'i Writings together, set passages from them to traditional music, and learned how to play guitar. (The Baha'i World 1994-1995)

September 16, 2017

Mothers and character training of children

Let the mothers consider that whatever concerneth the education of children is of the first importance. Let them put forth every effort in this regard, for when the bough is green and tender it will grow in whatever way ye train it. Therefore it is incumbent upon the mothers to rear their little ones even as a gardener tendeth his young plants. Let them strive by day and by night to establish within their children faith and certitude, the fear of God, the love of the Beloved of the worlds, and all good qualities and traits. Whensoever a mother seeth that her child hath done well, let her praise and applaud him and cheer his heart; and if the slightest undesirable trait should manifest itself, let her counsel the child and punish him, and use means based on reason, even a slight verbal chastisement should this be necessary. It is not, however, permissible to strike a child, or vilify him, for the child's character will be totally perverted if he be subjected to blows or verbal abuse. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá’)

September 14, 2017

A “few instances that eloquently testify to the unique” contributions that Baha’u’llah made during the early years of the Bábí Dispensation – summarized by the Guardian

The first incarceration to which He was subjected as a result of the helping hand He had extended to the captives of Qazvín; the ability with which He achieved the deliverance of Táhirih; the exemplary manner in which He steered the course of the turbulent proceedings in Badasht; the manner in which He saved the life of Quddús in Níyálá; the wisdom which He showed in His handling of the delicate situation created by the impetuosity of Táhirih, and the vigilance He exercised for her protection; the counsels which He gave to the defenders of the fort of Tabarsí; the plan He conceived of joining the forces of Quddús to those of Mullá Husayn and his companions; the spontaneity with which He arose to support the exertions of those brave defenders; the magnanimity which prompted Him to offer Himself as a substitute for His companions who were under the threat of severe indignities; the serenity with which He faced the severity inflicted upon Him as a result of the attempt on the life of Násiri’d-Dín Sháh; the indignities which were heaped upon Him all the way from Lavásán to the headquarters of the imperial army and from thence to the capital; the galling weight of chains which He bore as He lay in the darkness of the Síyáh-Chál of Tihrán—all these are but a few instances that eloquently testify to the unique position which He occupied as the prime Mover of the forces which were destined to reshape the face of His native land. It was He who had released these forces, who steered their course, harmonised their action, and brought them finally to their highest consummation in the Cause He Himself was destined at a later time to reveal. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Dawn-Breakers’, by Nabil; translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

September 11, 2017

Social action within the context of cluster

In 2001, the Universal House of Justice introduced to the Bahá’í world the concept of a cluster—a geographic construct, generally defined as a group of villages or as a city with its surrounding suburbs, intended to assist in planning and implementing activities associated with community life. This step was made possible by the establishment of training institutes at the national and regional levels during the 1990s, which employed a system of distance education to reach large numbers with a sequence of courses designed to increase capacity for service. The House of Justice encouraged the Bahá’í world to extend this system progressively to more and more clusters in order to promote their steady progress, laying first the strong spiritual foundations upon which a vibrant community life is built. Efforts in a cluster were initially to focus on the multiplication of certain core activities, open to all of the inhabitants, but with a view to developing the collective capacity needed to address in due time various aspects of the social and economic life of the population as well.

September 7, 2017

Baha’is are called upon to become the “first servants of the realm of humanity, and the builders of the edifice of Divine Justice.”

O ye friends of God!

All the people of the world today are workmen of destruction or ruin. Everyone as though with an axe is striking at the root of the foundation of humanity. They hold in their hands great implements of warfare and destruction. Among the greatest is the axe of religious prejudices or sectarian bias, as well as that of racial bias; another implement of destruction is the axe of patriotic bias; another is the axe of political warfare; another implement of ruin is the persistent accumulation of commercial benefit or profit; another, the love of conquest of new domains, as is also the enmity, hatred and bigotry among the nations and tribes. These souls are entirely inadvertent to the relations of the Kingdom of God, deprived of the relations of Unity, and despaired of the Life Eternal. Although outwardly they may be extremely civilized, nevertheless they live in darkness.

Now, God has chosen you from among mankind, and has guided you to the Kingdom, has enlightened your hearts with the love of God, so that you may be the cause of guidance to these people, in order that you may become a cause of guidance to the world of humanity. He has appointed you as the builders of the edifice of true manhood. Consider with what a power of morals you must arise in order to withstand all vicissitudes. All these people, all these promoters as workers of warfare and ruin are spreading the deeds of hatred among nations. Now, consider with what peace and concord you must go forth in order that you may be capable of overcoming the antagonistic forces.

September 5, 2017

“…satan appears in different robes and appeals to everyone according to each person's own way”

Endeavour to your utmost to protect yourselves, because satan appears in different robes and appeals to everyone according to each person's own way, until he becomes like unto him (satan), then he will leave him alone… Be informed by these utterances and shun the manifestations of the people of hell... The greatest of degradation is to leave the Shadow of God and enter under the shadow of satan. 
- Baha’u’llah  (Cited in ‘Star of the West’, vol. XIII, pp. 20 to 22; printed in ‘The Power of Covenant, Part Two’, by the NSA of Canada)

The meaning of the symbolic terms used in this passage has been clarified by the Universal House of Justice: 

The references to Satan or The Evil One in Baha'i Scripture are symbolical and do not at all imply the existence of a personal devil. They symbolize the lower nature of man, the selfish promptings of his ego, and so forth. They are also used, sometimes, to symbolize the machinations of Covenant-breakers or the spirit of Covenant-breaking, and this is the sense of the quotation from the Words of Baha’u’llah on pages 20 to 22 of Volume XIII of The Star of the West. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated March 23, 1975 to an individual believer; printed in ‘The Power of Covenant, Part Two’, by the NSA of Canada)

September 4, 2017

Psychology “is still a very young and inexact science” - Bahá'í psychologists “to make great strides in the development of this science”

You are already a qualified practitioner in your field, and no doubt you give advice on the basis of what you have learned from study and experience – a whole fabric of concepts about the human mind, its growth, development and proper functioning, which you have learned and evolved without reference to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh. Now, as a Bahá'í, you know that what Bahá'u'lláh teaches about the purpose of human life, the nature of the human being and the proper conduct of human lives, is divinely revealed and therefore true. However, it will inevitably take time for you not only to study the Bahá'í teachings so that you clearly understand them, but also to work out how they modify your professional concepts. This is, of course, not an unusual predicament for a scientist. How often in the course of research is a factor discovered which requires a revolution in thinking over a wide field of human endeavour. You must be guided in each case by your own professional knowledge and judgement as illuminated by your growing knowledge of the Bahá'í teachings; undoubtedly you will find that your own understanding of the human problems dealt with in your work will change and develop and you will see new and improved ways of helping the people who come to you. Psychology is still a very young and inexact science, and as the years go by Bahá'í psychologists, who know from the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh the true pattern of human life, will be able to make great strides in the development of this science, and will help profoundly in the alleviation of human suffering. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 6 February 1973, published in "Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973"; the Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Scholarship)

September 1, 2017

“...aims and ambitions” that each Baha’i should strive for - identified by ‘Abdu’l-Baha:

  • To show compassion and goodwill to all mankind.
  • To render service to humanity.
  • To endeavour to guide and enlighten those in darkness.
  • To be kind to everyone, and show forth affection to every living soul.
  • To be humble in your attitude towards God, to be constant in prayer to Him, so as to grow daily nearer to God.
  • To be so faithful and sincere in all your actions that every member may be known as embodying the qualities of honesty, love, faith, kindness, generosity, and courage.
  • To be detached from all that is not God, attracted by the Heavenly Breath—a divine soul; so that the world may know that a Bahá’í is a perfect being.  
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a talk, 6 November 1911, Paris; ‘Paris Talks’)

August 30, 2017

The “central theme” of Baha’u’llah’s Dispensation

In every Dispensation the light of Divine Guidance has been focussed upon one central theme.... In this wondrous Revelation, this glorious century, the foundation of the Faith of God and the distinguishing feature of His Law is the consciousness of the Oneness of Mankind. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Quoted by Shoghi Effendi in ‘The World Order of Baha'u'llah’)

August 27, 2017

One’s pursuit of knowledge should lead to the Manifestation of God

If…the pursuit of knowledge leadeth to the beauty of Him Who is the object of all knowledge, how excellent that goal; but if not, a mere drop will perhaps shut a man off from flooding grace, for with learning cometh arrogance and pride, and it bringeth on error and indifference to God. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Baha’i Education)

August 23, 2017

“The sciences of today are bridges to reality”

The sciences of today are bridges to reality; if then they lead not to reality, naught remains but fruitless illusion. By the one true God! If learning be not a means of access to Him, the Most Manifest, it is nothing but evident loss. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, Baha’i Education)

August 20, 2017

How a meeting of a Baha’i Assembly could become “heavenly, celestial, godlike, illumined and the means of the guidance of the erring ones”

LSA of Winnipeg Canada, 1942
The members of the Baha’i Assemblies must be infinitely kind towards each other and all their deliberations must be concerning the Kingdom of Abha. Promiscuous discussion must be discountenanced, for these things will become the means of the luke-warmness and apathy of those who are present. The Candles of all the meetings must be the Mention of God, the propagation of the Cause of God, the exposition of Divine Proofs and the elucidation of the Principles of His Holiness Baha’u’llah. When this condition is obtained, the meeting will become heavenly, celestial, godlike, illumined and the means of the guidance of the erring ones. It will yield most great results. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 9, August 20, 1914)

August 18, 2017

Becoming more cognizant of our relationship to the Person of Baha’u’llah…

To remember Baha’u’llah’s days
  • “Remember My days during they days, and My distress and banishment in this remote prison.” (Baha’u’llah, Tablet of Ahmad)
  • “…give hear unto My call and walk in My path. Remember, then, the days of My presence and then My exile, My solitude, and My imprisonment, that you may be remembered by God in His kingdom of sublime glory.” (Baha’u’llah, Súrat al-A’ráb [The Súrah of the Arabs], provisional translation)
“…the most precious Being ever to have drawn breath on this planet”
Beloved Friends: Merely two years separate us from the conclusion of the Six Year Plan and the beginning at Ridvan 1992 of the Holy Year, that special time when we shall pause to appreciate the tumultuous record of events which will have brought us to the Centenary of the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh and to reflect with due solemnity upon the redemptive purpose of the life of the most precious Being ever to have drawn breath on this planet. (The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 1990 message to the Baha’is of the world)

August 17, 2017

The “most great ornament of the people of Bahá” - Trustworthiness

We will now mention unto thee Trustworthiness and the station thereof in the estimation of God, thy Lord, the Lord of the Mighty Throne. One day of days We repaired unto Our Green Island. Upon Our arrival, We beheld its streams flowing, and its trees luxuriant, and the sunlight playing in their midst. Turning Our face to the right, We beheld what the pen is powerless to describe; nor can it set forth that which the eye of the Lord of Mankind witnessed in that most sanctified, that most sublime, that blest, and most exalted Spot. Turning, then, to the left We gazed on one of the Beauties of the Most Sublime Paradise, standing on a pillar of light, and calling aloud saying: ‘O inmates of earth and heaven! Behold ye My beauty, and My radiance, and My revelation, and My effulgence. By God, the True One! I am Trustworthiness and the revelation thereof, and the beauty thereof. I will recompense whosoever will cleave unto Me, and recognize My rank and station, and hold fast unto My hem. I am the most great ornament of the people of Bahá, and the vesture of glory unto all who are in the kingdom of creation. I am the supreme instrument for the prosperity of the world, and the horizon of assurance unto all beings.’ Thus have We sent down for thee that which will draw men nigh unto the Lord of creation. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Epistle to the Son of the Wolf’)

August 14, 2017

To use the Hidden Words as a mirror...

‘Abdu’l-Bahá once said to me that we should use the Hidden Words as a mirror—comparing our actions and thoughts with what is there revealed—and if they did not match, so to speak, and fully reflect these Divine Counsels—then we must change our actions and conduct until they were in perfect harmony and agreement with these heavenly exhortations. 
- Ethel J. Rosenberg  (Included in a letter dated 12 April, 1927, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; ‘Messages to Canada’)

August 11, 2017

Baha’i Writings have “permeated the world” – the amazing benefits that one could receive from Them

Praise be to God that the spirit of the Holy Writings and tablets which have been revealed in this wondrous Dispensation concerning matters of major or minor importance, whether essential or otherwise, related to the sciences and the arts, to natural philosophy, literature, politics or economics, have so permeated the world that since the inception of the world in the course of past Dispensations and bygone ages nothing like it has ever been seen or heard. Indeed if an avowed follower of Bahá'u'lláh were to immerse himself in, and fathom the depths of, the ocean of these heavenly teachings, and with utmost care and attention deduce from each of them the subtle mysteries and consummate wisdom that lie enshrined therein, such a person's life, materially, intellectually and spiritually, will be safe from toil and trouble, unaffected by setbacks and perils, or any sadness or despondency. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 13 January 1923 to the friends in Adhirbáyján; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. I, The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith)

August 9, 2017

The significance of mentioning Baha’u’llah’s Name in our teaching activities

As to his question about the permissibility of promulgating the divine teachings without relating them to the Most Great Name, you should answer: "This blessed Name hath an effect on the reality of things. If these teachings are spread without identifying them with this holy Name, they will fail to exert an abiding influence in the world. The teachings are like the body, and this holy Name is like the spirit. It imparteth life to the body. It causeth the people of the world to be aroused from their slumber." 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha, (From a Tablet; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. II, Guidelines for Teaching)

August 7, 2017

Holy Land - “the nest of all the Prophets of God,” “the Vale of God’s unsearchable Decree, the snow-white Spot, the Land of unfading splendor”

… the Holy Land—the Land promised by God to Abraham, sanctified by the Revelation of Moses, honored by the lives and labors of the Hebrew patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, revered as the cradle of Christianity, and as the place where Zoroaster, according to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s testimony, had “held converse with some of the Prophets of Israel,” and associated by Islám with the Apostle’s night-journey, through the seven heavens, to the throne of the Almighty. Within the confines of this holy and enviable country, “the nest of all the Prophets of God,” “the Vale of God’s unsearchable Decree, the snow-white Spot, the Land of unfading splendor” was the Exile of Baghdád, of Constantinople and Adrianople His Mission. “It is difficult,” declares ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “to understand how Bahá’u’lláh could have been obliged to leave Persia, and to pitch His tent in this Holy Land, but for the persecution of His enemies, His banishment and exile.”

August 4, 2017

Baha’is must make a superhuman effort

One day during her [Jessie Revell] pilgrimage Shoghi Effendi invited her to stroll up Mount Carmel with him to visit the Shrine of the Bab. On that walk he said that the Baha’is must make a superhuman effort. Jessie often said there was something about the way the Guardian said ‘superhuman’ that engraved it for all time in her heart. 
- Ethel Revell  ('In Memoriam' section of 'The Baha’i World 1963-1968')

August 3, 2017

Expanding our vision – advice from ‘Abdu’l-Baha

O ye heavenly ones!

Organize ye spiritual assemblies. Lay ye the foundation of union and concord in this world. Destroy ye the fabric of strife and war from the face of the earth. Construct ye the temple of harmony and agreement. Enkindle ye the light of the realm of the oneness of humanity. Open ye your eyes. Gaze and behold ye the Other World. The Kingdom of Peace, Salvation, Uprightness and Reconciliation is founded in the Invisible World, and it will by degrees become manifest and apparent through the power of the Word of God. I supplicate God that ye may become the army of that Kingdom, in order that, by the power of the Most Great Name, the friends of God may conquer the world through love, friendship and the strength of the Kingdom of Peace, the human race may become compassionate, and bloodshed and carnage be completely effaced from the universe. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Star of the West, vol. 5. No. 9, August 20, 1914)

July 30, 2017

The "Charter of the New World Order"

The Guardian would advise that in their studies of the Will and Testament the young believers should use the "Dispensation", which will undoubtedly help them considerably to grasp the full implications of that sacred and historic Document which he has described as the "Charter of the New World Order". 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 9 January 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; Compilation by the Universal House of Justice: ‘The Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith’)

July 28, 2017

Physical sensations are similar in human beings and animals

Briefly, it is not only their fellow human beings that the beloved of God must treat with mercy and compassion, rather must they show forth the utmost loving-kindness to every living creature. For in all physical respects, and where the animal spirit is concerned, the selfsame feelings are shared by animal and man. Man hath not grasped this truth, however, and he believeth that physical sensations are confined to human beings, wherefore is he unjust to the animals, and cruel.

And yet in truth, what difference is there when it cometh to physical sensations? The feelings are one and the same, whether ye inflict pain on man or on beast. There is no difference here whatever. And indeed ye do worse to harm an animal, for man hath a language, he can lodge a complaint, he can cry out and moan; if injured he can have recourse to the authorities and these will protect him from his aggressor. But the hapless beast is mute, able neither to express its hurt nor take its case to the authorities. If a man inflict a thousand ills upon a beast, it can neither ward him off with speech nor hale him into court. Therefore is it essential that ye show forth the utmost consideration to the animal, and that ye be even kinder to him than to your fellow man. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

July 26, 2017

Are there some to whom we should not show kindness?

O ye beloved of the Lord! The Kingdom of God is founded upon equity and justice, and also upon mercy, compassion, and kindness to every living soul. Strive ye then with all your heart to treat compassionately all humankind—except for those who have some selfish, private motive, or some disease of the soul. Kindness cannot be shown the tyrant, the deceiver, or the thief, because, far from awakening them to the error of their ways, it maketh them to continue in their perversity as before. No matter how much kindliness ye may expend upon the liar, he will but lie the more, for he believeth you to be deceived, while ye understand him but too well, and only remain silent out of your extreme compassion. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)