Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category

8 December ― 16 Qawl   Leave a comment

On the first afternoon, while driving, he expressed much interest in rural England, marvelling at the century-old trees, and the vivid green of the woods and downs, so unlike the arid East. “Though it is autumn it seems like spring,” he said. The houses with their little plots of ground, suggested a quotation which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave from Bahá’u’lláh’s writings in which the latter alludes to each family having a house with a piece of land. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá likened the country to the soul and the city to the body of man, saying, “The body without the soul cannot live. It is good,” he remarked, “to live under the sky, in the sunshine and fresh air.” Observing a young woman who rode by on horseback with her hair flying free and several who bicycled past on their bicyles unattended, he said, “This is the age of woman. She should receive the same education as her brother and enjoy the same privilege; for all souls are equal before God. Sex, in its relation to the exigencies of the physical plane, has no connection with the Spirit. In this age of spiritual awakening, the world has entered upon the path of progress into the arena of development, where the power of the spirit surpasses that of the body. Soon the spirit will have dominion over the world of humanity.”

His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

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‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 81

 

IMG_9581MORNING:

In like manner, every time the Prophets of God have illumined the world with the resplendent radiance of the Day Star of Divine knowledge, they have invariably summoned its peoples to embrace the light of God through such means as best befitted the exigencies of the age in which they appeared. They were thus able to scatter the darkness of ignorance, and to shed upon the world the glory of their own knowledge. It is towards the inmost essence of these Prophets, therefore, that the eye of every man of discernment must be directed, inasmuch as their one and only purpose hath always been to guide the erring, and give peace to the afflicted…. These are not days of prosperity and triumph. The whole of mankind is in the grip of manifold ills. Strive, therefore, to save its life through the wholesome medicine which the almighty hand of the unerring Physician hath prepared.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 80-81

EVENING:

There can be no doubt whatever that the peoples of the world, of whatever race or religion, derive their inspiration from one heavenly Source, and are the subjects of one God. The difference between the ordinances under which they abide should be attributed to the varying requirements and exigencies of the age in which they were revealed. All of them, except a few which are the outcome of human perversity, were ordained of God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Arise and, armed with the power of faith, shatter to pieces the gods of your vain imaginings, the sowers of dissension amongst you. Cleave unto that which draweth you together and uniteth you. This, verily, is the most exalted Word which the Mother Book hath sent down and revealed unto you. To this beareth witness the Tongue of Grandeur from His habitation of glory.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 217-218

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

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In addition to the factors associated with man’s station and nature, the Writings indicate that man’s soul “is independent of all infirmities of body or mind,” and not only continues to exist “after departing from this mortal world,” but progresses “through the bounty and grace of the Lord.”1Therefore, an evaluation of man’s material existence and achievements cannot ignore the potential spiritual development stimulated by the individual’s desire to manifest the attributes of God and his response to the exigencies of his life, nor can it exclude the possibility of the operations of God’s mercy in terms of compensation for earthly suffering, in the next life.

1Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 240

29 September ― 3 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_9202These* are they who circle round the Cause of God even as the shadow doth revolve around the sun. Open, then, your eyes, O people of the Bayán, that haply ye may behold them! It is by virtue of their movement that all things are set in motion, and by reason of their stillness all things are brought to rest, would that ye might be assured thereof! Through them the believers in the Divine Unity have turned towards Him Who is the Object of the adoration of the entire creation, and by them the hearts of the righteous have found rest and composure, could ye but know it! Through them the earth hath been established, the clouds have rained down their bounty, and the bread of knowledge hath descended from the heaven of grace, could ye but perceive it!

* “…such souls as will remain unswayed by the insinuations of the rebellious, and who will quaff at all times of the cup that is life indeed. These, truly, are of the blissful.”

These souls are the protectors of the Cause of God on earth, who shall preserve its beauty from the obscuring dust of idle fancies and vain imaginings. In the path of their Lord they shall not fear for their lives; rather will they sacrifice their all in their eagerness to behold the face of their Well-Beloved when once He hath appeared in this Name, the Almighty, the All-Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Most Holy.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Súriy-i-Haykal

Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 9

EVENING:

O thou who hast set thy face towards the Realm on High and hast quaffed My sealed wine from the hand of bounteousness! Know thou that the term ‘Infallibility’ hath numerous meanings and divers stations. In one sense it is applicable to the One Whom God hath made immune from error. Similarly it is applied to every soul whom God hath guarded against sin, transgression, rebellion, impiety, disbelief and the like. However, the Most Great Infallibility is confined to the One Whose station is immeasurably exalted beyond ordinances or prohibitions and is sanctified from errors and omissions. Indeed He is a Light which is not followed by darkness and a Truth not overtaken by error. Were He to pronounce water to be wine or heaven to be earth or light to be fire, He speaketh the truth and no doubt would there be about it; and unto no one is given the right to question His authority or to say why or wherefore. Whosoever raiseth objections will be numbered with the froward in the Book of God, the Lord of the worlds. ‘Verily He shall not be asked of His doings but all others shall be asked of their doings.’* He is come from the invisible heaven, bearing the banner ‘He doeth whatsoever He willeth’ and is accompanied by hosts of power and authority while it is the duty of all besides Him to strictly observe whatever laws and ordinances have been enjoined upon them, and should anyone deviate therefrom, even to the extent of a hair’s breadth, his work would be brought to naught.

* Qur’án 21:23

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 108

Portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá by Kalil Gibran

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

In cycles gone by, each one of the Manifestations of God hath had His own rank in the world of existence, and each hath represented a stage in the development of humanity. But the Manifestation of the Most Great Name—may my life be a sacrifice for His loved ones—was an expression of the coming of age, the maturing of man’s inmost reality in this world of being. For the sun is the source and well-spring of light and heat, the focal point of splendours, and it compriseth all the perfections that are made manifest by the other stars which have dawned upon the world. Make thou an effort that thou mayest take thy place under the sun and receive an abundant share of its dazzling light. In truth do I tell thee, once thou hast attained this station, thou shalt behold the saints bowing down their heads in all humility before Him. Haste thou to life before death cometh; haste thou to the spring season before autumn draweth in; and before illness striketh, haste thou to healing—that thou mayest become a physician of the spirit who, with the breaths of the Holy Spirit, healeth all manner of sickness in this famed and glorious age.

Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Centre, 1982 lightweight edition, pp: 56-57

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_7561What the Cause now requires is not so much a group of highly cultured and intellectual people who can adequately present its Teachings, but a number of devoted, sincere and loyal supporters who, in utter disregard of their own weaknesses and limitations, and with hearts afire with the love of God, forsake their all for the sake of spreading and establishing His Faith.

Directives from the Guardian, p. 75

Quickeners of Mankind, p. 19

Seat of The Universal House of Justice, Haifa, Israel

FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

Acceptance of the oneness of mankind is the first fundamental prerequisite for reorganization and administration of the world as one country, the home of humankind. Universal acceptance of this spiritual principle is essential to any successful attempt to establish world peace. It should therefore be universally proclaimed, taught in schools, and constantly asserted in every nation as preparation for the organic change in the structure of society which it implies.

In the Bahá’í view, recognition of the oneness of mankind “calls for no less than the reconstruction and the demilitarization of the whole civilized world—a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units.”

Elaborating the implications of this pivotal principle, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, commented in 1931 that: “Far from aiming at the subversion of the existing foundations of society, it seeks to broaden its basis, to remold its institutions in a manner consonant with the needs of an ever-changing world. It can conflict with no legitimate allegiances, nor can it undermine essential loyalties. Its purpose is neither to stifle the flame of a sane and intelligent patriotism in men’s hearts, nor to abolish the system of national autonomy so essential if the evils of excessive centralization are to be avoided. It does not ignore, nor does it attempt to suppress, the diversity of ethnical origins, of climate, of history, of language and tradition, of thought and habit, that differentiate the peoples and nations of the world. It calls for a wider loyalty, for a larger aspiration than any that has animated the human race. It insists upon the subordination of national impulses and interests to the imperative claims of a unified world. It repudiates excessive centralization on one hand, and disclaims all attempts at uniformity on the other. Its watchword is unity in diversity”.

The Promise of World Peace,

Bahá’í World Centre, October 1985, p.10

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9 October ― 13 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

MORNING:

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Knowledge 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_2200Knowledge 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 EXEMPLAR OF THE FAITH  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

Make every effort to acquire the advanced knowledge of the day, and strain every nerve to carry forward the divine civilization….

IMG_5124Included must be promotion of the arts, the discovery of new wonders, the expansion of trade, and the development of industry. The methods of civilization and the beautification of the country must also be encouraged; and also to be inculcated is absolute obedience to the Government and total avoidance of any trace of sedition.

(From a Tablet, translated from the Persian)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, p. 1

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FROM LETTERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE BELOVED GUARDIAN, SHOGHI EFFENDI:

In connection with the question as to whether Bahá’ís should be familiar with the different sciences and branches of study, Shoghi Effendi wishes me to inform you that both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have given a very high position to men of culture and knowledge and Bahá’u’lláh says in one of His Tablets that respect shown to such people is incumbent upon all Bahá’ís. Furthermore there is no doubt that familiarity with different branches of study widens one’s point of view and we can then understand and realize the significance of the Bahá’í Movement and its principles much more.

(14 December 1924 to an individual believer)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, p. 4

FROM LETERS WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

At this early stage in the development of the Faith, it would not be useful to propound a highly restrictive definition of the term “Bahá’í scholarship”. In a letter written on behalf of the House of Justice to an Association for Bahá’í Studies recently, it is stated that:

IMG_9594The House of Justice advises you not to attempt to define too narrowly the form that Bahá’í scholarship should take, or the approach that scholars should adopt. Rather should you strive to develop within your Association respect for a wide range of approaches and endeavours. No doubt there will be some Bahá’ís who will wish to work in isolation, while others will desire consultation and collaboration with those having similar interests. Your aim should be to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance within which will be included scholars whose principal interest is in theological issues as well as those scholars whose interests lie in relating the insights provided by the Bahá’í teachings to contemporary thought in the arts and sciences.

A similar diversity should characterize the endeavours pursued by Bahá’í scholars, accommodating their interests and skills as well as the needs of the Faith. The course of world events, the development of new trends of thought and the extension of the teaching work all tend to highlight attractive and beneficial areas to which Bahá’í scholars might well direct their attention. Likewise, the expansion of the activities of the Bahá’í International Community in its relationship with United Nations agencies and other international bodies creates attractive opportunities for scholars to make a direct and highly valued contribution to the enhancement of the prestige of the Faith and to its proclamation within an influential and receptive stratum of society. As the Bahá’í community continues to emerge inexorably from obscurity, it will be confronted by enemies, from both within and without, whose aim will be to malign and misrepresent its principles, so that its admirers might be disillusioned and the faith of its adherents might be shaken; Bahá’í scholars have a vital role to play in the defence of the Faith through their contribution to anticipatory measures and their response to defamatory accusations levelled against the Faith.

IMG_7897Thus, there should be room within the scope of Bahá’í scholarship to accommodate not only those who are interested in theological issues and in the historical origins of the Faith, but also those who are interested in relating the Bahá’í Teachings to their field of academic or professional interest, as well as those believers who may lack formal academic qualifications but who have, through their perceptive study of the Teachings, acquired insights which are of interest to others….

The House of Justice wishes to avoid use of the terms “Bahá’í scholarship” and “Bahá’í scholars” in an exclusive sense, which would effectively establish a demarcation between those admitted into this category and those denied entrance to it. It is clear that such terms are relative, and that what is a worthy scholarly endeavour by a Bahá’í, when compared to the activities of those with whom he is in contact, may well be regarded as of vastly lesser significance when measured against the accomplishments of the outstanding scholars which the Faith has produced. The House of Justice seeks the creation of a Bahá’í community in which the members encourage each other, where there is respect for accomplishment, and a common realization that every one is, in his or her own way, seeking to acquire a deeper understanding of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh and to contribute to the advancement of the Faith.

(19 October 1993 to an individual believer)

A Compilation on Scholarship, Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, February 1995, pp: 4-5