Archive for the ‘Glory’ Category

31 March ― 11 Bahá   Leave a comment

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

He is God!

O spiritual friends and loved ones of the All-Merciful! In every Age believers are many but the tested are few. Render ye praise unto God that ye are tested believers, that ye have been subjected to every kind of trial and ordeal in the path of the supreme Lord. In the fire of ordeals your faces have flushed aglow like unto pure gold, and amidst the flames of cruelty and oppression which the wicked had kindled, ye suffered yourselves to be consumed while remaining all the time patient. Thus ye have initiated every believer into the ways of steadfastness and fortitude. You showed them the meaning of forbearance, of constancy, and of sacrifice, and what leadeth to dismay and distress. This indeed is a token of the gracious providence of God and a sign of the infinite favours vouchsafed by the Abhá Beauty Who hath singled out the friends of that region to bear grievous sufferings in the path of His love. Outwardly they are fire, but inwardly light and an evidence of His glory. Ye have been examples of the verse: ‘Let them that are men of action follow in their footsteps.’ ‘And to this let those aspire who aspire unto bliss.’

In short, the day is approaching when the gay trappings of this earthly life will have been rolled up and the sorry plight and adversity of the people of iniquity will have waxed more grievous than those experienced by the oppressed. The inmates of palaces will have been subjected to the confinement of graves. and such as occupy the seats of honour will have fallen upon the dust of misery and abasement.

However, those who have offered up their lives as martyrs will shine resplendent even as a candle, and the effulgent glory of the friends of God will shed its radiance from the horizon of eternity like unto a brilliant star. Behold how wondrous is the bounty whereunto ye have attained. Ye have followed the example set by Him Whom the world hath wronged. Like unto the Day-Star of the world ye have outwardly suffered an eclipse by reason of the injustice the people of malice have wrought. However, far from an eclipse, this is naught but splendour; far from concealment, this is naught but the defeat of the legions. Ere long ye shall behold the shining light of the one true God shedding its radiance upon the whole world, while the heedless ones find themselves in the darkness of extinction.

In the estimation of the loved ones of God abasement is exaltation itself, and affliction leadeth to faithfulness. Earthly glory and comfort are but a mirage of illusion, while in the realm of the spirit heavenly gifts are everlasting and imperishable. The lights in the nether world may be bright, but they are put out at the break of dawn. whereas the stars that shine in the heaven of the love of God will sparkle continually throughout ages and centuries. Such is everlasting glory; such is infinite bounty; such is life eternal; and such is boundless grace. And upon you rest salutation and praise.

Fire and Light, pp: 29-30

MORNING:

For instance, a certain man,† reputed for his learning and attainments, and accounting himself as one of the pre-eminent leaders of his people, hath in his book denounced and vilified all the exponents of true learning. This is made abundantly clear by his explicit statements as well as by his allusions throughout his book. As We had frequently heard about him, We purposed to read  some of his works. Although We never felt disposed to peruse other peoples’ writings, yet as some had questioned Us concerning him, We felt it necessary to refer to his books, in order that We might answer Our questioners with knowledge and understanding. His works, in the Arabic tongue, were, however, not available, until one day a certain man informed Us that one of his compositions, entitled Irshadu’l-‘Avam,‡ could be found in this city. >From this title We perceived the odour of conceit and vainglory, inasmuch as he hath imagined himself a learned man and regarded the rest of the people ignorant. His worth was in fact made known by the very title he had chosen for his book. It became evident that its author was following the path of self and desire, and was lost in the wilderness of ignorance and folly. Methinks, he had forgotten the well-known tradition which sayeth: “Knowledge is all that is knowable; and might and power, all creation.” Notwithstanding, We sent for the book, and kept it with Us a few days. It was probably referred to twice. The second time, We accidentally came upon the story of the “Mi’raj”§ of Muhammad, of Whom was spoken: “But for Thee, I would not have created the spheres.” We noticed that he had enumerated some twenty or more sciences, the knowledge of which he considered to be essential for the comprehension of the mystery of the “Mi’raj”. We gathered from his statements that unless a man be deeply versed in them all, he can never attain to a proper understanding of this transcendent and exalted theme. Among the specified sciences were the science of metaphysical abstractions, of alchemy, and natural magic. Such vain and discarded learnings, this man hath regarded as the pre-requisites of the understanding of the sacred and abiding mysteries of divine Knowledge.

† Hají Mirza Karim Khan

‡”Guidance unto the ignorant”

§ Ascent

Gracious God! Such is the measure of his understanding. And yet, behold what cavils and calumnies he hath heaped upon those Embodiments of God’s infinite knowledge! How well and true is the saying: “Flingest thou thy calumnies unto the face of Them Whom the one true God hath made the Trustees of the treasures of His seventh sphere?” Not one understanding heart or mind, not one among the wise and learned, hath taken notice of these preposterous statements. And yet, how clear and evident it is to every discerning heart that this so-called learning is and hath ever been, rejected by Him Who is the one true God. How can the knowledge of these sciences, which are so contemptible in the eyes of the truly learned, be regarded as essential to the apprehension of the mysteries of the “Mi’raj,” whilst the Lord of the “Mi’raj” Himself was never burdened with a single letter of these limited and obscure learnings, and never defiled His radiant heart with any of these fanciful illusions? How truly hath he said: “All human attainment moveth upon a lame ass, whilst Truth, riding upon the wind, darteth across space.” By the righteousness of God! Whoso desireth to fathom the mystery of this “Mi’raj,” and craveth a drop from this ocean, if the mirror of his heart be already obscured by the dust of these learnings, he must needs cleanse and purify it ere the light of this mystery can be reflected therein.

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Kitáb-i-Íqán, pp: 184-187

 

EVENING:

On this plane, neither the reign of reason is sufficient nor the authority of self. Hence, one of the Prophets of God hath asked: “O my Lord, how shall we reach unto Thee?” And the answer came, “Leave thyself behind, and then approach Me.”

These are a people who deem the lowest place to be one with the throne of glory, and to them beauty’s bower differeth not from the field of a battle fought in the cause of the Beloved.

The denizens of this plane speak no words — but they gallop their chargers. They see but the inner reality of the Beloved. To them all words of sense are meaningless, and senseless words are full of meaning. They cannot tell one limb from another, one part from another. To them the mirage is the real river; to them going away is returning. Wherefore hath it been said:

The story of Thy beauty reached the hermit’s dell; 

Crazed, he sought the Tavern where the wine they buy and sell.

The love of Thee hath leveled down the fort of patience,

The pain of Thee hath firmly barred the gate of hope as well.†

† Sa’di

In this realm, instruction is assuredly of no avail.

The lover’s teacher is the Loved One’s beauty,

His face their lesson and their only book.

Learning of wonderment, of longing love their duty,

Not on learned chapters and dull themes they look.

The chain that binds them is His musky hair,

The Cyclic Scheme,† to them, is but to Him a stair.

† The Cyclic Theory of Abu-‘Alí’ Sina (Avicenna — 980-1037) as expressed by him in the quatrain: Every semblance, every shape that perisheth today In the treasure-house of Time is safely stored away. When the world revolveth to its former place, Out of the Invisible He draweth forth its face. See also Some Answered Questions, p. 326.

The Mathnavi

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 54-56

MORNING:

Thou art He Who from everlasting was, through the potency of His might, supreme over all things, and, through the operation of His will, was able to ordain all things. Nothing whatsoever, whether in Thy heaven or on Thy earth, can frustrate Thy purpose. Have mercy, then, upon me, O my Lord, through Thy gracious providence and generosity, and incline mine ear to the sweet melodies of the birds that warble their praise of Thee, amidst the branches of the tree of Thy oneness.

Thou art the Great Giver, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Compassionate.

–His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 4-5

 

EVENING:

Thou art He Who changeth through His bidding abasement into glory, and weakness into strength, and powerlessness into might, and fear into calm, and doubt into certainty. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Beneficent.

 

 

Thou disappointest no one who hath sought Thee, nor dost Thou keep back from Thee any one who hath desired Thee. Ordain Thou for me what becometh the heaven of Thy generosity, and the ocean of Thy bounty. Thou art, verily, the Almighty, the Most Powerful.

–His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 249-250

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

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There is another and more significant aspect to this religious impulse and impetus. The children of Israel were in bondage and captivity in the land of Egypt four hundred years. They were in an extreme state of degradation and slavery under the tyranny and oppression of the Egyptians. While they were in the condition of abject poverty, in the lowest degree of abasement, ignorance and servility His Holiness Moses suddenly appeared among them. Although He was but a shepherd, such majesty, grandeur and efficiency became manifest in Him through the power of religion, that His influence continues to this day. His prophethood was established throughout the land and the law of His Word became the foundation of the laws of the nations. This unique personage, single and alone, rescued the children of Israel from bondage through the power of religious training and discipline. He led them to the Holy Land and founded there a great civilization which has become permanent and renowned and under which these people attained the highest degree of honor and glory. He freed them from bondage and captivity. He imbued them with qualities of progressiveness and capability. They proved to be a civilizing people with instincts toward education and scholastic attainment. Their philosophy became renowned; their industries were celebrated throughout the nations. In all lines of advancement which characterize a progressive people they achieved distinction. In the splendor of the reign of Solomon their sciences and arts advanced to such a degree that even the Greek philosophers journeyed to Jerusalem to sit at the feet of the Hebrew sages and acquire the basis of Israelitish law. According to eastern history this is an established fact. Even Socrates visited the Jewish doctors in the Holy Land, consorting with them and discussing the principles and basis of their religious belief. After his return to Greece he formulated his philosophical teaching of divine unity and advanced his belief in the immortality of the spirit beyond the dissolution of the body. Without doubt Socrates absorbed these verities from the wise men of the Jews with whom he came in contact. Hippocrates and other philosophers of the Greeks likewise visited Palestine and acquired wisdom from the Jewish prophets, studying the basis of ethics and morality, returning to their country with contributions which have made Greece famous.

Bahá’í World Faith, pp: 271-272

 

15 January ―16 Sharaf   2 comments

MORNING:

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 Bahá’u’lláh

The Arabic Hidden Words

 

 EVENING:

48. O SON OF MAN!

For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.

49. O SON OF MAN!

The true lover yearneth for tribulation even as doth the rebel for forgiveness and the sinful for mercy.

50. O SON OF MAN!

If adversity befall thee not in My path, how canst thou walk in the ways of them that are content with My pleasure? If trials afflict thee not in thy longing to meet Me, how wilt thou attain the light in thy love for My beauty?

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.

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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 COVENANT  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

 

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O holy Lord! O Lord of loving-kindness! We stray about Thy dwelling, longing to behold Thy beauty, and loving all Thy ways. We are hapless, lowly, and of small account. We are paupers: show us mercy, give us bounty; look not upon our failings, hide Thou our endless sins. Whatever we are, still are we Thine, and what we speak and hear is praise of Thee, and it is Thy face we seek, Thy path we follow. Thou art the Lord of loving-kindness, we are sinners and astray and far from home. Wherefore, O Cloud of Mercy, grant us some drops of rain. O Flowering Bed of grace, send forth a fragrant breeze. O Sea of all bestowals, roll towards us a great wave. O Sun of Bounty, send down a shaft of light. Grant us pity, grant us grace. By Thy beauty, we come with no provision but our sins, with no good deeds to tell of, only hopes. Unless Thy concealing veil doth cover us, and Thy protection shield and cradle us, what power have these helpless souls to rise and serve Thee, what substance have these wretched ones to make a brave display? Thou Who art the Mighty, the All-Powerful, help us, favour us; withered as we are, revive us with showers from Thy clouds of grace; lowly as we are, illumine us with bright rays from the Day-Star of Thy oneness. Cast Thou these thirsty fish into the ocean of Thy mercy, guide Thou this lost caravan to the shelter of Thy singleness; to the wellspring of guidance lead Thou the ones who have wandered far astray, and grant to those who have missed the path a haven within the precincts of Thy might. Lift Thou to these parched lips the bounteous and soft-flowing waters of heaven, raise up these dead to everlasting life. Grant Thou to the blind eyes that will see. Make Thou the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak. Set Thou the dispirited ablaze, make Thou the heedless mindful, warn Thou the proud, awaken those who sleep.

Thou art the Mighty, Thou art the Bestower, Thou art the Loving. Verily Thou art the Beneficent, the Most Exalted.

Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp: 6-7

28 December ― 17 Masá’il   Leave a comment

MORNING:

IMG_8987Say: O people…. We have chosen you out of the world to know and recognize Our Self. We have caused you to draw nigh unto the right side of Paradise — the Spot out of which the undying Fire crieth in manifold accents: “There is none other God besides Me, the All-Powerful, the Most High!” Take heed lest ye allow yourselves to be shut out as by a veil from this Day Star that shineth above the dayspring of the Will of your Lord, the All-Merciful, and whose light hath encompassed both the small and the great. Purge your sight, that ye may perceive its glory with your own eyes, and depend not on the sight of any one except your self, for God hath never burdened any soul beyond its power. Thus hath it been sent down unto the Prophets and Messengers of old, and been recorded in all the Scriptures.

Strive, O people, to gain admittance into this vast Immensity for which God ordained neither beginning nor end, in which His voice hath been raised, and over which have been wafted the sweet savors of holiness and glory. Divest not yourselves of the Robe of grandeur, neither suffer your hearts to be deprived of remembering your Lord, nor your ears of hearkening unto the sweet melodies of His wondrous, His sublime, His all-compelling, His clear, and most eloquent voice.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 106-107

 

 EVENING:

IMG_9298O thou who hast fixed thy gaze upon the Dawning-Place of the Cause of God! Know thou for a certainty that the Will of God is not limited by the standards of the people, and God doth not tread in their ways. Rather is it incumbent upon everyone to firmly adhere to God’s straight Path. Were He to pronounce the right to be the left or the south to be the north, He speaketh the truth and there is no doubt of it. Verily He is to be praised in His acts and to be obeyed in His behests. He hath no associate in His judgement nor any helper in His sovereignty. He doeth whatsoever He willeth and ordaineth whatsoever He pleaseth. Know thou moreover that all else besides Him have been created through the potency of a word from His presence, while of themselves they have no motion nor stillness, except at His bidding and by His leave.

O thou who soarest in the atmosphere of love and fellowship and hast fixed thy gaze upon the light of the countenance of thy Lord, the King of creation! Render thanks unto God, inasmuch as He hath unravelled for thee that which was hidden and enshrined in His knowledge so that everyone may become aware that within His realm of supreme infallibility He hath not taken a partner nor a counsellor unto Himself. He is in truth the Dayspring of divine precepts and commandments and the Fountainhead of knowledge and wisdom, while all else besides Him are but His subjects and under His rule, and He is the supreme Ruler, the Ordainer, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 109-110

 

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

Today, directing mankind in the right path is the magnet which will attract to us the help of God. All those who consecrate themselves to this work are accompanied by divine protection. Thus, rely upon God and address thy supplications to the Most High. Then, after perfect renunciation, care for the souls of the undirected and negligent. I pray that thou mayest be aided and strengthened…

…O thou who art seeking for the Power of the Holy Spirit!

The reality of man is like unto a sea, and the Holy Power is like unto brilliant pearls. Not until the sea moveth in waves doth it throw a shell of pearls upon the shore. Therefore if thou wishest to become heavenly, cut thy attention from the earth; that is, cease to attach thy heart unto this world and seek connection with or attachment to the Kingdom and turn unto God. And when thou doest this, thou wilt become the mercy of God and a gift of the Almighty.

Tablets of `Abdu’l-Bahá, V2, p. 326

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN , SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_7937From such clear and formally laid down statements, incompatible as they are with any assertion of a claim to Prophethood, we should not by any means infer that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is merely one of the servants of the Blessed Beauty, or at best one whose function is to be confined to that of an authorized interpreter of His Father’s teachings. Far be it from me to entertain such a notion or to wish to instill such sentiments. To regard Him in such a light is a manifest betrayal of the priceless heritage bequeathed by Bahá’u’lláh to mankind. Immeasurably exalted is the station conferred upon Him by the Supreme Pen above and beyond the implications of these, His own written statements. Whether in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the most weighty and sacred of all the works of Bahá’u’lláh, or in the Kitáb-i-‘Ahd, the Book of His Covenant, or in the Suriy-i-Ghusn (Tablet of the Branch), such references as have been recorded by the pen of Bahá’u’lláh — references which the Tablets of His Father addressed to Him mightily reinforce — invest ‘Abdu’l-Bahá with a power, and surround Him with a halo, which the present generation can never adequately appreciate.

He is, and should for all time be regarded, first and foremost, as the Center and Pivot of Bahá’u’lláh’s peerless and all-enfolding Covenant, His most exalted handiwork, the stainless Mirror of His light, the perfect Exemplar of His teachings, the unerring Interpreter of His Word, the embodiment of every Bahá’í ideal, the incarnation of every Bahá’í virtue, the Most Mighty Branch sprung from the Ancient Root, the Limb of the Law of God, the Being “round Whom all names revolve,” the Mainspring of the Oneness of Humanity, the Ensign of the Most Great Peace, the Moon of the Central Orb of this most holy Dispensation — styles and titles that are implicit and find their truest, their highest and fairest expression in the magic name ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He is, above and beyond these appellations, the “Mystery of God” — an expression by which Bahá’u’lláh Himself has chosen to designate Him, and which, while it does not by any means justify us to assign to Him the station of Prophethood, indicates how in the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the incompatible characteristics of a human nature and superhuman knowledge and perfection have been blended and are completely harmonized.

The World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 133-134

12 December ― Feast of Masá’il   Leave a comment

12 December ― Feast of Masá’il

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MORNING:

In regard to what thou hast written concerning his honour the learned Ṣáḥib, upon him be the grace of God, his state of mind and disposition are clear and evident, as is further attested by that which he hath sent. Now, as to his questions, it was not deemed advisable to refer and reply to each one individually, for the response would have run counter to wisdom and been incompatible with that which is current amongst men. Even so, in that which was revealed in his honour from the heaven of divine favour, answers were provided in a language of marvellous concision and clarity. But it appeareth that he hath failed to consider the matter closely, for otherwise he would have readily admitted that not a single point was omitted, and would have exclaimed: “This is naught but a clear and conclusive utterance!”

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Responses to questions of Mánikchí Ṣáḥib from a Tablet to Mírzá Abu’l-Faḍl

The Tabernacle of Unity, p.15

EVENING:

Say, were He Whom God shall make manifest to pronounce a pious and truthful follower of the Bayán as false, it is incumbent upon you to submit to His decree, as this hath been affirmed by God in the Bayán; verily God is able to convert light into fire whenever He pleaseth; surely He is potent over all things. And were He to declare a person whom ye regard alien to the truth as being akin thereto, err not by questioning His decision in your fancies, for He Who is the Sovereign Truth createth things through the power of His behest. Verily God transmuteth fire into light as He willeth, and indeed potent is He over all things. Consider ye how the truth shone forth as truth in the First Day and how error became manifest as error; so likewise shall ye distinguish them from each other on the Day of Resurrection.

— His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 142

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

It is clear that whatever glory is gained outside the Cause of God turns to abasement at the end; and ease and comfort not met with on the path of God are finally but care and sorrow; and all such wealth is penury, and nothing more.

A sign of guidance, he† was, an emblem of the fear of God. For this Faith, he laid down his life, and in dying, triumphed. He passed by the world and its rewards; he closed his eyes to rank and wealth; he loosed himself from all such chains and fetters, and put every worldly thought aside. Of wide learning, at once a mujtahid, a philosopher, a mystic, and gifted with intuitive sight, he was also an accomplished man of letters and an orator without a peer. He had a great and universal mind.

† Nabíl-i-Akbar

Praise be to God, at the end he was made the recipient of heavenly grace. Upon him be the glory of God, the All-Glorious. May God shed the brightness of the Abhá Kingdom upon his resting-place. May God welcome him into the Paradise of reunion, and shelter him forever in the realm of the righteous, submerged in an ocean of lights.

Memorials of the Faithful, pp: 4-5

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]

9 September ― 2 ‘Izzat   Leave a comment

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“The future of mankind is dependent upon what the friends do today! If they do not arise as they should today, Bahá’u’lláh has stated that he will raise up another people and our opportunity shall be lost forever. Please stress these things in no uncertain terms, but wisely.”

Shoghi Effendi

David’s Collection, Ruth Moffet Pilgrim Notes #2,p. 18

MORNING:

IMG_9525Since that Day is a great Day it would be sorely trying for thee to identify thyself with the believers. For the believers of that Day are the inmates of Paradise, while the unbelievers are the inmates of the fire. And know thou of a certainty that by Paradise is meant recognition of and submission unto Him Whom God shall make manifest, and by the fire the company of such souls as would fail to submit unto Him or to be resigned to His good-pleasure. On that Day thou wouldst regard thyself as the inmate of Paradise and as a true believer in Him, whereas in reality thou wouldst suffer thyself to be wrapt in veils and thy habitation would be the nethermost fire, though thou thyself wouldst not be cognizant thereof.

Compare His manifestation with that of the Point of the Qur’án. How vast the number of the Letters of the Gospel who eagerly expected Him, yet from the time of His declaration up to five years no one became an inmate of Paradise, except the Commander of the Faithful [Imám ‘Alí], and those who secretly believed in Him. All the rest were accounted as inmates of the fire, though they considered themselves as dwellers in Paradise.

Likewise behold this Revelation. The essences of the people have, through divinely-conceived designs, been set in motion and until the present day three hundred and thirteen disciples have been chosen. In the land of Sád [Iṣfahán], which to outward seeming is a great city, in every corner of whose seminaries are vast numbers of people regarded as divines and doctors, yet when the time came for inmost essences to be drawn forth, only its sifter of wheat donned the robe of discipleship. This is the mystery of what was uttered by the kindred of the Prophet Muḥammad—upon them be the peace of God—concerning this Revelation, saying that the abased shall be exalted and the exalted shall be abased.

Likewise is the Revelation of Him Whom God shall make manifest. Among those to whom it will never occur that they might merit the displeasure of God, and whose pious deeds will be exemplary unto everyone, there will be many who will become the personification of the nethermost fire itself, when they fail to embrace His Cause; while among the lowly servants whom no one would imagine to be of any merit, how great the number who will be honoured with true faith and on whom the Fountainhead of generosity will bestow the robe of authority. For whatever is created in the Faith of God is created through the potency of His Word.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections From the Writings of the Báb, pp: 82-84

EVENING:

IMG_0975Have ye not perused the unseemly words ye uttered in the past, as reflected in the text of My Book, and still ye feel not ashamed? Ye have now seen the truth of My Book conclusively established and today every one of you doth profess belief in Me through that Book. The day is not far distant when ye shall readily realize that your glory lieth in your belief in these holy verses. Today, however, when only belief in this Faith truly profiteth you, ye have debarred yourselves therefrom by reason of the things which are disadvantageous unto you and will inflict harm upon you, whereas He Who is the Manifestation of My Self hath been and shall ever remain immune from any harm whatever, and any loss that hath appeared or will appear shall eventually revert unto yourselves.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections From the Writings of the Báb, p. 8

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

O ye peoples of the Kingdom! How many a soul expended all its span of life in worship, endured the mortification of the flesh, longed to gain an entry into the Kingdom, and yet failed, while ye, with neither toil nor pain nor self-denial, have won the prize and entered in.

It is even as in the time of the Messiah, when the Pharisees and the pious were left without a portion, while Peter, John and Andrew, given neither to pious worship nor ascetic practice, won the day. Wherefore, thank ye God for setting upon your heads the crown of glory everlasting, for granting unto you this immeasurable grace.

The time hath come when, as a thank-offering for this bestowal, ye should grow in faith and constancy as day followeth day, and should draw ever nearer to the Lord, your God, becoming magnetized to such a degree, and so aflame, that your holy melodies in praise of the Beloved will reach upward to the Company on high; and that each one of you, even as a nightingale in this rose garden of God, will glorify the Lord of Hosts, and become the teacher of all who dwell on earth.

Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp: 18-19

FROM THE BELOVED GUARDIAN OF TH E CAUSE OF GOD, SHOGHI EFFENDI:

IMG_9840Now surely, if ever, is the time for us, the chosen ones of Bahá’u’lláh and the bearers of His Message to the world, to endeavor by day and by night, to deepen, first and foremost, the Spirit of His Cause in our own individual lives, and then labor, and labor incessantly to exemplify in all our dealings with our fellow-men that noble Spirit of which His beloved Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has been all the days of His life a true and unique exponent. The sayings of our beloved Master have been noised abroad, His name has filled all regions, and the eyes of mankind are now turned expectant towards His disciples who bear His name and profess His teachings. Shall we not by our daily life vindicate the high claims of His teachings, and prove by our services the influence of His undying Spirit? This surely is our highest privilege, and our most sacred duty.

Let us, with a pure heart, with humility and earnestness, turn afresh to His counsels and exhortations, and seek from that Source of Celestial Potency all the guidance, the spirit, the power which we shall need for the fulfillment of our mission in this life.

Behold, the station to which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is now calling His loved ones from the Realm of Glory:—

“It behooveth the loved ones of God to be enamored of one another and to sacrifice themselves for their fellow-workers in the Cause. They should yearn towards one another even as the sore athirst yearneth for the Water of Life, and the lover burneth to meet his heart’s desire.”

Such is the sublime, the glorious position He wishes us, and all the peoples and kindreds on earth, to attain in this world; how much more to achieve unity and common understanding among ourselves, and then arise to herald with one voice the coming of the Kingdom and the salvation of mankind.

With unity of purpose firmly established in our minds, with every trace of personal animosity banished from our hearts, and with the spirit of whole-hearted and sustained fellowship kindled in our souls, can we hope to deliver effectively the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, and execute faithfully the various provisions of our Beloved’s Will and Testament.

Bahá’í Administration, pp: 35-36

12 October ― 16 Mashíyyat   Leave a comment

The present is always unimportant, but we must make our present so filled with mighty, altruistic deeds as to assume significant weight and momentous importance in the future. A shallow present will surely be followed by a superficial future. Christopher Columbus and his idea, before the discovery of America, were ridiculed and scoffed at, and he spent the last days of his eventful life in poverty, shame and prison. But now in whatever city I enter I see the houses, the parks, the streets and public buildings adorned with his picture and statue. All the prophets, philosophers, benefactors of the human race, leaders of great reforms, scientists, inventors and discoverers were not duly appreciated in their own days; nay, rather, they were persecuted, maligned, thrown into prison and if possible put to death. The fact is they should have honoured and adored them; but the people are not, as a whole, worthy to worship the reality; they apotheosize the phantasm-a supposed image formed by their minds.

Words of ‘Abdu’l-Baha to William Jennings Brayan in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1912

Star of the West,  V:8, 1 August 1914
page 119
From the Diary of Mírzá Ahmad Sohráb, 13 May 1914

MORNING:

IMG_2451Thou art He through Whom the ensign “Praiseworthy art Thou in Thy works” hath been lifted up, and the standard “Obeyed art Thou in Thy behest” hath been unfurled. Make known this Thy station, O my God, unto Thy servants, that they may be made aware that the excellence of all things is dependent upon Thy bidding and Thy word, and the virtue of every act is conditioned by Thy leave and the good-pleasure of Thy will, and may recognize that the reins of men’s doings are within the grasp of Thine acceptance and Thy commandment. Make this known unto them, that nothing whatsoever may shut them out from Thy Beauty, in these days whereon the Christ exclaimeth: “All dominion is Thine, O Thou the Begetter of the Spirit*”; and Thy Friend** crieth out: “Glory be to Thee, O Thou the Best-Beloved, for that Thou hast uncovered Thy Beauty, and written down for Thy chosen ones what will cause them to attain unto the seat of the revelation of Thy Most Great Name, through which all the peoples have lamented except such as have detached themselves from all else except Thee, and set themselves towards Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself and the Manifestation of Thine attributes.”

*Jesus, The Christ

**Muḥammad

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 68

EVENING:

IMG_2445Glorified art Thou, O Lord my God! Thou art He the fire of Whose love hath set ablaze the hearts of them who have recognized Thy unity, and the splendors of Whose countenance have illuminated the faces of such as have drawn nigh unto Thy court. How plenteous, O my God, is the stream of Thy knowledge! How sweet, O my Beloved, is the injury which, in my love for Thee, and for the sake of Thy pleasure, I suffer from the darts of the wicked doers! How pleasing are the wounds which, in Thy path and in order to proclaim Thy Faith, I sustain from the swords of the infidels!

I beseech Thee, by Thy name through which Thou turnest restlessness into tranquillity, fear into confidence, weakness into strength, and abasement into glory, that Thou of Thy grace wilt aid me and Thy servants to exalt Thy name, to deliver Thy Message, and to proclaim Thy Cause, in such wise that we may remain unmoved by either the assaults of the transgressors or the wrath of the infidels, O Thou Who art my Well-Beloved!

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Prayers and Meditations of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 212-213

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

IMG_0524Praise be to God! Upon the faces of those assembled here I perceive the light of God. This I consider an evidence of the possibility of uniting the East and the West, of establishing a perfect bond between Persia and America — one of the objects of this conference. For the Persians there is no government better fitted to contribute to the development of their natural resources and the helping of their national needs in a reciprocal alliance than the United States of America, and for the Americans there could be no better industrial outlet and market than the virgin commercial soil of Persia. The mineral wealth of Persia is still latent and untouched. It is my hope that the great American democracy may be instrumental in developing these hidden resources and that a bond of perfect amity and unity may be established between the American republic and the government of Persia. May this bond — whether material or spiritual — be well cemented. May the material civilization of America find complete efficacy and establishment in Persia, and may the spiritual civilization of Persia find acceptance and response in America.

The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 35