Archive for the ‘Century of Light’ Category

21 July ― 9 Kalimát   Leave a comment

However great is the distance between the Guardianship and the unique station of the Centre of the Covenant, the role played by Shoghi Effendi after the Master’s passing stands alone in the history of the Cause. It will continue to occupy this focal place in the life of the Faith throughout the coming centuries. In important respects Shoghi Effendi may be said to have extended by an additional, critical, thirty-six years the influence of the guiding hand of the Master in the building of the Administrative Order and the expansion and consolidation of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. One has only to make the fearful effort of imagining the fate of the infant Cause of God had it not been held firmly, during the period of its greatest vulnerability, in the grip of one who had been prepared for this purpose by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and who accepted to serve—in the fullest sense of the word—as its Guardian.

Although emphasizing to the body of his fellow believers that the Master’s twin Successors were “inseparable” and “complementary” in the functions they were individually designed to carry out, it is clear that Shoghi Effendi early accepted the implications of the fact that the Universal House of Justice could not come into existence until a lengthy process of administrative development had created the supporting structure of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies it required. He was entirely candid with the Bahá’í community about the implications of the fact that he was called on to exercise his supreme responsibility alone. In his own words:

Severed from the no less essential institution of the Universal House of Justice this same System of the Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá would be paralyzed in its action and would be powerless to fill in those gaps which the Author of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas has deliberately left in the body of His legislative and administrative ordinances.

Aware of this truth, Shoghi Effendi proceeded with scrupulous regard for the constraints placed on him by circumstance, a faithfulness that will be the pride of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers throughout the ages to come. The record of his thirty-six years of service to the Faith—a record which, like that of his Grandfather, is open for posterity to review and assess—contains, as he assured the Bahá’í community would be the case, no action on his part that would in any degree “infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain” of the Universal House of Justice. It is not only that Shoghi Effendi refrained from legislation; he was able to fulfil his mandate by introducing no more than provisional ordinances, leaving decisions in such matters entirely to the Universal House of Justice.

Nowhere is this self-restraint more striking than in the central issue of a successor to the Guardianship. Shoghi Effendi had no heirs of his own, and the other branches of the Holy family had violated the Covenant. The Bahá’í Writings contain no guidance in such an eventuality, but the Will and Testament of the Master is explicit as to how all matters that are unclear are to be resolved:

It is incumbent upon these members (of the Universal House of Justice) to gather in a certain place and deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself.

In conformity with this guidance from the pen of the Centre of the Covenant, Shoghi Effendi remained silent, leaving the question of his successor or successors in the hands of the Body alone authorized to determine the matter. Five months after it came into existence, the Universal House of Justice clarified the issue in a message dated 6 October 1963 to all National Spiritual Assemblies:

After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts … and after prolonged consideration … the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.

 

  

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Century of Light, pp: 82-84

MORNING:

Even as the visible sun that assisteth, as decreed by God, the true One, the Adored, in the development of all earthly things, such as the trees, the fruits, and colours thereof, the minerals of the earth, and all that may be witnessed in the world of creation, so do the divine Luminaries, by their loving care and educative influence, cause the trees of divine unity, the fruits of His oneness, the leaves of detachment, the blossoms of knowledge and certitude, and the myrtles of wisdom and utterance, to exist and be made manifest. Thus it is that through the rise of these Luminaries of God the world is made new, the waters of everlasting life stream forth, the billows of loving-kindness surge, the clouds of grace are gathered, and the breeze of bounty bloweth upon all created things. It is the warmth that these Luminaries of God generate, and the undying fires they kindle, which cause the light of the love of God to burn fiercely in the heart of humanity. It is through the abundant grace of these Symbols of Detachment that the Spirit of life everlasting is breathed into the bodies of the dead. Assuredly the visible sun is but a sign of the splendour of that Day-star of Truth, that Sun Which can never have a peer, a likeness, or rival. Through Him all things live, move, and have their being. Through His grace they are made manifest, and unto Him they all return. From Him all things have sprung, and unto the treasuries of His revelation they all have repaired. From Him all created things did proceed, and to the depositories of His law they did revert.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 33-34

EVENING:

That these divine Luminaries seem to be confined at times to specific designations and attributes, as you have observed and are now observing, is due solely to the imperfect and limited comprehension of certain minds. Otherwise, they have been at all times, and will through eternity continue to be, exalted above every praising name, and sanctified from every descriptive attribute. The quintessence of every name can hope for no access unto their court of holiness, and the highest and purest of all attributes can never approach their kingdom of glory. Immeasurably high are the Prophets of God exalted above the comprehension of men, who can never know them except by their own Selves. Far be it from His glory that His chosen Ones should be magnified by any other than their own persons. Glorified are they above the praise of men; exalted are they above human understanding!

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 34-35

FROM HIS HOLINESS ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Remember not your own limitations; the help of God will come to you. Forget yourself. God’s help will surely come!

When you call on the Mercy of God waiting to reinforce you, your strength will be tenfold.

Look at me: I am so feeble, yet I have had the strength given me to come amongst you: a poor servant of God, who has been enabled to give you this message! I shall not be with you long! One must never consider one’s own feebleness, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit of Love, which gives the power to teach. The thought of our own weakness could only bring despair. We must look higher than all earthly thoughts; detach ourselves from every material idea, crave for the things of the spirit; fix our eyes on the everlasting bountiful Mercy of the Almighty, who will fill our souls with the gladness of joyful service to His command ‘Love One Another’.

Paris Talks, pp: 38-39

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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]

15 July ― 3 Kalimát   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_0870On this journey the traveller abideth in every land and dwelleth in every region. In every face, he seeketh the beauty of the Friend; in every country he looketh for the Beloved. He joineth every company, and seeketh fellowship with every soul, that haply in some mind he may uncover the secret of the Friend, or in some face he may behold the beauty of the Loved One.

And if, by the help of God, he findeth on this journey a trace of the traceless Friend, and inhaleth the fragrance of the long-lost Joseph from the heavenly messenger, * he shall straightway step into THE VALLEY OF LOVE and be dissolved in the fire of love. In this city the heaven of ecstasy is upraised and the world-illumining sun of yearning shineth, and the fire of love is ablaze; and when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason.

* Refer to the story of Joesph in the Qur’án and the Old Testamen

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Seven Valleys, pp: 7-8

EVENING:

IMG_8987Now is he struck dumb with the beauty of the All-Glorious; again is he wearied out with his own life. How many a mystic tree hath this whirlwind of wonderment snatched by the roots, how many a soul hath it exhausted. For in this Valley the traveller is flung into confusion, albeit, in the eye of him who hath attained, such marvels are esteemed and well beloved. At every moment he beholdeth a wondrous world, a new creation, and goeth from astonishment to astonishment, and is lost in awe at the works of the Lord of Oneness.

Indeed, O Brother, if we ponder each created thing, we shall witness a myriad perfect wisdoms and learn a myriad new and wondrous truths. One of the created phenomena is the dream. Behold how many secrets are deposited therein, how many wisdoms treasured up, how many worlds concealed. Observe, how thou art asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred; on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off city, which thou enterest without moving thy feet or wearying thy body; without using thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou speakest. And perchance when ten years are gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the very things thou hast dreamed tonight.

Now there are many wisdoms to ponder in the dream, which none but the people of this Valley can comprehend in their true elements. First, what is this world, where without eye and ear and hand and tongue a man puts all of these to use? Second, how is it that in the outer world thou seest today the effect of a dream, when thou didst vision it in the world of sleep some ten years past? Consider the difference between these two worlds and the mysteries which they conceal, that thou mayest attain to divine confirmations and heavenly discoveries and enter the regions of holiness.

God, the Exalted, hath placed these signs in men, to the end that philosophers may not deny the mysteries of the life beyond nor belittle that which hath been promised them. For some hold to reason and deny whatever the reason comprehendeth not, and yet weak minds can never grasp the matters which we have related, but only the Supreme, Divine Intelligence can comprehend them:

How can feeble reason encompass the Qur’án,

Or the spider snare a phoenix in his web?*

* Persian mystic poem

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Seven Valleys, pp: 32-33

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

IMG_6023In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were well nigh impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one. And for everyone it is now easy to travel to any land, to associate and exchange views with its peoples, and to become familiar, through publications, with the conditions, the religious beliefs and the thoughts of all men. In like manner all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly interdependent. For none is self-sufficiency any longer possible, inasmuch as political ties unite all peoples and nations, and the bonds of trade and industry, of agriculture and education, are being strengthened every day. Hence the unity of all mankind can in this day be achieved. Verily this is none other but one of the wonders of this wondrous age, this glorious century. Of this past ages have been deprived, for this century — the century of light* — hath been endowed with unique and unprecedented glory, power and illumination. Hence the miraculous unfolding of a fresh marvel every day. Eventually it will be seen how bright its candles will burn in the assemblage of man.

*20th Century

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 31-32

5 June ― THE FEAST OF NÚR [LIGHT]   Leave a comment

Beloved co-workers: The ground broken by the hand of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá a hundred years ago is to be broken again in seven more countries, this being but the prelude to the day when within every city and village, in obedience to the bidding of Bahá’u’lláh, a building is upraised for the worship of the Lord. From these Dawning-Points of the Remembrance of God will shine the rays of His light and peal out the anthems of His praise.

The Universal House of Justice

Riḍván 2012

 

5 June ― THE FEAST OF NÚR [LIGHT]

MORNING:

Indeed those whose souls have been created through the splendour of the light of thy Lord recognize the Truth and are numbered with such as faithfully obey the One True God and are well assured…

— His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 24

EVENING:

Leaders of religion, in every age, have hindered their people from attaining the shores of eternal salvation, inasmuch as they held the reins of authority in their mighty grasp. Some for the lust of leadership, others through want of knowledge and understanding, have been the cause of the deprivation of the people. By their sanction and authority, every Prophet of God hath drunk from the chalice of sacrifice, and winged His flight unto the heights of glory. What unspeakable cruelties they that have occupied the seats of authority and learning have inflicted upon the true Monarchs of the world, those Gems of divine virtue! Content with a transitory dominion, they have deprived themselves of an everlasting sovereignty. Thus, their eyes beheld not the light of the countenance of the Well-Beloved, nor did their ears hearken unto the sweet melodies of the Bird of Desire. For this reason, in all sacred books mention hath been made of the divines of every age.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh,

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, p. 15-16

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

With hearts set aglow by the fire of the love of God and spirits refreshed by the food of the heavenly spirit you must go forth as the disciples nineteen hundred years ago, quickening the hearts of men by the call of glad tidings, the light of God in your faces, severed from everything save God. Therefore, order your lives in accordance with the first principle of the divine teaching, which is love. Service to humanity is service to God. Let the love and light of the Kingdom radiate through you until all who look upon you shall be illumined by its reflection. Be as stars, brilliant and sparkling in the loftiness of their heavenly station. Do you appreciate the Day in which you live?

 

This is the century of the Blessed Perfection!

This is the cycle of the light of His beauty!

This is the consummate day of all the Prophets!

These are the days of seed sowing. These are the days of tree planting. The bountiful bestowals of God are successive. He who sows a seed in this day will behold his reward in the fruits and harvest of the heavenly Kingdom. This timely seed, when planted in the hearts of the beloved of God, will be watered by showers of divine mercy and warmed by the sunshine of divine love. Its fruitage and flower shall be the solidarity of mankind, the perfection of justice and the praiseworthy attributes of heaven manifest in humanity. All who sow such a seed and plant such a tree according to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh shall surely witness this divine outcome in the degrees of its perfection and will attain unto the good pleasure of the Merciful One.

Today the nations of the world are self-engaged, occupied with mortal and transitory accomplishments, consumed by the fires of passion and self. Self is dominant; enmity and animosity prevail. Nations and peoples are thinking only of their worldly interests and outcomes. The clash of war and din of strife are heard among them. But the friends of the Blessed Perfection have no thoughts save the thoughts of heaven and the love of God. Therefore, you must without delay employ your powers in spreading the effulgent glow of the love of God and so order your lives that you may be known and seen as examples of its radiance. You must deal with all in loving-kindness in order that this precious seed entrusted to your planting may continue to grow and bring forth its perfect fruit. The love and mercy of God will accomplish this through you if you have love in your own heart.

The doors of the Kingdom are opened. The lights of the Sun of Truth are shining. The clouds of divine mercy are raining down their priceless jewels. The zephyrs of a new and divine springtime are wafting their fragrant breaths from the invisible world. Know ye then the value of these days.

Awake ye to the realization of this heavenly opportunity. Strive with all the power of your souls, your deeds, actions and words to assist the spread of these glad tidings and the descent of this merciful bounty. You are the reality and expression of your deeds and actions. If you abide by the precepts and teachings of the Blessed Perfection, the heavenly world and ancient Kingdom will be yours — eternal happiness, love and everlasting life. The divine bounties are flowing. Each one of you has been given the opportunity of becoming a tree yielding abundant fruits. This is the springtime of Bahá’u’lláh. The verdure and foliage of spiritual growth are appearing in great abundance in the gardens of human hearts. Know ye the value of these passing days and vanishing nights. Strive to attain a station of absolute love one toward another. By the absence of love, enmity increases. By the exercise of love, love strengthens and enmities dwindle away.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, pp: 8-9