Archive for the ‘Tests’ Category

27 August ― 8 Asmá’   2 comments

This human world is an ocean of varying opinions. If reason is the perfect standard and criterion of knowledge, why are opinions at variance and why do philosophers disagree so completely with each other? This is a clear proof that human reason is not to be relied upon as an infallible criterion.


His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Baha’i World Faith, pp: 252-253

MORNING:

O My Name! The Day-Star of utterance, shining resplendent from the dayspring of divine Revelation, hath so illumined the Scrolls and Tablets that the kingdom of utterance and the exalted dominion of understanding vibrate with joy and ecstasy and shine forth with the splendour of His light, yet the generality of mankind comprehend not.

The reason why the subject of aid and assistance hath time and again streamed and will continue to stream from the Pen of Providence is to warn the friends of God lest they engage in activities that would give rise to strife and turmoil. It is incumbent upon them, one and all, to diligently seek ways to help the Cause of God in such manner as We have explained. This is but a token of His grace especially conferred upon His loved ones that every one of them may attain the station characterized by the words: ‘Whoso quickeneth a soul hath verily quickened all mankind.’

Temporal ascendancy hath been and will continue to be under the shadow of this station. Its appointed hour is pre-ordained in the Book of God. He is truly cognizant thereof and it will be manifested through the potency of His might. Verily He is the Powerful, the All-Subduing, the Omnipotent, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

His Holiness Baha’u’llah

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 199

EVENING:

O My Name! Hearken thou unto My Voice coming from the direction of My Throne. He wisheth to make mention of thy name at all times inasmuch as thou hast proved thyself steadfast in extolling His virtues amongst men. Indeed thy Lord loveth fidelity as found in the realm of creation, and He hath given it precedence over most of the praiseworthy qualities. Verily, He is Potent and Powerful.

Know thou moreover that We have heard the praise thou hast uttered in thy communion with God, thy Lord, the Exalted, the Gracious. Great indeed is the blessedness awaiting thee, inasmuch as thou hast curtailed thine own affairs in favour of this inviolable, this mighty and enlightened Cause. We entreat God to make thy call a magnet which will attract the embodiments of names in the world of existence that all beings may spontaneously hasten to heed it. No God is there besides Him, the Exalted, the Pre-Eminent, the Ever-Blessed, the Sublime, the Most August, the Most Glorious, the Most Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

His Holiness Baha’u’llah

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 200-201

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

 

Thy letter was received and its contents noted. In truth, thou hast been thrown amid dire ordeals, enduring agonizing afflictions. These trials were according to the consummate wisdom, therefore they were for the best. It is good for man to endure (in such moments).

Reflect upon his holiness Job: What trials, calamities and perplexities did he not endure! But these tests were like unto the fire and his holiness Job was like unto pure gold. Assuredly gold is purified by being submitted to the fire and if it contain any alloy or imperfection, it will disappear. That is the reason why violent tests become the cause of the everlasting glory of the righteous and are conducive to the destruction and disappearance of the unrighteous.

The wisdom of all these tribulations that poured successively upon thee was this, that thou shouldst be prepared and made ready for this Cause, that thou mightest expect the attainment to the greatest guidance, for all these trials were but a preparation for thine entrance into the Most Exalted Paradise and the beginning of obtaining this most great benefit.

Unless the season of winter appear, thunder roll, lightning flash, snow and rain fall, hail and frost descend and the intensity of cold execute its command, the season of the soul-refreshing spring would not come, the fragrant breeze would not waft, the moderation of temperature would not be realized, the roses and hyacinths would not grow, the surface of the earth would not become a delectable paradise, the trees would not bloom, neither would they bring forth fruits and leaves. That fierce inclemency of cold, snow, frost and tempest was the beginning of the manifestation of these roses, hyacinths, buds, blossoms and fruits.

Therefore, be not distressed on account of those adversities which fell upon thee; nay, rather, arise and render thanks that the ultimate goal is the attainment to this eminent bounty and the enjoyment of this highest gift of the Almighty God. Consequently gird up the loins of thine endeavor, that thereby some results might be produced, some fruits gathered, the lamp of everlasting life ignited and the gifts of the Lord of the Kingdom be manifest, so that thou mayest accomplish again, with great yearning and exaltation, the worship of the Lord of Hosts.

Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, pp:654-656

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26 December ― 15 Masá’il   Leave a comment

Likewise is it written, “And be ye not like those who forget God, and whom He hath therefore caused to forget their own selves. These are the wicked doers.”1

 

1 Qur’án 59:19

 

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, p. 52

 

IMG_1330MORNING:

On this plane, the traveler meeteth with many a trial and reverse. Now is he lifted up to heaven, now is he cast into the depths. As it hath been said: “Now Thou drawest me to the summit of glory, again Thou castest me into the lowest abyss.” The mystery treasured in this plane is divulged in the following holy verse from the Surih of THE CAVE:1

 

1 Qur’án 18:16. This is a reference to the station of complete faith. The companions of the Cave are identified with early Christian martyrs

“And thou mightest have seen the sun when it arose, pass on the right of their cave, and when it set, leave them on the left, while they were in its spacious chamber. This is one of the signs of God. Guided indeed is he whom God guideth; but for him whom He misleadeth, thou shalt by no means find a patron.”

If a man could know what lieth hid in this one verse, it would suffice him. Wherefore, in praise of such as these, He hath said: “Men whom neither merchandise nor traffic beguile from the remembrance of God….”1

1 Qur’án 24:37

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, p. 52

IMG_1332EVENING:

This station conferreth the true standard of knowledge, and freeth man from tests. In this realm, to search after knowledge is irrelevant, for He hath said concerning the guidance of travelers on this plane, “Fear God, and God will instruct thee.” 1 And again: “Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.”2

 

1Qur’án 2:282

2 Hadith

Wherefore, a man should make ready his heart that it be worthy of the descent of heavenly grace, and that the bounteous Cup-Bearer may give him to drink of the wine of bestowal from the merciful vessel. “For the like of this let the travailers travail!”1

1 Qur’án 37:59

And now do I say, “Verily we are from God, and to Him shall we return.”1

1 Qur’án 2:151.]

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

The Four Valleys, pp: 53-54

FROM THE CENTRE OF THE COVENANT

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ:

On Wednesday, June 13, 1906, while at luncheon, my wife asked ‘Abdu’l-Baha concerning the interpretation of the following verse of the Gospel: “To him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.”
 
In answer ‘Abdu’l-Baha said in part: “This is the exposition of one of the great questions of Divine Wisdom which Christ has  couched in this brief and simple utterance. The great question is this: In the world of existence, pause (or discontinuation of progress) marks the beginning of fall and decadence. For instance, as long as the bird soars or moves upward in the air, it is in progress. But no sooner it pauses than it begins to descend. Or, as long as a merchant lives on the interest or income produced by his capital his business is successful and in progress. But no sooner he begins to consume his capital than the beginning of his decadence is reached and he inclines toward bankruptcy. Hence it is customary amongst men of trade and business to say of one who draws on his capital for self-sustenance, ‘It is all over with him.’ Now by the word of Christ, To him that hath shall be given,’ is meant briefly: To him that hath the capital of Truth and Faith shell be given an increase of such when he employs this capital by living up to the requirements of Faith, and by communicating them to others in word and deed. Thus he who is endowed with any degree of capacity and ability must constantly exert himself in order to increase them, or he will see the beginning of failure and decadence. For this pause is like unto consuming ones capital, or allowing his capacity to decrease and thus fulfilling in himself the verdict, ‘And from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath.'”
 

1906 Pilgrim Notes of Ali Kuli Khan

by ‘Alí Kuli Khan

edited by David Merrick.
first written or published 1907

Ali Kuli Khan 1906 Pilgrim Notes 11 / 55 Version  2010-04-17  20:22

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

When a person becomes a Bahá’í, actually what takes place is that the seed of the spirit starts to grow in the human soul. This seed must be watered by the outpourings of the Holy Spirit. These gifts of the spirit are received through prayer, meditation, study of the Holy Utterances and service to the Cause of God. The fact of the matter is that service in the Cause is like the plough which ploughs the physical soil when seeds are sown. It is necessary that the soil be ploughed up, so that it can be enriched, and thus cause a stronger growth of the seed. In exactly the same way the evolution of the spirit takes place through ploughing up the soil of the heart so that it is a constant reflection of the Holy Spirit. In this way the human spirit grows and develops by leaps and bounds.

Naturally there will be periods of distress and difficulty, and even severe tests; but if that person turns firmly toward the divine Manifestation, studies carefully His spiritual teachings and receives the blessings of the Holy Spirit, he will find that in reality these tests and difficulties have been the gifts of God to enable him to grow and develop. Thus you might look upon your own difficulties in the path of service. They are the means of your spirit growing and developing. You will suddenly find that you have conquered many of the problems which upset you, and then you will wonder why they should have troubled you at all. An individual must center his whole heart and mind on service to the Cause, in accordance with the high standards set by Bahá’u’lláh. When this is done, the Hosts of the Supreme Concourse will come to the assistance of the individual, and every difficulty and trial will gradually be overcome.

(From a letter dated 6 October 1954 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer)

The Compilation of Compilations vol II, pp: 24-25


[1] Mt 13:12, 25:29; Mk 4:25; Lk 8:18, 19:26

29 August ― 10 Asmá’   Leave a comment

MORNING:

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Hadst thou observed the contents of the Epistle We sent unto thee, it would have been far more profitable to thee than worshipping thy Lord from the beginning that hath no beginning until this day, and indeed more meritorious than proving thyself wholly devoted in thine acts of worship. And hadst thou attained the presence of thy Lord in this land, and been of them that truly believe that the Face of God is beheld in the person of the Primal Point, it would have been far more advantageous than prostrating thyself in adoration from the beginning that hath no beginning until the present time….

In truth We tested thee and found that thou wert not of them that are endowed with understanding, wherefore We passed upon thee the sentence of negation, as a token of justice from Our presence; and verily We are equitable.

However, shouldst thou return unto Us, We would convert thy negation into affirmation. Verily We are the One Who is of immense bounteousness. But should the Primal Point cease to be with you, then the judgement given in the Words of God shall be final and unalterable and every one will assuredly uphold it.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 35

 EVENING:

IMG_8591As to those who have debarred themselves from the Revelation of God, they have indeed failed to understand the significance of a single letter of the Qur’án, nor have they obtained the slightest notion of the Faith of Islam, otherwise they would not have turned away from God, Who hath brought them into being, Who hath nurtured them, hath caused them to die and hath proffered life unto them, by clinging to parts of their religion, thinking that they are doing righteous work for the sake of God.

How numerous the verses which have been revealed concerning the grievous tests ye shall experience on the Day of Judgement, yet it appeareth that ye have never perused them; and how vast the number of revealed traditions regarding the trials which will overtake you on the Day of Our Return, and yet ye seem never to have set your eyes upon them.

Ye spend all your days contriving forms and rules for the principles of your Faith, while that which profiteth you in all this is to comprehend the good-pleasure of your Lord and unitedly to become well-acquainted with His supreme Purpose.

God hath made His Own Self known unto you, but ye have failed to recognize Him; and the thing which will, on the Day of Judgement, turn you aside from God is the specious character of your deeds. Throughout your lives ye follow your religion in order to attract the good-pleasure of God, yet on the Last Day ye shut yourselves out from God and turn away from Him Who is your Promised One.

—His Holiness The Báb

 

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 140

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25 July ― 13 Kalimát   Leave a comment

MORNING:

HRM Willim I 023It is incumbent upon everyone to firmly adhere to and observe that which hath streamed forth from Our Most Exalted Pen. God, the True One, beareth Me witness, and every atom in existence is moved to testify that such means as lead to the elevation, the advancement, the education, the protection and the regeneration of the peoples of the earth have been clearly set forth by Us and are revealed in the Holy Books and Tablets by the Pen of Glory.

We entreat God to graciously aid His servants. What this Wronged One doth expect from everyone is justice and fairness. Let no one be content with mere hearing; rather doth it behove everyone to ponder that which this Wronged One hath revealed. I swear by the Day-Star of utterance, shining above the horizon of the Kingdom of the All-Merciful, had there been any expounder or speaker discernible, We would not have made Ourself the object of the censure, ridicule and slander of the people.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 130-131

EVENING:

IMG_6976Every eye, in this Day, should seek what will best promote the Cause of God. He, Who is the Eternal Truth, beareth Me witness! Nothing whatsoever can, in this Day, inflict a greater harm upon this Cause than dissension and strife, contention, estrangement and apathy, among the loved ones of God. Flee them, through the power of God and His sovereign aid, and strive ye to knit together the hearts of men, in His Name, the Unifier, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

Beseech ye the one true God to grant that ye may taste the savor of such deeds as are performed in His path, and partake of the sweetness of such humility and submissiveness as are shown for His sake. Forget your own selves, and turn your eyes towards your neighbor. Bend your energies to whatever may foster the education of men. Nothing is, or can ever be, hidden from God. If ye follow in His way, His incalculable and imperishable blessings will be showered upon you. This is the luminous Tablet, whose verses have streamed from the moving Pen of Him Who is the Lord of all worlds. Ponder it in your hearts, and be ye of them that observe its precepts.

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, pp. 8-9

FROM ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ,

CENTRE OF THE COVENANT :

Stephen of Blois 006

These are the commands of the Blessed Beauty, these are the counsels of the Greatest Name. O ye dear friends! The world is engaged in war and struggle, and mankind is in the utmost conflict and danger. The darkness of unfaithfulness has enshrouded the earth and the illumination of faithfulness has become concealed. All nations and tribes of the world have sharpened their claws and are warring and fighting with each other. The edifice of man is shattered. Thousands of families are wandering disconsolate. Thousands of souls are besmeared with dust and blood in the arena of battle and struggle every year, and the tent of happiness and life is overthrown. The prominent men become commanders and boast of bloodshed, and glory in destruction. One says: “I have severed with my sword the necks of a nation,” and one: “I have levelled a kingdom to the dust”; and another: “I have overthrown the foundation of a government.” This is the pivot around which the pride and glory of mankind are revolving. In all regions friendship and uprightness are denounced and reconciliation and regard for truth are despised. The herald of peace, reformation, love and reconciliation is the Religion of the Blessed Beauty which has pitched its tent on the apex of the world and proclaimed its summons to the people.

Then, O ye friends of God! Appreciate the value of this precious Revelation, move and act in accordance with it and walk in the straight path and the right way. Show it to the people. Raise the melody of the Kingdom and spread abroad the teachings and ordinances of the loving Lord’ so that the world may become another world, the darkened earth may become illumined and the dead body of the people may obtain new life.

Bahá’í World Faith, p. 215

23 July ― 11 Kalimát   Leave a comment

FROM THE HOLY BIBLE [KING JAMES VERSION, 1604-1611]

Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans:

8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.

8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

8:11 But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

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MORNING:

Success or failure, gain or losss, must…depend upon man’s own exertions.  The more he striveth, the greater will be his progress*….All that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as a result of your own volition.  Your own acts testify to this truth.**

—His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh

*Gleanings from the Writings of  Bahá’u’lláh, pp: 81-82

**Gleanings from the Writings of  Bahá’u’lláh, pl 149

Fire and Gold, p. 211

EVENING:

Indeed, if God willeth, He is potent to turn the stone into a mirror, but the person himself remaineth reconciled to his state.  Had he withed to become a crystal, God would have made hime to assume a crystal form.

—His Holiness The Báb

Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p. 103

FROM  ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ,

CENTRE OF THE COVENANT OF GOD:

In this day every one must be tested, as the time of the ‘chosen ones’ to prove their worth is indeed very short.  The day of attainment is drawing to a close for them. The ‘first fruits’ must be ripened in spirit, mellowed in love, and consumed by their self-sacrifice and severance.  None other are acceptable as first fruits, and all who fail to attain the standard through the tests, are relegated to the ‘many who are called’.

Words attributed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in answer to questions asked by Dr. Edward Gesinger, Star of the West, vol. 6, no. 6, p. 45

Fire and Gold, p. 177

FROM THE HOLY BIBLE [KING JAMES VERSION, 1604-1611] THE GOSPEL OF ST. MATTHEW]:

19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

19:25 When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? 19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My Name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

20:1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

20:2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

20:3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 20:4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

20:5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 20:7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

20:8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

20:9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

20:10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

20:11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 20:12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

20:13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 20:14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

20:15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.