May 2, 2021

“souls receive grace from the outpourings of the Holy Spirit which are apparent in the Manifestations of God”

It is evident that souls receive grace from the outpourings of the Holy Spirit which are apparent in the Manifestations of God, and not from the individual personality of the Manifestation. It follows that if a soul fails to partake of the outpourings of the Holy Spirit, it remains deprived of God’s grace, and this deprivation itself is equivalent to the denial of divine forgiveness.

That is why there have been many souls who opposed the Manifestations of God, not realizing that They were Manifestations, but who became Their friends once they had recognized Them. Thus, enmity towards the Manifestation of God was not the cause of eternal deprivation, for they were enemies of the candleholder and knew not that it was the seat of God’s effulgent light. They were not the enemies of the light itself, and once they understood that the candleholder was the seat of the light, they became true friends. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

April 26, 2021

“one of the meanings of the biblical account of Adam” – explained by ‘Abdu’l-Baha

Question: What is the truth of the story of Adam and His eating from the tree?

Answer: It is recorded in the Torah that God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to work and tend it, and said to Him: “Eat freely of every tree of the garden, save for the tree of good and evil, for if thou wert to eat thereof thou wouldst surely die.” [1] Then it is said that God caused Adam to sleep, took a bone from His ribs, and created a woman to be His companion. Further on it is said that the serpent tempted the woman to eat of the tree, saying: “God has forbidden you to eat from the tree, that your eyes may not be opened and that you may not discern good from evil.” [2] Then Eve ate from the tree and gave unto Adam, who also ate. Whereupon their eyes were opened, they found themselves naked, and they covered their nakedness with leaves. God then reproached them, saying to Adam: “Hast Thou eaten of the forbidden tree?” Adam answered: “Eve tempted Me.” God then reproved Eve, who said: “The serpent tempted me.” For this the serpent was cursed, and enmity was established between the serpent and Eve and between their descendants. And God said: “The man is become like unto Us, knowing good and evil. Perhaps He will eat of the tree of life and live forever.” So God guarded the tree of life. [3]

If we were to take this account according to the literal meaning of the words as indicated by their common usage, it would indeed be exceedingly strange, and human minds would be excused from accepting, affirming, or imagining it. For such elaborate arrangements and details, such statements and reproaches would be implausible even coming from an intelligent person, let alone from the Divinity Himself, Who has arranged this infinite universe in the most perfect form and arrayed its countless beings in the utmost order, soundness, and perfection.

April 17, 2021

Interpretations by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and the Guardian, versus legislations by the Universal House of Justice

The legislation enacted by the Universal House of Justice is different from interpretation. Authoritative interpretation, as uttered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Guardian, is a divinely guided statement of what the Word of God means. The divinely inspired legislation of the Universal House of Justice does not attempt to say what the revealed Word means—it states what must be done in cases where the revealed Text or its authoritative interpretation is not explicit. It is, therefore, on quite a different level from the Sacred Text, and the Universal House of Justice is empowered to abrogate or amend its own legislation whenever it judges the conditions make this desirable. Moreover, the attitude to legislation is different in the Bahá’i Faith. The human tendency in past Dispensations has been to want every question answered and to arrive at a binding decision affecting every small detail of belief or practice. The tendency in the Bahá’i Dispensation, from the time of Bahá’u’lláh Himself, has been to clarify the governing principles, to make binding pronouncements on details which are considered essential, but to leave a wide area to the conscience of the individual. The same tendency appears also in administrative matters. The Guardian used to state that the working of National Spiritual Assemblies should be uniform in essentials but that diversity in secondary matters was not only permissible but desirable. For this reason a number of points are not expressed in the National Bahá’i Constitution (the Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of National Assemblies); these are left to each National Spiritual Assembly to decide for itself. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated January 3, 1982, to an individual believer; compilation: Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies: Developing Distinctive Bahá’í Communities, 2021 version, issued by US NSA) 

April 10, 2021

When “the door of the divine knowledge will be opened to” a believer

In the time to come, many divine books and tablets will be translated and thou wilt read them; but thou mayest ask God that thou mayest attract divine knowledge by the magnet of the love of God. When the soul becomes sanctified in every condition and becomes pure and holy, then the door of the divine knowledge will be opened to the face. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, vol. 2)

April 7, 2021

A miracle of “this sacred dispensation”: - “women have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the ranks of the Faith."

'Abdu'l-Bahá has pointed out that "Among the miracles which distinguish this sacred dispensation is this, that women have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the ranks of the Faith." Shoghi Effendi has further stated that this "boldness" must, in the course of time, "be more convincingly demonstrated, and win for the beloved Cause victories more stirring than any it has as yet achieved." Although obviously the entire Bahá'í world is committed to encouraging and stimulating the vital role of women in the Bahá'í community as well as in society at large, the Five Year Plan calls specifically on eighty National Spiritual Assemblies to organize Bahá'í activities for women. In the course of the current year which has been designated "International Women's Year" as a world-wide activity of the United Nations, the Bahá'ís, particularly in these eighty national communities, should initiate and implement programs which will stimulate and promote the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Bahá'í community life, so that through their accomplishments the friends will demonstrate the distinction of the Cause of God in this field of human endeavour. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 25 May 1975 to all National Spiritual Assemblies; The Compilation of Compilations vol. II, Women)

April 4, 2021

The “School of God” that His Manifestations “entered… before the letters ‘B’ and ‘E’ were joined and knit together” - Baha'u'llah explains

O Thou Supreme Pen! Move over the Tablet by the leave of Thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Call Thou then to mind the day when the Fountainhead of divine unity sought to attend the school which is sanctified of all save God, that perchance the righteous might become acquainted, to the extent of a needle’s eye, with that which is concealed behind the veil of the inner mysteries of Thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing.

Say, We, in truth, entered the school of inner meaning and exposition at a time when the minds of all that dwell on earth were wrapt in heedlessness. We beheld what the Merciful Lord had revealed, accepted the gift He [the Báb] had offered Me of the verses of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting, and hearkened to that to which He had attested in the Tablet. We, verily, are the Witness. We responded to His call at Our Own behest, and We are, in truth, the Ordainer.

O people of the Bayán! We entered the School of God when ye were slumbering on your couches, and perused the Tablet when ye were fast asleep. By the righteousness of God, the True One, We had read it before it was revealed, and ye were utterly unaware. Indeed Our knowledge had encompassed the Book when ye were yet unborn.

These utterances are revealed according to your measure, not to God’s, and unto this beareth witness that which is enshrined in the knowledge of God, did ye but know. Unto this testifieth He Who is the Mouthpiece of God, could ye but understand. By the righteousness of God! Were We to lift the veil ye would swoon away. Take heed lest ye dispute with Him and His Cause. He hath indeed appeared in such wise as to encompass all things, whether of the past or of the future. Were We to speak forth at this time in the language of the dwellers of the Kingdom, We would say that God raised up this School ere the earth and the heavens were brought into being, and We entered it before the letters ‘B’ and ‘E’ were joined and knit together. 

- Baha’u’llah  (From a Tablet included in the tootnotes to the second Tablet from the Bab in ‘The Selections from the Writings of the Báb)

March 30, 2021

1953: Baha'i Pioneers to Africa

 
Taken at the African Intercontinental Conference 
(Baha'i News. April 1953) 

March 28, 2021

Circumstances in which Baha’u’llah “received the first intimation of His sublime Mission” – comparison to those of other Manifestations of God

It was in such dramatic circumstances, recalling the experience of Moses when face to face with the Burning Bush in the wilderness of Sinai, the successive visions of Zoroaster, the opening of the heavens and the descent of the Dove upon Christ in the Jordan, the cry of Gabriel heard by Muhammad in the Cave of Hira, and the dream of the Báb, in which the blood of the Imam Ḥusayn touched and sanctified His lips, that Bahá’u’lláh, He “around Whom the Point of the Bayán hath revolved,” and the Vehicle of the greatest Revelation the world has yet seen, received the first intimation of His sublime Mission, and that a ministry which, alike in its duration and fecundity, is unsurpassed in the religious history of mankind, was inaugurated. It was on that occasion that the “Most Great Spirit,” as designated by Bahá’u’lláh Himself, revealed itself to Him, in the form of a “Maiden,” and bade Him “lift up” His “voice between earth and heaven”—that same Spirit which, in the Zoroastrian, the Mosaic, the Christian, and Muḥammadan Dispensations, had been respectively symbolized by the “Sacred Fire,” the “Burning Bush,” the “Dove,” and the “Angel Gabriel.” 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘Messages to America’)

March 26, 2021

New Site: Baha’i Prayers ~ individual needs

A selection from prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb , and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for various personal needs

March 22, 2021

The “Revelation of the Manifestation of God is the standard for all knowledge”

While it may often be the part of wisdom to approach individuals or an audience from a standpoint of current knowledge, it should never be overlooked that the Revelation of the Manifestation of God is the standard for all knowledge, and scientific statements and theories, no matter how close they may come to the eternal principles proclaimed by God's Messenger, are in their very nature ephemeral and limited. Likewise, attempting to make the Bahá'í Faith relevant to modern society is to incur the grave risk of compromising the fundamental verities of our Faith in an effort to make it conform to current theories and practices.

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 21 July 1968 to a National Spiritual Assembly; The Compilation of Compilations, vol. III, Scholarship)

March 14, 2021

1986-1992: The “main objectives and expectations of the Six Year Plan”

The organic growth of the Cause of God, indicated by recent significant developments in its life, becomes markedly apparent in the light of the main objectives and expectations of the Six Year Plan:

  • a vast expansion of the numerical and financial resources of the Cause;
  • enlargement of its status in the world;
  • a world-wide increase in the production, distribution and use of Baha'i literature;
  • a firmer and world-wide demonstration of the Baha'i way of life requiring special consideration of the Baha'i education of children and youth, the strengthening of Baha'i family life and attention to universal participation and the spiritual enrichment of individual life;
  • further acceleration in the process of the maturation of local and national Baha'i communities and a dynamic consolidation of the unity of the two arms of the Administrative Order;
  • an extension of the involvement of the Baha'i world community in the needs of the world around it; and the pursuit of social and economic development in well-established Baha'i communities.

These are some of the features of the Six Year Plan which will open on 21 April 1986 and terminate on 20 April 1992. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated2 January 1986 to the Baha'is of the world; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

March 8, 2021

Islamic tradition concerning knowledge and its tremendous release when the Qá’im appears – Baha’u’llah confirms

It is related in the ‘Biháru’l-Anvar,’ the ‘Aválím,’ and the ‘Yanbú” of Ṣádiq, son of Muḥammad, that he spoke these words: ‘Knowledge is seven and twenty letters. All that the Prophets have revealed are two letters thereof. None thus far hath known any besides these two letters. But when the Qá’im shall arise, He will cause the remaining five and twenty letters to be made manifest.’ Consider: he hath declared Knowledge to consist of seven and twenty letters, and regarded all the Prophets, from Adam even unto the ‘Seal,’ as Expounders of only two letters thereof, and as having been sent down with these two letters. He also saith that the Qá’im will reveal all the remaining five and twenty letters. Behold from this utterance how great and lofty is His station. His rank excelleth that of all the Prophets, and His Revelation transcendeth the comprehension and understanding of all their chosen ones.

- Baha’u’llah  ('The Kitáb-i-Íqán,'; also, footnotes to chapter 3 of the Dawn-Breakers provided by Shoghi Effendi)

March 1, 2021

January 1845: The Báb’s vision as He entered the city of Medina

There [in Medina] came to Him also the vision of those holy men, those pioneers and martyrs of the Faith, who had fallen gloriously on the field of battle, and who, with their life-blood, had sealed the triumph of the Cause of God. Their sacred dust seemed as if reanimated by the gentle tread of His feet. Their shades seemed to have been stirred by the reviving breath of His presence. They looked to Him as if they had arisen at His approach, were hastening towards Him, and were voicing their welcome. They seemed to be addressing to Him this fervent plea:

“Repair not unto Thy native land, we beseech Thee, O Thou Beloved of our hearts! Abide Thou in our midst, for here, far from the tumult of Thine enemies who are lying in wait for Thee, Thou shalt be safe and secure. We are fearful for Thee. We dread the plottings and machinations of Thy foes. We tremble at the thought that their deeds might bring eternal damnation to their souls.”

“Fear not,” the Báb’s indomitable Spirit replied: “I am come into this world to bear witness to the glory of sacrifice. You are aware of the intensity of My longing; you realise the degree of My renunciation. Nay, beseech the Lord your God to hasten the hour of My martyrdom and to accept My sacrifice. Rejoice, for both I and Quddús will be slain on the altar of our devotion to the King of Glory. The blood which we are destined to shed in His path will water and revive the garden of our immortal felicity. The drops of this consecrated blood will be the seed out of which will arise the mighty Tree of God, the Tree that will gather beneath its all-embracing shadow the peoples and kindreds of the earth. Grieve not, therefore, if I depart from this land, for I am hastening to fulfil My destiny.” 

- The Báb  (Quoted by Nabil, ‘The Dawn-Breakers’, translated and edited by Shoghi Effendi)

February 16, 2021

Stages of the journey that a soul should actively pursue while upon the earth – described by Baha’u’llah

…O friend, the Herald of eternity announceth unto thee, by the robe of faithfulness, His joyful tidings and bestoweth upon thee this emerald-green Tablet. Set out, then, from thine abode, take thou seven steps upon the earth, and with each step complete a stage of the journey.

  • With the first, enter the ocean of search and seek God, thy Lord, with thine inmost heart and soul.
  • With the second, enter the ocean of love and make mention of God, thy Lord, in the transports of thy longing and the ecstasies of thy rapture.
  • With the third, tread the paths of detachment; that is, sever thyself from thine idle fancies and walk in the ways of thy Lord.
  • With the fourth, enter the fathomless depths of oneness and the billowing seas of eternity. Cover thy face in the dust before the Lord of Lords, and sanctify thy self and thy spirit from all departure and return, that thine inmost heart may be freed from all things in the kingdoms of creation.
  • With the fifth, ascend unto the heaven of wonderment, that thou mayest taste the goodly fruits of this blessed realm, lose thyself in bewilderment before the power of thy Beloved and the dominion of thy Creator, and proclaim that which the King of existence and the Goal of all desire hath proclaimed: “Increase my wonder and amazement at Thee, O God!”[1]
  • With the sixth, soar upon the wings of submission and contentment unto the cities of the Unseen, that thou mayest enter the expanses of utter nothingness wherein thou shalt die to thy self and live in Him Who hath fashioned thee.
  • With the seventh, drown thyself in the depths of eternity, that death may not overtake thee, and that thou mayest abide forever in the shadow of the everlasting Face of God. Thereupon shall the fragrance of the All-Glorious be diffused from the realm of the All-Merciful, and thy heart shall grieve no more over the vicissitudes of a fleeting life and the turns of a transient fortune.

When once thou hast privily completed these journeys, place this robe upon thy sightless eyes, that the eye of thine inmost heart may be opened. By God, O My friend! Wert thou to attain unto this station, thou wouldst find wondrous worlds; discover heavenly bowers, celestial gardens, and transcendent realms; and unravel the secrets of the progress of the souls of men through the atmosphere of eternal holiness and the heavens of imperishable glory. Thou wouldst so rejoice within thy soul as to cause the signs of joy and gladness to appear throughout the whole earth. Thereafter, sorrow would never again hold sway over thee, nor would grief ever seize thee in its grasp, for thou wouldst abide in the heaven of holiness amidst the concourse of the blissful. 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Call of the Divine Beloved, Selected Mystical Works of Bahá’u’lláh’)

[1] From a Ḥadíth

February 10, 2021

Worlds of God

Though the worlds of God be infinite, yet some refer to them as four: the world of time, which hath both a beginning and an end; the world of duration, which hath a beginning but whose end is not apparent; the world of primordial reality, whose beginning is not to be seen but which is known to have an end; and the world of eternity, of which neither the beginning nor the end is visible. Although there are many differing statements as to these points, to recount them in detail would result in weariness. 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘The Seven Valleys’, 2019 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre; ‘The Call of the Divine Beloved’)

February 3, 2021

What a believer can do to find a solution to a problem: - Guidance from the Universal House of Justice

You mention that the answers to your prayers never seem to have come through clearly. Mrs. Ruth Moffett has published her recollection of five steps of prayer for guidance that she was told by the beloved Guardian. When asked about these notes, Shoghi Effendi replied, in letters written by his secretary on his behalf, that the notes should be regarded as “personal suggestions,” that he considered them to be “quite sound,” but that the friends need not adopt them “strictly and universally.” The House of Justice feels that they may be helpful to you and, indeed, you may already be familiar with them. They are as follows:

… use these five steps if we have a problem of any kind for which we desire a solution, or wish help.

  • Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations, as they have the greatest power. Learn to remain in the silence of contemplation for a few moments. During this deepest communion take the next step.
  • Arrive at a decision and hold to this. This decision is usually born in a flash at the close or during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment, but if it seems to be an answer to prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step.
  • Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.
  • Have faith and confidence, that the Power of the Holy Spirit will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given to you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to meet your need. Then as you rise from prayer take immediately the fifth step.
  • Act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And, as you act, you yourself will become a magnet which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine Power to flow through you.

Also the Guardian’s secretary wrote to an individual believer on his behalf: “The Master said guidance was when the doors opened after we tried. We can pray, ask to do God’s will only, try hard, and then if we find our plan is not working out, assume it is not the right one, at least for the moment.” 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 11 October 1978, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

January 27, 2021

Tribute to the Shrine of the Báb – by Shoghi Effendi

This magnificent edifice stands facing Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Great Prison, extolled by the Pen of Glory as the ‘Heaven of heavens’, and looks toward the Qiblih of the people of Bahá, that Spot within the vale of security and peace, the plain of ‘Akká, round which circle in adoration the Concourse on high. To her right are the hills of Galilee in which nestles the childhood home of the beautiful Christ, and the locality by the banks of the Jordan River where He Who is the Spirit (Jesus Christ) was called to prophethood; and on her left, on the crest of Carmel, are to be found the Cave of Elijah and the exalted Spot which was blessed by the footsteps of the Most Holy Abhá Beauty and was ennobled through the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel from the treasury of the Pen of Glory. Behind her stand the twin Mounts of Zion and Olives and the holy and ancient city of Jerusalem, within whose walls lie the site of the martyrdom and the burial place of Jesus Christ, the seat of the Throne of David, the glorious Temple of Solomon and the Aqsa Mosque which ranks third among the shrines of the Islamic world. Beyond these there rises Mount Sinai, the cradle of the Jewish Faith, that Sacred Mount, the Paran of light, that holy land where He Who conversed with God (Moses) heard the Voice from the Blessed Tree. And further beyond lies the Arabian Peninsula, the land of Hijaz, the cradle of the Muhammadan Dispensation, with the two cities of Batha and Yathrib, the noble Mecca and the bright Medina, one enshrining the Qiblih of Islam and the other the Resting-place of Him Who is the Lord of mankind (Muhammad) – upon Him be countless salutations and praise.

High, immeasurably high, is this Shrine, the lofty, the most great, the most wondrous. Exalted, immeasurably exalted, is this Resting-place, the fragrant, the pure, the luminous, the transcendent. Glorified, immeasurably glorified, is this Spot, the most august, the most holy, the most blessed, the most sublime.

January 16, 2021

1954: The Guardian’s reference about the Canadian Baha’i community and some of its distinguished members

A Community, [Canada] whose founder [1] has conferred upon it such splendid benefits and whose dust now lies on the far-off shores of the South American continent; which has been exalted by reason of the eminent services which two other members [2] Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum Rabbani (Mary Maxwell)—daughter of May and Sutherland Maxwell, became the wife of Shoghi Effendi in 1937, appointed a Hand of the Cause of God in 1952, of her family have rendered, in the Holy Land, to the world Bahá’í community; which can, moreover boast of the enduring and historic achievements of yet another Hand of the Cause [3]—the third nominated from the ranks of its members; and which, in the course of the past year, has set a further example of steadfastness and devotion through the action of outstanding members [4] [5] of its National Assembly who have forsaken their homes to settle in the African continent—such a community can well assert its capacity and determination to consummate, within the allotted time, the laborious and mighty task it has risen to shoulder.

The rapidity of its expansion, its sound development, the steadiness, the single-mindedness, the tenacity, the enthusiasm, the unity and staunchness of its members, augur well for the remarkable material and spiritual progress which the nation to which it belongs must achieve in the years to come, in accordance with the explicit promise enshrined in the Tablets of the Divine Plan by the Centre of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 15 June 1954 to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada; ‘Messages to Canada’)

January 1, 2021

December 27, 2020

Requirements for Mashriqu'l-Adhkar sites

A site for a future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be as small as 8,000 square metres in area if a larger property would be too expensive. It should, if possible, be situated within the city designated or, if this is not feasible, within 25 kilometres from the city. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message dated Naw-Ruz 1974 to all National Spiritual Assemblies; ‘Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986’)

December 21, 2020

‘Abdu’l-Baha’s objectives for going to North America

…he [‘Abdu’l-Baha] has returned to Egypt and hopes that during the next spring no obstacle may arise, so that with infinite joy and fragrance he may hasten to America 

  • to meet the friends,
  • to unfurl the banner of rejoicing,
  • to spread the Glad Tidings of the Kingdom of Abha,
  • to illumine the meetings and gatherings with the Rays of the Sun of Truth,
  • to perfume the nostrils with the Fragrances of Holiness,
  • to impart gladness and delight to the hearts,
  • to attract the souls to the Realms of Might,
  • to grant the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that in this nether world the congregation of the Righteous Ones may be firmly established.

Glad Tidings! Glad Tidings! The bounties of the Most Great Name are descending.

Glad Tidings! Glad Tidings! The Lights of the Kingdom of Abha are shining.

Glad Tidings! Glad Tidings! The Doors of Heaven are opened and the call of the Kingdom is raised. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 2, no. 16, December 31, 1911)

December 16, 2020

1911: First Persian Baha'i woman to travel to the West to continue education

Ghodsieh (Qudsiyyih) Khanum Ashraf 
(22 Nov. 1889 Tehran - 16 April 1976 Tehran)  

She saw 'Abdu'l-Baha several times in Chicago and Washington during 1912. She is the first Persian Baha'i woman to travel to the West in 1911 for the purpose of obtaining an education. She studied at the Lewis Institute in Chicago. In 1918 she graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Education. She returned to Persia in 1919 and became involved in women's movements and in education. Her brother, Ashraf Ashraf, studied in Paris during 1911-1915, and met 'Abdu'l-Baha on several occasions at 4, avenue de Camoens in 1911 and 1913. In Iran he apparently held several government positions and emigrated to Switzerland in 1953. 

(Adapted from “Abdu’l-Baha in the West, A biographical guide of the people associated with His travels”, by Jan Teofil Jasion)

December 10, 2020

“There are two kinds of cooperation: material and spiritual”

There are two kinds of cooperation: material and spiritual. Cooperation in the material world will insure happiness and fellowship, and will facilitate the progress of humankind; but the ideal, the most real and virtuous cooperation is spiritual. That is realized when people gather together to investigate and discuss principles impartially, to talk over the divine and philosophic principles of the age and to assist each other in pursuit of divine knowledge and wisdom. This real cooperation and mutual assistance is the foundation on which the super-structure of material reciprocity is based. Through this spiritual inter-assistance the prosperity of the world of man is unveiled. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha at a Nineteen-Day Feast in London, December 29, 1912; Baha’i News no. 33, July 1929)

December 1, 2020

How the “grace of God” becomes “revealed” in “the human heart”

…love of God and spiritual attraction do cleanse and purify the human heart and dress and adorn it with the spotless garment of holiness; and once the heart is entirely attached to the Lord, and bound over to the Blessed Perfection, then will the grace of God be revealed. 

- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

November 25, 2020

2020: - Attitude to maintain during current state of world conditions

For the present hour, we urge you to recommit your energies, keeping your focus on the mission immediately before you. We are immensely gratified to see the assured composure with which the community of the Greatest Name has sought to offer the divine remedy under all conditions, especially during this period when society’s established patterns of life have been disrupted and risks of different kinds are being faced by so many. Withal, the friends must guard against being drawn into the ultimately futile conflict and strife that characterizes so much of the discussion of the affairs of society, or—heaven forbid—allowing interaction of this type to permeate, even fleetingly, the conversations of the community. Yet such vigilance on your part in avoiding discord and in not becoming entangled in society’s controversies should under no circumstances be construed as aloofness from the many pressing concerns of this time. Far from it. You are among the most active and earnest of humanity’s well-wishers. But, whether through deeds or words, the merit of your every contribution to social well-being lies, first, in your resolute commitment to discover that precious point of unity where contrasting perspectives overlap and around which contending peoples can coalesce. 

- The Universal House of Justice  (From a message to the Baha’is of the World dated 25 November 2020)

November 19, 2020

New Site: Kindling Our Spirits - Zoom sessions: - Exploring Baha’i Writings on various themes


Downloadable compilations from the Baha’i Writings used in various zoom sessions:

Happiness

Forgiveness

Love & Compassion

Humility

Patience

Praiseworthy Character

Connecting our hearts to Baha'u'llah

October 28, 2020

The incredibly awesome significance of this “Day” and the exceptional priviledge of those who have ecognized God’s latest Manifestation

This is the Day whereon the Most Great Spirit was embodied in the most comely of forms, and, proceeding from the Realm on high, approached the Scene of transcendent glory with such radiance as to delight the Maid of Heaven, until she paused, suspended in the air before Our presence, with such an adorning as to seize with longing the hearts of the Messengers of God. Blessed, then, be God, Who hath created this noble angel!

Thereupon the inmates of Paradise, and beyond them the inhabitants of the retreats of holiness and the realms of communion, and beyond them they that dwell within the habitations of heaven and they that abide beneath the tabernacle of concealment, stepped forth one and all from their lofty mansions, and, conversing in hushed tones, apprised one another of that which had come to pass upon the earth. It was as though the Ancient King had revealed Himself unto Himself, and then, with undisputed sovereignty, unto His servants and His creatures in the realm of creation. Blessed, then, be God, Who bringeth forth whatsoever He pleaseth through the potency of His all-compelling command!

Then the Most Great Spirit raised a call that resounded through the entire creation, saying: “Solaced be your eyes, O ye inhabitants of earth and heaven, O ye manifestations of the divine names and attributes, and O ye who are immersed beneath the oceans of grandeur that lie beyond the worlds of intimation and allusion! This is the Day whereon God Himself, the Most Exalted, the Most High, through His own sacred and glorious Self, beareth round unto every soul, high and low alike, the cup of nearness and reunion.” Blessed, then, be God, Who hath revealed Himself in all His manifold grace on this greatest of all days! 

- Baha’u’llah  (‘Days of remembrance’)

October 21, 2020

The results of the Báb’s isolation and incarceration in Ádhirbáyján

Mah-Ku, circa 1935 
And yet, the foolish and short-sighted Hájí Mírzá Áqásí [Persia’s Prime Minister] fondly imagined that by confounding the plan of the Báb to meet the Sháh face to face in the capital, and by relegating Him to the farthest corner of the realm, he had stifled the Movement at its birth, and would soon conclusively triumph over its Founder. Little did he imagine that the very isolation he was forcing upon his Prisoner would enable Him to evolve the System designed to incarnate the soul of His Faith, and would afford Him the opportunity of safeguarding it from disintegration and schism, and of proclaiming formally and unreservedly His mission. Little did he imagine that this very confinement would induce that Prisoner’s exasperated disciples and companions to cast off the shackles of an antiquated theology, and precipitate happenings that would call forth from them a prowess, a courage, a self-renunciation unexampled in their country’s history. Little did he imagine that by this very act he would be instrumental in fulfilling the authentic tradition ascribed to the Prophet of Islám regarding the inevitability of that which should come to pass in Ádhirbáyján. Untaught by the example of the governor of Shíráz, who, with fear and trembling, had, at the first taste of God’s avenging wrath, fled ignominiously and relaxed his hold on his Captive, the Grand Vizir of Muhammad Sháh was, in his turn, through the orders he had issued, storing up for himself severe and inevitable disappointment, and paving the way for his own ultimate downfall. 

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

October 15, 2020

Some references to the Báb in previous religions

He the “Qá’im” (He Who ariseth) promised to the Shí’ahs, the “Mihdí” (One Who is guided) awaited by the Sunnís, the “Return of John the Baptist” expected by the Christians, the “Ushídar-Máh” referred to in the Zoroastrian scriptures, the “Return of Elijah” anticipated by the Jews, Whose Revelation was to show forth “the signs and tokens of all the Prophets”, Who was to “manifest the perfection of Moses, the radiance of Jesus and the patience of Job” had appeared, proclaimed His Cause, been mercilessly persecuted and died gloriously. The “Second Woe,” spoken of in the Apocalypse of St. John the Divine, had, at long last, appeared, and the first of the two “Messengers,” Whose appearance had been prophesied in the Qur’án, had been sent down. The first “Trumpet-Blast”, destined to smite the earth with extermination, announced in the latter Book, had finally been sounded. “The Inevitable,” “The Catastrophe,” “The Resurrection,” “The Earthquake of the Last Hour,” foretold by that same Book, had all come to pass. The “clear tokens” had been “sent down,” and the “Spirit” had “breathed,” and the “souls” had “waked up,” and the “heaven” had been “cleft,” and the “angels” had “ranged in order,” and the “stars” had been “blotted out,” and the “earth” had “cast forth her burden,” and “Paradise” had been “brought near,” and “hell” had been “made to blaze,” and the “Book” had been “set,” and the “Bridge” had been “laid out,” and the “Balance” had been “set up,” and the “mountains scattered in dust.”

- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

October 9, 2020

Baha’u’llah’s “best counsel”

Lay not on any soul a load which ye would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things ye would not desire for yourselves. This is My best counsel unto you, did ye but observe it. 

- Baha'u'llah  (Suriy-i-Muluk [Tablet to the Kings], The Summons of the Lord of Hosts)