October 31, 2018

The “very essence of the principle of independent investigation of truth”

It is hoped that all the Bahá'í students will ... be led to investigate and analyse the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science. Every intelligent and thoughtful young Bahá'í should always approach the Cause in this way, for therein lies the very essence of the principle of independent investigation of truth. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 6 August 1933, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; compilation: ‘Science and Technology’, compiled by Research Department of the Universal House of Justice and attached to a Memorandum from the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, dated 13-August 1997)   

October 26, 2018

A major objective of training institutes

A major object of the recent emphasis on establishing training institutes is to increase the capacity of individuals to teach the Cause effectively. Study circles, which are local extensions of an institute, are intended to serve this purpose. While it is highly desirable to include seekers in study circles wherever possible, the individual believer retains the inescapable duty to teach the Faith on his or her own initiative. 
- The Universal House of Justice  (From a letter dated 31 October 2002 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)

October 23, 2018

To aim for “unanimity in all things” during decision-making consultations of Local and National Spiritual Assemblies

Indeed it has ever been the cherished desire of our Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá that the friends in their councils, local as well as national, should by their candour, their honesty of purpose, their singleness of mind, and the thoroughness of their discussions achieve unanimity in all things. Should this in certain cases prove impracticable the verdict of the majority should prevail, to which decision the minority must under all circumstances gladly, spontaneously and continually submit. 
 - Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 29 January 1925 written to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, published in 'Bahá'í Administration: Selected Messages 1922-1932'; also in The Compilation of Compilations vol. II)

October 22, 2018

2016: Features of “an evolving framework for action” – identified by the Universal House of Justice

During this period, the adoption of an evolving framework for action has enabled the friends to
  • progressively nurture and refine essential capacities, giving rise to 
    • simple acts of service at first,
    • leading to more elaborate patterns of action, which in turn demanded
    • the development of capacities still more complex. 
  • In this way, a systematic process of human resource development and community building has been started in thousands of clusters—and, in many of them, become far advanced.
  • The focus has not been solely on the individual believer, or the community, or the institutions of the Faith; all three inseparable participants in the evolution of the new World Order are being stimulated by the spiritual forces released through the unfoldment of the Divine Plan.
  • The signs of their progress are more and more apparent:
    • in the confidence that countless believers have acquired to share accounts of Bahá’u’lláh’s life and discuss the implications of His Revelation and peerless Covenant;
    • in the growing contingents of souls who, as a result, have been attracted to His Cause and are contributing to the achievement of His unifying vision;
    • in the ability of Bahá’ís and their friends, at the very grassroots of the community, to describe in eloquent terms their experience of a process capable of transforming character and shaping social existence;
    • in the significantly larger numbers of those indigenous to a country who, as members of Bahá’í institutions and agencies, are now guiding the affairs of their communities;

October 19, 2018

The effect of the love of God on the world of humanity

Were it not for the love of God, the contingent world would be plunged in darkness. Were it not for the love of God, the hearts of men would be bereft of life and deprived of the stirrings of conscience. Were it not for the love of God, the perfections of the human world would entirely vanish. Were it not for the love of God, no real connection could exist between human hearts. Were it not for the love of God, spiritual union would be lost. Were it not for the love of God, the light of the oneness of mankind would be extinguished. Were it not for the love of God, the East and the West would not embrace as two lovers. Were it not for the love of God, discord and division would not be transmuted into fellowship. Were it not for the love of God, estrangement would not give way to unity. Were it not for the love of God, the stranger would not become the friend. Indeed, love in the human world is a ray of the love of God and a reflection of the grace of His bounty. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (Table talks in Akka, authenticated by ‘Abdu’l-Baha; ‘Some Answered Questions’ – 2014 revised translation by the Baha’i World Centre)

October 17, 2018

“The source of all evil”

The source of all evil is for man to turn away from his Lord and set his heart on things ungodly. 
- Baha’u’llah  (‘Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas’)

October 14, 2018

Freeing “the souls from the gloom of nature, which is the animal kingdom”

I hope that in this nether world thou shalt attain unto heavenly light, thou wilt free the souls from the gloom of nature, which is the animal kingdom, and cause them to reach lofty stations in the human kingdom. Today all people are immersed in the world of nature. That is why thou dost see jealousy, greed, the struggle for survival, deception, hypocrisy, tyranny, oppression, disputes, strife, bloodshed, looting and pillaging, which all emanate from the world of nature. Few are those who have been freed from this darkness, who have ascended from the world of nature to the world of man, who have followed the divine Teachings, have served the world of humanity, are resplendent, merciful, illumined and like unto a rose garden. Strive thine utmost to become godlike, characterized with His attributes, illumined and merciful, that thou mayest be freed from every bond and become attached at heart to the Kingdom of the incomparable Lord. This is Bahá’í bounty, and this is heavenly light. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (‘Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’)

October 9, 2018

To behold the “shining countenances” of the believers of God is “a divine gift”

O thou who art rejoiced by the Divine Glad tidings! Verily I have received thy last letter, and thanked God that thou didst reach Paris protected and guarded by Him. Thank thou God that He assisted thee to behold the brilliant faces of the believers of God, and favored thee to meet them in American countries; for verily, beholding those shining countenances is a divine gift. By it, the hearts are dilated, the souls are rejoiced, and the spirits are attracted toward the Supreme Concourse. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 19, March 2, 1915)

October 8, 2018

“Eternal Life” – do all souls partake of it?

Concerning thy question whether all the souls enjoy Eternal Life: Know thou, those souls partake of the Eternal Life in whom the Spirit of Life is breathed from the Presence of God; and all beside them are dead, without life as Christ has explained (this matter) in the texts of the Gospel. Any person whose insight is opened by God, sees the souls in their stations after the disintegration of the bodies Verily, they are living and are subsisting before their Lord and see also the dead souls submerged in the gulfs of mortality. 

Then know thou, verily, all the souls arc created according to the nature of God, and all are in the state of (unconscious) purity at the time of their birth. But afterward they differ from one another in so far as they acquire excellencies or defects. Nevertheless, the creatures have different degrees in existence in so far as the creation goes; for capacities are many, but all of them are good and pure (in their essence) then afterward they are polluted and defiled. 

Although there are different states of creation, yet all of them are beneficial. Glance thou over the temple of man, its members and its parts: Among them is the eye, the ear, smelling and taste, hands and fingers. Notwithstanding the differences between these organs, all of them are useful in their proper sphere. 
- ‘Abdu’l-Baha  (From a Tablet; Star of the West, vol. 5, no. 19, March 2, 1915)

October 7, 2018

Membership in Non-Baha’i Religious Associations

Concerning membership in non-Baha’i religious associations, the Guardian wishes to re-emphasize the general principle already laid down in his communications to your Assembly and also to the individual believers that no Baha’i who wishes to be a wholehearted and sincere upholder of the distinguishing principles of the Cause can accept full membership in any non-Baha’i ecclesiastical organization. For such an act would necessarily imply only a partial acceptance of the Teachings and laws of the Faith, and an incomplete recognition of its independent status, and would thus be tantamount to an act of disloyalty to the verities it enshrines. For it is only too obvious that in most of its fundamental assumptions the Cause of Baha’u’llah is completely at variance with outworn creeds, ceremonies and institutions. To be a Baha’i and at the same time accept membership in another religious body is simply an act of contradiction that no sincere and logically minded person can possibly accept. To follow Baha’u’llah does not mean accepting some of His teachings and rejecting the rest. Allegiance to His Cause must be uncompromising and wholehearted. During the days of the Master the Cause was still in a stage that made such an open and sharp dissociation between it and other religious organizations, and particularly the Muslim Faith, not only inadvisable but practically impossible to establish. But since His passing events throughout the Baha’i world, and particularly in Egypt where the Muslim religious courts have formally testified to the independent character of the Faith, have developed to a point that have made such an assertion of the independence of the Cause not only highly desirable but absolutely essential.” 
- Shoghi Effendi  (From a letter dated 15 June, 1935, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi; Baha’i News no. 93, July 1935)

October 4, 2018

“True civilization”

True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns -- the shining exemplars of devotion and determination -- shall, for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace. They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world. They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race. This supreme and noble undertaking -- the real source of the peace and well-being of all the world -- should be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.