July 24, 2017

“The prime requisites for them that take counsel together”

The prime requisites for them that take counsel together are
  • purity of motive,
  • radiance of spirit,
  • detachment from all else save God,
  • attraction to His Divine Fragrances,
  • humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones,
  • patience and long-suffering in difficulties and
  • servitude to His exalted Threshold.
Should they be graciously aided to acquire these attributes, victory from the unseen Kingdom of Bahá shall be vouchsafed to them.... 
- `Abdu'l-Bahá  (Cited in a letter dated 5 March 1922 written by Shoghi Effendi to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, published in ‘Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932’; The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. I, Consultation)

July 22, 2017

"The most glorious fruit of the tree of knowledge..."

The most glorious fruit of the tree of knowledge is this exalted word: Of one tree are all ye the fruit, and of one bough the leaves. Let not man glory in this that he loveth his country, let him rather glory in this that he loveth his kind. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

July 19, 2017

Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members “do not direct or organize the teaching work nor do they adjudicate in matters of personal conflict or personal problems”

Assemblies sometimes misunderstand what is meant by the statement that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members are concerned with the teaching work and not with administration. It is taken to mean that they may not give advice on administrative matters. This is quite wrong. One of the things that Counsellors and Auxiliary Board members should watch and report on is the proper working of administrative institutions. The statement that they do not have anything to do with administration means, simply, that they do not administer. They do not direct or organize the teaching work nor do they adjudicate in matters of personal conflict or personal problems. All these activities fall within the sphere of responsibility of the Spiritual Assemblies. But if an Auxiliary Board member finds a Local Spiritual Assembly functioning incorrectly he should call its attention to the appropriate Texts; likewise if, in his work with the community, an Auxiliary Board member finds that the teaching work is being held up by inefficiency of national committees, he should report this in detail to the Counsellors who will then decide whether to refer it to the National Spiritual Assembly concerned. Similarly, if the Counsellors find that a National Spiritual Assembly is not functioning properly, they should not hesitate to consult with the National Spiritual Assembly about this in a frank and loving way. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 1 October 1969; ‘Messages from the Universal House of justice, 1963-1986’)

July 17, 2017

“The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today.”

The Faith of God is the sole source of salvation for mankind today. The true cause of the ills of humanity is its disunity. No matter how perfect may be the machinery devised by the leaders of men for the political unity of the world, it will still not provide the antidote to the poison sapping the vigour of present-day society. These ills can be cured only through the instrumentality of God's Faith. There are many well-wishers of mankind who devote their efforts to relief work and charity and to the material well-being of man, but only Baha'is can do the work which God most wants done. When we devote ourselves to the work of the Faith we are doing a work which is the greatest aid and only refuge for a needy and divided world. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated 8 February 1970; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986’)

July 14, 2017

Conditions under which a Baha’i can defend his own life - the Universal House of Justice explains

From the texts you already have available it is clear that Bahá'u'lláh has stated that it is preferable to be killed in the path of God's good pleasure than to kill, and that organized religious attack against Bahá'ís should never turn into any kind of warfare, as this is strictly prohibited in our Writings.

A hitherto untranslated Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, however, points out that in the case of attack by robbers and highwaymen, a Bahá'í should not surrender himself, but should try, as far as circumstances permit, to defend himself, and later on lodge a complaint with the government authorities. In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, he also indicates that in an emergency when there is no legal force at hand to appeal to, a Bahá'í is justified in defending his life. In another letter the Guardian has further pointed out that the assault of an irresponsible assailant upon a Bahá'í should be resisted by the Bahá'í, who would be justified, under such circumstances, in protecting his life.

The House of Justice does not wish at the present time to go beyond the guidelines given in the above-mentioned statements. The question is basically a matter of conscience, and in each case the Bahá'í involved must use his judgement in determining when to stop in self-defence lest his action deteriorate into retaliation. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 10 July 1969 to NSA of Canada; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

July 12, 2017

Transition of soul from this world to the next

O thou who hast eyes to see! That which thou didst witness is the very truth, and it pertaineth to the realm of vision.

The perfume is intimately commingled and blended with the bud, and once the bud hath opened the sweet scent of it is spread abroad. The herb is not without its fruit, although it seemeth so, for in this garden of God every plant exerteth its own influence and hath its own properties, and every plant can even match the laughing, hundred-petalled rose in rejoicing the sense with its fragrance. Be thou assured of this. Although the pages of a book know nothing of the words and the meanings traced upon them, even so, because of their connection with these words, friends pass them reverently from hand to hand. This connection, furthermore, is purest bounty.

When the human soul soareth out of this transient heap of dust and riseth into the world of God, then veils will fall away, and verities will come to light, and all things unknown before will be made clear, and hidden truths be understood.

Consider how a being, in the world of the womb, was deaf of ear and blind of eye, and mute of tongue; how he was bereft of any perceptions at all. But once, out of that world of darkness, he passed into this world of light, then his eye saw, his ear heard, his tongue spoke. In the same way, once he hath hastened away from this mortal place into the Kingdom of God, then he will be born in the spirit; then the eye of his perception will open, the ear of his soul will hearken, and all the truths of which he was ignorant before will be made plain and clear.

An observant traveller passing along a way will certainly recall his discoveries to mind, unless some accident befall him and efface the memory. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

July 9, 2017

The awesome station of the Báb

“I am the Primal Point,” the Báb thus addresses Muhammad Sháh from the prison-fortress of Máh-Kú, “from which have been generated all created things... I am the Countenance of God Whose splendor can never be obscured, the light of God whose radiance can never fade... All the keys of heaven God hath chosen to place on My right hand, and all the keys of hell on My left... I am one of the sustaining pillars of the Primal Word of God. Whosoever hath recognized Me, hath known all that is true and right, and hath attained all that is good and seemly... The substance wherewith God hath created Me is not the clay out of which others have been formed. He hath conferred upon Me that which the worldly-wise can never comprehend, nor the faithful discover.” “Should a tiny ant,” the Báb, wishing to stress the limitless potentialities latent in His Dispensation, characteristically affirms, “desire in this day to be possessed of such power as to be able to unravel the abstrusest and most bewildering passages of the Qur’án, its wish will no doubt be fulfilled, inasmuch as the mystery of eternal might vibrates within the innermost being of all created things.” “If so helpless a creature,” is ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s comment on so startling an affirmation, “can be endowed with so subtle a capacity, how much more efficacious must be the power released through the liberal effusions of the grace of Bahá’u’lláh!” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah’)

July 6, 2017

How one’s attitude and mindset should be towards God - Baha’u’llah teaches

Praise be unto Thee, Who art my God and the God of all men, and
  • my Desire and the Desire of all them that have recognized Thee, and
  • my Beloved and the Beloved of such as have acknowledged Thy unity, and
  • the Object of my adoration and of the adoration of them that have near access to Thee, and
  • my Wish and the Wish of such as are wholly devoted to Thee, and
  • my Hope and the Hope of them that have fixed their hearts upon Thee, and
  • my Refuge and the Refuge of all such as have hastened towards Thee, and
  • my Haven and the Haven of whosoever hath repaired unto Thee, and
  • my Goal and the Goal of all them that have set themselves towards Thee, and
  • my Object and the Object of those who have fixed their gaze upon Thee, and
  • my Paradise and the Paradise of them that have ascended towards Thee, and
  • my Lode-star and the Lode-star of all such as yearn after Thee, and
  • my Joy and the Joy of all them that love Thee, and
  • my Light and the Light of all such as have erred and asked to be forgiven by Thee, and
  • my Exultation and the Exultation of all them that remember Thee, and
  • my Stronghold and the Stronghold of all such as have fled to Thee, and
  • my Sanctuary and the Sanctuary of all that dread Thee, and
  • my Lord and the Lord of all such as dwell in the heavens and on the earth!
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah’)

July 3, 2017

True life is the life of the spirit

…true life is not the life of the flesh but the life of the spirit. For the life of the flesh is common to both men and animals, whereas the life of the spirit is possessed only by the pure in heart who have quaffed from the ocean of faith and partaken of the fruit of certitude. This life knoweth no death, and this existence is crowned by immortality. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Kitan-i-Iqan’)