Archive for September 2016

23 September ― 16 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

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Let the white make a supreme effort in their resolve to contribute their share to the solution of this problem, to abandon once for all their usually inherent and at times subconscious sense of superiority, to correct their tendency towards revealing a patronizing attitude towards the members of the other race, to persuade them through their intimate, spontaneous and informal association with them of the genuineness of their friendship and the sincerity of their intentions, and to master their impatience of any lack of responsiveness on the part of a people who have received, for so long a period, such grievous and slow-healing wounds. Let the Negroes, through a corresponding effort on their part, show by every means in their power the warmth of their response, their readiness to forget the past, and their ability to wipe out every trace of suspicion that may still linger in their hearts and minds. Let neither think that the solution of so vast a problem is a matter that exclusively concerns the other. Let neither think that such a problem can either easily or immediately be resolved. Let neither think that they can wait confidently for the solution of this problem until the initiative has been taken, and the favorable circumstances created, by agencies that stand outside the orbit of their Faith. Let neither think that anything short of genuine love, extreme patience, true humility, consummate tact, sound initiative, mature wisdom, and deliberate, persistent, and prayerful effort, can succeed in blotting out the stain which this patent evil has left on the fair name of their common country. Let them rather believe, and be firmly convinced,   that on their mutual understanding, their amity, and sustained cooperation, must depend, more than on any other force or organization operating outside the circle of their Faith, the deflection of that dangerous course so greatly feared by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and the materialization of the hopes He cherished for their joint contribution to the fulfillment of that country’s glorious destiny.

Shoghi Effendi

The Advent of Divine Justice, pp: 40-41

MORNING:

Consider … the revelation of the light of the Name of God, the Educator. Behold, how in all things the evidences of such a revelation are manifest, how the betterment of all beings dependeth upon it. This education is of two kinds. The one is universal. Its influence pervadeth all things and sustaineth them. It is for this reason that God hath assumed the title, “Lord of all worlds”. The other is confined to them that have come under the shadow of this Name, and sought the shelter of this most mighty Revelation. They, however, that have failed to seek this shelter, have deprived themselves of this privilege, and are powerless to benefit from the spiritual sustenance that hath been sent down through the heavenly grace of this Most Great Name. How great the gulf fixed between the one and the other!…

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, Sec. 93, pp. 189–90

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EVENING:

We prescribe unto all men that which will lead to the exaltation of the Word of God amongst His servants, and likewise, to the advancement of the world of being and the uplift of souls. To this end, the greatest means is education of the child. To this must each and all hold fast. We have verily laid this charge upon you in manifold Tablets as well as in My Most Holy Book. Well is it with him who deferreth thereto.

We ask of God that He will assist each and every one to obey this inescapable command that hath appeared and been caused to descend through the Pen of the Ancient of Days.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

(From a Tablet – translated from the Persian)

A Compilation on Bahá’í Education

Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, August 1976, p. 2

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22 September ― 15 ‘Izzat   1 comment

MORNING:

 

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O thou who hast soared to the realm of guidance and ascended to the kingdom of virtue! Shouldst thou desire to apprehend these celestial allusions, to witness the mysteries of divine knowledge, and to become acquainted with His all-encompassing Word, then it behoveth thine eminence to inquire into these and other questions pertaining to thine origin and ultimate goal from those whom God hath made to be the Wellspring of His knowledge, the Heaven of His wisdom, and the Ark of His mysteries. For were it not for those effulgent Lights that shine above the horizon of His Essence, the people would know not their left hand from their right, how much less could they scale the heights of the inner realities or probe the depths of their subtleties! We beseech God therefore to immerse us in these surging seas, to grace us with the presence of these life-bearing breezes, and to cause us to abide in these divine and lofty precincts. Perchance we may divest ourselves of all that we have taken from each other and strip ourselves of such borrowed garments as we have stolen from our fellow men, that He may attire us instead with the robe of His mercy and the raiment of His guidance, and admit us into the city of knowledge.  

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Javáhiru’l-Asrár

Gems of Divine Mysteries

Bahá’í World Centre, 2002 edition, pp: 14-15

EVENING:

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Whosoever entereth this city will comprehend every science before probing into its mysteries and will acquire from the leaves of its trees a knowledge and wisdom encompassing such mysteries of divine lordship as are enshrined within the treasuries of creation. Glorified be God, its Creator and Fashioner, above all that He hath brought forth and ordained therein! By God, the Sovereign Protector, the Self-Subsisting, the Almighty! Were I to unveil to thine eyes the gates of this city, which have been fashioned by the right hand of might and power, thou wouldst behold that which none before thee hath ever beheld, and wouldst witness that which no other soul hath ever witnessed. Thou wouldst apprehend the most obscure signs and the most abstruse allusions, and wouldst clearly behold the mysteries of the beginning in the point of the end. All matters would be made easy unto thee, fire would be turned into light, knowledge and blessings, and thou wouldst abide in safety within the court of holiness.

Bereft, however, of the essence of the mysteries of His wisdom, which We have imparted unto thee beneath the veils of these blessed and soul-stirring words, thou wouldst fail to attain unto even a sprinkling of the oceans of divine knowledge or the crystal streams of divine power, and wouldst be recorded in the Mother Book, through the Pen of oneness and by the Finger of God, amongst the ignorant. Nor wouldst thou be able to grasp a single word of the Book or a single utterance of the Kindred of God* concerning the mysteries of the beginning and the end.

* The Imáms of Shí’ih Islám.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Javáhiru’l-Asrár

Gems of Divine Mysteries

Bahá’í World Centre, 2002 edition, pp: 14-15

House of Worship, India

As to you, O ye loved ones of God! Loose your tongues and offer Him thanks; praise ye and glorify the Beauty of the Adored One, for ye have drunk from this purest of chalices, and ye are cheered and set aglow with this wine. Ye have detected the sweet scents of holiness, ye have smelled the musk of faithfulness from Joseph’s raiment. Ye have fed on the honey-dew of loyalty from the hands of Him Who is the one alone Beloved, ye have feasted on immortal dishes at the bounteous banquet table of the Lord. This plenty is a special favour bestowed by a loving God, these are blessings and rare gifts deriving from His grace. In the Gospel He saith: ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’* That is, to many is it offered, but rare is the soul who is singled out to receive the great bestowal of guidance. ‘Such is the bounty of God: to whom He will He giveth it, and of immense bounty is God.’**

* Matthew 22:14

**Qur’án 57:21

21 September ― 14 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_4300Describing the people of Bahá, the Most Sublime Pen hath sent down these words: “These, verily, are men who if they come to cities of pure gold will consider them not; and if they meet the fairest and most comely of women will turn aside.” Thus hath it been sent down by the Most Sublime Pen for the people of Bahá, on the part of Him Who is the Counsellor, the Omniscient. In the concluding passages of the Tablet to His Majesty the Emperor of Paris* these exalted words have been revealed: “Exultest thou over the treasures thou dost possess, knowing they shall perish? Rejoicest thou in that thou rulest a span of earth, when the whole world, in the estimation of the people of Bahá, is worth as much as the black in the eye of a dead ant? Abandon it unto such as have set their affections upon it, and turn thou unto Him Who is the Desire of the world.” 

  

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,

US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988 pocket-size edition, pp: 124-125

EVENING:

IMG_6135Among others, these perspicuous verses have, in answer to certain individuals, been sent down from the Kingdom of Divine knowledge: “O thou who hast set thy face towards the splendors of My Countenance! Vague fancies have encompassed the dwellers of the earth and debarred them from turning towards the Horizon of Certitude, and its brightness, and its manifestations and its lights. Vain imaginings have withheld them from Him Who is the Self-Subsisting. They speak as prompted by their own caprices, and understand not. Among them are those who have said: ‘Have the verses been sent down?’ Say: ‘Yea, by Him Who is the Lord of the heavens!’ ‘Hath the Hour come?’ ‘Nay, more; it hath passed, by Him Who is the Revealer of clear tokens! Verily, the Inevitable is come, and He, the True One, hath appeared with proof and testimony. The Plain is disclosed, and mankind is sore vexed and fearful. Earthquakes have broken loose, and the tribes have lamented, for fear of God, the Lord of Strength, the All-Compelling.’ Say: ‘The stunning trumpet blast hath been loudly raised, and the Day is God’s, the One, the Unconstrained.’

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf,

US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988 pocket-size edition, pp: 131-132

From The Bahá’í International Community at the instruction of

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSICE:

IMG_8796The tasks entailed in the development of a global society call for levels of capacity far beyond anything the human race has so far been able to muster. Reaching these levels will require an enormous expansion in access to knowledge, on the part of individuals and social organizations alike. Universal education will be an indispensable contributor to this process of capacity building, but the effort will succeed only as human affairs are so reorganized as to enable both individuals and groups in every sector of society to acquire knowledge and apply it to the shaping of human affairs.

Throughout recorded history, human consciousness has depended upon two basic knowledge systems through which its potentialities have progressively been expressed: science and religion. Through these two agencies, the race’s experience has been organized, its environment interpreted, its latent powers explored, and its moral and intellectual life disciplined. They have acted as the real progenitors of civilization. With the benefit of hindsight, it is evident, moreover, that the effectiveness of this dual structure has been greatest during those periods when, each in its own sphere, religion and science were able to work in concert.

Given the almost universal respect in which science is currently held, its credentials need no elaboration. In the context of a strategy of social and economic development, the issue rather is how scientific and technological activity is to be organized. If the work involved is viewed chiefly as the preserve of established elites living in a small number of nations, it is obvious that the enormous gap which such an arrangement has already created between the world’s rich and poor will only continue to widen, with the disastrous consequences for the world’s economy already noted. Indeed, if most of humankind continue to be regarded mainly as users of products of science and technology created elsewhere, then programs ostensibly designed to serve their needs cannot properly be termed “development”.

A central challenge, therefore—and an enormous one—is the expansion of scientific and technological activity. Instruments of social and economic change so powerful must cease to be the patrimony of advantaged segments of society, and must be so organized as to permit people everywhere to participate in such activity on the basis of capacity. Apart from the creation of programs that make the required education available to all who are able to benefit from it, such reorganization will require the establishment of viable centers of learning throughout the world, institutions that will enhance the capability of the world’s peoples to participate in the generation and application of knowledge. Development strategy, while acknowledging the wide differences of individual capacity, must take as a major goal the task of making it possible for all of the earth’s inhabitants to approach on an equal basis the processes of science and technology which are their common birthright. Familiar arguments for maintaining the status quo grow daily less compelling as the accelerating revolution in communication technologies now brings information and training within reach of vast numbers of people around the globe, wherever they may be, whatever their cultural backgrounds.

The Prosperity of Humankind

Bahá’í International Community, pp: 8-9

From The Universal House of Justice letter of 23 January 1995

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá’ís throughout the world:

IMG_9498In view of the intensive attention being given to the issues of social and economic development since the Earth Summit in Brazil, we requested the Bahá’í International Community’s Office of Public Information to prepare a statement on the concept of global prosperity in the context of the Bahá’í Teachings. This statement is now ready for distribution. We are therefore very pleased to send each of you herewith a copy of “The Prosperity of Humankind” and to commend it to your use as you pursue activities that enable you to interact with governments, organizations, and people everywhere. Our confident hope is that the statement will assist you to foster understanding of this important topic among the members of your communities and thus vitalize their contribution to the constructive social processes at work throughout the planet.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,
[The Universal House of Justice]

20 September ― 13 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_6135To read but one of the verses of My Revelation is better than to peruse the Scriptures of both the former and latter generations. This is the Utterance of the All-Merciful, would that ye had ears to hear! Say: This is the essence of knowledge, did ye but understand.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

Bahá’í World Centre, 1992 edition, p. 69

EVENING:

Lament not in your hours of trial, neither rejoice therein; seek ye the Middle Way which is the remembrance of Me in your afflictions and reflection over that which may befall you in future. Thus informeth you He Who is the Omniscient, He Who is aware.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas

Bahá’í World Centre, 1992 edition, p. 35

The Universal House of Justice 2005

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSICE:

The reawakened interest in religion is clearly far from having reached its peak, in either its explicitly religious or its less definable spiritual manifestations. On the contrary. The phenomenon is the product of historical forces that steadily gather momentum. Their common effect is to erode the certainty, bequeathed to the world by the twentieth century, that material existence represents ultimate reality.

The most obvious cause of these re-evaluations has been the bankruptcy of the materialist enterprise itself. For well over a hundred years, the idea of progress was identified with economic development and with its capacity to motivate and shape social improvement. Those differences of opinion that existed did not challenge this world view, but only conceptions as to how its goals might best be attained. Its most extreme form, the iron dogma of “scientific materialism”, sought to reinterpret every aspect of history and human behaviour in its own narrow terms. Whatever humanitarian ideals may have inspired some of its early proponents, the universal consequence was to produce regimes of totalitarian control prepared to use any means of coercion in regulating the lives of hapless populations subjected to them. The goal held up as justification of such abuses was the creation of a new kind of society that would ensure not only freedom from want but fulfilment for the human spirit. At the end, after eight decades of mounting folly and brutality, the movement collapsed as a credible guide to the world’s future.

IMG_9483Other systems of social experimentation, while repudiating recourse to inhumane methods, nevertheless derived their moral and intellectual thrust from the same limited conception of reality. The view took root that, since people were essentially self-interested actors in matters pertaining to their economic well-being, the building of just and prosperous societies could be ensured by one or another scheme of what was described as modernization. The closing decades of the twentieth century, however, sagged under a mounting burden of evidence to the contrary: the breakdown of family life, soaring crime, dysfunctional educational systems, and a catalogue of other social pathologies that bring to mind the sombre words of Bahá’u’lláh’s warning about the impending condition of human society: “Such shall be its plight, that to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly.” *

*Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1983), section 91

One Common Faith

Bahá’í World Centre, 2005 edition, pp: 7-9

19 September ― 12 ‘Izzat   1 comment

MORNING:

IMG_2207Knowledge is one of the wondrous gifts of God. It is incumbent upon everyone to acquire it. Such arts and material means as are now manifest have been achieved by virtue of His knowledge and wisdom which have been revealed in Epistles and Tablets through His Most Exalted Pen—a Pen out of whose treasury pearls of wisdom and utterance and the arts and crafts of the world are brought to light.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988, p. 39

EVENING:

IMG_2208O people of the earth! Whoso obeyeth the Remembrance of God and His Book hath in truth obeyed God and His chosen ones and he will, in the life to come, be reckoned in the presence of God among the inmates of the Paradise of His good-pleasure. Knowledge is as wings to man’s life, and a ladder for his ascent. Its acquisition is incumbent upon everyone. The knowledge of such sciences, however, should be acquired as can profit the peoples of the earth, and not those which begin with words and end with words. Great indeed is the claim of scientists and craftsmen on the peoples of the world…. In truth, knowledge is a veritable treasure for man, and a source of glory, of bounty, of joy, of exaltation, of cheer and gladness unto him. Thus hath the Tongue of Grandeur spoken in this Most Great Prison.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh Revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1988,, pp. 51–52)

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSICE:

With the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Apostolic Age of the Cause reached its end. The Divine intervention that had begun seventy-seven years earlier on the night the Báb declared His mission to Mulla Ḥusayn—and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself was born—had completed its work. It had been, in the words of Shoghi Effendi, “a period whose splendours no victories in this or any future age, however brilliant, can rival….” 1 Ahead lay the thousand or thousands of years in which the potentialities that this creative force has planted in human consciousness will gradually unfold.

Contemplation of so great a juncture in the history of civilization brings into sharp focus the Figure whose nature and role have been unique in this six-thousand-year process. Bahá’u’lláh has called ‘Abdu’l-Bahá “the Mystery of God”. Shoghi Effendi has described Him as “the Centre and Pivot” of Bahá’u’lláh’s Covenant, the “perfect Exemplar” of the teachings of the Revelation of God for the age of human maturity, and “the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity”. No phenomenon in any way comparable to His appearance had accompanied any of the Divine Revelations that had given birth to the other great religious systems in recorded history; all of these had been essentially stages preparing humanity for its coming of age. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was Bahá’u’lláh’s supreme Creation, the One that made everything else possible. An understanding of this truth moved a perceptive American Bahá’í to write:

Hand of the Cause of God Horace HolleyNow a message from God must be delivered, and there was no mankind to hear this message. Therefore, God gave the world ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá received the message of Bahá’u’lláh on behalf of the human race. He heard the voice of God; He was inspired by the spirit; He attained complete consciousness and awareness of the meaning of this message, and He pledged the human race to respond to the voice of God. …to me that is the Covenant—that there was on this earth some one who could be a representative of an as yet uncreated race. There were only tribes, families, creeds, classes, etc., but there was no man except ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as man, took to Himself the message of Bahá’u’lláh and promised God that He would bring the people into the oneness of mankind, and create a humanity that could be the vehicle for the laws of God.*

*Religion for Mankind (London: George Ronald, 1956), pp. 243–244.

Century of Light

Bahá’í World Centre, 2001 edition, pp: 39-40

Photograph of Hand of the Cause of God Horace Holly [1887-1960]

18 September ― 11 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_4037Vain indeed is your dominion, for God hath set aside earthly possessions for such as have denied Him; for unto Him Who is your Lord shall be the most excellent abode, He Who is, in truth, the Ancient of Days….

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections From the Writings of the Báb Bahá’í World Centre, 1982 lightweight edition, p. 44

EVENING:

IMG_7949O people of the earth! Whoso obeyeth the Remembrance of God and His Book hath in truth obeyed God and His chosen ones and he will, in the life to come, be reckoned in the presence of God among the inmates of the Paradise of His good-pleasure.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections From the Writings of the Báb Bahá’í World Centre, 1982 lightweight edition, p. 44

FROM THE EXEMPLAR OF THE CAUSE ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

IMG_6701The foreknowledge of a thing is not the cause of its realization; for the essential knowledge of God surrounds, in the same way, the realities of things, before as well as after their existence, and it does not become the cause of their existence. It is a perfection of God. But that which was prophesied by the inspiration of God through the tongues of the Prophets, concerning the appearance of the Promised One of the Bible, was not the cause of the manifestation of Christ.

The hidden secrets of the future were revealed to the Prophets, and They thus became acquainted with the future events which They announced. This knowledge and these prophecies were not the cause of the occurrences. For example, tonight everyone knows that after seven hours the sun will rise, but this general foreknowledge does not cause the rising and appearance of the sun.

Therefore, the knowledge of God in the realm of contingency does not produce the forms of the things. On the contrary, it is purified from the past, present and future. It is identical with the reality of the things; it is not the cause of their occurrence.

In the same way, the record and the mention of a thing in the Book does not become the cause of its existence. The Prophets, through the divine inspiration, knew what would come to pass. For instance, through the divine inspiration They knew that Christ would be martyred, and They announced it. Now, was Their knowledge and information the cause of the martyrdom of Christ? No; this knowledge is a perfection of the Prophets and did not cause the martyrdom.

The mathematicians by astronomical calculations know that at a certain time an eclipse of the moon or the sun will occur. Surely this discovery does not cause the eclipse to take place. This is, of course, only an analogy and not an exact image.

Some Answered Questions

US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1990 reprint of pocket-size edition, pp: 138-139

17 September ― 10 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_1556Where are their laughing hearts and their smiling mouths? Woe unto them! They have descended to the abyss and become companions to the pebbles; today no mention is heard nor any sound; nothing is known of them or any hint. Will the people dispute it while they behold it? will they deny while they know it? I know not in what valley they wander erringly; do they not see that they depart and return not? How long will they be descending and ascending — spiritually rising and falling? Has the time not yet come to those who believe, for their hearts to become humble for the remembrance of God? Well is it with that one who hath said or shall say, “Yea, O Lord, the time is right and hath come.” And who severeth himself from all that is, unto the King of beings, and the Ruler of creation. Alas! Naught is reaped but what is sown, and nought is taken but what is laid up, save by the grace of God and His favor. hath the earth conceived him whom the veils of glory prevent not from ascending into the kingdom of his Lord, the Mighty, the Supreme? Have we any good works whereby defects shall be removed or which shall bring us near unto the Lord of causes? We ask God to deal with us according to His grace, not His justice, and to make us of those who turn toward Him and sever themselves from all beside Him.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Compilations, Bahá’i Scriptures, p. 77-78

 EVENING:

Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.

IMG_0877Go thou straight on and persevere in His service. Say: O people! The Day, promised unto you in all the Scriptures, is now come. Fear ye God, and withhold not yourselves from recognizing the One Who is the Object of your creation. Hasten ye unto Him. Better is this for you than the world and all that is therein. Would that ye could perceive it!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 313

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

IMG_8094I hope that through the bounty and favors of the Most Glorious Lord, in this new age, the regions of the West become the East of the Sun of Truth, the believers of God become the dawning-places of lights, the manifestors of the signs, be protected and guarded from the doubts of the heedless ones, remain firm and steadfast in the Covenant and Testament, and strive day and night in order to awaken those who are asleep, to make mindful those who are heedless, to make confident of the mysteries of the Kingdom those who are deprived, to confer a share from the never-ending outpouring upon those who are helpless, to become the heralds of the Kingdom and to call the inhabitants of this terrestrial world to the Celestial Realm.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, pp: 40-41

Posted September 17, 2016 by Once in "Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh"