Archive for the ‘Advancement of civilisation’ Category

23 February ― 17 Mulk   Leave a comment

In the forefront of the Westerners who responded to the Master’s summons were the little groups of intrepid believers whom Shoghi Effendi has hailed as “God-intoxicated pilgrims” and who had the privilege of visiting ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the prison-city of ‘Akká, of seeing for themselves the luminosity of His Person and of hearing from His own lips words that had the power to transform human life. The effect on these believers has been expressed by May Maxwell:

 

IMG_7172“Of that first meeting,” … “I can remember neither joy nor pain, nor anything that I can name. I had been carried suddenly to too great  19  a height, my soul had come in contact with the Divine Spirit, and this force, so pure, so holy, so mighty, had overwhelmed me….”

 

Mount Carmel in 1894

 

Their return to their homes became, Shoghi Effendi explains, “the signal for an outburst of systematic and sustained activity, which … spread its ramifications over Western Europe and the states and provinces of the North American continent….”  Fuelling their endeavours and those of their fellow believers, and drawing into the Cause growing numbers of new adherents, was a flood of Tablets addressed by the Master to recipients on both sides of the Atlantic, messages that threw open the imagination to the concepts, principles and ideals of God’s new Revelation. The power of this creative force can be felt in the words with which the first American believer, Thornton Chase, sought to describe what he was seeing:

His [the Master’s] own writings, spreading like white-winged doves from the Center of His Presence to the ends of the earth, are so many (hundreds pouring forth daily) that it is an impossibility for him to have given time to them for searching thought or to have applied the mental processes of the scholar to them. They flow like streams from a gushing fountain….

Commissioned by The Universal House of Justice, Century of Light, p. 18

MORNING:

The explanations which were set forth awaken the people from the slumber of heedlessness. Indeed the actions of man himself breed a profusion of satanic power. For were men to abide by and observe the divine teachings, every trace of evil would be banished from the face of the earth. However, the widespread differences that exist among mankind and the prevalence of sedition, contention, conflict and the like are the primary factors which provoke the appearance of the satanic spirit. Yet the Holy Spirit hath ever shunned such matters. A world in which naught can be perceived save strife, quarrels and corruption is bound to become the seat of the throne, the very metropolis, of Satan.

How vast the number of the loved and chosen ones of God who have lamented and moaned by day and by night that haply a sweet and fragrant breeze might blow from the court of His good-pleasure and dispel altogether the loathsome and foul-smelling odours from the world. However, this ultimate goal could not be attained, and men were deprived thereof by virtue of their evil deeds, which brought upon them the retribution of God, in accordance with the basic principles of His divine rule. Ours is the duty to remain patient in these circumstances until relief be forthcoming from God, the Forgiving, the Bountiful.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 176-177

EVENING:

In the soil of whose heart will these holy seeds germinate? From the garden of whose soul will the blossoms of the invisible realities spring forth? Verily, I say, so fierce is the blaze of the Bush of love, burning in the Sinai of the heart, that the streaming waters of holy utterance can never quench its flame. Oceans can never allay this Leviathan’s burning thirst, and this Phoenix of the undying fire can abide nowhere save in the glow of the countenance of the Well-Beloved. Therefore, O brother! kindle with the oil of wisdom the lamp of the spirit within the innermost chamber of thy heart, and guard it with the globe of understanding, that the breath of the infidel may extinguish not its flame nor dim its brightness. Thus have We illuminated the heavens of utterance with the splendours of the Sun of divine wisdom and understanding, that thy heart may find peace, that thou mayest be of those who, on the wings of certitude, have soared unto the heaven of the love of their Lord, the All-Merciful.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 59

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

The world of humanity cannot advance through mere physical powers and intellectual attainments; nay, rather, the Holy Spirit is essential. The divine Father must assist the human world to attain maturity. The body of man is in need of physical and mental energy but his spirit requires the life and fortification of the Holy Spirit. Without its protection and quickening the human world would be extinguished. His Holiness Jesus Christ declared, “Let the dead bury their dead.” He also said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” It is evident therefore according to His Holiness that the human spirit which is not fortified by the presence of the Holy Spirit is dead and in need of resurrection by that divine power; otherwise though materially advanced to high degrees man cannot attain full and complete progress.

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 241-242

12 July ― 19 Raḥmat   Leave a comment

Let us acknowledge at the outset the magnitude of the ruin that the human race has brought upon itself during the period of history under review. The loss of life alone has been beyond counting. The disintegration of basic institutions of social order, the violation — indeed, the abandonment — of standards of decency, the betrayal of the life of the mind through surrender to ideologies as squalid as they have been empty, the invention and deployment of monstrous weapons of mass annihilation, the bankrupting of entire nations and the reduction of masses of human beings to hopeless poverty, the reckless destruction of the environment of the planet — such are only the more obvious in a catalogue of horrors unknown to even the darkest of ages past. Merely to mention them is to call to mind the Divine warnings expressed in Bahá’u’lláh’s words of a century ago: “O heedless ones! Though the wonders of My mercy have encompassed all created things, both visible and invisible, and though the revelations of My grace and bounty have permeated every atom of the universe, yet the rod with which I can chastise the wicked is grievous, and the fierceness of Mine anger against them terrible.”

Lest any observer of the Cause be tempted to misunderstand such warnings as only metaphorical, Shoghi Effendi, drawing some of the historical implications, wrote in 1941:   

“A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth, rocking its foundations, deranging its equilibrium, sundering its nations, disrupting the homes of its peoples, wasting its cities, driving into exile its kings, pulling down its bulwarks, uprooting its institutions, dimming its light, and harrowing up the souls of its inhabitants.”

Commissioned by

The Universal House of Justice

Century of Light, 1.1-1.2

MORNING:

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 Baháú’lláh

The Arabic Hidden Words, 55-57

EVENING:

63. O SON OF MAN!

The light hath shone on thee from the horizon of the sacred Mount and the spirit of enlightenment hath breathed in the Sinai of thy heart. Wherefore, free thyself from the veils of idle fancies and enter into My court, that thou mayest be fit for everlasting life and worthy to meet Me. Thus may death not come upon thee, neither weariness nor trouble.

64. O SON OF MAN!

My eternity is My creation, I have created it for thee. Make it the garment of thy temple. My unity is My handiwork; I have wrought it for thee; clothe thyself therewith, that thou mayest be to all eternity the revelation of My everlasting being.

65. O SON OF MAN! My majesty is My gift to thee, and My grandeur the token of My mercy unto thee. That which beseemeth Me none shall understand, nor can anyone recount. Verily, I have preserved it in My hidden storehouses and in the treasuries of My command, as a sign of My loving-kindness unto My servants and My mercy unto My people.

66. O CHILDREN OF THE DIVINE AND INVISIBLE ESSENCE!

Ye shall be hindered from loving Me and souls shall be perturbed as they make mention of Me. For minds cannot grasp Me nor hearts contain Me.

67. O SON OF BEAUTY!

By My spirit and by My favor! By My mercy and by My beauty! All that I have revealed unto thee with the tongue of power, and have written for thee with the pen of might, hath been in accordance with thy capacity and understanding, not with My state and the melody of My voice.

 His Holiness Baháú’lláh

The Arabic Hidden Words, 63-67

 

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Bahá’u’lláh taught the Oneness of humanity; that is to say, all the children of men are under the mercy of the Great God. They are the sons of one God; they are trained by God. He has placed the crown of humanity on the head of every one of the servants of God. Therefore all nations and peoples must consider themselves brethren. They are all descendants from Adam. They are the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits of One Tree. They are pearls from one shell. But the children of men are in need of education and civilization, and they require to be polished, till they become bright and shining.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 28

7 October ― 11 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_9489We pray God — exalted be His glory — and cherish the hope that He may graciously assist the manifestations of affluence and power and the daysprings of sovereignty and glory, the kings of the earth — may God aid them through His strengthening grace — to establish the Lesser Peace. This, indeed, is the greatest means for insuring the tranquillity of the nations. It is incumbent upon the Sovereigns of the world — may God assist them — unitedly to hold fast unto this Peace, which is the chief instrument for the protection of all mankind. It is Our hope that they will arise to achieve what will be conducive to the well-being of man. It is their duty to convene an all-inclusive assembly, which either they themselves or their ministers will attend, and to enforce whatever measures are required to establish unity and concord amongst men. They must put away the weapons of war, and turn to the instruments of universal reconstruction. Should one king rise up against another, all the other kings must arise to deter him. Arms and armaments will, then, be no more needed beyond that which is necessary to insure the internal security of their respective countries. If they attain unto this all-surpassing blessing, the people of each nation will pursue, with tranquillity and contentment, their own occupations, and the groanings and lamentations of most men would be silenced.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, pp: 30-31

EVENING:

IMG_9488Arise thou to serve the Cause of thy Lord; then give the people the joyful tidings concerning this resplendent Light whose revelation hath been announced by God through His Prophets and Messengers. Admonish everyone moreover to observe prudence as ordained by Him, and in the Name of God advise them, saying: It behoveth every one in this Day of God to dedicate himself to the teaching of the Cause with utmost prudence and steadfastness. Should he discover a pure soil, let him sow the seed of the Word of God, otherwise it would be preferable to observe silence.

Not long ago this most sublime Word was revealed in the Crimson Book by the All-Glorious Pen: ‘The heaven of divine wisdom is illumined with two luminaries: consultation and compassion’. Please God, everyone may be enabled to observe this weighty and blessed word.

Certain people seem to be entirely bereft of understanding. By clinging to the cord of idle fancy they have debarred themselves from the Sure Handle. I swear by My life! Were they to reflect a while with fairness on that which the All-Merciful hath sent down, they would, one and all, spontaneously give utterance to these words, ‘Verily Thou art the Truth, the manifest Truth.’

It behoveth thee to turn thy gaze in all circumstances unto the One true God, and seek diligently to serve His Cause. Call thou to mind when thou wert in My company, within the Tabernacle of Glory, and didst hear from Me that which He Who conversed with God* heard upon the Sinai of divine knowledge. Thus did We graciously aid thee, enabled thee to recognize the truth and cautioned thee, that thou mightest render thanks unto thy bountiful Lord. Thou shouldst safeguard this sublime station through the potency of My Name, the Omnipotent, the Faithful.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá‘u’lláh, pp: 242-243

THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ’Í COMMUNITY AS COMMISSONED BY THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

IMG_4783It may be argued that, since spiritual and moral issues have historically been bound up with contending theological doctrines which are not susceptible of objective proof, these issues lie outside the framework of the international community’s development concerns. To accord them any significant rôle would be to open the door to precisely those dogmatic influences that have nurtured social conflict and blocked human progress. There is doubtless a measure of truth in such an argument. Exponents of the world’s various theological systems bear a heavy responsibility not only for the disrepute into which faith itself has fallen among many progressive thinkers, but for the inhibitions and distortions produced in humanity’s continuing discourse on spiritual meaning. To conclude, however, that the answer lies in discouraging the investigation of spiritual reality and ignoring the deepest roots of human motivation is a self-evident delusion. The sole effect, to the degree that such censorship has been achieved in recent history, has been to deliver the shaping of humanity’s future into the hands of a new orthodoxy, one which argues that truth is amoral and facts are independent of values.

IMG_6478So far as earthly existence is concerned, many of the greatest achievements of religion have been moral in character. Through its teachings and through the examples of human lives illumined by these teachings, masses of people in all ages and lands have developed the capacity to love. They have learned to discipline the animal side of their natures, to make great sacrifices for the common good, to practise forgiveness, generosity, and trust, to use wealth and other resources in ways that serve the advancement of civilization. Institutional systems have been devised to translate these moral advances into the norms of social life on a vast scale. However obscured by dogmatic accretions and diverted by sectarian conflict, the spiritual impulses set in motion by such transcendent figures as Krishna, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, and Muḥammad have been the chief influence in the civilizing of human character.

Since, then, the challenge is the empowerment of humankind through a vast increase in access to knowledge, the strategy that can make this possible must be constructed around an ongoing and intensifying dialogue between science and religion. It is—or by now should be—a truism that, in every sphere of human activity and at every level, the insights and skills that represent scientific accomplishment must look to the force of spiritual commitment and moral principle to ensure their appropriate application. People need, for example, to learn how to separate fact from conjecture—indeed to distinguish between subjective views and objective reality; the extent to which individuals and institutions so equipped can contribute to human progress, however, will be determined by their devotion to truth and their detachment from the promptings of their own interests and passions. Another capacity that science must cultivate in all people is that of thinking in terms of process, including historical process; however, if this intellectual advancement is to contribute ultimately to promoting development, its perspective must be unclouded by prejudices of race, culture, sex, or sectarian belief. Similarly, the training that can make it possible for the earth’s inhabitants to participate in the production of wealth will advance the aims of development only to the extent that such an impulse is illumined by the spiritual insight that service to humankind is the purpose of both individual life and social organization.

The Prosperity of Humankind, p.10

Posted October 7, 2015 by Once in "Epistle to the Son of the Wolf", "The Prosperity of Humankind", Achievements of religion, Advancement of civilisation, Affluence, All-Glorious Pen, Arms and armaments, Assembly, Bahá'u'lláh, Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh, Buddha, Censorship, Compassion, Concord, Consultation, Crimsom Book, Day of God, Delusion, Discourse on spiritual, Distortion, Dogmatic accretions, Empowerment of mankind, Facts, Faithful, Glory, God, Heaven of divine wisdom, Human character, Human motivation, Humanity, Idle fancy, Inhibitions, Insight, Institutional systems, Internal security, International community, Jesus, Joyful tidings, Kings of the earth, Krishna, Lesser Peace, Ministers, Moral principle, Moses, Muḥammad, Name, Norms of social life, Omnipotent, One true God, Orthodoxy, Power, Process, Progressive thinkers, Protection of all mankind, Prudence, Pure soil, Reconstruction, Responsibility, Science and religion, Scientific accomplishment, Sectarian conflict, Seed of the Word of God, Silence, Sinai, Sinai of divine knowledge, Skill, Social conflict, Sovereigns, Sovereignty, Spiritual and moral issues, Spiritual commitment, Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, Teaching of the Cause, THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁ’Í COMMUNITY, The Universal House of Justice, Theological systems, Tranquility of the nations, Truism, Truth, Unity, Utterance, Values, Wealth, Weapons of war, Well-being of man, Wisdom, Word of God, Zoroaster

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