Archive for May 2016

27 May — 11 ‘Azamat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_2521

Let nothing grieve thee, O Land of Tá (Tehran), for God hath chosen thee to be the source of the joy of all mankind. He shall, if it be His Will, bless thy throne with one who will rule with justice, who will gather together the flock of God which the wolves have scattered. Such a ruler will, with joy and gladness, turn his face towards, and extend his favors unto, the people of Bahá. He indeed is accounted in the sight of God as a jewel among men. Upon him rest forever the glory of God, and the glory of all that dwell in the kingdom of His revelation.

Rejoice with great joy, for God hath made thee “the Day Spring of His light,” inasmuch as within thee was born the Manifestation of His Glory. Be thou glad for this name that hath been conferred upon thee — a name through which the Day Star of grace hath shed its splendor, through which both earth and heaven have been illumined.

Ere long will the state of affairs within thee be changed, and the reins of power fall into the hands of the people. Verily, thy Lord is the All-Knowing. His authority embraceth all things. Rest thou assured in the gracious favor of thy Lord. The eye of His loving-kindness shall everlastingly be directed towards thee. The day is approaching when thy agitation will have been transmuted into peace and quiet calm. Thus hath it been decreed in the wondrous Book.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 110-111

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iran that were arrested and “disappeared” in that year in Iran.

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Iran that were arrested and “disappeared” in 1980

EVENING:

Call thou to mind that which hath been revealed unto Mihdi, Our servant, in the first year of Our banishment to the Land of Mystery (Adrianople). Unto him have We predicted that which must befall Our House (Baghdád House), in the days to come, lest he grieve over the acts of robbery and violence already perpetrated against it. Verily, the Lord, thy God, knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth.

The House of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdád, Iraq

To him We have written: This is not the first humiliation inflicted upon My House. In days gone by the hand of the oppressor hath heaped indignities upon it. Verily, it shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from every discerning eye. Thus have We unfolded to thee things hidden beyond the veil, inscrutable to all save God, the Almighty, the All-Praised. In the fullness of time, the Lord shall, by the power of truth, exalt it in the eyes of all men. He shall cause it to become the Standard of His Kingdom, the Shrine round which will circle the concourse of the faithful. Thus hath spoken the Lord, thy God, ere the day of lamentation arriveth. This revelation have We given thee in Our holy Tablet, lest thou sorrow for what hath befallen Our House through the assaults of the enemy. All praise be to God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 111

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE CAUSE  SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_7564Ja’far-Quli Khan, who was in Shimiran when the attempt on the Shah’s life was made, immediately wrote a letter to Bahá’u’lláh and acquainted Him with what had happened. “The Shah’s mother,” he wrote, “is inflamed with anger. She is denouncing you openly before the court and people as the ‘would-be murderer’ of her son. She is also trying to involve Mirzá Aqá Khán in this affair, and accuses him of being your accomplice.” He urged Bahá’u’lláh to remain for a time concealed in that neighbourhood, until the passion of the populace had subsided. He despatched to Afchih an old and experienced messenger whom he ordered to be at the disposal of his Guest and to hold himself in readiness to accompany Him to whatever place of safety He might desire.

Mirzá Aqá Khán-i-Núrí I’timaqu’d-Dawlih second grand vizier Nasiri’d-Din Shah and distant relative of Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh refused to avail Himself of the opportunity Ja’far-Quli Khan offered Him. Ignoring the messenger and rejecting his offer, He rode out, the next morning, with calm confidence, from Lavasan, where He was sojourning, to the headquarters of the imperial army, which was then stationed in Niyavaran, in the Shimiran district. Arriving at the village of Zarkandih, the seat of the Russian legation, which lay at a distance of one maydan from Niyavaran, He was met by Mirza Majid, His brother-in-law, who acted as secretary to the Russian minister,* and was invited by him to stay at his home, which adjoined that of his superior. The attendants of Haji Ali Khan, the Hajibu’d-Dawlih, recognized Him and went straightway to inform their master, who in turn brought the matter to the attention of the Shah.

* Prince Dolgorouki

The news of the arrival of Bahá’u’lláh greatly surprised the officers of the imperial army. Násiri’d-Dín Sháh himself was amazed at the bold and unexpected step which a man who was accused of being the chief instigator of the attempt upon his life had taken. He immediately sent one of his trusted officers to the legation, demanding that the Accused be delivered into his hands. The Russian minister refused, and requested Bahá’u’lláh to proceed to the home of Mirza Aqa Khan, the Grand Vazir, a place he thought to be the most appropriate under the circumstances. His request was granted, whereupon the minister formally communicated to the Grand Vazir his desire that the utmost care should be exercised to ensure the safety and protection of the Trust his government was delivering into his keeping, warning him that he would hold him responsible should he fail to disregard his wishes.*

* “When I was in chains and fetters, in the prison of Tá, one of thine ambassadors assisted Me. Therefore hath God decreed unto thee a station which none but Himself can comprehend. Beware lest thou change this lofty station.”

(Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet to the Czar of Russia.)]

The Dawn-Breakers, pp. 602-603

26 May ― 10 ‘Aẓamat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

In these days the tabernacle of justice hath fallen into the clutches of tyranny and oppression. Beseech ye the One true God — exalted be His glory — not to deprive mankind of the ocean of true understanding, for were men but to take heed they would readily appreciate that whatever hath streamed from and is set down by the Pen of Glory is even as the sun for the whole world and that therein lie the welfare, security and true interests of all men; otherwise the earth will be tormented by a fresh calamity every day and unprecedented commotions will break out. God grant that the people of the world may be graciously aided to preserve the light of His loving counsels within the globe of wisdom. We cherish the hope that everyone may be adorned with the vesture of true wisdom, the basis of the government of the world.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 166

EVENING:

51. O SON OF MAN!
My calamity is My providence, outwardly it is fire and vengeance, but inwardly it is light and mercy. Hasten thereunto that thou mayest become an eternal light and an immortal spirit. This is My command unto thee, do thou observe it.

52. O SON OF MAN!
Should prosperity befall thee, rejoice not, and should abasement come upon thee, grieve not, for both shall pass away and be no more.

53. O SON OF BEING!
If poverty overtake thee, be not sad; for in time the Lord of wealth shall visit thee. Fear not abasement, for glory shall one day rest on thee.

54. O SON OF BEING!
If thine heart be set upon this eternal, imperishable dominion, and this ancient, everlasting life, forsake this mortal and fleeting sovereignty.

55. O SON OF BEING!
Busy not thyself with this world, for with fire We test the gold, and with gold We test Our servants.

56. O SON OF MAN!
Thou dost wish for gold and I desire thy freedom from it. Thou thinkest thyself rich in its possession, and I recognize thy wealth in thy sanctity therefrom. By My life! This is My knowledge, and that is thy fancy; how can My way accord with thine?

57. O SON OF MAN!
Bestow My wealth upon My poor, that in heaven thou mayest draw from stores of unfading splendor and treasures of imperishable glory. But by My life! To offer up thy soul is a more glorious thing couldst thou but see with Mine eye.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Arabic Hidden Words

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE CAUSE OF GOD ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Thou hast written concerning the tests that have come to thee. To the sincere ones, tests are as a gift from God, the Exalted, for a heroic person hasteneth, with the utmost joy and gladness, to the tests of a violent battlefield, but the coward is afraid and trembles and utters moaning and lamentation. Likewise, an expert student prepareth and memorizeth his lessons and exercises with the utmost effort, and in the day of examination he appeareth with infinite joy before the master. Likewise, the pure gold shineth radiantly in the fire of test. Consequently, it is make clear that for holy souls, trials are as the gift of God, the Exalted; but for weak souls they are an unexpected calamity. This test is just as thou hast written: it removeth the rust of egotism from the mirror of the heart until the Sun of Truth may shine therein. For, no veil is greater than egotism and no matter how thin that covering may be, yet it will finally veil man entirely and prevent him from receiving a portion from the eternal bounty.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 722-723

Mansion of Bahji from the South in ‘Akká, Israel, where Bahá’u’lláh spent the last days of His life.

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE CAUSE OF GOD SHOGHI EFFENDI:

Indeed this fresh ordeal that has, in pursuance of the mysterious dispensations of Providence, afflicted the Faith, at this unexpected hour, far from dealing a fatal blow to its institutions or existence, should be regarded as a blessing in disguise, not a “calamity” but a “providence” of God, not a devastating flood but a “gentle rain” on a “green pasture,” a “wick” and “oil” unto the “lamp” of His Faith, a “nurture” for His Cause, “water for that which has been planted in the hearts of men,” a “crown set on the head” of His Messenger for this Day.

Whatever its outcome, this sudden commotion that has seized the Bahá’í world, that has revived the hopes and emboldened the host of the adversaries of the Faith intent on quenching its light and obliterating it from the face of the earth, has served as a trumpet call in the sounding of which the press of the world, the cries of its vociferous enemies, the public remonstrances of both men of good will and those in authority have joined, proclaiming far and wide its existence, publicizing its history, defending its verities, unveiling its truths, demonstrating the character of its institutions and advertising its aims and purposes.

Citadel of Faith, p. 139

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

“To the Baha’is of the World” dated 23 May 2011

Beyond responding to the specific appeals for homefront and international pioneers that are issued from time to time by the institutions, the friends are of course welcome to arise at any time and from any place to settle in any area where they feel they can best contribute to the advancement of the Cause.  Even so, their endeavours would yield greater effect if, drawing on the advice of institutions, they were to direct their efforts to clusters–indeed, villages and neighbourhoods within clusters–that are the focus of systematic attention.  It is our ardent hope that the believers will arise rank upon rank, with a clarity of vision born of experience and with complete reliance on the confirmations of God, to offer His life-giving Message to every eager soul, to every receptive population.  Our prayers at the Sacred Threshold will accompany them as they strive to seize the abundant opportunities now opening before them.

24 May – 8 ‘Aẓamat   Leave a comment

IMG_0264MORNING:

And likewise He saith: The heaven of true understanding shineth resplendent with the light of two luminaries: tolerance and righteousness.

O my friend! Vast oceans lie enshrined within this brief saying. Blessed are they who appreciate its value, drink deep therefrom and grasp its meaning, and woe betide the heedless. This lowly one entreateth the people of the world to observe fairness, that their tender, their delicate and precious hearing which hath been created to hearken unto the words of wisdom may be freed from impediments and from such allusions, idle fancies or vain imaginings as ‘cannot fatten nor appease the hunger’, so that the true Counsellor may be graciously inclined to set forth that which is the source of blessing for mankind and of the highest good for all nations.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 169-179

 

IMG_0270EVENING:

O ye learned of the world! Ye failed to seek Our presence, that ye might hearken unto the sweet melodies of the Spirit and perceive that which God in His bounty hath pleased to bestow upon Me. Verily, this grace hath now escaped you, did ye but know. Had ye sought Our presence, We would have imparted unto you a knowledge that would have rendered you independent of all else. But this ye failed to do, and thus hath the decree of God been fulfilled. Now have I been forbidden to disclose it, since We stand accused of sorcery, if ye perceive Our meaning. The same words were uttered by the deniers of old, men whom death hath long since overtaken and who now dwell in the fire bewailing their plight. The deniers of this day shall likewise meet their doom. Such is the irrevocable decree of Him Who is the All-Powerful, the Self-Sufficient.

I counsel you, in the end, not to overstep the bounds of God, nor to heed the ways and habits of men, for these can neither “fatten nor appease your hunger”. Fix, rather, your gaze upon the precepts of God. Whosoever desireth, let him accept this counsel as a path leading unto his Lord, and whosoever desireth, let him return to his own idle imaginings. My Lord, verily, is independent above all who are in the heavens and on the earth, and above all that they say and do.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 234-235

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

You have also observed how the confirmations of the Blessed Perfection encompassed all. What result is forthcoming from material rest, tranquillity, luxury and attachment to this corporeal world? It is evident that the man who pursues these things will in the end become afflicted with regret and loss.

Consequently, one must close his eyes wholly to these thoughts, long for eternal life, the sublimity of the world of humanity, the celestial developments, the Holy Spirit, the promotion of the Word of God, the guidance of the inhabitants of the globe, the promulgation of universal peace and the proclamation of the oneness of the world of humanity! This is the work! Otherwise like unto other animals and birds one must occupy himself with the requirements of this physical life, the satisfaction of which is the highest aspiration of the animal kingdom, and one must stalk across the earth like unto the quadrupeds.

Consider ye! No matter how much man gains wealth, riches and opulence in this world, he will not become as independent as a cow. For these fattened cows roam freely over the vast tableland. All the prairies and meadows are theirs for grazing, and all the springs and rivers are theirs for drinking! No matter how much they graze, the fields will not be exhausted! It is evident that they have earned these material bounties with the utmost facility.

Tablets of the Divine Plan, pp. 44-45

Posted May 24, 2016 by Once in 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Bounty, Critical Thought, God

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1 May ― 4 Jamál DAY TWELVE OF THE FESTIVAL OF RIDVAN   Leave a comment

1 May ― 4 Jamál DAY TWELVE OF THE FESTIVAL OF RIDVAN

Our world has entered the dark heart of an age of

fundamental change beyond anything in all of its tumultuous

history. Its peoples, of whatever race, nation, or

religion, are being challenged to subordinate all lesser

loyalties and limiting identities to their oneness as citizens

of a single planetary homeland. In Bahá’u’lláh’s words: “The

well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable

unless and until its unity is firmly established.” May the

publication of this translation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas lend a

fresh impulse to the realization of this universal vision,

opening vistas of a worldwide regeneration.

 

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTIC

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 11

 

MORNING:

In the treasuries of the knowledge of God there lieth concealed a knowledge which, when applied, will largely, though not wholly, eliminate fear. This knowledge, however, should be taught from childhood, as it will greatly aid in its elimination. Whatever decreaseth fear increaseth courage. Should the Will of God assist Us, there would flow out from the Pen of the Divine Expounder a lengthy exposition of that which hath been mentioned, and there would be revealed, in the field of arts and sciences, what would renew the world and the nations. A word hath, likewise, been written down and recorded by the Pen of the Most High in the Crimson Book which is capable of fully disclosing that force which is hid in men, nay of redoubling its potency. We implore God — exalted and glorified be He — to graciously assist His servants to do that which is pleasing and acceptable unto Him.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 31

 

EVENING:

Issue forth from your cities, O peoples of the West and aid God ere the Day when the Lord of mercy shall come down unto you in the shadow of the clouds with the angels circling around Him,† exalting His praise and seeking forgiveness for such as have truly believed in Our signs. Verily His decree hath been issued, and the command of God, as given in the Mother Book, hath indeed been revealed…

†  Qur’án 2:206

Become as true brethren in the one and indivisible religion of God, free from distinction, for verily God desireth that your hearts should become mirrors unto your brethren in the Faith, so that ye find yourselves reflected in them, and they in you. This is the true Path of God, the Almighty, and He is indeed watchful over your actions.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 56

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

A Cause which all the governments and peoples of the world, with all their powers and armies, cannot promulgate and spread, one Holy Soul can promote without help or support! Can this be done by human power? No, in the name of God! For example, Christ, alone and solitary, upraised the standard of peace and righteousness, a work which all the victorious governments with all their hosts are unable to accomplish. Consider what was the fate of so many and diverse empires and peoples: the Roman Empire, France, Germany, Russia, England, etc.; all were gathered together under the same tent — that is to say, the appearance of Christ brought about a union among these diverse nations, some of whom, under the influence of Christianity, became so united that they sacrificed their lives and property for one another. After the time of Constantine, who was the protagonist of Christianity, divisions broke out among them. The point is this, that Christ united these nations but after a while governments became the cause of discord. What I mean is that Christ sustained a Cause that all the kings of the earth could not establish! He united the various religions and modified ancient customs. Consider what great differences existed between Romans, Greeks, Syrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Israelites and other peoples of Europe. Christ removed these differences and became the cause of love between these communities. Although after some time governments destroyed this union, the work of Christ was accomplished.

Some Answered Questions, p. 9

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF THE CAUSE OF GOD

SHOGHI EFFENDI:

During this Formative Age of the Faith, and in the course of present and succeeding epochs, the last and crowning stage in the erection of the framework of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh — the election of the Universal House of Justice — will have been completed, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Mother-Book of His Revelation, will have been codified and its laws promulgated, the Lesser Peace will have been established, the unity of mankind will have been achieved and its maturity attained, the Plan conceived by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will have been executed, the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy will have been effected, and its independent religious status will have been universally recognized, whilst in the course of the Golden Age, destined to consummate the Dispensation itself, the banner of the Most Great Peace, promised by its Author, will have been unfurled, the World Bahá’í Commonwealth will have emerged in the plenitude of its power and splendor, and the birth and efflorescence of a world civilization, the child of that Peace, will have conferred its inestimable blessings upon all mankind.

Citadel of Faith, p. 6